Blog Awards… Do the Best Ones Really Win?

Image source:

Image source:

Joining a “Blog Award” or “Blogging Contest” can be a great way to discover other blogs, network with other bloggers, and even if you don’t win, it can enrich your own blogging experience.  This is especially so if it is a genuine contest or a search for what is the “best” blog in a category and not a corporate promotions gimmick dressed up like a blogging contest.

It is only by closely looking at the criteria and the judges that one can get a sense of whether a “blogging contest” will result in real acclaim.

Then again, if you really think about it, what kind of criteria can be devised for a literary form that is still in the process of evolving with the technology that makes it possible? [Read more…]

Facebook and Google Spent Huge On Q2 2011 Lobbyist Efforts

Facebook vs Google

Facebook vs GoogleFacebook and Google are spending big on political lobbying efforts, according to the U.S. Senate lobbying database the company’s upped their overall lobbyist spending in the second quarter of 2011, spending record amounts to protect their brands and the rights of internet users.

Google in particular hit the lobbying circuit hard, spending $2.06 million in Q2, up 54 percent from the same period 12 months ago. The search giants spending was also up over Q1 when they spent $1.48 million. The database also reveals that the company spent a total of $5.2 million on lobbying efforts in 2010.

The move towards more lobbying makes sense for the company as they battle various issues from privacy concerns and advertising regulation to trademark issues and tax reform, all of which could affect their business in negative ways. [Read more…]

Social Media as Part of a Political Campaign (Part 1)


Are you thinking of using social media for an election campaign?  Think again.

It is an option worth reconsidering thoroughly because social media can bite, hard.  Probably much harder than mainstream media because of its immediacy, directness, transparency, durability, and capability to reach a fairly large, critical audience.  Moreover, social media demands a level of personal engagement that offers a set of unique difficulties as well as opportunities that candidates may find hard to harness positively.

The fact is, these are the very same qualities that make social media tick and without these qualities, the effect of using social media for an electoral campaign may not only be marginal but may also compete with other media being used in the electoral campaign.

After considering all of this once over and then again, if you’re still convinced that you need this, there are a number of ways to go about preparing to engage in social media.

[Read more…]

Colombia Pictures Teams Up With Foursquare For “30 Minutes Or Less” Campaign

30 Minutes or Less Foursquare Badge

30 Minutes or Less Foursquare BadgeColumbia Pictures has teamed up with Foursquare to promote their new movie 30 Minutes or Less with a new campaign that asks users to interact with the movie.

The program allows users to follow 30 Minutes or Less via the location based service and then check in at “movie-themed places” such as pizza parlors, banks, food trucks, screenings and of course movie theaters on opening weekend for the movie. As users check into the “movie themed” locations they will receive a 30 Minutes or Less badge and will also have the option of accepting special incentives from affiliated movie theaters.

Colombia Pictures also says that certain theaters may offer special promotional materials for users who check in during the movies opening weekend, although what those specials may entail are not known.

There’s also a cash prize incentive for people who take part in the promotion, users who unlock the 30 Minutes or Less badge can win a grand prize of $3,000. [Read more…]

Five Tips for Creating Fresh Blog Content Fast. Every Day

Blogs benefit immensely from being constantly updated, and yet it’s also one of the more difficult things to do with a fair amount of consistency.

If you are working on your own personal blog as a means of creative expression or just chronicling your own experiences, you’ll find yourself blogging on and off — depending on the ebbs and tides of your life.  That is perfectly fine and understandable because it is virtually impossible to have a life where things are happening all the time and still be able to write 35o words about it.

But if you are blogging professionally, clients will appreciate a fair amount of regularity and coherence within a framework of targeted results that lead to the achievement of  a goal or goals.   Clients will appreciate a well thought out plan and the accomplishment of work that is consistent with the plan.

Sure, it sounds like work and it IS work, but having a plan and working according to plan can actually minimize the time you spend working and maximize productive offline time — which is, really, everything that happens outside the frame of your computer screen.  Moreover, working according to a plan can enable you to have more fun while doing work.

[Read more…]

Former Reddit Employee Indicted For Data Theft

Reddit Logo

Reddit LogoAaron Swartz, a former employee at popular link sharing website Reddit was indicted this week for data theft after it was found that he had stolen more than 4 million documents from MIT and the academic journal and paper archive JSTOR.

District of Massachusetts Carmen M. Ortiz filed charges against Swartz after determining that he had broken into MIT to steal the documents.

Among his various serious charges are wire fraud, computer fraud and “obtaining information from a protected computer” plus criminal forfeiture, charges which could place Swartz behind bars for up to 35 years, while slapping him with a $1 million fine.

When not committing random acts of crime Swartz is actually the found of a non-profit organization called Demand Progress which examined public policy and the internet.

Demand Progress has released a statement in which they state that they don’t believe their founder “broke into” MIT facilities, noting:

“As best as we can tell, he is being charged with allegedly downloading too many scholarly journal articles from the Web. The government contends that downloading said articles is actually felony computer hacking and should be punished with time in prison.” [Read more…]

Google+ for iPhone Released. Not Compatible with iPad and iPod Touch

Google+ for iPhone
Google+ for iPhone

Google+ for iPhone

After little more than 2 weeks of wait, the Apple App Store crew has finally approved the Google+ app for iOS.

Sadly for many users it does seem that the app only runs on the iPhone, and not on iPod touches (even not latest generation). So far no iPad specific app has been released either and the app does not run on iPads. Rumors around the internet confirm that the Google+ app for iPhone only runs on iPhone 3, iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4.

If you can not find the app in the app store, via a search, try this link to the iTunes Store.

Where very often the iOS apps the more polished ones are, Foursquare being the best example, the Google+ app for iPhone does not belong in that category and it seems that the app was developed by developers without any eye to particular design. While both apps are very similar, the Android Google+ app is the clear winner when it comes to polish, design and interface. The iPhone app just doesn’t feel as finished.

At least WordPress fans will love the design of user profiles in Google+ for iPhone. [Read more…]

15 Useful Google+ Browser Extensions for Google Chrome Browser

Skins & Share for Google+ Facebook

Google Plus

Just like many new platforms the Google+ interface is not optimal and every user might want to customize their G+ experience.
Luckily the online community is fast and several Google Chrome browser extensions for Google+ have already found their way to the Chrome Store.

Many users have already mentioned that they wished they could share better or organize their stream better, others wished that G+ had additional features or even a more colorful design. We found 15 Google+ extensions for the Chrome web browser, which can improve your G+ experience.
Neither of them is an extension to -1. ;) [Read more…]

Writing Blog Posts and Web Pages for a Breakthrough to Meaningful Traffic

Building up traffic for a new blog or website can be a slow and difficult process if you are doing it by yourself with little or no guidance from experts.

After attending all the seminar-workshops and reading all the books there are to read, it can still pretty much be a game where you either hit-or-miss.  However, staking your company’s reputation in a social media campaign can mean investing substantially in a hit that delivers marginal results or misses that diminish your reputation.  Either way, it could be a costly experience that makes some people turn their back on social media and never look back again.

But if you are an entrepreneur who has decided on  planning and implementing a social media campaign for your company without hiring experts, there are a number of ways of finding a shorter route to maximizing your hits while ensuring you don’t hammered by painful misses.

Carefully crafted blog posts or web pages promoted in the right way could shave off weeks or months from a promotion plan and enable you to reach a milestone much quicker.

[Read more…]

Happy Oasis Hopes to be Farmville of the Middle East While Raising Awareness

Happy Oasis - Facebook Game Screenshot

Happy Oasis - Facebook Game ScreenshotIf you took away the lush farmland of Zynga’s FarmVille and replaced it with a desert in the middle of nowhere you would have Happy Oasis a middle east version of the popular game that has already attracted more than 100,000 active social gamers.

Developed by Aranim Games the product offers Arabic and English versions and asks players to create their own “Oasis” in the desert.

The game is not only a “build up your land” setup, it also attempts to bring modern day struggles to the masses, for example both men and women can drive cars in the game, a current major issue of contention in Saudi Arabia.

Company CEO Suleiman Bakhit told Mashable that his company is better equipped than most to deal with social issues in the Middle East, noting:

“There are serious cultural issues that are extremely sensitive … most western companies won’t know how to deal with these issues.”

The game started as a comic book in which Bakhit chronicled a beating he received near his Minnesota university following the 9/11 attacks. In his comic books, also published under the Aranim company name he speaks about social issues in the area, features Arab heroes and attempts to teach school age children important lessons about tolerance. [Read more…]