Archive for April, 2009

We’ve Moved!

Posted in 1 on April 21, 2009 by Melody Meiners

Please visit us at our new home on the web http://stlouisbloggersguild.org! Don’t forget to adjust your bookmarks, too.

 

Thanks,

St. Louis Blogger’s Guild

Blogging in the ‘Lou: Episode Four Show Notes

Posted in Blogging, Local blogs, Podcast, Social Media, Twitter on April 15, 2009 by Kelli

We made our return to the ‘airwaves’ after a couple weeks of missteps. My apologies to you all. I expect we’ll be back on track for weekly episodes. This week, I flew the podcast solo and we answered questions about blogging taken from Guild members. Here are the articles I mentioned as well as the questions.

Blogging can be addicting.  I’ve heard a good way to increase your blog traffic is to read others’ blogs and comment thereby opening up a dialogue between yourself and other bloggers.  I simply don’t have time to read many blogs and I certainly can’t comment on every blog that I read.  What are other effective ways to increase blog traffic when you are short on time? – asked by Kelli Stuart

Have you ever felt you needed to revisit (or even rewrite) a blog post after new information (or simply the passage of time) has come to light? – asked by Scott Roberts

Do negative comments on your blog hurt your feelings, or do you not let them affect you? – asked by Kim

How do you move a blog from a hosted solution (i.e. typepad/blogger/etc.) to self-hosted and what makes this better/worse than the hosted solutions? – asked by Gregg Mueller

 

 

Is Twitter swallowing blogging? – asked by Marianne Richmond

What is the best publishing platform out there? – asked by Dana Loesch 

Blogging In The ‘Lou can be found at http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/38675
Feedback for this podcast can be sent to me at patd88@gmail.com
I blog at http://www.patricksays.net
You can follow me on Twittter at http://www.twitter.com/patrickd88
You can follow the Bloggers Guild on Twitter at http://twitter.com/bloggersguild
Written by: Patrick

Five Minutes With Patrick

Posted in Local blogs, Member Profiles, Podcast on April 13, 2009 by motherofbun

patrickphto2“Geek, Father, Husband, Agnostic, Liberal.” If you want to know what Patrick is about? Look no further than his blog’s former tagline. The engaging writer behind Patrick Says loves to talk tech, television and pop culture. He’s also the innovator behind St. Louis Blogger’s Guild podcast, Blogging In The ‘Lou. If you haven’t yet, check out Patrick’s blog and the podcast where he tackles all sorts of blog related subjects!

When did you first start blogging and why?

I satrted blogging back in 1992. Of course, it was in a program called WordStar and the Internet wasn’t around yet, so it was just on the floppy disk I had. I took a break, well ‘break’ as in ‘lost the floppy’. When I came back to blogging, it was 2005 and I hopped on Blogspot. Originally, my reason was that I fancy myself a writer and a blog would give me the place to practice my craft and hone my skill. Later, it just devolved into me making fun of stuff and whining, you know, like the rest of the blogosphere.

What was the impetus behind creating the Guild’s podcast?

I was at one of the earliest meetings of what would eventually become the Guild. I happened to not be at the meeting where it became official and hence, not a founder. (No, I’m not bitter. Much.) Anyway, at some point, we talked about the areas the Guild would venture into. One arm was the idea of a podcast. I listen to a fair amount of podcasts. Also, no one seemed to be moving it forward and so I just kind of took it. Of course, I NEVER envisioned me as the on-air talent. I’m a mumbler and I’m fine with that. So the idea of me hosting a podcast was very argh.

Have any favorite podcasts you love to listen to? (Why?)

I like the tech podcasts. I listen to two from Jeff Chandler, Perfcast as well as WordPress Weekly and This Week in Tech which is basically ‘The Screen Savers’ from the old TechTV days. That’s about all I can squeeze in each week with a very short commute to work.

I’ve noticed you don’t include archives – you link each post to a few related posts. You also keep your posts short. Any reasons behind that?

Well, the Archives thing was really unintentional. I used to have that page. But really, I’ve never been to a blog where I wondered what the author wrote on June 14, 2007. My hard and fast rule has always been to have a search box. People know what they’re looking for.

I like to keep my posts short because of the attention span on the Net these days. I know if I see a blog post that’s eight REALLY long paragraphs, it better be phenomenal. People like things in bite-size pieces.

How has your blog (and you as a blogger) changed over that time?

I think I’ve gotten more real. In my very early days, I tried comedic bits that really fell flat. Just awful. Now I just talk about things. I TRY to make them interesting things. As always, nobody cares what you had for lunch.

Patrick’s three favorite posts can be found here, here, and here.

New Restrictions – Better Plan?

Posted in Bloggers' rights, Ethics of Social Media, Free Speech, Media, News on April 8, 2009 by Kelli

This past Monday, The Associated Press announced plans to “aggressively” seek out those on the internet who violate copyright.  These plans come amidst other efforts aiming to save money and cut costs in the tide of the social media upswing.

While there is some validity in the AP’s desire to protect their property, one must ask the question: Is this the best way to go about doing that?  According to this article, those in charge at the AP are gearing up for a fight.  They are “mad as hell” and they are going to stop at nothing to stop what they see as unlawful use of intellectual property.

Exactly how they go about protecting their news is still to be determined, but for now I’d like to pose the question: Should the AP seek out ways to stop the distribution of the news that they put forth and how exactly would they go about doing that without infringing upon fair use?  And even more, what exactly is fair use? 

The line in this particular situation is a little ambiguous and altogether sticky.  On the one hand, the AP absolutely has the right to make sure that the information that they collect, organize and write stays within their realm of control.  On the other hand, once that information is put out into the World Wide Web, it is generally seen as public domain and thereby the attempt to somehow prosecute for copyright infringement would seem to be both a waste of time and money.

So what’s the solution?  Is there a happy medium?  Is the principle of fair use valid protection for those bloggers who cut and paste AP news onto their sites?  What say you, oh internets?

Bottom line is this: The AP is a valid and longstanding news tradition.  This day and age, however, the news is transmitted in ways that are far broader than any other time in history.  It’s not going to get any easier for organizations like the AP to both distribute their information and also protect it.  So where does the balance lie?  That seems to be the unanswerable question these days.

Parenting 101: Ten Blogging Ideas

Posted in Blogging, Parent blogging on April 6, 2009 by Kelli

If you are writing a blog that focuses on being a parent or just a blog about your family, there are going to be days where it is VERY easy to write. These are the days when your kids have a birthday, or have a great accomplishment. The problem is, major life events like this just don’t happen every day. Where do you find ideas for all the OTHER days of the year? So, this month, I am presenting just a few places to look for inspiration for blog posts to fill in those days between your son winning that dance contest, or your daughter winning a gold medal in the Olympic shot put competition.

1. Describe some aspect of your daily routine, and what makes it special for you. Maybe there is a particular phrase you say to the kids when you drop them off at school, or send them out the door each day. Maybe you share stories about the day around the dinner table. Perhaps there is a special treat that you like to get for your kids. Tell the world!

2. Compare/contrast some area of your childhood with your childrens’. You can talk about your kids’ favorite toy, then yours (as a child – unless you are still playing with it!). You could even compare that to what YOUR paren’ts favorite toys were, if you know. How have things changed over time? How have they stayed the same? What about the music your kids listen to compared to you? Do you share tastes or are your tastes at opposite ends of the musical spectrum?

3. Picture days. Sure, you won’t always be able to pull off that cute picture of your kid covered from head to toe in spaghetti, but sometimes a simple picture of them in their room, just playing tells all the story that needs to be told. We tend to take pictures of all the special events, but not the normal moments. I’m certainly guilty of that and it is something that I’d like to change. Who knows but that shot of your daughter brushing her teeth may turn into your favorite photo! The rest of us would probably like to see it, too. Remember, if you have steady readers, they are interested in your family, too.

4. Find the light side of something that drives you nuts. Is there something you threaten your kids with when you are picking up all their STUFF? Write about it. Do you sometimes spend an entire Saturday – your only free day – shuttling your kids around? Do you get in silly arguments with your children that have you sounding every bit as much as a kid as them? The rest of us would like to know that we aren’t alone!

5. A Day in the Life. There are a lot of popular, and interesting, books written from the aspect of “A Day in the Life.” Why not make your own version on your blog? Take a little point and shoot camera with you everywhere and document your typical day with photos and text.

6. Lessons learned. Sometimes, we don’t realize what we’ve learned from someone until many years later. Maybe a parent told you something, and just TODAY you finally understood. Maybe a teacher in school made a remark that you think about every single day, even though you didn’t realize the impact it would have on you when you first heard it. This is probably something that is worth passing on!

7. Turn the tables. Perhaps there is something your kids or family would like to write about you! It’s probably only fair, seeing as you write about them every other day. How about giving them a chance to strike back? Maybe they could repeat one of your posts, but written from their perspective!

8. Brag. Sure, it’s easy to go crazy with this one, but a little bragging isn’t a bad thing. In fact, why not brag about the little things. Does your son or daughter always hold the door for people? Are they polite on the phone? Do they resist peer pressure? Do they take care of things at home without being asked – just because it needs to be done? Are they protective of their siblings? What makes them a unique individual? What little things make you proud of them?

9. Quote of the day. This one takes a little bit of preparation and planning on your part. If you are anything like me, your kids will say something that is just hilarious, and unless you write about it right away, you’ll forget it – despite assurances to yourself that you’ll NEVER forget this one! Why not bring a small notebook around with you, or record observations in your voicemail. There has GOT to be an iPhone app that does this for you, but I’m no technically advanced person so I couldn’t tell you. Don’t let those cute things your kids (of all ages – I still get them from my teen) tell you get lost with all the other things in your head.

10. The Great Escape. Despite how rewarding parenting is, there are certainly days you question your decision to have kids. What do you do to escape, if only temporary? Is there a dark corner of your coat closet you hide in with your iPod? Is tea in the garden your escape? What would your DREAM escape be, if you were able (and willing) to spend a week away from the kids?

Hopefully, these brief ideas spark your imagination for your blogs. Have fun!

Written by: Gregg Mueller

“Parent Blogging 101″ is a monthly feature published on the first Monday of each month on the St. Louis Blogger’s Guild website.  If there is a topic you’d like to see addressed here, please email Gregg at dadincharge@swbell.net.

Can Facebook and Twitter Save You Money?

Posted in Facebook, News, Social Media, Twitter on April 4, 2009 by Kelli

Most people using social networking sites do so primarily to keep in touch with friends, family, and business associates. However, a newer trend that’s emerging is for businesses to reach out to their customer base and make special offers and discounts to their “fans”. If you become a “fan” of a retail company that you regularly shop, you can get coupons sent to you for online or, sometimes, in-store purchases. This is beneficial to both the customer and the retailer as it connects them in a profitable way during today’s economic crunch.

It is wise of companies to be thinking outside the box in a time like this.  Using the innovative technologies that are present before them, companies are building a connection between themselves and their customers that couldn’t have existed otherwise.

As a customer, however, there is one critical point to remember before connecting yourself too closely with a company online:  by adding businesses to your friends list, you are giving them access to your profile information. You should think carefully about this before adding, say, The Melting Pot as a friend.  Do you really want whoever is in charge of their online activites to see the photos of your vacation to Cancun?  And, honestly, how often are you going to eat at The Melting Pot?  Does the benefit of adding them as friend outweigh the risk? 

The Melting Pot is just an example of course.  You should think carefully before you allow anyone access to your personal information.  Also, if you’re adding these companies in order to obtain coupons for their services, you need to decide whether the discounts they offer are for items you would normally buy anyway.  Because if they’re not, you’re not really saving money.

For a list of companies that are participating in offers like these, read the article “How Facebook, Twitter Can Save You Money.”

The bottom line is this: online social media is extremely beneficial if used properly and with a healthy dose of caution.  Read up on the benefits and risks of your actions and make educated decisions.  If you do this, you set yourself up for success in the end.

Written by: Scott Wheeler

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