Archive for the Social Media Category

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

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

The Average Jane’s Thoughts on Twitter

Posted in Blogging, Social Media, Twitter on March 27, 2009 by Kelli

I have a confession to make – I don’t really understand the purpose of twitter.  I know, the horror!  Perhaps I should rephrase that statement, though.  I don’t understand why the average person who is not trying to reach out to a customer base or build some kind of a business would want to use twitter.  In short, for an average gal like myself, what’s the point?

While I do make use of twitter, I find it to be a daily struggle to figure out what in the world to tweet about.  I mean, do people really care what I’m doing?  I’m a stay at home mom so what I’m doing on any given day does not vary all that much.  I often find myself sitting down at the computer and trying to think of something profound or witty to post.  But I’m not really that profound a person and I’m not sure I’m all that witty, so I find myself staring at the screen in complete confusion.

Now, I’ve read this article so I do agree that twitter can be highly beneficial in the world of online social media.  It is a brilliant tool if you want to connect personally with employees or customers.  And as a blogger, I do see the benefits in tweeting about recent posts, thereby increasing the chance that my blog gets a broader readership.  That makes sense to me. 

A couple of days ago, I posed the question to my followers on twitter: Why do you use this service? What purpose does it serve for you?  I got a few responses, mostly from people who use it to promote business or services.  One person specifically told me how he was able to generate a rather large sale for his company simply by his interactions with a customer via twitter.  I get that.  In the context of promotion and marketing, twitter makes a lot of sense.  But there has to be more than that, right?  I don’t think I’m wrong in assuming that twitter was organized for more than just shameless self promotion.

My question is simple, why should I twitter?  What are people hoping to glean from the tweets that they read?  Does anyone really want to know that I just cleaned my kitchen…again?  Or that I ate scrambled eggs for breakfast?  This is my conflict.  I want to take part in this social media tool because it’s hailed so positively.  But, truth be told, I am just following the crowd with no real understanding of why I’m following.  And that makes me feel, well, kinda lame.

So will I stop twittering?  I don’t know.  I’m going to keep giving it a try.  I’m hoping that at some point I get it and can make better use of it as a social media tool.  At this point, what seems beneficial to me is to keep the list of people I’m following relatively small.  Otherwise I tend to get lost and overwhelmed by the long row of tweets and I find myself just searching for updates from those people that I know.  Again, I’m not sure if that is proper twitter protocol, but clearly I’m not overly twitter savvy.

I am truly curious to hear why many of you use twitter.  I would also like to know how the average person could benefit from an online tool like twitter.  Just to be clear, I am not at all questioning the effectiveness or validity of twitter and its users.  I am simply looking for a little bit of dialgoue.  Why twitter?  Your comments on the matter would be appreciated – and you don’t have to limit them to 140 characters or less!

Surviving Unemployment

Posted in Local issues, News, Outreach, Social Media on March 25, 2009 by Kelli

In today’s tough economic times, there are very few who can feel safe in their jobs.  With unemplyment skyrocketing, it’s important to be prepared in case you should be forced to join the masses of those looking for work.  Here are a few tips and tricks written by Kim from Parachuting Without a Net. 

Plan For It:  Don’t assume you’re immune.  If you have any personal documents on your work PC, copy them to CD, email them to yourself as attachments, or even print a copy.  Copy or print out your email contacts.  Companies are handing employees a box and walking them out.  You may not have a chance to access your information. 

File:  File your unemployment claim as soon as possible.  It may take 4-6 weeks to start receiving benefits, so even if you receive a severance, it may run out before your benefits kick in.

Network:  Tell people you are looking as soon as possible.   HR departments are being overwhelmed with applications, so if you can bypass the masses and have someone personally deliver your resume, you might have a better chance of being interviewed.

Report to Your Desk:  Put a notepad, pen, calendar, file folders, etc.  in your home office, so when the phone rings with a potential employer on the other end, you’re not scrambling around writing on the back of envelopes with a crayon.  If you don’t have a home office space, use a small tote or basket to keep it all handy. 

Get Organized:  Those file folders mentioned above?  Those are to keep all your separation paperwork, insurance information, unemployment claims, and all the other paper organized.  Make a folder for each job application, so when they finally call, you can quickly put your hands on all the pertinent info, making you look supremely professional.

Go to School:  Find an online course or tutorial and brush up on or learn a new computer program.  Take a summer class at your local college.  Visit the library for additional free resources.  Keep your skill set sharp. 

Put on Pants:  It’s tempting to hang out on the couch in your sweats, but I found it helps my mood if I get up, shower, and even just put on some lip gloss.  Not to mention, if I were to get a call about an interview, I could be ready a lot faster than if I had just rolled out of bed.  Enjoy an occasional sloth day but don’t slack off on personal hygiene.

Seek Medical Attention:  While you still have insurance, and while your schedule is relatively free, visit your doctor and dentist, and catch up on any physicals you may have been putting off.  Also, if you think you’re starting to feel depressed, please see your doctor immediately. 

Be Patient:  Remember, you aren’t the only one competing for that job.   It may take two or three weeks, if not longer, to get an initial response.  Even if you haven’t heard back from the employer, don’t forget to follow up.   It keeps your name in the front of their mind and their files.

Be Positive:  Take a walk.  Visit a museum, the zoo, an art exhibit.  Stay healthy.  Don’t drown your sorrows in M&Ms.  Catch up on your reading.  Organize your closet.  Even alphabetizing your CDs can give you a sense of accomplishment. 

Finally, look at being unemployed as a gift of time.  Spend time making contacts, networking (both on and off line), and catching up on all the things that you would have liked to do but didn’t have the time for when you were working.  And remember, unemployment won’t last forever.  Whether your time looking for a new job is brief or extended, spend each moment wisely.  This is perhaps the most important key to surviving unemployment.

Written by: Kim Dorsey 

Blogging in the ‘Lou – Third Times a Charm

Posted in Blogging, Events, Local blogs, Local issues, Podcast, Social Media on March 23, 2009 by Kelli

As the old saying goes, third times a charm.  That really seemed to be the case for week three of our podcast.   Though it started off awkwardly, we were ultimately able to move on nicely through the show.  We covered some great articles and posts in week 3 and had some good dialogue.  And you will not want to miss my pontification of all things blogging.  Just sayin’… 

Here are the links from the show. You can also go to the show’s page on TalkShow where all episodes can be downloaded for play on your mp3 player of choice.

Hosts:
Patrick D. of http://www.patricksays.net
Jessica Hickok of http://www.jessicahickok.com/

Written by: Patrick D.

Blogging in the ‘Lou – All Ur Sources R Belong to Us

Posted in Blogging, Events, Local blogs, Local issues, Podcast, Social Media on March 11, 2009 by Kelli

Episode two of the new podcast put on by the St. Louis Blogger’s Guild was another success, minus, of course, my awkward pause as I failed early to hear Mike’s question.  Other than that, however, it was a great second show.
Here are the links from the show. The show’s page on TalkShoe is located here and all episodes can be downloaded for play on your mp3 player of choice.
Week two’s hosts were:
Mike Wilkerson of http://www.2guystalking.com/
and Jessica Hickok of http://www.jessicahickok.com
The covered topics were as follows:

  1. http://www.webpronews.com/topnews/2009/02/27/house-says-bloggers-dont-count-as-journalists
  2. http://www.winextra.com/index.php/2009/02/26/the-power-of-comments/
  3. http://missouriwheeler.blogspot.com/2009/03/winter-of-our-discontent.html
  4. http://www.problogger.net/archives/2009/03/03/blog-carnivals-are-great-hosting-them-is-better/
  5. http://transylvaniandutch.blogspot.com/2009/03/data-backup-day.html

Thanks again to everyone who tuned in.  For those of you who haven’t yet heard the show, take a moment to click over to TalkShoe and hear for yourself.  You can download the show directly onto your Mp3 player to listen at your convenience.  We would love to hear some feedback from oue listeners so please feel free to leave a comment here or at any one of the host’s sites and let us know what you think.

Written by: Patrick

Outreach = Reach Out!

Posted in Blogging, Events, Local issues, News, Outreach, Social Media on March 6, 2009 by Kelli

Hi there!  I’m Kim, fellow blogger and Outreach Director of the St. Louis Blogger’s Guild.  I’m the first person in this position, which is good, because I don’t have that “how can I ever live up to my predecessor” anxiety.  However, it’s a drawback, because no one left me any guidelines. 

 

I’ve been thinking about what exactly an Outreach Director should do.  I decided to start with the obvious – reach out.  “But how?” You may ask.  Well, here are a few ideas to get us started:

 

  • Reach out to fellow bloggers in our area, to invite them to our meetings and events.  Not only to add members to our guild, but to share our knowledge and passion for social media with others.  Invite the writer of a non-Guild blog (or two) that you regularly follow to a meeting.

 

  • Reach out to our communities.  Our members are scattered all over the area – from Illinois to West County, and all points in between.  I’m sure each member has a local cause that is important to them – let’s hear about it, and figure how we can help. 

 

  • Reach out to each other.  We aren’t just bloggers.  Do you need a photographer, a computer programmer, a graphic artist, a website developer, a radio talk show host, a biologist, a patent and trademark professional?  We’ve got that, and a lot more.  Let’s support each other’s professions, and advertise the skills of our members.

 

  • Reach out to the children.  Kids are starting to use computers and the internet at younger ages.  Sadly, teaching kids “stranger danger” is just as important when they are sitting in their own home, as it is if they are outside.  Let’s work with them to teach them not only safe computing, but responsible computing as well.   

  • Reach out to the internet.  We may just be local today, but with the hard work and enthusiasm of our members, we could be the encouragement that other cities need to start their own Guilds, which in turn someday might lead to one big nationwide, or even worldwide, Guild. 

 

These are just a few suggestions.  I am honored to be the Outreach Director, and will endeavor to do my best on behalf of our organization.

 

Written by: Kim

Blogging in the ‘Lou: Episode 1

Posted in Blogging, Events, Local issues, News, Podcast, site business, Social Media on March 3, 2009 by Kelli

 Thanks to everyone who tuned in for our first podcast last week.  The inaugural episode went very well and we wanted to give you the links from the show. You can find the show’s page on TalkShoe here. For your listening enjoyment, all episodes can be downloaded for play on your mp3 player of choice.  Following are some touchpoints from last week’s episode, which was hosted by Patrick D. and Mike Wilkerson.

Topics

  1. St. Louis Blogger’s Guild: Parenting 101-Narcissism or Exhibitionism
  2. Geeks Are Sexy: 10 Reasons Why Blogger’s Hate Blogging
  3. Wired.com: The Web
  4. PunchKitty: Confirmed Charter to File for Bankruptcy
  5. St. Louis Blogger’s Guild: Digital Daze
  6. Rosie.com

Thank you again to everyone who listened.  We enjoyed ourselves immensely and we look forward to episode two, next Thursday night.

Written by: Patrick D.

Parenting 101: Your Child’s First Blog

Posted in Blogging, Parent blogging, Social Media on March 2, 2009 by Kelli

I started blogging in September, 2007 and have been blogging every weekday for about a year now.  So it shouldn’t have been a surprise to me when my youngest daughter, who is in first grade, stated that “she wants a blog, too!”

Naturally, my knee-jerk reaction to this idea was “no way, little dudette!”  This is how I initially handle all tricky parenting dilemmas…or any new idea. It buys me time to think through things, and then makes me seem generous to the kids when I decide they CAN do what they asked.  Dr. Spock, eat your heart out!  So, once I counted to ten, and thought about it just a little bit more, I thought “why not?”

It seems clear that social media is here to stay, and this is probably something that we should be able to teach our children how to safely do. Chances are, if you have teens, they could run little social media circles around you, so when I’m talking about “Your Child’s First Blog”, I’m thinking of the younger children.

For my daughter,  the installation of a large white-board in her bedroom is what really got her interested in writing words and numbers. Now, she writes us notes all of the time…mostly “telling on” her older sister, but that’s a topic for a real parenting blog, and I already told you my number one parenting technique!  However, this did get me thinking about what types of benefits my daughter might gain from blogging.

One of the key benefits is that she would be making use of written language outside of school exercises. It’s so easy for kids to think of writing just as “something that is done in school.” If we are interested in getting our kids to use writing for anything more than shopping lists, blogging is one outlet that doesn’t require a publishing deal! 

Another benefit is that your child will be learning how to actively use computer technologies to create something new or present an idea.  I’m always looking for ways to encourage my children to create, and blogging is another wonderful creative outlet.

Finally, if your child is like my child, a HUGE positive benefit of them spending time blogging is that blogging does not create a mess! 

Obviously, if your first grader is starting a blog, this is going to require some help from mom and dad.  Here’s where you get another chance to shine as a parent and help your youngster learn how to safely operate in the online world.  You will certainly want to control what type of personal information your child shares.  Full name, where they live, what school they go to, etc. is all information you’ll probably want them to withhold.  While I wouldn’t go so far as to prohibit the posting of pictures, you’ll want to carefully screen their photos for the same type of information in the picture (often the background) that might not be obvious to your child.

As your child gets older, you will not need to spend as much time developing online material with your child, but it will remain important for you to monitor their posts as well as the comments they receive. 

Some blogging services offer password protection for blogs, either as a native part of the blog, or as a plug-in.  You may consider the investment in a blogging service that offers this type of security to be worth the expense.  I blog on Typepad, which does not offer free blogs, but DOES allow you to password protect your blog.  A password protected blog will allow your child to get their feet wet with blogging and social media while only allowing friends and family to view the blog.

This summer, my wife plans on working on a blog with my daughter. I’ll keep you updated on any insights gained from this experience!

Written by: Gregg Mueller

What is the Facebook Thingy? Reconnecting After Thirty Years…

Posted in Facebook, Social Media on February 18, 2009 by Kelli

With all of  the recent hoopla surrounding Facebook and the changes they made to their Terms of Use (which they have since reversed while they figure out how to use better wording and, quite frankly, not freak out the general public) it seems appropriate to begin a dialogue on the juggernaut that is Facebook.  Mike Wilkerson kicks it off with his own musings on the power of reconnections within the world of Facebook.

I think those of us in the electronic “know” have a powerful responsibility that smacks us in the forehead regularly. On one level, it doesn’t seem too terribly difficult to manage. Along the way, people from the past will emerge, providing you with newfound face-time that opens doors to memories, laughs, puffing chests and the never-ending flash of moments from the past that have guided you to where you are today. What would have happened had the face of life’s coin landed differently for you or those you’ve recently met?

I am of course referring to the always-initiated question: “What is That Facebook Thingy?”

My father and I were recently talking about it when discussing the marketing of his growing library of common-sensical podcasts (Fast Freddie’s Castle of Common Sense Podcast) and he asked me that very question.

The last 6 months have taught me a lot about the power of something as fundamental as Facebook. It’s much more than a one-word answer, but for lack of a better frame of reference, it’s the ability to showcase your personal or business “shingle” on the Internet – to anyone. This first in a series of great experience-based Facebook showcases provides you with my recent re-connecting to people that I haven’t seen – for 28 years.

I am only 38 years old, and have recently touched base with a growing number of people I went to high school with via my recent 20th high school anniversary. That in itself is an accomplishment and will be the focus of a future article, but how many of you can say that you’ve recently touched base with people you were in 2nd grade with? I’m not sure if it was because of the indellible memories forged during some of the most vibrant times in my life, or because the people of my past are literally cartoon characters that I still draw both in my mind and on paper, but childhood friends from 2nd (Ms. D’Amico’s class, Mrs. Duer for 3rd grade) through 4th grade (Ms. Gallagher’s class) were one of a kind, and still are.

Anthony Mulatz wasn’t just a friend of mine, he was the son of one of the powerful people on Earth – Tom Mulatz, The Owner of Tom’s Towing – the outfit that rescued cars from the brink of destruction while they were on the side of the road. The corporation that pulled mangled vehicles of all kinds apart from each other after colliding at the speed of sound – or so it seemed to me, as an 8 year old. Anthony’s Mom was also my Cub Scout Den Mother that taught me that true courage, tenacity, and mental strength could only be developed by life’s greatest challenge – building things out of popcicle sticks, over and over and over. Her step-by-step process of using real acid to etch mirrors for the Christmas ornaments we made in 1978 are still one of the most arduous and life-building experiences I can remember. How many OTHER 8 year olds do YOU know that play with acid? Ha! Anthony himself was a wonder of 8 year olds – his height, at least 9 feet tall. His arms were like rolls of carpet, often dragging on the ground providing unlucky opponents with no escape walking down the school hallways and even down wide-open streets in every neighborhood. He was a great friend that I admired, who’s family had a significant impact on me when I was in my formative years – and I just befriended him once again via Facebook after 30 long years.

Mike Jones wasn’t just a classmate in second grade, he and Anthony were across the street neighbors, and were companion lightposts anywhere they went – providing comedy and foreboding all at the same time. Though their personality powers combined while they were in proximity to each other, Mike had a singular, superhero-like power that families back then could only dream of – he had a backyard pool – awww yeah! Personal, above-ground, icey-blue watery goodness 13 steps outside his back door. He ruled it with a friendly but iron-gate-like fist, and there were many Chicago-suburb summer days that were quenched by Mike’s poolside generalship and jokes and I treasure them now even more than I did back then. He too was someone I just added to “my friends list” via the world-shrinking Facebook technology 30 years after our days in Twinbrook Elementary.

So the first tool that facebook affords me (and you when you jump in) is the ability to close the distance created by the past, to once again open a conduit to times when things were significantly less complicated, and provide you a virtual handshake that makes hearts swell, eyes water, and excitement soar. When I think of the people that talk about reuniting after 30 years I think of the “Greatest Generation” – those from World War II who helped fight tyranny and create the foundation of the world we currently live in. Who’d have ever thought that I would be saying and experiencing the same but different sense of pride after 30 way-too-short years thanks to Facebook?

Look for my next “What is That Facebook Thingy?” article in a future edition here and be sure to chime in with comments in regard to YOUR reconnections to cartoon characters of your past!

Written by: Mike Wilkerson

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