Friday, August 22, 2014

Blog even with just a smidgen of curiosity

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When graphic designer Brent Almond adopted a son a few years ago, he was struck — like so many new parents — by the steep learning curve, the sheer hard work of parenting and the overwhelming array of kiddie stuff he found himself having to buy.

So he launched a blog, , to review products for their aesthetic value. But he soon found he got far more out of chronicling daily life as a father. 
"It causes me to pause and think about things happening in my son's life and our life as parents and as a family," he says.
Reference: 'You're Not Alone': Dads Who Blog Redefine Modern Fatherhood.

There are so many easy-to-use platforms for blogging that if you should have even a smidgen of curiosity about blogging, my advice is simple:  Go for it.  The thrust of your blog may range from personal to business, but as it was for Almond your blog may evolve over time.  Let it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Enchanting London promotional ad

Leaves fall, light softens, afternoons stretch into evening, the city a mess of browny red hues:  Autumn is coming. 
On occasion, I am taken by the promotional ad on YouTube, right before I am able to watch my video.  I love London, and this one is positively lyrical and enchanting.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Employers monitoring social media more

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The report, written by consultants from PwC using a survey of 10,000 workers worldwide and 500 human resources (HR) professionals, suggests personal data from Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites could be used by employers to understand what motivates their workforce, reasons why people might move jobs and to improve employee well-being.
Reference:  Social media monitoring by employers predicted to rise.

This isn't exactly new news for those active social media animals.  A main issue is how employers monitor employees' social media and how they draw conclusions from the data they collect.  Even the most sophisticated of analyses, for instance, have error margins.  Of course this is another call for employees in general to watch what they post and comment on.

Friday, August 8, 2014

3L rule and authenticity in blogging

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In this 10-part Beginner’s Guide to Blogging series, we’re going to explore what makes a blog great and give you some structures and frameworks to help make blogging easier. Take from it what works and leave behind what doesn’t work!
Reference: The Beginner’s Guide to Blogging, Part 1 of 10: Blog Core Values.

This looks to be a really instructive series on better blogging, and I like Christopher Penn's 3L rule for helping us bloggers determine how good our content is:
  • Did it make us laugh?
  • Did we learn something?
  • Do we love it?
The idea is to hit a homer run with all three, but just one out of three - that is, a single - makes it likely that our content is good.  Of course, striking out - or worse, hitting into a double play - is part of the game.  But the important thing, I'd say, is to do your best every time.  

Whether it's blogging and posting, my overarching rule is authenticity:  Do I truly like an article, video or image, and am I genuinely interested in, taken by, or amused with a subject matter?  In other words, I don't blog or post, just for the sake of blogging or posting.  

Inevitably I do learn something.  Often I love it, but at least I like it.  Once in a good while, too, I laugh.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

College stars, NFL busts in DISH ad

DISH had this commercial preceding several videos I watched on ESPN, and because I don't follow college sports I really didn't think twice about it.  Then I realized that "Take me with you" guy was Brian Bosworth, the much-heralded, self-hyped football player coming out of the University of Oklahoma.  He was a bust.  Matt Leinart and Heath Shuler, having lunch within earshot, were a Heisman Trophy winner and runner up, respectively, and they had lackluster NFL careers at best.  It's a bit of dark comedy as a promo ad, but I found it intriguing.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Gauge interest in your content honestly

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In Should I Buy Facebook Likes? Tom Bukacek makes a logical case for not doing so:
You have 200 organic fans of your page. Let’s say 25% of them engage with your content on a regular basis, that’s 50 fans. 
You buy 1000 fans (now a total of 1,200). If those 50 fans are still engaging with you, Facebook sees that only a meager 4.2% of your fanbase is engaging with your content. This tells the algorithm that you aren’t producing valuable content, and you will appear in your fans’ Newsfeeds even less often. 
So what happened to those 200 organic fans that loved your brand? They’re still there, but they aren’t seeing your posts, and one of your competitors may have caught their eye in the meantime.
As I launched a handful of project-related profiles on Twitter two years ago, I thought about doing this very thing.  I bookmarked a site that sold followers, and read it over a handful visits to the site.  My budget is tight, but the fees were affordable.  I was almost sold on the faux argument that having thousands of followers lent my profile, and thus my project, credibility.

Interestingly I get a fair amount of followers who advertise such a service right on their own profile description:

I don't follow them back, and I never bought into that credibility argument.  Logic notwithstanding, my decision not to buy followers was a matter of ethics.  What kind of credibility could I ever establish by misleading people and feigning followership?  The fact that I see such a service still filtering through my Timeline, however, suggests that many actually buy into it.  So when I see anyone with an unusually large numbers of whatever, I wonder if they've bought themselves into their numbers.

It's always a choice for you, of course, if you're thinking about it.  But I advise against it.  It's better to gauge interest in your content accurately and honestly, so you can then modify it and go forward accordingly.  It's better to engage genuinely, than to expose yourself inevitably as a fraud.

Friday, August 1, 2014

When will cars move like schools of fish?

What if car could move like schools of fish? Nissan will be ready with revolutionary commercially-viable Autonomous Drive in multiple vehicles by the year 2020. With more than 90 percent of all traffic accidents caused by human error, Nissan's Autonomous Drive has been developed to help realize an "accident-free society" by eliminating human error during driving. Autonomous Drive can be particularly effective on city streets, where the chances of being involved in an accident are 10 times higher than on highways. With Autonomous Drive, not only would the number of accidents decrease, it would also allow drivers who have trouble navigating through narrow lanes and intersections a safe and sure way to reach their destinations.
I love this commercial.  The Autonomous Drive echoes the self-driving car from Google, and while they strive for the same end - streets and highways, free of traffic accidents - they're looking at it and going at it differently.  I love the analogy Nissan utilizes.