Archive for the ‘blogging’ Category

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I was watching a John Green Truth or Fail video yesterday, for the first time, and was amazed when I found I could interact with the video! “What strange new world is this,” I thought. (Really! I sometimes think in Shakespeare quotes, it’s strange, I know.)

Here’s the video:

The wizardry behind this technological innovation are YouTube Annotations. What is a YouTube annotation, you ask. Good question! Let’s let the talented folks over at YouTube explain it:

Video Annotations is a new way for you to add interactive commentary to your videos! Use it to:

– Add background information about the video
– Create stories with multiple possibilities (viewers click to choose the next scene)
– Link to related YouTube videos, channels, or search results from within a video
– All of the above!

You control what the annotations say, where they appear on the video, and when they appear and disappear.
Read More

You might be thinking: Okay, that’s fine, but how do I DO all this cool stuff? How do I transform my crusty, boring, video into an interactive masterpiece? I’m glad you asked! If you click here, the Folks at YouTube will show you how to create or edit your annotations. And, I ask, what could be more fun than that? Can’t you see yourself Saturday night, alone, at home, furiously editing annotation after annotation? Oh, wait, that’s me. :p

Hope you have fun with your annotations!

Derek Haines loves StumbleUpon and here’s why:

My blog completely froze and gave me a ‘Page Cannot Be Loaded’ message. So off I went on an immediate hunt to find out why. It took me some time because I was looking in all the wrong places, and even if I had an inkling of the problem I wouldn’t have known how to go about remedying it anyway. Therefore I didn’t find the problem and decided to try another alternative. Wait half an hour and see what happened.

During that half an hour I popped into Stumbleupon by sheer chance. There at the top of my page was my problem. My server had been hit by over 1,500 visitors in less than fifteen minutes. Yes, from Stumbleupon. As my site is on a very normal everyday type server, this was a bit too much for it to handle. But what a nice problem to have.

Read the entire article over at Derek Haines’ blog, The Vandal: Blogging — The Stumbleupon Effect.

I have studied ways to drive traffic to my blog but hadn’t seriously considered StumbleUpon and, if not for Derek’s article, likely wouldn’t have for quite some time. Thanks Derek! I think that reading other writer’s blog posts is the most useful thing I do all day.

Another site that is worth checking out, if you haven’t already, is reddit.com. I mentioned fark.com to someone the other day and they rolled their eyes at me.

No one reads Fark anymore,” they said with pitying condescension.

We’ll see about that! I thought and marched home where I compared reddit.com to fark.com using Google Trends.

They were right! Well, not completely right, as you can see reddit.com is trending down as well, but, nevertheless, the result surprised me and I learnt something.

My goal for the day is to learn more about StumbleUpon.

From Jim C. Hines:

Here’s the thing. Blogging is basically self-publishing, with all of the advantages and disadvantages that come with it.

. . . .

So how do you stand out? Just as with self-publishing, it can help if you’ve already got an audience. When Frederick Pohl began blogging, a lot of people immediately added that blog to their reading lists, because … well, he’s Frederick Freaking Pohl. But for the rest of us, the secret seems to come down to two words:

Be interesting.

Just as with fiction, you can get away with almost anything, as long as it keeps readers interested.

A lot of people have said they aren’t very good at blogging, that it feels awkward or uncomfortable or unnatural or whatever. And that’s fine. I don’t personally feel like writers have to do this.

But I also think blogging is a learned, practiced skill, just like fiction. My first short stories bit the waxed tadpole. So did my first blog posts. In both cases, I had to learn what I was doing. I had to practice, to study other examples, and to write a lot of crap. (I like to think that neither my fiction nor my blogging bite as much waxed tadpole these days, but I’ll leave it to others to judge whether that practice paid off.)

Be interesting. Be you. I’ve never met an uninteresting person. The trick, as I see it, is learning your own strengths. Your expertise, your passions, your experiences.

. . . .

To quote Neil Gaiman, “Use your blog to connect. Use it as you. Don’t ‘network’ or ‘promote.’ Just talk.”

It takes time. Like any self-published author, you’re probably not going to get 10,000 daily readers in your first month. Or even your first year. But if blogging is something you want to do, then trust yourself. Don’t worry about being Neil Gaiman. Be you. Because believe it or not, you’re every bit as interesting as Gaiman. (Okay, maybe you don’t have the accent, but that doesn’t come through online anyway.)

And try to have a little fun while you’re at it.
Jim C. Hines, Science Fiction & Fantasy Novelists

Here is a link to Jim’s blog post: The Secrets of Good Blogging. Thanks to @jazz2midnight for the link.

I am internet-less. I have been without Internet access for coming up on 24 hours. 

I’m sitting in a coffee shop an hour before i have to work peck-typing on my iPad. (Have I mentioned lately that I love my iPad?) 

Having had constant access to the Internet for years I was completely unprepared for … Well, for the silence. It may seem odd, but I’m experiencing a sense of dislocation. I know that’s an exaggeration, but I wasn’t able to blog last night, or schedule tweets, and my personal emails lie in my inbox neglected and unsent. It is like my life is in stasis — on hold  — until I get my connectivity back.

An image just flashed through my head: a member severed from the Borg collective. I shudder. Surely not.

Has anyone else gone without the Internet for a significant period of time?

Edit: Problem fixed! Turns out my router was dead. Ah well.

I found a great post over on WordPress.com called, “Getting more views and Traffic”. The author’s points are what my Grams would have called common sense, but I find I occasionally need reminding.

1. Tell people in your social networks about your new post.
Dead obvious, but I don’t do this. I post a link on Twitter and leave it at that.

2. Make your content visible to search engines
Fortunately, sites like Blogger and WordPress do this if you’ve made your site visible to the public (look at your privacy settings if you want to check whether your site is visible).

3. Pay for traffic to your site
Apparently you can get visitors through StumbleUpon for the (I hear the deep base of the announcers voice) for the low, low, price of $0.05 per visit.

I can understand the utility of this, but the offer leaves me feeling indignant. I feel myself wanting to say: I don’t pay for views!

4. Bug your real-life friends
I disagree with this one. I think it’s common sense NOT to bug your real-life friends. It’s easy to alienate people. You know that guy everyone pokes fun at, the one who is always trying to show his home movies? Yea, you don’t want to be that guy.

My real life friends know I blog and if they want to read my posts they will. If they don’t, that’s okay too.

5. Use appropriate tags
Definitely a must. I’ve begun looking at the topics that are trending over at Twitter and mulling over whether I could do a blog post about one of those topics.

6. Read and comment on other blogs
Excellent idea, and something I do. Or try to do. It nelps grow your blog, but I’ve also met some mighty nice people that way.

7. Link to other blogs
I do this, but should do it more. It would be a good idea to put up a ‘Best Of The Writing Blogs’ list and include those blogs I read every day, the blogs I use as touchstones, that help encourage me and anchor me.

8. Let people know about your blog entries
Once I wrote a blog post that was inspired by a conversation I’d had with someone I had just met on Twitter. I tweeted him about the post I’d made. It worked out well, he posted a comment and retweeted my link to the article, but — obviously — one needs to be careful when doing this, I could see this going horribly wrong. Stephen King wrong.

9. Relax, it takes time
True, very true, but I want results NOW, dagmabbit!

10. Size doesn’t matter
This is what the original blog post said: “Finally, remember that it’s not the size of your audience, it’s how much you care about them and they care about you.”

I’m trying to think of a tactful way of putting this.

Nope, just cant.

If you’re trying to sell your books and, hopefully, sell enough to to allow you to quit your day job, it is about the numbers. That’s not to say that I don’t get a special thrill when someone tells me they read my book, and I am humbly grateful to all those wonderful folks who reviewed my book, but for anyone who is hoping to use their blog to help them sell books, the size of their platform does matter.

A good 10 points, even if I didn’t agree with all of them. Besides, if we agreed with one another all time, time wouldn’t life be boring?

Here is a link to the original article: Getting More Views and Traffic

I haven’t blogged for a couple of days, I’m sorry about that. Making at least one blog post a day is a priority for me and I wanted to let everyone know what’s up.

My Dad is ill. I’ve shared this was some of you, usually I’ve just said I have a family emergency. After a decades long fight with kidney disease, my father’s kidneys are failing. A week or so ago a nurse told me Dad’s kidneys were very close to … well, she just said that he would probably need to be rushed to the hospital sometime in the next two weeks. Hopefully, with the aid of a kidney machine, my Dad still has time left.

Obviously this is an emotional time for me, but it is also a busy one. My mother passed away in January and I have no siblings. My father is nearly blind — I suspect he is legally blind — and is hard of hearing, so he needs an attendant for his appointments. I do this gladly, but between taking care of my father and working, I have less time to write.

SO! Wow, I feel bad about dumping all that on you. Are you ready to hear my solution to my time problems? Here it is: Video blogging.

I’m a slow writer. I make slugs look like cheetahs by comparison. That was one reason I took up blogging; I figured I couldn’t spend an eternity on a blog post and blog every day — or even every week! And yet, I’ve managed to. Perhaps video blogging, as long as I don’t read from a script, will help me to stop obsessing over every little thing. (A little voice is chuckling and saying, ‘When pigs fly’. Whatev. 😉

My plan is to keep up with my links on Twitter, to keep posting about articles on my blog, and to begin posting perhaps a video a week. My videos will likely be sporadic and less than perfect, and I will deeply appreciate your patience as they improve.

I’ve felt guilty about not writing more personal posts, post like this one. Hopefully, video blogging will help with that. Also, I’ve discovered the Daily Post over at WordPress. It’s a blog that, each day, gives blogging suggestions for that day. I look forward to writing a couple of posts inspired by the topics of the day. And of course there’s NaNoWriMo, I’m doing that this year; first time!

Reading over this post it looks as though I’ve explained why I don’t have as much time as I used to and then decided to keep up with what I’m doing as well as add a whole bunch! lol Well, we’ll see how that goes. Whatever happens, thanks for being understanding. 🙂

Cheers.

Hardcore introvert, that’s me! I just found Lindsay Buroker through twitter (@GoblinWriter) and I just had to share a few of her tips for how introverts can flourish on the web:

Ignore the people who try to be everywhere (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, every forum, etc.), using these platforms as billboards for their stuff, sending out grating sales pitches all the time. If they’re selling books, it’s in spite of what they’re doing there rather than because of it.

So, what do you do?

1. Start a blog (if you’re like me, you’ll be most comfortable sharing your thoughts, and maybe throwing in a post or two about your books, on your own site because it’s a place people have voluntarily chosen to visit — you’re not bugging anyone in a “public” venue).

2. Pick one or two social media sites to get involved on (I’ve been on Twitter for ages — I like it since you’re forced to keep messages short so it’s not a big time sink — and I’ve recently started doing more with Facebook, since much of my target audience hangs out there).

3. Use those sites to get to know your fans (or people who, based on their profiles, might become your fans!), and also use them to promote interesting posts on your blog. People are a lot more likely to click on a link to a possibly-useful-to-them blog post than they are to click on a buy-my-book link. Then, through your blog, people can get to know your writing style and what you’re all about. (I use affiliate links to track sales that originate from my blog, and I sell more than I’d expect, given that I write about e-publishing instead of fantasy or something specifically for my target audience.)

You can read the entire article here: Book Promotion Tips for Hardcore Introverts