Tag Archives: Blogging

Taking up ProBlogger’s 7-link challenge

7-link challengeFour days ago, ProBlogger Darren Rowse challenged fellow bloggers to publish a post based on the following seven themes.  Hooked by the idea, I rolled up my sleeves and got to it.  Then I read Darren’s own seven-link post.  If you don’t already know, Darren is a highly successful blogger, speaker consultant and founder of several blog networks and blogs, including ProBlogger, which features tips on blogging.  His Wikipedia entry notes that “as of 22 May 2009, Problogger was listed as number two on Technorati’s most favorited blogs list and number 40 on the most linked to blog.”

I reconsidered my participation in the challenge. It seemed audacious to hoist my hand — I’ve only been blogging for five months. However, the whole point of the exercise is to learn by doing.  So, here’s my contribution.

  1. My first post: Go slow, just don’t stop.  The date was March 6, 2010.  I shared how I was setting out on a brand new course in life, to learn to apply social media, out of my job and comfort zone, and how I planned to research and learn from the best, using the blog to distill and demonstrate my findings as I go.  I wrote:   Step four is harder—where to go online?  It’s a bit like entering a packed exhibition hall or a Saturday-morning market, full of noise, bright colours and lights, a sea of rows/directions. I didn’t mention how anxious I get in crowds!
  2. A post I enjoyed writing the most: The not-so-obvious: visiting the Shrute farm and learning to blog.  Writing this post was fun, inspired by a Consumerist news item tied to the TV program, the Office.  Newcomers to social media can feel like outsiders.  As I wrote in this post:   It’s just as easy to “not get” a key element or step when you’re learning to blog.   If you’re new to social media tools, the language that’s tossed around online, especially on discussion floors, can be confusing.  You’re there in your Walmart sneakers and they’re bouncing around in their spiffy Air Jordans. Continue reading

11 voices worth listening to

Northern House Wren

photo by Roger D'Anjou

It’s 5 a.m. and the staccato bursts are making it impossible to sleep: tch tch tch tch tch tch TCHI… tch tch tch tch tch tch TCHI.  The tiny but loud Northern House Wrens have a young family in the tall bluebird house near my office but their voices seem to penetrate no matter where I am in the house.   The Chippewa Indians called this bird O-du-na-mis-sug-ud-da-we-shi, meaning big noise for its size! No kidding.

Since I started this blog in early March, I’ve discovered other voices that have become invaluable in my journey to learn and apply social media.  These voices I want to keep close by, as the tools and techniques for the channels change at a frequency that makes my head spin.  Some I follow through RSS feeds, others through Twitter, Facebook or a combination of these channels.

Blogging voices

  • The first of these voices is @timethief.  Clear, current and correct, her onecoolsitebloggingtips is one of the best resources for WordPress-hosted blogs.  I frequently revisit her posts, like the recent three-part series on changing themes, as new needs arise.   My second blog is now in progress using Cutline and I’ve suggested a friend check out the Structure theme to improve the look and feel of her web site.
  • Both Darren Rowse at ProBlogger and Brian Clark at CopyBlogger can be counted on for great blogging tips. Continue reading

timethief flips time and place for bloggers like me

Monarch butterfly

Photo by Karen Runtz

As a kid, I used to be afraid of caterpillars. That’s changed. I now do everything I can to attract and sustain butterflies. That includes naturalizing milkweed to feed monarch caterpillars.  Yesterday, WordPress blogger timethief also flipped time and place for me as I continue blogging, learning and applying social media.

It was a dull, grey day and I was hours into research, chasing links, weighted down by thousands of word about SEO, tips and tools, my energy and confidence draining. I slogged on, looking for wisdom. .

Somehow, I ended up back at WordPress. I think it was all the SEO talk that got me thinking about optimizing the usability of my blog. I dug into the dirt on fonts. And that’s when I found timethief.

Unearthing her blog, I came across a posting on free image hosting services where you can store, share and use to publish your blog photos. Most of the providers offer many more options as well. Good stuff.

I dug deeper, finding another link on optimizing your images –reducing their size so the page loads faster. As someone who was on dial-up less than a year ago, this shouted out–yes, yes, pick me!

Something drew me to Web Resizer at the bottom of the list. It was the only one I checked out. Their landing page was promising, crisp and clear like the way timethief presents her own tech tips.  Yes, you can add borders to your images here.  I clicked on the “Resize Photos Now”. Then I saw it:  Free Rice. PLAY and FEED a Hungry Person.  I don’t normally play games, but this was different. I set the image testing aside for the time being.

What followed was a fun little word challenge. Continue reading

Go slow, just don't stop

turtle photo by Audrey Michael

photo by Audrey Michael

It does not matter how slow you go as long as you do not stop.

That saying–from Confucius, who else!–is going to be my mantra as I reinvent myself, out of a job and my comfort zone.

I will learn how to use social media so I can advise businesses in turn how they can use these channels to be successful.

No biggie, right. WRONG. I have a love/hate relationship with technology. It excites and terrifies me at the same time. I love what it enables but I’m in misery trying to use it. Don’t let anyone change my computer or TV settings—I may never get them back again.  I don’t even own a cell phone or a PDA.

And yet I developed and managed a very successful intranet for a very large crown corporation and as a regular presenter at conferences, advised many other communicators on intranet strategy and best practices, including usability and how it contributes to the bottom line.

What’s behind all this

For 21 years I was a very successful communicator loving my work at Canada Post. Then came the job cuts, including mine. I didn’t expect it. Who does.

Continue reading