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The Write Alley Goes Dark to Protest SOPA & PIPA

18 Jan

The Write Alley Protests The Protect IP Act

Many websites are blacked out today Weds. January 18, 2012 to protest proposed U.S. legislation that threatens internet freedom: the Stop Internet Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA).
From personal blogs to giants like WordPress and Wikipedia, sites all over the web — including this one — are asking you to help stop this dangerous legislation from being passed. Learn how this legislation will affect internet freedom and please take action.

According to Gizmodo,  “The momentum behind the anti-SOPA movement has been slow to build, but we’re finally at a saturation point. Wikipedia, BoingBoing, WordPress, TwitPic: they’ll all be dark on January 18th. An anti-SOPA rally has been planned for tomorrow afternoon in New York. The list of companies supporting SOPA is long but shrinking, thanks in no small part to the emails and phone calls they’ve received in the last few months.”

So what is SOPA? or PIPA? At first, it sounds like a good idea–it is supposed to protect content providers. But Gizmodo argues that “SOPA is an anti-piracy bill working its way through Congress that would grant content creators extraordinary power over the internet which would go almost comedically unchecked to the point of potentially creating an “Internet Blacklist” while exacting a huge cost from nearly every site you use daily and potentially disappearing your entire digital life while still managing to be both unnecessary and ineffective but stands a shockingly good chance of passing unless we do something about it.”

So call. Or email.

After I post this and publicize this, by 9am I am planning on joining in as well and staying off the internet today. This site will be “dark” from 8am-8pm and post a flag about the issue until January 24, 2012.

Options Other Than Ads To Monetize Your Online Presence

13 Nov
I’m at the International Food Bloggers Conference where I spoke yesterday on creating compelling content about wine for food bloggers. (It went well! Lots of people have come up to me to say how inspiring it was!)
This morning I had a choice of these two sessions
  • Session Option 1: Eating on a Budget with Kimberly Morales (Food)
    It’s a common goal to save and spend money more wisely. And as a food blogger, it’s natural to want to try all the latest products and prepare a slew of different and expensive dinners. Hear from savvy, budget-conscious bloggers about how they mastered clipping coupons and embraced canning, preserving, and buying in bulk. You’ll learn how to feed your family and yourself while spending less, and how to keep food blogging from breaking your bank account.
  • Session Option 2: Monetizing Your Blog with Barnaby Dorfman, Melissa Lanz, and Andie Mitchell (Writing & Technology)
    Here you’ll learn the ins and outs of monetization- everything from partnering with ad networks and affiliate programs to publishing your work in print and online media.

I’m sitting in on the second session where I posted the following nuggets on twitter (this is reverse chronological order–ie, the tweet at the end is the first one on the topic, the tweet at the top is the last one). You can check out what others had to say by checking out the hashtag on twitter #ifbc:

  • @melissalanz last word of advice: get reader emails to add to your list.
  • Control yr message, offer online & live events, consider charity partnerships to build yr brand, be good for business. Think globally! #ifbc
  • consult, coach, teach, speak are all ways you can grow your brand, get more valuable, turn into $$ says @melissalanz #ifbc
  • be honest about your affiliate partners & talk about their products that you use & love in an authentic way says @melisslanz #ifbc
  • what do you know? what can you teach? you can teach & sell classes online building from your online content #ifbc
  • you can make a simple app w/o spending thousands of $$ & get it up & running in your blog #ifbc (really? how? cool!)
  • Kindle feed your blog on amazon –love that as a passive way to monetize your blog & let your readers support what you give online #ifbc
Melissa Lanz has promised to share her slides with us –with the joke that this will be the one and only time she ever offers something of this much value for free!
Speaking of free and of value, yesterday I attended  Rand Fishkin’s session that focused on SEO for Food Bloggers and you can check out his slideshow “SEO for Food Bloggers” for yourself.

Heather Gold’s Tools for “Tummeling” at WordCamp SF 2011

14 Aug

So I’m still writing from WordCamp SF 2011 where, following Matt Mullenweg’s “State of the Word” presentation and feasting at lunch, now I’m at a workshop titled “Tools for Tummeling.”

Tummeling? What’s tummeling? I asked at the WordCamp registration desk.The young man looked bewildered. “I don’t know,” he answered. “Have you checked the program?”

So I did: there I learned that “Tummeling” is the Yiddish word for the act of engaging an audience. The presentation is by Heather Gold an “artist, comic, speaker and talk show host best known for her ability to work the room.” (more…)

Welcome to WordCamp SF 2011!

14 Aug
Time Here’s the program–and what I’ll be doingand blogging about today!Information and Inspiration How-to, Tips, and Tricks
9:00am
Opening Remarks
9:05am
9:45am
10:25am
11:10am
State Of The Word
12:45pm
Lunch! BBQ Buffet on the Terrace
2:30pm
Lightning Sessions
Lightning Sessions
3:00pm
3:45pm
4:30pm
IRL FTW! Organizing Meetups and WordCamps
5:15pm
Closing Remarks

WordCampSF 2011 Arrives!

13 Aug

WordPress sponsors WordCamps around the world but the granddaddy of them all takes place once a year in San Francisco.

And that event is this weekend August 12-14, 2011!

It’s a lot of fun as you might guess from my WordPress tattoo which earned me a WordPress moleskin journal in 2008!

This year on Friday WordCampSF offered a new users workshop. If you missed this full day of learning how to blog, and you’d like me to tutor you, let me know! I can teach you!

Saturday is for developers and Sunday is for content creators.

It’s all sold out but you can still attend by joining the livestream and following along the conversation and main points on Twitter. Check out the hashtags #wordcampsf and #wcsf. You might also check out @kashaziz suggestion that there’s a crowdsourced collection of slides from #wcsf here – lanyrd.com/2011/wordcamps…. People can sign in with Twitter to add more.

I attended and “live” blogged sessions at WordCampSF in 2008 and 2009 (plus WordCampLA 2009); it’s just worked out for me to go tomorrow for Sunday’s session, so subscribe to this site (and Art Predator!) and you’ll get what to me are the most important highlights.

Here are some of my blog posts from previous WordCamp Sessions as originally posted over at Art Predator. As I review them, I realize how much I’ve learned from going to WordCamp and I’m excited about learning more tomorrow!

WordCampLA 2009

September 12, 2009Live Blogging From WordCamp LA 2009

September 13, 2009Ben Huh: guess some lol cats thought my blog post was a cheezburgr & ate it

September 12, 2009Andrew Warner: Using video instead of relying on text to convey your message

September 12, 2009Jim Turner: Never Fear, Genuine is Here! Or how to pay your mortgage by blogging

September 12, 2009Ben Huh: your best bet is just to google my name

September 12, 2009Failure is Job One: Micah Baldwin says “Go to the SEO panel”

September 12, 2009I’m Shayne: WordPress MU & WP ecommerce

September 12, 2009Live Blogging From WordCamp LA 2009

WordCampSF 2009

WordCampSF 2008

Tuesday Tips: On “It’s” & “Its”

21 Jun

Here are two wonderful and important concepts from a blog post I was reading and which inspired me to write this morning:

Social Networking at it’s very foundation is building relationships with people…

Social networking at it’s finest: making friends and helping each other at the same time.

Do you know the difference between “it’s” and “its”? Chances are that you don’t. There’s even a facebook page about it’s and its (that’s where I found the graphic).

Using it is when you mean its and its when you mean it is ranks up there as the most common mistake I see in online and offline writing. My undergrad college students get it wrong and my graduate students in education got it wrong too.

This is the most common spelling, punctuation or grammar mistake that I find online. And I find at least a few examples of it every day in online publishing. In fact, as I mentioned above, this post itself is inspired by a blog post where “it’s” was used wrong more than once and both times in a headline as shown above.

(The second most common mistake? Using semi-colons–I’ll get to that next!)

Most of the time the writer who uses its/it’s wrong has strong content and writing skills (like in this case), but doesn’t know when to use “it’s” or to use “its”; these writers tend to use one or the other all the time, possibly on the false assumption they’d be correct 50% of the time. (If I was to take this strategy, I’d use “its” not “it’s,” by the way…)

Learning how to use “its” or “it’s” is one of the first orders of business when I am working with someone on writing.

So when do you use “it’s” and when do you use “its”? (more…)

Tuesday Tips from Kathy Sierra on How To Kick *, Create Passion, Do It All Better

14 Jun

Last week, Kathy Sierra wrote a guest post for Hugh McLeod’s “gaping void” blog about some current trends in social media which included this graphic. (FYI, Hugh McLeod is famous for some outrageous marketing ideas for wine and tweed as well as drawing insightful cartoons which he also uses in his best-selling book Ignore Everybody.)

In her guest post, Kathy Sierra asks, “why are people still so convinced that social media and all related buzzwords are The Answer?” when, if the product is truly crap, “your social media strategy won’t save you.”

“You want to use social media not because you *must*,” continues Kathy Sierra, “but because you can add even more value for your users by doing so.”

In conclusion, Kathy Sierra says, “There is a world of difference between helping someone *appear* more awesome and helping them actually BE more awesome.”

Reading this article reminded me of how insightful she is and it made me look up a blog post I wrote following hearing her speak in August 2008 at my first WordPress conference. Continue on to read her 20 ways to kick ass and create passion without resorting to the “gamification” she decries in her article on Hugh McLeod’s blog last week.

Kathy Sierra's WordCamp Waterfall of Words: How To Kick Ass, Create Passion, Do Everything Better (even sex!) What do you do to help people kick ass? In a waterfall of words, Kathy Sierra swam us through 20 ways in the final presentation at WordCamp 2008. While she was speaking primarily to and for software programmers and developers, and not just WordPress uses, I could see where much of what she had to say applied to me as a poet, and as a blogger, and in other ways as well. (Heck, a lot of it even applies to having great sex!) This is what I got out o … Read More

via art predator

Jo Diaz Features Women Wine Writers Who Matter

26 May

You may or may not know that I started wine blogging back in 2008 on my Art Predator blog and started a wine blog “Wine Predator” a year later. Yes, I am a wine blogger! I receive samples of wine to taste, review, and tweet about and I’ve traveled as a wine blogger to Portugal, Washington State and around California too. This summer, I will be working on a book about winery kids, family, and sustainability, and traveling with my son to visit family owned and operated wineries in Idaho, Washington, Oregon and California.

Just as I view the world as a writer always looking for stories to share, as a wine drinker, I am always thinking about what I’m drinking, where it came from and who produced it, and evaluating how it smells, tastes, feels, and finishes.

Last week, Jo Diaz on her blog “Jo’s Juicy Tales” honored and celebrated several wine bloggers; I am proud and pleased to be included in this list of women bloggers who, as she put it, bring heart, mind, soul and body (that’s me!) to the world of wine writing! Click the link below to enter a world of wine blogging…and wine bloggers!

Jo Diaz Names Wine Predator As A Wine Blogger Who Matters Recently Jo Diaz discussed Steve Heimoff’s column “Beyond Blogging” about  Jeff Lefrevre’s column “How to Become a Wine Wonk” in Forbes. (Did you follow that or did it get too incestuous?) In his column, Jeff recommends several wine sites and wine bloggers worth reading and why. His list of 12 sites includes Joe Roberts aka 1 Wine Dude, Alder Yarrow of Vinography, Tyler Coleman aka Dr. Vino and Steve Heimoff of Steve Heimoff.com, all fine wine bl … Read More

via Wine Predator

Tuesday Tips: Social Media for Social Good

1 Mar

As someone who strives to use social media for social good, especially in the area of environmental activism and bicycling, yesterday’s article on Mashable about how to implement Facebook’s social media platform for social good caught my attention.

The article has five main suggestions, some of which I am currently using with the San Buenaventura ArtRiders Bicycle and Social Club and some which I am not because I was ignorant about them. The article goes into more depth on each of these points but here they are in brief with a few comments.

While this article is geared toward non-profits and causes, except for the first point, the advice applies to businesses as well. (more…)

Tuesday Tips: 5 ways to improve your comment etiquette

15 Feb

Leaving comments on other blogs is a great way to develop relationships with readers and other bloggers and to increase your SEO (search engine optimization) via links.

But there are good comments and there are comments that get trashed, spammed, deleted or ignored.

The following 5 Tips from WordPress tell you how to leave a comment that’s a keeper by practicing good comment etiquette.

Are you well-versed in comment etiquette? Which comment would you rather receive? “Great post! Check out my blog at someblog.wordpress.com.” or “Well said! I know exactly what you mean about X, and I’m glad that I’m not the only one who thinks so. I would even say that A, B, C! Your candor is greatly appreciated.” The second one, of course. Why? For one thing, it follows the etiquette guidelines below. But even more importantly, it was written with the intent to forge a relationship, not … Read More

via WordPress.com News

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