To Blog or Not to Blog?

Beblogabadge

Blogging has come a long way, hasn’t it?  I had to pinch myself when I was given a White House press credential to blog about President Obama’s address to the National Urban League.  More and more we are being taken seriously as journalist and just about every brand recognizes that you want bloggers in your corner.  But when I started my first blog I really just wanted a place to express myself.  Because I’m so expressive (read slightly schizophrenic), here I am years later with several blogs I manage (no, I am NOT going to tell you how many) that cover everything from spirituality, women’s issues, and social media trends to technology and dating.  I’ve never started blogging to make money, although I’ve been hired to cover some really cool gigs and somehow landed myself as a lifestyle blogger.  The question I get asked most often from people who want to start blogging is “what should I write about?” Here are some suggestions to get you started.

Blogging Tips:

  • Write about what makes your heart sing 
  • Write about something that you are passionate about
  • Be your most authentic self
  • Find a voice you haven’t heard and express your point of view
  • Promote your blog across multiple social media network
  • Let your personality shine
  • Benchmark blogs you like

Don’t have a lot of time to Blog?

  • Use mixed media in your blogs so you don’t have to write as much
  • Phone it in, audio blogging is a great way to get a quick post up
  • Blog from your smartphone or tablet
  • Keep it simple – each post doesn’t have to be the next great America novel

Once you get your blog off the ground do the things that truth be told, I need to do more of:

  • Post basis
  • Partner with guest bloggers who can keep your blog fresh and up to date
  • Update your blog’s theme when necessary
  • Blog on the go
  • Comment on blogs you like and you will slowly build a community
  • Find someone to proof your blog before posting (FYI, I need this BADLY… any volunteers… please… anyone?)

Need more inspiration?  Join me at BLOGALICIOUS 2011 October 21-23, 2011. As an official blogging ambassador for BLOGALICIOUS 2011 I will be joining some of the most influential and talented female bloggers and social media savvy women from all across the country.  If you’ve ever thought about starting a blog, making a career out of blogging or wondered how to get more traffic to your blog, this is the conference for you!  If you’re a well established blogger, come out and meet your fellow colleagues IRL to network, support each other, share best practices, uplift each other and just have a good time having fun.  Be sure to register today, tickets are going fast.  

Founded in 2009, the Blogalicious Weekend conferences are aimed at celebrating the diversity of women of all ethnicities in social media. Over the course of 3 event-filled days, savvy, influential and talented women bloggers will ignite a sense of unity within the multicultural blogging community as well as educate marketers on the importance of our demographic in today’s marketplace, all while networking, building relationships, and promoting inspiration and success for each other.

 

Google+ Week One – Who Is In Your Circle?

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If you haven’t heard, Google has rolled out a new social network and I’m giving Google+ two thumbs up.  I should, for the past few nights I’ve gone to bed late and gotten up very early just so I can experiment with it. Winning where Google Wave failed, I have to say my initial impression of the platform has been very positive.  Over the past few days I have been experimenting, observing, commenting, uploading, testing and getting to know this platform. In its first week, I’m still here checking notifications, trying out new features and getting to know my fellow Google+ community.

You may be asking do we really need another social network.  I know for many folks this will be another thorn in their side as they attempt to learn yet site.  But for me it was an easy fit.  I have a pretty strong presence on Google already so the migration of my public Google profile, Google Buzz posts and Picasa photos was rather easy.  Look, I recognized long ago that Google was into world domination so I’ve been on board with them for a while. 

After setting up the Goolge+ page the next step was deciding who I wanted to be in your Circle.  Circles on Google+ are a grouping of friends, followers and others that you want to interact with online.  I’ll admit that being able to drag and drop people into a circle that spins your additions into place is cool as all get out.  Then after deciding who I would add, the next task was deciding what kinds of Circles I wanted.  Google+ has allowed me to separate my real “friends” from the rest of the online world I engage with.  I found myself coming up with zany titles for my Circles.  Here are a few Circle names I’ve decided not to use (yet) that include:

  • I Don’t Know You But I May Want To
  • Why Am I Following You In The First Place
  • Didn’t I Un-Friend You On Facebook
  • You Think You’re A Friend But You Really Aren’t
  • People I’m Suppose To Follow But Don’t Really Like  

Oh, the list is endless!  Once the Circles were complete the last step was to start engaging with the other early adopters.  Similar to Facebook, you can follow the feed and start commenting on or reposting links from others.  The handy +1 button, very similar to the Facebook Like button, allows you to easily share posts.  Last but not least, the other stand out for me is Hangouts.  

The Hangout feature blows me away.  Think of it as a big chat service on steroids.  You simply contact one or more people from your Circle and ask them to “hangout” with you.  Then you can video/audio chat with them.  This chat feature clearly sets Google+ apart from all other social networks. However, there is pressure to look good all day long… you never know who might want to hang out with you and you don’t want to get caught looking crazy when someone asks you the Hangout. 

Originally one of my favorite features was being able to segregate my posts.  I can send them to the entire public or to a certain group of people in my Circle.  This alone is a win for me.  Now, however, I’ve found a little problem with the Circles.  I was invited to what I was told was a “private” Circle.  I was then asked a question.  The problem, I thought I was having a private conversation between myself and the other person.  I had no idea it was Circle of three people.  So what I thought was a private conversation between myself and one other person was actually a three-way conversation.  Note to self, unless you know the person sent you a notification privately, assume other people can see your reply.  Then to send notifications privately you can single out the person by hitting the “+” symbol and typing in their name.  

Finally, once I can do multiple posts to Google+ from Twitter and Facebook (I’m not any where near ready to leave those two sites right now) and once I have an iPhone/iPad app that will alert me of my notifications, then I will settle comfortably into Google+ and never leave.  

 

Apple-Facebook Friction Erupts Over Ping

As if Steve Jobs fights with Adobe Flash aren’t enough, now he’s in the ring doing the tango with Facebook. This time regarding Ping, his music social networking site.

I joined Ping last week after I sat in on the much anticipated live, world-wide Apple press conference. I am not happy with it because I find it to be… well… not very social. I have NO ONE checking me our or my music. At this point you can color me red hot. I LOVE music and I LOVE sharing my tastes with others so you know I’m just a little salty about this. Meanwhile, I see some Ping members with over 30,000 followers already and they aren’t even musicians, I mean really… it’s been less than a week and 30K followers already… how can this be… where are my people? But I digress…

I joined Ping because I wanted to commune with my fellow music lovers. I signed up and then waited for the thousands of people Jobs said would be flocking to my side out of the 160 million iTunes users. You know what I got? Not one single person following me. Wait, that’s not true… ONE person is following but he hasn’t engaged with me and we don’t share the same share the same tastes in music so there you go.

Could it be that Apple really needs the Facebook interface? Will I have better luck out of a pool of 500 million users rather than a mere 160 mill? Or, will Goggle and Facebook continue to join forces in an strange sort of combined power play to push Apple and Ping out of the way for good. Will Johnny get Adobe Flash on his iTouch? Will Sally be able to share her songs from Ping on her Facebook page? Will Danielle get any followers on Ping? These and other important questions will be addressed next week on “As the Social Network Turns”.

Amplify’d from bits.blogs.nytimes.com

If it is true that the enemy of your enemy is your friend, then Apple and Facebook ought to be friends. Their common enemy, of course, is Google.

But Apple’s entry into social networking with the iTunes music social network Ping on Wednesday, has made them frenemies (or friend-enemies). And like with all frenemies, issues need to be worked out.

After introducing Ping on Wednesday, Steven P. Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, was asked why Apple built its own social network, rather than, say, build services on top of Facebook, as other music sites have done. Mr. Jobs, who was strolling around a demo room where reporters could try Apple’s new products, said that Apple considered that and held discussions with Facebook, but that the social networking company’s terms were “onerous.”

Still, Apple used some of Facebook open programming interfaces to allow users to find their Facebook friends on Ping. But that stopped working on Thursday.

Why? Facebook blocked Apple from that because Ping had the potential to send so much traffic Facebook’s way and cause “site stability” and “infrastructure” problems, according to people familiar with the situation, who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity because they did not want the friction between the companies to escalate. Facebook insists that businesses that send a lot of traffic to its servers first work with the company to make sure those problems can be handled smoothly, these people said.

In a statement, Facebook said: “We’re working with Apple to resolve this issue. We’ve worked together successfully in the past, and we look forward to doing so in the future.” Facebook did not specify what the “issue” was.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

ITunes has 160 million users, according to Apple. But since only a small fraction of those users have enrolled in Ping, it is not clear how Apple could have exceeded Facebook’s limits for traffic. In its Developer Principles, Facebook says that developers who exceed 100 million calls every day must contact the company because they may be subject to additional contract terms.

It is also not clear why Facebook did not call Apple to resolve the issue before it pulled the plug on Ping connections.

In the meantime, Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, has been testing Apple’s social network, opening his own account on Ping. So has another Mark Zuckerberg, whose profile says “It’s true, I invented Facebook.” One of them is fake. From the looks of it, the one that doesn’t have a picture and doesn’t boast of having invented Facebook is the real one, as that user is connected to at least one other Facebook executive, Bret Taylor. Mr. “I invented Facebook” appears to have no connections to other Facebook execs.

Read more at bits.blogs.nytimes.com

The Week In Review

Microsoft has completed an integration with my latest addiction, Foursquare.  Don’t worry, you’ll still be able to get your badges but now you can sync your location with Bing maps… although I don’t know why you would want to.

I’m not sure what the difference will be from what we’re already doing on Foursquare but according to BuzzBox reports are:

You will be able to search any location, and overlay it with a FourSquare “layer.” You will then get icons showing where users in this area have been “checking in.” This effectively shows you what the locals currently consider hot — where the action is right now.

The Wall Street Journal could charge readers $17.99  a month to read the newspaper on Apple’s forthcoming iPad device.  In a news item on Wednesday discussing publishers plans to support the iPad, the Wall Street Journal says the newspaper and the New York Times are currently working with test iPads.

“Six advertisers, including Coca-Cola and FedEx, have agreed to advertise with the Journal, and a four-month ad package costs $400,000,” according to people familiar with the matter quoted by the newspaper. Coke and FedEx however, declined to comment on terms.

“The Journal plans to charge subscribers $17.99 a month for iPad subscriptions, according to a person familiar with the matter,” the newspaper notes.  The iPad could prove a good source of revenue for publishers.

Read more at www.networkworld.com

Google pushed hard on China and China pushed back.  Media company Tom Group Led., popular Chinese portal Sina Corp. and online forum Tianya.cn have announced plans to stop using Google search on their sites.

Photo by Gemunu Amarasinghe/Associated Press

Security officers tried to stop people from lighting candles outside Google’s Chinese headquarters in Beijing on Tuesday.

China’s intransigence on the flow of information could harm its links to the global economy and sully its image.

Google Faces Fallout as China Reacts to Site Shift

By MIGUEL HELFT and MICHAEL WINES

Google’s China operations came under pressure as some content from its uncensored Hong Kong site was blocked.

China’s Internet Giants May Be Stuck There

By DAVID BARBOZA

Post-Google, China’s Internet market could increasingly resemble a lucrative, walled-off bazaar, experts say.

Read more at www.nytimes.com

Finally, in case the upcoming Apple iPad isn’t expensive enough, Mervis Diamond Importers recently announced the world’s first diamond studded iPad. The 11.43 carat iPad will sell for $19,999. You can order yours starting June 1.  So if you’d prefer a shiny, blinged out iPad over, say, a new car, you’re in luck.