Tag Archives: blogging advice

“Our Modern Lives: Tune In or Turn Off?”

Today’s post was written by contributing writer Marie Williams.

With Blackberries and iPhones keeping us constantly connected to an online IV stream, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to disconnect. As of late, discussion around the problems of our “always on” lifestyles seem to be popping up everywhere. Last month, the Churchill Club held a panel on the issue of information overload. And, even more alarming, The New York Times recently chronicled the health problems–and two deaths–resulting from the demands of round-the-clock blogging. While not as severe as those tragic cases, I recently came face-to-face with my own info-addiction.

A couple of weeks ago, I visited my sister for a week holiday in Seattle. The whole time I was there, I was either checking my Google reader or Twitter on my phone. I was so plugged in that I somehow managed to catch some major coverage of a client before my team even had a chance to see it. Yeah, I know: I was supposed to be on vacay. Don’t judge me!

The topic came up again a few nights ago when Chris and I met up with Twitter friends Paull Young and Christi Eubanks. After discussing some geeky, social media PR theory, the topic turned to being always plugged in. Neither Paull nor I could ever imagine completely unplugging from the Internet; Paull said (and I agree) that there are just too many important relationships that would be lost in the disconnect.

Chris and Christi weren’t as game to the idea, both affirming that they could see themselves easily wanting to escape their online life. Then, Chris asked a very interesting question: What if the Internet no longer existed? What if some major event happened and the Internet went kaput as a result? It’s almost a little too scary to think about.

No blogs? No Twitter? No Facebook? No way to always know any and all details about your friends? Is such an existence possible?! It must be; we’d all led an Internet-free life before, right?

What would I do if the internet no longer existed? I guess I’d probably just spend time doing more of the offline activities I already love, like reading books, hiking, sharing more one-on-one time with friends, and reconnecting with the earth (yes, I know it’s hokey, but its true). In fact, some of my most memorable times include patches with no phone reception or lack of access to a computer. Go figure.

This past Monday, Stacey Higginbotham over at GigaOm wrote a great post talking about her over-connected life. After discussing the stresses of being continually plugged in, she pointedly says: “I’m choosing to turn off my computer now.”

It’s a difficult balance, but I think Marshall Kirkpatrick from Read/Write Web says it best in a post discussing RSS feeds last week: “I don’t know why people feel obligated to read every item in every feed they’ve subscribed to. Get over that and you’ll already be a far happier person.” The same can be applied to our online existences. We shouldn’t feel obligated to be in the know all the time about everything that’s going on in the cyberworld. Maybe if we just dip in every now and then and we’ll be happier! I know it works for me. 🙂

What about you? Could you or do you ever completely disconnect? How do you prevent information overload?

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[The above photo, “Streeter Seidell, Comedian” by Zach Klein on flickr, is used under Creative Commons]

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Filed under Future of Media, Social Media, Social Networking

“Fight Noise Pollution: Tips on Blogging Past the Echo Chamber”

\Whether building your personal brand or increasing conversation with your customers, there’s no denying that blogs have become a crucial part of any communications and marketing strategy. But with so many people blogging, sometimes it feels like the echo chamber is nothing but noise pollution. Today, socialTNT shares a few tips on how to establish your voice without adding to the pollution.

  • Every day in our professional lives, we encounter experiences that can be used to help others learn. Write anecdotes of challenges or successes, or share tips and tricks. They’ll help increase your industry’s knowledge, and your readers will appreciate it.
  • Do you have case studies, white papers or reviews you can share? Do it!
  • Holiday coming up? Incorporate your blog’s focus into a post with a seasonal angle.
  • Instead of posting every time you want to share a link, try using Twitter, tumblr, or del.icio.us to create a link log.
  • One of the most revolutionary things about blogging is that it allows readers to participate in the news dialog. Before writing about the news or another blog post, check to make sure you are adding insight or evolving the conversation. It also doesn’t hurt if you are adding your own personal style to the news (for example, instead of covering the Final Four, what about covering how brackets have moved into the social media space, or the way brands are using these brackets to market to consumers).

Blogging is a great tool to share your unique point of view with the world. With so many people writing, you can’t always have original content. You can, however, always have your own style. Be genuine and you’ll always be able to add to the discussion.

What are some tips you can offer other bloggers on how to fight the noise in the echo chamber? Or is it even a problem? Let us know in the comments!

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[The above photo, “Megaphone” by Indigo Goat on flickr, is used under Creative Commons]

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Filed under Best Practices, Blogging, How To, Social Media, Uncategorized

“3sday’s 3Q’s in 3 Min: Kara Swisher, All Things D, Part 1”

“Kara Swisher is looking at YOU, yes YOU. You know who you are.” by Mark Monteiro from flickrIt’s Thursday afternoon and time for 2008’s first installment of “3sday’s 3Q’s in 3 Min.”

Every Thursday, socialTNT channels the spirit of citizen journalism by putting bloggers, reporters, PR pro’s or anyone with something to say about social media in front of the camera for a short, three minute interview. In addition to helping PR peeps pitch these individuals more effectively, the videos are meant to encourage dialog between reporters, PR/communications practitioners and marketers on the future of media.

This Thursday, socialTNT presents the first of two chats with Kara Swisher, Co-Executive Editor of All Things D. In today’s “3 Q’s in 3 Min” Kara tells us her interpretation of what the Wall Street Journal represents and why she’s never going back to print.

Kara is my video-interview idol. Her spy-cam style impromptu interviews with leading figures in the tech industry, coupled with her sardonic wit, will get you the day’s news and leave you in stitches.

All Things D sprung from the annual D: All Things Digital conference. Hoping to take the same type of forward-thinking commentary from the conference and hard-hitting journalistic integrity from the Wall Street Journal, Kara and colleague Walt Mossberg grabbed “Good Morning Silicon Valley’s” John Paczkowski, and set out to launch an innovative site to chronicle the digital revolution–Web 2.0 style. Although it’s owned by Dow Jones, parent company for the Wall Street Journal, this ain’t you father’s news source. Its perfect mix of text and video blogging make it any social media geek’s dream.

Kara and I met at the Dow Jones’ San Francisco offices, conveniently located across the street from my office. Although not laced with as much intrigue as my trip to the New York Times’ San Francisco Bureau, entering the Dow Jones offices still came with its own difficulties.

First off, the receptionist asked me three times if I was sure I was meeting Kara in the office. Kara doesn’t try to hide the fact that she graces her print counterparts once every six months. In fact, she spends so little time in the office, she wasn’t quite sure where her stuff was. We found it later, boxed up in a cube, identified by a single piece of paper.

Also, the Dow Jones SF offices aren’t quite as comfy as the NYT’s SF Bureau. In fact, with its rows of cubes, it really reminded me of a sweatshop. Like the Stock Exchange floor so oft covered in its princess publication, the Dow Jones office smelled a little like a mixture of stale sweat and white-collar fear. My nose couldn’t quite pinpoint whether it was coming from the sales team worried about declining print subscriptions, or whether it was coming from the editorial staff worried they might not be conservative enough for their new overlord, Rupert Murdoch. Kara isn’t scared of Rupe; she thinks he’ll offer a little more edginess and creativity than previously existed.

Kara’s Boomtown, originally a weekly feature covering Silicon Valley on the front page of the Marketplace section in the print edition of the WSJ, did snarky-for-tech years before ValleyWag–or Weblogs for that matter–existed. She is direct and honest, but in that BFF sort of way. When Kara dishes harsh criticism of Facebook, she is doing it out of love–if not for Facebook, for Silicon Valley and it’s beloved cast.

And Kara’s view of the Valley is quite the ensemble cast. Her subjects become characters with their own personalities. She finds the drama and absurdity in the Valley, and then tells a story without compromising the integrity and reliability promised by the Wall Street Journal brand. All commentary and analysis is based on hard facts, something that many feel the blogosphere is lacking.

Fun Facts About Kara

Check out today’s interview and listen as Kara explains her quest to legitimize blogs and the importance of staying relevant.

Join us next week for part two when Kara teaches TechCrunch how to “Just Say No” to PR pitches, gives PR Profs a few tips on relationship building, and shares some of her videographical secrets. Don’t miss out: Add us to your RSS reader, or sign up for our email.

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[The above photo, “Kara Swisher is looking at YOU, yes YOU. You know who you are.” by Mark Montiero on flickr, used under Creative Commons.]

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“3sday’s 3Q’s in 3 Min: Chef Liz Bills, California Table”

It’s that time again, folks! That’s right: “3Q’s in 3 Min!” Every Thursday, socialTNT turns citizen journalist by putting bloggers, reporters, PR pro’s or anyone with something to say about social media in front of the camera for a short, three minute interview. Lately we’ve had some high profile reporters/analysts. Today, I wanted to change it up a little.

One of the purposes of this blog is to really make sense of all the social media technologies in an effort to understand their PR/Marketing applications. Admittedly, I’m so far out in my high-tech PR world, that I forget what it’s like on ground zero. With that in mind, today’s “3 Q’s in 3 Min” takes a step back to look at how people outside the tech bubble are using social media to promote their businesses.

Today, Chef Liz Bills from California Table tells us why she started blogging, the challenges she has encountered along the way, and the successes she has seen as a result of engaging in social media. Her experience resonates with anyone who has started or is looking to start a blog–from personal blogger to corporate blogger to small business owner–or anyone embarking on their journey learning social media.

Liz, a former Kitchen Manager at SF hot spot NOPA, recently started her own personal chef/cooking class business. A confessed technophobe and computer novice, Liz felt she had to get her story online in order to compete in the tech heavy San Francisco Bay Area.

Liz’s blog focuses on the importance of buying local and organic food. It also helps to brand Liz’s company by offering up cooking suggestions. As she explains in the video, it has proven to be an invaluable piece of PR and word-of-mouth marketing.

One of her biggest challenges was learning how to use blogging software. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, all the emerging technology can be pretty crazy for me and I deal with it every day. Liz’s advice: “You just have to force yourself to learn, especially if you want to stand out.” Hat’s off to you Liz for trying!

Take a look at what Liz has to say. (PS: There was apparently some audio glitch in my camera. She wants to let everyone know she does not have a lisp!)

How have other new bloggers solved the content problem? Has blogging helped your small business? I’d love to hear success or challenge stories!

Thanks, Liz, for sharing your experience with socialTNT. It’s great that you are so intent on trying new things.

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Filed under 3sdays 3qs In 3 Min, Citizen Reporter, Marketing, New Media Masters., Public Relations 2.0