Leveraging Social Media

Leveraging Social Media

Leveraging Social Media

 

Leveraging social media platforms to get your message ‘out there’ truly is a practice in marketing. Marketing is essentially, the art of connecting those that need or want something, with what it is that they need or want. Being a blogger and trying to get your message seen by as many people as possible is the ultimate goal, I would guess. Unless of course, your interest in blogging is as an outlet for private thoughts and experiences, in which case I would argue, why do it on the most public of soap boxes ever created?!!

Think of your blog like a holy book, one that you just so happened to have written, while you are the marketer, or priest/rabbi/imam/monk/sage/elder. You need to get the message in your blog/holy book seen and heard by the masses, especially if you intend on earning an income from this holy blog/book. It is your duty therefore, to extract every ounce of value from your blog/book, with the purpose of sharing it with the masses.

You’re going to have to build a structure (social media platform) that people can come to, in order that they may hear your message. Your structure(s) must be the most inspiring, educational and empowering structure(s) that people can go to. They must desire to hear your message, so that they take up your blog/book of their own volition. In due course, the masses will be raving mad, fighting with each other to get their hands on your wisdom first!

Obviously, at least I hope it’s obvious, I’ve drawn a comparison between religion and social media. It seems like a poignant and relevant correlation to make in 2014. A time when all the world is registering, signing on, logging in, liking, following, pinning, posting, sharing and adding. To summarise the comparison and make it more digestible, observe the following infographic (courtesty of http://www.dbsquaredinc.com).

Leveraging Social Media

2013 Figures

Blog = Holy Book

You = Priest

Social Media = Church

People = People

If you find yourself offended, please click away… quickly. Otherwise, thank you kindly for checking out this post. I hope you’ll take a look at some of my other posts/pages.

Cheers,

Peter

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SEO – Search Engine Optimisation

SEO

The Effects of Properly Executed SEO

Unit #10 has us peering into the fascinating world of SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation. SEO, in layman’s terms, is the actions that one takes to improve their sites visibility, or ranking, on search engine result pages (SERPs). There are several actionable steps that one can take in order to do this.

  1. Research and carefully select, relevant keywords that are congruent with the theme of your content and strategically place them throughout your site/post/page, etc., being careful not to over-saturate your content with the keywords. Remember, your content should be of value to the reader, your audience, and not just sound like a sales pitch or a series of poorly constructed sentences that contain the same words over and over again. Google does not like that!
  2. Make changes to the website or blog post, etc., via adding keywords and meta-descriptions. For example, keywords can be used in the meta-description of the page/post, thereby making its description congruent with the content within the page/post. Furthermore, each image attached to a page/post has the following sections that can be filled in before publishing: Title, Caption, Alt text, Description. These fields can be filled in using your keywords in order to increase the chances of your page/post getting seen in SERPs, due to a higher ranking. This type of SEO is known as on-site SEO.
  3. Use social media campaigns and/or content, as well as inbound marketing and backlinks, to promote your site and drive traffic to your digital hub. These practices are known as off-site SEO.

If executed thoughtfully and ethically, SEO can improve the likeability of your site/page/post, improve your ranking, leverage your (valuable, well-written) content for the purpose of link-building and in turn page ranking, which ultimately will significantly increase the number of eyeballs that visit your site.

Thanks again for ogling my site… until next time.

_____________________________________

Image Source: www.pensionriskmatters.com (blog) & http://www.asiantown.net (eyeballs)

Derivative Work courtesy of: the author ūüėČ

Copyright

Copyright

In unit #8, we took a look at the notions of copyright, intellectual property, freedom of expression and creative commons, amongst others. We were also introduced to a slew of resources that provide free material for people to utilise in their projects.

Creative Commons_symbol explanation

Creative Commons_symbol explanation

COPYRIGHT and INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

Oxford Dictionary defines copyright as: (noun) The exclusive and assignable legal right, given to the originator for a fixed number of years, to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material.

So, it basically means that someone who creates something (intellectual property), has the right to do what he/she wants with the intellectual property, for a period of time to be determined on an individual basis. No one is allowed to do anything with someone else’s intellectual property, so long as the intellectual property has been legally copyrighted.

Fair enough, I guess. However, copyrighted material can be used in the context of ‘Fair Use’, which includes purposes such as¬†news
reporting, research, teaching, library¬†archiving and scholarship. The Public Domain refers to work whose copyright has either expired, been forfeited or is inapplicable. For¬†example, all of Shakespeare’s work is in the public domain.

CREATIVE COMMONS

The Creative Commons is a group of licences that are applied to original works of intellectual property. These licences range from a piece of work being freely accessible to all and modifiable, to very limited accessibility and not modifiable. Regardless of the licence of an image you use or text you may borrow from, in order to enrich or support your own work, you must always credit the original.

RESOURCES

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is an¬†outlet for creative people to turn to for information, advocacy and support. Whether you’re looking to obtain a Creative Commons licence, seeking rules, laws and understanding, or happen to be experiencing an unlikely situation in which your work has been used and not been credited, this international, non-profit organisation is developing a greater understanding of the complex issues surrounding copyright.

There are also resources that researchers, musicians, historians, filmmakers and anybody else for that matter, can access free-to-use¬†video, audio and text. One such source is the Internet¬†Archive, which is a non-profit, digital library of internet sites and other cultural artifacts. Some resources are specific to a particular type of creative endeavour. For example, one can find images at Flickr’s The Commons;¬†music and audio at Free Music Archive; texts and books at Project Gutenberg; and of course, arguably far too many videos, at YouTube.

Here in Ireland, there is a resource that facilitates music creators and music users (in business, say) to adequately meet the legal obligations of their intended creations and use of, in this case, specifically music. This organisation is called the Irish Music Rights Organisation. Similarly, the Irish Visual Artists Rights Organisation (IVARO) is a not-for-profit organisation for the protection and promotion of the copyright of visual artists and their heirs.  They manage the rights of their members through their Copyright Licensing, RETURN and Artists Resale Right services.

Hopefully I’ve provided a little bit of clarity to this complex issue surrounding copyright, intellectual property, public domain, fair use, creative commons and also that you find the shared resources of some value.

Thanks for reading!

Peter

_______________________________

Copyright symbol courtesy of: http://www.commons.wikimedia.org

Creative Commons symbol explanation courtesy of: http://www.za.creativecommons.org

 

 

 

Creating A Prezi Presentation…

Halfway through the semester now and in unit #7, our task is to create a presentation using Prezi software. Normally, I would use PowerPoint to create a slide show presentation, but I have made one other ‘prezi’ before this one. In third year of college, I made an amazing, dynamic prezi and I was really excited¬†to show it to everyone, as none of them had ever used Prezi before and personally, I thought it was pretty cool.

So, I put my USB into the lecturer’s laptop, which we were all using for our presentations and¬†loaded my file on¬†the computer and opened it up. Nice. There it was, the first frame! I started my presentation and had the crowd eating out of my hands. Then came the eighth slide. No movement. I went back to the seventh slide. Great, no problem there! So I continued to the eighth again and… frozen. In between slides 7 and 8. I apologised and moved on anyway, but without the aid of my beloved prezi.

That, my friends is why I have never made another prezi since. I was shell-shocked and suffered from prezi-traumatic stress disorder for weeks afterwards. I swore I’d never make another prezi¬†ever again.

Alas, here I have found myself again, in a battle of wits with my old, arch nemesis…Prezi. This prezi can also be found on my Presentation page.

Manipulating Digital Photography…

Photoshop

GIMP

GIMP

Picasa

Picasa

Pixlr

Pixlr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Unit #6, we covered issues related to the manipulation of digital photography. To be perfectly honest, I’m studying landscape architecture and I use Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, AutoCAD, etc. on a daily basis. So, I didn’t attend this lecture and instead worked on other, more pressing projects. However, the following is a list of some of the things to consider when working with digital photos:

  • Rotating
  • Cropping
  • Retouching
  • Colour Correction
  • Resizing
  • Optimal image sizes for the web
  • Batch processing

We were informed about Photoshop, GIMP, Pixlr and Picasa. I use Photoshop, which is a graphics editing program made by Adobe. It is probably the most renowned image-editing package.

Our task for this unit/week is to¬†pick an image from¬†ReTouchPro‚Äôs ‘restoration’ challenges and have a¬†go at fixing it up the best we can with Picasa, then¬†post the before-and-after images to our blog. I used Photoshop instead of Picasa and the¬†results are posted on my Portfolio page, but I’ve also put them here, in this post. I’m no Picasso and probably wouldn’t make a great plastic surgeon, but I think my attempt to touch up a seriously damaged portrait photo, was pretty good!

after being retouched

after being retouched

before being retouched

before being retouched

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Until next week!

Podcasting, part 2…

So, during the week, after Unit #4, we should have recorded something on our new and free audio recording software, Audacity. Of course, it took me nearly two weeks to get it done, but nevertheless, I did it! My efforts can be observed on my Podcast page of this blog.

Now, in Unit #5, we were asked to take that recording and publish it to a poscast hosting website. Our service of choice for this stage of the podcast project is PodOmatic. If you’re interested in publishing your own podcasts to PodOmatc, you’ll have to set up a free account, then upload your mp3 recording. It’s really quite simple, except when you get into .xml files and RSS feeds and stuff like that. It’s all Greek to me!!

Further to the task of publishing the podcast, we have to continue blogging, so that there is one post per week of lectures, for a grand total of 12 blog posts, by the time this module is completed. Also, continuing on with our photography portfolio, we were asked to take two more photos that represent the difference between framing a photographic subject in Portrait or Landscape. Please see my Portfolio page to view my ongoing photographic explorations.

Cheers!

Podcasting, part 1…

Personally, I’m an avid podcast listener. I think that there are so many people out there providing value to the world in the form of a podcast. Podcasts are great for many situations. You may be a parent, looking for free advice and tips on how to deal with some situation you may be having with your kids, or you have a special interest and would like to listen to an expert in the field be interviewed on the topic, or you’re a student in need of information on a particular subject for a report. Almost whatever the situation, there’s a podcast for you. There are even several excellent video podcasts!

This week in class, for Unit #4, we were introduced to some FREE audio recording software and plugins. We were given a brief overview of video and audio file formats and an explanation about compression and quality. Of course, there is quite a bit to think about when recording audio for a podcast, such as reducing ambient noise and dynamic range, as well as the many tools required to make edits and finish with a piece of good quality content.

Audacity is the software that we have been asked to download and use to record our initial audio for the podcast. It seems like a fairly basic, yet useful program for the task at hand, which this week is to record the audio for our eventual podcast. We also have been asked to add to our photography portfolio by demonstrating the effect of shutter speed on a moving subject. We must take a fast and a slow shutter speed image of the same scene and subject, at the same time and from the same point-of-view.

Task #2: Shutter Speed (Fast and Slow)

 

Fast Shutter Speed = not a lot of light let in

Slow Shutter Speed = more light let in

Fun With Photos…

i miss the polaroid!

which one do you use?

For some, photography is a true passion and a genuine art form. For others, well, it’s just ‘taking pictures’! I think I’m somewhere in between. I am less serious these days¬†about photography and yet, I do believe that it is a genuine art form that requires a lot of skill and creativity. When I was younger, travelling around parts of Europe, I always wanted to do my best to get the right framing and light in my shots. Otherwise, how would I share with friends and family back in Canada, all of the amazing things I was seeing? I suppose now though, with the advent of digital cameras, I wouldn’t be alone in thinking that I’ll just take a few photos of nearly the same thing and hope that at least one of them turns out alright! That being said, I do appreciate learning a few tricks of the trade, so that my photos end up being ones that are actually worth keeping.

Silly minds!

Don’t do this… please!! (image source: http://www.theoatmeal.com)

So, in unit #3 of¬†Creating and Publishing Digital Media,¬†a presentation consisting of a brief history of the camera and photography, some of the mechanical components¬†of a camera, followed by a few basic pointers to consider when taking photos, was bestowed upon us. The following are just a few of the things to remember when takin’ pics:

-Depth of Field

-Composition

-Shutter Speed

-Reciprocity

-Rule of Thirds

-Shapes, Geometry and Lines of Force

-Paths, Reflections and Repetitions

-Types of Effects

And one must remember to attempt to Tell a Story with your photos.

Finally, we were asked to take two photos that demonstrate our understanding of¬†Depth of Field. I’m not too sure if I nailed this or not, but nevertheless, here are my two offerings…

mug and iphone in focus -- sunglasses not

mug and iphone in focus — sunglasses not

mug and sunglasses in focus -- iphone not

mug and sunglasses in focus — iphone not

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These photos can also be found on my Portfolio page, where I will be compiling my completed digital photography tasks throughout the semester. Judging (albeit slightly biased) from the photos above, I actually think I nailed it! They look great side by side! Digital photography is definitely a skill not to be overlooked, if you intend on blogging or starting a website of some sort. Learning a few basic skills to enhance your photos along the way and subsequently positively contribute to your digital presence, is just common sense!

So, on that note, thanks for taking the time to read this post and I hope you’ll visit again for next week’s contribution.

Cheers!

How To Enhance Your Posts…

Hello again!

This weeks lecture was an introduction to a slew of resources that a blogger (or anyone for that matter) can use to enhance the content of their blog posts. Yay! This post will share the resources with you and offer my (very short) review of each one.

1)¬†The Oatmealhttp://www.theoatmeal.com – Lot’s of comics here, some funny, some not. Lot’s of modern references that I didn’t get. I’m older than you might think! Great for wasting time, but not very useful to me, or the rest of the world if I’m honest.

An example of an Oatmeal comic

Funny, but is it useful? (image source: http://www.theoatmeal.com)

2)¬†After the Deadline –¬†www.afterthedeadline.com – I sampled this one with my first post and it actually seems quite useful! It aids the writer in making their writing more concise and points out things like complex and redundant expressions and the use of passive voice, instead of active voice. This can really help the writing become simpler and crisper. Bonus… it’s free!

3)¬†Grammarly –¬†www.grammarly.com – Similar to¬†After the Deadline, Grammarly is like your spell and grammar checker in Word, but working overtime. This is another good service for serious writers, whether you’re writing for a blog, a thesis, a news story or a business report. It checks for plagiarism, grammar, spelling, sentence structure, punctuation and style, among others. The downside? It’s not free. However, there is a free trial.

If you can't speak right, don't write wrong.

Fer reelz, innit? (image source: http://www.someecards.com)

4)¬†PROBLOGGER –¬†www.problogger.net – Now, if you’re interested in really taking your blog to the ‘next level’, then this is the real deal. I’m not sure if it’s totally free, because I haven’t given it an exhaustive inspection, but it is full of loads of free advice, stories, examples, ideas, testimonials, etc., and is all about helping you make a living from your blog. It’s possible and lots of people are doing it… from their couch!

It's a Digital Revolution

Show me the money! (image source: http://www.theoatmeal.com)

5)¬†The Chicago Manual of Style –¬†www.chicagomanualofstyle.org – This is a very comprehensive resource that¬†provides recommendations on editorial style and publishing practices for the digital age. It’s got a ton of tools, such as Manuscript Preparation, Sample Correspondence, Proofreading, a Chicago-style Citation Guide, a very informative and humorous Q&A and an Online Forum. There’s a free trial, but I’m not sure how long it lasts.

So, that’s¬†way over my word count for this week! What was I thinking? I hope that you found this post useful. If not, that’s alright, because I’ve provided value to someone out there, if not you! Perhaps I’m the only one that benefits from this and that’s fine with me.

Until next week,

Peter

The World Needs More Bloggers…

Dear Intrepid Blog Reader,

If you’re reading this now, you must have an interest in how to get started creating¬†your digital presence. Well, you’re in the right place! Each week, I will write a new post, outlining what¬†I¬†learned, so that I may share it with you, the keen student. What’s the catch, you might be thinking. Well, the catch is that each post will only be around¬†200 words. So, without further ado, let’s begin with this week’s tutorial – How To Create a WordPress Blog.

The first thing you need to do is write a few URLs¬†that you’d actually like to see as your own. This way you save yourself several minutes that otherwise you will spend thinking of them during the set-up. Trust me, it took me ages to come up with the gem http://www.is30240digimedia.wordpress.com! Another good idea is to jot down a couple of blog site titles and taglines before you get started, for the same reason. Once you’ve done that, go to http://www.wordpress.com and begin the process of setting up your blog!

After you’ve created you new blog account with WordPress – you should have your title, tagline and URL all in place – it is my advice to immediately write your ‘About’ page. Your ‘About’ page is essentially the page that explains what your blog is all about! You can include your personal story in there, along with the aim and purpose of your blog, or you can leave out the personal stuff. But hey, people like hearing about other people’s misery, so why not throw it in there for good measure!

Whoops! I’m way over my word count now, so I’m going to leave you with a video of a great song from the 90’s… Enjoy!

Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now) — Cracker (1992)

Yours,

Peter