Twitter Tips for Newbies: How to use it and enjoy it

Twitter tips for newbiesAre you new to Twitter? Do you want to use it to promote your blog, business, or just follow some interesting people? Over the past few weeks, I’ve heard people new to twitter say they are overwhelmed by it. Don’t be afraid. It’s a great tool and a great way to meet new people. I’ve been using it since 2007 and have some twitter tips for newbies that will ease your fears and help you enjoy this social media tool.

Twitter Tips for Newbies #1 Don’t fear the feed.

You cannot read everything everyone posts unless you are only following two people who only post at 1:00 PM Mountain Time on Mondays. Seriously, just let this one go. Twitter is more about real time. It’s kind of like listening to the radio. You can’t listen to every channel at the same time. You tune in when you feel like it or can. Listen to what’s on, then go about your life. Continue reading

Five tips for attending a blogging conference: #BlogHer14

Blog conference tips: #BlogHer14It’s summer blog conference time! One of the bigger conferences bloggers attend is BlogHer.  This year it’s in San Jose, California. Ah, the Silicon Valley, such an amazing place. If you are going to BlogHer for the first time, I’ve got some tips to help you ease through your nervousness.  While most of my blog conference tips are centered around my experiences at BlogHer, they can be applied to just about any blogging conference.

Blog conference tips #1: Be friendly.

Honestly, most of the gals there are welcoming and friendly. Just say hi and start chatting. You have an opening line. You all have a blog. Ask them what they write about…that always breaks the ice because bloggers love talking about their blogs. Other things to talk about: Where they are from? Have they been to BlogHer before? Have they been to California before? How long have they been blogging? What sessions/parties are they going to attend?

See? I’ve given you tons of things to talk about with people you haven’t even met yet! Where can you use this blog conference tip? The meals are a great place to break the ice. Seating is usually at tables with 10 chairs, so sit down next to someone and say hello. Continue reading

What’s a MOOC?

MOOC

Have you heard about MOOCs? No, it’s not some fitness fad.  MOOC is short for massive open online course.  They are free online college courses many from very well known universities. The other day I saw a LinkedIn article about a gal getting her MBA for less than $1000. Of course, I totally fell for it. I thought how the hell is that even possible?

Google told me it is.

I found a few sites and searching through the available classes, my mind was blown. These aren’t random people w/questionable credentials trying to earn a buck by teaching common sense. These are honest to God university courses.

Most of them are free.

I kept thinking, there’s no reason for people to be ignorant anymore. You can learn about whatever your heart desires. There were classes about Thomas Jefferson, beginning physics, building start ups, genetics, Shakespeare, software testing, cryptography, microeconomics…you name it, you can probably learn about it.

Even the University of Minnesota has some courses available. I am considering taking the Creative Problem Solving course. I love expanding my mind.

I hated school…well, I love learning, I just hate being in classrooms with groups of people. They annoy me. They slow down my learning. They force me to take subjects that I don’t like…ok, mostly they just hold me back. It’s not my fault people can’t learn as fast as I do.

Online courses cut down on the human interaction.  OK, I like human interaction, I’m just picky about the level of stupidity I can handle each day and driving usually pushes my limits…

Honestly, I still can’t believe these are free classes. I’d heard that Harvard and MIT would be offering some free online classes, but I never realized other schools would be getting in on the act.

Isn’t the internet awesome?

My 5 favorite free blogging tools

SEO, writing, imagesThe other day I realized I’ve been doing this blogging thing for almost 10 years. Sadly, it’s only over the past few years that I’ve found some tools that have helped take my blog to the next level.

Ok, some (most) of these tools weren’t around 10 years ago and I was in it more for the writing.  I had no idea what SEO was and adding a photo to a post was something I rarely did.

  1. Picmonkey – Speaking of photos, I love this site. Seriously, you almost always need to have an image in a post these days and I sort of suck at remembering to take photos. Picmonkey lets me make up graphics even though I don’t have any fancy tools. There is a free version and a paid version. I highly suggest using the paid version. It’s not that expensive and if you’re like me, you’ll get addicted to it anyway. The paid version has a collage with dimensions perfect for Pinterest. See the above image…made with Picmonkey!
  2. Statcounter – I’ll admit, Google Analytics confuses me sometimes (mostly).  This was one of the first free tools I found. It’s fairly easy to install on your blog.  I did it on my old Blogger.com blog. It shows you pretty graphs and tells you how people found your site.
  3. Triberr – If you want more people to see your blog, this is a great way to increase your reach.  You join a tribe and promote other people’s posts.  They return the favor for you. They also have a paid version (which I’ve not used yet).  I think it lets you auto post other people’s posts.  Also, they have campaigns available for you to get paid. I’ve not used that service yet…or been selected more likely.
  4. Shareaholic – This is a free plugin for your site.  It can add those fun little social sharing buttons as well as include other posts your readers might like. I have no idea how it decides which posts to show them, but they all seem fairly random.
  5. EverNote – I’ve heard people rave about this iPhone app for years and now I understand why. It’s a great way to organize thoughts, to do lists, and notes about post ideas. I like how it can use your calendar to help you take notes.  There’s a web version and desktop version and an Android version.  If you create an account, they all sync up.

What is this feminist photo a day thing?

hastag, photo a day, social media

I’ve written about photo a day memes on social media here before, but I recently decided to join another one.  Unlike other photo a day things, this one doesn’t have a daily theme…other than myself.

The hashtag is #365FeministSelfie. I saw a few people I follow on social media with the tag and read a blog post about it on Slightly Askew Woman by K.M. O’Sullivan.  It seemed interesting, so I decided to investigate further.

Now, I know selfie has some what of a negative connotation to it. It brings to mind images of self-absorbed people who constantly post photos of themselves on social media, sometimes in inappropriate places.

But, the #365FeministSelfie was started by Veronica I. Arreola  at Viva La Feminista.  I encourage you to go to her blog and read the post.

Basically, the reason I decided to join this meme is because I realized that there aren’t many photos of myself on my social media outlets, compared to photos of my surroundings and food/booze.  My friends and family in far away places would like to see my smiling (or sleepy) face since they don’t get to see it on a regular basis anymore.  Plus, it’s giving me another way to be creative.  And yes, it’s a little empowering.

I used to take selfies to post on my online dating profiles, but now that I’m done dating (thank you, Paul), it’s rare that I have a reason to put up a selfie on social media.  If there isn’t something to celebrate, it feels a little weird to put up a selfie, but it shouldn’t. I want to share life moments with my family and friends, isn’t that the point of social media?

Not all of my photos will be flattering because the body image in my mind is a little skewed…as it is for most women. Some of them will be set up, some of them will be boring. Either way, I want to see how my creativity stretches.

Wedding technology: websites, social media & more!

bridal, honeymoon, online, social mediaOh how times have changed…When I was out in the dating pool, most of my friends and family couldn’t comprehend the influence technology had on my love life.  Now that I’m preparing for my wedding, I am overwhelmed with the amount of technology available.

I remember when my sister got married about 10 years ago, she had a three ring binder to organize everything and cut out photos from magazines…Now, we have spreadsheets and pinterest. Did you know Google has a template you can use to organize your entire wedding? Seriously. It’s a little out of control, but then again, so are most weddings.

You can use WedKit to create an iPhone app just for your wedding.

I am using a spreadsheet to track things like who RSVP’d, what else needs to be done, how much stuff is costing…ok, I’m not really doing that last one, but I probably should.

To track ideas for the reception, dresses and hairstyles, I’m using Pinterest. I’ve even thought about hiring someone to live stream the wedding…It’s way too expensive. If we do broadcast the wedding, we will use Google Hangout because you know…it’s free.

We will be using Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to share various moments. I’m still trying to come up with a hashtag. At first, I thought I was being unique about having a hashtag for the wedding, but apparently, it’s getting a bit mainstream. That’s not going to stop us from having one though. It has to be reflective of ourselves…not just our names with the word wedding jammed at the end. How about #TwitterLoveWed? I mean since that’s how Paul and I met, it seems appropriate.

And yes, we do have a wedding website. I mean we aren’t going to send out actual invitations to people since we aren’t having that many. I did try out this thing called Capsule. It seems pretty interesting. It’s an easy way for your guests who use instagram to have their photos feed to your wedding website. Of course, it’s a way for them to get your photos and then sell them back to you in a book.

Then there is our registry…the honeymoon registry that you can only access online.

Can you imagine what will be available in the next 10 years?  Maybe people can hire robots to do everything for them…and all they would need is some medicine from old people for fuel.