Plagiarism, Attribution, Citation, Quotation

copyright

copyright

Search engines make information readily accessible and convenient to copy and paste but be aware that plagiarism is defined as the act of either intentionally  or unintentionally publishing or passing off work that was written or created by someone else as your own work. Any time you use any material from an original source and do not give proper credit, you have committed plagiarism and violated copyright laws.  Continue reading

Weekend Blogging Reads and Resources

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I know it’s not Friday when I usually publish this weekly feature but I can do more reading so why wait? Happy reading!

Five Things You Should Not Do On Your Home Page – Most people immediately press X button on their browsers after seeing cluttered home pages. If you want to avoid it, here are few things that you should not to do on your home page. Continue reading

Weekend Blogging Reads and Resources

mini weekend reads & resources abstarct copyright protected

12 Types of Blog Posts You Need to Stop Writing – Remember, it only takes one bad post to make someone unsubscribe (or never subscribe in the first place).

Do You Know These Time Saving Blogging Tips? When Darren Rowse asked these 14 leading bloggers about their routines he also asked if they had any tips for other busy bloggers. Continue reading

Weekend Blogging Reads and Resources

peopleHow to Create Consistently Great Content for the Long Haul – Developing better creative habits is one of the most valuable things you can do as a content creator. Legendary Choreographer Twyla Tharp’s practical book The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life, is a ground-breaking guide to becoming a calmer, better balanced, more productive creative professional. Continue reading

Weekend Blogging Reads and Resources

weekend readingI hope you Readers find value these selections. As for me, I’m exhausted and I will be taking a bit of a break this weekend. My friends will be arriving tonight to visit on this last weekend of spring break. When I’m not with them I’ll be responding to your comments here and on my personal blog. Have I told you Readers lately how much I treasure your comments? If not, then for the record, you rock! Continue reading

Spelling and Grammar Count

grammarIf your title is effective and your introduction is engaging you are off to a good start. But keep in mind that when spelling is atrocious and grammar is ignored meaning gets lost. Readers today have little time and patience. When it comes to reading long, poorly constructed posts that wander all around the point without making it – forget it! They have already clicked out. Continue reading

A Freelance Writing Business

dream ladderA freelance writer is a writer who works for an individual or company under contract.  You can become either a full-time freelance writer making a living from your writing or a part-time freelancer supplementing other income. There are a wide variety of freelance writing jobs available such as business writing, copywriting, magazine writing, newsletter and brochure writing, press release writing, technical writing, travel writing, writing marketing copy, and writing for the Web. Continue reading

ebooks Rapidly Gaining Popularity

ebook readers

ebook readers

In a February survey by the Pew Research Center, 21% of 3,000 adults revealed said they had read a e-book in the last year, compared to 17% who reported doing so in December.  The Reading Habits Survey, conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Continue reading

Blogging and Cycling: It’s like a Drug

goldfish germanyBy Guest author Jean of  Cycle Write Blog

I am certain those who hate writing full articles and hate bicycling,  don’t  get it.  How can there be a symbiotic relationship between blogging and cycling where one feeds the other like an IV tube?  Well, I never knew either, until I returned to cycling and then later to writing, in the form of blogging. Continue reading

Brand Your Business And Establish Your Voice With These Blogging Tips | WebProNews

During one of the BlogWorld sessions, Chris Crum sat in on Marcus Sheridan’s presentation, and in it, he discussed some techniques and strategies to keep in mind when creating content. First and foremost, make sure your company has a blog and is using it to create content that addresses concerns and questions customers may have when researching the field your business targets. In his session, Sheridan used his own personal experience to make his point about how successful blogs are important to web businesses.

via Brand Your Business And Establish Your Voice With These Blogging Tips | WebProNews.

Hand and Wrist Exercises for Bloggers

hands1Next to the feet our hands are among the most hard used parts of the body, so it’s not surprising that many bloggers take mobile hands and wrists for granted — until they hurt.  Many of us rely heavily on computers to help us perform our work – for some, dedicated computer work is necessary, while others multi-task throughout the day. Taking preventative measures against developing problems with your wrists and hands due to computer use makes a lot of sense and takes little time or  effort. Continue reading

Your Personality and Writer’s Voice

Each of us has a unique personality; each of us has a unique writer’s voice. Writer’s voice is the way your writing style sounds to your readers. Are you an introvert (reserved) or extrovert (outgoing)? Finding out your personality type can provide insights into your writing style, its strengths and its weaknesses. If you are having problems with deadlines, writer’s block, or other wiring related difficulties, there is a test that may help find a solution. Continue reading

Blogging through the Seasons

Do you blog under the North Star or the Southern Cross? Do you blog close to the equator? Or are you blogging far from it? How many seasons do you experience? What characterizes those seasons? How does your blog’s  appearance and content reflect what the seasons symbolize, and how your offline life changes with the seasons?

seasons

image credit

I live in North America under the North Star, where I experience four distinct  seasons. Each season features holiday celebrations and a change in lifestyle for me.
Spring (East) is associated with

  • anticipation
  • awakening
  • budding
  • new beginnings
  • rebirth and birth
  • cutivation and planting
  • and a sense of perfect timing.

Summer (South) is associated with

  • fulfillment
  • warmth
  • growth
  • sunshine
  • flowering
  • ripening
  • productivity
  • and a sense of fullness of time.

Autumn (West) is associated with

  • transition
  • maturity
  • fruiting
  • harvest
  • preservation and storing
  • and a sense of running out of time.

Winter (North) is associated with

  • introspection
  • cold
  • death
  • barrenness
  • hibernation
  • taking stock
  • planning and organization
  • and a sense of time slowing down.

tree in 4 seasons

Life is a balancing act and it’s not easy to achieve balance with one foot offline and the other online in an environment that never sleeps. The Internet doesn’t stop, can’t stop, won’t stop, so they say. It’s this aspect of blogging that can become repetitive and disheartening. You create content, publish, promote, comment, discuss and the cycle continues. — 5 years at WordPress.com

image credit

In the summer months I have far less time to blog and social network in than I do during the other months of the year. This is reflected by the number of posts I publish and the amount to time I invest in blog promotion.

Discussion: Personal bloggers  naturally incorporate the changes in climatic conditions heralding seasonal changes in their posts. In other blogging niches this may not be the case. In this blog my headers reflect the changing seasons and lifestyle. Occasionally my content reflects seasonal changes but not to the extent that my personal blog does, as posts in my personal blog incorporate my offline activity.

What characterizes the seasons where you live?

Does your blogging reflect seasonal changes?

Top 5 Informative Writing Tips for Bloggers

top 5Blog articles, short reports, reviews, tutorials, newsletters, are all examples of informative writing. Informative writing delivers a brief education on a topic by explaining how to do something, describing a process, a timeline or a sequence of events. Powerful informative writing skilfully hits the target by conveying essential facts and data in as few words as possible.
Continue reading

Better Blogging: Powerful, Persuasive Writing

globe & computers Better bloggers learn how to become powerful and persuasive writers. Personal power is based on passion, confidence, and competence.  All writing is about clarity.  Powerful writing resonates with competence, vision, and service. Powerful writing  persuades readers to read and respond.  Developing power writing skills may take some time, but it will benefit your blog, business, and brand. The more you write, the more powerful and persuasive your writing will become.

Social Media Impacts

With the explosion of social media, business writing has taken on new meaning. In addition to the traditional business memos, reports and marketing, we now have blogging, microblogging and fan pages as new venues for business writing and promotion. – Poor Business Writing Costs Billions

Writing to Persuade

When you are writing to persuade you are aiming to convince people to agree with you and act. Do not assume the reader knows what you are talking about; spell it out. The headline should tell the reader what they’re about to read. Lead with a compelling opening statement.  Clearly state what you want readers to do and explain how it will benefit them. Communicate through simple, direct language.  Write with passion using the active voice wherever possible as strong nouns and verbs engage readers.

Powerful writing is readable, focused, concrete and well-suited for its audience. Powerful writing is  compelling and passionate.   Powerful writing develops gracefully. Powerful writing flows.– 8 Qualities of Powerful Writing

Repetition and Brevity

Repetition is  critical in persuasive writing, since a person can’t agree with you if they don’t truly get what you’re saying.  Make your points in several different ways. Ten Timeless Persuasive Writing Techniques But remember that brevity must prevail as these days readers skim read.

Formatting for Reading Ease

The format of your content will determine how successfully it holds the reader’s attention.   Be concise and clear.  Use short sentences,  sub-headings and bulleted points. Insert relevant images. Conclude with a concise statement of the unique idea you have developed to address the issue,  followed by a call to action.

Inspiration for Powerful Writing

Some insipring quotes on powerful writing can be found in this PDF file  Powerful Writing In 30 Words Or Less ©Joanna Young 2008.  It’s presented in 7 different sections, based on the themes that emerged. Powerful writing… (1) hits the mark (2) moves us (3) comes from the source (4) follows intent (5) changes things (6) lingers (7) inspires us to write. Here are two examples of powerful writing in 30 words or less:

Powerful writing cuts through psychological noise and grips our attention. It becomes like a tuning fork for the reader. It enhances a pure tone that resonates with the reader.

Powerful writing can move the reader forward, almost as if they can’t resist; always moving in that direction you want them to go.

Writing for the Web Research on how users read on the Web and how authors should write their Web pages.

Discussion

Readers,  would you like to express what powerful writing is to you in 30 words or less?

Related posts found in this blog:
5 years at WordPress.com
What do you look for in a blog?
Blogging, Content Creation and Time Management
Blogging: Online presence and authenticity
How to Become a Better Blogger 3: Ethics and Links

F-Bomb Free Blogging

swearing Swearing does not shock me – it just turns me off. I don’t feel the same way about those who occasionally swear when the word fits the situation. And, I don’t feel the same way when I am reading a book or watching a movie and a character being true to their character swears.  Provided children aren’t present I may swear when I stub my toe but I’m authentic online and I’m a very practical blogger. The way bloggers communicate and present themselves online is important, and as I want my content to be read by as wide an audience as possible, I don’t curse in my blog.  How about you?

Freedom to express yourself is what blogging is all about and I don’t anyone to change their language to suit me.  I don’t witness swearing in business blogs or in professional blogs.  But I am curious about what has prompted the increase in swearing in personal blogs.

Unsurprisingly, in most if not all cultures swearing stems from the practice of the kind of magic rooted in the belief that some words had the power to bless and other words had the power to curse.  Swearing began as blashemy and came to include “bad” words for private body parts and bodily functions.

In the Western, English-speaking world, people from every race, class and level of education swear. In America, 72 percent of men and 58 percent of women swear in public. The same is true for 74 percent of 18 to 34 year olds and 48 percent of people who are over age 55 [ref]. Numerous language researchers report that men swear more than women, but studies that focus on women’s use of language theorize that women’s swearing is simply more context specific. — How Swearing Works

What’s appealing about using cuss words as opposed to any other words in any language? Swear words are usually followed by exclamation points so does preferring their use have anything to do with:

  • the sounds of the words themselves?
  • the shock value factor?
  • or something else?

Swear words are emotionally charged and can achieve effects that makes them powerful words. When we vent and utter powerful words we feel powerful.

swearing Most children do tend to do what their parents do, regardless of what their parents tell them to do. Every generation make its mark by adopting different preferences and standards in language, clothes, music, etc. from the generations that have gone before. Youth particularly think swearing is a demonstration of bravdo but that fades away as they age.

When the personal bloggers  of today have school age children, who can read their parents’ internet communication streams and follow their digital footprints it will be interesting to see what happens.  How many will think their mommies and daddies, who swear like proverbial sailors in their blogs are cool and will emulate them? Or will there be the predictable backlash when that generation seeks to make its mark in the blogosphere?

What’s your response to swearing in personal blogs? Does it put you off reading them and subscribing to them?  Are you into F-bomb free blogging?

A tip of the hat to Jay.me – Art & Stuff: digital paintings and sketches.

Related posts found in this blog:
Blogging: Comment Baiting
Blogging: Attracting More Readers
Encouraging blog readers to comment
How to form blog centered relationships

Blogging: Comment Baiting

There are many ways that you can encourage your readers to comment. The way you structure your posts can have the effect of drawing out comments. This can be achieved by using a question in the title and/or question(s) at the end of the posts as well. You can also make reference to being interested in hearing reader feedback in the body of the post.

Comment baiting example

Title: Is _________ a helpful blogging tool?
I have been using a ___________ for several months now and find it to be quite helpful with my blogging. I have only noticed two small things I’m not keen about and I will be discussing these in my review below. I’m really interested to hear what you readers have to say about your experience with ________.

    [body of post goes in here]

At the end of your post ask Discussion questions:

  • Have you used _____?
  • Did you have any problems with it?
  • Is there anything else you would like to share about ___?

The Do’s of Comment Baiting

  1. Do your titles and subtitles encourage comments?
  2. Does the text in your posts encourage comments by stating you are looking for reader feedback?
  3. Do you blog on controversial subjects? Controversy sparks discussion too but if you go this direction then:
    (a)  Be well informed about your subject and conversant with all points of view on your subject;
    (b)  Be honest and do not give into the temptation to distort truth for your own purposes. Do not falsify facts, do not present a few facts as the whole story, do not present tentative findings as firm conclusions.
    (c) Use sound evidence to explain and support your ideas. When using evidence, be sure not to take quotations out of context, not to juggle numbers or statistics, and not to present unusual cases as representative examples. Use sources of information that are objective and qualified and link to them appropriately.
    (d) Employ valid reasoning and avoid such fallacies as making hasty generalizations, asserting causal connections where none exist, using invalid analogies, and pandering to passion or prejudice.
  4. Do you conclude your posts with a question for reader discussion?
  5. Do you answer comments you receive promptly and individually?
  6. Do you comment on the posts of bloggers who have commented on your posts?
  7. Do you backlink to your readers’ posts in your own posts?
  8. Do you use a Recent Visitors widget and/or a Top Commenters widget?
  9. Do you promote your posts throughout social networks to keep your readers aware of when you publish new posts?
  10. Do you provide RSS and/or atom feeds and encourage subscriptions?
  11. Do you provide  readers offer updates by email and encourage subscriptions?
  12. Do you offer newsletters and encourage subscriptions?
  13. Do you have a forum?
  14. Do you conduct reader polls and surveys?
  15. Do you encourage your readers to become guest authors on your blog?

The Dont’s of Comment Baiting

Activities to avoid as they can be perceived as being “spammy” are:

  • begging for comments and/or followers on forums;
  • posting into forum threads or leaving comments on blog posts revealing you had nothing meaningful to add to the discussion, which in return reveals you are an attention seeker who is inclined to being “sneaky”;
  • and/or flooding shoutboxes and message boxes in social networks with invitations to visit your blog.

Extraordinary comment baiting -> Dont’ ever try this unless you can handle it as well as raincastoer does. If you click this mummified fairy remains link there are over 2,000 comments so it will take awhile to load.

Related posts found in this blog:

WordPress.com Comments and Discussion Settings
Anonymous commenting on a WordPress.com blog
How to handle negative comments
Why blog comment moderation is a good thing
Crazymaking Blogger Comment Settings
Encouraging blog readers to comment
A Comment Policy for your Blog
Crafting Quality Blog Comments
Blogging: Attracting More Readers
How to form blog centered relationships

Internet Access Blockouts Costly and Futile

Blocking internet access has been a common government tactic used to censor information and opinion flow.  Several countries come to mind but China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia are believed to extend greater censorship over the net than any other countries in the world. What the most recent blockout in Egypt demonstrates is that internet censorship leads to innovation. Use of Facebook by users from Egypt has surged following the restoration of Internet service to the country.

egyptInterent access blocked in Egypt

Due ongoing protests, Egyptian president Mubarak ordered a shutdown of all Internet access for five days, from January 28 to February 2, but social media and news continued to flow in and out of the country due to those dedicated to keeping the information flowing.  When Egypt cut off Internet access last month in a bid to quell anti-government protests, Google joined forces with Twitter to create a speak to tweet tool that lets Egyptians “tweet” by telephone.

sphinxMasses of users in Egypt used other technological solutions to access blocked sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Google. The tools have become one of the key technologies Egyptians have relied on to stay connected, communicate with each other, coordinate protests and deliver their messages to the world. The cost of  Egypt’s Internet Blackout – The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development has come up with a figure of $90 million for the financial cost of the Egyptian Internet blackout. It may be much higher.

China’s surging social-networking market

china flog google logoThe top social-networking service in the world’s biggest internet market was created by graduates of a prestigious university to help students communicate with one another. And it’s not Facebook. Renren.com leads China’s surging social-networking market with more than 160 million registered users.  Competitor Kaixin001.com has more than 93 million.

All the major corporations in China, including telecommunications and media companies, are state owned entities or are majority owned by the state. This exerts a significant level of state influence on how people receive and send information. Chinese government censors monitor the internet and block access to content deemed unacceptable. Facebook and Twitter access are blocked. No such forums are found on Renren or Kaixin social networks.

Interent access blocked in China

The Chinese government is blocking access to searches for the word “Egypt” on social networking Internet sites in China. Sina.com public relations officer Ma Taotao confirms that Chinese searches for Egypt are blocked on its instant messaging site, Sina Weibo.

internet block country flagsBreaking down the internet blocks

A growing number of China’s 420 million interent users are turning to services that connect them to servers outside the country so they can access sites blocked by China’s extensive filtering software, known as the Great Firewall. Most computers connected to the Internet are assigned a unique number, or IP address, to route users quickly to the right destination. AnchorFree’s software assigns an anonymous address that can be traced back only to the company and not to the user.

Accessing blocked sites is possible via VPN (Virtual Private Network) — a network technology that provides constant encryption of all internet traffic regardless of the applications in use. The following 5 free anti-censorship client software tools are the most powerful tools and popular methods used past years, to access the information in the free world from inside the closed society, they are UltraSurf, FreeGate, GTunnel, FirePhoenix and GPass.

The US government has engaged a special email tool to break through the censorship filters of foreign governments in order to deliver news and other information. The federal Broadcasting Board of Governors claimed to have used the email tool, known as Feed Over Email, or FOE, to send HTML links to sites that would otherwise be censored by China’s government.

To use FOE, a user just needs access to an e-mail service hosted outside of a censoring country, and the FOE client. FOE is able to fetch content from censored sites without requiring the user to visit those sites to set up the feed. Once FOE fetches the content, it encrypts it and sends it via e-mail much like an attached file. The user’s client gets decrypts the feed and displays it on the local machine.

Discussion

If the country you lived in blocked internet access would you look for and use workarounds to connect to your blog and your readers?

Bloggers: Are You Still Multitasking?

nowIf you think juggling phone calls, e-mail, instant messages and computer work makes you more effective or productive then several studies say you are wrong.  Their results point in the opposite direction and highlight the fact that the more heavily you multitask the less effective and productive you become. It seems the more multitasking we do the more mediocre the results are.

I have been multitasking most of the time when I’m online for years, presumably so I can get more done.  But when I’m offline I prefer to focus on a single task at a time and I  get more done and make fewer mistakes. When I’m not online I divide large tasks into smaller “chunks” that I work on for about 45 minutes at a time and then I take a short break. This year began cutting back on the multitasking I do while online. How about you?

LeoBabauta’s  How NOT to Multi-task — a guide to working as simply as possible for your mental health peaked my interest and I did some multitasking research. A 2009 study by three Stanford University professors on cognitive control concluded that chronic media multitaskers are more susceptible to distraction.

Ophir, Nass, and Wagner’s study (PDF) is significant in many respects. Research in media multitasking is in its early stages, although in recent years, media multitasking has become an increasingly popular phenomenon because of the development and convergence of many forms of new media and technologies  Media multitasking and its inherent mental habits of dividing attention, switching attention, and keeping multiple trains of thought in working memory have significant implications for the way people think, communicate, socialize, learn, and understand the world.

Peter Bregman’s How (and Why) to Stop Multitasking lays out the downside of multitasking and how to break the pattern. He reports, “I lost nothing by not multitasking.”  David Silverman presents the opposing side in  his In Defense of Multitasking.  Silverman believes, “The truth is, we need multitasking as much as we need air.” But what caught my attention were these two points:

The information age wherein people working and communicating on digital devices all day is being reflected in the stats.  In The Rise of Digital Multitasking [STATS] Ben Parr of Mashable reports according to a new survey from Deloitte, More Americans than ever are multitasking while the watch TV. Multitasking has become a more prominent behavior of U.S. consumers.

Tim Ferriss Guest Lecture at Princeton Q&A

Kicking the multitasking habit

We live in a world where multitasking is commonplace. Breaking the multitasking habit will not be easy but it can be done.  The alternative to multitasking is scheduling blocks of uninterrupted time to work in and then carrying through and getting the work done.  Allow no distraction or interruptions — focus.

  1. Make a to-do list.
  2. Prioritize items on the to-do list.
  3. Map out blocks of time to create a timetable from your to-do list. The time blocks can vary in duration as required.
  4. Assign “chunks” of work to time blocks.
  5. Start working.
  6. Tune out all distractions.
  7. Turn off your phone.
  8. Shut down your computer.
  9. Focus on what you are doing.
  10. When you feel a need to boot your computer and check your email – don’t do it! Pacify yourself by reflecting on the truth. The email and Tweets will be still be there when you are done.