Thursday, May 27, 2010

20 Great Ideas for Blog Posts

20 Great Ideas for Blog Posts

Admit it, at some point in your blogging history, you've run out of ideas, couldn't think of what you wanted to post, or got bored with the same old format of your posts. Well, never fear, we have a solution! Below you'll find 20 ideas for blog content. No matter your subject, some or all of these ideas will help you spice things up and help you get rid of that bit of blogger's block that's been plaguing you.

1. Write a "how to" post. No matter your subject matter, there is a niche where you have learned to be one of the best in your field. Share your knowledge and teach others how to do what you can.

2. Interview people. If you keep a blog about your local town, try to get an interview with a local business owner. If you blog about politics, see if you can get political candidates to answer a few questions. People will love to read the unique answers each person gives.

3. Answer reader questions. Maybe you get lots of questions in the form of comments or maybe you want to allow your readers to ask you questions. Post the answers together as one big post and allow your readers to get to know you more.

4. Make a list. Top 10 lists are great ways to attract readers who don't want to stay for a long time or read a lot. They're also great ways to get people talking about what they'd put in the category.

5. Speedlink. If you found a bunch of articles and posts on other blogs you found interesting that day but don't really feel like elaborating, just list a bunch of links with a quick sentence or two about each one. Not only are you off the hook, but it allows you to cover a lot of topics in a little bit of time.

6. Invite a guest blogger. Do you have a good friend who blogs about the same topics you do? Let them add a post to your blog when you don't have time or don't have anything to say.

7. Create a series. If you have a lot to say on one certain topic, divide it up and post something aspect of it each day. Or you can have a "Quote of the Day" or "Song of the Day," or anything else "... of the day" that requires a daily post.

8. Respond to an opinion. Did you read an op-ed in a major newspaper or see a story on the news that really got under your skin? Take the opportunity to respond on your own blog.

9. Post pictures. Did you recently go on vacation or snap some cute pictures of your child's first birthday? Throw them in the mix when you can't think of anything to write. This is especially a great idea for family-oriented blogs.

10. Tell a story. Whether it's a true story of something that happened to you in the past or something that happened to someone you know, people love a good anecdote that evokes emotion such as humor or sadness. Even if it's just a simple thing that happened to you, a good writer can turn an everyday even into a good story.

11. Poetry & Short Stories. Express your creativity from time to time, you never know what kind of response you'll get.

12. Talk about a current news story. Even if you don't blog about news, there might be something that catches your attention. Maybe you helped in some way after the Nashville floods, and you'd like to tell about it or tell others how they can help.

13. Make a video or audio post. Set your webcam or microphone up and let your thoughts flow!! People will love the change of media.

14. Poll people. Want to know what people think about certain topics? Ask questions and let your readers respond in the comments sections.

15. Give each day a theme. Maybe you write serious stuff but want to change things up on "Fun Friday." One lady I know does "Menu Monday," where she lists her family's meals for the week and encourages healthy eating amongst her readers.

16. Review a book or movie. It can be on or off topic. Maybe you saw the new George Clooney movie and you just had to rave about it or maybe you got a new cookbook and you want to review it on your blog about cooking.

17. Create about "about me" post. If your readers know a lot about you, they're more than likely to stay interested in your posts. Write about yourself or give them some quick "fun facts."

18. Update an old post. Change your mind or find some new information? Just add to it and let everyone know it's an update.

19. Issue a challenge. Tell your readers your goal is to read 100 books in a year or visit every one of the 50 states. Not only does that help with one initial post, but once your task is underway, you can update every time you get a step further.

20. Have a contest. Nothing gets your readers involved more than interactive activities. Have something you'd like to give away? Lots of people give prizes by simply telling people to leave a comment. This will let you know who's out there and how much they're paying attention.



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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Kids Beat Adults When It Comes to Privacy?

Kids Beat Adults When It Comes to Privacy

Anytime you hear anything about social networking and privacy issues, you're immediately made to believe that teenagers and young adults are posting their most personal information for all the world to see, but it turns out, that's not exactly the truth, at least so says a new report out from Pew Internet and American Life Project.

According to the report, people between the ages of 18 and 29 are the most cautious when they are online, and are the age group most likely to take advantage of privacy settings when it comes to social networking websites such as Facebook. The survey asked 2,253 people over the age of 18 if they changed their privacy settings and 71% in the 18 to 29 year old group said they did, which was a significant percentage more than, say, the 30 to 49 year old group. Privacy measures included untagging themselves in photos uploaded by friends, deleting unwanted comments, and limiting personal information. And if that's not enough to shock you, the 18 to 29 year old group is the only group that has been consistently doing so since 2006. The other age groups are using less privacy measures now than they were four years ago.

So, does this mean the older groups aren't aware of what they're doing? Nope, not at all. 44% of employed users said the details about where they work are online and 42% said their picture is online. 33% said their birth date can be found online and 26% have listed their home address. Just 12% have published their cell phone number online.

Pew researcher, Mary Madden, who authored the report, said in a statement, "Contrary to the popular perception that younger users embrace a laissez-faire attitude about their online reputations, young adults are often more vigilant than older adults when it comes to managing their online identities."

It should be noted that the younger group was more likely to post information such as their cell phone number online, but they were also more likely to control who has access to it. Older adults were more likely to publish their home addresses. Overall, it's good to point out that most people are aware that anyone from a criminal to their grandmother could access their information if they aren't careful. Also, 82% of people whose information was posted by others have asked it be removed.

And it's true, anyone can do a Google search of your name and find just about anything you've put online. If you don't believe, it search for yourself. Unless you want your boss seeing those pictures of you out partying on a work night or your mom seeing that you're dating that guy she absolutely can't stand, you may want amp up your personal privacy or go ahead and remove some information from your profiles all together.




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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Google Target of Several Global Investigations

Google Target of Several Global Investigations

Add the city state of Hamburg, Germany to the list of places who are investigating or filing a lawsuit against Google. Prosecutors are investigating the company's collecting of private internet data from unsecured Wi-Fi networks and are trying to get them to turn over at least one of the hard drives used to gather that data.

According to the New York Times, the investigation began earlier this week, when a law student in Germany, Jens Ferner, filed a complaint, stating he wanted to clarify "German law regarding the collection of data from unsecured wireless networks."

In an interview with the New York Times, Wilhelm Mollers, a spokesperson for the Hamburg prosecutor's office said, "We are absolutely at an early stage. This isn’t something that will be wrapped up in two or three weeks. We have to analyze whether there is reason to file criminal charges.”

Google has declined to turn over a hard drive, despite the fact that officials have set a deadline for May 26. The data was used to compile the Street View mapping archive. They did, however, state that they had collected 600 GB of data from unsecured networks around the world while putting the Street View archive together, due to a programming error. They have offered to get rid of the data, which contains websites and "snippets" of personal e-mails. they also said they will work with officials to answer any relevant questions.

If convicted, the sentence for illegal data-gathering is a fine cor two-year prison sentence, but Mollers said it's too soon in the investigation to say what exactly will happen.

Germany has stricter privacy laws than many countries in Europe and continues to oppose the 360-degree Street View photo archive, along with Switzerland. However, France and Great Britain have allowed Street View in their countries.

As for the United States, two members of Congress, Republican Joe Barton of Texas, and Democrat Edward Markey of Massachusetts have urged the FTC to investigate whether or not Google broke any American laws with the supposed accidental use of the data. In a letter to the FTC, the two Congressmen asked how the data was collected, stored, and if it had violated any privacy rights. They also wanted to know who had access to the information and whether or not it was deceptive or illegal. According to the New York Times, the FTC has not yet responded to the request.



Planning to speak at or attend a trade show or conference this year? Then call 800-736-8772 or visit RentOurProjectors.com for an affordable projector rental anywhere in the US or Canada.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Why You Should Keep Blogging

Why You Should Keep BloggingKeeping up with a personal blog can be time-consuming. Often, school, work, families, and other daily activities get in the way. Then there is the issue of deciding what to write about. If you're keeping up a blog to promote your business, the task can become even more daunting. There is so much other stuff that seems to be so much more important and again, what do your potential and current customers want to read about? If you stick to certain topics, you may not update very often, and everybody knows a not-often-updated blog loses readers quickly. So, what do you do? First of all, don't stop blogging!! Here are a few reasons why you don't want to stop putting effort into keeping your blog up-to-date.

1. SEO - When search engines crawl sites, they are looking for those that are regularly updated with good content. The more you blog, the more search engines will see you as relevant and the higher up you'll move in the search engine's listings for the topics you're covering. You'll attract more readers and more traffic to your blog or company website. Also, the more you blog, the more content you add to you website and the more chances you have of a search engine finding you.

2. Personal Touch - When your company website has a blog, it gives it your entire company a friendlier outward appearance. Customers and potential customers will see that there really are human beings behind the scenes, working to meet their needs, and feel like someone actually cares about what's going on at your business.

3. Communication - In addition to that personal touch, your blog allows you to interact with customers and potential customers. Allowing comments gives your readers/customers the chance to get involved by asking questions or sharing their opinions. You can also respond to a customer in the event he or she has a question or some misguided information.

4. Competition - Does your competition have a blog? Do they provide their customers with the opportunity to interact with employees or have an outlet where they can prove how knowledgeable they are about the industry or their product? Using your blog to promote new products and services or taking the time to show that you are concerned with customer service may be the very thing that sends a potential customer to you verses your competition.


Planning to speak at or attend a trade show or conference this year? Then call 800-736-8772 or visit RentOurProjectors.com for an affordable projector rental anywhere in the US or Canada.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Who Needs a Poll When You Have Twitter?

Who Needs a Poll When You Have Twitter Could Twitter replace the public opinion poll? That's what the computer science department at Carnegie Mellon University says. Research suggests that if you're wonder what the public opinion on politics and current events is, you'd be a lot better off (and spend a lot less money) just checking out Twitter. It seems as though the thoughts of millions of Twitter users each day correlates with polls taken by groups such as Gallup and Index of Consumer Sentiment (ICS).

How researchers would go about analyzing the Twitter information is still up for debate, but if you do need a quick idea of how the public is reacting to a certain event, you may very well want to hop on Twitter.

The research was conducted by professor Noah Smith. Together with his team, he collected about 1 billion "tweets" posted in 2008 and 2009, looked at the topic and how the person felt about each topic. He then compared his findings to data from the same period from Gallup and ICS. For example, tweets made on certain days about Obama were compared to Gallup's daily tracking polls from the same time periods.

Research found the correlation between the polls and the tweets was very strong, especially on topics like the President's job performance and the economy. Twitter matched up against the polls at rates of about 72% and 79%. But it's not all black and white. Not all data matched up. According to the research, Twitter data didn't match the increasing popularity of then Senator Obama during the presidential election.

Professor Smith says that a lot needs to be considered before people begin turning to the social networking site to predict opinions and outcomes. For example, do retweets of news headlines count? And the report also points out that polls aren't always exactly on target anyway. It concluded, "Future work should seek to understand how these different signals reflect public opinion either as a hidden variable, or as measured from more reliable sources like face-to-face interviews."

According to CNN, the study will be presented at the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence's International Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, later in May.


Planning to speak at or attend a trade show or conference this year? Then call 800-736-8772 or visit RentOurProjectors.com for an affordable projector rental anywhere in the US or Canada.