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August 2011

Want to Sit By Your Facebook Friends at a Concert? Ticketmaster Can Help

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Ticketmaster has now integrated Facebook into its interactive seat maps, which allows you to tag yourself in a seat. You can let your Facebook friends know where you’re going and where you’ll be sitting.

You can share your plans with who you want – everyone, friends or even nobody at all. Once you connect your account, you’ll see a map infused with your Facebook friends (picture to the right) and where they are sitting. The miniature Facebook flags will let you know.

The feature is currently live for more than 9,000 Ticketmaster and Live Nation events.

Once you share your Ticketmaster seat tag on Facebook, whomever you decided to share it with will see a “Check out my seats” post. They can then decide when purchasing their tickets if they would like a seat next to yours. Or, possibly a seat no where near yours.

The idea of the Ticketmaster Facebook integration is to take ticket buying to the pre-web stage, Ticketmaster executive vice president of ecommerce Kip Levin told Mashable. “Online took away from the old experience of going down to the record store to purchase tickets. This is a way to go back to that.”

Here’s a video which shares the new Ticketmaster Facebook feature.

Will you use this new Ticketmaster feature to let your friends know where you’ll be sitting? Or would you rather them not know?

 

The History of Blogging: 12 Years of Blogs

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Today, it seems like everyone and their cat has a blog, but it wasn’t so long ago that the term blog didn’t even exist. In fact, blogging is less than 20 years old as a form of media, and the word blog wasn’t used until 1999. We sometimes forget how new of an art form this really is!

Do you know your blogging history? Let’s take a look at some of the biggest achievements in the blogging world and take a moment to recognize the people who made blogging what it is today.

1999

After Jorn Barger coined the term weblog a few years earlier, pioneer blogger Peter Merholz from Peterme.com jokingly splits the word (which was intended to be a combination of web and log) into “we blog.” Later that year, Evan Williams, who co-founded Pyra Labs begins using the word as a noun/verb to describe people who journal online.

Also in 1999, Brad Fitzpatrick founds LiveJournal (originally as a way for the founder to stay connected with high school friends), Andrew Smales founds Pitas.com and Diaryland, and Pyra Labs launches Blogger. These tools are in response to the crazy success of Open Diary, which had launched a year earlier in 1998 before the term blog was even being used.

The first version of RSS, which at that time stood for RDF Site Summary, is released for use on My.Netscape.Com. Later that year, it is renamed Rich Site Summary.

South by Southwest Media is renamed as “South by Southwest Interactive” and begins focusing more on online media, including blogging and social media.

2000

Xanga Sites adds a blog and comment system to their free membership site, which was previously a way for users to share book and music reviews. They also introduce the “eProps” system, which was a way for users to essentially “like” another blogger’s post.

Boing Boing launches as a blog, based on the zine (started in 1988) and the static website (started in 1995).

2001

Movable Type is released to the public as a blog publishing system for self-hosted bloggers. It is originally called Serge. At about the same time, Drupal is released as an open source project, originally written by Dries Buytaert as a message board.

2002

Xanga reports reaching 100,000 members and a million hits a day across all of their blogs.

Moveable type introduces the TrackBack feature, which has since been adapted by almost all other blogging tools.

Heather Armstrong of Dooce becomes the first (known) person fired for blogging. Today, the term “dooced” is synonmous with “fired because of your blog/online presence.”

Blogads launches as the first ad network to connect bloggers and advertisers. Technorati launches as the first major blog search engine/directory.

2003

Google decides to cash in on the blogging boom in 2003 by purchasing Blogger from Pyra Labs under undisclosed terms. Pyra had been charging for their premium services, but under Google, Blogger becomes completely free. They also launch AdSense to connect bloggers and advertisers.

Atom is introduced as an alternative to RSS in June of this year. This syndication format is, in part, created due to the publishing controversy surrounding RSS, which had been developed by different groups without Netscape’s involvement or permission.

Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little decide to work together to create a fork of b2/cafelog, which had about 2000 blogs at the time. The result? WordPress, a name that is suggested by Christine Selleck, one of Mullenweg’s friends.

TypePad is launched by Six Apart. Based on the Moveable Type platform, this service is marketed to non-technical users and today hosts blogs for major news outlets like ABC, the BBC, and MSNBC.

Nick Denton founds Gawker Media, which today has over 10 blogs as part of their network and (as of June 2011) reportedly gets 220 million pageviews per month across the network. Arianna Huffington, Kenneth Lerer, and Jonah Peretti launches The Huffington Post, which was sold in early 2011 to AOL for a reported $315 million. Jason Calacanis starts Weblogs, Inc, which was also sold to AOL.

Audioblogger launches as the first major podcasting service for bloggers.

MySpace launches with a blogging function connected to a user’s profile.

2004

As blogging continued to explode in popularity, Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary names the term blog as word of the year.

Encouraged by the popularity of Blogger, Google purchases and integrates Picasa. They also add features such as templates, archive pages, comments, and the ability to post via email.

A new version of WordPress is released, this one containing the ability to use Plugins, which is now a core feature of WordPress.

Mario Armando Lavandeira, Jr., aka Perez Hilton, launches PageSixSixSix.com, which was named the “most hated website” in less than six month and later is moved to PerezHilton.com.

2005

Internet Explorer announces that they would be adopting the Firefox feed icon (the little orange square with white radio waves) to symbolize RSS and Atom feeds. Opera follows suit, and since then, it has been the industry standard.

BlogHer holds their first conference in San Jose.

AOL and Warner Brothers launch TMZ, which today gets 18.5 million hits a month (as of March 2011). Pete Cashmore launches Mashable and Michael Arrington launches TechCrunch, which are today two of the most popular blogs online.

A study reports that over $100 million is spent on advertising on blogs every year.

Garrett M. Graff is the first blogger to receive press credentials from the White House.

YouTube launches, leading to the rise of video blogging. In 2006, YouTube is bought by Google for $1.65 billion.

2006

The first WordCamp was held in San Francisco. Over 500 people showed up for this one-day event. (The next one wasn’t held until 2007, but today there’s an average of one held every week in cities around the world.)

Jack Dorsey launches Twitter as a microblogging platform. Today, they report that there are over 200 million tweets per day.

Facebook introduces Facebook Notes, which allows users to effectively blog on their profiles or import blog posts from Xanga, LiveJournal, and other blogging platforms.

2007

2007: Eric Nakagawa and Kari Unebasami launched I Can Has Cheezburger?, which today reports 1.5 million hits per day.

Tumblr launches as the first microblogging/sharing platform.

The very first BlogWorld Expo is held in Las Vegas after Rick Calvert and Dave Cynkin realize that there was no tradeshow out there for content creators in the new media world.

2008

Posterous launches, giving bloggers a way to post short updates via email or an online client.

2009

A study by Universal McCann reports that over 77% of Internet users read blogs.

Technorati reports that 15% of all bloggers spend 10+ hours a week blogging. 20% use their mobile device for blogging. 28% report making some money from their blog.

It is reported that there are 900,000 blog posts posted every day in 81 different languages.

2010

Technorati reports that 35% of bloggers are now making money from their blog, with 39% of all bloggers using mobile devices and tablets for blogging.

2011

BlogWorld Expo holds their first East Coast show in New York City. (Did you join us?)

Google launches Google+ as a new social media platform that is embraced by bloggers, though it is still officially in beta.

The world of blogging definitely isn’t done growing and developing. It wasn’t so long ago that if you wanted to update your website regularly, you had to do so manually. The word blog didn’t even exist! Today, I couldn’t imagine my life without blogging…and I’m excited to see what crazy, unimaginable developments happen over the next 12 years and beyond.

Note: Please leave comments with other blogging milestones we may have missed, and we’ll make sure to include them in the list!

6.5 Ways To Start And Finish A Documentary Film Project

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For the past year, I have been working on an online documentary video series called Innovators of Vancouver that documents leaders of vision, passion and action throughout my hometown of Vancouver, WA. Each episode is 5-10 minutes and combines a filmed interview with B-roll of the Innovator doing the work that inspired me to choose their story for the project. I have finished six episodes, currently working on the seventh episode, and because of my work on this project, I often get asked by aspiring documentary filmmakers what they need to know to get started making their own documentary projects. Among everything that one could know about making documentary films, here are six and a half things that any aspiring documentary filmmaker needs to know about starting and finishing a documentary film project.

1) Know What Interests You

A lot of people don’t know where to start when it comes to making a documentary and it is important to start with what interests you. It could be something serious that you have personally struggled with such as depression or cancer. It could be the story of your grandparents coming to America. It could be a visual blog post about your addiction to gator meat or your love affair with coffee and doughnuts.

2) Start In Your Own Backyard

You don’t need to travel the world in search of experts or subject matter for your documentary film. What you are interested in and what you end up making a film about can be filmed in your own community, all it takes is finding the people that share the same affinities that you have. Start with your friends, family, boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse or kids. Ask them their thoughts on your subject, this is formally known as conducting a pre-interview. It helps you to develop a report with your subject off-camera, ensuring that you know exactly what they bring to your documentary film. It also helps you with step three.

3) Learn How To Ask Great Questions

Essential to great documentary film production is the ability to ask great questions that are open-ended and specific to your interviewee’s experience with your subject. By pre-interviewing people you learn about the depth of their experience, their passion or dispassion for your subject, and helps you to craft a series of questions that go beyond who, what, when, where, why and how. With that said, the best place to start is:

  • Who are you?
  • What do you do?
  • What are your feelings on [subject]?
  • When did you first experience [subject]?
  • Where can people learn more about [subject]?
  • Why does [subject] matter to you?
  • How can [subject] affect others?

These aren’t the best questions, but they are a starting point, but you will only get to the ending point if you…

4) Shut Up And Listen

Don’t be like newsanchors and pundits that interrupt to get their agenda and point across, shut up and listen to what the person is saying. Nod your head in agreement, emote with body language, empathize when necessary. If you think of something to ask as a follow-up, write it down and wait until they are done talking before asking the question. Learn how to make people feel comfortable by looking them in the eye and giving them 100% of your attention.

5) Adding Images And Video To Further Tell The Story

Now that your interview is recorded, find photos and film B-roll that will help visually tell the story. Childhood photos go well with stories from your grandparents. Film volunteers serving in the community, follow your subject as they go about their business during the day, and don’t forget to get multiple angles, wide-shots, close-ups and everything in between.

6) Edit Everything To Tell A Broader Story

Open your favorite video editor: Final Cut Pro X, Premiere Pro, iMovie, Windows Movie Maker and start watching the interviews. Clip what stands out, forget the rest. Start adding the B-roll on top of the interviews. Keep building without worrying about the length of the project. Once you have a strong beginning, middle and end, eliminate the fluff. Fine-tune the edits. Level your audio so that all of your interviews are at the same volume. Add some background music, but don’t break copyright laws: use royalty free music or find a local musician that will let you use their music in return for free advertising.

Now that you have a finished documentary film, here is the final tip:

6 1/2) Do it again

Don’t just check “Make Documentary Film” off your bucket list, do it again with a different subject. You’ll learn better ways to do specific techniques, your editing will tighten, you’ll learn what to shoot and what not to shoot, and you’ll become more comfortable reaching out to subject matter experts that bring depth and credibility to your finished film.

With that, get out there and start your next documentary film. Most importantly, finish it, upload it to YouTube or Vimeo, and share it in the comments of this post.

Seven Ways to Start Preparing for BlogWorld NOW

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BlogWorld LA 2011 is happening in just a few months, and while it might be a bit too early to start packing (though I have started making a list…sad, I know!), that doesn’t mean you can’t start preparing. Here are the top ten things you can do right now to get ready for what is shaping up to be our best show yet:

1. Participate in #BWEchat.

Every Wednesday at 9 PM EST, we hold #BWEchat on Twitter. Deb and Lara are the hosts (follow @blogworldexpo) and every week we also have special guest co-hosts including speakers, track leaders, and keynoters. #BWEchat features topics relating to conferences like how to save money when traveling to a conference (this week’s topic), as well as other topics related to content creation and  new media. Not only will you have the chance to learn something and voice your opinion, but #BWEchat is also a great way to meet others who will be attending the event. Some weeks, we even give away tickets!

2. Follow the #BWELA hashtag.

People are already starting to talk about the event. By following the #BWELA hashtag, you can connect with others who are attending and get the latest BlogWorld news first. If you have a question about the event, it also makes sense to tweet using this hashtag, so you can be sure that we see your tweet and are able to help you (if someone from the community hasn’t done so first). As we get closer to the event itself, you can also use the hashtag to find dinner partners, friends for sharing taxis, and more.

3. Choose your shoes and start wearing them now.

Ladies, this one is for you – pick out the heels (or even flats) that you want to wear at BlogWorld and start wearing them now. If you want to keep the “fresh new shoes” look, at least wear them around the house. Your feet will thank you.

4. Check out our speakers as they’re announced.

A number of speakers have already been announced, and if you follow conference director @DebNg, you can read announcements of new speakers as they’re made public. You’re likely going to recognize a lot of those names, but we also love to feature new and up-and-coming talent in the new media world, so there are likely going to be names you don’t recognize as well. Check out their blogs, follow them on Twitter, and read their bios so that when it comes time to make your schedule, you can make the best possible decisions.

5. Tell your readers that you’ll be attending BlogWorld.

Connecting with your readers in person can really help solidify them as fans. BlogWorld has tons of attendees, so unless you make plans to meet people (or at least watch out for one another), you might not cross paths. Don’t attend BlogWorld only to find out when you get home that some of your most loyal readers were also there and had no idea you attended as well. Announce your plans to attend on your blog and social media or at least put a badge on your sidebar.

6. Become an affiliate.

If you become a BlogWorld affiliate, you’ll have the chance to earn a little money by encouraging others to attend the event. Put this money toward your trip and you could attend for free!

7. Tell us on Facebook that you’re attending.

Head to Facebook and check in on our events page, telling us all the you’re coming! As with announcing it on your blog and talking about it on Twitter, liking our Facebook page and confirming that you’re attending is a great way to connect with your current readers/fans/friends, as well as meet new people.

As the even gets closer, there are certainly other things you can do to prepare. Yes, you can jump on a plane and wing it, but there’s so much going on during every moment of BlogWorld that the more planning you o before the event, the more you’ll get out of your time there.

Have you been to BlogWorld before? If so, share your best planning tip!

Facebook Makes More Than a Dozen Privacy & Tagging Changes

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Facebook made a big announcement today, which includes more than a dozen privacy and tagging changes. They want to “make it easier to share posts, photos, tags and other content with exactly the people you want”. This follows their recent news regarding new mobile security features.

Since the company has been told by users that there needs to be some changes within the privacy features of Facebook, they have made many changes that are more visual and straightforward.

You can choose to use the new tool to approve or reject any photo or post you are tagged in before it's visible to anyone else on your profile.

Here’s a list of the changes on your profile:

  • Inline Profile Controls
  • Profile Tag Review
  • Content Tag Review
  • View Profile As…

The control for who can see each post will be right inline. For each audience, there is now an icon and label to help make it easier to understand and decide who you're sharing with. Also, when you tag someone, the audience label will automatically update to show that the person tagged and their friends can see the post.

Here’s a list of the changes when you share:

  • Inline controls
  • Word Change: “Everyone” to “Public”
  • Change Your Mind After You Post?
  • Tag Who You’re With, or What You Want to Talk About
  • Tag Locations in Posts
  • Remove Tags or Content from Facebook

You can read about each change in detail on Facebook’s blog post here. Their ultimate goal with all of these changes are that “these new tools make it easier to share with exactly who you want, and that the resulting experience is a lot clearer and a lot more fun”.

With the changes listed above, do you feel your privacy on Facebook is more well protected?

 

Why Mom Blogs Work for Both Readers & Brands

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It’s no secret that mom blogs are popular and that many of them have a large following, but what is it exactly that attracts both readers and brands? (Be sure and read this guest post about setting up your blog to work with brands.)

Stacy DeBroff, CEO and founder of Boston-based Mom Central, says mom blogs work because of the fact that moms rely on first person recommendations. Moms know that and brands know that. Word-of-mouth advertising has always been the best and fastest way to spread the word about a certain product or a new restaurant up the road. The way that message is being delivered though, has changed with the current 5 million mom blogs out there.

Moms also control the majority of the spending in the family, which affects greatly the way advertisers reach their audience.

In an interview with Tech Journal South, DeBroff said, “They not only control the majority of the spend in a family household, they’ve expanded their footprint. But now they’re the ones getting the cell phones, booking travel, and making what were once male-dominated purchases. They control 90 percent of the household spend.”

DeBroff also said that what moms want from brands are communication, interaction and a chance to experience their products.

In a guest post on PRNewser, she gave five tips on working with moms. Some of the tips included connecting via conversation and fostering connectivity. You can read the article in its entirety here.

We would love to hear from you mom bloggers. Why do you think mom blogs work so well and are so well received among other women, as well as the brands who are trying to reach them?

Image: SXC

Build a Community Around Your Content

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… by Greg Marlin

So you have a great blog, one with vast amount of good content and visits. But when you look at your page views per user counts, they are paltry at best. You look wistfully at the PV counts on sites with crappy content but a reason to keep people around, and wonder what you can do differently.

There are only so many times the same avid reader can read all of the articles on your site. But wait, I have comments! Comments are linear, as they can only be made on each individual post. It’s kind of like having a conversation with your friends and rigidly forcing them to stay on topic…not very fun is it?

So What’s the Solution?

You need to build a community around your content, thus giving your audience a reason to hang around. I write more about this on the Vanilla blog on “Building An Online Community Around Your Content” but the crazy thing is your audience is probably dying for you to do just that! The shared interest in what you have to say gives them more in common with each other than the fact they bumped into each other at a party and are now Facebook friends. What’s even more striking is you’ve already solved one of the hardest parts of building an online community – seeding it with great content.

How do You Build a Community?

The best way to build a community that will stand out and give your readers a reason to stay, is by tying it directly to your content in the form of conversations. You have already given them the what to talk about (or at least to start the conversation), now you are giving the where on your site. That’s through a forum. A Forum!? Those clunky old bulletin boards that look like websites circa 1997 and are a beast to manage? No, the new ones that take a fresh approach to the power of forums, are easy to set-up and manage and integrate tightly with your site through theme design, modular architecture, advanced user management and single-sign-on authentication.
When the Online Community Report surveyed top community managers on what community tool they used most it was discussion forums. So take a look at forums as a way to realize the full value of your content and build a community on your site.

Greg is Vice-President of Sales and Marketing at VanillaForums.com. He has a background in strategic planning, alliances, marketing and sales. As part of his role at Vanilla, he is active in researching, analyzing and reporting on community management best practices, both to inform Vanilla’s product development and also to provide advice to customer communities. Having owned and managed his own content and community websites, he is also aware of some of the unique challenges facing content producers. His major hobby of the moment is training for his first full-distance Ironman triathlon.

Company Bio

VanillaForums.com powers content and customer communities, designed with the community manager’s job in mind. Its flexible design system makes it possible for customers to customize community sites to fit their vision (not that of the forum software company), including exactly matching the look and feel of an existing site. The modular core architecture enables the platform to be added to fit exacting needs and the open authentication plugin system allows the community to connect through Single-Sign-On to any website or application, as well as to external networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Google and OpenID. And since Vanilla Forums is open-source customers can rely on a wide network of developers who actively use and test the software and add plugins to the community, and customers can build additional plugins themselves.

Forkly iPhone App Helps You Find Food and Drink You’ll Love

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A new iPhone app has joined the quickly-becoming-crowded space of food apps. It’s called Forkly and it helps you find food and drink you’ll love. Not only does it help you find new restaurants you might like, but once you’re at the restaurant, it will recommend dishes to try as well based on your own personal tastes.

Brady Becker and Martin May, founders of Brightkite, developed the new app. Forkly has actually been talked about for a year, but it’s finally here and made it’s quiet entrance into the world of apps last night.

Some are comparing this new app to another one called Foodspotting, but they say it focuses more on ratings than the actual pictures of the food, like Foodspotting does. After users note how they feel about a certain dish – like, love, okay or not for me  – Forkly creates a taste graph for each individual user, which helps in letting you know about other dishes you might enjoy.

There are many more features to this app for restaurants and bars, brands and even the media and bloggers. For bloggers in particular, you can share your tastes on Facebook and Twitter while you’re out and about. You can also embed tastes into your blog, as well as earn points when people like the tastes you post.

I can see this easily integrating into a personal, food, or travel blog really well.

Check out more of the features here and download the app at the Apple store here.

So tell us foodie and travel bloggers – how can you see yourself using this app on your blog?

Twitter Adds Image Galleries to User Profiles

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A couple of weeks ago, Twitter released their own photo upload tool so users could post their photos without even leaving the site. Now, whether you use their new photo service or third party services like Instagram and yFrog, your photos are soon to be featured on your Twitter profile.

They’re called “user galleries” and according to Twitter Communications Manager Carolyn Penner, they began rolling out yesterday (August 22nd). She tweeted, “We’re rolling out one of my fave features today: user galleries! View photos an account has shared on Twitter. Sit tight – it’s coming soon”.

The galleries will display up to 100 most recent images in your Tweets, in chronological order, and can be found on an individual users’ Profile page.

Twitter offers two different ways to view the galleries:

  • The grid view will show you thumbnails of all images we’re able to display.
  • The detail view will show you the most recent image, complete with the body of the Tweet displayed below it and thumbnails for other images above it.

For more information about how to use the “user galleries” feature, see the Twitter Help Center.

Does this new feature encourage you to upload more photos on Twitter?

BlogWorld Featured in Inc. Magazine

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If you picked up the September, 2011 issue of Inc. Magazine, you may have just seen BlogWorld featured on page 14! (If you haven’t, read on, or go snag a copy today).

Our very own Rick Calvert and Dave Cynkin are featured in the Spotlight on Social Media section. Rick talked with INC about how BlogWorld has changed over the past four years, whether or not you should outsource your social media content, and how social media and blogging are continuing to evolve. (Click to enlarge)

My favorite quote (on whether you should hand off your social media efforts to someone young or do it yourself):

You have to do this yourself. You can’t hire someone to do it for you. Would you take a kid out of college or an intern and make him your CMO? Social media can have the impact of a major advertising campaign. Do you put an intern in charge of that? Lisa Barone of Outspoken Media says, “You are not too old to learn social media; you’re just lazy.” That’s the truth.

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