Tag Archives: Social Expedition

Insights from TribeCamp Pt. 4: Essential Plug-Ins for WordPress

Along with LaunchMemphis, LunaWeb recently co-hosted TribeCamp, a day-long conference on social media, web topics and professional development. We’ll be posting notes from some TribeCamp sessions over the next couple of weeks. The posts will be on a variety of topics, from social media to production to content.

Essential Plug-Ins for WordPress – Joe Spake

Joe Spake’s TribeCamp presentation on essential WordPress plug-ins was more like a roundtable discussion and a swap-meet of best tips and practices. Joe demonstrated a few of his favorite plug-ins and then opened up the floor for suggestions from the group. Here’s what came out of that session:

Apture

This plug-in facilitates the addition of media to your posts by heading out and finding links, videos and photos for you. You type in search terms, it finds the items and will even plug in the appropriate Creative Commons attribution if necessary.

What Would Seth Godin Do

The consensus among the group on why it’s called what it’s called was “who the heck knows?”, but this plug-in allows you to create customizable text that will automatically appear for a user based on how many times they’ve been to your site. For example, the first time a user visits the site the message might be an initial welcome, whereas the second visit might offer a prompt to leave a comment or simply welcome them back and suggest a new feature on the site they might check out. The text is entirely customizable, so the possibilities are limitless.

Facebook Like

Though this might be old news now, the Facebook “Like” button is a simple plug-in, easy to install and allows users to like your posts, thus plugging links to your site into the user’s Facebook newsfeed. All a user has to do is click “like” as Facebook has so conditioned us to do, and your blog is linked in their Facebook profile. If another user clicks to find out more, it will take them to the content on the external site. The plug-in will automatically load this feature on all old posts.

WordPress Database Back-Up

This plug-in automatically backs up your entire WordPress blog to e-mail. The plug-in will e-mail the back-up to you in a .zip file each night. If you create a filter within your e-mail management system, you never even have to see the messages come through. They’ll automatically be dropped into a folder, but they’ll be there when you need them.

Special Text Boxes

Provides an easy way to do pull-quote boxes within a blog post without using any code.

LifeStream

Consolidates your social media all into one place.
One word of caution voiced by several participants in the discussion was to exercise care when installing plug-ins, because you can risk slowing down your load time. They will slow the load speed of your home page, even if you are not actively using all of them. Be sure to go through your site periodically and delete the ones you are not actually using to keep load speed as high as possible – search engines look for a fast load time so you want to keep things as streamlined as possible.

Insights from TribeCamp Pt. 3: Writing for the Web

Along with LaunchMemphis, LunaWeb recently co-hosted TribeCamp, a day-long conference on social media, web topics and professional development. We’ll be posting notes from some TribeCamp sessions over the next couple of weeks. The posts will be on a variety of topics, from social media to production to content.

Writing for the Web – Elizabeth Cawein

DON’T DO THIS!!!!

Really, folks. Typing in all caps is just unnecessary and annoying, and makes people want to abandon your blog as fast as their mice can hit the Back button. But, short of that preference, Elizabeth Cawein’s “Writing for the Web” session was not dictatorial on grammar. After all, the less formal nature of blogs and some websites may lend themselves to run-on sentences, incomplete clauses, and maybe even the SELECTIVE use of all caps for emphasis.

The key, Elizabeth says, is to “establish a style and stick to it.” That might include choosing a particular style manual (like MLA or Chicago), but mainly it’s about your tone and topics. If you write a funny blog about your dog and sudden throw in a cooking post, people are gonna be scratching their heads.

Your style will also determine the proper length of your posts. Shorter is better in general, but depending on your content and how engaging it is, people might be willing to commit to a longer post. Even so, Elizabeth says she tries to keep her posts under 500 or so words.

Elizabeth also emphasized the importance of reading and then re-reading your post to check for misspellings and (unintentional) grammatical errors. Even if you’re writing in a lighter, fun style, there’s still no excuse for errors that make your post difficult to read.
Then, tag tag tag!

Insights from TribeCamp Pt. 2: Free as a Business Model

Along with LaunchMemphis, LunaWeb recently co-hosted TribeCamp, a day-long conference on social media, web topics and professional development. We’ll be posting notes from some TribeCamp sessions over the next couple of weeks. The posts will be on a variety of topics, from social media to production to content.

Free as a Business Model - Blake Palmer

Is there such thing as a free lunch?

In most industries, no. Sure, a business will tell you that such-and-such is free, but only if you jump through these hurdles, pay for this other thing, or face a hidden fee later. “What’s the catch?” we, the cautious consumers, have learned to ask. We have been burned before.

It’s just the laws of supply and demand at work. Most products are inherently limited in supply and simply cannot be given away for free, lest the manufacturer lose their profit. But what about Internet content, which has no limit? With ever increasing supplies of bandwidth, storing and processing, we can produce all the online music, blogs, social networks and cat videos that the public could want.

So, can we have at least a cyber-free-lunch in this environment of unlimited supply? Blake Palmer argues that it’s not only possible, but inevitable. Just look at services like Flickr. They offer a great service for no charge at all. If, however, you want unlimited storage, you can pay a small fee to become a premium member, and Flickr can make enough money from the small percentage of users that opt for premium that they can keep the rest of the site up and running. And a premium option is only one model for using “free” as your business model.

The band Radiohead posted a whole album for download to their website, and asked listeners to pay whatever they wanted to for it, with zero as an option. They made more money than they would have with a record label, plus they earned good will and great publicity.
Can we one day have a free lunch outside of the internet? Some businesses are already working on it. Blake cited a gym in Europe that offers completely free memberships, but if you don’t go at least once a week, you have to pay for that whole month. Ryan Air now offers travel for as low as one euro, and hope to soon offer completely free flights, while they make all their profit off of the extras, like checked luggage and-in flight food and drink.

It’s about thinking outside the box. Turning the traditional business model on it’s head and creating an innovative relationship between the consumer and the business. And isn’t that what Web 2.0 is all about?

It’s Friday – do you follow?

When you wake up on Friday morning, is your first thought “TGIF” or “Who will I promote today for #FollowFriday?”

If you’re like many tweeters, it’s the latter. The trending topic that started back in January of last year with a single tweet by @Micah has grown into a well-known weekly tradition since its inception. But has it run its course? While the original idea seemed to be to mention or promote a specific tweeter based on quality content or common interest, now many of the tweets resemble endless strings of @ signs and Twitter handles with no information or discernible reason for following any of them.

It’s become something that you do because, well, it’s Friday and that’s what you’re supposed to do. Right? We sent out a quick poll to some tweeters last Friday to find out what they thought about the whole affair.

Of the 17 respondents we had, the vote was fairly equally split between those who follow the suggestions with some scrutiny and those who are tired of the trend or ignore the tweets altogether. Not surprisingly, no one said that they follow the suggestions blindly.

As early as a few months in to the trend, bloggers were already questioning its relevance, and some have suggested other ways to go about promoting quality content on Twitter.

We’re wondering if the value of the idea hasn’t been lost in the strings of Twitter handles with no explanation of who the person is or what type of content they typically bring to the stream. #FollowFriday is losing its steam and its relevance. What do you think?

Insights from TribeCamp Pt. 1: Capturing Light

Along with LaunchMemphis, LunaWeb recently co-hosted TribeCamp, a day-long conference on social media, web topics and professional development. We’ll be posting notes from some TribeCamp sessions over the next couple of weeks. The posts will be on a variety of topics, from social media to production to content.

Capturing Light

Presented at TribeCamp by Justin McGregor
When the shot matters, you don’t want to miss it because you’re fiddling with your camera’s exposure settings. It’s just got to come naturally, says Justin McGregor, and step one is learning about aperture, ISO, and shutter speed. Then, go play with your camera until adjusting these elements is like second nature.
“Capturing Light” was an exposure 101 course for photography beginners. Justin went over the definitions and basic principles of aperture, ISO, and shutter speed, and then tossed out a few great photography websites and blogs to check out!

Latest Social Expedition Podcast up now with Bob Hazlett

If you’ve been hearing a hum in the air, actually more like a buzz, circulating about the new social networking platform/location-based service/catch-all Google Buzz, tune in to the new Social Expedition podcast to get an inside scoop. Listen as Dave, Elizabeth and Matthew give you their take on the new tool, and then as their special guest, digital marketer and blogger Bob Hazlett (@OneHalfAmazing) joins the mix.

Also, hear Bob talk about his recent entry into the iPhone app store with a dedicated app for his blog, OneHalfAmazing.com. Check it all out at on the Social Expedition Web site.