instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

Communicating and marketing online

Tips, tools, and insights into
blogs, social media (such as Facebook, Google, Twitter),
podcasts, ezines, survey tools and online games


Social media, generally
Social media giants as monopolies--er, superpowers
Bots, trolls, and fake news, likes, followers, and inflluencers, etc.

Alexa, Echo, and other intelligent voice control system (IVCSs)
Blogs and blogging, resources for
Cloud computing

Content marketing, native advertising, sponsored posts, etc.
Content curators and content aggregators (pro and con)
Designing a better user experience (UX)
Ezines
Facebook 101
"Free internet" means what?
Instagram
LinkedIn's power
Online games to engage the brain
Pinterest
Podcasts and podcasting
RSS readers, feed aggregators & other devices for keeping track of favorite blogs etc.
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Social media groups for writers, editors, journalists, etc.
Subscription services (Netflix, Spotify, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Apple Music, etc.)
Twitter: How to Make the Most of It
Web 2.0 Top Tools and Resources
(browse through this very miscellaneous section)
YouTube

See also Marketing, Publicity, and Promotion (yes, these two pages probably need re-organizing. One day...)



"Each time we dispatch an email in one way or another, we feel a sense of accomplishment, and our brain gets a dollop of reward hormones telling us we accomplished something . . . But remember, it is the dumb, novelty-seeking portion of the brain driving the limbic system that induces this feeling of pleasure, not the planning, scheduling, higher-level thought centers in the prefrontal cortex."

~Daniel J. Levitin in The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload

To those of us who have made a living doing traditional reporting, writing, or editing, this whole new world of marketing "content" rather than "writing" sometimes feels like crass commercialism. One of the easiest passive ways of making money online, for example, is affiliate programs, where if I send a potential buyer to your site, and they buy, you give me a commission on the sale. This opens up whole new ethical dilemmas for reviewers: Do I recommend X, which is excellent, or Y, from which I get a cut, or Z, which offers a bigger cut? Egads. Do I send a potential book buyer to the local independent bookstore, which is struggling to survive and deserves every author's support? Or to Amazon.com (from which I get a few cents for providing a link to a book that gets purchased, and which has mastered fulfillment, and which has a super database--but is behaving like a greedy gorilla in the marketplace)? Or to the author's website, whether or not the author is offering an affiliate fee, because the author will make more selling the book directly than from collecting royalties? Or just provide the name and let the book buyer google for a provider? For writers, who are not usually good marketing people, the options are mind-boggling. What would James Joyce do? And that's just with books, which may be disappearing anyway, as us old book lovers die off.

Here are some links to resources or explanations. For example, if you want to sell a PDF version of your very useful "100 ways to salvage your burnt dinner," you might check out eSellerate or Clickbank, who can handle sales and send you a check every now and then.

The survey and scheduling tools are particularly useful, and for small groups are usually free. With Doodle, for example, you can ask a group of 60 to indicate which of five dates would best suit them for a meeting (plus other kinds of choices). The free basic version of survey software such as SurveyMonkey and Zoomerang typically allows you to create a survey with a few questions and (say) no more than 100 responses, and view the results for a short time. You could use this to collect course evaluations, among other possibilities. For more questions, more complex sorting of results, and the ability to export results and add your own branding, you pay.

Tell me your experiences with these vendors and ways of making money online, and let me know of anyone or anything useful I've left out. I'm going to take recommendations here not from vendors but from writers and editors who have actually used these tools or resources and find them worth considering.

Clearly this needs organizing to make it more manageable, but I won't tackle that until I finish the book I'm writing now!
-- Pat McNees (email pat at patmcnees dot com) or leave a message at Contact (above).

Social media (generally)


What’s More Important: Author Websites or Social Media? (Jane Friedman, 9-11-17) Book authors MUST READ this.
Q&A: Social Media for Authors (Authors Guild) Really practical. Under How does one add “Follow” to a FB profile? Answer : Go to your followers tab to edit settings. Did that and learned that mostly only friends from UCLA could follow me because of something I checked wrong, and I haven't stayed in touch with most of my friends from UCLA!
Social Media for Authors: The Toughest Topic to Advise On (Jane Friedman, 9-12-17) Topics covered: "Your social media following grows mostly when you produce more work." "Use social media to micro-publish or to share your work." "People break social media 'rules' all the time and succeed."
How to Lessen Your Chances of an Online Crisis (Chris Syme, author of Crisis Management For Authors: How to manage an online disaster and protect your reputation, advises: Never try and “build a following” during a crisis. Use the following you’ve already built. Communities don’t mind doing you the favor of advocacy in a crisis if you have nurtured the relationship already. But if you just “appear” on social media during a negative event, you will be ignored or even targeted for your behavior. (Original order of sentences reversed.)
41 cool and useful IFTTT applets James A. Martin, Computerworld, 11-23-17) IFTTT: "If this, then that." A free way to get all your devices talking to each other. Read about 41 applets (recipes) that allow you to save favorite items to Gmail, Dropbox, Evernote, or Slack.
Addicted to Screens? That’s Really a You Problem (Nellie Bowles, NY Times, 10-6-19) "Nir Eyal, who wrote the industry manual for hooking people on tech, now has a recipe to free you — even though it was your fault to begin with."Book 1: Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, which Dave McClure, the founder of 500 Startups, a prolific incubator, called “an essential crib sheet for any start-up looking to understand user psychology.” And Book 2: Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life ('If “Hooked” was a how-to, this is a how-to-undo.')
So You’re an Author Without a Social Media Presence: Now What? (Jane Friedman, 7-17-17)
How to Use Social Media in Your Career ( Sree Sreenivasan, NY Times, 11-13-17)
Sree Tips (Facebook)
6 studies on digital news and social media you should know about (Denise-Marie Ordway, Journalists' Resource, reviews six studies, summarizing what they're about and what they found.)
Stop Focusing on Follower Count: 5 Better Approaches for Improving Social Media Use (Jane Friedman, 3-15-17)
When Less Is More on Social Media (Jane Friedman, 6-22-16)
Why You Should Join All Social Media Networks (Jane Friedman, 3-3-16)
How to Avoid the “Extra” Work of Social Media (Jane Friedman, 9-22-14) "Social media is a form of content, and can be seen as micro-publishing. Each post is sharing a tiny bit of your story, message or perspective—possibly something informative or inspiring. The posts might end up being part of a larger work. They might be daily creativity experiments. And they might offer you insight into how your audience thinks and engages with your work."

[Back to Top]

Bots, trolls, and fake news,
likes, followers, and influencers,


Inside Russia’s Network of Bots and Trolls (Natalia V. Osipova and Aaron Byrd, NY Times) A bot (short for robot) is "an autonomous program on a network (especially the Internet) that can interact with computer systems or users, especially on designed to respond or behave like a player in an adventure game." A troll is "an actual human being, a person who makes a deliberately offensive or provocative online posting" or the posting itself. A Russian specialty. Experts Ludmila Savchuk and Ben Nimmo discuss how they work.

• Another explanation of trolling, from the Authors Guild forum: "Trolling includes posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages with the primary intent of provoking others into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting or derailing normal on-topic discussion."
Russian Trolls Tapped Into Health Law Rhetoric To Sow Discord, Pitting Sides Against Each Other (KHN Morning Briefing, 9-12-18) It's not just hot-button topics like vaccinations that are exploited by the Russian trolls. Substantive health policy issues have been hijacked as well. Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office says that if the House delays or repeals certain parts of the health law -- such as the employer mandate -- it would cost more than $50 billion.
The Wall Street Journal: Nearly 600 Russia-Linked Accounts Tweeted About The Health Law ( Stephanie Armour and Paul Overberg, WSJ, 9-12-18) On the March 23 anniversary of the Affordable Care Act becoming law, Democrats attacked Republicans for trying to sabotage the health law and praised the embattled legislation. So did Russian trolls. “8 years ago today, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law. Millions of Americans have gained access to health care. Thank you, Mr. President!” said a tweet linked to the Internet Research Agency, a Russian company engaged in an online influence campaign that typically seeks to pit one side against the other on controversial issues.
Can You Spot the Deceptive Facebook Post? (Keith Collins and Sheera Frenkel, NY Times, 9-4-18) Can you guess which post is from a fake page? Several pairs of images to test yourself with.
Content Moderation Standards (Tim Boucher, MisinfoCon, 8-6-18) It’s 2018. The internet is a mess. Is it time for web content moderation standards already?
Tools from Indiana University detect viral information, who is spreading it (Kevin Fryling, Indiana University, IJNet, 6-27-18) Two tools play a major role in countering the spread of misinformation online: Hoaxy and Botometer. "Hoaxy is a search engine that shows users how stories from low-credibility sources spread on Twitter. Botometer is an app that assigns a score to Twitter users based on the likelihood that the account is automated."
Misinformation and biases infect social media, both intentionally and accidentally (Giovanni Luca Ciampaglia & Filippo Menczer, The Conversation, 6-20-18) People who share potential misinformation on Twitter (in purple) rarely get to see corrections or fact-checking (in orange). Three types of bias make us vulnerable to misinformation: Cognitive bias, social bias (who we connect with), and bias in the machine (the algorithms social media platforms and search engines use to determine what people see online).
A Modest Proposal for Combating Fake News on Facebook: Credibility Scoring (Benjamin Hoyt, MisinfoCon, 8-9-18) What if Facebook could leverage its greatest resource, its users, to generate credibility? Hoyt proposes a Credibility Score System.
Transparency, not prohibition, is the U.S. government response to misinformation, DOJ official says (Samantha Sunne, MisinfoCon, 8-10-18) "Today, we confront misinformation as only one component of a broader, malign foreign influence effort. As this framework from the Department’s recent Cyber-Digital Task Force report shows, those efforts can also include cyber operations that target election infrastructure or political parties’ networks; covert efforts to assist (or harm) candidates; and overt efforts to influence the American public (for example, through state-run media organizations)."
How Americans Wound Up on Twitter's List of Russian Bots (Alex Calderwood, Erin Riglin, and Shreya Vaidyanathan, Wired, 7-20-18) Three Americans are among more than 20 Twitter accounts that appeared on Twitter’s list of suspected Russian accounts yet show signs of being real people, according to an analysis by Clemson University professors Darren Linvill and Patrick Warren.Bottom line: Should social media platforms be providing due process to individuals whose accounts they take down?
Why We’re Sharing 3 Million Russian Troll Tweets (Oliver Roeder, FiveThirtyEight, 7-31-18)
The Follower Factory (Nicholas Conffessore, Gabriel J.X. Dance, Richard Harris and Mark Hansen, NY Times, 1-27-18) Everyone wants to be popular online. Some even pay for it. Inside social media’s black market.
How Fake Traffic on Facebook Is Damaging Your Brand (Rich Kahn, Adweek, 3-13-18)
A flaw in Facebook lets anyone create as many fake 'Likes' as they want without using a bot army (Jim Edwards, Business Insider, 3-15-15)
Trolls, Bots and Fake News: The Mysterious World of Social Media Manipulation (Samuel Earle, Newsweek, 10-14-17) Despite "the pervasiveness of these political strategies on social media, from the distribution of disinformation to organized attacks on opponents, the tactics remain largely unknown to the public, as invisible as they are invasive." Did they help elect Trump?
Through understanding bots, journalists can more effectively fight disinformation (Ana Siu, International Journalists' Network, 8-15-18) Understanding chatbots, social bots, cyborgs, bot armies, etc. 'However, Escorcia doesn’t see bots as the only cause behind fake news. “Bots are the last link of the chain,” he said. “The major responsibility falls on Twitter, Google and Facebook, because they have the resources to detect fake accounts.” But because bots bring millions of dollars in ad revenue to tech companies and social networks, these sites have little incentive to take action against them, Escorcia said. “Their main income is ads,” said Escorcia. “It doesn’t matter if they are promoting fake news.”'
Twitter unveils new effort to combat bots and trolls (Shannon Bond, Financial Times, 6-26-18) "Twitter will require new users to confirm their email addresses or phone numbers in a new effort to reduce abuse, trolls and bots on the messaging platform."
Answer Bots trolls spam caller in hilarious exchange (Audio, Florida Today, 3-9-18) RoboKiller Answer Bots trolls spam caller. The company says keeping telemarketers on the phone and wasting their time is the only way to win the battle.
Shadow of bot followers and fake likes mars social media influencers ( Gaurav Laghate, The Economic Times, 6-21-18) Follower factories or click farms are springing up in India, China, Bangladesh, the Philippines and East European countries at a fast clip. The opaqueness of measurement in digital media has made the life of advertisers very difficult as they don’t know what numbers to believe.
4 Reasons Why You Should Not Buy Followers (Ian Anderson Gray, iag.Me, 11-20-17)

[Back to Top]


Social media superpowers under the microscope

Manipulation, copyright violation, clickbait, blockchains,
and other issues with the Internet "monopolies"
Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon, YouTube, and Twitter


The future is already here—it’s just not very evenly distributed.” -- William Gibson


Google emerges as target of a new state attorneys general antitrust probe (Tony Romm, Washington Post, 9-319) “Over the past year, regulators around the country have grown increasingly wary of the power wielded by Silicon Valley, questioning whether the industry’s access to vast amounts of proprietary data—and deep pockets—allow companies to gobble up rivals and maintain their dominance to the detriment of consumers.”
Is Amazon Unstoppable? (Charles Duhigg, A Reporter at Large, The New Yorker, 10-10-19) Politicians want to rein in the retail giant. But Jeff Bezos, the master of cutthroat capitalism, is ready to fight back.
What a Tour of an Amazon Fulfillment Center Reveals (Anna Wiener, The New Yorker, 11-4-19) "From its strips of perfectly measured packing tape to the minute-long breaks it metes out to its workers, the company operates with unprecedented efficiency. It would be wonderful if Amazon didn’t fight worker efforts to unionize, or increased their hourly pay, or consumed less energy, or better moderated its marketplace. But that version of Amazon could only exist if the company revised its core values: speed, frugality, optimization, and an “obsession” with the customer."
Google and Facebook are strangling the free press to death. Democracy is the loser (Barry Lynn, The Guardian, 7-26-18) As gatekeepers to the news, Google and Facebook pose dangers to even the most successful outlets. Legislators need to speed the process of bringing them to heel. Open Markets Barry Lynn talks about the dangers of allowing Facebook and Google to remain gatekeepers of the news. “Thus far, regulators in Europe and the United States have entirely failed to apply such traditional anti-monopoly rules to Google and Facebook. This has left them free both to strip ad revenue from trustworthy publishers and to steer readers to and from publications almost at will.”
Is Amazon Unstoppable? (Charles Duhigg, New Yorker, 10-10-19) Amazon is now America’s second-largest private employer. (Walmart is the largest.) Politicians want to rein in the retail giant. But Jeff Bezos, the master of cutthroat capitalism, is ready to fight back.
The Endless, Invisible Persuasion Tactics of the Internet (Sidney Fussell, The Atlantic, 8-2-19) " Dark patterns are the often unseen web-design choices that trick users into handing over more time, money, or attention than they realize. A team of Princeton researchers is cataloging these deceptive techniques, using data pulled from 11,000 shopping sites, to identify 15 ways sites subtly game our cognition to control us....It's not just the numbers that are fake—the shoppers are, too."
What It Takes to Put Your Phone Away (Jia Tolentino, New Yorker, 4-22-19) "But it is not only journalists who are struggling to escape from the endless loop of flattery, anxiety, and distraction that social media provides....These platforms encourage compulsive use by offering forms of social approval—likes on Facebook and Instagram, retweets on Twitter—that are intermittent and unpredictable, as though you’re playing a slot machine that tells you whether or not people love you..."[Odell] believes that, by constantly disclosing our needs and desires to tech companies that sift through our selfhood in search of profit opportunities, we are neglecting, even losing, our mysterious, murky depths—the parts of us that don’t serve an ulterior purpose but exist merely to exist."
AAP Urges FTC to Scrutinize 'Dominant Online Platforms' (Jim Milliot, PW, 6-27-19) 'In its 12-page filing, the AAP pointed to the fact that Amazon is not only the dominant retailer in the industry, it's also a major publisher, printer, self-publisher, review hub, and textbook supplier. It's also a platform for third-party sellers and resellers, the owner of a growing a chain of bricks-and-mortar stores, and the owner of the most dominant audio platform and audiobook retailer (in Audible). "The problems with such a concentration of market power in the hands of a single entity are manifold," the AAP stated. “No publisher can avoid distributing through Amazon and, for all intents and purposes, Amazon dictates the economic terms, with publishers paying more for Amazon’s services each year and receiving less in return.”' See also The Amazon Publishing Juggernaut (Blake Montgomery, The Atlantic, 8-8-19) What does the e-commerce giant want with the notoriously fickle world of publishing? To own your every reading decision. Prime Reading is far from Amazon’s only reading subscription service. Kindle Unlimited, a similar program, costs an extra $9.99 and offers a wider selection of millions of titles.** The Prime Book Box for children includes a selection of age-appropriate books delivered regularly for $19.99. Amazon First Reads allows members to download a book a month earlier than the unsubscribed public for no extra cost. "Book readers are the same. Content is the hook; commerce is the goal. If users join Prime for early access to a new title by their favorite author, rather than buying a one-off copy of the book, they become much more likely to purchase other things on Amazon—couches, clothes, cutlery, etc.—to take advantage of the membership."
Plagiarism in the Age of Self-Publishing (Joy Lanzendorfer, The Atlantic, 6-5-16) Many authors who sell their work directly on platforms like Amazon are having their stories plagiarized, which can take an emotional and financial toll. An anonymous stranger steals a book, changes it superficially, and passes it off as her own work. "Some books are copied word-for-word while others are tinkered with just enough to make it tough for an automated plagiarism-checker to flag them....A traditional publisher is liable if it puts out a book that violates copyright. But Amazon is protected from the same fate by federal law as long as it removes the offending content....However, it can take a while for the company to respond to complaints, which can be maddening for authors...[Kobe and others are also used, but] Amazon has the biggest chunk of the self-published ebook market, with some estimates putting it at 85 percent. Without Amazon, few authors could make a living self publishing."
What Happens After Amazon’s Domination Is Complete? Its Bookstore Offers Clues (David Streitfeld, NY Times, 6-25-19) Scammers are selling counterfeit books through Amazon, using print on demand (POD) technology. Details of the scam vary, but one major case is a small publisher whose books have been scanned (poorly), and the scans used to sell fake POD editions. The publisher bought 34 copies of one book on Amazon and 30 of them were poor counterfeits. "And when someone buys a counterfeit, Mr. Hunt added, the real author may get cheated but Amazon still makes a sale. “You could ask, What’s their incentive to do something?”" Lawmakers in the House are scrutinizing Amazon's anti-competitive behavior and its overly relaxed attitude toward abusive practices via Amazon. "Amazon takes a hands-off approach to what goes on in its bookstore, never checking the authenticity, much less the quality, of what it sells. It does not oversee the sellers who have flocked to its site in any organized way." What was Amazon's response when a reporter was able to order, via Amazon, numerous illegitimate editions of George Orwell’s books, which are still under copyright protection in the US? "There is no single source of truth for the copyright status of every book in every country that retailers could use to check copyright status." Ya gotta be kidding. You can read Amazon's response to the Times article here. More stories on Amazon and counterfeit books here. The title to Publishers' Lunch's reaction: Amazon Admits They Are Unable and/or Unwilling to Prevent Counterfeit and Infringing Books.
EU Launches Anti-trust Probe into Amazon's Use of Retailers' Data (Katie Mansfield, The Bookseller, 7-17-19) “Amazon is facing a European Commission (EC) anti-trust investigation into how it uses sensitive data from independent retailers who sell on its marketplace, as the Booksellers Association (BA) says the probe ‘signals an appetite for a curbing of the relentless power of the online giants.’”
Bring Back the Golden Age of Broadcast Regulation (April Glaser, Slate, 9-6-19) "For decades, radio and television followed regulations—hardly heavy-handed ones—meant to ensure they served the information needs of their audiences and did not actively harm political discourse. The public may not own the internet the way it does the airwaves, but they’re not completely dissimilar. The internet is a resource that was built by government researchers. Thinking about the largest internet platforms as a kind of infrastructure is a useful place to start considering what light-touch regulation over their broadcasting functions might look like. Social media platforms impact the public interest. And so they should serve it."

[Back to Top]


Fake Amazon reviews draw fraud charges in groundbreaking FTC case (Nick Statt, The Verge, 2-26-19) A supplement company paid a third-party website to write misleading reviews about a weight-loss drug. It's the first time the FTC has cracked down on a company buying fake Amazon reviews. “People rely on reviews when they’re shopping online,” Andrew Smith, the FTC’s director of consumer protection, said in a statement. “When a company buys fake reviews to inflate its Amazon ratings, it hurts both shoppers and companies that play by the rules.”
Who owns digital stories? (Guy Gadney, The Bookseller, 7-10-19) Google planned to scan 130 million books (its democratization project) when an Authors Guild lawsuit slowed down that plan, but Google won the lawsuit, and "Google is using scanned copyrighted material to build its current and future products, and as far as we can tell from the settlement with the [Authors] Guild seven years ago, without any reference to authors being compensated for the use of their work....Google is a search and advertising company. Its primary profits come from its unparalleled ability to tailor advertising to an individual segment of one – you. And the advertising it displays is the trade-off that allows you to see its search results, its YouTube videos and its maps for free. As you use its services, it builds up a profile of you, which it sells to advertisers." The creators of the material it searches lose. [Emphasis added.]
The Amazon Diaries: Whole Foods Worker: “Mid-level People… Don’t Trust Whole Foods Corporate Anymore.” (Brendan O'Connor, The Amazon Diaries, OneZero, 3-18-19) "Even before the Amazon acquisition, he says, things at the company began to change: stores had less autonomy in what to stock and how to stock it, hours were cut, and teams consolidated. ...the news that the newly acquired Whole Foods would cease its practice of profit sharing with lower-level workers....it’s a self-organizing network of workers across the country, commiserating over shared experiences, swapping gossip and information, and strategizing over how to respond to labor cuts, layoffs, and meddling from Whole Foods Corporate." When Costco and Walmart started stocking organics, Whole Foods lost its edge.
The People Who Hated the Web Even Before Facebook (Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, 3-15-19) As the World Wide Web turns 30, a look back at its early skeptics. "The internet upended industry after industry, paving the way for the tech leviathans—such as Amazon, Facebook, and Google—that have been the subject of much public scorn of late. But even before these companies became so large and powerful, when the web was being widely heralded for its democratizing potential, there were prescient skeptics of the societal changes that it would bring about."
The Coalition Out to Kill Tech as We Know It (Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, 6-4-19) After disrupting so many industries and creating so many enemies in consolidating control of the internet, it’s going to be difficult for tech companies to find friends. Among their enemies (with explanations for each): angry conservatives,disillusioned tech luminaries, antitrust theoreticians, Democratic presidential candidates, rank-and-file tech workers, traditional Democratic corporate reformers, privacy advocates, European regulators, the media and telecom industries,scholarly tech critics, Apple, Oracle and other business-software companies, Yelp and other consumer-protection organizations, and the Chinese internet industry.
The law that made the Internet what it is today (Susan Benkelman, Opinion, WaPo, 4-28-19) A review of The Twenty-Six Words That Created the Internet by Jeff Kosseff. Few anticipated the consequences of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. Ron 'Wyden acknowledged to Kosseff that although he knew that Section 230 was going to be important, he “never thought that its reach would be this dramatic.” Nor could he possibly have foreseen platforms whose algorithms would help surface and amplify conspiracies, fake images and news stories, and even depictions of violence online, creating the distorted-mirror effect that is so prevalent and troubling today. Now something needs to change, whether it is the law or the companies’ behavior. Section 230 may have created the mirror of society that the Internet represents. But the tech companies now hold it in their hands, which means they may want to move more aggressively to remove its distortions — before the government tries to do it for them.'
Minnesota Amazon Workers Walk Off the Job Over Speed-Up (Joe DeManuelle-Hall, LaborNotes, 3-22-19) The March 7 walkout at Amazon’s fulfillment center in Shakopee, Minnesota, was these workers’ second job action in three months. Racing against a literal countdown clock, stowers have to find vacant space for incoming merchandise throughout the 850,000-square-foot warehouse. Hanging over the heads of stowers are twin standards: “rate” and “errors.” Stowers are expected to keep up a standard of 240-250 tasks an hour. Any downtime, such as time spent drinking water or using the bathroom, is counted against productive time. Errors is a measure of accuracy in scanning and placing items. Since 2017, the number of acceptable errors has been reduced from one in 1,000 items to one in 2,200 items. If workers make errors on two separate occasions, they can be terminated. “The pace of work is inhumane,” said one of the strikers.
• Nicholas Carr, Google in the Middle, Rough Cuts blog"We were misinformed. The Web didn't kill mediators. It made them stronger. The way a company makes big money on the Web is by skimming little bits of money off a huge number of transactions, with each click counting as a transaction. (Think trillions of transactions.) The reality of the web is hypermediation, and Google, with its search and search-ad monopolies, is the king of the hypermediators....
"Google's algorithm is based on reading 'links' as votes for content. Every time a website links to another website, Google reads that link as a vote.
The brilliance of the Google algorithm is its ability to figure out which votes should count more. But without those links, without those 'votes,'Google has nothing. What Google 'steals' from every website isn't the content - it's the links."

[Back to Top]

A former social media evangelist unfriends Facebook (Evgeny Morozov, Outlook, WaPo, 2-14-19) In a review of Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe by Roger McNamee, Morozov writes: It turns out that "“engagement” — tech speak for getting users trapped inside digital platforms...is just one of Facebook’s bland euphemisms for getting users addicted to its services; its sinister aim is to produce “behavior modification that makes advertising more valuable.” ...From misinformation to psychological dependencies, from cyberbullying to ethnic cleansing, the occasional byproducts of connecting humanity by means of advertising can no longer be dismissed....Facebook, with its clever but ruthless tactics of initially handing its advertising customers free promotional tools, only to withdraw and charge for them later, resembles a drug syndicate." McNamee's proposals for fixing Big Tech include "restoring the power of antitrust and applying it more vigorously to break up digital platforms" and "turning data portability into a right so that we can take the “social graph” of all our friends if we move away from Facebook..." May Zucked provoke debate!
Why Amazon’s Search for a Second Headquarters Backfired (Louise Matsakis, Wired, 11-14-18) "Over the course of Amazon’s year-long pursuit of new offices, researchers and journalists intensified their examination of not just the money Amazon might receive, but also what it has collected already. The company regularly receives public incentives to open facilities like warehouses and data centers, which Good Jobs First estimates have totaled $1.6 billion. An investigation from the nonprofit New Food Economy found that some Amazon warehouse workers are paid so little that they often qualify for another type of public benefit: food stamps. In some cases, taxpayers may even be subsidizing Amazon’s electricity costs, according to a Bloomberg report from August. Amazon is far from the only company to receive enormous public handouts in exchange for promising to create new jobs. Apple was awarded over $1 billion to open a data center in Iowa last year. That same year, Foxconn received over $4 billion to open a manufacturing plant in Wisconsin; the Verge recently reported how the company has changed its plans for the location, and many doubt the project will pay back the state. In 2014, Tesla orchestrated a public bidding war similar to Amazon’s, which netted the company $1.3 billion." See Amazon Publishing Turns 10 (Jim Milliot, PW, 5-17-19) for a snapshot of Amazon's growing power in book publishing (especially with commercial fiction).

[Back to Top]


Facebook Does Have to Respect Civil-Rights Legislation, After All (Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, 3-20-19) A landmark case forces Facebook to comply with civil-rights law. The social-media giant has long let users create ads—including for homes, loans, and jobs—targeted toward people of certain races and excluding others. After the practice came to light in 2016, advocates argued it was a violation of fair-housing laws. Yesterday, multiple plaintiffs reached a settlement with the company that will force it to create a new system for selling certain ads. Silicon Valley has long skirted scrutiny and regulation from governments and advocacy groups. That might now be changing.
How Facebook’s Ad Tool Fails to Protect Civil Rights (Gillian B. White, The Atlantic, 10-28-16) The company’s platform lets advertisers exclude people of certain races from seeing their content. That’s a serious problem when it comes to promotions such as housing, credit, and jobs.
How Tech Companies Manipulate Our Personal Data (Jacob Silverman, NY Times, 1-18-19) Shoshana Zuboff, author of The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power, "has emerged as the leading explicator of surveillance capitalism." We 'have to learn what surveillance capitalism is, as we come to terms with the novel form of economic and social power represented by Facebook, Google and a handful of other tech behemoths privy to our every click and utterance....surveillance capitalism distinguishes itself from its industrial forebear as “a new economic order that claims human experience as a free source of raw material.” We are the resource to be mined; the billion-dollar profits of Facebook and Google are built on a general accounting of our lives and everyday behavior....there is potentially no end to a surveillance capitalist’s extractive appetite, which is why — in the name of more efficient services and relevant ads — companies are constantly pursuing new, more granular data streams in our homes, workplaces and bodies. Unlike oil, to which it’s often compared, personal data is potentially limitless, but its extraction and consumption may be just as toxic, as we’re only beginning to understand.'
The Electronics Industry Sees Money in Your Health (Eric Taub, KHN, 1-16-19) Apple Watch has kicked off a rush by high-tech companies to capitalize on people’s worries about their health. With Y-Brush, you can cut down that onerous two-minute recommended time to 10 seconds, and supposedly still get your teeth cleaner. DFree, a sensor worn a half-inch above the pubis bone, predicts when an individual will have to urinate, giving the wearer a chance to gauge how long they can be away from a toilet. Etc.
Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Fought Through Crisis (Sheera Frenkel, Nicholas Confessore, Cecilia Kang, Matthew Rosenberg and Jack Nicas, NY Times, 11-14-18) "But as evidence accumulated that Facebook’s power could also be exploited to disrupt elections, broadcast viral propaganda and inspire deadly campaigns of hate around the globe, Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg stumbled. Bent on growth, the pair ignored warning signs and then sought to conceal them from public view....Facebook employed a Republican opposition-research firm to discredit activist protesters, in part by linking them to the liberal financier George Soros. It also tapped its business relationships, lobbying a Jewish civil rights group to cast some criticism of the company as anti-Semitic....But as Facebook grew, so did the hate speech, bullying and other toxic content on the platform. When researchers and activists in Myanmar, India, Germany and elsewhere warned that Facebook had become an instrument of government propaganda and ethnic cleansing, the company largely ignored them. Facebook had positioned itself as a platform, not a publisher. Taking responsibility for what users posted, or acting to censor it, was expensive and complicated. Many Facebook executives worried that any such efforts would backfire." Donald Trump used the platform to call ' for a “total and complete shutdown” on Muslims entering the United States. Mr. Trump’s call to arms — widely condemned by Democrats and some prominent Republicans — was shared more than 15,000 times on Facebook, an illustration of the site’s power to spread racist sentiment."
Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Anand Giridharadas. An insider's groundbreaking investigation of how the global elite's efforts to "change the world" preserve the status quo and obscure their role in causing the problems they later seek to solve. "That’s how billionaires like Bill Gates end up leading educational reform, albeit with mixed results. But its also how many companies in Silicon Valley try to define their own for-profit global missions, which is the rhetoric that Facebook and Google trot out when facing public backlash: When you’re a service that trumpets how you make humanity feel more connected, or offer search as a benevolent path to knowledge, people might seem less outraged that your tool was used to disrupt an election or might enable continuing government censorship in China."--The rich want to use money to solve problems, except the problems that made them rich (Ben Paynter, Fast Company, 9-13-18)
New York Should Say No to Amazon (Ron Kim and Zephyr Teachout, Opinion, NY Times, 11-9-18) "A city that thrives on the energy of its neighborhood merchants should not offer incentives and giveaways to an internet giant . . . so closely identified with squashing small merchants, stifling workers’ rights and undermining the publishing and ideas industry."

[Back to Top]


Future of digital journalism in question as BuzzFeed and HuffPost lay off 1,000 (Edward Helmore, The Guardian, 1-27-19) Built on the expectation of fast growth in advertising sales, companies like BuzzFeed and Vox Media have instead found that Facebook and Google – “the duopoly” – have simply tightened their grip on digital advertising revenue. Revenue-per-click, the business strategy that has informed digital publishers for years, was effectively pronounced DOA this week as leading players in a sector once viewed as the future of journalism announced deep cuts. Publishing as a whole had already shrunk sharply. By some estimates the shift to digital has resulted in an overall reduction in the business of 50% to 80%. Verizon said it would trim 7% of headcount, about 800 people, from its media unit, which includes HuffPost, Yahoo and AOL.
How badly is Google Books search broken, and why? (Sapping Attention blog, 2-19) Google Books has failed to live up to its promise as the company has moved away from its original mission of organizing information for people. But the particular ways that it has actually eroded....? I suspect that the reasons have to do with the way the Google books project has become a sort of Herculaneum-on-the-Web, frozen in time at the moment that anti-Books lawsuits erupted in earnest 11 years ago. The site is still littered with pre-2012 branding and icons, and the still-live "project history." One thing you WON'T get with a Google books search is a complete list of books on a particular subject in as particular time range.
Your TV Is Now a Computer, but Not in a Good Way (Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, 1-24-19) Your TV is so cheap (if Samsung) because it sells "bits of data and access to your TV after you purchase it...'post-purchase monetization'" and installs unasked-for apps that may interfere with your experience, and which (Samsung, or whoever) doesn't take responsibility for.

[Back to Top]


When Fact-Checking Becomes Censorship (Mark Joseph Stern, Slate, 9-11-18) Facebook has empowered a conservative magazine to suppress liberal viewpoints. " Four of Facebook’s chosen fact-checkers—the Associated Press, Factcheck.org, PolitiFact, and Snopes—are widely trusted and nonpartisan. The fifth, the Weekly Standard, has generally high-quality editorial content with a conservative ideological bent. This week, the Weekly Standard used its gatekeeping role in an incredibly troubling way, declaring that a story written by Ian Millhiser of ThinkProgress was false, essentially preventing Facebook users from accessing the article. ThinkProgress is as liberal as the Weekly Standard is conservative." See Censorship, free speech, and freedom of expression for more examples of political correctness and censorship.
Facebook, Twitter Turn to Right-Leaning Groups to Help Referee Political Speech ( Kirsten Grind and John D. McKinnon, Tech, Wall Street Journal, 1-9-19) Advisers on touchy issues include Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council, Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform and, on the left, the Southern Poverty Law Center. "...in many cases, posts that are hateful to one group are considered fair game—or even uncomfortable truths—to others on the opposite end of the spectrum, opening a whole new arena to continue the political and ideological fights that are often a staple of social media."
Samsung Phone Users Perturbed to Find They Can't Delete Facebook (Sarah Frier, Bloomberg, 1-8-19) Customers have been annoyed by Samsung's deal to pre-install Facebook on devices, including Galaxy phones, because the app can only be disabled, not deleted. Pre-install deals are common, but privacy concerns are rising. By contrast, Apple says it’s banning Facebook’s research app that collects users’ personal information (Kurt Wagner, Recode, 1-30-19) Facebook will stop its “market research” program that was paying users in exchange for their mobile data.

[Back to Top]


A 1970s Essay Predicted Silicon Valley's High-Minded Tyranny (Noam Cohen, Wired, 11-15-18) Jo Freeman and the Tyranny of Structurelessness. 'In Freeman’s unstinting language, this rhetoric of openness “becomes a smokescreen for the strong or the lucky to establish unquestioned hegemony over others.” Because “Tyranny” explains how things work, as opposed to how people say things work, it has become a touchstone for social critics of all stripes. During the Occupy movement, Freeman’s essay was on the organizers’ minds when they sought to eliminate hierarchy without introducing a hidden hierarchy. The essay is cited in hundreds of academic papers and books to explain the history of the Vatican, or the women’s movement in Iceland, or the Walmart workforce. But digital culture is where Freeman’s work has the most currency these days....For the left-wing author and documentarian Astra Taylor, “Tyranny” was a healthy reminder that Silicon Valley’s rhetoric of openness and meritocracy doesn’t match the reality....“How do you explain inequalities in a system where explicit discrimination doesn’t exist? How do you make sense of homogeneity when there’s no sign on the door excluding different types of people?”...There may be particular reasons why Silicon Valley leaders have an aversion to outside authority and rules, but mainly she thinks they embody the excessive enthusiasm of any group who gains a foothold in a new field—whether in oil exploration or railroads or the internet—and decides they are uniquely fit to hold that powerful position.'
You Don’t Own the Music, Movies or Ebooks You ‘Buy’ on Amazon or iTunes (David Pandagriff, Two Cents, The Passive Voice, 9-15-18) "When you purchase music, movies or books from Amazon or Apple’s iTunes store, you might be under the impression that that material is yours to enjoy forever; that’s how CDs and paper books work, after all....But you’d be mistaken. Anything digital is temporary, even if you clicked “purchase” rather than “rent.” One unfortunate side effect of that you won’t experience with a physical book or record: Your purchases may just disappear if licensing agreements change."
Amazon made me a victim of tax fraud (Patrick Reames, CTRM Center, 2-20-18) Someone set up a CreateSpace account in his name, with his Social Security number, and he got a 1099 for tens of thousands of dollars in 2017--money he never got for sales he never made. Someone use "selling" books for several hundred dollars each as a way of money laundering. Amazon agreed that it was fraud, but was NOT forthcoming with the information he requested.

[Back to Top]


Did The Washington Post pull its punches on Amazon and USPS? (Mathew Ingram, The New Gatekeepers series, Columbia Journalism Review, 12-20-18) We compared a WaPo story about Amazon to a WSJ story about the same topic. We noticed something.
Female Nobel prize winner deemed not important enough for Wikipedia entry (Leyland Cecco, The Guardian, 10-3-18) "Until around an hour and a half after the award was announced on Tuesday, the Canadian physicist Donna Strickland was not deemed significant enough to merit her own page on the user-edited encyclopedia. The oversight has once again highlighted the marginalization of women in science and gender bias at Wikipedia."
Google is quietly infiltrating medicine — but what rules will it play by? (Michael L. Millenson, STAT News, 1-3-19) With nearly 80 percent of internet users searching online for health-related information, it’s no wonder the catchphrase “Dr. Google” has caught on, to the delight of many searchers and the dismay of many real doctors.What’s received little attention from physicians or the public is the company’s quiet metamorphosis into a powerhouse focused on the actual practice of medicine. If “data is the new oil,” as the internet meme has it, Google and its Big Tech brethren could become the new OPEC. Search is only the start for Google and its parent company, Alphabet. Their involvement in health care can continue through a doctor’s diagnosis and even into monitoring a patient’s chronic condition for, essentially, forever.
Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google, and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy by Jonathan Taplin

[Back to Top]


Facebook and the newsroom: 6 questions for Siva Vaidhyanathan (Denise-Marie Ordway, Journalist's Resource, interviews the author of Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy Media scholar Siva Vaidhyanathan argues that “no company has contributed more to the global collapse of basic tenets of deliberation and democracy....Even when reporters have the best possible news judgment as their primary motivator, they can’t help but be affected by the draw of click-bait: the sense that some stories, some words and some images are going to attract more attention on Facebook. And they’re quickly told by editors how well their articles or videos moved around Facebook. In many newsrooms, there is a scoreboard posted in the middle of the newsroom with the social media impacts of certain stories … You can’t help but be obsessed by [the editorial analytics platforms] Chartbeat or Parse.ly — those are the big ones. “Facebook forces journalists to be more sensational, because the key to winning the Facebook game is to create conversations about a piece — and that usually means an argument.”
Authors Guild Comments to FTC on Internet Monopolies’ Impact on Creators. The Guild has "studied and discussed with regulators over the last several years how the unregulated and unchecked growth of the major internet monopolies has squeezed the publishing and news industries, resulting in lower pay for authors and journalists. We have also fought against the epidemic of online piracy facilitated by certain internet platforms, which they have allowed to flourish despite having the means to control it. Under Reagan-era interpretations of antitrust laws, regulators have been disinclined to interfere as long as prices to consumers remain low.
"Now the Federal Trade Commission is finally starting to consider whether we need to take a fresh look at our competition laws. Starting this fall, the FTC will hold hearings on “Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century.” As a foundation for the hearings and to better define the issues, the FTC requested public comments in response to a series of questions concerning the effectiveness of the current antitrust framework to competition and consumer welfare today." Click on link at bottom of selection to download the Guild statement.

[Back to Top]


The Follower Factory (Nicholas Confessore, Gabriel J.X. Dance, Richard Harris, and Mark Hansen, NY Times, 1-27-18) Everyone wants to be popular online. Some even pay for it. Inside social media’s black market.
This is what happens when speech gets outsourced to Twitter and Facebook (Mathew Ingram, CJR, 6-21-18) "The reality of the internet as it exists right now is that several large platforms effectively control speech in a much more dramatic and far-reaching way than was ever possible in the past. Google, Facebook, and Twitter are like shopping malls, where the mall owner gets to control the speech of anyone who enters, but these malls include literally billions people all across the globe, and the speech that occurs there—including journalism—has very real social consequences. The algorithms these companies are using to curb certain kinds of speech, meanwhile, tend to be both erratic and clumsy. Can the platforms find a way out of this Catch 22 without stomping all over publishers and users?"
No Space to Be Human (Alex Press, The Nation, 12-20-18) Heike Geissler's account of working at Amazon in Germany, from the book Seasonal Associate by Heike Geissler (translated by Kate Derbyshire) From review in Harper's Magazine: "...chillingly effective, not least for its accumulation of details, which seem both aggressively banal and freighted with an excess of symbolic meaning....The ubiquitous linguistic debasement and corporate doublespeak is made strange and new again, the small humiliations and injustices pile up along with their psychological and social consequences." Moira Weigel: "The recent wave of uprisings at Amazon fulfillment centers across Europe make this book even more timely than when it first appeared. But the reasons to read it will last well beyond this news cycle. Heike Geissler has sharp eyes and ears for the absurd indignities that contemporary capitalism inflicts on most people―and how it afflicts women, in particular."
Does a ‘universal attention token’ sound good? Then you’re going to love the blockchain (Mathew Ingram, The New Gatekeeper,s CJR, 9-4-18) 'The idea that your thoughtful perusal of a news story or touching human-interest tale will be converted into “attention tokens” is just the beginning. The whole thing feels like an exercise in commodification. According to SocialFlow’s white paper, readers would earn tokens by consuming content (including ads) and then be able to use those tokens to pay for paywall access and other features....they are primarily designed by software engineers, who are used to seeing people, or people’s data, as inputs. But it does give the whole enterprise a soul-less quality. You know who else sees people primarily as inputs? Facebook."

[Back to Top]


Life After Google: The Fall of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy by George Gilder
What is Blockchain Technology? A Step-by-Step Guide For Beginners (Blockgeeks) See also Everything you need to know about the blockchain (Arjun Kharpal, CNBC.com, 6-18-18)
Major Internet Companies as News Editors (A Gallup/Knight Foundation Survey) "Americans are concerned that major internet companies varying content for users can give people a biased picture of the news, restrict expression and increase the influence of news that benefits the internet company....If Americans seem uncomfortable with major internet companies providing tailored content to users, they are even more uncomfortable with these companies varying the news stories they show people....Americans believe that the primary reasons for showing tailored content include those that help the company's bottom line."
The Unlikely Activists Who Took On Silicon Valley — and Won (Nicholas Confessore, NY Times Magazine, 8-14-18) Facebook and Google made billions mining personal data, and fought off anyone who threatened to stop them. Then came a challenge in their own backyard. "Advertisers and their partners in Silicon Valley were collecting, selling or trading every quantum of Mactaggart’s self that could be conveyed through the click of a mouse or the contents of his online shopping carts....A website might quote him a higher price for a hair dryer if he lived in a particular neighborhood, or less if he lived near a competitor’s store. Advertisers could buy thousands of data points on virtually every adult in America....And no one knew more about what people did or were going to do than Facebook and Google, whose free social and search products provided each company with enormous repositories of intimate personal data....To Silicon Valley, personal information had become a kind of limitless natural deposit, formed in the digital ether by ordinary people as they browsed, used apps and messaged their friends. Like the oil barons before them, they had collected and refined that resource to build some of the most valuable companies in the world, including Facebook and Google, an emerging duopoly that today controls more than half of the worldwide market in online advertising. But the entire business model — what the philosopher and business theorist Shoshana Zuboff calls 'surveillance capitalism' — rests on untrammeled access to your personal data."

[Back to Top]


Bernie vs. Bezos: Amazon and Sanders are duking it out over warehouse working conditions (Abha Bhattarai, WaPo, 8-29-18). Related post: Thousands of Amazon workers receive food stamps. Now Bernie Sanders wants the company to pay up. (Abha Bhattarai, WaPo, 8-23-18)
How Social-Media Trolls Turned U.C. Berkeley Into a Free-Speech Circus (Andrew Marantz, New Yorker, 7-2-18) Public universities have no choice but to welcome far-right speakers seeking self-promotion. Should the First Amendment be reinterpreted for the digital age? 'In 2014, at a teach-in commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the Free Speech Movement, Wendy Brown spoke against trigger warnings and in favor of exposing students to new ideas. “When we demand, from the right or the left, that universities be cleansed of what’s disturbing,” she said, “we are complicit with the neoliberal destruction of the university.” Back then, Milo Yiannopoulos was still an obscure opinion journalist, and Donald Trump was still a reality-show magnate. “I haven’t radically shifted my position, but it’s fair to say that I’ve shifted my emphasis,” Brown told me. “I’ve become newly attuned to how free speech can be used as cover for larger political projects that have little to do with airing ideas.”'
Fakes, frauds, and 'review bombs': How TripAdvisor changed travel (Linda Kinstler, The Guardian, A long read, 8-17-18) The world’s biggest travel site has turned the industry upside down – but now it is struggling to deal with the same kinds of problems that are vexing other tech giants like Facebook, Google and Twitter. It replaced "expert review" with crowdsourced reviews, earning "$ per click" for sites listed, and grew more popular than professional reviews; now it's dealing with paid-for "fake reviews," SLAPP suits (for honest warnings in negative reviews), and backlash when they withhold negative reviews.

[Back to Top]


Can We Be Saved From Facebook? (Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone, 4-3-18) "We've reached a moment in history where many companies are more powerful than even major industrialized nations, and in some cases have essentially replaced governments as de facto regulators and overseers. But some of those companies suck just a little too badly at the governing part, leaving us staring into a paradox. The Russians call this situation a sobaka na sene, a dog on the hay. Asleep in the manger, the dog itself won't eat the hay. But it won't let you eat it either....The firm was said to have overreacted to conservative criticism some years back and gone too far the other way in an ill-fated search for "balance," inadvertently handing Trump the White House in the process. Facebook was also rocked by recent revelations that Cambridge Analytica, a firm partly owned by the same conservative Mercer family that became a primary sponsor of Donald Trump's foundering campaign in the summer of 2016, may have used personal information from 50 million Facebook users to deliver targeted ads to likely Trump voters." Do read the whole article. Scary.
Mark Zuckerberg Doesn’t Understand Journalism (Adrienne LaFrance, The Atlantic, 5-1-18) Either that, or he doesn’t care. Facebook wants its users to see less news on its platform these days, and most publishers are feeling the pain. The latest algorithm tweaks were meant to prioritize information posted by users’ friends and family—community! common ground!—rather than by professional news outlets.

[Back to Top]


Facebook’s troublesome local media tactics (Marie C. Baca, CJR, 6-18-18) What should journalists make of Facebook’s efforts to shape access? ...It’s a question reporters ought to ask themselves in each of the 50 cities where the social media giant is launching Community Boost, a multi-day conference marketed as digital skills training for small businesses. (The majority of the sessions are about how to use Facebook and Instagram.)...to what extent will journalists in those communities push back on the attempts to control and perhaps harvest information—especially if it means risking access to one of the most powerful technology companies in the world?"
Shoptalk: If Social Media Sites Acted Like Publishers, Fake News Would Vanish ( Randolph D. Brandt, Editor & Publisher) How the Communications Decency Act turned the internet into a Wild West of fake news and propaganda. The 1992 law was supposed to effectively ban obscenity and pornography from websites. "The main intent of the law obviously failed, as any cursory search for porn on the web can attest. What did work was the unintended consequences of another provision of the 1992 act, which declared internet web platforms free of the rational restraints that editors and publishers bring to more conventional print platforms, such as magazines and newspapers. Specifically, operators of internet services were not to be construed as publishers, thus not legally responsible for the posts of third parties who used their services....With no fear of libel or slander or other constraints on the public’s discourse, website operators could collect all the advertising revenue their sites would generate, but without the responsibility of legal and social norms that hitherto balanced First Amendment freedom of speech with professional editing of the content."

[Back to Top]


Are Google and Facebook Responsible for the Medical Quackery They Host? (Michael Schulson, Undark, 6-6-18) Social media algorithms help charlatans spread autism cures, a nonmedical cure for diabetes, vaccine disinformation, and AIDS denialism through online videos. Who’s really to blame? The digital platforms that host such material and conversations aren’t always passive participants in the recruitment process. Their algorithms, after all, are trained to give visitors more of the kind of content that they like — whatever that might be. If you watch one AIDS denialism video on YouTube, the site suggests other denialist videos, "essentially serving up content to keep me on the site longer."
Amazon Under Fire As QAnon Book Climbs Best-Seller List (NBC News, 3-5-19) The online retailer is now facing controversy over whether algorithms built by tech companies are unintentionally pushing conspiracy theories on customers.

[Back to Top]


Laying the Pipes of a Post-Advertising World (Andre Redelinghuys, NewCoShift, 5-31-18) The shift from brands and advertising to pipes and subscriptions is inevitable — and well underway. Want proof? Look to Disney. Soon they will launch their subscription video competitor to Netflix. With a lot on the line, a transformation of epic proportions lies ahead. Whether it’s successful or not, it speaks volumes that the owner of the most magical brands in the world is entering the pipe race.
World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech by Franklin Foer. "We shop with Amazon; socialize on Facebook; turn to Apple for entertainment; and rely on Google for information. These firms sell their efficiency and purport to make the world a better place, but what they have done instead is to enable an intoxicating level of daily convenience. As these companies have expanded, marketing themselves as champions of individuality and pluralism, their algorithms have pressed us into conformity and laid waste to privacy.” “The tech companies are destroying something precious. . . . They have eroded the integrity of institutions—media, publishing—that supply the intellectual material that provokes thought and guides democracy. Their most precious asset is our most precious asset, our attention, and they have abused it.”

[Back to Top]


• The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) 2016/679 is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union. It also addresses the export of personal data outside the EU. It is possible the U.S. will follow the EU's lead, especially considering the glaring data breaches surfacing in the United States.
GDPR in Context: 6 Key Data Protection Principles (Finextdra, 5-3-18) (Finextra is an independent newswire and information source for the worldwide financial technology community). "GDPR outlines six principles that organizations need to abide by. These principles aren't new - they were already outlined in the 1995 directive, but GDPR has revised them slightly." There is a paragraph about each of them in
1. Lawfulness, fairness and transparency
2. Purpose limitation.
3. Data minimization
4. Accuracy
5. Storage limitation
6. Integrity and confidentiality.

[Back to Top]


AI reveals potential Amazon, Facebook GDPR problems to regulators (Sean Keane, C/Net, 7-5-18) "AI [artificial intelligence] software reportedly uncovered suspected GDPR breaches by Alphabet, Amazon and Facebook. The software — created by EU Institute researchers and a consumer group — looked at the privacy policies of 14 major technology businesses in June, the month after the EU’s new data privacy laws went into effect, according to Bloomberg. Researchers named the software “Claudette” — short for automated clause detecter — and Alphabet (Google’s parent company), Amazon and Facebook were among the companies whose policies were under the AI microscope....The EU has been enforcing the General Data Protection Regulation since May 25 and the law requires the companies adopt greater openness about data they have on EU residents, as well as with whom they share the data."
Facebook Gave Device Makers Deep Access to Data on Users and Friends (Gabriel J.X. Dance, Nicholas Confessore, and Michael LaForgia, NY Times, 6-3-18) The company formed data-sharing partnerships with Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, Microsoft, Samsung and dozens of other device makers, raising new concerns about its privacy protections and compliance with a 2011 consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission.

[Back to Top]


A Tiny Screw Shows Why iPhones Won’t Be ‘Assembled in U.S.A.’ (Jack Nicas, NY Times, 1-28-19) 'Despite a trade war between the United States and China and past admonishments from President Trump “to start building their damn computers and things in this country,” Apple is unlikely to bring its manufacturing closer to home....Apple contracted much of the work to enormous factories in China, some stretching miles and employing hundreds of thousands of people who assemble, test and package Apple products. That assembly includes parts made around the world — from Norway to the Philippines to Pocatello, Idaho — that are shipped to China. The final assembly is the most labor-intensive part of building the iPhone, and its location often determines a product’s country of origin for tariffs. “China is not just cheap. It’s a place where, because it’s an authoritarian government, you can marshal 100,000 people to work all night for you,” said Susan Helper, an economics professor at Case Western Reserve University...'
What happens when two companies journalists love to hate are also handing out cash for journalism? (Laura Hazard Owen, NiemanLab, 5-17-18)
The platform patrons: How Facebook and Google became two of the biggest funders of journalism in the world (Mathew Ingram, Columbia Journalism Review, 5-16-18) "Taken together, Facebook and Google have now committed more than half a billion dollars to various journalistic programs and media partnerships over the past three years, not including the money spent internally on developing media-focused products like Facebook’s Instant Articles and Google’s competing AMP mobile project. The result: These mega-platforms are now two of the largest funders of journalism in the world.
"The irony is hard to miss. The dismantling of the traditional advertising model—largely at the hands of the social networks, which have siphoned away the majority of industry ad revenue—has left many media companies and journalistic institutions in desperate need of a lifeline. Google and Facebook, meanwhile, are happy to oblige, flush with cash from their ongoing dominance of the digital ad market....
"In the case of Google’s original News Innovation Fund, for example, the more than $100 million that has been doled out since 2015 has funded a wide range of startups, prototypes, and other experimental projects in more than 25 countries. The way that the fund is currently structured, it does two rounds a year, in which it pays out up to $60,000 for early-stage projects, up to $350,000 for medium-sized projects, and as much as $1.2 million for larger ventures." A mere sample from a long and thoughtful article.
How ProPublica Became Big Tech’s Scariest Watchdog (Katharine Schwab, Co.Design, 2-16-18) The nonprofit is fighting fire with fire, developing algorithms and bots that hold Facebook and Amazon accountable. Reporter Julia Angwin’s team specializes in investigating algorithms that affect people’s lives, from the Facebook News Feed to Amazon’s pricing models to the software determining people’s car insurance payments and even who goes to prison and for how long. To investigate algorithms, they’ve developed a new approach to investigative reporting that uses technology like machine learning and chatbots."

[Back to Top]


Amazon Makes $1 Billion Splash in Health Care, Buying PillPack (Robert Langreth and Zachary Tracer, Bloomberg, 6-28-18) Amazon agrees to buy PillPack, an online pharmacy that offers pre-sorted doses of medications and home delivery, Bloomberg News reports. Deal likely to hasten wider shakeout in the drug supply chain--accelerating the threat posed to entrenched retailers, suppliers and middlemen.
How Facebook let a friend pass my data to Cambridge Analytica (Timothy Revell, New Scientist, 4-16-18) Among other practical tips in this useful piece: "Last week it released a tool that lets people check if their data was involved – you can look for yourself here. I used it and found, to my surprise, that a friend has used the app." In other words, even if you didn't sign into "This is my digital life," if a friend of yours did, they can grab your basic info (date of birth, etc.). Or if you decide to grab an app by logging in with Facebook, the app can grab your info. Those private messages to friends? They grabbed those too. And so on.
Facebook Fined in U.K. Over Cambridge Analytica Leak (Adam Satariano and Sheera Frenkel, NY Times, 7-10-18) "Facebook was hit with the maximum possible fine in Britain for allowing the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica to harvest the information of millions of people without their consent, in what amounts to the social network’s first financial penalty since the data leak was revealed. The fine of 500,000 pounds, or about $660,000, represents a tiny sum for Facebook, which brings in billions of dollars in revenue every year....The fine is the first punitive action against Facebook since the reports about Cambridge Analytica surfaced. Since the revelations, Facebook has grappled with regulatory scrutiny on both sides of the Atlantic."
Can the Government Keep Up with the Pace of Tech? (Tam Harbert, Techonomy, 11-11-18) '“In the same way that government doesn’t know what it doesn’t know about technology, the tech sector doesn’t know what it doesn’t know about government,” says Travis Moore, former legislative director for Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) who has created fellowships for congressional offices to help bridge the divide....The need for common cause has never been greater; technology is upending every corner of society, for both good and bad, and a new wave of revolutionary innovations is poised to change the world and every industry. At the same time, a handful of monopolistic tech giants operate with impunity and sometimes heedlessness, crisscrossing national borders. Compounding the challenge of bridging the gaps, public trust of both groups has never been lower.' Read this, everyone!
How to Download and View the Massive Amount of Information Facebook Stores About You (Douglas Charles, Brobible, 3-26-18)
2017 was a year of scrutiny for social media and other tech (PBS NewsHour, 12-27-17) Technology in 2017 may have inspired more skepticism than the awe or optimism it has in the past. Such defining moments, from harassment allegations to hacking exploits, may have cast the tech industry in a much harsher light. Hari Sreenivasan takes a look back at the year's major tech stories with Farhad Manjoo of The New York Times and David Kirkpatrick of Techonomy. Facebook's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, initially doubted that the platform could have influenced the election, but later pledged to make political advertising more transparent. A small group of tech companies (Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc.) are essentially today's gatekeepers to communication, and they are more focused on drawing attention (because "eyeballs" equals ad money) than they are on doing the right thing, but they'd better try doing something right if they want to avoid regulation.
Google seeks to limit ‘right to be forgotten’ by claiming it’s journalistic (Chava Gourarie, CJR, 4-6-18) In the first "right to be forgotten" case to reach England’s High Court, two men are fighting to keep their past crimes out of Google’s search results, and the tech giant is fighting back by claiming it’s “journalistic.” In 2014, Europe’s top court ruled that a right to be forgotten existed under the EU’s Data Protection Directive, instituted in 1995. The court ordered Google to give Europeans the option of requesting to remove search results for their own names, if the information is “inadequate, irrelevant or excessive in relation to the purposes of the processing.”
Saying “I can just Google it” and then actually Googling it are two different things (Christine Schmidt, NiemanLab, 4-23-18) "News avoiders" tend to have confidence that they can stay on top of what's happening in the world through social media. They fall into three categories of "folk theory": (1) "News finds me. (2) "The information is out there." (Saying "I can just Google it" is different from actually googling things.) (3) "I don't know what to believe." (Especially when Mr. Trump keeps shouting "fake news" about facts he objects to.)
Where Countries Are Tinderboxes and Facebook Is a Match (Amanda Taub and Max Fisher, NY Times, 4-21-18) False rumors set Buddhist against Muslim in Sri Lanka, the most recent in a global spate of violence fanned by social media.A reconstruction of Sri Lanka’s descent into violence found that Facebook’s newsfeed played a central role in nearly every step from rumor to killing.
How YouTube's algorithm distorts reality (Video, Guardian News, 2-2-18) A Guardian investigation shows that under the algorithm YouTube was using during the 2016 election, for people who searched for either Trump or Hillary Clinton in the week before the election, 86 percent of the videos that appeared in the list of recommended videos along the right side of the one showing were either pro Trump or damaging to Hillary's campaign. It quotes Trump as saying "If I didn't have social media, I wouldn't be standing here." The YouTube compilation algorithm in the week before the election was heavy in "disinformation, conspiracy theories, and fake news, many from the notorious site Anonymous." Many of them belonged to conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Many claimed links to the anarchist collective, Anonymous. Some appealed to evangelical voters. Others "questioned Clinton's sexuality, health, and even accuse her of pedophilia."
Can Facebook beat back the fake news in Ireland’s upcoming vote on abortion? (Laura Hazard Owen, Nieman Lab, 4-20-18) Facebook ad transparency ahead of Ireland's abortion referendum.'On May 25, Irish citizens will vote on whether to end the country’s abortion ban. In advance of the referendum, CNN’s Ivana Kottasová reports, Facebook is rolling out a new tool that will “give users more information about political advertisements and sponsored posts in their News Feeds.” It’s already been tested in Canada and will roll out globally before the U.S. midterms.' A turnaround from: Facebook Is Ignoring Anti-Abortion Fake News (Rossalyn Warren, NY Times, 11-10-17)
New Facebook Policy Sparks Fears of Sex Talk Crackdown (Michael Kan, PC, 12-5-18) The updated content policy specifically bans 'sexual slang,' hints of 'sexual roles, positions or fetish scenarios,' and erotic art when mentioned with a sex act. Facebook added the policy to stop sexual solicitation, but critics fear it'll censor legitimate content.
EFF and Coalition Partners Push Tech Companies to Be More Transparent and Accountable About Censoring User Content(EFF press release, 5-7-18) Groups Release Specific Guidelines Addressing Shoddy, Opaque Private Censorship
Is the post office making or losing money delivering Amazon packages? (Steven Pearlstein, WashPost, 4-9-18). The facts, instead of speculation.
Coders of the world, unite: can Silicon Valley workers curb the power of Big Tech? (Moira Weigel, The Guardian, 10-31-17) For decades, tech companies promised to make the world better. As that dream falls apart, disillusioned insiders are trying to take back control. "The Californian Ideology, as two British media theorists dubbed it in the 1990s, combined personal liberty with market deregulation. A core tenet was that platforms such as Google and Facebook were politically neutral. They were tools for political expression but had no politics themselves. They would increase voting, but not affect it. Industry leaders espoused values that anyone could embrace: sharing, connection, community, openness, expression....They convinced politicians to privatise public goods – starting with the internet itself. In the 1990s, a network created largely by government researchers and public money was delivered into private hands and protected from regulation. Built on this enclosed ground, a company like Facebook could turn formerly non-economic activities – chatting with a friend, or showing her a picture of your kid or crush – into a source of seemingly endless profit. Not by chance, the values that these companies touted as intrinsic goods – openness, connectivity, deregulation – were also the operating principles that made their owners rich." And they have been used to influence elections.

[Back to Top]

"Big Brother" issues
Jeffrey Bezos of Amazon apologized for remotely deleting digital editions of George Orwell's 1984 from customers' Kindle reading devices after a copyright dispute, writes Brad Stone in Amazon Faces a Fight Over Its E-Books (NY Times 7-26-09). Stone quotes some critics on the advantages of such "tethered systems"--for example, for restoring content customers inadvertently lose, or for helping companies enforce copyright laws. "But critics say that any device capable of interfering with how its owner uses media is potentially dangerous. 'I worry that systems like these tethered appliances are gifts to regulators,' said Jonathan Zittrain, a professor at Harvard Law School and author of the book, The Future of the Internet — and How to Stop It. Mr. Zittrain predicts that governments in some parts of the world will want to use it 'like a line item veto for content,' removing objectionable sentences or chapters in some books."
Cambridge Analytica Scandal Becomes Data’s Watershed Moment (Jon Gingerich, O'Dwyer's: The Inside News of PR & Marketing Communications, 3-23-18) For the second time in the last year, Facebook has found itself in the reputational crosshairs after it was revealed that data analysis and political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica had improperly collected the private data of 50 million of the site’s users without their permission, once again positioning the social media giant in the unwitting role of disinformation specialist...a decisive turning point for Facebook but for conversations regarding data security in the U.S. as well....The underlying message is clear: Facebook has lost control of its platform.
Cambridge Analytica: What The Media Won’t Tell You (Trent Lapinski, Hacker Noon, 3-20-18) " It wasn’t the Russians, it was our own social media companies who sold our data to the Trump campaign which they then likely used to convince liberals not to vote in swing states.""Facebook is basically responsible for feeding the analytics system that enabled Cambridge Analytica and the Trump campaign to be so targeted and effective with a minimal budget. They ultimately won Donald Trump the swing states and the election. As well as subverted democracy, and likely made Facebook a bunch of money."
How activists of color lose battles against Facebook’s moderator army (Aaron Sankin, Reveal, from the Center for Investigative Reporting, 8-17-17) As Facebook is under the microscope for failing to stop harassment and the spread of fake news, it also faces another problem: The social media giant’s reporting policies punish minority users in a variety of ways.
Newsonomics: Will Facebook’s troubles finally cure publishers of platformitis? (Ken Doctor, Nieman Lab, 3-27-18) The Cambridge Analytica story is a reminder of the value of a trusted, direct connection between publisher and consumer. Building more of them is the news industry’s best strategy available. "It’s easier to see that now, to understand that Facebook is really just another advertising company — one grown beyond anyone’s imagination (except Google). But what can be done about it? Facebook is social crack, fostering a dependence that has made easy to swallow its monetization of our attention. Now that the extent of what it knows and how that knowledge can be used is clear, what are we going to do?"
Facebook's rallying cry: Billionaires to the barricades (Washington Examiner, 3-22-18) "When a big business starts helping build regulatory barricades, we shouldn’t applaud. Regulation, by raising costs, acts as a barrier to entry. It rewards those who, like Microsoft and Goldman Sachs today, have the best lobbyists and the most access to power. In so doing, it protects monopolies and oligopolies."
Electronics-Recycling Innovator Going to Prison for Extending Computers’ Lives A renowned e-waste innovator is going to prison for producing 25-cent discs that could’ve saved thousands of computers from the landfill. Eric Lundgren built the first “electronic hybrid recycling” facility in the United States, which turns discarded cellphones and other electronics into functional devices. Microsoft’s lawyers valued the discs at $25 each and said they represent $700,000 in potential sales. The real loss to Microsoft was in the potential sale of new computers and new software licenses. A federal appeals court sentenced Lundgren to a 15-month prison term and a $50,000 fine on April 11.

[Back to Top]


Facebook and Google Helped Anti-Refugee Campaign in Swing States (Ben Elgin and Vernon Silver, Bloomberg Technology, 10-18-17) The big tech companies worked closely with Secure America Now to target an audience the group felt could be swayed by the message.
Inside the Two Years that Shook Facebook—and the World (Nicholas Thompson and Fred Vogelstein, Wired, 2-12-18) How a confused, defensive social media giant steered itself into a disaster, and how Mark Zuckerberg is trying to fix it all. First came an article: "'Former Facebook Workers: We Routinely Suppressed Conservative News.' The piece suggested that Facebook’s Trending team worked like a Fox News fever dream, with a bunch of biased curators “injecting” liberal stories and “blacklisting” conservative ones." That set the stage for the most tumultuous two years of Facebook’s existence—triggering a chain of events that would distract and confuse the company while larger disasters began to engulf it. Fascinating and important story. "It appears that Facebook did not, however, carefully think through the implications of becoming the dominant force in the news industry....Facebook hired few journalists and spent little time discussing the big questions that bedevil the media industry. What is fair? What is a fact? How do you signal the difference between news, analysis, satire, and opinion?...Facebook’s move into news set off yet another explosion of ways that people could connect...."While Facebook grappled internally with what it was becoming—a company that dominated media but didn’t want to be a media company—Donald Trump’s presidential campaign staff faced no such confusion....Facebook was the way to run the most effective direct-­marketing political operation in history.....Numerous security researchers express consternation that it took Facebook so long to realize how the Russian troll farm was exploiting the platform....When Facebook finally did find the Russian propaganda on its platform, the discovery set off a crisis, a scramble, and a great deal of confusion." And so on!
"We're building a dystopic just to make people click on ads" (Zeynep Tufekci's TED Talk, Sept. 2017) We're building an artificial intelligence-powered dystopia, one click at a time, says techno-sociologist Zeynep Tufekci. In an eye-opening talk, she details how the same algorithms companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon use to get you to click on ads are also used to organize your access to political and social information. And the machines aren't even the real threat. What we need to understand is how the powerful might use AI to control us -- and what we can do in response."

[Back to Top]

Social media groups (and tips) for writers, editors, journalists, and other communicators

Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media (Francesco Zaffarano, Nieman Lab, Dec. 2018)
A list of every hidden journalism-related social media group I could find (Melody Kramer, Poynter, 8-3-15)
Report: How journalists use social media in 2017 (Kevin J. Allen, Ragan, 9-18-17) A new study from Cision (you can read the report here shows that many media pros are wary of networks’ impact on journalism and mixed about how to use them for gathering content. The report identified six categories of social media users: architects, promoters, hunters, messengers, observers and skeptics. Each group had its own preferences for social media use, often influenced by professional and demographic needs.
Social Networks for Writers
Social Media for Writers: Which Platforms You Need to be on, Based on What You Write (Kristina Adams, The Writer's Cookbook, 5-21-19)
10 must-join Facebook groups for journalists (Jacob Granger, Journalism.co.uk, 6-18-19) Which communities are best for journalists to bolster their network of contacts? Here are our best picks. 15 online communities for journalists you should know about (Abigail Edge, Journalism.co.uk, 7-15-15) From freelancing to mobile journalism and open data, here's our pick of the best media chat groups across social media and the we
Hashtag Our Stories is using Snapchat lenses to turn citizens into more effective storytellers (Caroline Scott, Journalism.co.uk, 1-17-19) The mobile journalism network is creating digital tools to help more citizen journalists tell local stories for global audiences
What 3 Social Media Websites are Great for Editors? (Ralene Burke, The Christian Pen: A proofreaders and editors network)
My Writers Circle (a message board
Understanding the Role of a Social Media Reporter (Laura Lake, The Balance, 6-25-19)

[Back to Top]

Alexa, Echo, and other
intelligent voice control system (IVCSs)


Just How Dangerous Is Alexa? (Bob Sacks, Bo Sacks Speaks Out, Bosacks Precision Media Group, 1-20-17) "Clearly this is just the beginning, and the Echo and the Internet of Things (IOT) will be increasingly embedded into all our lives. On June 29th, 2007, less than 10 years ago, the iPhone was first released at a time when not too many people had or wanted a cell phone. Now there are more cell phones then there are people on the planet.
"But when I read about Jamie Court, who is the president of Consumer Watchdog, a nonprofit advocacy group discussing new patent ideas from Amazon: 'When you read parts of the (Alexa) applications, it's really clear that this is spyware and a surveillance system meant to serve you up to advertisers.' When you combine Cambridge Analytica, Facebook, Google, Alexa and all the other information intrusion activists you get a very scary picture of corruptibility. Well, you should get that picture, although none of this is yet illegal. Yes, we are all targets, and there are two advertising bullseyes on the head and heart of every individual on the planet...
An Oregon family’s encounter with Amazon Alexa exposes the privacy problem of smart home devices (YouYou Zhou, Quartz, 5-25-18) "Here’s the latest nightmare scenario for the tech-phobic: A woman in Portland, Oregon found out that her family’s home digital assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, had recorded a conversation between her and her husband without their permission or awareness, and sent the audio recording to a random person on their contacts list."
12 Smart Voice Recognition and Voice Activated Products for the Home (Home Stratosphere)
Everything You Need to Know About the Security of Voice-Activated Smart Speakers (Candid Wueest, Principal Threat Researcher, Symantec) A look at Google Home and Amazon’s Echo Dot. See also A guide to the security of voice-activated smart speakers
The Coming Revolution of Voice Control With Artificial Intelligence (David Strom, SecurityIntelligence, 2-16-17) As consumer devices become more capable, with voice control assistants such as Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana and Google’s Assistant, it is only natural to expect these artificial intelligence (AI) applications to move into more business settings. But there are security concerns.
Amazon Echo and the Alexa dollhouses: Security tips and takeaways (WeLiveSecurity) Tips on securing the Alexa service on Amazon Echo devices, notably voice purchasing, a topic brought into focus by the recent San Diego dollhouse TV story: "A local TV station did a piece about a six year-old girl who ordered a $160 dollhouse from Amazon, via Alexa, without her parents’ knowledge or permission. At the end of the story, when the anchorman repeated what that little girl was reported to have said – Alexa, order me a dollhouse – people in San Diego started calling the TV station to complain. Why? Because the Alexas in their homes and offices had started to respond to that request."
What does 'The internet of Things' mean for publishers? (Jon Watkins, FIPP, The Network for Global Media, 6-10-16) The phrase ‘Internet of Things’ has been knocking around a while, and for ages we’ve heard people discussing how fridges can order food when it runs out etc. Where exactly are we in the Internet of Things journey? If you are a broadcaster, a media company, a publisher, you should be starting to think about how that allows you to give localised content – proximity marketing and proximity use become real possibilities for the industry.
What is the Internet of Things? (Jocelyn Baird, NextAdvisor, 1-11-16) The Internet of Things (IoC) "is the connection of any device that can be turned on and off to the Internet (as well as connecting these devices to each other). Devices that are covered by the umbrella of the Internet of things are diverse — everything from your smartphone and computer to fridges and wearable devices like pedometers. If it has the potential to connect, then it’s a part of the Internet of things, and the number of “things” is growing by the day. According to IT research company Gartner, the number of connected devices worldwide is projected to grow to 26 billion by the year 2020."
5 predictions on the future of the Internet of Things (Norton, which, like most other firms, has a dog in this fight, and something to sell.)
[Back to Top]

Content Marketing, Native Advertising, Sponsored Posts, etc.


Why bloggers need to be upfront about sponsored content (SE Smith, The Guardian, 3-9-12) Bloggers are supposed to disclose if they accept free products, if a post is sponsored by an advertiser, or if some other consideration like free travel is offered. They should identify sponsors, be honest about whether a product recommendation is genuine or paid for, disclose an affiliate relationship (on this site, for example, we are an Amazon affiliate, so we get a small commission if you click on a link to an Amazon product and buy a book).
WTF Is Native Advertising? (a free Native Advertising ebook brought to you by The Story Studio) Makes some useful distinctions, and I quote: 

Native advertising An advertising message designed to mimic the form and function of its environment

Sponsored content: Advertising created to mimic the editorial content of a particular publishing site, often created by an on-staff team called a content studio.

Content marketing Any marketing messages that do not fit within traditional formats like TV and radio spots, print ads or banner messaging. Content marketing itself spans a wide breadth and can include sponsored and branded content (below) but is not always native

Social instream advertising: Facebook’s sponsored posts, Twitter’s Promoted Tweets and Pinterest’s Promoted Pins all fall within this category.

Also explains Branded content, Content recommendation widgets, Paid search listings (those "Ads" at the start of search engine results).
The deal with disclosure and the ethics of native advertising (Theresa Cramer, Digital Context Next, 9-6-16) 'If you’re a publisher you need to clearly mark your native advertising with disclosure terms, not just “design elements,” and continue to strive to make the content as compelling and useful as your editorial. From there it’s incumbent upon audiences to be more discerning—to pay more attention to what they are reading or watching—because unless there is a major sea change in the business of digital content (and audiences’ willingness to pay for it) native advertising is here to stay.'
.com Disclosures: How to Make Effective Disclosures in Digital Advertising (Federal Trade Commission, 2013, PDF) The Clear and Conspicuous Requirement: "Disclosures that are required to prevent an advertisement from being deceptive, unfair, or otherwise violative of a Commission rule, must be presented “clearly and conspicuously.” Whether a disclosure meets this standard is measured by its performance — that is, how consumers actually perceive and understand the disclosure within the context of the entire ad. The key is the overall net impression of the ad — that is, whether the claims consumers take from the ad are truthful and substantiated."
Is Native Advertising Ethical? (It Depends On Who You Ask) (Demian Farnworth, Copyblogger, 5-5-13) Scroll down for links to Demian's other pieces on Native Advertising, including 12 Examples of Native Ads (And Why They Work)
Now in Blogs, Product Placement (J. David Goodman, NY Times, 6-12-10) Welcome to quid pro post. Know what's ethical and legally right and wrong. Disclose any gifts or payments for writing about something.
Are You Being Conned? Fair Sponsored Blog Post Rates and Best Practice Guidelines (Sue Anne Dunlevie, Successful Blogging, last updated 9-30-15) To get 5 free tips you sign up, and get a pitch for online training--but there are some practical tips first.
Instagram is testing a new way for celebrities and influencers to identify their sponsored posts (Anthony Ha, TechCrunch, 6-14-17) "Instagram is creating a standardized format that should make it clearer to everyone when a post has been paid for by an advertiser. These aren’t for ads that businesses buy directly from Instagram, but rather for influencer marketing, where brands pay celebrities and other users with a significant online following to promote their products. It’s an area that every big tech and media company seems interested in, but it’s also creating questions around disclosure and transparency. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission recently sent letters to more than 90 influencers reminding them that they need to “clearly and conspicuously” disclose when their posts are sponsored."
Can Facebook beat back the fake news in Ireland’s upcoming vote on abortion? (Laura Hazard Owen, Nieman Lab, 4-20-18) Facebook ad transparency ahead of Ireland's abortion referendum.'On May 25, Irish citizens will vote on whether to end the country’s abortion ban. In advance of the referendum, CNN’s Ivana Kottasová reports, Facebook is rolling out a new tool that will “give users more information about political advertisements and sponsored posts in their News Feeds.” It’s already been tested in Canada and will roll out globally before the U.S. midterms.' A turnaround from: Facebook Is Ignoring Anti-Abortion Fake News (Rossalyn Warren, NY Times, 11-10-17)

[Back to Top]

Content curation and content aggregation

I honestly don't know what they're talking about half the time so I am thinking things through out loud here by seeing what others say. If you can clarify what's going on, let me know. Maybe this is old news?
Content Curation Vs Content Aggregation: The Basics (John Souza, Social Media Today, 5-21-12) "The difference between the first form of content aggregation and content curation is this: aggregation is automated and collects info based on keywords. Curation on the other hand is basically manual. In our opinion, content curation is the most valuable of the two."
3 Differences Between Content Curation & Content Aggregation (Bran Honigman, NewsCred, 5-1-15) "Thirty percent of online users get their news from a website or mobile app that organizes news stories for them. Content aggregation is automated through RSS feeds...with curation, content marketers to thoughtfully pick specific content that best targets an audience’s needs and interests. Curators target material to a niche. Then there's value. Amex targets material to its audience, using "a mixture of original (new) and curated content from external sources"; Yahoo News, on the other hand, is automated, apparently less selective. It all seems to be about marketing.
How to Properly Aggregate David Carr’s Column on Aggregation (Joe Coscarelli, Intelligencer, New York magazine, 3-12-12) Writer Simon Dunenco’s planned Council on Ethical Blogging and Aggregation aims to codify by committee some general rules on how to write about other people’s original ideas and journalism without stripping them of credit or pageviews. “We want some simple, common-sense rules. There should be some kind of variation of the Golden Rule here, which is that you should aggregate others as you would wish to be aggregated yourself.” It's often legacy institutions like newspapers who are worst at people's material without attribution. The decline of smalltown newspapers and the growth of the Internet have sent "beginners to the blogging trenches, where we are working out the push and pull between reporting and analysis or original and aggregated on our own."
A Code of Conduct for Content Aggregators (David Carr, NY Times, 3-11-12) "So where is the line between promoting the good work of others and simply lifting it? Naughty aggregation is analogous to pornography: You know it when you see it....The Faustian bargain of the digital news ecosystem suggests that people get to pick your pocket a bit and then send back traffic in return." Some send back less traffic than others.

Content Curation: Why Is the Content Curator The Key Emerging Online Editorial Role of the Future? (Rohit Bhargava, MasterNewMedia, curated by Luigi Canali De Rossi,1-20-10) "What is content curation and why is it so important for the future of web content publishers? The content curator is the next emerging disruptive role in the content creation and distribution chain. In a world submerged by a flood of information, content curators may provide in the coming months and years a new, tremendously valuable service to anyone looking for quality information online: a personalized, qualified selection of the best and most relevant content and resources on a very specific topic or theme." ..."Mastering how to create niche-targeted compilations of content is indeed one of the key lifesaving strategies that wise-minded online publishers can adopt to offer greater value, even at a price, to those interested in it."

[Back to Top]


The meaning of "free internet"

How One Syrian Fought to the Death for a Free Internet (Alice Su, Wired, 9-27-17) Bassel Khartabil: “Of my experience spending three years in jail so far for writing open source code (mainly) I can tell how much authoritarian regimes feel the danger of technology on their continuity, and they should be afraid of that. As code is much more than tools, it’s education that opens youth minds and moves the nations forward. Who can stop that? No one."
The Price of Free (Nicholas Carr, NY Times Magazine, 11-13-09) "A few months ago... I bought a Blu-ray player. What I didn’t realize until I unpacked the gadget was that it does a lot more than just spin high-definition discs. It is, as they say, Web-enabled. As soon as I plugged it into an outlet in my living room, its built-in WiFi antenna sniffed out my home network and logged on. The Blu-ray player became a gateway between the Internet and my television set....My new viewing habits must make Brian Roberts very nervous. The more I play movies and TV shows from the Web, the less I use my cable TV service. I almost never order pay-per-view movies anymore. And I recently canceled my premium Showtime subscription....I have a feeling that it won’t be long before I and a whole lot of other people start asking similar questions about pay-TV subscriptions in general."
Russia Is Trying to Copy China’s Approach to Internet Censorship (Emily Parker, Slate, 4-4-17) The good news is, it's probably too late. The internet is also a powerful tool for Putin’s opposition. The internet helped spark Russia’s largest anti-government protests in five years. Russia responded by blocking access to webpages that promoted demonstrations.This is part of a larger story. Just a few years ago, Russians had a mostly free internet. Now, Russian authorities would like to imitate China’s model of internet control.
Net neutrality
Keeping the Internet Free Might Get Very Expensive (Noah Smith, BloombergView, 10-27-16) The web is safe and costs almost nothing to use today. Cybercrooks and vandals aided by artificial intelligence could change that equation.
Google Fiber’s plan to give free Internet to the poor (Brian Fung, Wash Post, 2-3-16) It'll cost Google Fiber roughly $1 million a year in Kansas City alone.

[Back to Top]

The Power of LinkedIn


Beginners Guide to LinkedIn (MOZ) Keep your company page up-to-date. Use the products and services spotlight. Establish yourself and your brand as a thought leader, an authority in your area of focus. Don't overdo self-promotion; build customer advocates. Complete your personal profile thoroughly and honestly. And so on.
What Your LinkedIn Profile Should Look Like in 2018 (Kristen Bahler, Money, 1-17-18) Be social: Accept connection recommendations. "Nail the voice." Add some personality to your professional story (don't sound like a resume). Keep your profile alive.
How LinkedIn Works (Dave Roos, HowStuffWorks) How is LinkedIn different?

4 LinkedIn Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make (Undercover Recruiter) Failing to understand social networking contexts, having no good profile photo, filling in vague headlines, and not creating a personal narrative.
Is LinkedIn doomed to repeat the same mistake Facebook made? (Arik C. Hanson, ACH Communications, 6-12-18) Is LinkedIn using users' news feeds for their own purposes, instead of letting us communicate with our own network of friends and colleagues.
Ignoring LinkedIn Is Hurting Your Career (Joanna Stern, Wall Street Journal, With its refreshed app and some tricks, it’s time to make the uncoolest professional network part of your social-media routine
The LinkedIn Mistake That's Hurting Your Career (Leonard Kim, Inc.) Make it easy to be contacted. Provide an email address, or a way to contact you.
Five Foolish Reasons To Ignore LinkedIn (William Arruda, Forbes, 7-16-17)
17 LinkedIn Marketing Best Practices (Sarah Hecker, SmartBug, 11-2-16)
[Back to Top]

YouTube

History of YouTube (Wikipedia) YouTube was created by PayPal employees in 2005 as a video-sharing website where users could upload, share and view content....In 2006 Google acquired the company for $1.65 billion in stock....It is estimated that in 2007, YouTube consumed as much bandwidth as the entire Internet in 2000....In late 2011 and early 2012, YouTube launched over 100 "premium" or "original" channels....And so on.
Worried About YouTube Ruining Your Children? (Stuart Dredge, Medium, A quick guide to subscriptions and safety settings that will help you sleep at night. And scroll down for links to the 40 channels
YouTube introduces Channel Memberships, merch shops and Premieres to help creators (Paul Hill, Neowin, 6-22-18) Content creators on YouTube complain "that their ad revenue streams are drying up, whether it’s from a rise in ad blockers or whether its the constantly evolving YouTube algorithms freezing out channels which publish political content. To address this, Google is introducing Channel Memberships and the option to sell merchandise."
The Flourishing Business of Fake YouTube Views (Michael H. Keller, NY Times, 8-11-12) "Plays" can be bought for pennies and delivered in bulk, inflating videos’ popularity and making the social media giant vulnerable to manipulation. "Just as other social media companies have been plagued by impostor accounts and artificial influence campaigns, YouTube has struggled with fake views for years."
OpenSlate ranks the value of video content to marketers. "Take control of where your video ads are running." "The Startup That Polices YouTube for Twerk-Averse Advertisers." (I had to look up "twerk" also.)
YouTube will add information from Wikipedia to videos about conspiracies (Casey Newton, The Verge, 3-13-18) Pushing back on crazy theories.
The Follower Factory (Nicholas Confessore, Gabriel J.X. Dance, Richard Harris, and Mark Hansen, NY Times, 1-27-18) Everyone wants to be popular online. Some even pay for it. Inside social media’s black market.
Why are YouTube stars so popular?(Stuart Dredge, The Guardian, 2-3-16) With millions of subscribers, top YouTubers such as Zoella have huge, passionate audiences. Here’s a handy guide to help you understand their popularity
Is YouTube a Good or Bad Influence on Society? (Syra Sharif, Mic, 5-6-12)
YouTube to launch new music streaming service (Laura Snapes and Mark Sweney, The Guardian, 5-17-18) YouTube Music will replace Google Play Music and take on Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal
YouTube website
Are Google and Facebook Responsible for the Medical Quackery They Host? (Michael Schulson, Undark, 6-6-18) The digital platforms that host such medical quackery aren’t always passive participants in the recruitment process. Their algorithms, after all, are trained to give visitors more of the kind of content that they like — whatever that might be. If you watch one AIDS denialism video on YouTube, the site suggests other denialist videos, "essentially serving up content to keep me on the site longer."
How YouTube's algorithm distorts reality (Video, Guardian News, 2-2-18) A Guardian investigation shows that under the algorithm YouTube was using during the 2016 election, for people who searched for either Trump or Hillary Clinton in the week before the election, 86 percent of the videos that appeared in the list of recommended videos along the right side of the one showing were either pro Trump or damaging to Hillary's campaign. It quotes Trump as saying "If I didn't have social media, I wouldn't be standing here." The YouTube compilation algorithm in the week before the election was heavy in "disinformation, conspiracy theories, and fake news, many from the notorious site Anonymous." Many of them belonged to conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Many claimed links to the anarchist collective, Anonymous. Some appealed to evangelical voters. Others "questioned Clinton's sexuality, health, and even accuse her of pedophilia."

[Back to Top]



Pinterest

Pinterest operates a software system designed for discovering information on the web (by computer or mobile phone), mainly using images and on a shorter scale GIFs and videos. This very popular social media site was founded by Ben Silbermann, Paul Sciarra and Evan Sharp. Pinterest had 200 million monthly active users as of September 2017, many of them . It is NOT just for teenagers, it draws lots of shoppers, it's helpful for saving lots of articles on a subject in one place until you have time to read them, and many blogs use it for promotion.
Pinterest
Join Pinterest as a Business
What is Pinterest and How Does It Work? (Jessica, TechBoomers.com)
How To Use Pinterest For Beginners A 2017 Tutorial (YouTube, LaLas world, 5-5-17) Learn step-by-step.
How to Use Pinterest (Real Simple)
Pinterest: A Beginner's Guide to the Hot New Social Network (Rob Lammle, Mashable, 12-26-11)
Using Pinterest for Genealogy (Amy Johnson Crow, 5-2-19). The organizing principles can be applied to more than genealogy.
Pinterest Save button (for use with Google Chrome)
Irving Penn photos of writers, actors, and people in the limelight (fabulous photos)
How To Clean Up Pinterest Boards: A Step-by-Step Tutorial (Kate Ahl, SimplePinMedia, 2-19-18)
Pinterest app
Pingroupie (look for Pinterest group boards)
Canva (a design tool you can sign up for at various levels--education, small or large business, nonprofit or charity, personal)
How to Create a Pinterest Board with a Theme (YouTube)
Best Image Sizes for Social Media Design
Pinterest for Authors: Use Pinterest to Find New Readers and Sell More Books by Mark J. Dawson (free when I downloaded it on Kindle, and a good intro for beginners)
How to Write Your Pinterest Bio Like a Boss (Caitlin Bacher)
How to Verify Your WordPress Site on Pinterest (WPBeginner, 7-7-15)

[Back to Top]


RESOURCES FOR BLOGGERS
including tips on copywriting
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”~Oscar Wilde


Blogging Toolbox (Mashable's links to 120+ resources for bloggers)--start here! (For Twitter followers numbers, if you have about the same number of followers as you follow, nothing to write home about. Having many more followers than people you are following suggests you have some influence.
Building Your Writer Platform — How Much is Enough? (Chuck Sambuchino, Writer Unboxed, 10-22-12) How many (blog page views, Twitter followers, newsletter subscribers, public speaking appearances, sales of previously self-published books) is enough? Interesting numbers!
Avoiding blogger burnout. "When Blogging Becomes a Slog," Steven Kurutz, Home & Garden, NY Times, 9-24-14) Strategies for staying sane as a home blogger (with links to good "home" blogs)

Read This If You Want To Make Money Blogging (Tim Rettig, Medium, 7-16-18) Understand what the real value of a blog is. And then build a business around your blog.
Blogging for Dollars: Giving Rise to the Professional Blogger (Meg Hourihan, Web DevCenter)
How Much Do the Top Bloggers Make? (Blogger.com) And how do they do it?
Now in Blogs, Product Placement (J. David Goodman, NY Times, 6-12-10) Welcome to quid pro post. Know what's ethical and legally right and wrong. Disclose any gifts or payments for writing about something.
Are You Being Conned? Fair Sponsored Blog Post Rates and Best Practice Guidelines (Sue Anne Dunlevie, Successful Blogging, last updated 9-30-15) To get 5 free tips you sign up, and get a pitch for online training--but there are some practical tips first.
The Blogger's Guide to Wordpress Security (BestVPN.org) A guide to "hardening" and protecting your WordPress blog. And it's a little long -- but most of the steps that you're going to have to take are only going to have to be taken once.
Blogging Tips (Keven Ann Willey, as reported in AJR)
Blogging Basics 101
Blog terms (Blog Advertising Rates)
Blogging tips galore (Lorelle on WordPress, who among other things offers digital inserts to prevent plagiarism)
Blogs in plain English (Common Craft video explanation)
Blogsite (enterprise-level blogging platform, allowing multiple blogs on one blogsite, good SEO visibility), not free
Blog Usability (top 10 Weblog design mistakes, Jakob Nielsen)
Content Marketing 101 (Copyblogger on How to Build Your Business With Content)
Copyblogger (useful blog on blogging, here on the importance of a calendar and planning)
How to Start Blogging: A Definitive Guide for Authors (Jane Friedman, 3-27-16). Her book Publishing 101: A First-Time Author's Guide to Getting Published, Marketing and Promoting Your Book, and Building a Successful Career is a collection of all her blogs on the subject.
Copyright: Sample Forms and Strategies for Registering your Online Content (Sarah Bird, The Daily SEO Blog, 3-24-08)
Daily blog tips
Google Sites (for a group website or a company intranet--new, and the votes not in on this one yet)
Great Landing Pages (Copyblogger)
How to Get Started (TrafficRescue). In six steps: Getting started, setting up blog , learning to use blog, starting to blog, marketing, making money.
Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing
LiveJournal (free, good for blogging among friends)
Nine Lessons for Would-Be Bloggers (Joshua Porter)
SEO Copywriting: The Five Essential Elements to Focus On (Brian Clark, Copyblogger)
Submitting a sitemap to Google Webmaster tools (so you will get indexed by Google and other search engines, so visitors can find you)
10 Common Business Blogging Questions Answered (Hubspot, focused on business-to-business blogging). Those were most common questions from HubSpot'sScience of Blogging webinar, viewable on demand here, with Dan Zarrella.
Six Copywriting Tips Every Solo Professional Should Know
Top 10 Tasks to Get Your Blog Ready for Prime Time (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer, 11-26-12)
12 Blogging Tools from Erica Reitman (Tony Levelle's site)
12 Business Blogging Shortcuts for Time-Crunched Marketers (Corey Eridon 1-5-12, Hubspot)
Social Media Monitoring: Are You Listening to Me? Deirdre Reid lists tools to monitor online mentions of your name, your username, your company and other keywords.
Using Google alerts to monitor incoming links
Social Media Monitoring 101, How to Get Started (Jason Falls on the Social Media Examiner blog, 11-10-09)
8 Easy Twitter Monitoring Ideas (Cindy King, 3-8-10)

What Offer Does Your Author Blog Make? (Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer, 8-13-12)
Why You Need to Build Links to Your Website and What a Good One Looks Like (Rebecca Corliss, HubSpot, 1-24-11) and
Did You Graduate from Link-Building High School Yet? (Pete Caputa, HubSpot 9-30-08)
Widget websites (John Kremer's links to websites and other services devoted to making and hosting widgets)
Business2Blogger (must useful info for business blogging)
Xanga (personal blogging community)
BlogHer (a social community for women who blog, with a popular conference in July)
Sources for photographs and other images
Clearing rights for photos and other images
Bloggers Beware: You CAN Get Sued For Using Pics on Your Blog - My Story (Roni Loren, 7-20-12)
Blogging, digital journalism, and the law (Writers and Editors)
Blogger's Guide to Copyright and DMCA (Natalie Mootz, Blogging.com)
A Legal Guide for Bloggers: Copyright, the DMCA, and Fair Use Images (Ben Mulholland, process.st, 10-9-17)
The $105 Fix That Could Protect You From Copyright-Troll Lawsuits (David Kravets, Wired, 10-27-10). "Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a website enjoys effective immunity from civil copyright liability for user content, provided they promptly remove infringing material at the request of a rightsholder. That’s how sites like YouTube are able to exist, and why Wired.com allows users to post comments to our stories without fear that a single user’s cut-and-paste will cost us $150,000 in court. But to dock in that legal safe harbor, a site has to, among other things, register an official contact point for DMCA takedown notices, a process that involves filling out a form and mailing a check to the U.S. Copyright Office. If you run a U.S. blog or a community site that accepts user content, you must register a DMCA agent with the copyright office. 12 Steps To Register A DMCA Agent With the Copyright Office.
DMCA Self-help for Self-Published Authors (and others!) (E.A. Haltom, Authors Guild) In a post first published on her site Smitten by the Words, guest contributor E.A. Haltom demystifies the DMCA takedown process.
Anonymous Blogging Guide (Digital Media Law Project)

Blogging Effectively
• Blogs for bloggers. Some you may find helpful (for tips, or as models): Chris Brogan (excellent tips on social media marketing), CopyBlogger, FastCompany, ProBlogger, Seth Godin, Chris G. (Chris Garrett), HubSpot (inbound Internet marketing blog).
The Best of Copyblogger 2010
The Best of Copyblogger 2009
47 Ways Copyblogger Can Help You Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions
How to Use the “Rule of Three” to Create Engaging Content (Brian Clark, Copyblogger)
What are 10 Addictive Types of Content? (Jeff Bullas)
How To Build A Community On Your Blog (Caitlin Muir, Author Media)
Engaging Content Posts Don’t Stop After You Hit Publish (Blogging Pro
5 Really Annoying Blogging Mistakes That Will Make Your Blog Annoying To Visit
How to Write Engaging Blogs People Want to Read (Beanstalk, Search Engine Optimization Inc.)
Plucked From Their Web Writing to Promote a Vaseline Brand (Tanzina Vega, NYTimes, 11-8-10). Major firm uses crowdsourcing (three bloggers) to find product spokeswomen.
Bloggiesta, hosted by Natasha from Maw Books, is a three-day challenge to improve your blog. Reading the entries will remind you of things to do to improve your own blog.
Chuck Sambuchino on what not to do in a writer's blog (interview with him starts down a few paragraphs in this blog about Julie Martin's first year of blogging). He says, among other things: "Here's a general tip in building your blog and online presence: It should not be easy. Most people never get over that platform hurdle because they are afraid to put in the time. Doing it right takes time. It means a TON of e-mails to people. It means linking to people. It means researching online. It's hard work—but the hard work pays off."


Blogging Professionally
Blogging Pro Job Board
Blogging for Dollars (Darren Rowse, ProBlogger, 9-23-04)
Blogging for Dollars: Giving Rise to the Professional Blogger (Meg Hourihan, O'Reilly Web Center, 8-12-02)
How to Make Money From Your Blog – Direct Methods (Darren Rowse, ProBlogger 2-22-06)
Guest Blogging on Blogging Pro, in partnership with My Blog Guest (become a guest blogger -- or get your blog entries from the collection of guest-blogger articles)
Bloggers Bring in the Big Bucks (John Tozzi, Bloomberg Businessweek 7-13-07). How a personal obsession can turn into a popular favorite and maybe even a full-time job
Blog Herald (Blogging News for Bloggers)

BLOGGING PLATFORMS:

Compare platforms (read what others say):
Wordpress Tumblr, Medium, or ...? 8 Best Blogging Platforms Reviewed (Mike Wallagher, Start Blogging Online, 2-6-16)
The 10 Best Blogging Platforms in 2011 (Armando Roggio, Practical Ecommerce, insights for online merchants)
Blogger vs. WordPress (Basil C. Puglisi, Digital Brand Marketing, gives the pros and cons on both blog services)
7 Best Blogging Platforms (Harry Marks, Lifed 11-8-11)
The 10 Best Blogging Platforms (Jarel Remick, Appstorm.net 10-4-10 -- with links to extras for each, and details on "hosted or self-hosted")

WordPress (Web-based, free, an open source blogging platform, most popular platform, with huge community of developers; allows no ads)
WordPress Tips Newsletter (Tom Johnson's blog)
Blogger(Web-based, free, owned by Google, whose ads you can post)
Drupal (an open source content management system with blogging features)
Expression Engine
Joomla!
Movable Type (a professional publishing platform, for developers)
Posterous spaces (Web-based, free, hard to set up, easy to post messages by email) says Jason Fitzpatrick, Lifehacker on 5 best blogging platforms (6-10-10)
Squarespace (Web based, monthly fee)
Typepad (for Movable Type fans--the best, says Mashable), not free
Tumblr (Web-based, free, a cross between a blog and a Twitter feed, good for ecommerce merchants)
Twitter (mobile-based one-sentence blogging, a topic discussed separately)

[Go Top]

Designing a better user experience (UX)

What is User Experience Design? Overview, Tools, and Resources (Jacob Gube, Smashing Magazine, 10-5-10)
Learn UX design: 10 best paid and free UX design courses (Mimi Lauder, Digital Arts) Includes both online courses and courses from high-profile Universities such as Stanford.
Why Don’t You Have a Writer in Your UX Team? (Georgina Laidlaw, Sitepoint, 11-17-14)
Better User Experience with Storytelling (Part 1, Francisco Inchauste, Smashing Magazine). How user experience professionals and designers are using storytelling to create compelling experiences that build human connections. Read more about the UX Storytellers Project here. Then you will probably want to buy the book: Storytelling for User Experience: Crafting Stories for Better Design by Whitney Quesenbery and Kevin Brooks (foreword by Ginny Redish), about the power of storytelling to improve the user experience. Check it out a bit through Frequently Asked Questions.
The world’s top economists just made the case for why we still need English majors (Heather Long, WaPo, 10-19-19) .The whole premise of Thomas Shiller’s book Narrative Economics is that storytelling matters. What he learned about the Great Depression was far more useful in understanding the period of economic and financial turmoil than anything he learned in his economic courses. "What people tell each other can have profound implications on markets — and the overall economy. Examples include the “get rich quick” stories about bitcoin or the “anyone can be a homeowner” stories that helped drive the housing bubble.“Traditional economic approaches fail to examine the role of public beliefs in major economic events — that is, narrative,' Shiller wrote. “Economists can best advance their science by developing and incorporating into it the art of narrative economics.” And "Contrary to popular belief, English majors ages 25 to 29 had a lower unemployment rate in 2017 than math and computer science majors."
The importance of writing in UX design (Ben Barone-Nugent, CB, 3-24-14)
Bridging the Content Gap: Ten Ways to Motivate People to Produce Good Web Content (Luke Chaput de Saintonge, UX User Experience, The Magazine of the User Experience Professionals Association, June 2014)
Thanks for leads from Leslie O'Flahavan at e•write.

[Back to Top]

Instagram

Teenagers migrate to Instagram from Facebook to get away from their parents, I am told.

 

How to Use Instagram as an Author Plus 10 Ways to Grow Your Account Organically (Joanna Penn, 1-7-17) "... if your reader demographic is between the ages of 18 and 49, Instagram can be a strategic application for you to use."
My kid is an Instagram Influencer. Here’s what I do with her money Kid influencers can be big business on Instagram. Three parents share how they manage their kids’ earnings–without spoiling them. Writer Pavithra Mohan (Fast Company, 5-8-19) talks to parents (Martha Krejci, Mai Nguyen-Miyoshi, and Simone Gittens) about their how they manage their daughters' (Norah, Zooey, and Summer's) income and fame from Instagram.
#Bookstagram: How Readers Changed The Way We Use Instagram (Mara White, HuffPost, 10-25-17) "What is a #bookstagram? It’s an Instagram hashtag used to denote a book related picture. It can be an image of someone reading the book, the book itself, or objects that evoke something (plot, characters, themes) from the book. Images can be of the reader’s favorite reading spot at home, a shot of taking the book on an adventure or vacation, or a favorite local coffee shop or bookstore.
Strategies To Get More eCommerce Traffic from Instagram (MyEcomClub, info about eCommerce) #5: Showcase User Content. "According to research conducted by Crowdtap (2014), user-generated content is 50 percent more trusted than posts from a company, and 35 percent more memorable than business posts. This demonstrates the necessity of utilizing user-generated content for a company’s Instagram account."
10 Instagram Tips for Writers ( Annie Sullivan on Jane Friedman's blog, 9-6-18)
Best days and times to post instagrams (CoSchedule.com) "The best time to post is between 8-9 am. Avoid posting at 3-4 pm." Post during off-work hours, not during work hours.
20 Professional Writers to Follow on Instagram (Alice E.M. Underwood, Grammarly, 6-3-17)
How to Market Yourself on Instagram without a Book to Sell (Yet) (Shayla Raquel’s blog, 8-14-18)
How to Use Instagram for Business: A Complete Guide for Marketers (Sarah Dawley, Hootsuite, 1-30-18)
Social Media Marketing Understanding the Instagram Algorithm: 7 Key Factors and Why the Algorithm Is Great for Marketers (Alfred Lua, Buffer Social, 4-25-17)The Instagram algorithm, just like the Facebook News Feed algorithm, is so mysterious yet ingenious and brilliant in showing the best content to the most people. The seven key factors: engagement, relevance, relationships, timeliness (how recent), profile searches (the accounts you check out often), direct shares, time spent.
5 Ways to Use Instagram as an Author (Tee Morris and Pip Ballantine on Jane Friedman's blog, 11-19-15)
Making Videos Social with IGTV (Neda Dallal, via PenguinRandomHouse, Aug 2018) A tutorial on how to use IGTV, for long-form vertical video (smartphones).
How to Use Instagram (Digital Trends)
Instagram (Wikipedia entry) Instagram is a photo and video-sharing social networking service owned by Facebook, Inc. It was created by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, and launched in October 2010
Instagram in Education (Ashley MacQuarrie, Learning Liftoff, 11-20-12)
Explore the hidden patterns of the fashion Instagram universe (David Yanofsky & Jenni Avins, Quartz, 9-18-14)
Behind Instagram’s Success, Networking the Old Way (Somini Sengupta, Nichole Perlroth, and Jenna Wortham, NY Times, 4-13-12) The extraordinary success of Instagram is a tale about the culture of the Bay Area tech scene, driven by a tightly woven web of entrepreneurs and investors who nurture one another's projects with money, advice and introductions to the right people. By and large, it is a network of young men...
The Secret Behind Instagram’s Success (Dumb Little Man, 1-9-18)
4 Creative Ways to Use Instagram for Business ( Dorothy Cheng, Social Media Examiner, 9-22-16) #1: Generate Sales With an Interactive Catalog and Product Profiles
Instagram: Now with ads ( Adrian Covert, Money, 10-3-13)
Instagram is testing a new way for celebrities and influencers to identify their sponsored posts (Anthony Ha, TechCrunch, 6-14-17) "Instagram is creating a standardized format that should make it clearer to everyone when a post has been paid for by an advertiser. These aren’t for ads that businesses buy directly from Instagram, but rather for influencer marketing, where brands pay celebrities and other users with a significant online following to promote their products. It’s an area that every big tech and media company seems interested in, but it’s also creating questions around disclosure and transparency. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission recently sent letters to more than 90 influencers reminding them that they need to “clearly and conspicuously” disclose when their posts are sponsored."

[Back to Top]

Twitter: How to Make the Most of It

Twitter is for people who think Facebook is nineteenth century. Facebook was about keeping out the riffraff. Twitter is building followers who are riffraff, if necessary, but getting eyeballs. That’s the currency. Eyeballs are critical.”
~ Sree Srinivasan, in a lecture to the National Book Critics Circle


Twitter, an an online social networking and microblogging service on which users send (tweet) and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters. That has changed -- text is longer and there are photos all over Twitter. Twitter and Facebook were at one point the top two social media (the race is on).
What Does 'Hashtag' Mean & and How Do You Use Them? Sandra Grauschopf, The Balance Everyday, 7-23-19) Use hashtags correctly in your online posts. People can search for posts with a specific hashtag, so using hashtags helps people find posts and tweets that interest them. And if you want your own posts to be found, adding a hashtag or two will help you find your audience.
What Retweets Are and How to Use Them ( Sandra Grauschopf, The Balance Everyday, 8-31-19)
How to Use Twitter and Facebook for Emergency Travel Information (Stephanie Rosenbloom, NY Times, 9-21-17) "Sometimes organizations rely on social media to get out messages when their own websites are slow, as the National Hurricane Center’s was when it experienced overwhelming traffic during Hurricane Irma. Other times, ways to help organically bubble up on social media." Here, "a beginner’s guide to finding the most helpful accounts. A word of caution: Sometimes a social media account looks official even though it has nothing to do with the actual organization or individual you’re seeking."
Thread reader app How to Transform Twitter threads into a readable page.
Hashtagify Boost your #success through hashtag marketing. Find, analyse, amplify. 
Top 25 Cybersecurity Experts To Follow On Social Media In 2019 (Scott Schober, author of Hacked Again, on Cybersecurity Ventures). Following their posts will make you aware of things you never thought to worry about about.The best response to trolls is no response. Ignore them and don't forward their messages.
Trump Can’t Block Critics From His Twitter Account, Appeals Court Rules (Charlie Savage, NY Times, 7-9-19) "Because Mr. Trump uses Twitter to conduct government business, he cannot exclude some Americans from reading his posts — and engaging in conversations in the replies to them — because he does not like their views, a three-judge panel on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in New York, ruled unanimously." "The decision may have broader implications for how the First Amendment applies to officials’ accounts in the social-media era."
Twitter is the crystal meth of newsrooms ( David Von Drehle, WaPo, 1-25-19) It's quick, it's easier than interviews or close observation, it's ideal for smart alecks. "No reporter can go to the scene of a dozen events per day, observe what happens, interview those affected, sort the meaning from the dross and file a story. But Twitter offers an endless stream of faux events: fleeting sensations, momentary outrages, ersatz insights and provocative distortions. "
A brief history of not being able to edit your tweets (Harry McCracken, Fast Company, 7-19-19) A request people have been making since 2006 ignored by Twitter.
Maggie Haberman: Why I Needed to Pull Back From Twitter (NY Times, 7-20-18) "Twitter has stopped being a place where I could learn things I didn’t know, glean information that was free from errors about a breaking news story or engage in a discussion and be reasonably confident that people’s criticisms were in good faith. The viciousness, toxic partisan anger, intellectual dishonesty, motive-questioning and sexism are at all-time highs, with no end in sight....Twitter is now an anger video game for many users. It is the only platform on which people feel free to say things they’d never say to someone’s face. "
Lawsuits over journalist Twitter accounts may become more common (Jonathan Peters, CJR, 9-10-18) "Andy Bitter, who covered Virginia Tech football for The Roanoke Times, resigned in July 2018 to join the sports-news website The Athletic, which has been poaching talent from local media. While at the Times, Bitter had used a Twitter account to share his stories, break news, and engage with readers. He had more than 27,000 followers when he left. Bitter declined requests from the Times’s parent company, BH Media Group, to hand over his login information—and he has continued to use that account at The Athletic. BH Media, which says it owns the account, is suing Bitter in federal court... It’s unclear how the case will turn out. The facts need finding, and there aren’t good precedents. The problem is twofold: Few cases have addressed social-media ownership in an employment context, and the most relevant ones have settled out of court."
A love story in 10 tweets to the Tribune Tower as journalists say goodbye and developers prepare to convert the newspaper building to pricey condos. (former Chicago Tribune editorAnn Marie Lipinski)
Tweets are the new vox populi ( Heidi Tworek, CJR, 3-27-18) Journalists use tweets as a way to include opinions from “ordinary people” instead of going onto the streets to get them from actual people. But tweets are one way Russian propagandists plant disinformation.
Bots in the Twittersphere (Stefan Wojcik, Solomon Messing, Aaron Smith, Lee Rainie and Paul Hitlin, Pew Research Center, 4-9-18) An estimated two-thirds of tweeted links to popular websites are posted by automated accounts – not human beings. And how they identified Twitter bots.
Twitter Just for Writers. by Frances Caballo ($5 ebook). She writes ebooks about other social media, too.
How social media helps scientists get the message across (EurekAlert, 4-12-18) Communicating new research discoveries through social media--primarily Twitter--eventually leads to higher citations years down the road.
How Black Twitter and other social media communities interact with mainstream news A report by Knight Foundation explores how social media subcultures — Black Twitter, Feminist Twitter, and Asian American Twitter — interact with the news. Read the findings, such as "Twitter subcultures give voice to issues that mainstream media don’t cover." "Black women, black feminists, black gay men —they’re basically invisible communities outside of Black Twitter." Many interesting findings here!
Shakespeare’s Twitter Account (Kate Dwyer, Paris Review, 4-2-18) "Daily Kerouac is one of several literary tribute Twitter accounts devoted to tweeting quotes from authors....The most popular Oscar Wilde account has upward of 160,000 followers while Sylvia Plath has nearly 200,000 and @_harukimurakami clocks in at 235,000."
Twitter, It’s Time to End Your Anything-Goes Paradise (Farhad Manjoo, State of the Art, NY Times, 11-22-17) After a year in which it became blindingly obvious that Twitter was rife with abuse and harassment, and that it has become a haven for propagandists, bots and other manipulators, it’s time for Twitter to scrap one of its founding principles: the idea that it is an anything-goes paradise, where anyone who signs up for a voice on its platform is immediately and automatically given equal footing with everyone else, and where even the vilest, most hateful and antisocial behavior should be tolerated.
How to tell if you have fake Twitter followers (and how to remove them) (Ren LaForme, Poynter, 2-1-18)
Book Marketing on Twitter: The 15 Most Important Twitter Lists (E.T. Carlton, Cathy Stucker's Selling Books, 5-13-15)
15 Twitter Users Shaping the Future of Publishing (Maria Schneider, of Editor Unleashed, on Mashable.
10 Ways Twitter Will Change American Business (24/7 Wall Street, on Time.com)
• "Facebook is for people you went to college with; Twitter is for people you wish you went to college with."~quoted by Sree Sreenivasan (@sree), who posts helpfully on Sree's Social Media Guide--a work in progress.(Remember it this way: http://bit.ly/sreesoc). In a lecture to the National Book Critics Circle, Sree said, “Twitter is for people who think Facebook is nineteenth century. Facebook was about keeping out the riffraff. Twitter is building followers who are riffraff, if necessary, but getting eyeballs. That’s the currency. Eyeballs are critical.”
"And this is precisely the reason I think Twitter will be more important than Facebook: Twitter is not about friends, it's about strangers." and "Not sure I want followers as 'friends'. That's what I have Facebook for. Twitter brings me acquaintances with common interests." ~ Carol Phillips, Millennial Marketing, "Why Twitter Matters to Marketers"
ProPublica shows how to tweet ( David Uberti, CJR, 4-6-17) Specifically, shows Trump how to tweet investigative journalism-style.
Book Marketing Twitter Lists (E.T. Carlton, Cathy Stucker's Selling Books, 5-13-15)
Twitter in Plain English (a short introduction to the microblogging service Twitter) and Twitter Search in Plain English, new opportunities for business feedback, tracking real time news and discovering trends (excellent video-explanations by Commoncraft)
Twitter Basics (Twitter itself on how Twitter can help your business) "Compelling content will help you attract new followers and keep them engaged over time."
Intro to Twitter for Business
Twitter Campaign Types
9 Top Twitter Tips You Can Start Using Today (Michael Brenner, Forbes, 1-23-13).
Three Twitter Tips for Mystery Writers (and Readers) (Dorie Clark, guest blogging on Jungle Red Writers--scroll down to see her piece, 4-16-13). Brilliant idea: "Brainstorm in bulk."
On Twitter, Hate Speech Bounded Only by a Character Limit (Jim Rutenberg, NY Times, 10-2-16) You have to wonder whether the cap on Twitter’s growth is tied more to that most basic — and base — of human emotions: hatred. It courses through Twitter at an alarming rate.
Twitter has been ignoring its fake account problem for years (Mathew Ingram, CJR, 1-31-18)
This is what happens when speech gets outsourced to Twitter and Facebook (Mathew Ingram, CJR, 6-21-18) 'blocked a range of accounts—including many belonging to journalists—for 24 hours, after they posted messages about a story published by Splinter News (formerly Fusion, which is owned by Univision) that included the private phone number of White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, the person many blame for the separation and internment of immigrant families. Twitter apparently saw publishing his phone number as “doxxing,” or revealing personal information about someone for the purpose of harassment, and put the users in “Twitter jail.”'
I’ve left Twitter. It is unusable for anyone but trolls, robots and dictators (Lindy West, The Guardian, 1-3-17) ‘The breaking point for me wasn’t the trolls themselves – it was the global repercussions of Twitter’s refusal to stop them.’
Martin Shkreli and the Case For Twitter Transparency (Charlie Warzel, BuzzFeedNews, 1-8-17) Every suspension enforced by Twitter sets a precedent. Its users deserve to know why. Twitter “appears unwilling to engage in the necessary transparency surrounding the harassment of its users.”
Why We Can't Fix Twitter (Emily Parker, Politico, 1-7-17) Social media is broken. When will we realize that we're the problem? What's missing? Civil discourse. Suggestions for improvement: an edit button so users could fix erroneous or ill-considered tweets; a bookmark button; improved reporting options for bullying. "We, the users, fan the flames with our views and our retweets and our hot takes."
This is what happens when speech gets outsourced to Twitter and Facebook (Mathew Ingram, CJR, 6-21-18) Both Facebook and Twitter are struggling to get a handle on how their platforms are being used by bad actors, but their solutions are causing almost as many problems as they are solving....
Twitter blocking someone for simply posting a link to a website raises some interesting questions. How far is Twitter—or any other platform—willing to go in taking this to its logical conclusion? What if a journalist links to a site that has ISIS videos, or pro-Nazi content, for news purposes. Will they be blocked?
Sreetips.com (Sree Sreenivasan, the go-to guy for new media and an excellent tech teacher, on Web 101, wikis, blogs, etc.). Some content free, some $$. See also Sree's new tips. New at social media? Start with Sree's Social Media Guide--a work in progress.(Remember it this way: http://bit.ly/sreesoc). Here's a sample: "I promise that my sessions, like my tweets, will most likely be: helpful * useful * informative * relevant * practical * actionable * timely * generous * brief * entertaining * fun * occasionally funny." (Check to see if your Tweets have some of those attributes.) And he quotes: "Facebook is for people you went to college with; Twitter is for people you wish you went to college with."• Sreenet's Twitter Guide for Newbies and Skeptics
SreeTips (Sree Srinivasan's 's advice on C/Net)
The Twitter Guide Book (Mashable)
50 Power Twitter Tips (Chris Brogan, who also posted 50 Ideas on Using Twitter for Business
Best Practices (Twitter on how to build your following, reputation, and customer's trust)
How to Get More Retweets
Buddy Media strategies for effective tweeting
Inside Twitter’s 10-Year Failure To Stop Harassment (Charlie Warzel, Buzzfeed, 8-11-16) For nearly its entire existence, Twitter has not just tolerated abuse and hate speech, it’s virtually been optimized to accommodate it. With public backlash at an all-time high and growth stagnating, what is the platform that declared itself “the free speech wing of the free speech party” to do? BuzzFeed News talks to the people who’ve been trying to figure this out for a decade.
Social Media Resources
(KOK Edit, Katharine O'Moore-Klopf's invaluable links, on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter)
This is what happens when speech gets outsourced to Twitter and Facebook (Mathew Ingram, CJR, 6-21-18) "Whether posting Miller’s phone number should be seen as doxxing is obviously up to Twitter to decide, as is the punishment for this supposed crime, since it (like Facebook) is a private corporation running a platform it controls, and thus isn’t bound by the First Amendment. That said, however, blocking someone for simply posting a link to a website raises some interesting questions. How far is Twitter—or any other platform—willing to go in taking this to its logical conclusion? What if a journalist links to a site that has ISIS videos, or pro-Nazi content, for news purposes. Will they be blocked?
Using Twitter, LinkedIn to diversify your sources #ahcj13 (Shuka Kalantari, Covering Health, AHCJ, 3-25-13)
Twitter for health journalists (Pia Christensen, AHCJ tip sheet, 3-13-09)
Twitter for health journalists (Shuka Kalantari, AHCJ tip sheet,
Twitter for journalists (Scot Hacker, Ashwin Seshagiri, KDMC tutorial, 6-23-11)
10 ways journalists can use Twitter before, during and after reporting a story (Mallary Jean Tenore, Poynter, 9-20-11)
HootSuite Help Desk
What Should Freelancers Tweet About? (David Masters, Freelance Switch)
The Science of ReTweets (Dan Zarella, Mashable--this is quite interesting!)
Twitter Tools: HootSuite & TweetDeck Highlights (Laura Zera via Molly Greene--the pros and cons of two sites for managing your time tweeting and following tweets). Here's more: The Top 20 Twitter Clients being Used in 2012 (Neal Schaffer). Says Schaffer, for 2012, the top clients are:
~~HootSuite (a dashboard to manage your tweets)
~~Twitter.com
~~ Tweetdeck (it tweets when someone tweets you on Twitter)
~~SocialOomph
~~Echofon
~~MarketMeSuite
~~SproutSocial
The Art of Writing Great Twitter Headlines (Brian Clark, Copyblogger)
The Art of Writing Tweets That Stand Out (Houssem, High Quality Social Media
How To: Not Suck at Writing Tweets (Diana Adams, Bit Rebels)
How to Write Tweets That Get Clicks (Twitter How To)
Social Media Hashtags (SEOWebMarketing)
44 Essential Hashtags Every Author Should Know (Caitlin Muir, Platform Building Tips, Author Media)
Managing Your Twitter Following (Kludgymom, Video Tutorial on Business2Blogger, 5-17-11)
Thumbs up for Roger Ebert’s new revenue model on Twitter (Bill Mitchell, Poynter, 2-17-11) and Ebert fishes some lessons from his (revenue) streams (Bill Mitchell, Poynter, 2-18-11)
Promote Your Writing Through Twitter (Jeannette de Beauvoir, Beyond the Elements of Style, 9-4-12)
10 Secrets to Using Twitter to Attract More Followers and Get More Clients by Donna Gunter
The Tweet Smell of Success (Noam Cohen, Brian Stelter, NYTimes, on the power of being on Twitter's A list)
Learning Pool's quick-start guide for people in and around government (Dave Briggs, PDF)
How and why scholars cite on Twitter (Jason Priem and Kaitlin Light Costello, ASIS, 2010)
Twittering Tips for Beginners (David Pogue, NY Times, 1-15-09)
5 Common Twitter Myths That Are Hurting Your Efforts (Lauren Dugan, AllTwitter, the unofficial Twitter resource, 5-23-11) and 5 More Twitter Myths That Will Cripple Your Success (5-24-11). "Tweets are meant to share ideas largely with strangers who don’t care so much about you but more about what you have to say. Facebook status updates are shared with friends (or at least people with whom you have some sort of relationship). The fundamental difference is that with Twitter, your ideas have to sparkle to catch people’s interests; with Facebook, a number of your connections are already interested in you."
Twitter - A Toxic Place for Women (Amnesty International) Journalist Jessica Valenti: "I think Twitter is the worst of the social media platforms, just because of the quickened and masked flow [of abuse] that happens. The content feels pretty similar across the platforms but the sheer volume of it on Twitter is what’s different." Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter: "We see voices being silenced on Twitter every day. We’ve been working to counteract this for the past 2 years…We prioritized this in 2016. We updated our policies and increased the size of our teams. It wasn’t enough."
10 Ways Twitter Has Made Better Teachers (ASIDE, Innovation Design in Education)
Saying No to Twitter: What Authors Need to Know (Daniel Berkowitz on Jane Friedman's blog, 4-15-19) Social media use can drive book sales, but not all successful authors use Twitter. If don't want to be on Twitter, you don't have to be on it. Digital services consultant and AuthorPop founder Daniel Berkowitz shares why Twitter truly is optional.
Fred Wilson: The Value Of Twitter Is In "The Power Of Passed Links" (Eric Schonfeld, TechCrunch.com, 6-16-09)
How Amy O’Leary live-tweeted her own speech — and won the #backchannel (Andrew Phelps, Nieman Journalism Lab, 5-22-12). The New York Times reporter anticipated people on Twitter missing the nuance of her ideas, so she came prepared.
5 Ways to Use Twitter to Avoid a Backchannel Disaster (Cliff Atkinson, Mashable, 3-7-10)
Assault on Georgian professor shows fragility of Twitter and other Web tools and services (NYTimes story by Jenna Wortham and Andrew Kramer, 8-7-09)
155 Ways to Tweet (What to Tweet, How to Tweet, by John Kremer)
On Writing for Twitter and Facebook -- a Poynter series by Roy Peter Clark:
Ways to make room for good writing on social networks
Why ‘no dumping’ is a good motto for writing on social networks
How journalists are using Facebook, Twitter to write mini serial narratives
The case of high heels: How open-ended questions on Facebook can spark story leads
How to use social networks to brand yourself as a writer
“Twitter is for people who think Facebook is nineteenth century. Facebook was about keeping out the riffraff. Twitter is building followers who are riffraff, if necessary, but getting eyeballs. That’s the currency. Eyeballs are critical.”
~ Sree Srinivasan, in a lecture to the National Book Critics Circle
New at social media? Start with Sree's Social Media Guide--a work in progress.(Remember it this way: http://bit.ly/sreesoc). Here's a sample: "I promise that my sessions, like my tweets, will most likely be: helpful * useful * informative * relevant * practical * actionable * timely * generous * brief * entertaining * fun * occasionally funny." (Check to see if your Tweets have some of those attributes.) And he quotes: "Facebook is for people you went to college with; Twitter is for people you wish you went to college with."

Facebook 101

Facebook 101 for authors (Joel Pitney, on BuildBookBuzz, 12-21-16) Invaluable. Facebook encourages conciseness but accuracy is not its strong suit.
A Privacy-Focused Vision for Social Networking (Mark Zuckerberg, 3-6-19)
Something has changed at Facebook, and it's turning social media marketing upside down (Chris Adams, Miles Partnership, 8-27-14) '... to reach any significant number of your own fans/followers, you now need to advertise on the platform. An online community which grew explosively based on free, open conversation by its members has suddenly become a “pay-to-play” platform for business. Typical organic posts from commercial entities, which are not sponsored or “boosted” in any way, are now reaching only a small fraction (only 1%-2%) of their own fans/followers on Facebook. This change has been driven by slow but steady changes in Facebook’s “EdgeRank,” the complex algorithm that controls what content you see in your News Feed.'
A Declaration of Independence from Facebook (Mike Elgan). A mini-history and summary of what's wrong about Facebook, whose success came from encouraging our FOMO ("fear of missing out"). "And maybe worst of all, they hijack our psychology deliberately like rats in some kind of sick experiment to keep us pushing buttons for that dopamine reward of approval."
Best Time to Post on Facebook (Buffer) Finding the best time to post to Facebook can massively help your business stand out and reach more of your audience — even as Facebook organic reach continues to decline.
Binders Full of Women Writers: can a secret Facebook group be inclusive? (Caty Enders, The Guardian, 8-5-15) Can an online ‘safe space’ be both selective and preoccupied with inclusivity? That’s a question that Binders Full of Women Writers is trying to sort out after a member published an article about the Facebook group.
Facebook virtually killed an Oregon man, then brought him back to life (Cristin Severance, 5 on Your Side, 12-31-18) A Portland man, Mike Ostrander, says Facebook memorialized his account, something the social media site does when a user passes away. The only problem: he’s not dead. According to their rules, a request must be sent naming the person who passed away and something must be provided as a proof of death, like an obituary. See FAQs about Memorialized Facebook Accounts.
The Trauma Floor: The secret lives of Facebook moderators in America (Casey Newton, The Verge, 2-25-19) For "the 1,000 people like Chloe moderating content for Facebook at the Phoenix site, and for 15,000 content reviewers around the world, today is just another day at the office...Employees are pressured not to discuss the emotional toll that their job takes on them, even with loved ones, leading to increased feelings of isolation and anxiety....A content moderator working for Cognizant in Arizona will earn just $28,800 per year....The moderators told me it’s a place where the conspiracy videos and memes that they see each day gradually lead them to embrace fringe views."
Facebook feed change sacrifices time spent and news outlets for ‘well-being’ (Josh Constine, TechCrunch, 1-12-18) acebook is making a huge change to its News Feed algorithm to prioritize friends and posts that spark comments between them at the expense of public content, news outlets and, importantly, the total time spent and ads you see on the social network." CEO Mark Zuckerberg is changing emphasis "from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions...from isolated feed scrolling... to private chatting with friends and back-and-forth discussion of content...The winners in this change will be users and their sense of community...The biggest losers will be publishers who’ve shifted resources to invest in eye-catching pre-recorded social videos, because, Mosseri says, 'video is such a passive experience.'”
Organic Reach Is Dead: Why You Need to Pay to Play on Facebook (High Season Co., 1-19-18) "Translation: If you want to reach your customers via the Facebook platform, you’ve gotta pay up....Facebook offers some of the most highly effective means of targeting online..."
Facebook’s Screening for Political Ads Nabs News Sites Instead of Politicians (Jeremy B. Merrill and Ariana Tobin, ProPublica, 6-15-18) The social network is letting some political ads slip through without the required verification, while blocking promotional posts by news organizations, which are pushing back. So much for the revised algorithms.
Does Social Media Impact SEO? We Ran an Experiment to Find Out ( Zak Ramdani · Eva Taylor, Hootsuite, 5-10-18)
Facebook announces further measures to tackle “false news” (Paul Hill, Neowin, 6-21-18) The most famous entrepreneur of his generation is facing a public reckoning with the power of Big Tech. "...former Facebook executives, echoing a growing body of research, began to voice misgivings about the company’s role in exacerbating isolation, outrage, and addictive behaviors....Chamath Palihapitiya, the former vice-president of user growth, told an audience at Stanford, “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops that we have created are destroying how society works—no civil discourse, no coöperation, misinformation, mistruth.” "s Facebook expanded, so did its blind spots. The company’s financial future relies partly on growth in developing countries, but the platform has been a powerful catalyst of violence in fragile parts of the globe....Nowhere has the damage been starker than in Myanmar, where the Rohingya Muslim minority has been subject to brutal killings, gang rapes, and torture."
The Central Question Behind Facebook: 'What Does Mark Zuckerberg Believe In?' (Dave Davies, Fresh Air, NPR, 10-4-18) Last week, Facebook announced the most serious security breach in its history, in which unknown hackers were able to log onto the accounts of nearly 50 million Facebook users. osThat breach was just one of several crises plaguing the world's largest social media platform. Free speech issues and the Russian disinformation campaign targeting the 2016 election had already put Facebook and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, under scrutiny as the midterm elections approach.
Can Mark Zuckerberg Fix Facebook Before It Breaks Democracy? (Evan Osnos, The New Yorker, 9-17-18) Osnos says the company has come up against "a growing and really serious decline of public trust, both among politicians and among the general public." with 2.2 billion monthly active users,Facebook is larger than any country. "In literal terms, it now has as many adherents as Christianity." Zuckerberg implied in 2010 that privacy is no longer a social norm. He claimed (in not wanting to identify who paid for ads) that Facebook "shouldn't have to follow those rules because we're a new technology, and in their filings, they said you don't want to stifle the growth of new innovation." Facebook offered to embed employees in both the Trump and Clinton campaigns to help them use the platform effectively; Trump accepted, Clinton didn't. Etc.
Facebook Could Actually Benefit From a Little Regulation (Frédéric Filloux, Shop Talk, Editor & Publisher, 6-15-18)
Can You Spot the Deceptive Facebook Post? (Keith Collins and Sheera Frenkel, NY Times, 9-4-18) Can you guess which post is from a fake page? Several pairs of images to test yourself with.
Social media superpowers under the microscope Manipulation, copyright violation, clickbait, and other issues with the Internet "monopolies" (starring Facebook).
After years of growth, the use of social media (read: Facebook) for news is falling across the world (Nieman Lab, 6-18) From a survey: The Trump bump continues…Sixteen percent of respondents in the U.S. pay for some kind of online news — with almost all of the growth coming from left-leaning people and people under 35.... more than two-thirds of respondents (68 percent) are either unaware of the problems of the news industry or believe that most news organizations are making a profit from digital news....Those that were aware that digital newspapers are making a loss (10 percent of our sample) are more likely to pay for a news subscription or give a donation. Reuters: Donations may help bridge the gap between paying nothing and an expensive subscription, but they also work better for a generation that likes to access multiple sources on multiple devices." And so on.
Is it too late to fix Facebook? (Jennifer Van Grove, San Diego Union Tribune, 6-2-18) "Facebook has a friends and family problem, meaning the tight-knit social fabric that drew us in — important or heart-warming posts from our moms, dads, sisters, brothers and besties — has all but unraveled. Instead, in our News Feed, we’re left with partially satisfying updates from loose connections, the day’s news and the ensuing rants, and videos we never asked to see."
Sreetips on Facebook (@SreeTips)
Facebook made some private posts public for as many as 14M (AP, Fox News and others, 6-7-18) Another software bug.
This webcomic artist has 1 million fans on Facebook. Here’s how he got them (Simon Owens, Medium, 10-10-18) "Chris Grady didn’t know much about the webcomic world when he launched Lunarbaboon, a semi-autobiographical comic about family and parenthood. But shortly after launching the comic, he started sharing it to Reddit, and suddenly Lunarbaboon was being seen and shared by tens of thousands of people. Flash forward a few years, and Lunarbaboon has over a million followers on Facebook. Grady generates $1,500 a month on Patreon and has launched several successful Kickstarter projects related to his comic." His latest Kickstarter is for a board game he helped illustrate and create...
How Facebook’s Oracular Algorithm Determines the Fates of Start-Ups (Burt Helm, NY Times Magazine, 11-2-17) The platform is so good at “microtargeting” that many small e-commerce companies barely even bother advertising anywhere else.
Facebook Conceded It Might Make You Feel Bad. Here’s How to Interpret That. (Farhad Manjoo, State of the Art, NY Times, 12-15-17) Concerns over social-media-born misinformation and propaganda during last year’s presidential race, and over what Facebook might be doing to our psychology and social relationships — whether it has addicted us to “short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops” that “are destroying how society works,” have Silicon Valley wondering, What if Facebook is rotting our brains? Hence this Facebook blog post by David Ginsberg and Moira Burke: Hard Questions: Is Spending Time on Social Media Bad for Us? (Dec. 2017): The bad: In general, when people spend a lot of time passively consuming information — reading but not interacting with people — they report feeling worse afterward. he good: On the other hand, actively interacting with people — especially sharing messages, posts and comments with close friends and reminiscing about past interactions — is linked to improvements in well-being. Simply broadcasting status updates wasn’t enough; people had to interact one-on-one with others in their network. And they outline what they are doing about improving Facebook to make it more positively socially interactive.
Facebook Cheat Sheet: All Sizes and Dimensions (Dreamgrow)
Facebook is adding a button to let users get more “background information” (aka information from Wikipedia pages) on publishers (Shan Wang, Nieman Lab, 4-4-18). Wikipedia?
Facebook 101: Understanding When & How To Use Basic Features (Greg Finn, Search Engine Land, 12-7-10) A simple guide to getting started using Facebook for marketing your business, organization or events.
Does Facebook Own My Photos? (Harry Guinness, How-to Geek, 4-25-17) No. 'It's right in Facebook’s terms of service: “You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook.“Another important clause is, “This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account.” Again, this gives you control. If you delete a photo, Facebook’s license is revoked. It’s the same when you delete your account.' 'Facebook gets a “non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license” to your photos...“subject to your privacy and application settings”.''Through Facebook’s privacy settings you’re able to control exactly how your images are used. If you only want your close friends to see them? You can do that. This means that, even though Facebook’s license is broad, you’re still in control of how it’s implemented.'
How to schedule a Facebook group post (Sandra Beckwith, Build Book Buzz, 8-9-17)
Retired Fighter Pilot Amy McGrath Announces Run For Congress In Kentucky With One Of The Best Political Ads We’ve Ever Seen (WYSK, 8-3-17). I got to this video/ad through a Facebook post. How could you NOT vote for the woman?
2 Facebook tips for authors (Sandra Beckwith, Building Book Buzz) How to edit or delete comments, especially your own.
Book Promotion with Facebook (Cathy Stucker's Selling Books)
The Highest Converting Facebook Page I've Ever Seen. Glen Allsopp, ViperChill, includes How to Set Up a High-Converting Facebook Fan Page (editing added. This kid needs an editor, with sentences like "There is no industry where people make as many generalisations than they do with SEO"), but he holds readers' interest and builds an audience with helpful advice and insights, as in Affiliate SEO: How websites are ranking in the most profitable niches and How to Really Build Backlinks and Dominate Google.
Facebook 101 for Business: Your Complete Guide
(Mari Smith, Social Media Examiner)
Facebook Guidelines on Timeline Cover Image (TECHWELKiN)
Facebook is more important to news distribution than you think, and journalists are freaked out (Sam Kirkland, Poynter, 10-2-14)
10 questions journalists should ask themselves before going live on Facebook (Al Tompkins, Poynter, 7-8-16)
Basic Privacy Settings & Tools for Facebook (Facebook Help Center)
The Man Who Stood Up To Facebook (Aarti Shahani, All Things Considered, 10-13-16). Listen or read transcript.
How to save a Facebook link to read later (Sandra Beckwith, BuildBookBuzz, 7-5-17)
Facebook Carousel Content: How to Make Your Posts and Ads Stand Out ( Mari Smith, Social Media Examiner, 4-19-16)
The Met ousted a top executive, so he used Facebook to show the world how to do unemployment right (Jenni Avins, Quartz) When New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art hired Sree Sreenivasan (@sree) as its first-ever chief digital officer in 2013, the move made headlines. So did his work in the three years that followed. The day the news broke about his dismissal, he posted a note on Facebook, announcing his unemployment. (See Sree's note on Facebook (6-17-16). His strategy worked. See How one digital expert turned his social network into a new job (Roben Farzad, PBS NewsHour, 8-4-16) Takeaway: "“It’s important to have control of your narrative.”
The case of high heels: How open-ended questions on Facebook can spark story leads (Roy Peter Clark, Poynter, 2-15-11)
How Will Facebook's 3,000 New Content Moderators Tackle the Violent Videos Program? (Cale Guthrie Weissman, Fast Company, 5-12-17) Here’s what we know so far about this new global army of moderators hired to flag and take down inappropriate posts and videos.
How journalists are using Facebook, Twitter to write mini serial narratives (Roy Peter Clark, Poynter)
All Facebook (Social Times keeps up with Facebook news)
Facebook Strategy for Authors: In-Depth Discussion (Jane Friedman, 6-1-12)
5 Principles for Using Facebook (Jane Friedman, 4-3-12)
3 Principles for Facebook Fan Pages (Jane Friedman, 8-16-11)
Too Many Facebook Friends: Blessing or Curse? (Jane Friedman, 11-21-11)
Facebook wants to make it easier for publishers to make money (Benjamin Mullin, Poynter, 9-12-16)
How activists of color lose battles against Facebook’s moderator army (Aaron Sankin, Reveal, from the Center for Investigative Reporting, 8-17-17) As Facebook is under the microscope for failing to stop harassment and the spread of fake news, it also faces another problem: The social media giant’s reporting policies punish minority users in a variety of ways.
Underpaid and overburdened: The life of a Facebook Moderator (Olivia Solon, The Guardian, 5-25-17) Testimony from those working to keep beheadings, bestiality and child sexual abuse images off Facebook indicates that the support provided isn’t enough. Part of a series of investigative stories about Facebook.
Facebook’s Secret Censorship Rules Protect White Men From Hate Speech But Not Black Children (Julia Angwin, ProPublica, and Hannes Grassegger, on ProPublica, 6-28-17) A trove of internal documents sheds light on the algorithms that Facebook’s censors use to differentiate between hate speech and legitimate political expression.

[Back to Top]

Subscription services


Laying the Pipes of a Post-Advertising World (Andre Redelinghuys, NewCo Shift, 5-31-18) The shift from brands and advertising to pipes and subscriptions is inevitable — and well underway. Want proof? Look to Disney. Soon they will launch their subscription video competitor to Netflix. With a lot on the line, a transformation of epic proportions lies ahead. Whether it’s successful or not, it speaks volumes that the owner of the most magical brands in the world is entering the pipe race.
How Spotify Saved the Music Industry (But Not Necessarily Musicians) (Freakonomics, Episode 374, 4-10-19) Daniel Ek, a 23-year-old Swede who grew up on pirated music, made the record labels an offer they couldn’t refuse: a legal platform to stream all the world’s music. Spotify reversed the labels’ fortunes, made Ek rich, and thrilled millions of music fans. But what has it done for all those musicians stuck in the long tail?
With its new Spotify bundle, The New York Times is chasing a new, younger base of subscribers (Ricardo Bilton, Nieman Lab, 2-8-17) 'As former Netscape CEO Jim Barksdale once said, “There are only two ways to make money in business: One is to bundle; the other is unbundle.” Media companies, eternally swinging (or being swung) between the two, may be drifting back into the bundling phase.... The New York Times stepped outside journalism, announcing it was partnering with the streaming music service Spotify on a joint subscription offering. The two companies are partnering on a limited-time deal that will offer new Times digital subscribers free access to Spotify’s premium service, which runs for $120 a year by itself.'
How to Make Money on Spotify, SoundCloud and Apple Music (Ben Andre, Spire, 11-15-18) With nearly 50% market share based on streams, it’s essential to have your music on Spotify if you're serious about reaching a broad audience and monetizing your music.
'Spotify for Cookbooks' Prepares to Launch (Clare Swanson, PW, 8-14-18)

[Back to Top]


Search engine optimization (SEO)

Key words, categories, ranking factors


Google’s 200 Ranking Factors: The Complete List (2019) (Brian Dean, Backlinko, 12-28-18) Google uses over 200 ranking factors in its algorithm. They're listed here, with explanations. (Plan to spend a while.)
Google Updates Quality Rater Guidelines: Reputation for News Sites; Video Content Updates; Quality for Information Sites (Jennifer Slegg,TheSEMPost, 9-13-19) Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) criteria have changed in several categories, especially news content, video content, and reputation.
The 10 Most Critical SEO Success Factors (@CyrusShepard)
What Is a Pillar Page? (And Why It Matters For Your SEO Strategy) (Sophia Bernazzani, Hubspot, 9-6-17) It's a page on your website that aggregates information in a way search engines consider adds authority. Beneath that in SEO hierarcy are topic clusters, and below those hyperlinks. See also How Pillar Pages Will Help Your Search Engine Rankings (Neil Patel). H/T to Crystal King, whose pillar page on the food of ancient Rome drives traffic to the page for her novel and adds authority to her novel's website (Feast of Sorrow).
Google’s 200 Ranking Factors: The Complete List (2019) (Brian Dean, Backlinko, 12-28-18) The factors that count in Google's search algorithms.
27 Ways to Increase Website Traffic in 2018 (Brian Dean, Backlinko, 3-19-18) Brian Dean's Backlinko website is invaluable. All-encompassing and meaty.
Does Social Media Impact SEO? We Ran an Experiment to Find Out (Zak Ramdani · Eva Taylor, Hootsuite, 5-10-18)
Ahrefs’ SEO Metrics: What They Mean and How to Use Them (Tim Soulo, Ahrefs.com blog, 10-12-18) SEO metrics covered in this article: Keyword search volume, return rate (RR), clicks, cost per click (CPC), keyword difficulty (KD), organic keywords, organic traffic, traffic value, URL rating (UR), domain rating (DR), Ahrefs rank (AR).
White Hat SEO Tutorial (WordStream) How to Improve Search Performance While Maintaining Your Integrity
Kindle Keyword Strategy for Fiction Authors (Dave Chesson, Kindlepreneur) How to come up with the fiction key words and phrases your readers use when shopping for their next book, how to find out how many people type them in, etc. Key words affect whether readers discover your books; sales are affected by how well designed your book cover is, how your book title reads, how your book description converts, how creative your story is, and how well your book is reviewed. See also Kindle Rankings: Categories vs. Keywords
New website owners: tips for choosing your keywords (Ad-Rank.com)
How to Write Better Marketing Copy (Jane Friedman, PW, 9-21-18) Don't be too smart or clever in your book descriptions. When marketing books, think—and write copy—like a reader. Use the words your readers would use. Don't use ‘urban settings,’ ‘world-weary protagonists,’ and ‘harsh realism,’ if your readers are likely to look for a book with less sophisticated terms such as ‘bad guys,’ ‘FBI,’ ‘action-packed,’ ‘surprise ending,’ and ‘courtroom drama.’
Webmaster Guidelines (Google Support)
How SEO works (ClickMinded's 2018 SEO tutorial for complete beginners)
The 3-Step Sales Funnel Strategy for Powerful Funnels That Convert (ClickMinded) It takes a while to get used to the SEO marketing lingo.
How 16 Companies are Dominating the World’s Google Search Results (Glen Alsopp, Viperchill) The techniques 16 online media companies with large portfolios of brands use to dominate search results in Google across a wide range of topics and categories. As Mike Shatzkin explains, in Book publishers do not do SEO like the big guys do although they could 'Google values a great deal: “domain authority” and “inbound links” nested in “content” that seems “natural.” ' "These powerful multi-brand content organizations have such massive traffic and authority that they can influence Google search for the most searched terms on the Internet."
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide (Google)
What is tag management? Mike Pantoliano, MOZ, 10-15-12)
Tags made easy (Google Marketing Platform)
Video SEO - How to Rank #1 in YouTube (Brian Dean)
5 Day SEO Mini-Course (HubSpot--Search Engine Optimization training delivered daily to your inbox)
My (Insanely Large) List of SEO Tools & Other Useful Resources(Portent)
• Make your content more thorough, more up-to-date, better designed (not ugly)--then get the word out there with strategic email reach.
Understand DoFollow & Nofollow Link: SEO Basics (Anoop Sudhakaran, Shout Me Loud, 1-13-18)
SEO: What Are NoFollow and DoFollow Links?
Debate: DoFollow vs. NoFollow Links (Janith, Blogussion,
Get some comment love for your static website (Jeet Jitendraag, Blogussion) If you have a “static” website that doesn’t dynamically update with RSS feeds, then you could be missing out on some traffic benefits. In this post, Jeet from Get Links Pro goes over how to make your content RSS feed accessible so you can use CommentLuv to promote your pages.
10 SEO Lessons to Learn from Backlinko’s Success: Behind the Scenes with Brian Dean (SingleGrain.com)
Click Through Rates Numbers and Their Meaning (Comm100)
Banner blindness (Wikipedia) A phenomenon in web usability where visitors to a website consciously or subconsciously ignore banner-like information (also called ad blindness or banner noise).
Marketing Myths (Pete McCarthy, DigitalBookWorld, DBW, 4-23-15) He uses "To Kill a Mockingbird” to show why the words that are in the book are not sufficient for first-rate SEO. The term "civil rights" doesn't appear in the novel, for example. (H/T Mike Shatzkin)
The utility of examining the text of a book to find search terms for SEO (Mike Shatzkin, Shatzkin Files, 5-6-15). See also Doing SEO right requires research into the audience, not maximum knowledge of the book (also Shatzkin). "For all our careers, descriptive copy — catalog copy, title information sheets, press releases — about any book was written by somebody who really knew the book. That normally meant it was drafted by a junior editor or marketer who had read every word of the manuscript, and perhaps even worked on developing it. But in today’s world, where the most important job of descriptive copy is to make the book “discoverable” through search to the person likely to buy it, it must be written with knowledge of the potential audiences, and that knowledge can only be gathered through research."
SEO Training Course by Moz (free Udemy course)
The 2015 SEO Checklist (ClickMinded)
A Visual Guide to Keyword Targeting and On-Page SEO (Moz)
SEO Toolbar (SEOBook)
Building a Video SEO Strategy (Phil Nottingham, Moz, 12-3-12)
Google Webmaster Tools
The Periodic Table Of SEO Success Factors (Search Engine Land). See Search Engine Land's Guide to SEO/a>
The Beginner's Guide to SEO (Moz), including How Search Engines Operate
Learn SEO and Search Marketing (Moz)
The Moz blog The industry's top wizards, doctors, and other experts offer their best advice, research, how-tos, and insights—all in the name of helping you level-up your SEO and online marketing skills.
SEO Isn’t Dead. It’s Just Different (Jordan Teicher, Content Strategist, Contently, 2-24-15)
Fact or Fiction: 6 Things About SEO That You Should Probably Be Aware Of (Joe Fylan, Elegant Themes, 10-18-15) "Google doesn’t want you to avoid SEO. They just want you to avoid shady practices that could be interpreted as cheating. If you interpret that as a need to abandon any and all SEO practices, your website will probably suffer."
Is Yoast SEO Really the Ultimate SEO Plugin? (Tom Ewer, Elegant Themes, 11-11-15)
Search Engine Optimization for Bing
Architecting content for SEO (SEM 101)
The Three Cs of Search Engine Optimization (Kent Lewis, Anvil) The building blocks of SEO include content, code and credibility.
3 Things You Need to Know About Google Search Analytics (Aaron Taube, The Content Strategist, Contently, 8-13-15))
Google gives webmasters more detailed traffic breakdown with new Search Analytics reports (Paul Sawers, VentureBeat, 5-6-15)
5 Steps to Top Performing Content (Kent Lewis, Anvil, March 2005)
Web Standards Project
SEO site advice from the Google experts (Google I/O 2010) (YouTube video of site reviews--participants Matt Cutts, Tiffany Lane, Greg Grothaus, Vanessa Fox, 5-10-10)
Gadgets, Google, and SEO (Matt Cutts)
SEO Copywriting: The Five Essential Elements to Focus On (Brian Clark, Copyblogger)
Instant Position (SEO Doc test--check out your website's search engine optimization)
Affiliate SEO: How Websites Are Ranking in the Most Profitable Niches (ViperChill.com)
It's a New Me (As Seen on Google)
More guidance on building high-quality sites (Amit Singhal, Google Webmaster Central Blog 5-6-11)
Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmasters video channel
Keyword Planner (Google AdWords)
Verifying ownership of your site (Google Webmaster Central Blog)
Improving your page layout algorithm (Google Webmaster Central blog)
SEO Basics (Yahoo Style Guide)
Search Engine Land
SEO Is Dead, And The New King Is ‘SMO’ (Ben Elowitz, paidContent, 11-29-10). "Search was critical when answers to questions were scarce," writes Elowitz. Now, it appears, "the audience values content, not keywords. And Facebook sides with the audience. And so it’s time to christen a new era of social-media optimization, or 'SMO.' The era of SMO liberates publishers from the exercise of tricks, hacks and keywords. Instead, the big opportunity is now once again creating and refining the most appealing content possible."
SEO Smarty blog
Wikipedia's entry on SEO/a>
Blogsite (enterprise-level blogging platform, allowing multiple blogs on one blogsite, good SEO visibility), not free
Eric Goldman's Technology & Marketing blog
Google Webmaster guidelines
Yahoo content quality guidelines
The Dirty Little Secrets of Search (David Segal, NY Times Business Day, 2-12-11).
Interactive Marketing White Papers (More Visibility)
Search Engine Journal (SEJ)
Inside Search blog
Basics of Photography SEO, Part 1: Google doesn’t hate you (Nigel Merrick, Black Star Rising, 11-26-12). See also Basics Of Photography SEO, Part 2: Where To Use Your Keywords (check the list).

[Back to Top]

Cloud computing

What Is Cloud Computing? (Eric Griffith, PC Magazine, 5-3-16) A clear explanation.
Cloud computing (Wikipedia entry covers the history of cloud computing and various aspects of it, including its architecture, providers, platforms, storage, security, privacy, limitations and disadvantages,)
How Cloud Computing Works (Jonathan Strickland, HowStuffWorks)
Where's The Rub: Cloud Computing's Hidden Costs (Jared Wray, Forbes, 2-27-14)
Cloud Backup: Pros, Cons, Considerations (Linda Carlson, IBPA,
The Hidden Risks of Cloud Computing (Gina Trapani, Lifehacker, 7-29-09) An overview: Lesser privacy protection under the law, weak security systems that are too easy to break into, data lock-in and third-party control, server unavailability and account lock-out.
Kerno.biz newsletter archive (newsletter archive of consultant Claude Kerno, who fixes computers and other tech in Colorado and the Washington DC area--my personal fixer) See for example: Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and Virtual Life After Death.
Cloud Storage (PC Magazine's Business Software Index). Describes and rates 12 products: Google Drive, CertainSafe, Microsoft OneDrive, iDrive Cloud Storage, Box, CrashPlan, Sugar Sync, Zoho Docs, Dropbox, Apple iCloud Drive, Hightail). For more recent data, see href="http://www.pcmag.com/roundup/306323/the-best-cloud-storage-providers-and-file-syncing-services"target="_blank">The Best Cloud Storage and File-Sharing Services of 2017 (Michael Muchmore and Jill Duffy, PC Magazine, 3-31-17)
How Amazon Fire TV Works (Dave Roos, HowStuffWorks) "For years, viewers have been streaming shows from Netflix to their TVs using gaming consoles like the Sony PlayStation and Microsoft Xbox. But more recently, several technology companies have introduced so-called set-top boxes that make it easier to watch hundreds of streaming video channels directly on your TV via your Internet provider. Apple TV and Roku are the leading set-top boxes, but there's a new player in town that's vying for the increasingly fractured attention of the American TV audience, and its name is Amazon Fire TV. Keep reading to see how Amazon Fire TV works and how it measures up to the competition."
[Back to Top]


Web 2.0


How a Website Redesign Solved an Author’s Identity Dilemma (Jane Friedman, 3-8-16) Author Gigi Rosenberg describes how she redesigned and relaunched her author website primarily on her own, only hiring assistance at the end.
14 Must-Join Slack Communities for Writers, Creators, and Media (Christine Cube, Beyond Bylines, PR Newswire for Journalists, 10-18-18) Collaboration hub Slack was launched in 2013 as a place to collaborate online -- a way for organizations to communicate both as a group and in personal one-on-one discussions. See The Definitive Guide to Slack for Organizing: What is Slack, and Should We Use It? (Ragtag, 5-8-18) No app is going to be totally magic. Slack might work for your team’s work style, and it might not. But it’s definitely worth checking out. And PC Magazine's review: "Slack is an excellent and powerful team messaging app with a rich collection of settings and options. It's among the best, but it's also the most expensive."
What's More Important: Author Websites or Social Media? (Jane Friedman, 9-11-17) Book authors MUST READ this. See also Why Don't Publishers Believe in Author Websites? (9-27-13) and the many comments in response to it.How to Go Viral: Lessons from the Most Shared Content of 2015 (Steve Rayson, Buzzsumo, 12-2-1 Analyze what content performs best for any topic or competitor. Check out its Knowledge Base.
Why I Started Using Pop-Ups on My Website (Jane Friedman, 8-11-16) Pop-ups have long been despised by the Internet world, but they work. Here’s how to implement them in a way that won’t annoy visitors. Followed by My Pop-Up Strategy, Part 2: The Autoresponder Series (Jane Friedman, 8-17-16) How do you treat subscribers after they sign up for your email newsletter? An autoresponder can usefully and effectively welcome people to the community. pop-ups
Do you know why you *don't* do it? (Denise Graveline, Don't Get Caught, 1-31-18) Comms directors and their teams get asked, cajoled, ordered, nagged, and otherwise dinged to do all manner of outreach. And too often, they say yes when they really should be able to say, "You know, we *don't* do that because..." with a reasonable, non-anxious explanation following. Life's too short to produce products nobody uses.
Why Content Goes Viral: What Analyzing 100 Million Articles Taught Us (Noah Kagan, HuffPost, 6-13-14) Ten ingredients that will help increase the shareability of your content, culled from various sources. For example: (1) Long-form content has less competition, and more shares on average. (2) Having at least one image in your post leads to more Facebook shares. (3) List posts and infographics are more likely to be shared.

[Back to Top]

About the Social Graph (Google's explanation of how all those people's names show up on your Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn pages, saying, "You might be friends with X, Y, and Z."

Adobe Acrobat Reader (download the latest version, free). You need this to read PDF (portable document format") files.

Adsense Tips for Bloggers 1 (Problogger). See also The AdSense Code: What Google Never Told You about Making Money with Adsense by Joel Comm (for Adsense newbies)

Affiliate Guide

Anonymous vs. Scientology: A Case Study of Digital Media (Dan Schultz, Idea Lab, 2-15-08)

A List Apart (articles for people who make websites)

Analysis: Which URL Shortening Service Should You Use? (file under Problems we didn't know we had) by Danny Sullivan offers a thorough analysis of which URL-shortening services are good and bad, in which ways. Of particular interest to Tweeters.

Analytics Toolbox: 50+ Ways to Track Website Traffic (Mashable, 2007)

Anatomy of an HTML page – part 1 (John Espirian)

Basics of various social media explained on excellent teacher training videos from Russell Stannard. Includes tutorials on JING, iTunes, Twitter, Blogger, Survey Monkey, Delicious, Glogster. Great website.

Branding. Personal Branding Basics for 2011 A brand is a promise, explains Chris Brogan. Read this, then scroll down and find links to more excellent tips on branding.

Boost Your Freelance Brand 100 Percent with Your Expert Status (Thursday Bram, Freelance Marketing, Freelance Switch, 9-4-12)

Can We Be Facebook Friends? Can doctors and patients be Facebook friends? (entry on Social Media Healthcare

A checklist for website content work (Erin Kissane, A List Apart -- for people who make websites, 3-8-11)

Citrix systems include GoToMeeting (for online meetings) and GoToWebinar (webinars for up to 1000 attendees).

Content Marketing Boot Camp:Everything You Wanted To Know In One Post (Shane Snow, The Content Strategist, 1-19-12)

Content Marketing 101. "In contrast to 'interruption' marketing such as television commercials or direct mail, content marketing involves delivering requested information with independent value that creates trust, credibility, and authority for the business that provides that value. Sonia Simone of Copyblogger, in a five-part tutorial, lays out the basics. Start with How to Build Your Business with Content, then go to Simone's The Three Essentials of Breakthrough Content Marketing, and read on.

Cover It Live. A Web-based live blogging tool, which allows you to broadcast live commentary to your readers. A partner of Demand Media (not a hero in the world of writer's rights). Check Reviews & News along right side.

Crowd Accelerated Innovation. How web video powers global innovation (19-minute video of TED's Chris Anderson on how the rise of web video is driving a worldwide phenomenon he calls Crowd Accelerated Innovation)

Document Cloud, created by journalists from ProPublica and The New York Times as an online repository of source documents. From an interesting story in the newsletter of the Association of Health Care Journalists: "Explore how the Las Vegas Sun used DocumentCloud to present hospital inspection reports, and the violations they contained, to its readers": an interactive graphic created by combining Document Cloud with Flash "to make the reports searchable and more meaningful to the public"

Drupal BarCamp 2010. Listen to sessions in audio, including Josh Ward of Volacci on Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)

Everything Old Is New Again: The Return of the Live Event (about the changing level of students' comfort engaging in face-to-face communication, and readers' desire to be in touch personally with the creators whose products they then buy--by Tim Brookes of the Champlain College Publishing Initiative)

Facebook (major social networking site, tending more toward personal than professional)
Facebook Strategy for Authors (Jane Friedman, 6-1-12, "Being human at electric speed: Exploring what it means to be a writer in the digital age"). Former publisher of Writer's Digest. Her personal strategy:
~~5 Principles for Using Facebook (4-3-12)
~~3 Principles for Facebook Fan Pages (8-16-11)
~~Too Many Facebook Friends: Blessing or Curse? (11-21-11)
Facebook: Best practices for profiles, pages, groups, and posts (Darcy Patterson, Wow!)
Facebook for the Famous (Matt Haber, Today, Fast Company, on WhoSay (social media for celebrities only)
A Facebook story: A mother's joy and a family's sorrow. Ian Shapira, Washington Post, has edited and annotated Shana Greatman Swers Facebook page to tell her story from pre-baby date nights to a medical odyssey that turned the ecstasy of childbirth into a struggle for life.
Facebook Scandal Version 2.0 (Michael S. Malone, ABC News, 2-20-09,on Facebook's growing pains and our rights as Facebook users)

Forget Privacy: What the Internet Knows About You by Jessica Bennett (Newsweek 10-22-10) and The Web's New Gold Mine: Your Secrets by Julia Angwin (first in Wall Street Journal series on the fast-growing business of spying on consumers). Watch your back!



Free encyclopedias
Wikipedia Scholarpedia (like Wikipedia, but with articles subject to peer review)
Citizendium (like Wikipedia but more transparent as to authorship).
About.com
Squidoo
Helium.com.
Those interested in the subject of accuracy in online encyclopedias may find the entry of Criticism of Wikipedia of interest. Many of us find it useful for a quick take on a subject we know nothing about, though we wouldn't use it as a sole source of information.

Freemium, a business model in which you give away a substantial amount of a core product for free in order to generate revenue by selling a select few premium products to a small percentage of the freebie audience. Businesses that have used this mode, as discussed in this free e-book include Skype (only 12% of users pay), Flat World Knowledge--see those and other case studies, including that of Paul Coelho, whose books became bestsellers after he made them available for free online.

F-Shaped Pattern For Reading Web Content (Jakob Nielsen, NN/g, Evidence-Based User Experience Research, Training, & Consulting). Read the implications of this eye-tracking study to know how to organize your own Web content. In follow-up piece by Sen
soMotoric Instruments, Case Study Eye Tracking: Mobile Devices: "The eye tracking data helped to identify three different types of users: reader (5%), scanner (58%), and navigator (37%). The reader examines the text carefully while the scanner just skims over the text. The navigator is not reading at all and skips the text completely."

FTC Tells Amateur Bloggers to Disclose Freebies or Be Fined (Ryan Singel, Wired, 10-5-09, pointing out some gaps and weaknesses in the rules) and here are the FTC Guidelines on the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising

Funny or Die: Groupon’s Fate Hinges on Words (David Streitfeld, NY Times, 5-28-11). "Groupon borrowed some tools and terms from journalism, softened the traditional heavy hand of advertising, added some banter and attitude and married the result to a discounted deal. It has managed, at least for the moment, to make words pay."

Google Buzz. David Coursey, of PC World, outlines Five Reasons to Love Google Buzz, Five Reasons Not (Yahoo News, 2-11-10).3 Google Buzz Privacy Concerns. Andrew R. Hickey (ChannelWeb, 2-11-10). And Robert McMillan, of PCWorld, reports: Google Buzz Criticized for Disclosing Gmail Contacts (read the comments, too). Ian Paul, of PCWorld provides a guide to protecting yourself: Google Buzz: A Privacy Checklist(2-11-10). (Love the way PCWorld corrects their original article, showing where the erroneous sentence was deleted and the correction made.) Add Critics Say Google Invades Privacy With New Service by Miguel Helft (NY Times, 2-12-10).

Google's Webmaster Guidelines . Following these guidelines will help Google find, index, and rank your site. At the very least, learn what practices will turn Google off (algorhythmically).

How to Back Up Your Social Media Presence (Brenna Ehrlich, Mashable, 12-10, on how to download and store the photos, videos, statuses, updates you post -- effectively, your diary online: your tweets, your blog, etc.)

How to Create a Great E-Newsletter. In exchange for your e-mail address you get a free 10-lesson e-course on creating an e-newsletter.

How to Get Your Avatar to Show Up Everywhere (Thomas Umstattd, Author Media--Help for authors timid about technology)

How to Measure Social Media Marketing; 3 Steps (Paul Chaney, Practical Ecommerce --Insights for Online Merchants, 7-12-11)

How to Make Money with Free (Nathan Hangen on Content Marketing, on Copyblogger)

How to use social media effectively
Some thoughts on being social (Maryn McKenna, The Further Adventures of Germ Girl, handout from talk given at AHCJ conference, 2012)
Quit the Daily Grind: A Newspaper Reporter’s Journey into New Media (Maryn McKenna's notes from one of her talks, Further Adventures of Germ Girl. Note how she uses Stich.It to convert a set of links into one short URL to share.
• Basics of various social media explained on excellent teacher training videos from Russell Stannard. Includes tutorials on JING, iTunes, Twitter, Blogger, Survey Monkey, Delicious, Glogster. Great website.

How to Use Twitter. Useful tips by Nathan Bransford

Instant Flipbook (convert PDF files to flash page flipbook in minutes)

JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments, the first PubMed-indexed video methods journal in biology)

LinkedIn

((social networking in the workplace, with more of an emphasis on job-seeking and professional connections than on socializing)
LinkedIn review and rating (PC Magazine rates it excellent--4.5 stars out of 5). Story by Jill Duffy.
5 Easy Steps To Organize Your Prospects & Build Relationships Using LinkedIn’s Relationship Tab (infographic, Melanie Dodaro, TopDog Social Media, 7-23-14)


LinkedIn: Strictly Business (Marilynne Rudick, WebOver50, 6-12-10)
11 Tips For Choosing Your LinkedIn Photo (Norine Dagliano, Career Realism)
I'm on LinkedIn -- Now What? (Jason Alba, Beyond Blinking Lights and Acronyms)
The Importance of Legitimate LinkedIn Reviews (Tyson Snow, Social Media, Esq.)
The Business of Editing: Are Editors to LinkedIn Like Oil is to Water? ( Ruth E. Thaler-Carter, for An American Editor, 2-27-12). "In a LinkedIn group for self-professed 'grammar geeks,' some discussions answer grammar and usage questions accurately and interestingly, but many of the responses are from people who know even less than those asking the questions."
What's To Love About LinkedIn? (Melanie Lindner, Forbes.com, 6-20-08)
10 Ways Writers Can Use LinkedIn to Find Freelance Gigs (Make a Living Writing)
Almost Savvy on LinkedIn (various posts on LinkedIn on Irene Koehler's blog, with entries such as How To Opt-Out of Social Ads on LinkedIn in 5 Clicks . "LinkedIn is THE place to start when you’re ready to tell your branding story the way you want it to be told."

Lula's Logic (Seth Godin on vegan ice cream store in East Village as example of why saying less may make marketing sense)

MindMeister (online mind mapping software, for collaborative mindmapping)

ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income by Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett, in which you learn that the income may be indirect, not direct

Qwitter (once a day tells you who has stopped following you on Twitter!)

Readability. Install this tool on your website browser and it removes the clutter around what you're reading, it says here.

Removing Content from Google (Google Legal Help)

Report Online Infringement Using E-Commerce and Social Media Reporting Tools (StopFakes.gov) Information on intellectual property policies and infringement reporting mechanisms at several popular online retailers and marketplaces. Click on the names listed to access links to each site's reporting policies and tools.

The 6 Types of Blog Commentors: Do You Know Them? (Naomi Dunford, Itty Biz, marketing for businesses without marketing departments)

** Social Media Resources
(KOK Edit, Katharine O'Moore-Klopf's invaluable links, on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter)

6 social media platforms at a glance Kent Lewis (iMedia connection) outlines differences in demographics, mindset, ideal fit for Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn,Blogs, Twitter, and YouTube. Who you'll reach, and how.

Skype, software that enables free phone calls via the Internet. And if you have a Webcam on your computer you can see each other (which could be good or bad, but is great for keeping up with the grandchildren). Check out the Skype handset , a phone you plug into a USB port so you needn't use the computer's mic and speakers for Skype phone calls (sold here on IPEVO (an online store for tools for the connected world)

Slideshare (like YouTube for PowerPoint presentations: share your presentations with the world; add audio to create a Webinar)

Smashing Magazine has excellent material on website design (including 10 Useful Usability Findings and Guidelines, tutorials, navigation, typography and free fonts)

Smashing Magazine has excellent material on website design (including 10 Useful Usability Findings and Guidelines, tutorials, navigation, typography and free fonts.

Snagit (screen capture software -- voted favorite in one group of instructional design pros)

Social bookmarking in plain English (Common Craft)

Social Fish: Making It . Elizabeth Chang on group that helps organizations use social networks created by vendors or take advantage of existing social networks to keep in touch with members (Washington Post, 6-28-09)

Social media technology in plain English (great short video explanations from Common Craft)

Social Media and Web 2.0 in Government (WebContent.gov)

Social Media Skills for Journalists (great links in this syllabus for Sree Srinivasan's course,Columbia Graduate School of Journalism)

Social Media Marketing Industry Report: How Marketers Are Using Social Media to Grow Their Businesses (Michael A. Stelzner, Social Media Success Summit 2009). Download free PDF file.

Selling Our Books on Social Media--Don't Be a Personal Space Invader (Kristen Lamb's blog)

Social Network Websites (John Kremer's links, Book Marketing and Book Promotion)

Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are being joined by many other, more specialized sites -- see Wikipedia's list of, and links to, Social networking websites.

SparkList (email marketing software and list-hosting solutions)

Spectacularly creative ads, issue 13 (Dark Roasted Blends)

Spelling mistakes 'cost millions' in lost online sales (Sean Coughlan, BBC News 7-13-11). Revenue per visitor to the tightsplease.co.uk website was twice as high after an error was corrected. "When a consumer might be wary of spam or phishing efforts, a misspelt word could be a killer issue..." "You get about six seconds to capture the attention on a website."

Squidoo links to blogs about social media and Top 100 Squidoo Lenses on Business and Work

StumbleUpon (personalized recommendations on the Web)

SurveyMonkey (a free and simple way to create surveys)

TeacherTube (Web-based tool for video sharing)TeacherTube (Web-based tool for video sharing)

TechCrunch (group-edited blog about Web 2.0 start-up products & companies, with many posts written by Michael Arrington)

TED Talks: Ideas Worth Spreading. Excellent speakers on fascinating topics, free to the world, on video, often or usually with transcripts.

Ways to make room for good writing on social networks by Roy Peter Clark (Poynter Online, 11-22-10). Part 1 of a series. Part 2: Why ‘no dumping’ is a good motto for writing on social networks (i.e., craft your message), 12=9-10.

Webmonkey tutorials (HTML, JavaScript, design and more), cheat sheets (HTML, CSS and special characters), color charts, and snippets of code (templates and cut-and-paste snippets and scripts you may not know how (or may not want to bother) to program.

Websites: Good Designers Redesign, Great Designers Realign (Cameron Moll, A List Apart--for people who make websites)

Writing and editing for the Web:
Writing and Editing for the Web (Chris Harvey, University of Maryland School of Journalism).
Excellent articles about online writing (Full Circle Communications) . for example:
Writing "About Us"
Writing website bios
The Yahoo! Style Guide: The Ultimate Sourcebook for Writing, Editing, and Creating Content for the Digital World, in both print and digital (for Kindle) editions. A guide to providing online content, with sections on making site accessible to all and search-engine optimized. Click here for supporting website, with entries on such online concerns as eye-tracking (where readers look first) and user-interface basics.

[Go Top]

RESOURCES FOR DOING BLOGS

Blogging Toolbox (Mashable's links to 120+ resources for bloggers)--start here!
Blogging for Dollars: Giving Rise to the Professional Blogger (Meg Hourihan, Web DevCenter
Blogging Tips (Keven Ann Willey, as reported in AJR)
Blogging Basics 101
Blogging tips galore (Lorelle on WordPress, who among other things offers digital inserts to prevent plagiarism)
Blogs in plain English (Common Craft video explanation)
Blogsite (enterprise-level blogging platform, allowing multiple blogs on one blogsite, good SEO visibility), not free
Blog Usability (top 10 Weblog design mistakes, Jakob Nielsen)
Content Marketing 101 (Copyblogger on How to Build Your Business With Content)
Copyblogger (useful blog on blogging, here on the importance of a calendar and planning)
Daily blog tips
Google Sites (for a group website or a company intranet--new, and the votes not in on this one yet)
Great Landing Pages (Copyblogger)
LiveJournal (free, good for blogging among friends)
Nine Lessons for Would-Be Bloggers (Joshua Porter)
SEO Copywriting: The Five Essential Elements to Focus On (Brian Clark, Copyblogger)
10 Common Business Blogging Questions Answered (Hubspot, focused on business-to-business blogging). Those were most common questions from HubSpot'sScience of Blogging webinar, viewable on demand here, with Dan Zarrella.
Using Google alerts to monitor incoming links/a>
WordPress Tips Newsletter (Tom Johnson's blog)
Widget websites (John Kremer's links to websites and other services devoted to making and hosting widgets)
Business2Blogger (must useful info for business blogging)
The $105 Fix That Could Protect You From Copyright-Troll Lawsuits (David Kravets, Wired, 10-27-10). "Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a website enjoys effective immunity from civil copyright liability for user content, provided they promptly remove infringing material at the request of a rightsholder. That’s how sites like YouTube are able to exist, and why Wired.com allows users to post comments to our stories without fear that a single user’s cut-and-paste will cost us $150,000 in court. But to dock in that legal safe harbor, a site has to, among other things, register an official contact point for DMCA takedown notices, a process that involves filling out a form and mailing a check" to the U.S. Copyright Office. Advises Kravets: "If you run a U.S. blog or a community site that accepts user content, you can register a DMCA agent by downloading this form (.pdf) and sending $105 and the form to Copyright RRP, Box 71537, Washington, D.C., 20024."

BLOGGING PLATFORMS:

WordPress (Web-based, free, an open source blogging platform, most popular platform, with huge community of developers; allows no ads)
Blogger(Web-based, free, owned by Google, whose ads you can post. Some problems reported)
Movable Type (a professional publishing platform, for developers)
Posterous (Web-based, free, hard to set up, easy to post messages by email) says Jason Fitzpatrick, Lifehacker on 5 best blogging platforms (6-10-10)
Squarespace (Web based, monthly fee)
Typepad (for Movable Type fans--the best, says Mashable), not free
Tumblr (Web-based, free, a cross between a blog and a Twitter feed)
Twitter (mobile-based one-sentence blogging, a topic discussed separately)
Xanga (personal blogging community)

Resources for podcasting


How To Start A Podcast: A Complete Step-By-Step Tutorial (2019 Guide) (Podcast Insights)
A master audio storyteller on how to create a powerful podcast (Shelley Hepworth, CJR, 4-14-17)
How to make NPR-quality podcasts at home (Mark Sullivan, TechHive, 11-22-13) Note the date.
4 Podcasting Best Practices for Beginners or Veterans (Carla Kalogeridis, Association Media & Publishing 9-1-2015) Invest in good tools. Podcasting requires microphones, headphones, and editing software. Popular software includes GarageBand, Reaper, and Audacity.
The 13 Critical Podcast Statistics of 2018 (Jay Baer, Convince & Convert) For example: 23% of Americans have listened to podcasts in the car; 49% of podcasts are listened to at home. On the Rise: Steady growth for podcasts, rapid growth for smart speakers. (See full report: The infinite dial 2018(Edison Research).
Here’s how to download podcasts and listen to them on Android or iOS (Mark Jansen, Digital Trends, 7-12-18) Several apps ("podcatchers") are available on various systems for both iOS and Android that allow you to download and sort episodes. These apps are generally cheap (or free). Good how-to piece on how to download podcasts and listen to them on your device. Covered here: Google podcasts, Castbox, Pocket Casts, Overcast, Apple Podcasts app (iTunes)
Best Podcast Listening Apps (For iOS & Android) 2018 (Podcast Insights, as of 8-3-18) Here's their very useful list; see the article for details about each app.
(1) iOS & Android Podcast Apps. RadioPublic. Pocket Casts. Castbox. Podbean. Stitcher. TuneIn Radio. Spotify.
(2) iOS Podcast Apps. Overcast. Castro. Downcast. PodCruncher. iCatcher. Castaway. Apple Podcasts.
(3) Android Podcast Apps. Google Podcasts. Podcast Republic. Podcast Addict. BeyondPod. Doggcatcher. Player FM. Podkicker. AntennaPod.
Best Podcast Apps ( John Corpuz & Jackie Dove, Tom's Guide, 6-20-18) Keep abreast of your favorite podcasts with the best mobile podcatchers. Podcasting apps, also known as podcatchers, do more than just play back your podcasts. The best-in-class automatically download and sort the newest episodes of your subscribed podcasts, help manage your subscriptions and include audio tools and features to give you the best listening experience possible
Subjectivity, hugs and craft: Podcasting as extreme narrative journalism (Siobhan McHugh, Nieman Storyboard, 10-8-19) The literary journalism movement unleashed by Capote, Didion, Mailer and Wolfe in the 1960s is reinventing itself in a remarkably powerful way. The literal power of voice: when the audio medium is added to the arsenal of narrative journalism, its impact is hugely amplified. Firstly, the authorial voice is literally heard, direct and unmediated, via the podcast host. This foments a strong bond. When the host is speaking right into the listener’s ears, the intimacy ratchets up even more. Subjectivity is not just possible in podcasting – it is almost essential. But storytelling via the affective power of audio is very different. "For the listener, you are a main character whether you think you are or not," says Richard Baker, who learned that as a traditional print-first journalist moving into audio with Wrong Skin (Australia, The Age), about a relationship banned under traditional law.
Podcasting Legal Guide (Creative Commons)
Have We Hit Peak Podcast? (Jennifer Miller, NY Times, 7-18-19) If past experience (cough, blogs) is any indication, a shakeout is nigh. There are now upward of 700,000 podcasts...Jordan Harbinger, host of “The Jordan Harbinger Show” podcast, thinks there is a “podcast industrial complex.”“I love podcasting, and the more shows in the mix the better, as long as they’re done by someone who actually cares and isn’t just trying to get a piece of pie.” What needs to be created, he said, is “a real conversation that will benefit the audience, not the host.”
How a Media Podcast Accelerated Its Growth (With a 64% Download Increase in One Month) (Jaclyn Schiff, Podreacher, 11-14-18) The first episode of The Business of Content—a podcast about how publishers create, distribute, and monetize digital content—debuted in January 2018. Growth was slow at first. The “nice thing about a podcast is that the growth is a lot more linear” than it tends to be with a blog, he points out. Podcast listeners are loyal and the web can be a fickle place. Adding edited transcripts boosted the numbers and the podcast started getting mentioned by journalists.
Tim Ferriss’ Experiment and the Rise of Direct Monetization in Podcasting (Amira Valliani, Medium, 6-3-19) Ferriss rakes in a considerable amount of advertising money every month, but he might earn more through his fans. He may "he will double-down on a listener-support, and we’ll have fun watching him experiment with new ideas for boosting conversion and extending the lifetime of existing supporters."
Voice-first ups the volume on podcasts, audiobooks (Lorraine Shanley, Publishing Trends, 11-14-18) Do podcasts and audiobooks compete? They seem to boost each other. Smart speakers like Alexa, Google Home, and Apple Homepod ("also referred to as voice-first devices"), from 9 pm to midnight, get lots of "requests for short stories or audiobooks, and 49% of podcasts are listened to at home." More on building a market for your podcast, etc.
The Podcast Bros Want to Optimize Your Life (Molly Worthen, OpEd, NY Times, 8-3-18) Men dominate the self-help podcast system. "They appear on one another’s shows and plug one another’s products."
Balancing daily news demands with the pursuit of in-depth storytelling (the podcast, 'The Pub' #112, Current, listen on SoundCloud). And the online story (Gabe Bullard, Senior Digital Producer ('1A'), Current, 5-21-18) "Podcasts are a nearly perfect vehicle for narrative storytelling. The episodic nature, the way each chapter is delivered to the listener’s personal device, the inherent intimacy of audio, advertisers’ interests in reaching a connected audience over several episodes, and the human nature for hearing and sharing stories all make the platform ideal for delivering narratives."
How I Sold My Book by Giving It Away (Seth Harwood, Open Culture, 5-23-09) "...a friend showed me how he’d been using his iPod and a thing called podcasting to get free audiobooks from an unknown author named Scott Sigler, I knew I had to figure out how this was done. Turns out that making MP3 files costs nothing. Distributing them costs me less than $10 a month, no matter how many episodes go out. Each week, I release a free episode—usually a couple of chapters—to thousands of subscribers.... Suddenly I was writing for an audience. And ultimately this made all the difference. Now I know I have people waiting for what I’ll write next; I feel like a digital Dickens, trying to get the new book written for my fan base to consume as soon as I put it out." Thanks to podcasting he placed his crime novel Jack Wakes Up with Three Rivers Press, a division of Random House.
As kids’ podcasts gain ground, producers test ideas for live shows (Lindsay Patterson, Current: News for People in Public Media,
How to Start a Podcast: Ultimate Guide for Beginners (Robert Mening, WebsiteSetup, 5-13-17) A 14-step guide.
Podcasting with Squarespace overview
podCast 411 .
Book Marketing Tips: How To Be An Effective Podcast Guest ( Alexandra Amor, Creative Penn, 2-9-18)
Podfeet Podcasts (Technology Geek Podcasts with an EVER so Slight Apple Bias!) Blog posts, podcasts, videos, tutorials)
Podcasting embraces a new era of cool (thanks, Serial) (Lance Ulanoff, Mashable) Podcasting is taking over broadcasting?
Equipment you’ll need to start your own podcast (Carlett Spike, CJR, 6-5-17)
The Absolute Beginners Guide to Podcasting: Equipment (OSTraining)
The Podcast Equipment Guide (Dan Benjamin, The Podcast Method)
Audacity (the free cross-platform, open-source software for recording and editing audio)
GarageBand (Mac software used to create music or podcasts)
Reaper (digital audio production application for Windows and OS X)
Podcasting Best Practices (Cision)
What You Need To Start A Podcast (Tyler Hayes, Fast Company, his story includes interviews with Manoush Zomorodi, host of WYNC's New Tech City podcast; and Alex Goldmark, New Tech City producer
Before You Start a Podcast: 4 Tips for Authors (Devon Fredericksen, on Jane Friedman's site).
How I Make Podcasts (Casey Liss, Liss is More, 11-22-14)
11 diverse podcasts to give you a fresh perspective on life (Yohana Desta, Mashable) It's not all white guys.
Podcasting Toolbox (Mashable's links to 70+ podcasting tools and resources)
Introduction to Podcasting (Learn Out Loud). What is podcasting? How do I listen to a podcast?
Apple's answers to FAQs on podcasting
How to Create Your Own Podcast - A Step-by-Step Tutorial (Corey Deitz, About.com)
Wikipedia's useful entry and links on podcasting
podCast411 (tutorials on podcasts and podcasting and links to more tutorials)
Libsyn (liberated syndication) -- one stop hosting solution for everything you need to start podcasting, get your podcast in iTunes, become an App. "Cheap, simple, reliable," says one writer (TL). "Begin building your audience immediately."
The B&H Equipment Guide to Telephone Interviews (Sam Mallery)
The B&H Handheld Digital Audio Recorders Buyer's Guide (Sam Mallery)
Some practical tips for podcasting from your home/office
---Use an external microphone ("mic"), not a computer's built-in mic.
---Plug directly into the ethernet rather than trying to skype over wifi.
---Have others in the house get off the internet, particularly if they are backing up or streaming movies--actions that hog capacity.
---Find the room with the best sound quality, preferably one away from where others in the house are likely to make noise. (Post a notice "Shhh...Recording interview" on door.)
---Do interviews midweek, or whenever your neighbors are less likely to be using chainsaws and lawnmowers.
---Ask the interviewee to do the same. (H/T to Shawn Radcliffe for these tips.)

RSS readers, feed aggregators, & other devices for keeping track of your favorite blogs etc.

What the heck is RSS (Copyblogger explains RSS, feed readers, bookmarks, chicklets, etc.). See also RSS Readers(also Copybloggers, part of Is RSS Really Dead?
What Is RSS (Mark Pilgrim, XML.com, 12-18-02)
An explanation of RSS/feeds/online newsletters (Yen Cheong, on The Book Publicity Blog)
Feed 101 and Feedburner Help Group
RSS, explained (Wikipedia)
What is RSS (ProBlogger's explanation: It's like a subscription that is delivered to your RSS reader everytime a website you've subscribed to updates.)
Is RSS Really Dead? (Blogging.com)
RSS in Plain Language (Common Craft)
Really Simple Syndication (RSS): How it works (PC Tutor)
RSS, Twitter, email subscribers, please read (Seth Godin)
Seven Tips for Making the Most of Your RSS Reader (Marshall Kirkpatrick)
The Ultimate RSS Toolbox – 120+ RSS Resources (Mashable)
Readers include: Bloglines, Google Reader , Newsgator, Google Feedburner (now Google-owned),My Yahoo, SharpReader, FeedReader, AmphetaDesk, RSS Bandit

[Back to Top]

RSS readers, feed aggregators, and other devices for keeping track of your favorite blogs etc.

Brain Teasers. A series of games (birdwatching, memory match, monster garden, speed match, spatial speed match, color match, lost in migration and chalkboard)designed by lumosity to improve cognitive function by improving memory and attention.

Do you know your states? (an addictive geography game from Jim's pages, which contains a miscellany of goodies)

Hue Shift, a brain teaser from Kongregate, a Flash game site.

JetPunk. Great timed quizzes in many categories. See how you fare on these, among others:
Countries of the World
Computer nerd acronyms quiz
Name the Elements
Name the Planets
States in the U.S.A.
NFL Football Teams
Fast typing to 100
Great quizzes -- save link for rainy days!


Selective attention test
(on YouTube) and follow-up, The Monkey Business Illusion by Daniel Simons.




Spelling Bee


difficulty level:


score: -

please wait...
 
spell the word:






PSYCHOLOGY TESTS