You Can’t Eat a Tweet


Taking a look at a picture of someone sleeping on the street, and then writing a blog post about it may raise awareness about the issue, but that person is still sleeping on the street. From another perspective there are many people going about a doing good in the world but who are failing to spread the word about it. The result being that they lose opportunities to have others join their cause and build off of the momentum and inertia that they had already created.
Chronic HomelessnessSocial media allows for discussions to occur, ideas to be created, and information to be shared. We need to leverage the networks that we have established trust within and call people together to find and implement solutions to today’s problems. With planning and coordination, we mobilize thousands of people to action.

A tweet alone may not end up putting food on people’s plates but, failing to invite others to be involved will certainly limit the impact to what only your two hands can do alone.

So go on Pinterest and add a picture about planting a vegetable garden, then go plant your garden. Go on your blog and write an article about the funding raising need at the Children Hospital, then do some funding raising.

When we work as individuals, operating in a silo, our efforts fail to benefit from the coordination factor. But as a group you can harness great power as we all come together to make an improvement in each other’s lives.

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Balancing life while building a house


Last Summer I caught the fever. I got it in my head that I needed to build a house. Meanwhile most people are running from the housing market, as prices continue to rise and the rate of foreclosures continues to grow. But I made the decision then partnered with a good friend and general contractor who really made the whole thing possible. We came up with a plan that would be affordable and functional. It took a few months before a lot was found that would work. Then on March 10, 2010 we broke ground. Would moved into the house in late June of 2010 and I’ve learned that there is a whole other level of being tired.

Throughout the build process I was excited and spent most of my free time working on it where I could. The hard part of all of this was balancing my excitement for this new project, with all the other things in my life. I managed to fulfill the obligations of my career. My wife took on the responsibility of packing up our old house in preparation for moving. But there were many other things that just got put on hold. That was okay for the few months of intense building, but after we moved in June there were a lot of things that needed my attention. Unfortunately the list of things to do around the house was stretching onto the second page. So I had to accept that the landscaping and fencing would be slowly completed over the next year.

So here I am in April of 2011, and we still don’t have grass. Slow progress on Saturdays has been a source of joy and confidence building as I put in the effort and figure out how things need to be installed. I have learned about

  • installing dishwashers, washers and dryers
  • Installing Baseboards, and Crown Molding
  • installing door frames and doors,
  • hardwood flooring installation,
  • landscaping drainage,
  • irrigation,
  • tree planting,
  • soil composition, and
  • when to sod versus seed.

When the rain slows down I’ll learn how to paint my fence (150 feet long).

Measuring popularity using twitter trendy topics


CampbellResignation_TwitterTrend_5intop10

5 of 10 on Nov 3rd

If it were not for Megamind http://www.megamind.com/  the resignation that was announced today by Gordan Campbell, the Premier of British Columbia, would have reached first place on the coveted twitter trendy topics list. And while this resignation definately stirred up quite a buzz boasting 5 of the 10 trendy topics, it failed to have any staying power. By quitting time the same day, only the one topic remained and had dropped to forth place.

When you want to have your media content get to the top and stay there for more than a few hours, you need to think about the differences between these two situations. 

Here are some points to consider in the first example with the movie Megamind:

  • Anticipation – The movie is due out for release on November 5, two days from now.
  • Preview Trailers – Exciting teaser content released
  • Social Media Share icons – The website that is hosting the content provides the users with links to twitter, and facebook in order for them to “like” the content or comment about it and share it with friends or followers.
  • Functional purpose for returning to the site – to buy tickets
  • Additional rich features,
    • Interactive games
    • Free iphone app
    • Free iphone desktop backgrounds
    • Facebook Application – Click for a chance to win various video games consoles
    • 31 page comic book – viewing online or available PDF download, also shareable through Facebook, Twitter or email
    • Interactive Video creation tool to add you face onto a character and create a custom video, also shareable.
  • Links to tickets purchasing sites

Compare this to how the resignation of Premier Campbell was shared.

Of course I’m not suggesting that a resignation is something that you want to broadcast like you do a movie. These are just two examples used and the results show the different outcomes.

Summary:
If you want to hit the top trends with staying power, you need 

  • lots of interactive media,
  • free content, and
  • to enable social media sharing.

Go Jamie!!! Save the World


Go Jamie!!! Save the World: http://www.ted.com/talks/jamie_oliver.html He is my hero!

Green Team Summit – bringing teams together


Being involved with green teams in government has given me an appreciation for how many motivated people there are that are willing to volunteer their time.

I believe that the network of green teams has matured enough to begin acting as a more cohesive group.

I am excited to see that they are promoting a few common initiatives that all green teams can join.

I expect to see some great things coming soon.

Carbon Neutral 2010

Before you do anything else… BUILD YOUR NETWORK!


There is a difference between Hype and owning your own channel. If you can build something around which people will gather, then you have something special. You are a lot better off in projects if you already have the network of people that you need to be able to accomplish the task. So build the network first. It will support you when your down and make you happy when you’re up. Network also dissipate over time. People move away, die, blah blah blah, so always be working on building “tribes”.   You give people something that matters to them and around which they can gather, and then you will be able to use these people when you say, “I’m going to make a movie!”

The channel of tomorrow or those where you can talk back.
Create stuff that is visible and indexable. This will be the same thing as hiring someone to work for you 24/7.

You become and insider by building or becoming part of a tribe. Insiders get forgiven for their mistakes, so you want to be an insider.

Differentiation is a process, and go about separating yourself from the “traditional” thing and set themselves apart from the crowd. Then you become the leader.

Being a human artist. This can be accomplished by pattern breaking. Give an unusual answer to the questions you are asked. Ask questions that are not the typical questions. Creativity is when the brain tries to make connections in ways that it has not previously done. So get smart!

Fear. Fear of change, trying something new. You (group 0) can be motivated by the fact that you have influence to more than just the people you know(group 1). You also have influence to those that they know (group 2) and group 3.  Movement increases the propensity for movement.

When we stop experimenting and learning the world stops growing for you.

A great example of all this how Arnold Swartzenegger became the Governor of California. Millions of people watched him save the world over and over and over again. So people are obviously going to trust him and stand behind him.

For more information about this topics I highly recommend the book

Trust Agents
By Julien Smith and Chris Brogan
inoveryourhead.net

Favorite WordPress Plugins


I attended a Meetup on Saturday all about WordPress and I learned about a bunch of new plugins. Here are the highlights:

  • Related
  • RSS Footer
  • Yoast Breadcrumbs
  • Meta Robots
  • Google Optimizer
  • Headspace

I’ll get links them shortly, but here are some others that have received great reviews:

All in One SEO Pack
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/all-in-one-seo-pack/
Optimizes your WordPress blog for search engines by Automatically optimizing your titles and META tags.

IntenseDebate
http://intensedebate.com/
Replaces default comment system with advanced commenting, threaded replies, karma points (not for individual comments), Gravatars, RSS, ability to reply to comments from email (great to reply from your Blackberry), all in one management from the website for users. It also comes with the optional Intense Debate Top Commentators sidebar widget to display your top commentators, great to encourage commenting (however, the Disqus one below is a lot more comprehensive).

Disqus Commenting System
http://disqus.com
Replaces your comment template with the more advanced Disqus comment system. Disqus is also the only system to support Facebook Connect out of the box. I’ve contacted IntenseDebate directly and they told me there is no current plan to support Facebook Connect. Disqus also features RSS, Gravatars, threaded comments, comment karma, and lets you easily see comments made by the same user on other sites. I prefer Disqus as it offers Facebook Connect support out-of-the-box that could help you tap into the Facebook community. Disqus also features top commentators, recent comments widgets. Also, with Disqus you can enable video comments with seesmic.

Digg Digg
http://www.mkyong.com/blog/digg-digg-wordpress-plugin/
Adds Digg, Reddit, Yahoo Buzz buttons with counters for your readers to easily vote for your posts from your page. I was able to contact the author who also told me Stumble Upon support is on its way as well.

Sociable
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/sociable/
Automatically add links to your favorite social bookmarking sites on your posts, pages and in your RSS feed. You can choose from 99 different social bookmarking sites including Digg, Reddit, SU, Mixx, Propeller. You can also add e-mail and print buttons. It also supports TwitThis, but the plugin can be made easier by using TinyURL (or another URL shortening service) and automatically logging the user into Twitter with the URL and Title already shown.

Google Analytics
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/google-analytics-for-wordpress/
Google Analytics provides highly advanced website tracking and management information free of charge. Use this plug-in to easily add the code so Google Analytics can immediately begin to track all of your pages

Lifestream
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/lifestream/
Lifestream displays your social feeds and activity from many social sites. Includes support to display your Flickr photos, Facebook feed, Friendster feed, Youtube videos, Twitter updates, any other RSS feed, from your other blogs, etc.

DB Backup
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-db-backup/
Easily backup/restore your posts and entire WordPress database. Download or send your back to your email.

WP Greet Box
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-greet-box/
Displays different greeting message to your new visitors depending on their referrer URL. For example, when a Digg user clicks through from Digg, they will see a message reminding them to digg your post if they like it. The plug-in also includes out of the box support for getting messages from users coming from Reddit, SU, Facebook, Google (shows searched keywords as well), Mixx, etc. You can also easily add your own custom greeting from people coming from any site you choose.

WP-SpamFree
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-spamfree/
An extremely powerful anti-spam plugin for WordPress that virtually eliminates comment spam, including trackback and pingback spam. I find the plug-in works surprisingly well by eliminating all automated spam. It does somewhat use a bit of bandwidth sometimes.

WP Super Cache
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-super-cache/
This plugin generates static html files from your dynamic WordPress blog. After a html file is generated your webserver will serve that file instead of processing the comparatively heavier and more expensive WordPress PHP scripts. Some people have complained about compatibility problems with other plugins, so exercise some caution here and follow the instructions carefully. However, the plugin is very good and can save you a significan amount of bandwidth.

Google XML Sitemaps
http://www.arnebrachhold.de/projects/wordpress-plugins/google-xml-sitemaps-generator/
Generates a XML-Sitemap compliant sitemap of your WordPress blog. This format is supported by Ask.com, Google, YAHOO and MSN Search.

Category Posts Widget
http://jameslao.com/2008/04/18/category-posts-widget-13/
Displays any amount of posts you want from a specific category in your sidebar

Secure and Accessible PHP Contact Form
http://green-beast.com/blog/?page_id=136
Lets you create a very secure contact form with custom fields so your readers can easily contact you.

Popularity Contest
http://alexking.org/projects/wordpress
Shows your readers your most popular posts based on views, comments, pingbacks, among other criteria. You can also change the weight of each criteria to determine the most popular post.

WP Since Last Visit
http://alexking.org/projects/wordpress
Indicates with a small “New” picture beside your post to users who have not yet seen your post from their last visit. Also works with comments.

Twitter Tools
http://alexking.org/projects/wordpress
Allows you to pull your tweets into your blog (as posts and digests) and create new tweets on blog posts and from within WordPress.

WordPress Download Monitor
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/download-monitor/
Download Monitor is a plugin for uploading and managing downloads, tracking download hits, and displaying links.

Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
http://mitcho.com/code/yarpp/
Gives you a list of posts and/or pages related to the current entry, introducing the reader to other relevant content on your site

WP Page Numbers
http://www.jenst.se/2008/03/29/wp-page-numbers
Adds pagination to your WordPress navigation, good for search engines.

WP-PostRatings
http://lesterchan.net/portfolio/programming/php/#wp-postratings
Allows your readers to vote on how they liked your article. You can also display your highest or lowest voted posts on your sidebar.

WP-PostViews
http://lesterchan.net/portfolio/programming/php/#wp-postviews
Allows you to display the number of times your post has been viewed.

AdSense Manager
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/adsense-manager/
Lets you add Google AdSense, Yahoo, AdBrite, among other ads, to your sidebar or anywhere else on your blog.

Smart YouTube
http://www.prelovac.com/vladimir/wordpress-plugins/smart-youtube
Allows you to easily insert Youtube videos in your post, comments and in your RSS feed

Video widget
http://www.nikohk.com/plugin-wordpress-video-widget/
Easily display videos from many different video sharing websites on your sidebar or blog, including from YouTube, DailyMotion, Google Video, Metacafe, Reever, MySpace, Blip.tv, Quicktime, Windows Media Player, among many others

FlickrRSS
http://eightface.com/wordpress/flickrrss/
Lets you easily display your Flickr photos on your blog, comes with a sidebar widget. Note: Lifestream plug-in also supports this so you may not need this plugin.

Facebook Connect Community
http://www.sociable.es/facebook-connect
Allows your users to sign in with their Facebook account. It also supports comments to be sent to the users news feed, which can draw you some good viral traffic. However, it does not work with IntenseDebate. I just contacted IntenseDebate and they told me they do not plan to offer Facebook Connect support, which is unfortunate because that would make life a lot more easier, especially for people who want all the advanced features of IntenseDebate but also want the ability for comments to be sent to the Facebook newsfeed.

DropCap First Character WordPress Plugin
http://www.rc.au.net/blog/2006/07/27/dropcap-first-character-wordpress-plugin/
What it does is it makes the first character of the post BIG in a magazine style.

Front Page Excluded Categories
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/front-page-excluded-categories/
As the title suggests, it blocks categories you don’t want from displaying on your home page

Subscribe-Remind
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/subscribe-remind/
Invites your readers to subscribe to your RSS feed below each post

Exec-PHP
http://bluesome.net/post/2005/08/18/50
Executes PHP code in posts, pages, or your sidebar.

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