Archive for Social Media

A Look at Linda Hall’s Saturday, You Won’t Believe It

There is no telling what will happen when The Daily Record reporter Linda Hall is assigned to work the weekend.

Just How Long Does it Take to Make a 6-Second Vine Video?

Abby Armbruster, a reporter for The Daily Record, had the idea to make a Vine to promote the newspaper’s three-day online subscription. It gives readers full access to the website from a desktop computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone.


So, she began cutting pieces of paper, writing on others, gathering items from around the newsroom and assembling them on her standing desk.

With her iPhone in hand, she began moving the different elements around, repositioning them to get the shot just right.

Then she did it over and over again.

Finally, she got close.

Finally she was happy.

Vine is a video social networking site that allows users to shoot up to 6–second videos. Abby’s Vine is not just a straight, 6–second shot. She took her time. This is her Vine:

And this is the video of Abby making her Vine. It runs longer than 6 seconds. It actually runs more than 4 minutes, however, Abby spent much more time than that in making a 6–second video letting you know that for $1.50 you can have full access to The Daily Record website.

Also, web developers for Dix Communications (the parent company of the newspaper) have made the mobile site responsive to any device. When you go to the website from a mobile device, it should take you automatically to the responsive site. It will look just like an app for The Daily Record.

Seth Mnookin: From Health Journalism 2013 to the Alleged Boston Marathon Bombers

This past March, I had the honor of receiving a fellowship from the Association of Health Care Journalists to study health care reporting at the group’s annual conference. This year, it was in Boston.


I had the opportunity to attend a presentation in which Seth Mnookin shared insights into how to turn complex topics into compelling stories. Here is one of the things I wrote down:

Seth says to think of what you write as a detective story. Tension and drama is not what happens, but how you get there.

I was shocked to learn this morning on Twitter how Mnookin became intricately tied to the events unfolding at MIT and Watertown, Mass., late Thursday/early Friday involving the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing.

I was so intrigued by Mnookin’s adventure on Twitter that I wanted to capture it. You can read it here (via Storify):

Just Enjoy the Scenery Today

Enjoy these photos processed and uploaded via Instagram. I do not use it as much, but it is still a good app. I guess the thing for me is other apps, like Pixlr-O-matic and Pixlr Express do so much more.

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Kindle Fire HD 7 Continues to Score Big Here

It’s been nearly seven weeks since I purchased a Kindle Fire HD 7, and I am liking it more and more everyday. For good reason.

Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7

I remember reading on Michael Hyatt’s blog about how preferred the iPad Mini over the original, larger version, saying the Mini was what the iPad should have been from the start.

Having never owned an iPad, I cannot make the same statement, but I can say this: The Kindle Fire HD 7 is what netbooks should have been all along. When my wife’s laptop became old, outdated and slow, I wanted to get her a new one. However, there was something attractive about the netbooks. At the time, I did not fully understand what they were; I just thought they were slightly smaller laptops.

Well, in a sense, they are. Netbooks are smaller than laptops. And, netbooks kind of look like laptops. But, what we discovered is a netbook is not really a laptop. A laptop is for computing, and a netbook is mainly designed to surf the Internet.

My Kindle Fire HD does just that. It surfs the web, it feasts on content, it plays games and it even contributes to some productivity. After I first purchased the tablet, I carried it with me sometimes. Now, unless I know I am going to be totally tied to my desk at the newspaper, it comes with me.

Why I Carry My Kindle Fire HD All the Time:

  • It turns my vehicle into a mobile university: This is the No. 1 reason why it is with me most of the time. By owning a Kindle device, I can turn on Amazon’s text-to-speech function and listen to books while I drive. I just finished reading/listening to The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur (which turned out to be better than I initially envisioned). Whether I am in the Jeep five minutes or 35 minutes, I like having the option of listening to a book.
  • It keeps me up-to-date with my blog: I have a WordPress app that allows me to edit or create posts, check my site stats or do anything else I need to with my blog, as long as I have a Wi-Fi connection.
  • I keep my teaching notes on it: I teach an adult Sunday School class at Parkview Christian Church, and I send all of my notes to my Kindle device. I have a study Bible loaded on the Kindle, and I keep my notes for Sunday School on it.
  • I can capture thoughts using Catch app: When you start blogging, you realize how important it is to get your ideas down. With Catch Notes, I can do that. The free app allows you to write notes, record audio notes, take photos, set up reminders and create checklists. I used it the other day to jot some ideas down for future blog posts and a future book.
  • I can move my online reading offline: With Pocket, another free app, I can be reading something on the web and save it to read later. The app works across all sorts of devices. I can be reading something on the web at home, save it to Pocket, and when I sync my Kindle Fire HD, I will get a nice, readable version of the web page. It is important to sync Pocket’s content while you have Wi-Fi access. This is immensely helpful when researching. I have been using it to aid me in writing a book for mindreaders. It is invaluable.
  • I can keep up-to-date with all of my social networks: Again, as long as there is a Wi-Fi connection.

If you would like to purchase your own Kindle Fire HD, check out my affiliate link by clicking here. I recommend the 32 GB version because once you buy it, there is no expanding it. Might as well get the extra storage space.

The Kindle Fire HD  7 has been a great fit for me, but let me caution you by saying I made the purchase because I was an Amazon Prime member. It made sense to have a device geared toward watching the movies, TV shows and videos available for free to Prime members, getting the shipping discount from Amazon and the ability to borrow one book a month from the Kindle Owners Lending Library.

If you are looking for more of a computing tablet, then perhaps the iPad, iPad Mini or Google Nexus 7 are better options for you.

For me, it was the Kindle. You can see other reasons why by clicking here.

Great Deal on Kindle Version of @MichaelHyatt’s Platform, Only $3.99

If you desire to be an author or sell more books, then you better get over to right now to purchase Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, Michael Hyatt’s incredible book.

Michael Hyatt: Platform

I keep meaning to write a proper review of the book because I am so impressed with it. If you read the reviews on Amazon, Hyatt gets a lot of 5-star reviews, but there are also some 1-star reviews. The main complaint from these people seems to be that the content of his book appears to come largely from his blog and that the book is choppy.

I do not understand this train of thinking. Anyone who has read Hyatt’s blog knows how practical he is and how teaching flows through his posts. Platform is an incredible book, and for $3.99 it is like stealing it from him.

I cannot endorse this book enough for an aspiring writer or one looking to go down the trail of self-publishing. You need a platform from which to speak and an audience to hear you. Follow Hyatt’s advice, and you will not go wrong.

I have no clue how long the book will be sold for $3.99, but I would jump on it now. You can do so here.

Disclosure time: The above link is an Amazon affiliate link. You know what that means, and if you don’t, just ask.


Social Media Experts: Are They Anti-Social?

So-called “social media experts” sometimes seem to forget the idea of social.

Social Media Experts

Check out this tweet I sent earlier:

Brian Tracy teaches that leaders should praise in public and criticize in private. Following this advice, I am not going to name any of these self-coronated experts, but I think we have all run into them from time-to-time.

What I find intriguing is how they populate Twitter offering advice on how to grow followers on social media experts, however, they never seem to have the time to respond to any of my tweets or posts (on Facebook and Google+) to them.

When they are proclaiming how to be effective in the social network arena and then do not exhibit social skills, there emerges a disconnect between what they preach and what they practice.

This is why it was so refreshing to read this from Michael Hyatt:

Respond to those who comment. Engaging with your readers in the comments section of your blog is critically important. People today don’t visit a blog to listen to a monologue. They want to be part of a conversation. Therefore, you should engage in new comments on old posts, as if the post were brand new—it is for those readers. It’s a good way to set the tone and let them know what to expect in the future.

via How to Keep Your Blog Posts from Dying in Your Archives | Michael Hyatt.

If you are going to engage in social media, then you need to understand it is a two-way street when people are genuinely reaching out to you.

However, Doktor Spinn urges caution in the “social media expert” debate. He says:

And here’s the problem:

People mistake social media pundits and social media naturals for social media experts. And both of these two groups love the attention, so instead of bringing any clarity to the discussion, they tend to add more wood to the fire just for the sake of it.

In short: Social media experts can be blamed for a lot of things, for sure. But we can’t take the heat for everything anyone with an online following is doing — or saying. So, if you’re in the mood for throwing some stones, how about practicing some aim first?

via Disarming Stupid Arguments About Social Media Experts.

It is probably good advice from the good Doktor, and I should heed it, but it still bothers me when “social media experts” are not very social. What about you? What do you say?

Kindle Fire HD 7: Five Reasons I Love It

It has been about a month since I purchased a Kindle Fire HD 7 for my birthday (I have such generous family and friends), and I have to say I am finding more uses for it today than ever.

Kindle Fire HD 7 screenshot

I am a geek in the sense I have studied computer programming (a long time ago), am able to rip open a desktop computer and add and change hardware and am all over social media (though I have yet to label myself a “social media expert” — when you figure out what that is, let me know).

However, I am not such a geek that I can tell you with clarity and specificity why, from a hardware and software and operating system point of view, the Kindle Fire HD 7 is an excellent machine that is better than the competition.

But, I can tell you there are five reasons why I am so grateful I purchased the Kindle Fire HD 7.

  1. I read more. Look at the screenshot above; I am reading those books and more. Generally, all I read was the Bible, The Daily Record newspaper and political websites. Now, I am reading more books about writing, building a platform and business. And, yes, I am still reading my Bible.
  2. I write more. I have actually begun working on some writing projects outside of my daily reporting duties at the newspaper. It feels good to be focused on some of these efforts.
  3. I watch less TV. With the boob tube blackened out most of the time, I have a ton of time to read and write.
  4. I blog now. The Kindle Fire HD 7 actually was a factor in me deciding to start my own self-hosted blog. I wrote about that here.
  5. I sell books in the Kindle store. It is really an article that I have sold, but it is a start. It would not have happened without the Kindle Fire HD connecting me with the Amazon website more and the Kindle store in particular.

Do you have a Kindle Fire HD? What are your thoughts about it?

@MichaelHyatt Will Inspire You to Blog (and Stay at It) in This Video


I don’t know Michael Hyatt, but he has been kind to reply to some of my comments on his blog ( and respond to some of my tweets. I am a big fan of his. His blogs, podcasts and videos have inspired and influenced me more than he will ever know. So, when he announced his latest secret project here, I had to see what it was all about.

I hope you will follow the links and check out what he is up to. I started watching the first video, which you can view below, and I was absolutely inspired to stick with blogging.

One of the things he said was very encouraging, and it reminds me of a story I once heard about a rabbi being asked when the best day to repent was. In the video, Hyatt says the best time to start building a platform was eight years ago, and the second best time is today. (As for the rabbi, he was asked when the best day to repent was. He told the man, “The day before you die.” The man told the rabbi he did not know when he was going to die. “Then, the second best day to repent is today.”)

What I found so encouraging about the video is how Hyatt explains that his platform was not built in a day. In some respects, it languished for years, even though it was steadily expanding. His book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Busy World, provides the tools to start building your platform today and helps you to avoid some of the challenges he faced.

To hear about his blog’s modest growth and how he essentially drew a line in the sand and committed to blogging is refreshing to hear. If you are not blogging today, you probably will by then end of the day. You can watch his video below, and I also encourage you to check out his new project using the link above.

Additionally, as way of disclosure, I am an Amazon affiliate and will make a small commission if you buy Hyatt’s book via the link above.

To Facebook or Not to Facebook: Do You Even Need to Ask

KloutI am reading a book about getting your message out, and while I have not actually read the part where the author talks about not liking Facebook, I have seen others write about his position in reviews posted about the book.

I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook. I think think it can be too intrusive, and I think the company has not always been too concerned about privacy among its users.

However, I have been on Twitter longer than Facebook, and I just don\’t have the reach with my tweets as I do with my status updates. Like it or not, my Facebook interaction is the driver of my Klout score.

This, however, is a double-edged sword. Look at how Dan Zarrella described the two audiences:

If you are looking to sell something, then how likely are you to entice people you know to make a decision? Jesus said no prophet is accepted in his hometown. Do your friends view you as someone who has something to say or who is trustworthy? Regrettably, sometimes it is easier to close a deal with strangers.

As for me, I will continue to remain active on Facebook. As you can see by my Klout score, it garners a lot of attention and responses. I am building a platform to last, and I am not trying to complete it today.

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