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3 Quick and Easy Ways to Generate Story Ideas

Online Gambler Wednesday, August 29, 2007

There are many ways you can generate ideas you can use for your stories, articles and other creative pieces. Start with the three ways given below:

1. Put Your 5 Senses to Work

A simple but effective way to generate fresh ideas from a single concept, idea or object is to describe or illustrate it using the 5 senses -- sight, smell, touch, taste, sound.

For you to do: Generate 5 specific images or concrete examples (one example for each sense) for the following:

  • vindication (what's the smell of vindication? how does it taste? how does it sound? what does it look like? how does it feel?)
  • hesitation
  • celebration

2. Take Advantage of Your Conflicts

Conflict is a part of life. It's also a source of creativity. You only need to look at yourself and examine your experiences to come up with ideas based on conflicts.

For you to do: What's stopping you from doing something? Who is in the way of you getting what you want? What's stopping you from taking a career leap? Brainstorm for conflicts in your life and come up with at least 15 in your list.

3. It's OK to Call People Names

Generate nicknames or terms that capture the lifestyles, attitudes or characteristics of certain groups of people.

For example, the nicknames I came up for the kind of people I encountered on the bus when I used to commute to work and back were: space-hog, slumper, fidgeter and refined. The terms described how the people on the bus behaved as they sat. [They were useful because I was able to avoid the space-hogs and the fidgeters when choosing a seat. Sitting beside a slumper was all right, since most slumpers kept their slumps within their space ;o)]

For you to do: Generate nicknames or terms for the following groups of people:

  • cashiers
  • waiters
  • teachers
  • employees
  • actors

Begin using these 3 simple ways of generating ideas today. Before long, you'll be churning out one idea after another with ease. That's creativity at work!

About The Author

Copyright (c) 2004 Shery Ma Belle Arrieta-Russ

Shery is the developer of creative, motivating and fun e-mail courses for writers. Sign up and take an e-mail course today...free! http://writingbliss.com

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Love Links

Online Gambler Sunday, August 26, 2007
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Increase your TECHNORATI ranking and GOOGLE PAGE RANK. Guaranteed!

Online Gambler Friday, August 24, 2007 ,
If you are looking for ways to improve your GOOGLE PAGE RANKING and TECHNORATI RANKING, I recommend that you give Viral Linking or Viral Tagging a chance. All you need to do is follow these four simple instructions and you're on your way to increasing the number of links to your blog. (courtesy of Blogging Mix.)

==== Copy and Paste below this line ====

Instructions

1.) Copy and paste the entire matrix of “ViralTags” below.

2.) Substitute the Host Tag and one of the “ViralTags” in the matrix with your anchor text of choice containing your blog’s URL. Please keep anchor text to a maximum of 4 words to keep the matrix size manageable.

3.) When you get a ping back from someone that has your link in one of their “ViralTags”, practice good karma by copying his/her Host Tag’s anchor text (automatically the associated link will also be copied) and paste it over one of your “ViralTags” below.

4.) Encourage and invite your readers to do the same and soon this will grow virally.


Host Tag: Blogging Mix : Blog, Bloggers and Blogging

| Blogging Mix | Blog About Interesting Stuff | Internet Blog Branding | Blogspot - Search Engine Optimization | Blogging Tips, SEO Guide | Blog Instructor | Blog, Blogger and Blogging | Blog About Networking | Blog Monetization - Blogspot | Blogger, Blog and Blogging | Blogging and Marketing | Blog For Bloggers | The Bloggers Haven | Business Logic | Extension - Blogging Mix | Content, Connection, Continuity | Asian Women and Culture | Viral Tag | Viral Tag | Viral Tag | Viral Tag |


UPDATE: Please let me know through the comments when you've posted this on your blog so I can add your link. Please inform me of your preferred ANCHOR TEXT too. Thanks.
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The How And Why Of Buying Traffic For Your Website

Online Gambler Thursday, August 23, 2007
Need more traffic on your website? You may want to consider buying it. When you buy traffic, you are almost guaranteed to get traffic. Many of the services that dedicate their businesses to building traffic for other websites offer a guaranteed number of visitors on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, making this one of these easiest and fastest ways to get traffic on your website.

If you have never heard of buying traffic before, or if you want to learn more about how it works, here are some frequently asked questions in regards to traffic buying that can help.

What Kind of Businesses Buy Traffic?

Buying web traffic is not necessarily a new Internet marketing concept. In fact, there are many online businesses that have been doing it for years. Though many of these companies are established already, they are not the only types of businesses who use such services. Sometimes the only way that a new, unknown site can get traffic to their website is by buying it. Competing with large sites is tough, and sometimes, search engine optimization techniques aren't enough to boost a new site's rankings in the search engines.

Where Can You Get Traffic?

There are many online services that sell website traffic. To find a sampling, simply type buy traffic or get traffic into any Internet search engine. You will be faced with so many different options that you will have a hard time choosing which service to go with.

If you are looking for referrals, consider visiting forums that have members who are online business owners or web developers. Many of the people who post in these forums may have already used one or two traffic building companies. In most cases, they will be able to offer you information on their experiences.

If you are unable to get a referral, don't base your decision on cost alone. There may or may not be a difference between a traffic building service that offers 10,000 visitors per month for $20.00 and one that offers 10,000 for $30.00. Always inquire about services, as well as costs. Good questions to ask include:

How do you bring traffic to my website?

Do you ever use spamming techniques?

What type of traffic will be targeted: specific countries, specific languages, etc?

Can you guarantee that I will get traffic?

Will you provide me with stats?

Do you offer customer support?

How much will you charge me if I want to buy traffic?

Why is your service better than others?

Where Do Visitors Come From?

When you buy traffic, most of the visitors you get will be from banner ads, pop-ups, pop-unders, and layers ads. The ads are placed all around the net. When a web visitor clicks on the ad, they will be taken directly to your website.

Is Traffic Guaranteed?

This is a tough question to answer because it depends on the service that you use to buy traffic. Some services guarantee that you will get traffic and others do not. Even if they do guarantee traffic, they cannot guarantee sales. They cannot even guarantee that when you get traffic, it will stay on your site for more than one second.

This is very important to remember when deciding whether or not to buy traffic. Whatever you decide to do, make sure to track your traffic, your sales, and your overall results. Once you have analyzed everything, you will be able to easily determine if buying traffic to get traffic is in your best interests.

About The Author

Cliff Posey, owner of CRP Marketing, owns and operates http://webbusinesstoolsonline.com. Cliff Posey has also operated several other successful web businesses including Love Song Cards and Radio Career Consultants. The content in this article was developed from his experience in these businesses.

Attract Traffic to Your Blog: Alternative to Search Engines

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Give me 1 Link, I'll Give You 5 Links in Return

Online Gambler Tuesday, August 21, 2007
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Best Blogging - 4 Useful Tips to Help You Earn Money from Your Blog

Online Gambler

People used to blog just for fun. Although many still do it for that reason, currently a lot of users are doing it to earn money. Just how much can you earn from being a blogger? It turns out that you can earn enough to allow you to quit your day job. Of course, not all bloggers have met this kind of success, but what matter is that some people have done it, and you can, too. To get you started on this path, here are a few of the best blogging tips you can follow:

1.) Blog about a topic that you love and know. Your enthusiasm and authority should shine through your words to be picked up by your readers so that they can share your enjoyment and trust your opinion at the same time. These feelings usually convert a casual visitor to a loyal reader.

2.) Keep your blog updated. You don't have to make new entries everyday, but you need to keep fresh posts coming in at regular intervals so your readers will know when to check your blog. This practice also helps your blog become part of your readers' online routine.

3.) Even if your writing tone in your blog is conversational, keeping your entries optimized for search engines is a good idea. Ranking high in search engine results gives your site more chances for first-time users to stumble upon your blog.

4.) Your blog's earning potential depends on the quality of the advertising and affiliate programs you sign up for. Pick those that work best with your blog's topics. You don't need to join too many programs to earn. Just two or three solid ones can get your cash inflow going.

Do you want to learn more about how I do it? I have just completed my brand new guide to article marketing success, ‘Your Article Writing and Promotion Guide‘

Download it free here: Secrets of Article Promotion

Sean Mize is a full time internet marketer who has written over 1574 articles in print and 11 published ebooks.


Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Sean_R_Mize


What Makes BlogCatalog Different? - Blogging Mix Review
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Here's a Good Sign

Online Gambler Saturday, August 18, 2007
The most important purpose of a sign is delivering a message. It takes a whole lot more than throwing a bunch of letters on a panel and hoping folks will see it. A completed sign is really a composition. Whether it’s any good or not depends on four critical factors: Balance, Rhythm, Oneness, and Harmony.

For balance a good sign must be “pleasing” to the eye. It is the weight distribution that is considered first. It’s not necessarily done symmetrically; rather, a well-balanced sign composition is optically effective and has a stability of sorts in the arrangement of the copy in relation to each of the other elements. There is a lot which is involved in this judgment for the competent sign writer – the amount of copy, any illustrations or supporting images, letter styles, and certainly what the sign is supposed to do; advertise, sell, welcome, etc. Also, how far will it the sign be viewed from and how fast will the viewer be traveling, if at all. When the customer brings the sign writer copy that looks like a newspaper ad and doesn’t allow any freedom for the professional to edit believing every word is essential there is often no hope for achieving a balance in the sign’s layout.

Rhythm is what many signs lack due the sign writer’s judgment in selecting too many letter styles in the same work. Aesthetically speaking, most signs look best when only one or two letter fonts are incorporated. Often modest variations of a font can be introduced to reduce rhythm interference when bringing impact and interest; however, too many styles of lettering on one sign visually distressing.

Oneness is when signs that have several groups of copy or messages and the viewer’s eye smoothly follows the flow of the message from the primary message on to the secondary and finally onto the most subordinate. It can be achieved, or at least enhanced, by dividing the three messages and creating emphasis using reverse panels, bolding and other emphasis techniques.

Harmony is nothing more that incorporating the first three elements with discipline – balance, rhythm and oneness. Without being sensitive to copy grouping, letter styles and things like coloring no layout will be achieved that has harmony. A prefect example of this is in the use of borders. Often borders on signs are completely unnecessary and only serve to distract the eye instead of supporting a certain style of letter. This is especially true when the border is excessively strong or of strong color. In the case of borderless signs, it is the flow of the graphics, shapes and lettering styles which provide the design and unity, balanced with uninterrupted harmony.

Often in my work with customers at Cedar Sign Company, a retailer of personalized welcome signs carved from red cedar, folks will deliver copy and design expectations which are a far cry from the proof we render for their approval. It’s been my experience that when folks let us exercise our sign writing expertise by interpreting balance, rhythm, unity and harmony with professionalism and style their welcome signs and family name plaques deliver attractive and effective composition.
About The Author
Thom Inman I love Western Red Cedar and have been using this amazing and legendary medium for over 40 years in construction and my art of carving personalized outdoor welcome signs. Find us at http://www.cedarsign.com where we've been hand crafting personalized outdoor welcome signs since 1966!
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Why Outsource Your SEO Campaign?

Online Gambler Monday, August 13, 2007 ,
Have you ever wondered “can’t I just perform search engine optimization in-house?” The answer is a resounding “yes, you can,” but there are many things to consider prior to starting your own in-house SEO program. If everything does not line up at the moment, it may be a wiser decision to bring in an outsider to optimize your website properly. Let’s look at some common considerations.

The initial question you should ask yourself prior to undertaking an in-house SEO program is “do I currently have the staff expertise to tackle SEO effectively?” Good candidates for SEO have traits such as: good research skills, learns quickly, high attention to detail, adapts well to change, enjoys solving fairly complex puzzles, is technologically savvy, and isn’t afraid to try various approaches to solve a problem. If you do not spot these basic traits in someone on your staff which could transition smoothly into an SEO role, it might be wise to look externally for some help.

If there is no one obvious on board currently, who else might be an ideal choice within your organizational ranks to learn SEO? Perhaps training someone that is unhappy in their current role, yet is still considered an asset to the organization, may provide a good opportunity to transition that person over to an important new role. Maybe there is someone that is very intelligent which isn’t so happy dealing with people on a regular basis—they may make a good candidate also.

Once you have a candidate or team sketched out, how will you train them? There are several places to look for training and several sources of basic information, but it may be best to hire an outside firm with the sole purpose of training some of your people as they perform the actual services. Many reputable firms will agree to this type of arrangement provided you are clear with your objectives early on in the relationship, and you set a realistic timeframe. This presents a potential win-win outcome in many cases because the outside firm can lay claim to improved ratings as a result of your partnership, and you can build your new team while sharing in the publicity your site brings to both parties. Keep in mind it can take anywhere from two solid months to a year to get someone up to snuff so don’t expect miracles overnight just because you’ve pegged some folks to take on this role. If someone is really passionate about learning, the curve can be shorter, but that is an exception rather than a rule. Most people are resistant to change which means they won’t fully invest of themselves immediately.

Lastly, are SEO tasks performed in-house really cost effective for your organization at this stage of the game? Many SEO firms charge, on average, anywhere from $2,000-10,000 per month to perform their services. That’s a somewhat broad price range, but it takes into account several factors such as: how competitive are the keywords you’re wanting to rank well for, how many high ranking back-links might it take to improve your site’s ranking, will original content generation be a major factor, how well does the site rank today, how long until consistent results may be evident, and so forth. SEO is not a quick fix project and should be viewed as a long range strategic investment versus a one-time project.

If, after reading over this brief list of considerations, you even slightly believe it would be of greater long-term benefit to your company to hire an external firm, it might save some headaches down the road to just bite the bullet and hire someone now. SEO can definitely be done in house, but it takes appropriate planning and allocation of resources just like anything else.
About The Author
Roger Bauer is Founder and CEO of SMB Consulting, Inc., a Louisville, Kentucky based small business consulting firm specializing in internet marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), technology, and business analysis. To learn more, point your browser to http://smbconsultinginc.com/.




Check out Blogging Mix for more details or you can visit BlogCatalog's Discussion Thread regarding the event!
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Is Your Web Site Effective?

Online Gambler Tuesday, August 7, 2007 ,
How effective is your web site? Does it really help bring in business? How can you tell if it’s time for a web site clean-up, tune-up, or makeover?

Well, you can start by doing a little do-it-yourself web site analysis. First, take an honest look at your web site. Is the information outdated? Have you added anything new to give visitors a reason to come back? Are all the links still working?

Your web site is the face of your business, and the impression it gives to your visitors matters very much. You may have already lost customers due to poor usability, awkward design, unclear navigaiton, or outdated information.

When analyzing your web site, consider questions such as:

Is your web site purpose-built? At Five Sparrows, we talk a lot about purpose-built sites, and that’s where we start when developing new web projects for our clients. You really must know and understand the purpose of your web site before you create it. Make sure you are clear about your ultimate goals.

Is the information useful to a visitor? One of the mistakes small businesses often make is to put every piece of company information they have up on their web site. Do your visitors really need to know your staff vacation schedule? If it doesn’t contribute to the site’s purpose, don’t publish it.

What is the message you're communicating? Broken links, old information, non-functioning web forms, or missing images communicate the wrong message to your visitors. Make sure your site is a positive reflection on your business, and that it communicates competence and professionalism.

Does your web site look good? Studies show that visitors take less than seven seconds to decide if they are interested in your site, and much of that decision is based on the site’s visual appeal. Of course your site should provide functional page layout and navigation, but the design elements should also be appealing and purposeful. The site design should match your existing corporate branding, yet enhance your distinctive “look” and business personality.

If you have been honest with yourself in analyzing your web site, you should have a pretty good idea about whether you have a successful web site, or one that isn’t performing as well as it should. An effective web site is an invaluable business tool, so make sure your site is ready to work for you.
About The Author
Lauren Hobson is the Editor of Biz Talk Newsletter and the Five Sparrows Marketing Blog. These are free resources that provide tips and techniques to small businesses, helping them make the most of their web sites and marketing without spending a lot of money. Read the most recent Five Sparrows articles at on websites and marketing or subscribe to Biz Talk at http://www.fivesparrows.com/biztalk.htm. Copyright 2007 Five Sparrows, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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Social Networks - Search Engine Marketing for Web2.0

Online Gambler Monday, August 6, 2007
There are few Search Engine Marketers who would debate that most community based websites are favored within Search Engine Results’ Pages or SERP. These Web2.0 sites also have high Google Page Ranks. Links from these could help increase your site’s Google Page Rank while also boosting your site in the SERPs of most search engines if done properly. Within this article you can find how your site can benefit from utilizing social networks as part of your SEM for web2.0 strategy.

Social networks are getting a lot of attention these days including Wikipedia, del.icio.us and MySpace. Along with the buzz, these sites are also generating a lot of traffic! How can you integrate links for these types of social network sites into your search engine marketing program? While there are an increasing number of social networks, this article will stick to the above as they are kings of their domains so to speak.

I recently had the opportunity to attend Search Engine Strategies in New York City this past February, 2006. While attending a session in regards to community marketing tactics using both Wikipedia and tagging, the panel asked the audience, “Who here knows what Wikipedia and tagging are?” less than half the room raised their hands.

Let me give you an overview of these concepts.

Wikipedia is a free community content driven encyclopedia. I have included an excerpt about Wikipedia from their about section located at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:About

“Begun in 2001, Wikipedia has rapidly grown into the largest reference website on the Internet. The content of Wikipedia is free, written collaboratively by people from all around the world. This website is a wiki, which means that anyone with access to an Internet-connected computer can edit, correct, or improve information throughout the encyclopedia, simply by clicking the edit this page link (with a few minor exceptions such as protected articles).”

Your benefits of using Wikipedia as an online marketing strategy are various. To begin with, your submitted content about your product or company may be very short and simple to begin with. As your content ages and more members view and contribute to your content with edit revisions, your content submission will grow and grow. For example, your submission may start out as a forty word brief that may turn into a multi-page article. Additionally, Wikipedia has a good Google Page Rank of 9 which will help boost your website’s PR with a quality backlink from your submitted content. Finally, using keywords that relate to your site in your contribution will assist you in controlling more space within the search engine results’ pages for your particular brand, product or name. For example, doing a Google Search for the term “Microsoft” returns a Wikipedia content entry about Microsoft in the tenth position of the Google SERP for “Microsoft”.

You should only submit content about a famous person, a patented product your company invented, a trademarked brand, famous places, etc. When you write your content you will want to write from an extremely neutral viewpoint. Don’t write all sorts of features and benefits; write more factual based information related to your subject. Your focus needs to be the community and not your subject. Tread lightly, the community is helpful to assist you in producing additional content, but be careful of keyword spamming and link spamming.

Although there are many benefits to using Wikipedia for SEM, there are also just as many caveats to using it. Submitting content to Wikipedia is a double-edged sword. You will only want to contribute to Wikipedia if your product or service is of relevance to the community. Using spammy techniques in your content or submitting an entry that has no real value such as “another affiliate website” could have the opposite of desired effect by producing negative feedback about your brand or product from the community.

Tagging on the other hand doesn’t have quite the negative drawbacks as posting to Wikipedia.

Del.icio.us is a social bookmarking site where members contribute links based on tags that anyone can search. I have included their about page found at del.icio.us/about below:

“What is del.icio.us?

del.icio.us is a collection of favorites - yours and everyone else's. Use del.icio.us to:

• Keep links to your favorite articles, blogs, music, restaurant reviews, and more on del.icio.us and access them from any computer on the web.

• Share favorites with friends, family, and colleagues.

• Discover new things. Everything on del.icio.us is someone's favorite - they've already done the work of finding it. Explore and enjoy.”

There are a few simple techniques for commercial tagging through community type sites such as del.icio.us: create bookmark worthy content or link bait, get your tags in front of the right people or choose the right category, give your created tags only one self generated bump in del.icio.us, rinse and repeat about once a month. Below is an excerpt from del.icio.us to help you answer what various parts of tags are:

Posts

When a user saves an item on del.icio.us, it is posted to the front page as well as the tag page for each chosen tag. A sample is below explaining the various information pieces:

Here is a del.icio.us example listing under the tag “web 2.0”

O'Reilly -- What Is Web 2.0 save this

by Scottcard to web2.0 oreilly article reference ... saved by 2938 other people .

You will first notice the title with the link to the site, next is an option to save the link to your tags. Secondly, you see a Username Scottcard. Here you can click the username to see Scottcard’s tags. Next you can click on the next links to see other related-sites within those tags. Lastly, you will see a highlighted link where you can view the members who have saved this site.

The good and the bad of tagging is that you will receive good quality backlinks to your site and increase visibility. The bad is that the majority of the time your tags will be removed from community members because the members are technically savvy and intolerant of any type of commercial push. Choose your keywords wisely and make sure your tag is in the right place and contributes to the community. Other tagging sites to consider are: http://technorati.com/tags/ and http://digg.com/. There are many others, but these are the ones that matter.

I see tagging or social bookmarking sites such as del.icio.us gaining in popularity within the next three years as blogs did two years ago. Yahoo has already taken notice by purchasing del.icio.us and flickr. Digg.com and furl.com are also making headway. Other sources to consider are the social network sites for developing a web2.0 SEM strategy.

MySpace is the current king of social networks, as it is literally a social-space network with 2.5 times more daily users than Google (psst, this is a huge untapped market). The domain dates back to 1999 where it was originally an online hard-drive of sorts. The current rendition took hold in 2003 making MySpace barely three years old. The main demographic is made up of teens to 20-somethings. The music industry is currently using MySpace as a marketing tool, not the labels themselves, but the bands. For example, Pearl Jam is announcing their upcoming release for May with sample songs and concert date announcements. One of their sample songs from their upcoming albums is one of the most played songs across the entire MySpace network. Independent film makers have also taken notice. In February 2006, amateur filmmaker David Lehre released a short film called MySpace: The Movie. This short film has quickly become a hit, registering over six million views following its release.

Benefiting from MySpace traffic is pretty straight forward. You will want to create a user profile and post links to your company or websites such as blogs, feeds, etc. Profile note, you can post html code in any field regarding your profile. Next, create your social pipeline of users and keep the demographic inline with any product or link you wish to shamelessly promote in the future. You don’t want to get spammy here either. The downside would be getting your user profile terminated from MySpace or members posting negative comments within your profile. Again, tread lightly by thinking neutral and keep the benefit of the community in mind.

The opportunity costs associated with community based SEM are very high. However, tagging in particular may be time prohibitive for most organizations as it requires a lot of trial and error. Tagging can seem like a waste of time as most tagging submissions will be removed by community members who find your submission “spammy”. Time spent on tagging isn’t a problem for most sole proprietors, but can be costly to your employer who is left with little equitable return to show for your time spent.

Utilizing Web2.0 sites such as Wikipedia, del.icio.us and MySpace, will prove effective for your business if done properly. Remember to tread lightly, don’t use “spammy” techniques and stay neutral keeping the benefit of the community at heart in your content development. Doing so will help your business to avoid a negative backlash toward your brand from the community you are developing content for.
About The Author
Warren Pattison is the Director of Search for Elixir Systems, a full service search engine marketing company specializing in organic search engine optimization services, online public relations management and paid search or PPC management. For more information visit http://www.elixirsystems.com this article can also be viewed at http://www.elixirsystems.com/articles/a060322.php.
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Social Networking - The Next Great Marketing Medium?

Online Gambler
There has been a virtual explosion of social networking sites in the past couple of years. Even the big players like Google, Yahoo and MSN are getting into it.

With so much interest in how social networks work, one begins to wonder if there is marketing potential within these social networks?

I’ve been watching social networking for some time now. In fact I’m a member of various social networking sites including MySpace and LinkedIn just to name two.

I joined partly because I wanted to see what they were, but more importantly to see what impact social networking would have on SEM in the coming years.

I’ve been a member of various services for some time and the reach these sites have is incredible.

For example, from my LinkedIn network of seven people I have an expanded network of over 12,600 people.

Imagine that - I’m only a click or two away from close to 13,000 other people who share my similar interests ranging from what I like to watch on TV to work I could provide to them.

Through my connections and their connections, I’m connected to people ranging from the American Cancer Society, to Sun Microsystems to the University of Texas to Google.

But what marketing opportunities are there for Social Networking?

Well, let’s look at MySpace.

MySpace is one of the top sites on the Web today. It racked up 9.4 billion page-views in August 2005 (more than Google) and new users are signing up at a mind-boggling rate of 3.5 million a month.

MySpace is typical of where today’s 18-30 year old goes to manage their digital life. It allows users to post photos of themselves and their friends, create a blog, list their favorite bands, view and share videos, suggest things to do and lists a set of people they consider friends. It is on this “Friends List” where most of the opportunities lie.

All thirty million plus users of MySpace have a friend’s page that lists people that person considers their friend. This is a list of people that they are interested in talking to and about, as well as hearing from on a regular basis. Once you add someone as your friend they can send you emails, comment on your photos, read your blogs, as well as leave messages that you can then share with others. This is an opportunity for instant feedback about you.

The ability to add friends to your page is key for marketing to MySpace users. According to Courtney Holt, head of new media and strategic marketing at Interscope Records, “This generation is growing up without having ever watched programmed media.” “They don’t think in terms of the album, and they don’t think in terms of a TV schedule. They think in terms of TiVo, P2P, AOL, and of course MySpace.”

You can see how this could grow.

Let’s say you create a MySpace account to talk about your product or service. You blog about it and search for others that may share your interests.

You then invite them to be your friend. When they become a friend you start your “soft sell” pitching your product to them.

As they grow to appreciate it, they start blogging and sharing it. Soon hundreds or even thousand of people are talking about you and your product or service.

Don’t think this will work?

Let me give you some examples. There are many bands who have gotten their start on MySpace. Simply by hosting some of their music online and blogging about themselves they developed a following. Soon they had record deals and contracts lined up.

Of course to use services like MySpace you need to have something this target market needs. If you don’t then you probably shouldn’t put too much effort into MySpace.

But that doesn’t mean other social networking opportunities should be overlooked. As I mentioned above, LinkedIn is more of a professional introduction service. If your product or service fits here then by all means explore it further.

And there are others as well. Services such as Yahoo!s MyWeb, Flickr, del.icio.us and more.

So if you’ve ever wondered what other online opportunities could be out there, consider social networking. It could be the next great online marketing channel.
About The Author
Rob Sullivan is a SEO Consultant and Writer for Textlinkbrokers.com. Textlinkbrokers is the trusted leader in building long term rankings through safe and effective link building. Please provide a link directly to Textlinkbrokers when syndicating this article.
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Social Networking – What’s New, What’s Hot!

Online Gambler
In the 21st Century, the old bromide is more true than ever: It’s not what you know; it’s who you know and who knows you.

In large part, we can thank the Internet for that these days. Despite its vast size and complexity, the Internet has turned out to be a profoundly personal phenomenon. People around the globe are forming networks based on every conceivable common interest, from the serious and practical to the outright silly. In 2005, the 80-million member networking site MySpace got more page views than Google. And the movement is only continuing to grow.

It was only forty years ago that Dr. Stanley Milgram amazed everyone with his “small world” experiments, showing that a person could be connected to any given stranger in the United States by a remarkably short chain of I-know-someone-who-knows-someone. Those experiments, which coined the term “six degrees of separation” were a revelation in the 1960s. Now the concept has become so familiar that it is perhaps better known in its movie trivia form: “Six degrees of Kevin Bacon.”

To better understand what is happening and what it means for individuals and organizations, we turn to a relatively new field of study: Social networking. We’ll look at four books. First we’ll see what the ever insightful Malcolm Gladwell has to say on the topic, in his book The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (Back Bay Books/Little Brown and Company, 2000). Second, we’ll turn to an exciting new book that’s hot off the presses: Karen Stephenson’s The Quantum Theory of Trust: Power, Networks and the Secret Life of Organizations (Financial Times Pearsons, 2006). Then we’ll examine the groundbreaking academic treatise Structural Models in Anthropology by Per Hage and Frank Harary, et al. (Cambridge University Press, 1984). And finally we’ll discuss Robert L. Cross and Andrew Parker’s The Hidden Power of Social Networks: Understanding How Work Really Gets Done in Organizations (Harvard Business School Press, 2004).

Malcolm Gladwell’s book popularized the useful and now nearly ubiquitous term “the tipping point,” which in epidemiology describes “that one dramatic moment in an epidemic when everything can change all at once,” Gladwell writes. He examines a similar phenomenon in culture. Small factors, ideas or behaviors gather momentum and become contagious. When they reach critical mass – the tipping point – they become epidemic. Gladwell’s experience writing about AIDS for the Washington Post, convinced him that change is about the “law of the few.” He intuitively realized the powerful role which some people, who spread AIDS or create buzz for the newest novel or product, can have in moving along a social epidemic of any kind. Using this model, he shows how the crime rate can drop or Sesame Street can spread all over the world.

What interests us here is the motive force that Gladwell says drives all those little things toward their tipping point: People engaged in social networking. He identifies three types of social networkers: Mavens, Connectors, and Salesmen. Mavens love to gather knowledge and pass it on to others. Connectors seem to know everyone. They can get information where it needs to go. And Salesmen are great persuaders. They are irresistibly positive and their ideas and attitudes are infectious. When these three types of people interact with a social network, little things can turn into big deals with astonishing speed.

Although The Tipping Point is often found in the business section of bookstores, it’s message is just as applicable to sociology, history, science and other fields. Plus, it’s simply an entertaining read.

Gladwell approaches his material in a highly intuitive way, but in
in a New Yorker article in December of 2000, he profiled a scholar who examined the same concepts in a more analytical and rigorous fashion. Karen Stephenson, a professor and business consultant, studied social networks within organizations to understand how information and influence flow in those settings.

By charting the flow of information, she showed how organizations are evolving from command and control structures, past the trendy world of networks to a strange new world of networked institutions, paying homage to Friedman’s spot-on prophecy that the world is both small and flat. She maps a pattern completely unlike the traditional organizational chart. She represented each person as a dot and drew lines between them to show paths of communication. In this way, she showed how information really flows through a system. At the time, she used her insights to help IBM create a new business on it and companies better organize their physical workspaces to accommodate and encourage social networking. Now that she has put her valuable insights into book form, with The Quantum Theory of Trust, she may be the Margaret Mead of social networking.

Stephenson has a background in quantum chemistry and mathematics but earned her doctorate in anthropology, studying the social networks found among Gibbons. The combination led her to study anthropology through a bio-statistician lens. She then spent ten years as a professor in the management school of UCLA before going out on her own, only to be invited to teach at her alma mater, Harvard, in the Graduate School of Design. Thus, over thirty years, she has devoted her life to culture and design, both of which have intricacies that are invisible to the untrained eye.

Her social networking studies show that information follows through and around certain archetypes. Some people are Hubs; information pathways radiate all around them. They know many people and others seek them out. But Stephenson warns that such people are not necessarily sophisticated in directing the flow of information. If you want to keep a secret, she says, don’t tell Hubs since they may be naïve in their attempts to make connections. Gatekeepers, on the other hand, are expert at managing information flow. They know whom to tell what and when. Gatekeepers are an indispensable resource in building effective social networks. A less visible, but equally important archetype is the Pulsetaker. Pulsetakers are connected through a variety of networks but choose to STAY below the radar. They are keen observers of the people and trends around them and often make excellent mentors and coaches. Machiavelli proved himself the ultimate Pulsetaker when he described the Medici court.!


As Stephenson puts it, “Hubs know the most people; Gatekeepers know the right people, and Pulsetakers know the most people who know the right people.” Professor Stephenson adds that Pulsetakers make some of the best change agents.

However, she admits, one rarely finds a pure archetype in real life. She sees Gladwell’s descriptions of Connectors, Mavens and Salesmen as useful hybrids of her archetypical Hubs, Gatekeepers and Pulsetakers.

Stephenson Gladwell
Hub-Pulsetaker Connectors
Gatekeeper-Pulsetaker Maven
Hub-Gatekeeper Salesmen
Used with permission 2006 Dr. Karen Stephenson
For her, Gladwell’s Connectors are Hub-Pulsetakers. They combine the buoyant enthusiasm of Hubs with the finesse of Pulsetakers. They enjoy knowing a large number of people, without feeling obligated to form deep relationships with all of them. And they are quick to use their Pulsetaking skills to find opportunities to bring members of their network together.

Mavens are Gatekeeper-Pulsetakers. They may not know quite as many people, but they are more invested in the people they do know. They lead softly and often imperceptibly by helping, teaching and enquiring.

Salesman are Hub-Gatekeepers. They are masters of interpersonal communication, picking up on subtle cues to better connect with their listeners. They get information across, but also seem to put their listeners under a spell. It is very difficult to say “no” to such a person.

Finally, Stephenson identifies one more important position. Some people combine all three of her other roles: Hub, Gatekeeper and Pulsetaker. She calls them “Strange Attractors”. These individuals are often unaware of the reach of their influence, but they can be a “powerful force for good or evil,” she says. She regularly finds them in organizations and is relieved they are a limited resource. Once identified, she says they “should be sparingly sprinkled into any recipe for change.”

Stephenson gained her precise perspective from her early scientific training and in part by working and studying for years with the deeply reflective anthropologist Per Hage and Frank Harary, a practical applied graphics expert. Our next book, Hage and Harary’s Structural Models in Anthropology. is the forerunner of rigorous social network analysis as we know it.

The book approaches network theory as a continuation of the work of structural anthropologist Claude Levi Strauss, who was looking for the basic unit of kinship, just as there is a basic unit of speech, the phoneme, in the field of linguistics. Per Hage was a traditional anthropologist who liked to use stories to show relationships, while Frank Harary is known for his development of approaches and ideas in graphic theory. Their work pulled together articles and research to move the social network community inexorably toward identifying a basic unit of relationship as “the relationship”, rather than the anthropological view of kinship as the basic unit of relationship.

They showed the way for how to use graphic techniques in social network analysis. They did not intend for the technique to “race ahead” of the theory; rather their focus was on the fusion of economics, sociology, anthropology and logic. They used “cultural” clues to represent the smallest particle of a work organization so that readers could see and decode the cultural particles, which is a bit like decoding the Da Vinci Code as Dr. Stephenson would say.

In their overview of the history of structuralism in Anthropology, the authors used famous studies from Margaret Mead to Claude Levi Strauss and the characters in famous novels to portray relationships among and between people, food, bodily fluids, rituals and reciprocity. Whether it’s the kinship roles in Brazil or the role of women, chains of relationships in networks trump individual relationships for clout and influence.

It’s a bit like the current US advertisement showing a network of people behind someone with a mobile phone. Hage and Harary show that it’s the power of the network and the group. It’s a fascinating book if you enjoy history and the process of creating visual representation of concepts like organizational design and analysis.

Although it is out of print, this brief but dense book is well worth tracking down. When you read through it, you will start to understand the power of graphic representations of social connections and gain a new respect for what happens in the social network analysis of organizations.

For a more hands-on look at how social networking functions in organizations and how to better manage it, check out The Hidden Power of Social Networks, by Rob Cross and Andrew Parker. Their book is an in-the-trenches bunch of tips to understand how social networks, often invisible to management, can save or scuttle an organization.

The important networking roles Cross and Parker identify include Central Connectors, Unsung Heroes, Bottlenecks, Boundary Spanners and Information Brokers (borrowed from the early work of David Krackhardt, Tom Allen, Karen Stephenson and Malcolm Gladwell), as well as various types of Peripheral People. They examine factors that contribute to or inhibit social connections, like physical proximity, time invested in relationships, length of time known, expertise gaps, network preferences, and organization positions.

The book is essentially a how-to guide with lists. Using examples from different types of businesses, the authors encourage managers to look past the formal hierarchies they have put in place and to analyze the social networks that actually control the flow of power and information in their companies. Cross and Parker provide simple tools for that analysis and suggest practical methods for doing one’s own problem solving. Knowing about networks and organizational analysis, leaders are warned to avoid blanket approaches and pinpoint the roles and players who have leverage in their organizations. Although it lacks the broader and deeper view of the other three works we’ve examined, this is a good, practical book to give to first-line supervisors and managers to help them understand how their networks function.

In different ways, the four books, with their unique insights and guidance, help explain the complex metaphor of organizational success as represented by companies like General Electric and BMW. GE, one of the last century’s most successful organizations, is off to a great start in this century. Much has been written about the leadership of Jack Welch, but what has had less media time is the organization’s extensive reliance on social networks long in place. GE sustains organizational success decade after decade with different CEOs, thanks in great part to its fostering and effective use of those networks.

GE is an organization that knows its culture. The leadership knows and understands the culture’s strengths and weaknesses, the portfolio’s capabilities, and the reach and strength of its human resource network across all businesses and functions. Within the culture are protected core values that are nourished and promulgated among every incoming generation of employees. The behaviors and performance requirements are clear and practiced from the top of the organization to every level below.

Therefore the management of directional tipping points such as the recent commitment to eco-imagination resound quickly and efficiently, setting a major organization in a new direction supported inherently and completely by its extraordinarily connected networks and functions. This is only the most recent example of a strategic tipping point shifting the cultural energy of a major company toward its next success agenda. Stephenson’s theory elegantly explains how a company like GE could succeed over generations of leaders. She points out that “networks, more than hierarchy and more than markets, make culture what it is and what it can be.” (Chapter 5 in manuscript).

GE has done a great job of creating social networks through its management development curriculum. Its more than 60 year history of management development programs like Financial Management, HR Management, Manufacturing Management, Executive Development Course or Management Development Course at Crotonville, etc. have created informal networks that get things done. These programs attract the top cadre of people who become the leaders of businesses over time. What you become at GE is a function of who you knew when. The transfer of people across divisions and functions has also kept networking alive and robust. Plus, there is the annual ritual of the senior management meeting every January in Boca Raton. The value of networking at this major event is well known. So in GE, a big measure of knowing you’ll “make it” is “When do I get to go to Boca Raton?”

Karen Stephenson talks about how trust fuels networks and then how feed and sustain a culture. Networks are a tool of culture at GE. The GE culture is fed by the shared values of its members. The company’s selection process is about seeking people who fit the GE mold. And the de-selection process is about ridding the organization of those who don’t fit. “Session C” at GE, the discussion of the characteristics of top-level executives, is a way of ensuring that the folks who don’t fit the culture leave while the networks support the rest.

Essentially, networks of trust at work are ways of keeping a company moving forward through the sharing of information, confidence, knowledge, best practices. An organization’s ability to use and promote such networks is key to its success, though it’s a key that is often overlooked. It is easy to look at GE and see only a charismatic figure like Jack Welch, but in reality it’s the ebb and flow of information and trust shared by a complex web of people that keeps a company on course and nourished by a thriving culture. The four books we have examined, taken together, provide a roadmap to understanding those networks. Networks can be difficult to see, but once you spot them, you’ll never look at an organizational chart -- or ever think of “culture” -- the same way again.

See more about Dr. Karen Otazo at:
http://www.globalleadershipnetwork.com
About The Author
Dr. Karen Otazo is an author, consultant, global executive coach and thinking partner for multinational companies worldwide. http://www.globalleadershipnetwork.com
1

Project e-Play, Satisfying The Digital Thirst Of Social Networking Communities

Online Gambler
As advancements in technology keep progressing at an incredible rate, our focus from the outside world seems to be getting narrower by the second. Have we as a society become distant from one another for the sake of "keeping up with technology?" From the looks of it, our world seems to be shrinking at an incredible rate too.

Or is it?

Due to our consistant technological graduations, society as a whole no longer depends on just one major screen for communication. We've graduated from the TV screen to the laptop, PC, ipod, and cell phone screens. Better yet, as we move forward into constant technological upgrades, we find ourselves standing on an integrated platform of multi-media screens.

This is evidence that we have completely graduated from an informational age into a communicational era. This graduation has created our current evolution, the phenomena of an increasing digital society. Today, each individual has multiple opportunities of making their personal world much bigger than they could have ever imagined. The average Westerner today has more friends than two years ago. The rise is attributed to the explosion in social networking sites and communication phenomena such as email, instant messaging and multi-media screens.

Social networking has clearly become a juggernaut in the online marketplace. It has become an arena for individuals or organizations to blend with one another with ideas, interests, values, financial exchanges, or just simply friendships.

People today, more than ever before, have a digital thirst to participate and communicate with one another through social networking communities. This movement is completely evident in the increasing population of social networks like YouTube and MySpace. Today, when you take a serious look at MySpace, it is clearly obvious that its massive population is large enough to form its own country. What is more interesting about this movement is that it is still heading towards exponential growth. For anyone willing to enhance their online game experience , primarily serious entrepreneurs and online game players, on the social networking growth will be greatly rewarded for doing so.

One major example of an unprecedented growth opportunity is the online game skill arena. The ability to challenge, play, and test personal online game skills with anyone in the world, will catch on fire amongst the social networking arenas. The digital code for this trend will be completely viral and will be boosted by a massive explosion of digital thirst amongst current and upcoming social networks. Virtual World Direct recognizes that the interactive nature of Social Networking sites keeps visitors coming back again and again. If you try to monetize this market of people wanting to have fun playing online games as well as having their own web space/blog and being able to talk to each other live, the potential is staggering. Well, that is exactly what you will have.

For savvy entrepreneurs and online game players, this will be one of today's modern gold rush.

As a matter of fact, a European Internet Analyst, Alex Burmaster, Nielsen/NetRatings (a global leader in Internet media and market research) said, "Take the fact that the online games sector is growing at four times the rate of overall Internet growth together with the increasing numbers online and it is easy to see why companies such as MTV Networks are looking to get a piece of the action."

Now let's stop right there. Imagine for a second, a current online sector that is rapidly growing four times faster that the internet! To give you an idea of what that means and to really put it into context, recent figures from analyst firm DFC Intelligence said that the worldwide online games market is forecasted to grow from $3.4 billion USD in 2005 to over $13 billion USD in 2011.

Currently, the online skill game market has a worth of approximately $5.2 billion USD. That easily equates to a worth of $164 USD per second, and in the next 156 weeks is expected to grow to $412 USD per second of every minute of every day, and growing.

These numbers cannot be ignored.

As an entrepreneur, and/or online game player, the timing couldn't have been any better to position yourself in front of a market that is expected to grow to a worth of $412 every second.

The beauty about this rare movement is the timing and the massive crave that can be created purely from the digital thirst of challenging friends and contacts to games, all in the mix of social networking.

Now imagine being able to be part of this powerful medium, and even better, use it to fuel your new online skill games and entertainment experience. To illustrate the appeal of this industry, Internet Café's derive 30-40% of their revenue from people playing games online. The focus on online skill games is growing immensely throughout the world, the virtual world.

Well, imagine no more. eVolution has stepped up to the plate and is bringing the online game sector to serious entrepreneurs and online game players who want to play games, get paid, and have fun in the process. The digital code has been cracked to the online game sector, social networking communities, and social marketing/network marketing 2.0 industries.

The Project that consists of fun, entertainment, social networking, and online game challenging will be the e-play code of a colossal digital society.
About The Author
Dr. Ricardo Lalama is a home based entrepreneur teaching people how to have their very own effective online home business. For more information on the Project e-Play Code, visit http://www.whoisdrlalama.com/evo
0

Getting Sucked Into Social Networking

Online Gambler
The 21st century saw the boom of the social networking industry. Online social communities have formed and flourished, bridging that space between and among people from different ages, race, and gender. Dozens of social networking sites are now catering to the hobbies and interests of millions of users all over the world.

Social networking began with Classmates.com in 1995. This site’s goal is to help its members find, connect, keep in touch, and form a network with friends and acquaintances from preschool through college, from work, or from the military.

Unlike other networking sites that gained popularity in recent years, Classmates.com uses real names instead of screen names. It also has a rigid privacy policy - the contact information of the member is never revealed within the network unless disclosed one on one by the account owner to another member.

Another social network, SixDegrees.com, emerged in 1997. SixDegrees allows its users to send messages or post bulletins to a list of friends or family members found within their network. SixDegrees faced its early demise four years later, just as the Friendster online community was starting to flourish.

With Friendster, you can invite and add as many friends as you want. You can also upload photos, write blogs and reviews, instant-message other members from your network, and form online groups with those who share the same interests as you have.

At present, Friendster’s social network has more than 40 million registered users. Until around April 2004, Friendster was on the top lead among dozens of other social networking sites. MySpace overtook Friendster in terms of page views, and many other social networking sites like Multiply and Hi5.

MySpace is one of the most popular websites in the Internet these days. Just like Friendster, it allows you to collect a network of friends and share blogs, photos, music, and videos with them. This social networking website is very much popular on English speaking countries, while most people from Asia prefer to use Friendster. MySpace already has more than a hundred million members in 2006.

The two major search engines, Google and Yahoo!, have launched their own social networking sites - orkut and Yahoo! 360°. Most blogging sites also allow you to create a network of friends online.

The thing is, most social networking sites work similarly – they all allow users to expand their network by inviting friends or acquaintances and to share information over the Internet. When you post blogs or files in your account, everyone from your network of friends will be informed of the update through RSS feeds. You also have the option to keep a particular post private to just a few individuals in your network.

Social networks are the best way to increase the number of people in which you are connected with, so if you are into business, you might as well get yourself into social networking to promote your product and increase your sales.

You can choose from hundreds social networking websites available in the web today. However, you might prefer to use a particular networking site in which a lot of your personal friends and contacts are already members. In this way, it’s much easier for you to expand your network and share the contents of your site to other users.
About The Author
Matthew Bredel is the owner of TheWebReviewer: http://www.thewebreviewer.com, Home Based Business Reviews, and http://www.netwebvideo.com: Home Based Business Lessons. Matt currently is located in Southern California and is married with two children.
0

Social Networking - Do You Practice Netiquette?

Online Gambler ,
Over the years, the beauty of the Internet has opened many different doors pertaining to socializing, networking, and the overall art of communication. Today, computer users of all ages are exploring the possibilities associated with chat rooms, discussion boards, forums, and online personals. Sending emails, instant messaging family and friends, and relaying text messages across the World Wide Web are also popular forms of contact. Despite the fact that users are unseen behind the guise of their computer, there is still a written and unwritten code of conduct that exists about the Internet.

Even in the world of online communication, one may offend, confuse, and irritate the people they send emails to or speak with in a chat room. Just as you participate in face-to-face communication, you are often aware of the way you move your body, execute hand gestures, or raise your voice. When contacting others across the Internet, there are also certain messages conveyed through the way you type out your thoughts. One of the most irritating online habits involves the use of all-caps when typing to others. Not only are long strings of capped words a strain on the eyes to read, but is often viewed as "shouting."

When typing emails or chatting with others while online, spelling and grammar really does count in not only making people see your side of things, but also promoting intelligent and free-flowing conversation. Usually, glaring spelling mistakes cause a distraction and confusion in correspondences. Additionally, just because you attempt to avoid making spelling errors and lapses in grammar – doesn’t mean you have the right to criticize others for their poor use of the English language. It is highly suggested to ignore the spelling mistakes of others and concentrate on the way you communicate while online.

Additional email etiquette rules include the avoidance of sending or forwarding junk mail and Internet hoaxes, forwarding virus warnings (which are sometimes hoaxes), replying to all recipients of a collectively sent email, and sending unnecessarily large attachments.

There are also plenty of "netiquette" issues to recognize when communicating with others in online communities (chat rooms and forums). One of the first things to do when joining a chat room, forum, or other online group is familiarize oneself with the rules or guidelines of the service. This practice comes in rather handy and helps one avoid any future online confrontations or misunderstandings.

At all times, your privacy should be protected, as well as other members of the online community. It is unwise to use full names in chat room correspondences and is rude to ask the full names of those you come in contact with. Staying on topic is also a rule of Internet etiquette. For instance, if you have joined a chat room community regarding model airplanes, it is often inappropriate to start sharing your marital problems with others. Using offensive language is warned against and is usually punished (suspension or ban).

When chatting, it is also suggested to keep messages short and present information in the most concise manner. Also, a common practice is to use abbreviations, but not everyone is familiar with the current lingo and this should be kept in mind – the abbreviation of your words and phrases should be used sparingly.

Overall, it is suggested to treat communication across the Internet in the same manner that you like to receive correspondences. Usually, the things that irritate you are the same actions others dislike as well.
About The Author
Linda Allen is the co-founder of GirlfriendsCafe, a popular social networking site for women throughout the United States and Canada. http://www.girlfriendscafe.com
0

Get more secrets to Editing Digital Photography

An image editor is a computer program that enables you to adjust a photo to improve its appearance. With image editing software, you can darken or lighten a photo, rotate it, adjust its contrast, crop out extraneous detail, remove red-eye and more. Most graphics programs have the ability to import and export one or more graphics file formats. Several graphics programs support animation, or digital video. Vector graphics animation can be described as a series of mathematical transformations that are applied in sequence to one or more shapes in a scene. Raster graphics animation works in a similar fashion to film-based animation, where a series of still images produces the illusion of continuous movement.

The display resolution of a digital television or computer display typically refers to the number of distinct pixels in each dimension that can be displayed. Some commentators also use this term to indicate a range of input formats that the display's input electronics will accept and often include formats greater than the screen's native grid size even though they have to be down-scaled to match the screen's parameters. An example of pixel shape affecting "resolution" or perceived sharpness is displaying more information in a smaller area using a higher resolution, which makes the image much clearer. However, newer LCD displays and such are fixed at a certain resolution; making the resolution lower on these kinds of screens will greatly decrease sharpness, as an interpolation process is used to "fix" the non-native resolution input into the displays native resolution output.

There are many different photo-editing programs out there. Many people believe that the level of difficulty of the program indicates its quality. However, many programs are quite simple to use and are of high quality. Several programs will make adjustments for you based on one entered specification, whereas others require you to perform several steps yourself to get the desired effect. Depending on what you're most comfortable with, whether it's pressing a button and having the rest done for you, or doing it all yourself, not every program will be for you. Choose according to your level of experience and your needs in the program.

With a photo-editing program, you can "fix" or change images acquired from a scanner, digital camera, or the Internet and print them, import them into another document, post them on a Web page and use them for desktop backgrounds. To make the choice that's right for you, check reviews in computer magazines and on the Internet to narrow your choices; look for a program that can directly import images from a scanner or digital camera; make sure the program can crop, resize, flip and rotate images; compare color adjustment capabilities of programs. You should be able to adjust contrast, brightness, sharpness, hues and color-saturation levels; change a color; and convert color to black-and-white or grayscale; and compare the ease of using the various programs available.

Sharpen filters bring out detail in images by increasing the contrast of pixels next to one another. More advanced image editing programs offer several options such as Sharpen, Sharpen More, Sharpen Edges and Unsharp Mask (USM). Unsharp Mask gives you a lot of control over how an image is sharpened. Sometimes a photo will benefit from selective sharpening. You select an area with a programs selection tool and only sharpen the area. The important thing is not sharpen an image too much. The sharpening tool that is most useful for photographs is the Unsharp Mask, now available in most raster programs. The Unsharp Mask searches through your image looking for where colors change, and sharpens those areas. The Unsharp Mask is superior to any other sharpening because it makes decisions based on adjacent pixels, not random color changes, so it usually can find and sharpen just the true edges of color areas.

Digital cameras, even relatively cheap ones, take incredibly large images. However, looks can be deceiving and, while the pictures may look big onscreen, they may look disappointing when you try to adjust them for printing, emailing, or long term storage. They're best left untouched, if possible, so that you have more flexibility later. All photo editing software will have a command for changing the pixel dimensions of an image. Look for a command called "Image Size," "Resize," or "Resample." When you use this command you will be presented with a dialog box for entering the exact pixels you wish to use.

Cropping refers to the removal of the outer parts of an image to improve framing, accentuate subject matter or change aspect ratio. In the printing, graphic design and photography industries, cropping refers to removing unwanted areas from a photographic or illustrated image. One of the most basic photo manipulation processes, it is performed in order to remove an unwanted subject or irrelevant detail from a photo, change its aspect ratio, or to improve the overall composition. It is considered one of the few editing actions permissable in modern photojournalism along with tonal balance, colour correction and sharpening.
Article Source: http://www.articlesnatch.com
About the Author:Want to find more knowledge editing digital photography? Don't trust anyone's advice until you read edit your digital photos Get your own completely unique content version of this article.
0

The Top 10 Tools For Monitoring The Success Of Your Website

Online Gambler Saturday, August 4, 2007 , , ,
1 Google Analytics

Google Analytics has become the preferred option among frëe statistics programs. Like any other stats program, Google Analytics provides data on the number of visitors, and page views, referral sources, entry and exit pages, and more. Unlike most other programs, Google Analytics includes the ability to track and monitor pay-per-clíck (PPC) campaigns. Other useful information includes the geographic location of your visitors, their internet connection speed, and their screen resolutions. You can sign up for Google Analytics at:

2 Google Webmaster Tools

Want to know how the largest search engine in the world sees your website? Google's Webmaster Tools will give you loads of information such as the pages that are indexed, errors found by the Googlebot (dead links), your search engine rankings for specific search phrases, your anchor text on inbound links, internal and external link data, and robots.txt and sitemap data.

By knowing how Google sees your site you will find some basic items that you'll need to change in order to reach your maximum potential in search engine traffíc. You can sign up for Google Webmaster Tools at:

3 SEOmoz's Page Strength Tool

SEOmoz is one of the leading search engine optimization (SEO) firms and their website provides a wealth of information through their blog, articles and tools. Their Page Strength Tool shows you the "relative importance and visibility" and the "potential strength and ability of a page to rank in the search engines." SEOmoz provides a quick way to get a basic look at the strength of your page. The Page Strength Tool can be used at:

4 Sitening.com's SEO Analyzer

Sitening is another leading SEO firm with several valuable tools on their website. The SEO Analyzer differs from SEOmoz's Page Strength Tool in that it checks the internal structure of your site to determine how well it is constructed (in terms of search engine optimization). The structure of a website is the framework for a good SEO campaign, and Sitening.com's SEO Analyzer will help you to build the right framework. Sitening.com's SEO Analyzer can be found at:

5 Mike's Marketing Tools

MikesMarketingTools.com has two tools that every webmaster should use regularly. The Search Engine Rankings Tool will show you where your site ranks in several of the top search engines for a specific word or phrase. You can save time by using this tool instead of visiting each search engine and clicking through the search engine results pages to find your website.

The Link Popularity Tool will quickly show you how many inbound links each search engine recognizes for your site. Inbound links are a major factor in search engine rankings and each search engine recognizes a different number of links. From this tool you can also clíck through to see the specific pages that are linking to you. To use these tools visit:

6 Summit Media's Spider Simulator

The spider simulator shows you "how a search engine reacts to your pages and what can be done to boost your usability." Search engine spiders see web pages much differently than human visitors do. A page may look attractive and well-designed to a human visitor, but a search engine spider may not be able to find what it is looking for. This page is a great tool to assure you that your site is built for maximum search engine results. The spider simulator can be used at:

7 SelfSEO Page Speed Checker

Your average website visitor will have a very short attention span. To have the best chance of making a positive first impression on new visitors your page must load quickly enough that they do not leave right away. SelfSEO has a Page Speed Tool that shows you how long your page takes to load. The tool allows you to enter multiple pages to chëck at one time. It is a good idea to compare the load time of your page against pages from several other websites. Try entering your homepage and the homepage of several of your competitors. If your page loads considerably slower than the others, try to make the file smaller by reducing the number and size of images or by cleaning up the coding. The Page Speed Tool can be used at:

8 Dead Links Checker

Having dead links on your website can frustrate visitors and damage your search engine rankings. However, checking all the links on your site manually is not realistic. Fortunately there are a number of tools online that will automate the process. The W3 Link Checker will crawl through your pages and report which links are broken. To use this tool visit:

9 GoogleRankings.com

GoogleRankings.com will show you which words and phrases appear most frequently on your website throughout the text of the page, title, headings and meta tags. This is a useful tool to be certain that your pages are optimized for the words and phrases that you are targeting.

10 FeedBurner

If you publish a blog, FeedBurner's service is a must have. Feedburner will provide you with statistics regarding your blog's feed and you can give your readers the option to subscribe by email instead of RSS. There are a number of other features that you can read about at FeedBurner. With FeedBurner you can always see how many subscribers you have and how many of them are clicking through from your feed to your site.
Article Source: http://www.articlesnatch.com
About the Author:Written by: Komail Noori, a Freelance Web Designer and SEO Expert.
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Blogging Can Boost Your Business Like Nothing Else

Virtually any business can benefit from the added exposure that blogging can create whether the business is operating online or offline.

Blogging is a simple method of adding updated information to a website where others can read the latest information about the business as it is made available.

One of the benefits of blogging for the small businessperson is the fact that it gives them the opportunity to have a presence in the search engines for their particular niche without the need to become a search engine wizard.

Simply by creating blog entries that relate to their business activities, and using keywords that are appropriate in the blog posts, the business owner has a good chance of getting those posts listed in the search engines and also displayed on other websites.

This is due to the fact that other website owners use the blog feeds to add content to their websites.

This is a win-win situation and one of the many reasons why so many people have embraced blogging.

Blogging will only continue to become more popular as people realize the potential gains that can be made for their business.

There are a few simple techniques that are needed to get the average business up an running in a relative short time and this is best explained in the free blog book that is available from the http://www.opoqo.com internet marketing site.

This is a comprehensive blogging guide and is regarded as one of the best on the market.

There are so many opportunities that have arisen from blogging that many people are embracing it as their sole source of income with some people owning and operating hundreds of blogs through the use of software and content distribution sources.

Blogs can be integrated into almost any type of website and even the big corporations are aware of the benefits of having a blog where they can keep in contact with their customers on a more personal level while helping to boost their business and income.
Article Source: http://www.articlesnatch.com
About the Author:Graeme is a writer for opoqo, a comprehensive Internet Marketing website that offers a free comprehensive Blogging guide and other marketing tools such as keyword research.
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Networking By Newsletter: Make Your Professional Organization Work Overtime

Your professional organization decides to send out a newsletter to the membership.
They need an editor. Should you volunteer? After all, nobody reads these things, do they?

That is what I thought when I was asked to edit a newsletter for the very first time. My group consisted of consumer psychology researchers and marketing managers.

"Just one thing," I said to the group's president. "Can I have a humor column?"

"You can have anything. We've had 3 editors in one year. We are desperate."

"Okay, but just for a year or so."

Six years later, I looked back on this experience as one of the most fun and most rewarding of my career.

Running a newsletter offers unique opportunities for self-promotion, networking and contributing uniquely to your organization. You create a vehicle for members to brag about themselves and each other. Along the way, you gain valuable exposure as a professional and as a writer.

Since then I've written newsletters and newsletter columns for others, including a neighborhood association and a fitness center.

Solo-preneur professionals often are surprised to discover the power of newsletters to help their organizations attract and retain members, as well as explode networking potential for themselves and their members. Here are 7 tips I like to share with my own clients.

(1) For the best newsletter content, spotlight your members.

Call them and ask, "May I interview you for a story?" People enjoy reading about the superstars, but they relate closely to stories of members like themselves.

Don't be surprised if "ordinary" members resist being interviewed, especially if they're also clients. They'll say, "I'm too shy," or, "Nobody wants to hear my story."

But once they're featured, they are loyal for life. While living in New Mexico, I wrote a newsletter for the fitness center where I worked out. They always asked for extra copies to take home. "Your name in print" still carries power even in a jaded society.

When your members are self-employed professionals, you don't even have to write the story. Just invite randomly chosen members to be "spotlight of the month." They'll come up with a promotional message that everyone will enjoy reading. I was on the fence about renewing a membership myself -- until I was invited to be in the spotlight one month. That group gets my dues next year.

(2) Double your coverage by assigning volunteers to interview each other.

Now you get 2 people to feel involved -- the interviewer and the interviewee. New members welcome the opportunity to make connections and maybe find a future mentor. You'll get senior members who normally would be too busy, because they realize they're making a direct contribution.

(3) Stir up as much controversy as possible.

No need to be dull.

My professional newsletter featured a humor column. Many readers were college professors (and I was too, at the time)so we created a satiric view of academic life, featuring heroine Maybelle Marketing, her cat Fluffy whose claws were registered as lethal weapons, and hints of midnight meetings with the mob. My column may not have done much for my academic career, but I honed my writing skills and got a lot of attention for the group and the paper.

This format may not be appropriate to your own organization. But maybe you can ask some senior members to write editorials. Some newsletters feature debates with pro vs. con statements on controversial issues.

(4)Celebrate every member's achievement you can find.

You don't have to wait for someone to win a national award. Your members will win marathon runs and coach winning soccer teams. They'll acquire promotions, houses, children and dogs....readers love this stuff.

You get the winners involved -- and you remind everyone that they're participating with a smart group of achievers.

(5) Recognize the power of networking with newsletters.

Everybody knows the newsletter editor and (if you do a good job) everybody wants to talk to you. After a surprisingly short time, you realize your newsletter practically writes itself. You are getting known faster than if you attended 22 networking luncheons.

It's the ultimate win-win: you get to brag about others and you display your own skills in a low-key, creative way.

Article Source: http://www.articlesbiz.com

Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D., coaches and writes copy for service professionals who want to increase the marketing potential of their websites to attract clients and increase revenue. Visit www.copy-cat-copywriting.com Get a free download of 7 Things Your Website Needs to Attract Clients www.copy-cat-copywriting.com/subscribe.html
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Take the Work Out of Networking

"Bodacious" means to be bold, outstanding, and remarkable. Take those attributes to work and you're on your way to building a fulfilling, bodacious career. Does having a bodacious career sound exciting to you? It is! After starting as an $8 an hour customer service rep, I rose through the ranks of AOL, accepting four promotions and surviving over six layoffs to become the head of corporate training for 12,000 employees. Along the way I learned I needed to be bodacious to achieve the career I wanted. Out of that experience I created my "cheat sheet" of ten essential Bodacious Career Builders. Here's number three: Take the Work Out of Networking

Networking. I find that women either love it or hate it. When they love it, they truly enjoy meeting others and are great at it. When they hate it, they'd rather go get a mammogram. At least in that situation, no one expects you to do more than stand there. Knowing how to network well can make or break your career.

I'm not keen on the term "networking". The problem is the word "work". I mean how many times do you walk into a room full of people expecting to leave with actual work in hand such as a signed contract? It doesn't happen! Why? Because before someone signs their name or hands over a check, there's lots of getting to understand each other, lots of exchange, and making a connection.

So, I say we rename "networking" to "netconnecting". Meeting and getting to know new people is about gathering – netting – several good connections. Once you've connected, sharing business cards is simply the convenience of not having to write down their contact information on a napkin.

Today, people who know me have a very hard time believing I was very shy as a little girl. One time in first grade, my mouth was shut for so long, my lips dried together! Seriously. I remember prying them open. (Anyone who knows me now realizes this will not be happening again anytime soon!)

When I left for college, I was ready to leave home but I was a bit intimidated about meeting lots of people. It wasn't until I had to make small talk with college girl after college girl at sorority "rush" parties that I became comfortable with talking to people I didn't know. There's something to be said for diving in to overcome your fear and discomfort.

What I learned from these early networking experiences is that I made it much more work than it had to be. In fact, it was easier than I thought once I realized something so obvious: People love to talk about themselves, especially when they're nervous! What better thing to do than to ask them about the topic they know best?!

The key to netconnecting is having a few easy, open-ended questions to get people started, and they're off. Something as simple as, "Hi, I'm Mary. Tell me, how do you stay out of trouble during the day?" (Notice I used a humorous way to replace the tired old question, "What do you do?" Humor is a great way to break the ice and put people at ease.) At that point, all you have to do is listen. Often the person will provide information that prompts you to say something like, "That's interesting, tell me more."

The best part is they feel good about you because you made them feel good about themselves!

At some point you need to share about yourself. If you've prompted the other person to talk first, likely the ice has melted and you are both more comfortable. Now share a few, succinct things about yourself that you'd like the other person to remember.

Sounds easy, but if you limit yourself to 2 – 3 sentences and you want to make it memorable, it takes some preparation. For example, what I often say is "I spend my days inspiring women to be bodacious in life, career, and business!" That usually cracks a smile and gets them curious. I then add, "After 10 years at AOL I learned that being in business today is not for wimps so I provide the information and inspiration women in business need to be bold, courageous...bodacious! I do this through the books I write, speaking engagements, live events and more."

At that point, I usually get a question or response that launches the conversation into a direction they're interested in. I'm always ready to talk more about my background or the products and services I offer. Most of all, I've created a connection. And, you can, too!

BODACIOUS CAREER BUILDER #3: Develop a few simple, open-ended questions to start conversations to get new people talking about the subject they know best – themselves!

Copyright (c) 2007 Mary Foley

Article Source: http://www.articlesbiz.com

Mary Foley, author of “Bodacious! Career: Outrageous Success for Working Women” inspires women to be courageously in charge of their lives, careers and businesses. You can be inspired, too! Get her free e-book “10 Bodacious Ways for a Bodacious Career today at www.GoBodacious.com/ebook .
 
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