Tag Archives: blog

Blogging for social sustainability – the why’s and how’s

WordPress.com blog's Add New Post Screen

In my first post on Social Sustainability, where I talked about the importance of sharing, I mentioned that I had been thinking of writing a post about blogging – well, here it is!

I know this will be the proverbial “teaching granny to suck eggs” posting but seeing as blogs are such a fundamental tool in your social media armoury, I couldn’t leave them unaddressed. In fact, there are so many things to write about blogs and blogging that I can see many more posts on the topic in my future. This brings me to a question – what aspect of blogging would you like me to write about next?

I’m going to start off though with a quick ‘why blog’ and then a discussion of whether to go for a hosted or a self-hosted blog (and the differences between the two).

I won’t spend too much time on the ‘why blog’ question – I’m assuming if you are reading this it is because you are interested in Social Sustainability – if that is the case, then you probably already know that the primary tool of social media is a blog. I wrote a bunch of posts a few years ago on the advantages of blogging for a business – here’s one to have a firkle through if you are still not convinced (read down through the comments as well to get full value).

On the question of whether to go for a hosted or self-hosted blog, I’m not going to make a recommendation either way – rather, I’ll list their relative advantages and let you decide which is more appropriate for you:

Hosted blogs (like WordPress.com which this blog runs on, and Blogger.com) advantages:

  • Speed – a hosted blog can be setup in a matter of seconds
  • Reliability – hosted blogs are very rarely offline (the last time WordPress.com had an outage was in June 2010)
  • Simplicity – hosted blog providers generally look after hosting, updating, security, spam and malware protection
  • Branding – hosted blogs now allow you to brand your blog with your own domain name (e.g. no longer tomraftery.wordpress.com, now simply tomraftery.com) and
  • Price – most hosted blog platforms are free

On the other hand Self-hosted blogs (such as GreenMonk.net)have these advantages:

  • Flexibility – With your self-hosted blog you can extend the functionality of the blog with themes and plug-ins
  • Ad free – most hosted blogs will display ads in your blog – with self-hosted, you can go Ad-free, or roll out Ads and benefit from the revenue yourself!
  • Cheap – although you have to pay for the hosting – there are free blog platforms (such as WordPress.org) you can download to run your blog and
  • Security – if you can control the country and hoster your blog is hosted with, you run far less risk of falling foul of spurious (or otherwise) take-down notices

One possible suggestion, if you are still undecided, is to start off with a hosted blog. If, after a while, you find the limitations of your hosted blog too frustrating, you can always export all your blog posts and comments and import them into a self-hosted one and go from there.

Either way, happy blogging.

You should follow me on Twitter here
Photo credit Tom Raftery

Blog still hacked?

I mentioned here the other day that this blog was hacked and I thought I had resolved it – now I’m not so sure.

The hack is a tricky one because the spam it is displaying is only visible in Google Reader! (and not in any other RSS reader).

I have completely deleted all the WordPress files, including themes and plug-ins, and uploaded fresh copies of them. I have hardened the file permissions run scans and a few other recommended steps but when I log in to Google Reader I still see new spam posts. This is very disheartening.

I’m hoping that the situation is, in fact, resolved and that Google Reader simply hasn’t updated its cache. The hack also did a 302 re-direct on the feed, so perhaps Google needs to refresh its DNS, I’m not sure, nor am I sure hoow often they perform this.

So for now, I’m in a holding position. I won’t make any more changes and I’ll see if the spam continues.

Stay tuned!!!

What is Social Media's 'big thing' for 2008?

The next big thing
Photo Credit darkmatter

First off – a big apology to everyone who is subscribed to this blog for the lack of postings in the last number of months. I haven’t stopped blogging, it is just that since I started working for RedMonk, the focus of my writing has changed and it is now more appropriate that I write more on GreenMonk, than here.

Having said that, anything I write about Social Media, will still be written here, I’ll just not be writing about Social Media as often :-(

Why am I writing here now? Something has been bubbling away at the back of my mind the last couple of months and I wnated to see if anyone else was thinking this way, or, indeed (quite likely) if I was missing something!

Looking back at Social Media, we have had a significant advance (a ‘this year’s big thing’) every year since 2004.

In 2004 – blogs started to really take off
In 2005 – audio podcasts started to take off
In 2006 – video podcasts started to take off
In 2007 – microblogging (Twitter in particular) started to take off
In 2008 – ???

We are in November now of 2008 and I still don’t see any big transformative Social Media technology which has occurred this year.

Has it stalled? What am I missing?

Web 2.0 Toolset presentation

I gave a talk yesterday for the members of it@cork titled “The Web 2.0 Toolset – a business focussed overview

There were around 70 people in attendance and feedback afterwards was very positive.

Here is a copy of the presentation I gave. I hope to have a video of the presentation live by tomorrow.

Why blog?

I uploaded the presentation I gave at the IWTC conference last week to SlideShare.net.

The talk is entitled “Why Blog?” – and is aimed at helping educate companies on the potential advantages of blogging to their business.

I have embedded a copy below -

Blame it on the Twitter!

I have been very quiet on this blog for the last few weeks – apologies for that but I can’t promise on the pace returning to the two or three posts a day I was averaging at times last year.

Why? I have been spending a lot of time on the micro-blogging site, Twitter.

Twitter is a site where you have a maximum of 140 characters per post but instead of a traditional blog site, these posts are typically conversational. Because of the immediacy of writing 140 characters, reading and responding to ‘Tweets’ is relatively trivial and so conversations are born.

Marshall Kirkpatrick wrote a great article last year explaining how Twitter is now paying his rent.

And because of the still early nature of the application, it is possible to very quickly build up a powerful network of highly influential users who are only too happy to converse with you. I have met several people recently who, up until now I only knew through Twitter.

Another way I use Twitter is I often pose questions to Twitter and get great replies back from highly qualified people in minutes.

My Twitter Replies tab

Twitter has an open API so it is possible to use third party applications to post to and read from Twitter. Currently I am using twhirl on my laptops (twhirl is a cross-platform desktop client for twitter, based on Adobe AIR) and twibble on my phone. Snitter is another cross-platform Twitter desktop client which gets a lot of good reviews.

Dave Weinberger called it “continuous partial friendship” but I think it goes beyond that. The term Ambient Intimacy has been coined to cover one of the aspects of Twitter – it brings you a lot closer to people you might ordinarily never get to know (if you decide you don’t want to know them, you simply stop following them!).

Whatever it is, it is growing in popularity steadily and it was how I and many others chose to remain connected over the holiday period.

If you want to follow me, here is my Twitter profile.

Does Plaxo flood your inbox with connection requests?

Plaxo started life as a place to hold your contact information online.

That was quite handy and they allowed synchronising from your Mac or PC so your contact data were always held safe in the cloud.

More recently Plaxo added a feature called Pulse. Pulse allows you to tell it where you publish photos, blog posts, bookmarks etc. and it creates a lifestream, a la Facebook which it publishes to your Pulse network.

All sounds nice, right?

Sure, however, for some reason, and I don’t know why, of all the social networks I have joined (and I have joined a few!) Pulse seems to generate the most emails. The emails typically have the subject line “[someone I have never heard of] has added you as a business connection”

On Facebook and Xing, the other two social networks I frequent most, I occasionally get connection requests from people I don’t know. But not very often, and usually a bit of digging will show how they are connected to me.

However, on Plaxo I get waaay too many of these business connections and I have no idea where they are coming from.

Is this just me or are others finding Plaxo also generates too many connection requests from strangers?