Archive for the ‘Quest Items’ Category
In response to Gary Stein’s article, “Nobody Gets Social Media… Yet“, he takes a look at mistakes people assume with social media when regarding buisness. He lists these as using motivational statements instead of mission statements as to how to utilize social media, ego-centric measurement fixation where businesses only focus on the number of “likes” or fans instead of looking at the whole story, and the mis-perception that social media isn’t media.
Social media is new and different in the way that the interconnectedness of people’s lives through the use of the internet is a fairly recent innovation. Especially in how businesses are trying to leverage it to enhance their reputation, sell products and better their business. Stein poses the challenge of looking at a new definition of media for businesses: “any moment when the brand and the consumer come into contact with each other.” In this regard, social media as an interaction between people and businesses has been around since the creation of commerce. Social media requires new skills and capabilities for organizations to properly understand how they can effectively utilize social media in the connection with their customers. It requires narrowing their reason for using social media to a clear and directional plan, as well as realizing that the number of fans doesn’t necessarily mean that business is a success. A strategy needs to be in place to use social media to get consumers to “act positively toward that brand”.
As it stands now, businesses need to allow social media to evolve and learn how to properly use it to interact with their customers and increase their business.
I decided to register for the TopCoder website. Just wanted to see what it was all about and the different opportunities that were available. I filled in all the standard demographic information with registration and proceeded to look around.
On their blog, I found this post about Jack Hughes coming to speak to our class today. I am excited to hear what he has to say and learn more about the community and opportunities.
I decided to try my hand at putting together a short animation using State made by Xtranormal. With this software, you can turn text into a movie. I decided to animate part of the opening sequence to Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, written by Joss Whedon, Zack Whedon, Jed Whedon, and Maurissa Tancharoen. The original 2008 musical tragicomedy produced for the Internet, tells the story of low-rent supervillain Dr. Horrible, his hero nemesis Captain Hammer, and his romantic interest Penny.
The basics of the software a easy to learn, but it takes time to learn the different nuances, such as camera tracking and gestures. I definitely look forward to putting together my next animation now that I have the basic learning curve out of the way. So, without further ado, here is my animated opening to Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.
After looking at all the options that were available to me for widgets, I decided on 7 that I thought would really benefit my blog, while not causing over crowding. Those that made the cut were Pages, Recent Posts, Tag Cloud, Websites, Flickr Photos, Archives and Sitemeter. Below, I’ll describe why I decided on these particular ones.
I not only picked the Pages widget, but also decided to have it be the first widget on the right-hand sidebar. This widget lists pages that I create in an easily found location on the top-right of my blog. Pages are, in a sense, more permanent blog posts, or content that people may want to reference more often than the casual blog post. This facilitates the need for quickly finding that information.
I chose Recent Posts as the next item so that wherever the reader is browsing in my blog, they can easily access the most recent information that I have posted.
As I write more and more posts, tagging each as I go, I am interested in what I spent most of my time writing about. The Tag Cloud with show that, as posts that share the same tag will display that tag larger in the cloud than the others. This also provides a way for readers to click on a tag to bring up all posts that share that tag.
Websites are displayed next, which redirect readers to different websites that I use and hold accounts for. This allows them to see some of my other work and get a better idea of who I am.
This was by far the most difficult widget. It involved a lot of customization and coding. I wanted a way to display some of the photos that I have taken over the years in the sidebar as a widget. Flickr has enabled a way for its members to create badges that display their photos that can be posted anywhere on the internet. So, I used the Text widget to paste their code into, and then proceeded to heavily modify it to fit this blog’s layout and theme. Overall, I am very pleased with the result.
In addition to Pages and the Tag Cloud, I wanted to have a way for readers to view older posts without having to page through every single one to get to the one they want. Archives enabled me to do just that in a very elegant manner.
I use Sitemeter to track visits to my blog. In order to enable that, I had to use another Text widget to paste in the code generated by the Sitemeter website. This allows me to keep track of how often my blog is being read.
These widgets have worked great for me so far. Do you use any widgets on your blog? Let me know what you use in the comments below.
Plugins give me great opportunity to customize my blog how I like and track important data. I have settled on 4 important plugins that I use to make this blog successful. Those are cforms, GoogleAnalyticator, Unfiltered MU and Viper’s Video Quicktags. My reasoning for these can be found below.
I use cforms to create and maintain a contact form that visitors can use to contact me. This allows them to write me a message and provide me with a means to respond to that message. Additionally, this plugin can be used to create other forms to gather all types of data. I am sure I will be using more of this plugin in the future.
This adds the necessary code for me to use Google Analytics to track and manage my blog traffic. I can analyze my visitors to better tailor my posts to them, as well as figure out how they are arriving at my blog.
I use this plugin to enable iframes and other HTML code that is normally stripped out when writing a blog post. An example of me using an iframe is on my Photography page. Here, I use it to display a portfolio I put together.
Viper’s Video Quicktags
I found this to be the most efficient way to quickly embed video from internet host providers on my blog. Keep checking back on my blog for an animation that I am working on that will be embedded from YouTube using this method. This makes the whole process very easy.
These plugins have really complemented the work that I am doing on this blog. Do you use any plugins on your blog? Let me know what you use and why in the comments below.