Friday, June 17, 2005

Como agua para chocolate

Bloggers and hot water seem to go together these days. Fortunately, I received an email from the Electronic Frontier Foundation announcing its Legal Guide for Bloggers.

Bloggers have all of the responsibilities of traditional journalists with a third less calories. --
The EFF covers liability, bloggers as journalists, and other legal issues. Blogging about political campaigns? Blogging at work? A blogger's life isn't that simple anymore. Unexpected bonus: the RCFP's Tape-Recording Laws at a Glance for podcasters, found as a link under Bloggers' FAQ - Media Access.

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Saturday, June 11, 2005

Focus on the Feces

Holy sh*t! It's a slow news day when the front page story of the Arizona Daily Star is about horse excrement. Not that I want to give my local newspaper the business about its editorial policies, but come on! Are we so tired of the piles of depressing news, like roadside bomb attacks in Iraq, the disappearance of an Alabama honors student and , that real caca has caught our attention? I hope this doesn't signal some type of movement in the news media.

All of a sudden, the cost of doing business has gone up," said Scott Porter, compliance and enforcement supervisor for the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality. -- Reporter Tom Beal, writing about the lack of disposal options
Between this story and the Star's recent coverage of the $14 million dollars spent unsuccessfully to eliminate the stench from a local waste treatment plant, I guess critics were right. Tucson is a crappy place to live.

Like most senior citizens, residents are less interested in world-changing events than they are fascinated by bodily functions. --
So, Tom...the next time someone asks what you do for a living, you can truthfully answer that you write about crap. Yes, I'm sure you've already heard all the bad puns by now. Don't worry. We're dung now.

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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Podcasting - Monkey See, Monkey Do

Wondering how to create a podcast and get in on the craze? Well, you could come to one of my presentations, for starters. Or maybe you're too intimidated by the tools. Ask your young child to do it for you. I'm sure you can copy anything she does. Just watch her dainty little hands work the microphone on your PC and edit the audio file, all without skipping a beat. (sigh) Feeling a bit old, Dad? How degrading.

Okay, never mind. It doesn't look good to the boss to drag your kids to work anyway. So here's some real help.

Podcasting, by Todd Cochrane
Secrets of Podcasting, by Bart Farkas
Podcasting For Dummies, by Tee Morris, Evo Terra

While you're at it, check out my previous post, updated with links to podcasting resources and tutorials.

Come see my next presentation, if you're in the area.

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Tracking Trends via the Blogosphere

Now here's something for all you PR fans...a way to track blog trends. Add this to your list of marketing activities. It'll serve you well.

Want the latest buzz about what's going on in politics, sports, entertainment or other current events? BlogPulse maps trends by mining the hot topics appearing in millions of blogs. -- Search Engine Watch, Jupitermedia Corporation.

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Blogs Important to Marketing Strategy

Last night, I spoke at a meeting of the Inventors Association of Arizona (IAA), a non-profit organization dedicated to helping individual inventors get their product to market. My topic? An Insider's Guide to Blogs and Podcasts.

So this little tidbit in my inbox, an off-shoot of the same topic, was timely.

The blog has exploded. So much so that Merriam-Webster's Dictionary awarded it "the word of the year" in 2004. In that year, the percentage of Internet users who had read blogs spiked sharply from 17% to 27%. In the US, that translates to 32 million adults. -- via WebProWorld Forums
Now you're reading this blog, and you may be blogging, as well. But what about your company? Does your company have internal bloggers? Why or why not? Comment here.

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Fodder for the Politically Incorrect

When I find a Web site I like, I keep visiting it and visiting it until I've worn my browser down to a nub. Case in point: The Uncyclopedia. If you have a weird sense of humor and don't get offended too easily, check out these recently updated pages:



Monday, June 06, 2005

Journos Embrace Blogs

So much for the debate over journalism vs. blogs. Somebody with journalism clout at the LA Times decided it was time to get on board. Yeah, yeah -- I know. Blogs are another "great equalizer" for non-journalist types, so why are the professionals horning in on the action? Believe it or not, blogs are no longer the exclusive domain of the layperson. (Never mind. I guess you've already noticed...duh!) Yep, blogs have evolved into a mainstream tool of choice for opinionated business execs, PR folk, and tech-savvy journos. As a freelance writer, I've got a viewpoint or two to share. You might have some, too, so why wait? Give it a go and start blogging.

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The Freelancer's Dream

If you've been virtually "pounding the pavement" for a few months, trying to land your first freelance writing job, you may have become discouraged...at least once, anyway. You may also wonder if there's any place in this competitive world for writers who go it alone, but recent news confirms freelancers are still in demand.

The poor business writing skills chronicled of late in national media bodes well for freelance writers, says Peter Bowerman, author of the award-winning "Well-Fed Writer" titles., as quoted in a recent news release
Looks like there are some lunches out there, waiting to be eaten, by freelancers at least. Perhaps the only thing standing between you and your opportunity is experience, and lots of it. Well, what are you waiting for?

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Job Sites Often Neglected by Freelancers

Freelance writing isn't just for those pitching magazines and newspapers created by publishers or news outlets. Other businesses need skilled writers to create content, too. On Monster.com, I spotted a job listing for a Freelance Science Editorial Writer. Applicants need science and technical experience, to be applied to writing monthly magazine articles for a nutritional supplements company. I might not have found this lead if I'd restricted my job hunting to journalism sites and freelance forums.

Among freelancers, generic job sites are often dismissed as not yielding much in the way of quality writers' leads. Well, you might not find an exact match for the "freelance writer" job title, but if you read further, you could uncover new markets...at least ones you never considered. Here's how. Search Monster.com, Yahoo! HotJobs, CareerBuilder, or your favorite job site with the keyword "freelance." Read each result to carefully uncover the phrase responsible for managing freelance writers., or something to that effect. And now you've got new prospects for your freelance writing queries.

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Saturday, June 04, 2005

American Idol Voting Conspiracy

I had almost lost total faith in humanity (not really) when I heard that the American Idol results were fixed. Johnjay and Rich say it's true so it must be. (scoff) On their Tucson-based broadcast -- once noted as one of the top morning radio shows in the country, according to Radio and Record Magazine -- the DJs claimed the Idol album predicted the winners of the show all along.

Considering the album had to have been cut weeks ago, that would mean the entire show was fixed from the start, right? At least a month to put the album into production, perhaps. Album release date on Amazon.com? May 17, 2005. Huh! Only a week to go before the show ends. Show finale? May 25, 2005. Hmmmm. Could be. Could be.

I don't own the album, but I decided to test this theory anyway. I compared the Idol tracks listed on Amazon.com with results on the official show site. So here goes...

1. Independence Day - Carrie Underwood (Winner On 5/25/05)
2. I Don't Want to Be - Bo Bice (Voted Off 5/25/05)
3. Best of My Love - Vonzell Solomon (Voted Off 5/18/05)
4. A House Is Not A Home - Anwar Robinson (Voted Off 4/20/05)
5. You Don't Have To Say You Love Me - Nadia Turner (Voted Off 4/13/05)
6. Part-Time Lover - Nikko Smith (Voted Off 4/6/05)
7. My Funny Valentine - Constantine Maroulis (Voted Off 4/27/05)
8. Total Eclipse Of The Heart - Jessica Sierra (Voted Off 3/30/05)
9. Everytime You Go Away - Anthony Fedorov (Voted Off 5/11/05)
10. Against All Odds - Scott Savol (Voted Off 5/4/05)
11. Knock on Wood - Lindsey Cardinale (Voted Off 3/16/05)
12. God Bless the Child - Mikalah Gordon (Voted Off 3/24/05)

I guess if you only looked at the first three tracks, you could claim something was up. But the remaining tracks reveal a much different story than hinted at by DJs and blog gossips.

A month ago, it became pretty clear who was going to make it to the final three. (Yeah, sure! I say that now! Ha! Great hindsight.) If Constantine had washed his hair more often, he might not have been voted off on April 27. We crossed our fingers that arrogant Scott would soon be put out of his, and our, misery. He cemented his final place in mediocrity on May 4. And we knew shallow American viewers would only let hole-in-the-throat boy go so far, despite his amazing story and fortitude. Anthony's claim to fame vanished on May 11.

Those critical eliminations out of the way, there was just enough time for RCA, the music-savvy judges and the American Idol producers to collectively decide the album order, if that's how it happened. And that's my theory.

Well, so much for conspiracies. Back to something more reliable, like my current issue of the National Enquirer.

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