Geekalicious Recommends... October 2012

Geekalicious Recommends

Welcome to another "Geekalicious Recommends..." Here are some geek and tech links that I have enjoyed this month. 

I cannot express how much I am loving Google Plus at the moment. I have been awarded Google Authorship which means that my content and recommendations are attributed to me. This is important to me as my blogs are not written anonymously and I feel that recognition is important both for content and in Google search. The first two images on this Visualise Google Plus post from GooglePlus Helper are a great starting point to help you decide whether to +1 or share a post you see in your G+ stream. Their Text Formatting Cheat Sheet is also a great resource for newcomers to G+.


I really enjoyed this short, but concise post from Clare over at Bad Language. How To Write Your First Post has some great tips that can be applied to all blogging and details some really good methods to follow if you're in a blogging rut. Clare's Google Reader recommendation is a hot tip!


There was a fab little tip on the Cybher blog this month which explains how Instagram synchs @usernames with Twitter. This was timely because my my Instagram name and my Twitter name are different. The two accounts were connected and I could push my Instapics to my Twitter account however they weren't connected in the settings. Now I get Instagram mentions on Twitter automatically.


I'm hearing a lot about Reddit recently and I am struggling to understand how I can use it effectively. It is considered bad etiquette to recommend your own links however, if your article is recommended on Reddit you will see an increase in traffic. Like Stumbleupon, this traffic is unlikely to be sticky.  Socialmouths have published an infographic called Understanding Reddit Once And For All which helps to understand who uses Reddit, explains the etiquette and explains how and where to post content.


I loved this post How To Make Every Reader Feel A Part Of Your Community from Quick Blog Tips. It echoes everything I say about community engagement. If you have a comments section on your blog then engage with the people who have taken a few minutes to respond to the post you wrote.


And finally, does anyone fancy joining me in a Panoramio Hangout game? It's like a game of hide and seek using Google Maps and Google Hangouts. Give me a shout and I'll set up an event as one of my HOA sessions in the next week or so.


I hope you enjoy these recommendations. Also, if you have a blog post that you'd like me to include in the next round-up send me a link by email and I'll give it a read through. I'm always looking for new blogs to read and recommend.

How To Use Twitter Lists

twitter lists, geekalicious,
One of the current social media conversations centers around Twitter Lists.  You may have heard them mentioned from time to time, you may use them for a variety of reasons, you may have no idea what they are.  I'd like to show you how I use Twitter lists to enhance my time on the Twitter platform and I would love to hear your hints and tips too.

What Are Twitter Lists?

Twitter lists help you organise other users of Twitter into categories and enables you to see their updates in one feed.  Twitter lists can be made public (so that anyone can see the members of that list) or private (so that only the creator can see the members of that list).  Other Twitter users can follow public lists.  

How To Curate A Twitter List

twitter lists, geekaliciousIf you navigate to your own Twitter profile page at Twitter Home > View my profile page or by vising[twitter name]/lists you will see Twitter Lists that you have created or are following (more of that in a minute) and Twitter Lists that you are a member of.

To create a list it is as easy as hitting the "Create list" button and filling in the necessary details.  You can give your list a name and a description and set it to Public or Private.  Twitter will then take you to a page that gives some options of how to add people to your list such as searching for a username/real name or to add members from the people you follow.

twitter lists, geekalicious, When you click on the title of a list you will be taken to the twitter feed for that list as a default.  In the left hand menu you will be able to switch between Tweets (live feed), List Members (who has been assigned to that list) and Subscribers (who is following that list).  You will also see a Subscribe button which enables you to 'follow' the list of people on twitter.

NB: You follow the list and not the individual twitter accounts on the list.

Public or Private?

Having your lists private or public is entirely up to you. I have created one private list which houses approximately 150 people with whom I converse on a regular basis and is this the first list I check when I switch on.

How To Use Twitter Lists

I curate lists to help me keep up to date with a number of 'groups' of people so that I don't have to follow an enormous amount of people.  This enables me to engage with the people I do follow effectively.  My list content and my follower count change on a regular basis so that Twitter remains an active and interactive exercise.

When you view someone's Twitter profile you can add them to a list very quickly by clicking on button that looks like a silhouette of a head and shoulders and ticking the box next to the list you want them in.  Their tweets will automatically be added to that feed.  Also, people can belong to more than one list.

Twitter Lists that have been curated by commercial accounts are very useful.  Marketing or P.R. departments spend a great deal of social media activity interacting with their public so it makes sense for them to use lists for specific campaigns.

You can add a named list as a column to your Twitter app (eg. Tweetdeck) which will generate a live feed of the members included in that list.

Do you use Twitter lists?  What is your top Twitter List Tip?  Let me know in the comments.

How Do You Decide What Your Blog Is Worth?

This is a guest post from Molly Forbes who blogs at Mother's Always Right.  Molly fancied a bit of navel gazing and this is a subject that is constantly discussed among bloggers.  I was happy to publish her post so this subject can be dissected.


How Do You Decide What Your Blog Is Worth?

First thing’s first: this isn't a post debating the ethics of accepting commercial content on your blog. This isn't about publishing sponsored posts, or follow links, or adverts, or reviews.  There have been enough of those posts written before.  No, what this post is about is something a bit less black and white. It’s that messy issue of money – and deciding how much you’re worth.

Lots of bloggers (myself included) have made the decision to publish sponsored posts, reviews and adverts. While the reasons behind accepting a review post seem pretty clear – either you like the item or you think your readers will – the same can’t be said of other types of commercial content. Especially when the cash isn't all that.

SEO and money
I was recently approached by an SEO agency to run a sponsored post with follow links.  I know that Google penalises sites caught running paid-for follow links.  I also know that because of the risk to a blog’s Google Page Rank, those still accepting these types of posts are charging more for the link. It’s a simple case of supply and demand.

I replied to the email asking for verification over the type of links they wanted in the post and then I sent off my media pack with my rates. The next email I had from this agency made me laugh.  In return for my time writing the post, publishing a follow link, risking my Google Page Rank, promoting the post across all my social media platforms, they were willing to pay me… wait for it… £17.

That’s right. £17.

When replying to my email explaining the reasons why I wouldn't be going ahead with the post, the SEO agency told me my site wasn't (and I quote) “strong enough for good rates”.  That’s the bit that made me laugh.  But actually, it’s not really very funny. In fact, it’s a little bit sad because I expect there were other bloggers targeted by this SEO agency representative who accepted his price. And while I’m in no way judging them for taking on a sponsored post that paid less than a quarter of what many charge, I do think it’s a shame.

It’s a shame, because I think it’s indicative of a more widespread issue. I think people are under-valuing their blogs and time. Or perhaps they just haven’t stopped to think about it yet.
  • Your blog shouldn't be seen as a cheap form of advertising for a company not willing to pay the going rates. 
  • Your time shouldn't be seen as unworthy of decent payment.

When you take on a sponsored post, the chances are you’ll be the one writing it. Also you are publishing it on your site and sharing it with your readers. It’s the equivalent of making a poster for a company and then putting it up in your living room window.  You’re selling your time AND your space. You’re selling the dedicated group of readers who engage with you every day. If you’re accepting follow links, you’re selling a commodity many people are no longer offering.  So your prices should reflect that, surely?

Obviously there’ll be variations. Blogs with higher Page Ranks and stats will be worth more to many brands but the variations should still reflect the product because, let’s be clear, your blog IS a product when talked about in this way.

I also know that blogging is often an intensely personal thing. Some families may need the money more than others. And what some may view as a decent sum, others will think is rubbish.

If you've taken the time to think about all those points above and you’re still willing to accept a rate of £17… well, then that’s your choice. It’s an informed choice and you’re the only one who can make it.  Just as long as you ARE making a choice, rather than going along with the flow, thinking you've bagged some easy cash for not doing much.

After all, if YOU don’t value your own blog why on earth should anyone else?

Image Credit: TECHANKIT (via Google Images)
If you have a  non-commercial post that you'd like to publish on this blog please get in touch .

'kthnxbai' and other annoying Twitter habits

Mash Up:  Yes, Twitter updates are limited to 140 characters but using phrases such as "kthnxbai" (the new "talk to the hand") makes you look like you've leant on the keyboard with your elbow.  It's almost as annoying as using "Tw" as a prefix to create a twitter related activity.  There's a knack to articulating yourself in 140 characters - this is not it.

Twitter Parties : Good or Bad Marketing?

Twitter parties divide the Twitter community straight down the middle but they are becoming more popular for marketing purposes with open and closed parties.

twitter, twitter party, trending on twitter,

Is A Retweet An Endorsement?

Occasionally on Twitter I am asked to retweet something; a competition, a charitable cause, a tweet to raise awareness.  Some of the time I exercise my right to share a tweet that I find humorous, something that angers me or even an opinion that I wholly agree with.  By doing so, I believe I am endorsing the information in the tweet or accompanying link - I am showing my support.  More often than not, I try to add a few words into the retweet to express my opinion.  This is easier using a third party client such as Tweetdeck as the Twitter web only allows a direct retweet with no alteration to the original text.

This is where endorsement issues can arise.

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