Twitter users rejoice!

Slot machine.
Image via Wikipedia

If you are coming to this page from Twitter, welcome! I mean that sincerely, I hope that you read a post or two on this blog and see that there is no real meaning to this except that I am looking for ways to have fun by manipulating the internet to my own desires. And isn’t that what the whole thing is about? Having fun, I mean. I have a long history of creating art and writing, blah blah blah, but the internet allows me to publish my stuff virtually (no pun intended) for free.

Sometimes, people just want to say something, express themselves, connect with like minded people. It’s the Human thing to do. Have a good time… hit me with a comment or spam my Twitter account , whatever. I think that life itself is probably just a big experiment.

OR, if you have a job for me, even better!

Anyway, my latest experiment involves Twitter. Can I find a job or a gig with it? Or will I just waste a bunch of time? So far, it is a ton of fun to sit at my machine and play with it, and as I mentioned in an earlier post, I still can’t quite figure out what it’s best for, but I have to admit that there is a little reward when someone “follows” you. Like in a video game when you get a little reward… a bell goes off, a bunch of stars fly out of Mario‘s head, whatever. I am really susceptible to these little rewards. As we all are, whether you believe it or not. It’s how gambling works: put a quarter in a slot machine, if you get the reward ONE TIME, you crave it forever.

Throw me a reward, and I promise to do the same: follow me on Twitter, or better yet, hit my blog with a comment or subscribe to the feed. It’s free!

PS: There is actually a Wikipedia entry for “Blah”. Who knew.

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Creating a Business Page on Facebook

Google Trends Facebook

Image by AJC1 via Flickr

So, I get this genius idea to start using the web for promoting my employer. I remember Facebook. Open my page, and see a link on the page (somewhere, I forget) for “Advertising”. I go there. In the tabs on the advertising page, I see something called “Lexicon”. I like big words, so I click it. Looks interesting because there are a lot of visuals depicting all the lucious data I might get. Seems like it’s going to be a knockoff of the Google model, where I can deliver ads to some kind of target through the Facebook platform.

I am still trying to understand the appeal of Facebook for someone like me. I have friends. If I want to “connect” with them I call or email, or wait for them to call me. I’m not really someone who socializes much. I enjoy a quiet evening at home, with the family, possibly taking in some Food Network or playing something on the Wii, reading a book, etc. Boring. I like it that way.

Anyway, I understand that Facebook is the preferred social Networking platform for many, why exactly I still don’t know. Nonetheless, if that’s where people are spending time online, and I want to communicate a business in that realm, I need to get a presence there and make it “searchable”, or whatever it is people do on Facebook to find things/interests/people.

I am resistant, however. The basic premise of Google is that people search for things, businesses, information, enterainment and so on. If my business fits the searchers query, I can present a targeted ad or if I’m lucky I might show up organically. Facebook exists for a different purpose. To connect with friends online. If someone is interested in printing or marketing or whatever, a cosmetic dentist, say, why would they be looking for that on Facebook?

Plus, the word “Facebook” is… I don’t know… kind of uncomfortable?

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Bloglines has hijacked my computer!

Comic Book Guy
MUST…FIX…BROWSER…

Attempting to preview an RSS feed in my browser (Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; PPC Mac OS X 10.5; en-US; rv:1.9.0.5) Gecko/2008120121 Firefox/3.0.5), I type the feed url, like http://www.jefflazerus.com/blog/feed, and the Bloglines “subscribe” page tries to take over. I understand how the convenience of this would be an advantage sometimes, but unless I explicitly tell Bloglines to get a feed, why would it? I don’t really want to add blogs to my Bloglines feed list manually (copying and pasting the feed URL into a form in my Bloglines preferences page), but I do want to hit the “Sub with Bloglines” button if Firefox, rather than the thing hijacking my browser.

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Web Credibility Guidelines from Stanford

Hopefully, this is not copyrighted. SEE THE REAL PAGE HERE.
And now, a table: {I’ll have to play with it, not looking too good inside of WordPress!}

Guideline Additional Comments
1. Make it easy to verify the accuracy of the information on your site.
You can build web site credibility by providing third-party support (citations, references, source material) for information you present, especially if you link to this evidence. Even if people don’t follow these links, you’ve shown confidence in your material.
2. Show that there’s a real organization behind your site.
Showing that your web site is for a legitimate organization will boost the site’s credibility. The easiest way to do this is by listing a physical address. Other features can also help, such as posting a photo of your offices or listing a membership with the chamber of commerce.
3. Highlight the expertise in your organization and in the content and services you provide.
Do you have experts on your team? Are your contributors or service providers authorities? Be sure to give their credentials. Are you affiliated with a respected organization? Make that clear. Conversely, don’t link to outside sites that are not credible. Your site becomes less credible by association.
4. Show that honest and trustworthy people stand behind your site.
The first part of this guideline is to show there are real people behind the site and in the organization. Next, find a way to convey their trustworthiness through images or text. For example, some sites post employee bios that tell about family or hobbies.
5. Make it easy to contact you.
A simple way to boost your site’s credibility is by making your contact information clear: phone number, physical address, and email address.
6. Design your site so it looks professional (or is appropriate for your purpose).
We find that people quickly evaluate a site by visual design alone. When designing your site, pay attention to layout, typography, images, consistency issues, and more. Of course, not all sites gain credibility by looking like IBM.com. The visual design should match the site’s purpose.
7. Make your site easy to use — and useful.
We’re squeezing two guidelines into one here. Our research shows that sites win credibility points by being both easy to use and useful. Some site operators forget about users when they cater to their own company’s ego or try to show the dazzling things they can do with web technology.
8. Update your site’s content often (at least show it’s been reviewed recently).
People assign more credibility to sites that show they have been recently updated or reviewed.
9. Use restraint with any promotional content (e.g., ads, offers).
If possible, avoid having ads on your site. If you must have ads, clearly distinguish the sponsored content from your own. Avoid pop-up ads, unless you don’t mind annoying users and losing credibility. As for writing style, try to be clear, direct, and sincere.
10. Avoid errors of all types, no matter how small they seem.
Typographical errors and broken links hurt a site’s credibility more than most people imagine. It’s also important to keep your site up and running.

membership-married

membership-married

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The Slovenia Report

When I look over the Google Analytics for this blog, I look for anomalies. Right now, ANY VISIT to the blog is something of an anomaly, so I study them all and try to figure out the where/why/how of that visit. Yesterday’s post and comments are not so much an experiment as they are the logical conclusion of some actual deductive effort.

Something that was great about the comments yesterday was learning how the companies I mentioned (and I did mention them PURPOSELY as bait, to get proof of my theory) used Google Alerts to monitor blog posts and news about themselves. 

This morning, after looking at Google Analytics (because of an experiment my friend RT ran last night), I’m finding new direct visitors to the site many from Europe, and the biggest anomaly, visits from Slovenia. I know nothing about Slovenia, so now I am going to read up… and try to figure out what interest someone from there would have in my ramblings.

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Waiting for Godin, Network Solutions and Zemanta

Aerial view of a growth pattern in Arlington C...

Image via Wikipedia

Well, I finally figured out the way to capture blog readers: mention their company in your post. Since I blogged about Network Solutions the other day, I saw on my Google Analytics page that the person from Arlington, VA, (HELLO ARLINGTON!!! WOOHOO!) did a search for the phrase “network solutions”, found my post, and then apparently went to the bathroom because they spent 12 minutes looking at the one page. I don’t even spend 12 minutes writing these things! And, now I am going to purposely add the phrase to the title, the meta and the SEO stuff to see if it happens again. As I read in the Denver Post not too long ago, some companies are sending people out to Twitter and the blogosphere to try and discover what customers are saying about them. Perhaps the internet is the democratization of commerce. Or from a cynical point of view, perhaps these companies are doing market research without having to actually contact a person. Hmm.

The other day, I posted a metablog about Seth Godin, hoping that my “trackback” would appear on his blog. No dice. I wonder what I did wrong? There is only ONE trackback under that article. I suppose one must wait for Godin himself to approve and release the post.  (Oh my GOD: WAITING FOR GODIN! THAT”S AWESOME!)

Zemanta HQ is definitely searching me/checking me/ something. I like Zemanta, but not having received much attention before this is a bit odd. Cool, but odd. Hopefully they won’t have to start CHARGING ME.

Back to work, and hopefully after my jefflazerus.com Holiday Marketing Blitzorama, I will have a few more regular readers. (Hi MOM!)

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Seth Godin writes about me, so I should return the favor

Seth Godin Action Figure - Painted Prototype W...

Image by archiemcphee via Flickr

Metablog (blogging about blogging)

Seth Godin‘s blog is one of the most viewed on the web, so a personal blogger would be wise to model it. Of course, not everyone can be an internet millionaire/bestselling author, and use that cred to drive visitors to their site. (Jealous?) That said, Godin’s blog is frequently provocative, easily read, and contains quips that make you think (OH MY GOD! NO!), and a lot of other bloggers and writers refer to his work, especially in the marketing sphere. His blog is number one in Ad Age‘s top 150 marketing blogs list, just as an example; and Godin’s blog shows up repeatedly at the top of many other blog trackers and ratings from Technorati to Bloglines. If he wanted to sell ads, he could do VERY WELL. One of the reasons for the blog’s popularity, however, has to be because it is ad free — with the subtle exception of ads for his own books (which aren’t really ads, but just mentions), which really makes sense if you think about it. It would be weird if you didn’t talk about subjects that interested you enough to write an entire book about, in your blog.

So, while I have resisted blogging about bloggers, I thought his latest blog post about blogging was interesting enough to put in my permanent record, check it out. 

UPDATE: I just realized: This is a blog post about a blog post about blogging. <shudder>

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My first spams… I’m so proud!

I am perversely happy that I got my first spam on this blog. It means it is maturing. I was FREAKED when I opened the WordPress dashboard and saw 35 new comments… whoa… what did I do? Alas, it was only spam.

However, someone from Zemanta commented legitimately. Very cool. I love Zemanta, by the way. I’m going to try this tip (use “filter” to get appropriate imagery) in this post. In this case I ran a filter for the word “freaked”. Here you go:Freak Out! album cover

In other news, I’ve opened the VoiceTouch™ blog here. Please do check it out as we bring the systems to market. Another experiment. Totally open to ideas.

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Make Blog on Network Solutions

Wreckage of a crash from Saragossa, Spain. The...

Image via Wikipedia

If you want to have “making websites” listed as one of your hobbies, or if you find yourself with this as your hobby regardless of wanting to list it or not… Network Solutions might be a hosting provider you should look into.

While I realize that no one actually reads my blog anyway, that it is far more of a journal than anything else, I may continue to take the 1st person POV just in case I die in a car accident and someone looks this up. Internet archaeology is going to be big in the future. I want to be a part of that.

Anyway, I’ve been hosting this blog and a couple other sites on NS for quite a while, and I am actually HAPPY with their service. Which, in the internet service provider business, says a lot. Of course, I am merely a hobbyist. If I were doing this professionally, my opinion might be different.

Maybe I’ll change the name of this blog to “Internet Hobbyist”. OR maybe I’ll just crack open another blog for that purpose.

Image representing Zemanta as depicted in Crun...

Image by Zemanta via CrunchBase

PS- What the hell are these pictures Zemanta is delivering? I think their software is great, but the picture thing has a way to go.

PPS- Oh, I get it. I wrote “car accident”.

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