Stop and Sea (See)

thegiftexperience.co.uk's 100 years bottle stopper image

thegiftexperience.co.uk’s 100 years bottle stopper image

Soon after the September 11 attacks in 2001, the band Five for Fighting‘s song, “Superman (It’s Not Easy),” climbed the Billboard Hot 100 charts.

One morning earlier this week following Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings, I heard another of the band’s hits, “100 Years,” on the radio.

Though I’ve heard the lyrics of the song countless times before, somehow, in the wake of the Boston bombings, the lyrics seemed to newly engage my mind and make me pause to consider the fleeting aspect of each of our lives.

I’ve heard the old saying, “a smart women never tells her age,” so I’ll stay mum but just hint that these lyrics in the song’s middle seemed to sound out the loudest over my car radio:

I’m 45 for a moment
The sea is high
And I’m heading into a crisis
Chasing the years of my life

What about you?  Listen to the 100 Years song in its entirety, and then consider these questions:

  • Where is your life vessel currently headed in the sea of life?
  • How many miles have you logged, which destination coordinates have you reached and which destination coordinates are planned?
  • How calm and how high have you seen the waters that you’ve crossed, and how high are the waves ahead?
  • What things or which people have been your harbors along the way?
  • What continues to sustain you, as you continue forging ahead?
  • Who is charting your path?
  • More important than the questions above is this one:  who is your captain?

Some of us are blessed to know the One who is the ultimate captain — a captain who has been said to be “greater than any bomb.”

If you haven’t already, I hope that you will pause to hear His siren.

 

 

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Are Podcasts Making a Comeback?

ramapo.edu podcast icon image

ramapo.edu podcast icon image

Watch Out! You’re About to Become a Query

digital busstop-com's "Big browser is watching you" image

digitalbusstop-com’s “Big browser is watching you” image

If you read the Wikipedia definition of “query,” you’ll learn that a web search query in computing is a “query entered by users into web search engines.”

What’s your favorite web search engine?  If you’re located here in the U.S., you’re likely to respond by stating, “Google,” “Yahoo,” or “Bing.”  If you live outside of the U.S., your answer could be the same or may be different.  In France, for example, you might offer up, “Voila,” as your response to the question.

What type of technology platform do you use most often to perform web search queries?  For example, do you most often conduct online searches using your mobile phone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer?

Since the latest technology industry stats are predicting that mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common way to access the web by 2014, I would venture to guess that your response to the previous question might be, “mobile phone.”

Speaking of mobile computing and its potential impact on search engine optimization (SEO), did you by chance catch Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s videotaped interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week?

I enjoyed hearing Mayer’s predictions about the future of mobile computing and SEO, and I especially enjoyed hearing her predictions about how the concepts of personalization and customized search engine results will impact SEO moving forward.  Mayer suggested that personalization won’t replace search in the future but will become a critical part of search, stating:

“One provocative way to think about it is this…a lot of folks say, when you type into the search box, that’s your query.  In the future, you become the query…it’s what you type, it’s your background, it’s where you are, it’s your preferences, it’s what you looked at yesterday…and the search box can take all that as the input and come up with a set of results that are customized for you.  And, the nice thing is that if you’re the query, then 1-you can actually explicitly type in search terms, or you could just be the query passively…this is the notion that if we can pick up on your context…who you’re talking to, where you are, then can we actually provide useful information or a series of links, pictures, videos that are actually more useful in your current context because of that context?”

What do you think of Mayer’s suggestion that you, as a user of search engines, will become the query in the future?  Do you like the idea that your online actions, i.e. user preference “signals” that you emit, will be mapped to information supplied by online organizations who will be watching your every online move?  Do you think the benefits that you will gain from a more personalized online search experience in the future will outweigh any concerns you might hold about your online behavior being more closely tracked?

If the idea that your online search behavior will be more closely watched in the future bothers you, you may want to evolve your thinking.  According to Mayer, that future reality may be closer than you think.  “I think it’s probably going to happen in the next three to five years,” Mayer stated in her interview last week.

Art versus the Artists

www.whatshaute.com image of Holst+Lee bracelet

What’s Haute Magazine image of Holst+Lee bracelet

A personal friend of mine is focused on the art of jewelry design.  Last week, she and her business partner received some fantastic recognition when their colorful Holst+Lee collection was featured in primetime on NBC’s TODAY morning show.

From a business perspective, I was excited to know that my friend’s jewelry line would be beamed into the homes of hundreds of thousands of TODAY show viewers — potential future customers.  However, what was more thrilling was the knowledge that her art, a reflection of her personal sources of inspiration, would be flying further in a way than ever before.

How?  After an artist like my friend originally creates the piece, the resulting work can continue to inspire others who witness the art.  In fact, art very often transcends the artist.

How does art personally touch your life?  Do you know many artists personally?  Or, are you more familiar with works of art than the creators themselves?

Listed below are three examples of “great works” of art:

  1. Beowulf the old English epic poem;
  2. Rhapsody in Blue – the 1924 musical composition; and
  3. The Taj Mahal – the marble mausoleum located in India.

Do you know who created each of these works?  If not, does that fact matter?

When it comes to art history, do you think that the artists or their works are most valuable?  Is there a clear winner when it comes to that question, or do you think it’s a tie situation?  Personally, I’m a fan of both.

What Are You Searching For?

Google search image

Google search image

When was the last time you searched for information online using Google’s search engine?  Yesterday?  One hour ago?  Thirty minutes ago?

Considering recent Statisticbrain.com stats on the average number of Google user searches that occur daily and annually, no doubt, it’s likely that you’ve used Google’s search engine recently.

Marketers today who are focused on search engine optimization (SEO) want to know your search behavior.  The more SEO-savvy are using free and paid online tools to discover the actual keywords that you’re choosing to type into the Google search box when you’re trying to locate the information that you’re seeking online.

For example, the Keyword Tool inside Google Adwords can be used by marketers to reveal that North Carolinians who are searching for information about the upcoming North Carolina State Fair event are actually typing in keywords such as, “NC state fair,” or, “state fair,” when conducting their online searches.

Have you ever noticed the auto population feature of the Google search engine?  When you begin to type specific search terms into the Google search box, you will automatically see several suggested search terms that represent the most commonly used search terms of other users in your surrounding geographic area.

Even if you’re not a marketer by trade, you can use Google’s auto population feature to discover the most common types of information that those around you are seeking.  How?

Try conducting a simple A-to-Z letter search approach.  Simply go to the Google search box and type the letter, “a,” and look at the automated suggested search terms.  Then, do the same for the letter, “b,” and the following letters in the alphabet. It’s a fun exercise.

I must confess, the other day, I used the A-to-Z letter search approach and found the results to be fascinating. For example, when I typed the single letter, “c,” into the Google search engine box, I saw the below auto populated search term suggestions:

  • confessions of a CF husband;
  • confessions of a homeschooler;
  • confessions of a dangerous mind;
  • confessions of a shopaholic;
  • confessions of a glamaholic; and
  • confessions of a cookbook queen.

Typing the letter, “d,” yielded these associated search suggestions:

  • dictionary;
  • delta;
  • durham bulls; and
  • dominoes.

As a blogger, I appreciate how this A-to-Z letter search approach can be a great tool to find content ideas that are current, relevant and popular for inclusion in future posts.

If you’re not a marketer or blogger, then learning the search habits of others may not be one of your primary concerns.

At the least, I hope the subject of this post reminds you of one of life’s truths:  sometimes when you search, you can find more than you’ve ever dreamed.

Finding Career Inspiration in a Nutshell

thehealthyapron.com's image of mixed nuts

thehealthyapron.com’s image of mixed nuts

If you’ve already read Daniel H. Pink’s book, Drive, then you’re probably aware of his career advice to deemphasize focus on finding passion in your work and focus more on “doing” your work.

Do you agree with Pink’s advice when it comes to finding passion in your work?

Have you given up the drive (pun intended) to find passion in your career endeavors, or, are you still seeking assignments that light a personal flame within?

After working in marketing for almost 20 years, I’m still excited about the business function of marketing and am still finding excitement and passion in my work.  I tend to agree less with Pink on the topic and more with Ralph Waldo Emerson who once said, “Nothing great can be accomplished without enthusiasm.”

Sometimes you can rediscover and stoke the flame of career passion by listening to the inspirational words of team members and industry colleagues.  Just today, for example, my excitement and passion for social media marketing was flamed by a self-proclaimed nut – a social media nut, that is!

To whom am I referring?  Pam Moore is the woman who refers to herself as a “100% social nut.”

After watching Pam’s concise and engaging TweetChat video tutorial I was reinvigorated about using new social media tools, like TweetChat, and participating in new digital marketing channels.

What about you?  When was the last time someone inspired you about your job and specific career participation?  Who was that person, and did you thank them?

This post serves as my thank you to @PamMktgNut.

 

Knockout Pictures or Words?

Knockout roses

Knockout roses

According to Wikipedia, a photoblog is “a form of photo sharing and publishing in the format of a blog.  It differs from a blog through the predominant use of and focus on photographs rather than text.”  The online encyclopedia also points out that photoblogging gained momentum in the early 2000s with the advent of the camera phone.

How many photoblog sites have caught your eye?  Photoblogs.org is a site that helps individuals find photoblogs.  Currently, the site lists more than 40,000 photoblogs.  And, are you aware of Andrew A. Miller’s Top 5 funny photoblogs?

Navigating through photoblogs, such as www.eleventwentyseven.com, can be fun yet time-consuming.

Speaking of time-suckers, have you ventured onto Pinterest yet?

Do you agree with the adage, “a picture is worth a thousand words?”  Or, when it comes to blogs, do you prefer words with pictures versus pictures with words?

In this post, I’m including an image of spring, captured earlier today in my front yard.   The roses are of the Knockout variety.  Again, I’d love to know if words or images or a combination of both knock you out from a blog readership perspective.

Blog Images: More than Hunky-dory

Fun For Hunkydory Little Golden Book cover

Fun For Hunkydory Little Golden Book cover

Can you recall a cover image from a favorite book that you read as a child?  One of my favorite children’s books was a Little Golden Book titled, “Fun For Hunkydory.”  After all these years, I can’t forget the book’s cover image of a cute little puppy playing in the grass.

And, consider the popularity amongst adults of the new social network site, Pinterest.  Talk about images galore!

Without doubt, pictures and images within books and media for children and adults convey meaning and can make lasting impressions on readers and users.

But, what about blog posts?  Why should a blog author include images inside a post?

I can list two reasons to include images within blog posts:

  1.  Visual Learning – Many individuals who read blog posts are visual learners.  The visual learning Wikipedia entry cites an Institute for the Advancement of Research in Education study titled, “Graphic Organizers: A Review of Scientifically Based Research,”  which concluded that “visual learning improves student performance in the areas of retention, comprehension and organization.”  If you’re trying to convey a concept within a blog post, including a relevant image will likely help you be more effective in that effort.  Also, including images within your longer posts may help keep readers interested in reading the entire post.
  2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – After attending a recent SEO workshop sponsored by QIC Learning and led by SEO expert Phil Buckley, I was reminded of the fact that crawling search engines today respond favorably to tagged images on blog and standard Web pages.  Properly tagged images within blog posts can help you optimize your Web site for SEO and increase the chances of your blog content surfacing higher in organic search results at popular search engine sites like Google.  The Digital Graphics Inform post, “The Importance of Tagging Photos for SEO,” provides tips for successfully tagging images for SEO purposes, and, if you’re seeking royalty-free images for your blog, check out DailyBlogTips.com’s post, “Where to Find Images For Your Blog.”

According to Dictionary.com, the word “hunky-dory” is an adjective meaning, “satisfactory. OK. fine.”

When it comes to visual learning and SEO, blog images are anything but.

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