Monthly Archives: August 2009

The Fact Checker’s Bible

If you have time please go to your local library or book store and look for Sarah Harrison Smith’s The Fact Checker’s Bible. Incidentally, in Spanish the library is called La Biblioteca and the book store La Libreria. Anyway, for writers and bloggers this is quite a helpful book but I think more for bloggers.

Why?

Well Bloggers are not only writers but also the editor, photographer and publisher of the blog.

Smith discusses in the detail and argues for the practice of fact checking in writing, editing and publishing.

Why is fact checking important?

A factual error can be significant or insubstantial. Significant – A writer may stray from the facts when doing report or doing a commentary piece. And it compromises the article/post and might even open the author and the publisher to legal action. Insubstantial – Could be an error in time, place or even gender.

There are probably two effects or outcome brought about by errors:

First, It opens the writer and publisher (both roles played by blogger) to legal action and censure.

Second, It makes the reader more cynical. Your authority and reputation as a writer and publisher (Blogger) will be dimimished. One expects and should not be surprised by skepticism from the readers. But to accumulate skepticism in your readers is bad news.

The book is The Fact Checker’s Bible: A Guide to Getting it Right by Sarah Harrison Smith.

Podcasting is not dead

Some people say podcasting is dead. And that videocasting would kill it. They said the same thing about Radio when films and television came to be. And yet radio has survived and it has even gone digital – podcasts and digital radio.

I have been a podcaster on and off for a couple of years and I have found out that there is still a space for podcasting out there. Podcasts are for those who have the patience to download and listen to audio files lasting from fifteen minutes to even two hours.

And podcasts take on many forms:

1. Speech – At its most basic form a podcast could be a speech by the podcaster. A reading of his or her post. it could be a rant, an impassioned speech or a discourse and even story telling.

2. Radio/Magazine Show – A podcast can also be a radio show. A talk show, A magazine show with many features, interviews or even games. It could also be a time where music can be played – assuming of course it is podsafe music – free to be distributed to the public.

3. Radio Play – This is probably the most tedious of all podcasts but also when done correctly the most rewarding both for the podcasters and its listeners. Welcome to the Theatre of the Mind. A good template to follow for this type of podcast would be the radio plays from the Golden Age of Radio – Mercury Theatre’s War of the World is a fine example and even Vincent Price’s Three Skeleton Key Island.

And the beauty of it all is that all you need is a podcasting microphone, audacity , an open source software for recording and editing sounds – available for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems, and time.

Podcasting is not dead.

Anonymous the Pseudonym

The other day I read this bit of news concerning Google revealing the identity of a anonymous blogger. A move forced by a court ruling. Is this the start of the end of anonymous bloggers.

New York Supreme Court Judge Joan Madden has rejected a blogger’s claim that blogs were “modern day forum for conveying personal opinions, including invective and ranting” and as such, should not be considered as factual assertions.

Madden cited and quoted a ruling by a Virginia Court trying a similar case, which ruled that anonymous online taunters are accountable when they go too far.

Google complied with the Court Ruling. And it then provided the ip address and email to the lawyers of the complainant – model and Australian’s Vogue cover girl Liskuha Cohen. Incidentally, the blog was removed immediately after Ms Cohen took legal action.

The anonymous blogger has sued Google for $15 million for releasing the bloggers personal details.

This should be a case worth watching both in what can be done and not done on the web in terms of writing.

Do not get me wrong writing under a pseudonym has its uses but in our age when people are more ready to sue anyone it can be … well dangerous.

Do write under anonymously?

Do you have a pseudonym?

Do you use one?

Review: Contextual Partnership Plugin

The Contextual Partnership Plugin For WordPress Provides Free Advertising To Help Promote Your Blog & Get You Noticed…

If you’re looking for an effective solution to help get your blog noticed then the Contextual Partnership Plugin for WordPress bloggers could be well worth consideration. Perhaps the most attractive aspect is that there is no cost involved.

According to the developers the plugin is designed to;

    Drive more targeted visitors to your blog (or blogs) by strategically linking your blog to and from other bloggers participating in the network. The exact method used to achieve this remains confidential but apparently it’s not a basic reciprocal link exchange – nor the more common 3 way linking arrangement often seen between bloggers.

    Enhance the user experience for your blog visitors by providing them with links to other high quality blogs for further information on subjects of interest (and it can do this without you actually loosing the visitor which is a great feature).

    Indirectly increase your search engine rankings by building highly relevant incoming links to your blog for keyword terms you define, related to your own niche market.

Not a bad indirect benefit at all.

To better understand how the network works, first you need to know what a “contextual link” actually is. A contextual link is simply a link “within content” of a blog post and “within context” of specific keyword terms in that post. For example the term “dog training” found within a blog post becomes a link out to another blog (related to “dog training”) within the network. Contextual Links are found all over the internet – bloggers interlink their own pages contextually, there are paid advertising programs that allow you to place contextual advertising links and earn per click, and bloggers naturally link out to other websites they find useful “contextually” as well.

This is the key to the “Contextual Partnership”. When you install and setup the WordPress Plugin, you’re asked to provide the URL’s you wish to advertise on other partners blogs, and the keyword terms you want those blogs to use to link back to your own. When a match is found within the network for the keyword terms you provide (and assuming it meets with the Contextual Partnership’s strategic linking methodology), a link back to your blog is assigned, and your account has a credit removed.
The amount of credits your account holds appears to be directly related to the number of links you’re providing to other partners in the network for the keyword terms they themselves are looking to use to advertise. Apparently for every link you provide for another partner, you earn 1 credit. That 1 credit is then “cashed in” to assign a link back to your own blog from other partners whenever a match is found for your own keyword terms. So if you already have 100 posts in your blog, and each of those pages finds a match to provide a link to another partner, then technically you could receive 100 incoming links to your blog as soon as you’ve been approved to participate in the partnership. You also continually earn more points and incoming links as you continue to blog and add more posts just like you usually do.

That’s the basic overview and you’ll find more specific information on the plugin website including details of many features not mentioned here (like the ability to select specifically which blog posts you want to include – or nor include in the network)…

http://www.contextualpartnership.com

Uptake by the blogger community seems to have been extremely good and this new service looks to become very popular. In the first two weeks of launch the partnership already had over 54,000 individual places to place links throughout the network, and within the first 4 weeks over 10,000 advertising links had been allocated between network partners. This is most likely a result to how easy it is to actually setup the plugin and participate – it literally takes 5 minutes to install and setup – although approval can take anywhere from 24-72 hours depending on the moderation queue as only high quality blogs are accepted to participate to keep out the splogs and spammers.
This seems to be one of those services worth giving a shot for a few months, and by the looks of things the developers have some exciting new features in the pipeline to make things even more effective for partners in the future.

You can find out full details and download the plugin below…

http://www.contextualpartnership.com

Or alternatively you can download the plugin directly from WordPress…
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/contextual-partnership-link-exchange-plugin/