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Google Starts Including AMP Content in Mobile Search Results

“Company promises faster access to news articles and other content from mobile devices.”

  

Google has begun including links to “Accelerated Mobile Pages” in search results, which it said will help Internet users access news articles and other Web content faster from their mobile devices.

When users search for news stories or topics on Google from mobile devices, Web pages created using the new technology may now appear in a dedicated “Top Stories” section at the top of search results pages.

  
Google announced the Accelerated Mobile Pages project, or AMP, in October, and publishers and media companies have since been preparing their websites and publishing systems to deliver AMP versions of their content. In early testing, Google said AMP content loaded an average of four times faster and used 10 times less data than equivalent non-AMP pages.
“The feedback from publishers so far has been very enthusiastic. Everyone is excited to make the Web faster,” said Dave Besbris, Google’s vice president of engineering.

  
Dozens of companies are already publishing content using the AMP specifications, including the New York Times, BuzzFeed, Time Inc., BBC, Vox Media, ABC News, Gannett, the Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal. Now, that AMP content will be accessible through Google search results and highlighted with a green lightning bolt icon.

   
 

Despite the speed and data advantages for consumers, the question remains whether AMP will prove beneficial to publishers in terms of increased traffic, engagement, or revenue.

  

“We’ve been working with Google for a number of months. We want to be an early adopter, and we recognize AMP as an opportunity to get stories into the hands of our users faster,” said Colby Smith, vice president of digital at ABC News.
Popular blogging platform and content management system WordPress is also supporting the initiative, potentially adding AMP versions of content to millions of websites using WordPress software.

  
“We want to make it really easy for publishers of all shapes and sizes to publish AMP-formatted pages, from the New York Post all the way down to people running their own personal blogs,” said Paul Maiorana, vice president of platform services at WordPress.com parent company Automattic.

  

Under the hood, AMP works by simplifying and streamlining the HTML code that powers Web pages to prioritize speed. Google also “caches” pages, or saves copies of them on its own systems, in order to deliver them quicker when users access them. It’s an open-source initiative, meaning anyone is free to use it.
According to Google’s Mr. Besbris, over 5,800 developers have now engaged with the AMP project, including publishers, but also online advertising and publishing technology companies wanting to ensure their tools function with AMP.
“This really is the Web ecosystem. That means the publishers get a choice of a wide variety of tech solutions including analytics solutions and ad providers,” Mr. Besbris said.

  
Indeed, technology and advertising companies have been quick to announce their compatibility with AMP, including content recommendation services such as Taboola and Revcontent, online analytics providers including Chartbeat, Parse.ly and Adobe, and a range of ad networks.

  
 

“We are huge believers in advertising, and we believe content needs funding whether that’s through ads or through paywalls. We want ads to perform well and publishers to have a wide variety of ad networks and ad tech to choose from,” Mr. Besbris said. “It’s our goal to ensure these pages monetize very well.”

  
However, publishers’ AMP pages do not currently have all the functionality of their regular pages. For example, some ad formats, such as interstitials, will not work with AMP, as well as some complex online ad sales technologies. Mr. Besbris said those limitations are primarily in place to help promote the speedy loading of AMP pages.
Google’s AMP initiative is just one of many content delivery options now available to online publishers. Facebook, for example, recently launched its own Instant Articles product, which enables publishers to host content directly with the social network instead of driving users back to their own websites. Part of the sales pitch for Instant Articles was that news stories would load faster on mobile devices.

  

The difference with AMP pages, however, is that publishers host the content themselves, with Google saving or “caching” AMP pages temporarily to speed up their loading times.

  

“We haven’t heard concerns around caching from publishers. The difference here with caching versus hosting is control over the content. It’s fully under publishers’ control because it’s their file hosted by their site,” Mr. Besbris said.
Because of this distinction, some publishers say they are less leery of Google’s approach.
“I think of it as very different arrangement to Facebook Instant Articles. We feel much more in control of the content because of the fact this is hosted on our servers and our business model travels with it,” said Kate Harris, a mobile product director at the New York Times.
Google is the first company to begin distributing AMP pages through its services, but others may follow. Twitter group product manager Michael Ducker said users generally consume more pages through the company’s mobile application when they load quickly.
“It’s better for Twitter to have a mobile app that’s fast”, Mr. Ducker said, adding, “We’re not announcing anything now around integrating AMP pages into our clients, but we do believe AMP is the way forward.”

 

To read more:

Wall Street Journal 

Status

Google Starts Including AMP Content in Mobile Search Results

“Company promises faster access to news articles and other content from mobile devices.”

  

Google has begun including links to “Accelerated Mobile Pages” in search results, which it said will help Internet users access news articles and other Web content faster from their mobile devices.

When users search for news stories or topics on Google from mobile devices, Web pages created using the new technology may now appear in a dedicated “Top Stories” section at the top of search results pages.

  
Google announced the Accelerated Mobile Pages project, or AMP, in October, and publishers and media companies have since been preparing their websites and publishing systems to deliver AMP versions of their content. In early testing, Google said AMP content loaded an average of four times faster and used 10 times less data than equivalent non-AMP pages.
“The feedback from publishers so far has been very enthusiastic. Everyone is excited to make the Web faster,” said Dave Besbris, Google’s vice president of engineering.

  
Dozens of companies are already publishing content using the AMP specifications, including the New York Times, BuzzFeed, Time Inc., BBC, Vox Media, ABC News, Gannett, the Financial Times and The Wall Street Journal. Now, that AMP content will be accessible through Google search results and highlighted with a green lightning bolt icon.

   
 

Despite the speed and data advantages for consumers, the question remains whether AMP will prove beneficial to publishers in terms of increased traffic, engagement, or revenue.

  

“We’ve been working with Google for a number of months. We want to be an early adopter, and we recognize AMP as an opportunity to get stories into the hands of our users faster,” said Colby Smith, vice president of digital at ABC News.
Popular blogging platform and content management system WordPress is also supporting the initiative, potentially adding AMP versions of content to millions of websites using WordPress software.

  
“We want to make it really easy for publishers of all shapes and sizes to publish AMP-formatted pages, from the New York Post all the way down to people running their own personal blogs,” said Paul Maiorana, vice president of platform services at WordPress.com parent company Automattic.

  

Under the hood, AMP works by simplifying and streamlining the HTML code that powers Web pages to prioritize speed. Google also “caches” pages, or saves copies of them on its own systems, in order to deliver them quicker when users access them. It’s an open-source initiative, meaning anyone is free to use it.
According to Google’s Mr. Besbris, over 5,800 developers have now engaged with the AMP project, including publishers, but also online advertising and publishing technology companies wanting to ensure their tools function with AMP.
“This really is the Web ecosystem. That means the publishers get a choice of a wide variety of tech solutions including analytics solutions and ad providers,” Mr. Besbris said.

  
Indeed, technology and advertising companies have been quick to announce their compatibility with AMP, including content recommendation services such as Taboola and Revcontent, online analytics providers including Chartbeat, Parse.ly and Adobe, and a range of ad networks.

  
 

“We are huge believers in advertising, and we believe content needs funding whether that’s through ads or through paywalls. We want ads to perform well and publishers to have a wide variety of ad networks and ad tech to choose from,” Mr. Besbris said. “It’s our goal to ensure these pages monetize very well.”

  
However, publishers’ AMP pages do not currently have all the functionality of their regular pages. For example, some ad formats, such as interstitials, will not work with AMP, as well as some complex online ad sales technologies. Mr. Besbris said those limitations are primarily in place to help promote the speedy loading of AMP pages.
Google’s AMP initiative is just one of many content delivery options now available to online publishers. Facebook, for example, recently launched its own Instant Articles product, which enables publishers to host content directly with the social network instead of driving users back to their own websites. Part of the sales pitch for Instant Articles was that news stories would load faster on mobile devices.

  

The difference with AMP pages, however, is that publishers host the content themselves, with Google saving or “caching” AMP pages temporarily to speed up their loading times.

  

“We haven’t heard concerns around caching from publishers. The difference here with caching versus hosting is control over the content. It’s fully under publishers’ control because it’s their file hosted by their site,” Mr. Besbris said.
Because of this distinction, some publishers say they are less leery of Google’s approach.
“I think of it as very different arrangement to Facebook Instant Articles. We feel much more in control of the content because of the fact this is hosted on our servers and our business model travels with it,” said Kate Harris, a mobile product director at the New York Times.
Google is the first company to begin distributing AMP pages through its services, but others may follow. Twitter group product manager Michael Ducker said users generally consume more pages through the company’s mobile application when they load quickly.
“It’s better for Twitter to have a mobile app that’s fast”, Mr. Ducker said, adding, “We’re not announcing anything now around integrating AMP pages into our clients, but we do believe AMP is the way forward.”

  

Status

How Writer’s Make a Boring Topic Interesting 

  
Write Intriguingly    

“It’s no fun to come up with blog ideas for the boring industries outside of search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing. You know what I mean—the real world of forklifts, car dealerships, garden furniture and bedding. Even coming up with new content for your blog can be a bit tough.”

  
“Every day my blog-writing service must come up with 10-20 blog post ideas for clients in a number of diverse industries. Sometimes the industries are easy, like mobile phones or SEO, but more often than not we need blog post ideas for companies in less interesting industries. (No offense intended).”

  
“I’m going to share how we brainstorm content ideas so you can always come up with some—even on those uninspiring rainy days.”

  • Pull from magazines.
  • Play word association games: A great way to do this is to get some members of your team. One person starts with a root word. This could be the name of the industry you or your client is in. The next person says something related to that root word.

It might go a little like this:

  • SEO (root word)
  • Link building
  • Marketing
  • Advertising
  • Copywriting
  • Writing

  
“Don’t get too far from your root word, but by thinking of out of the box content ideas, you can explore some similar and complementary areas to your client’s sector. I started with “SEO,” but ended with “copywriting” and “writing,” which are topics those in SEO could be interested in.”

  • Borrow from other industries
  • Use Flipboard: “Flipboard is a great way to come up with blog post ideas because it gets you away from your desk (it is only available on tablets and mobile devices), and it’s intuitive to use. Flipping through articles on any given topic can do great things to inspire the brain.”
  • Browse spammy curator sites: “I don’t know the correct term for these sites, but I sometimes stumble across them when I get lost on the Web. I bet you’ve come across a few, too. They are basically sites about celebrities, strange and unbelievable things or crazy things. Sometimes they just curate stories and send you to another site. They do a lot of traffic sharing, and make money from ads. These sites won’t help you come up with actual content, but they will give you some great title ideas. The people that make these sites and write the titles are pretty clever. They know what makes people click.”

  

Gallery

Happy 1,000 Post!!!

I just posted my 1000th blog post at at petitegirlsguide here on WordPress!!!

  
   
   
   
    
    
 

Status

Five Tips to Make Your Content Stand Out From the Crowd

  

Make Your Content Stand Out“Nine out of 10 B2B marketers are actively using content marketing, regardless of their size or industry.”

“Here are some lessons learning from the world of content marketing.”

  

1. Focus on engagement

“The objective of content marketing has shifted from lead generation to developing effective engagement. A total of 88% of marketers now view the primary goals of content marketing to be enhancing customer loyalty and prospect/customer engagement, according to a survey by Smart Insights.”

“There is no shortage of content, so marketers need to find ways to enhance the customer experience by going beyond a presentation or a whitepaper. Marketers need an interactive engagement to keep their prospects and customers actively involved.”

“Using content marketing to deliver a compelling story allows marketers to build an emotional connection with the audience, bringing to life the information and making it relevant, interesting, and useful.”

“When people are involved in digesting information via an interactive experience (as compared with a passive experience, such as watching a video or reading a whitepaper), they retain up to three times as much information.”

“In an interactive experience, each piece of content is only presented when and where the user chooses, ensuring that each person gets to navigate a highly relevant and more individual understanding of the products and solutions. Each user decides what sections to explore, and in what sequence and level of detail.”

 
 2. Show, don’t tell

“Experience has demonstrated that visuals combined with text copy are much more effective than either text or visuals alone.”

“The content marketing tactic that increased the most in 2014 was infographics. When multiple senses are employed in processing information, the level of retention increases.”

“As the world moves towards more bite-sized chunks of information (e.g., 140-character tweets), the use of visual imagery to convey important information becomes more effective. The combination of well-designed text copy in concert with visuals dramatically enhances the cognitive processes used when reading or scanning documents, and this is incredibly useful for content marketers.”

“Rather than discussing an increase in product functionality over time, for example, a thought-provoking chart with a clear depiction of a rising arrow sends the message that grabs the reader’s attention. The complementary text describing how the product’s functionality has expanded reinforces the underlying message by both adding credibility and creating specific information the reader remembers.”

  
3. Make content personal

“Though the marketing team strives for delivering a consistent message about solutions and products, the way that the prospect experiences the message can be highly personalized to suit his or her needs.”

“Personalization will continue to be a focus of marketing attention for the rest of 2015, especially with the continuing development of marketing automation tools that allow for more unique and relevant deliverables.”

“Marketers in companies of all sizes can directly target customers based on specific titles, needs/wants, and stage in the buyer’s journey, which means not only personalizing email greetings but delivering specialized content to each category of user. If customers are reading, comprehending, and interacting with the meaningful content created and sent to them, they will have an elevated experience and greater knowledge retention. That translates into increased usage and sales.”

“Some 78% of the most successful marketers are creating more content than they did a year ago, so delivering a more relevant and personalized piece of content is becoming more necessary (and effective).”

  
4. Reuse and repurpose content

“Forbes recently reported that 69% of CEOs believe that their marketing organizations waste money on redundant marketing initiatives. Apparently, marketers agree.”

  
“Successful marketers know that by maximizing their investments through repurposing their deliverables, they can help alleviate this concern. In a 2014 survey, conducted by MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute, 86% of CMOs said they were also looking for ways to repurpose content across new platforms within the next 12months, without recreating or reformatting it in any way.”

“Rather than creating individual marketing deliverables for each event or product launch, and instead of spending money on content specific to a channel or device, focus on reusing and repurposing the same content marketing applications across any device or marketing channel.”

  
“Similar to responsive design, new marketing platforms (like the Kaon Application Delivery Network) are finally allowing for interactive content to be created once and deployed everywhere (mobile devices, tablets, desktops, websites, touch screens, etc.). This gives companies the ability to create one cost-effective “user-driven” piece of content that can address multiple constituents within the buying ecosystem, across multiple selling environments (sales meetings, websites, trade shows, briefing centers, training, etc.). Same brand, same message, same value story.”

  
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Five Tips to Make Your Content Stand Out From the Crowd
by Gavin Finn

Published on July 10, 2015

Nine out of 10 B2B marketers are actively using content marketing, regardless of their size or industry.
Here are some lessons learning from the world of content marketing.
1. Focus on engagement
The objective of content marketing has shifted from lead generation to developing effective engagement. A total of 88% of marketers now view the primary goals of content marketing to be enhancing customer loyalty and prospect/customer engagement, according to a survey by Smart Insights.
There is no shortage of content, so marketers need to find ways to enhance the customer experience by going beyond a presentation or a whitepaper. Marketers need an interactive engagement to keep their prospects and customers actively involved.
Using content marketing to deliver a compelling story allows marketers to build an emotional connection with the audience, bringing to life the information and making it relevant, interesting, and useful.
When people are involved in digesting information via an interactive experience (as compared with a passive experience, such as watching a video or reading a whitepaper), they retain up to three times as much information.
In an interactive experience, each piece of content is only presented when and where the user chooses, ensuring that each person gets to navigate a highly relevant and more individual understanding of the products and solutions. Each user decides what sections to explore, and in what sequence and level of detail.
2. Show, don’t tell
Experience has demonstrated that visuals combined with text copy are much more effective than either text or visuals alone.
The content marketing tactic that increased the most in 2014 was infographics. When multiple senses are employed in processing information, the level of retention increases.
As the world moves towards more bite-sized chunks of information (e.g., 140-character tweets), the use of visual imagery to convey important information becomes more effective. The combination of well-designed text copy in concert with visuals dramatically enhances the cognitive processes used when reading or scanning documents, and this is incredibly useful for content marketers.
Rather than discussing an increase in product functionality over time, for example, a thought-provoking chart with a clear depiction of a rising arrow sends the message that grabs the reader’s attention. The complementary text describing how the product’s functionality has expanded reinforces the underlying message by both adding credibility and creating specific information the reader remembers.
3. Make content personal
Though the marketing team strives for delivering a consistent message about solutions and products, the way that the prospect experiences the message can be highly personalized to suit his or her needs.
Personalization will continue to be a focus of marketing attention for the rest of 2015, especially with the continuing development of marketing automation tools that allow for more unique and relevant deliverables.
Marketers in companies of all sizes can directly target customers based on specific titles, needs/wants, and stage in the buyer’s journey, which means not only personalizing email greetings but delivering specialized content to each category of user. If customers are reading, comprehending, and interacting with the meaningful content created and sent to them, they will have an elevated experience and greater knowledge retention. That translates into increased usage and sales.
Some 78% of the most successful marketers are creating more content than they did a year ago, so delivering a more relevant and personalized piece of content is becoming more necessary (and effective).
4. Reuse and repurpose content
Forbes recently reported that 69% of CEOs believe that their marketing organizations waste money on redundant marketing initiatives. Apparently, marketers agree.
Successful marketers know that by maximizing their investments through repurposing their deliverables, they can help alleviate this concern. In a 2014 survey, conducted by MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute, 86% of CMOs said they were also looking for ways to repurpose content across new platforms within the next 12months, without recreating or reformatting it in any way.
Rather than creating individual marketing deliverables for each event or product launch, and instead of spending money on content specific to a channel or device, focus on reusing and repurposing the same content marketing applications across any device or marketing channel.
Similar to responsive design, new marketing platforms (like the Kaon Application Delivery Network) are finally allowing for interactive content to be created once and deployed everywhere (mobile devices, tablets, desktops, websites, touch screens, etc.). This gives companies the ability to create one cost-effective “user-driven” piece of content that can address multiple constituents within the buying ecosystem, across multiple selling environments (sales meetings, websites, trade shows, briefing centers, training, etc.). Same brand, same message, same value story.
5. Face-to-Face Interactions: The Most Effective Venues

“Though digital marketing is the most common platform for interactive applications, delivering content in an interactive manner can, and does, happen face to face as well.”

“Moreover, just because some piece of content is online does not make it interactive.”

“Being interactive means that there is a dialog, a back and forth between the user and the application, that delivers a personalized, more effective experience. (Think of the difference between watching a video and playing a video game.)”

  

How To Create Engaging Contents For Your Social Media

Mohamed Khan

The first rule of social media marketing is that you don’t push advertisements and contents that people wouldn’t enjoy or entertain.

It is a social network and your contents should be created according to that. The contents should be balanced between marketing and generic. It should keep your target audience engaged and create a meaningful relationship with them.

If you create only marketing content (about yourself and your product) alone and pay a large sum of money for advertising them, it would still be spamming and not marketing.

Some tips for creating social media marketing contents

1. Make it visual

An image speaks more than thousand words.

2. Posting in after hours and weekends

In the working hours people mostly will be occupied  with their works. Generally people will be occupied with their office works during this hours. So, the probability of sewing the posts during this time frame will…

View original post 194 more words

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The 6 Worst Employee Communication Mistakes 

Having Trouble Communicating?  
“Assuming you’ve done a good job of hiring, your employees have skills that contribute to the growth of your business—but that doesn’t mean they’re all great communicators.”

“Business owners often encounter difficulties in getting their employees to better express themselves and interact with others.”

Here are six of the worst employee communication mistakes, with suggestions for improvement:

1. Vague emails, lacking a call to action

“Email communications are so pervasive in our daily lives that it’s easy to forget basic business email etiquette. Among the most common errors:”

“Too wordy, with no clear substance.”

“USE OF ALL CAPITAL LETTERS”

“Vague or misleading title in the subject field.”

“An unprofessional tone (joking, sarcastic, indignant, impolite).”

“No clear call to action.”

•Consider holding a brief “refresher course” or send out helpful tips to get people on the same page. Remind employees to:

“Keep messages concise.”

“Let the email recipient know whether the message is urgent or time-sensitive.”

“Be explicit about what you’re asking for, be it information or action.”

  

2. Failure to double-check spelling and grammar

“Emails with improper grammar and misspelled words are unacceptable when employees communicate with management or, most important, with your customers.”

“Make sure employees understand that spell-check alone doesn’t guarantee an error-free message. They must re-read their messages and ensure that spell-check hasn’t substituted an incorrect word for the one intended. Also, find and fix ambiguous language.”

  

3. Lack of a prompt response to emails from others

“Employers must also take responsibility for getting employees to respond to emails in a timely manner. Don’t indulge in a long-winded message forcing the recipient to puzzle out what to do next.”

“If you need answers, ask specific questions. Request a response by a certain time or date. And restrict the number of people receiving the email. Seeing a long list of recipients, any one employee may think others will respond instead of him or her.”

  

4. Gossiping in the workplace

“Every employer knows how destructive gossip can be. To cope with this human weakness, try these tactics:”

“Indicate a zero-tolerance policy for gossip in your employee handbook. This makes everyone aware of the company’s position from the first day of employment.”

“If you learn about someone gossiping, speak directly to that individual and remind them about your company policy.”

“Share as much information about your business as possible, thus discouraging people’s tendency to speculate in a vacuum of knowledge.”

  
5. Inability to read body language

“Some are more adept than others at reading body language and picking up on nonverbal cues. If your business involves frequent face-to-face encounters, consider holding training sessions in how to read body language, with particular attention paid to:”

“How close or far another person stands while talking to you.”

“The degree of eye contact made.”

“Whether the other person has his or her arms crossed or open.”

“Signs of fidgeting or nervousness (indicating defensiveness or resistance to the speaker’s message).”

“Encourage employees to concentrate more when interacting with co-workers or customers. Stay alert to facial expressions, hand gestures, and other types of body language.”

  

6. Monopolizing meetings

“Some employees are extroverts and tend to dominate meetings, to the detriment of others. How can you discourage this behavior?”

“Politely hold up your hand to indicate you’d like the person to stop speaking.”

“When the employee takes a breath, redirect the conversation to include others.”

“If the problem persists, take the offender aside in private and, while showing you appreciate their input, ask them to hold back or at least limit their comments so others can speak.”

“With positive guidance, employees can learn to avoid these common communication mistakes.”

  

Status

Twitter is in Trouble of Becoming the Bing of Social Media

Twitter in danger

IMG_4848
“What is Twitter? To people who use it all the time, the question is almost laughable, like asking “What is talking?” But to people who don’t use it, the question is hard to answer. It’s also hard, apparently, if you’re Twitter.”

“The social media company will announce its quarterly earnings later today. More than any dollar amount, shareholders will watch closely for signs of life among Twitter’s users—more sign-ups, more visits, more tweets. When Twitter last reported its financial results in October, growth in user numbers and activity had been sluggish, leading to a big drop in Twitter’s share price and much badmouthing of Twitter CEO Dick Costolo. Since then, Twitter has rolled out several new features aimed at making the service more inviting and user-friendly. But what if the very features that make the service more approachable for n00bs alienates the core audience that finds it so addictive?”

IMG_4847
“A lot of people like Twitter, love Twitter, obsess over Twitter. But a lot of people just don’t get it, and Twitter has never quite communicated a clear enough reason for them to try. The new instant timeline offers a tentative step in that direction. But by now, has the crowd or early-ish adopters simply moved on? Are there really that many people left capable of being swayed by a turn-key Twitter feed? If anyone was at all interested in Twitter, wouldn’t they have tried it by now?”

“Compared to Facebook, the concept of Twitter is fuzzy, as is the product itself. Facebook started out as a place to connect with friends on the web. That’s still pretty much what it is, although the experience for many users has been ported to mobile devices. Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, by comparison, conceived of his creation as a text message-based way of keeping up with friends’ whereabouts (hence the 140-character limit). Over time, Twitter migrated to the web and then smartphones as its endlessly creative users led the way in pushing what a tweet could do and be. Twitter proudly boasts that its users invented many of the conventions now taken for granted today, including the “@” reply, the hashtag, and the retweet. That’s great for that original diehards. What about for everyone else?”

“At first, Twitter’s flexibility drove its rapid rise to popularity. It started as a simple idea, but users discovered how to make it so much more. As such, Twitter ensured its status as a platform, a tool on which to build new experiences. And like other online communities that grow from the ground up, users codified conventions and practices that set apart their unique culture. That’s wonderful when building a new medium is your priority. But an insider culture risks intimidating everyone on the outside. Which is a problem when you’re trying to build a business.”

IMG_4845
“Enormous Startup Friction Remains”
“Twitter is now a media company in an industry where financial success is a function of scaling attention. And attention on a billion-user scale—on the scale of Facebook—comes through breadth of appeal. But Twitter is not as user-friendly as Facebook, nor as clear on what purpose it serves. Figuring out what RT, @, and DM mean isn’t all that hard. Neither is finding interesting people to follow, or joining the kinds of public conversations that make Twitter unique and thrilling. But even with that low a bar, people need a reason to bother trying to get over it in the first place. And Twitter hasn’t succeeded at defining clearly what that reason is.”

“Auto-filled timelines in theory put great content in front of users from the start. But a timeline of things everyone finds interesting sounds a lot like Facebook. Meanwhile, Twitter is offering a slew of other features geared toward making the service better for those who already use it, such as native video, messaging (via group DMs), and in-app analytics. All of these are geared toward one of the company’s basic business challenges—getting people who sign up for Twitter to keep using it. And Twitter has a lot to prove on that front after reporting a far lower rate of daily active users last quarter —than Face.”

IMG_4846
“What is Twitter? To people who use it all the time, the question is almost laughable, like asking “What is talking?” But to people who don’t use it, the question is hard to answer. It’s also hard, apparently, if you’re Twitter.”

“The social media company will announce its quarterly earnings later today. More than any dollar amount, shareholders will watch closely for signs of life among Twitter’s users—more sign-ups, more visits, more tweets. When Twitter last reported its financial results in October, growth in user numbers and activity had been sluggish, leading to a big drop in Twitter’s share price and much badmouthing of Twitter CEO Dick Costolo. Since then, Twitter has rolled out several new features aimed at making the service more inviting and user-friendly. But what if the very features that make the service more approachable for n00bs alienates the core audience that finds it so addictive?”

“A lot of people like Twitter, love Twitter, obsess over Twitter. But a lot of people just don’t get it, and Twitter has never quite communicated a clear enough reason for them to try. The new instant timeline offers a tentative step in that direction. But by now, has the crowd or early-ish adopters simply moved on? Are there really that many people left capable of being swayed by a turn-key Twitter feed? If anyone was at all interested in Twitter, wouldn’t they have tried it by now?”

“Compared to Facebook, the concept of Twitter is fuzzy, as is the product itself. Facebook started out as a place to connect with friends on the web. That’s still pretty much what it is, although the experience for many users has been ported to mobile devices. Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, by comparison, conceived of his creation as a text message-based way of keeping up with friends’ whereabouts (hence the 140-character limit). Over time, Twitter migrated to the web and then smartphones as its endlessly creative users led the way in pushing what a tweet could do and be. Twitter proudly boasts that its users invented many of the conventions now taken for granted today, including the “@” reply, the hashtag, and the retweet. That’s great for that original diehards. What about for everyone else?”

“At first, Twitter’s flexibility drove its rapid rise to popularity. It started as a simple idea, but users discovered how to make it so much more. As such, Twitter ensured its status as a platform, a tool on which to build new experiences. And like other online communities that grow from the ground up, users codified conventions and practices that set apart their unique culture. That’s wonderful when building a new medium is your priority. But an insider culture risks intimidating everyone on the outside. Which is a problem when you’re trying to build a business.”

“Enormous Startup Friction Remains
Twitter is now a media company in an industry where financial success is a function of scaling attention. And attention on a billion-user scale—on the scale of Facebook—comes through breadth of appeal. But Twitter is not as user-friendly as Facebook, nor as clear on what purpose it serves. Figuring out what RT, @, and DM mean isn’t all that hard. Neither is finding interesting people to follow, or joining the kinds of public conversations that make Twitter unique and thrilling. But even with that low a bar, people need a reason to bother trying to get over it in the first place. And Twitter hasn’t succeeded at defining clearly what that reason is.”

“Auto-filled timelines in theory put great content in front of users from the start. But a timeline of things everyone finds interesting sounds a lot like Facebook. Meanwhile, Twitter is offering a slew of other features geared toward making the service better for those who already use it, such as native video, messaging (via group DMs), and in-app analytics. All of these are geared toward one of the company’s basic business challenges—getting people who sign up for Twitter to keep using it. And Twitter has a lot to prove on that front after reporting a far lower rate of daily active users last quarter —than Facebook.”

“Twitter is vaguely cooler than Facebook, and vaguely geekier. (Imagine the Venn diagram of people who like crossword puzzles and people who like compressing their thoughts into 140 characters.) All of Facebook’s geekiness, on the other hand, is under the hood, hidden behind a bland exterior that foregrounds “friending.” Facebook owes its success to a combination of its more approachable surface and its craftier manipulations beneath that surface. Facebook doesn’t hide the fact that it massages users’ News Feeds to optimize for what both users and advertisers want.”

“On Twitter, by contrast, your feed is your feed—every tweet from everyone you follow. Twitter has flirted with inserting itself into users’ timelines in a more Facebook-like way, including tweets from accounts that you don’t follow. Even the possibility of such machinations has elicited howls from Twitter’s power users, the base that feels the strongest sense of ownership over the platform. This reaction illustrates the crux of Twitter’s dilemma: it can cater to its power users and become a company that sells to a small but committed niche. Or it can alienate those users in an effort to become more like Facebook, to which it will always be compared, especially by investors.”

“This leaves Twitter kind of stuck. Staying niche means Twitter will never grow to match the money engines spinning away at Facebook and Google. But trying to be more like Facebook seems like an effort that will fail before it ever begins. If Facebook is to social as Google is to search, that would make Twitter Bing.”

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Why We Say “Trick or Treat”

Why Do We Say “Trick or Treat”
“It’s one of a kid’s favorite parts of Halloween. There’s no feeling quite like waiting for a stranger to open his or her door so you can scream the words “Trick or treat!” But why do we say it? What does it actually mean? The practice of donning a costume and asking for treats from your neighbors dates back to the Middle Ages, but back then it wasn’t a game.

During the medieval practice of souling, poor people would make the rounds begging for food. In return, they offered prayers for the dead on All Souls Day. (What does the “een” in “Halloween” mean exactly? The answer lies here.)”

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“Modern trick or treating is a custom borrowed from guising, which children still do in some parts of Scotland. Guising involves dressing in costume and singing a rhyme, doing a card trick, or telling a story in exchange for a sweet. The Scottish and Irish brought the custom to America in the 19th century.”

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“Some have traced the earliest reference of the term trick or treat in print was in 1927, in Alberta, Canada. It appears as if the practice didn’t really take hold in the U.S. until the mid-1930s, where it was not always well received. The demanding of a treat angered or puzzled some adults. Supposedly, in a Halloween parade in 1948 in New York, the Madison Square Boys Club carried a banner sporting the message “American Boys Don’t Beg.” By 1952, the practice was widely accepted enough to be mentioned in the family television show Ozzie and Harriet.”

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How your blog can improve your search engine ranking

How Blogging Can Help Your Company

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“Blogging frequently can contribute significantly to customer acquisition. According to inbound marketing software company Hubspot, 92 percent of companies that blog multiple times a day gain a customer through that blog. Writing multiple times per day or week might seem like a lot of work, but its value to your firm’s search engine optimization and inbound marketing efforts is invaluable.”

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“Long gone are the days of random link building and plugging in keywords tens of times in hopes of reaching higher in search rankings. That’s because Google is continually changing the algorithm it uses to offer the best possible search results. This algorithm is now sophisticated enough to recognize if a site is offering high-value content and is regularly updated, not just gaming its system.”

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“We’ve heard it before: “Content is king.” In this case, those words reign true. Producing relevant content for your target consumer and building authentic relationships with them is no longer an option; it’s a necessity. Your blog is your best tool for achieving those objectives.”

“Your content doesn’t just sit on your blog, either. It becomes material that can be pushed out on your other social media channels, creating conversations with consumers who might not be directly searching for your services.”

“Our firm has reaped the benefits of blogging first-hand. Prior to blogging regularly, the traffic rank for our site was around 20 million, which means that during a search for “Nashville PR firms” or “Nashville marketing firms” we would have been lucky to show up on the sixth or seventh page of search results.”

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“We started making it a priority to create content that we knew would be of value to prospective clients and those in our industry, and to monitor which content was bringing the most people back to our site.”

“After a year of committing to increasing our number of blog posts, we found that the topics that were viewed most frequently were those that announced job openings, offered tips for media relations, or explained the value of PR.”

“The takeaways were simple and universal. Write about the topics on which you’re an expert and convey the value your industry might add to others. That’s easier said than done, but below are a few tips for creating novel content on the fly that’s sure to increase traffic to your site and improve your rankings:

• Turn office updates into big news. Moving offices? Working with a new fancy client? Small updates can be spun into sexier topics like how your new office space reflects your corporate culture, or how a new client represents significant growth for your firm.

• Have a brainstorming session. Gathering the team to discuss interesting blog angles is well worth the time. Learning about the different projects going on is an easy way to uncover topics that might create interesting content.

• Separate the work across the office. It would be difficult for one person to create 12 pieces of original content a month. We’ve developed a system wherein each person writes one post a month, so 12 posts becomes no problem.

• Don’t be afraid to show your personality. Not every post has to be business related. Give your writers a chance to talk about things that interest them outside of the office. It might even attract a new client who does related work.

• Take a look at what you read yourself. What kind of information is of value to you? Chances are if it’s something that’s interesting to you, it’s probably the type of content that’s also relevant to your industry peers.”

CLICK ON THE LINK ABOVE TO READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE!

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News Flash: You Can’t Fake Being Authentic

You Can’t Fake Being Authentic

“A lot is being said and written about being authentic these days because so many people aren’t. Think about a police chief who fudges his department’s response to a crisis. Or, government and corporate leaders that promise one thing and then do another.”

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“What is Authenticity?:

Authenticity means being real or genuine, and telling the truth. You can’t tell someone you’re being authentic. You have to demonstrate it by your behavior. You have to be who you say you are.

Employees value a CEO who is honest and not afraid to open himself up and show some emotion. We coached a senior partner of a law firm for several years. One day he was asked to speak to the partnership about what the firm meant to him.

When talking about the firm in rehearsal, he was overcome with emotion and had difficulty getting the words out. He kept practicing because we knew that once he was able to manage his emotions, he could hold his own on stage.

On the day of the meeting, Jim got through his remarks with a catch or two in his voice and just a few tears in his eyes. His ability to show emotion may have surprised some of the partners, but they were very touched by his authenticity and his love of the firm.”

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“Mingling With Employees:

When your name is on the door, you can never be just “one of the guys.” It’s a delicate balance between being aloof and developing a genuine rapport with employees.

Bill Hewlett and David Packard, the founders of Hewlett Packard, practiced management by walking around , a concept popularized in the blockbuster book In Search of Excellence . This means making spontaneous visits to employees to learn first hand what’s really going in the company and getting valuable feedback from employees. These visits are a great morale booster.

But you can’t just drop into the company cafeteria once a year and pretend that you’re interested in your employees. That’s just going through the motions. It’s not authentic.”

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“Good leaders meet with their employees regularly. One CEO we work with invites a different group of employees to dine with him in the cafeteria every other week. He learns more than he would by sitting in his office and it demonstrates his genuine commitment.

The founder and now retired CEO of Costco, Jim Sinegal, was labeled a “retailing genius” in a CNBC special about the retailer (below). A shirtsleeves leader, he spent most of his time on the road visiting his warehouse stores. He wanted to know from store managers what was working and what wasn’t. Sinegal could then apply what he learned to the entire network.”

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CLICK ON THE LINK TO READ THE REST!

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19 Women Talk About The Surprising Sexual Fantasies They Would Never, Ever Tell Their Boyfriends About

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Slideshow: A Visual Guide to Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

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“Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD):
It’s natural to worry during stressful times. But some people feel tense and anxious day after day, even when there is little to worry about. When this lasts for six months or longer, it may be generalized anxiety disorder or GAD. This illness affects nearly seven million Americans. Unfortunately, many people don’t know they have it. So they can miss out on treatments that may lead to a better life.”

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“Emotional Symptoms:
The main symptom of GAD is a constant and exaggerated sense of tension and anxiety. You may not be able to pinpoint a reason why you feel tense. Or you may worry too much about ordinary matters, such as bills, relationships, or your health. All this worrying can interfere with your sleep and ability to think straight. You may also feel irritable due to poor sleep or the illness itself.”

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“Physical Symptoms:
Physical problems usually come along with the excess worry. They can include:

Muscle tension or pain
Headaches
Nausea or diarrhea
Trembling or twitching”

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“Everyday Worries:
Most people spend some time worrying about their troubles, whether money, job demands, or changing relationships. What sets GAD apart is the feeling that you can’t stop worrying. You may find it impossible to relax, even when you’re doing something you enjoy. In severe cases, GAD can interfere with work, relationships, and daily activities.”

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Word Fact: What Is the Difference Between i.e. and e.g.?

Word Facts:

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“They may be small, but their power to befuddle writers and speakers of the English language is mighty: what’s the difference between i.e. and e.g.? And what are the correct uses of these commonly confused abbreviations?

The term i.e. is a shortening of the Latin expression id est, which translates to “that is.” It is used to introduce a rephrasing or elaboration on something that has already been stated: “I like citrus fruits, i.e., the juicy, edible fruits with leathery, aromatic rinds of any of numerous tropical, usually thorny shrubs or trees of the genus Citrus.” In this example, i.e. introduces an elaboration on citrus fruits.”

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“The term e.g. is an abbreviation of the Latin expression exempli gratia, meaning “for the sake of example” or more colloquially, “for example.” It follows that this term is used to introduce examples of something that has already been stated: “I like citrus fruits, e.g., oranges, lemons, and limes.”

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“One easy way to remember the difference between these two is by employing a simple mnemonic device: think of the i at the beginning of i.e. as standing for the first word in the phrase “in other words,” indicating that the clause that follows will rephrase or explain what precedes the term. E.g. is a little more straightforward since e stands for exempli meaning “example.” To ensure your mastery over these terms is not tarnished by misplaced punctuation, remember that in formal writing, e.g. and i.e. are often set off in parentheses and followed by a comma; in less formal writing, it is standard to place a comma before and after these terms.”

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4 Ways You Can Be A Kick-Ass Feminist

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20 Of The Littlest, Everyday Things That You Don’t Realize Make Or Break Your Day

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Positive Explanations for Psychological Problems

Positive Explanations

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“I am a clinical psychologist working in an anxiety and OCD Clinic at the University of Oslo, Norway. In this clinic we do almost all the treatment without starting drugs, and for many patients we help them taper the drugs. One of the reasons for this is that taking drugs for psychological problems often may be seen as avoidance behavior, and this is exactly what maintains the anxiety, or in many cases makes it worse.

If a person starts taking a benzodiazepine every time he feels anxious, he will never discover that it passes by itself and is not dangerous. When doctors give strong drugs to “combat” anxiety symptoms, they may actually be signaling to patients that anxiety is dangerous.”

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“If a person starts taking a benzodiazepine every time he feels anxious, he will never discover that it passes by itself and is not dangerous. When doctors give strong drugs to “combat” anxiety symptoms, they may actually be signaling to patients that anxiety is dangerous.

The most effective treatment for anxiety disorders of all kinds, is exposure, and that is exactly the opposite of running away through drugs. Actually stepping down on drugs very slowly (less than 1% per day) may be very good exposure training.

I often tell my patients: it is great if the stepping down gives you a bit more symptoms. Then you get the possibility to learn that anxiety is not dangerous and that it is by going into it instead of avoiding that you get better.”

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The Color Blue

The Color Blue

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“This color is one of trust, honesty and loyalty. It is sincere, reserved and quiet, and doesn’t like to make a fuss or draw attention. It hates confrontation, and likes to do things in its own way.”

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“From a color psychology perspective, blue is reliable and responsible. This color exhibits an inner security and confidence. You can rely on it to take control and do the right thing in difficult times. It has a need for order and direction in its life, including its living and work spaces.”

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“Blue Represents

Communication: Blue relates to one-to-one verbal communication and self expression.

Peace and calm: The color blue induces calm and peace within us, particularly the deeper shades.

Honesty: Blue is the colour of truth.

Authority: The darker the color blue, the more authority it has.

Religion: Blue is the colour of devotion and religious study.

Wisdom: Blue enhances the wisdom of the intellect.”

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“Effects of Blue

Conservative: The color blue is a safe colour – the most universally liked colour of all.

Predictable: Blue is not impulsive or spontaneous and it doesn’t like to be rushed – blue needs to analyze and think things through, and to work to a plan.

Orderly: Blue needs to have direction & order- untidiness and unpredictability overwhelms it.

Rigid: Blue likes familiarity. It doesn’t like change and will stubbornly do things its own way, even if there is a better way.”

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“Variations of the Color Blue:

Pale Blue: Pale blue inspires creativity and the freedom to break free.

Sky Blue: One of the calmest colors, sky blue inspires selfless love and fidelity. It is non-threatening and promotes a helpful nature that can overcome all obstacles. It is the universal healer.

Azure Blue:A color of true contentment, azure inspires determination and ambition to achieve great things, a sense of purpose in striving for goals.

Dark Blue: Dark blue is the color of conservatism and responsibility. Although it appears to be cool, calm and collected, it is the color of the non-emotional worrier with repressed feelings, the pessimist and the hypocrite. Dark blue can be compassionate but has trouble showing it as its emotions run deep. Dark blue is a serious masculine color representing knowledge, power, and integrity, and is used quite often in the corporate world.”

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5 Funny English Language Oddities

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7 Ways to Make LinkedIn Help You Find A Job

How LinkedIn Helps You Find a Job

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“Now that LinkedIn is a decade old and has more than 200 million members, most professionals have figured out how to set up a profile and build connections.”

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“But with ever-increasing numbers of hiring managers and recruiters using the site to hunt for job candidates and potential employers routinely checking LinkedIn before they make hiring decisions, it’s worth reviewing your profile to make sure it does you the most good. Here are seven basic steps you can take to make your LinkedIn profile more powerful.”

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13 Things You Should Say To Your Significant Other Every Day

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5 Reasons Why Chivalry Is A Dying Art (That We Desperately Need To Bring Back)

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Five Strange Spanish Expressions

STRANGE SPANISH EXPRESSIONS!

These Pictures Are Apart of the Expressions

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6 Annoying Facebook Status Updates Guaranteed To Make People Defriend You

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13 Signs You’re A Classic INFJ

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6 Side Effects Only Writers Experience

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10 Terrific Things About Bipolar Disorder

Why It’s Nice To Be Bipolar

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“1. Creativity. Visual arts, performance, writing, music; in all the arts bipolar talent is common and sometimes exceptional. Patty Duke, Ernest Hemingway, Trent Reznor, Sylvia Plath, many more. The link between bipolar disorder and creativity is well-established, though further study is needed. One research finding: as many as 60% of people with bipolar disorders are writers.”

IMG_3303.JPG“2. Energy. Not sleeping for two or three days without feeling effects is even better than modafanil (Provigil). People take all sorts of stimulants attempting to experience similar energy; if you could bottle this symptom of mania and hypomania, you’d make a mint.”

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Is Voluntourism Selfless Or Selfish?

Voluntourism

IMG_3283.JPG“Every so often posts come up on my social media outlets showing some of my acquaintances posing with cute ethnic children in foreign countries. The individuals posing in these photos are often young adults engaged in what has become known as “volunteer tourism” A lot has been written on the subject, from expressions of support to scathing criticisms of the industry. The Onion recently posted an article entitled “6-Day Visit to Rural African Village Completely Changes Woman’s Profile Picture”. I think this really hit the nail on the head as far as the central problem with volunteer tourism.”

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“Philanthropy in itself is not a bad thing. Seeking to help others who have less than ourselves is not a bad thing either, but what I find questionable about the volunteer tourism trend is the need for individuals who partake in it to overly publicize their experiences. To me what it feels like is “look at this picture of me with this cute kid I met in Africa who I paid to visit and will never see again”. While this is obviously not everyone’s attitude who engages in the volunteer tourism, it is hard to distinguish between individuals who had the money and a few free weeks over the summer, and those who genuinely want to help others and enlarge their world view. I understand that everyone these days is hooked on social media. We can hardly eat good meals at restaurants any more without ensuring that they make it onto Instagram. What that says is “look at me I did this”, “look at me I ate this”, but is there a line crossed when posting a photo that says “look at me I visited these impoverished people?”

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6 Signs of a Well Run Non-Profit Organization

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6 Signs Of A Good NPO

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“A well-run nonprofit is aligned around fundraising goals

If your organization depends on money from fundraising, everyone should have their success, including their compensation, tied to fundraising success. Even if their role in that success may be indirect, it’s still critical.”

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“If fundraising is going poorly, it’s everyone’s “fault.” It should be more difficult for anyone to get increased rewards or promotions than when fundraising is going well. It needs to be clear that everyone rises or sinks together with their common enterprise of raising funds. Don’t ignore the problem or write it off to factors you can’t control. People in other professional sectors don’t get to do that.

Along with that should be a de-siloing of functions: The managers and leaders of all the groups need to be working together, not in isolation. They all have to be able to see the problems of others as their own problems, too.

This won’t be easy if your organization has been operating in separate silos. It’s important, though. Getting it right can unleash energy, focus, and innovation in your organization.”

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5 Techniques for Boosting PR Creativity

What Do You Do To Get Your Creative Juices Flowing?

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“In a writing-heavy job, it’s common to encounter serious writer’s block that stops you in your tracks.”

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“Never fear. There are proven ways to help you and your colleagues combat writer’s block and live to tell about it. Here are five tricks for fighting stagnation and fostering creativity in your work.”

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How Artists Can Conquer Anxiety

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Why You Should Share The Positive, Not The Negative (Especially On Social Media)

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God Grant Me the Serenity

God Grant Me the Serenity

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“…. to accept the things I cannot change.”

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“What is acceptance? Is it giving in to whatever happens to you? Is it being happy about your condition regardless of what it does to you? I don’t think so. From my understanding, acceptance is acknowledging that whatever is true at the moment is just the way it is.”

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“It doesn’t mean I condone it or that I am happy about it. It’s just knowing that this is my reality right now. It’s also not about denying my feelings about the situation. Doing that keeps you in denial and prevents you from admitting that the situation is real.”

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