Archive for July, 2009

Be Kinder than Necessary

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

You never know what burdens someone else is carrying.

That was essentially the tagline on a friend’s email for while.  I thought it was a really good tagline.  It really expresses a lot that I just cannot put into words. 

However, I have a “story” of sorts.  It is a picture I have put together based on random comments from different perspectives.

The husband of one of my wife’s friends was part owner of his own business.  He was able to take care of his wife and 3 children.  In short, he had a successful career.  3 years ago they left comfortable lives and friends in a distant community and moved back to Nashville.  I assume that it was so that she could help take care of her parents. His wife did not earn an advanced degree until recently and has started her own business in the last few years.   I would assume that he provided for them very well and there was no need.

He now bags groceries.  It is now difficult for him to talk and bag groceries at the same time.  They moved him to bagging because he was having difficulty in other parts of the store.  He has difficulty working hard enough for his employer to hire him for more than a few hours each week.  (They do not fire people, at this location; they just reduce your hours and hope you get the message.)  He still has one child in high school.  They are moving away again so that she can get a job with health insurance and earn enough money to keep the family going.  (His ex-business partner offered her the job and I think she will be a good fit for the work.)

She is very kind and private.  With her sunny disposition, you would never know the troubles and the many issues she is juggling.

He is quietly bagging groceries.  His fellow co-workers don’t know about his former life and make comments about the guy who is “not grocery store material.”  He may not quite have the sunny attitude of of his wife; maybe because each day he faces the personal embarrassment of knowing how much less he can do today than even a few short years ago or possibly the embarrassment of being a guy and no longer providing for your family.

I’ll let you be the judge.

8 Ideas on How Not to Be an Obnoxious Salesman with Online Social Networks

Friday, July 10th, 2009

Here are 8 ideas for you.

  1. Remember that 99% of the time you are not going to make a direct sale through online networking. (Online networking is about opening doors so you can make a sale.)
  2. Write some blog entries that are free basic information about something you are an expert in with no direct sales pitch.
  3. Write blog entries about stuff that really gets you excited or that you wish would go away.
  4. Create a photo-gallery in picassa, flickr, photobucket or where ever and include your hobbies; let folks know when you post new pictures through “status updates.”
  5. If you take pictures and travel, consider geo-locating them in your album
  6. When you find something of interest on the web—tweet about out it, link to it on your blog, put a posting in delicious or dig, mention it facebook or myspace.
  7. Tweet about the “stupid” stuff in your life (not just the serious and not just the sales) (Same for status updates). I probably do not care that you are about to brush your teeth, but I might find it interesting that you just went on a 5 mile run.
  8. Use the tools in linkedin, plaxo, myspace, facebook, friendfeed, etc. that let you see what is going on in other people’s lives. They often have pages where you can see the “updates” others have made.

What Is an RSS Feed and How do People Subscribe?

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

What Is an RSS Feed

An RSS feed is a way for anyone to automatically distribute information without having to send email and risk it being filtered out as spam. The information is broken down into topics with titles and possibly some other additional information. Having an appropriate RSS feed will increase traffic to your site and help you market yourself because a variety of services will pay attention to you that will otherwise ignore you.

For the technician, an RSS feed is information displayed in a special programing language called XML. The programmer who creates the RSS feed will read information from a database, file system, or other file, and will cause the server to display the information in a format with specific XML “commands.”

Anyone with a good blogging software like WordPress or Blogger or Typepad, etc, is already making use of RSS Feeds (unless they found a way to turn it off or make it completely private.) A blog shows up on your website as a regular page, but it also creates this RSS feed thingy for you. (You can see mine here: http://asitethatworks.com/feed/)

One of the cool things is that you can create an RSS feed on any topic or groups of information from pictures, to recent projects, to blogs etc. (You do not have to “blog.”)

How Does an RSS Feed Help You

The really cool part is that several organizations and companies that help make the internet work in the first place, actively look for pages with this special coding. They keep lists of them and they check them very, very frequently for new content. They then pass this information on to their users in a variety of ways, not necessary as the original RSS Feed. The Google and Yahoo search engines are one such place.  However, to really get noticed, you should notify certain services, such as Ping-0-Matic, Feedburner, or Technorati, that you have updated your content. You can make these submittals by hand, or you can have a programmer do it for you so that it happens automatically.  (That is one way we can help you.)  However, if your RSS feed is for a private group, there is no need.

Another cool thing is that when you know the link for your feed you can provide this link to other places such as ning social networking sites, linked in, twitter, etc. It is just like providing someone your website address, just a little longer and more complicated. It might be better to copy and paste or send via email or link, rather than say over the telephone. (Ning is a free online service for creating and sharing your own social networks, such as a church group, civic organization, sports team, etc.)

As I mentioned above, RSS feeds can also be used to get people information without you having to send them an email. The “catch” is (yeah, you knew there had to be a catch) that to reach this objective people have to subscribe to your RSS feed. Unfortunately, you cannot make them subscribe; and this is also where the process is currently breaking down for many folks. As of mid 2009, most humans (the real targets of what are doing) are not getting their information via RSS feeds. However, the ones that use RSS feeds are more likely to be loyal to you for having an RSS feed because you are helping make their life simpler. If they like you enough to subscribe to your RSS, they really like you. Remember too, that organizations such as Google and Yahoo love RSS feeds; so they are still very important, even if they do not have wide and direct human appeal.

Subscribing

Nevertheless, subscribing to an RSS feed is very easy, even if the process is not commonly understood or used by regular humans.

In the Flock Browser, when you go to a page that is an RSS feed that flock has not recorded as a feed you subscribe to, you will get a big message with a subscribe button on top. click the subscribe button and flock will automatically add it to your list of RSS fees that you can access from a handly list in Flock itself. Firefox and Internet Explorer (7 and above) have similar options.

Here are the instructions directly from the Outlook 2007 help file. (These are actually fairly straightforward.)

  1. On the Tools menu, click Account Settings.
  2. On the RSS Feeds tab, click New.
  3. In the New RSS Feed dialog box, type or press CTRL+V to paste the URL of the RSS Feed. For example, http://www.asitehatworks.com/feed/
  4. Click Add.
  5. Click OK.

If you subscribe to an RSS Feed Service such as Gator , the process is probably very similar. (I don’t use one of those services, so I am not a reliable source on that topic.)

If you have a need for a custom RSS feed for information you want to present to people let us know. We will be glad to help you. Feel free to include a link to this information for clients and prospects if they need help figuring out how to subscribe to an RSS feed.


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