Posts Tagged ‘Advice’

The Difference Between Constructive Criticism & Being An “Armchair Quarterback”

July 4, 2011 3 comments

I just read a ‘recap’ of Social Media Day Toronto 2011 on another blog. The blog where it was written is somewhat of a major Canadian tech blog which is part of why I found the way it was written so disappointing.

This is why: the person who wrote the post made ZERO attempt to actually let me know their thoughts before, during, or after the event. They didn’t even have the decency to link me their thoughts as posted on the blog. I just happened to come across it myself. I think that speaks to a serious lack of class. As you can see in the screenshot below, there are two ways to contact the listed Meetup Planner (me) – via Facebook and Twitter. All you have to do is click the link(s).

Social Media Day Toronto Page with my name as organizer and links to my Facebook & Twitter

In fact, that is exactly how I got involved in Foursquare Day Toronto 2011. I reached out to the organizers and gave them some advice based on my own experiences dealing with the City of Toronto and in the end they asked me to join their team of planners.

With every event I have organized and gone to I have learned more and more about event planning and organizing. One thing that I, as an event organizer have always welcomed, desired, & encouraged is constructive criticism. I love to hear this constructive criticism before, during, and after an event. But, in my humble opinion, it ceases to be constructive criticism when you just write a scathing ‘recap’ online and made no attempt at any point to make your voice/opinions heard by the organizers of the actual event. You become just an armchair quarterback who just finds fault with everything everyone else does while you sit around and do nothing. You are just being negative and aren’t helping us as a community build anything and that just stinks.

In terms of Social Media Day Toronto 2011, I think it is pretty clear it was a community run event put together by volunteers and anyone who had a suggestion for the planners or a problem with the planning they were more than welcome to say something. It was a free event, you got the chance to meet and hear some great speakers and connect with some of your peers who you are mostly confined to talking to online only. We had a cool giveaway from one of our generous sponsors and swag galore from other sponsors and this was all completely free. All we asked for was your time. If you want to give your input, that’s great and we would appreciate it. But do it so it actually helps us! Let us know your thoughts openly so we don’t have to randomly stumble across it by ourselves. I am also left to wonder if the editor of that blog actually reads the things written on it.

And yes, I will be linking this blog post to the gentleman who wrote the ‘recap’ on Social Media Day Toronto 2011.


WordPress, Blogging, & Archiving – BlogBooker FTW!

June 27, 2011 Leave a comment

I have mentioned before how I temporarily lost a post I wrote for another, now defunct, blog and then found it in a random file on my computer so I was able to re-post it here. It was when that happened that I realized the importance of archiving my work that I post on this blog and any other blog on my computer or on some form of removable media. Not that I don’t love The Cloud, I do. In fact, my personal Microsoft Word has the Google Docs plugin installed which syncs all my Word documents to my Google Docs account.

So you can be sure that before I hit the “Publish” button on this post I am going to be saving it in Word as a separate document for future reference. In fact, I have decided to move the bulk of my blog writing to Microsoft Word and then copy/pasting the words in to a “New Blog Post” in WordPress. It is then fairly simple to add in all the pictures and go from there.

But what about all the posts I (or you) have already done? Can you get those off of your WordPress account easily and with no hassle? If you google “wordpress export” you will be given as the first hit the WordPress tutorial on how to export your blog. Seems simple right? The problem with the Export tool that WordPress provides is that it assumes that you are going to be using the exported data as part of a new blog. As such, it only spits out an XML file of ALL of your blog’s content. Useless to someone who wants to be able to show all the writing they have done or be able to recover a post later if it gets deleted for one reason or another.

Of course there is the option of manually going through each and every post you have ever written, highlighting all the text, copying it, and pasting it into individual Word documents (or whatever word processing program you use). That is quite the arduous task so I figured there HAD TO BE a better way. Thankfully, I know the awesome tweeps Laura aka @lmmandell and her husband Sam aka @SamTitle. I was randomly speaking about this quandary of mine with Laura when she mentioned that Sam had faced a similar issue a little while back and she remembered he had found a way to resolve it. I got in touch with Sam via the interwebs and he pointed me to an amazing website called BlogBooker at The best part about this site? It is completely FREE! (Although they always appreciate donations!)

Crowdsourcing FOR THE WIN!

What BlogBooker does is it takes the content from a WordPress, Blogger, or LiveJournal blog and turns it into a “PDF Blog Book”. Originally, what I wanted was each of my posts to be individual Word documents but this works just as well in my honest opinion and I can always separate them into individual files later quite easily. For my WordPress blog all that BlogBooker required me to do was download the aformentioned XML file (a whopping 2.46 MB) from WordPress and upload it into BlogBooker. Once that finished, BlogBooker started processing it and within a few short minutes it spat out an 18.6 MB PDF file for my saving pleasure. Fantastic!

The file comes complete with a Table of Contents which is clickable to jump to each post.

It makes each year’s worth of posts into a chapter and each month’s worth of posts into a sub-chapter. Because it is a PDF you also have the option of – if using Adobe Reader – jumping easily between posts with the lists in the sidebar. Truly amazing if I do say so myself.

If you are a blogger and are reading this and realizing that you too never backed anything up from your blog and feel that now might be a good time to start I highly recommend checking out BlogBooker. This blog’s BlogBooker blog turned out to be a whopping 503 pages (even I am amazed by that) and I could only imagine the horror that I would have felt if I ever lost all of that hard work writing. I feel like a broken record here but I really cannot stress enough how much I endorse checking this site out and backing up your blog to a BlogBooker PDF file.

6 Life Lessons I Have Learned The Hard Way

June 9, 2011 3 comments

As an intelligent individual who was sent to Jewish ultra-religious private schools which provided a very crappy education I developed into an autodidact – an autodidact is a self taught person. Given that in general none of the teachers I had through high school actually were teachers (don’t even get me started on the “rabbis”) I generally found that I was more intelligent than they were and more well versed in the subject matter because I would have read about it on my own before class at one point or another. This contributed to some problems with authority figures throughout school. So now let me get off the psychiatrist’s couch and tell you why I am explaining all of this – I have had to learn some lessons in my life the hard way because I was less likely to be saved from learning them by the usual authority figures. Today, I thought I would share some of them with you.

  • Always get EVERYTHING in writing. A verbal contract is only as good as the paper it’s written on.  I remember back in the mid-90’s was when I got really into computers and tech and my aunt told me about a web design firm which her company had dealt with – no names mentioned – which had had my cousin the summer beforehand working as an intern or summer student and maybe I’d enjoy working with them. Having read HTML For Dummies in my spare time and designed some Angelfire and Geocities websites (this was the 90’s after all) I figured that would be awesome. I went in for an interview and they all seemed like a really cool group of people and after a brief interview said they’d look forward to me working there in the summer. I was ecstatic. A couple of months later school was ending and I gave them a call so I could find out when they wanted me to start…suddenly that job was no longer available. I was confused and devastated. But that leads me to my next point….
  • Be a nudge. We are told by society to be polite and not to be overbearing and a nudge and a pest (there’s Yiddish word for that also, Read more…

Tweeting Effectively

July 18, 2010 Leave a comment

These days a lot of people really enjoy Twitter and some people just don’t get it. This post is not going to attempt to argue for or against the use of Twitter. Rather, this post assumes you are already using Twitter and have a follower base of some sort.

The first step is to realize that people on Twitter see A LOT of tweets in their tweet stream all day, every day. In fact, unless someone is really obsessed with your specific tweet stream if they miss a couple of hours worth of tweets from you they WILL NOT go back and read what they missed. One of the other ways that someone will see your older tweets is if you mark it with a hashtag (a # sign) and the person does a search for that topic. Finally, they might see your older tweets if you are engaged in a conversation with someone and they backtrack the conversation before throwing their own opinion into the mix.

This brings me to a concept I tweeted earlier today – “WHEN you tweet is almost as important as WHAT you tweet in terms of it being commented on or RTed or even noticed” Because I was constrained to 140 characters for that tweet I had to make it short and sweet but to fully develop the idea I began in that tweet. WHEN you tweet an idea is just as important as the content so how do I know when the correct “WHEN” is? That is a very relevant question because its almost always business hours SOMEWHERE in the world and Twitter is an international space. Therefore, to answer this question we must each look at our own followers (specifically the engaged ones and not the bots that auto-followed you) and try to know something about them and their twitter habits. Even the most hardcore of people using Twitter aren’t on it 24/7. Depending on each person’s life and habits they will have different times of the day/night when they are most actively engaged in using Twitter.

The above is why your content is important but the timing which you tweet is also very important. You could write the most profound thoughts in your tweet but if you don’t tag it, or post it at a time when your followers are reading their streams chances are very low that anyone is going to notice it.

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