Chris Brogan’s 100 Blog Topics

My Mother is on Facebook – Pros and Cons

by Jamie Sanford on August 13, 2013

This is one in a series of posts pulled from Chris Brogan’s “100 blog topics I hope YOU write.” (#23)

I signed Mom up for a Facebook account in December, while I was in Florida for the holidays. Here’s my current list of pros and cons to having your Mom on Facebook.

Pros

  • Greatly reduced need to be repetitive. I don’t have to send pictures to Mom and upload to Facebook, since she will see them when she checks FB
  • Mom gets to communicate with other family members who she doesn’t see very often

Cons

  • I become repetitive when I talk on the phone to Mom, because she already knows about anything I’ve posted on Facebook
  • I had to ask Mom to stop embarrassing my teenage nephews on Facebook
  • Mom is using her limited Facebook skills to teach Dad about Facebook, which results in lots of posts that say “Love Mom” at the end
  • Mom can see random things people post on my Facebook wall – which can at times be moderately inappropriate
  • Mom still cannot upload photos to Facebook, or change her profile picture, or upload a new cover photo = I’m giving Facebook lessons

Even though there are more cons than pros, I’m really OK with mom being on Facebook. Hopefully she will make time for me soon to show her how to handle photos, and maybe we will see the images she took from her trip to England, where she was in March. I’m calling her out on the blog, so hopefully this will help. Love you Mom!

Here’s an entertaining flowchart of parent friends, via Cool Material.

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WordPress Plugins I Use And Why

by Jamie Sanford on August 6, 2013

This is one in a series of posts pulled from Chris Brogan’s “100 blog topics I hope YOU write.” (#68)

JamieSanford.com has been built on WordPress since the beginning. My previous blogs were also on WordPress, and I built The Noritake Dish using WordPress as well. I also use Thesis on JamieSanford.com, and used to use Genesis on The Noritake Dish (since removed since the WordPress blog is now built into the site within Magento).

SIDE NOTE: I use and love Thesis but I am on version 1.8 or so. I am not impressed with Thesis 2.0, I find it a million times harder to use.

On to the plugins!

1. Akismet. Kick-ass spam comment killer.

2. Hello Dolly. It puts quotes from a musical in my WordPress dashboard. What is there to dislike about that?

3. LinkWithin. Find relevant posts in the blog and links to them from the bottom of each post. I have seen lots of other bloggers using this, and it is a great way to find other content on a blog and start cruising around.

4. Scribe. This is a paid plugin, and well worth it. All of the content I’ve created using Scribe has performed better than the content without it. Scribe guides you to better keywords, titles, and post descriptions than you’re probably writing on your own, and it has trained me to do things properly in all blogs.

5. SEO Facebook Comments. I use this for the Facebook comment form that gets attached to my posts. Much easier for people who don’t want to provide other login credentials to comment.

6. Super-simple Pinterest Widget. This is pretty straightforward. I plugged in my Pinterest account information, and a few of my recent pins show up in the sidebar. Much better than just a link, readers can actually see what I’m pinning.

7. WordPress Backup to Dropbox. Hat tip to Shauna on this one, because I just added it. Quick and easy backup of your content to your DropBox account.

8. WordPress Editorial Calendar. I don’t know how I kept track of the blog without the editorial calendar! I wrote about how following a blog schedule has been really positive in my life, and this plugin gives a great view of posts I have written, those I have scheduled, and so forth.

9. WordPress Video Plugin. This one is wonderful for adding video content to your blog! Once the plugin is active, you just have to know where the video is posted, and what its ID is, and you’re all set. I use this for all of my Sights & Sounds posts, and will never go back to pulling sharing code from individual sites again.

I would love to hear what WordPress plugins everyone else is using. What’s your recommendation?

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Just Jump Into Podcasting – Here’s How

by Jamie Sanford on July 16, 2013

This is one in a series of posts pulled from Chris Brogan’s “100 blog topics I hope YOU write.” (#18)

I have already written a post on podcasting on a budget, but this is the even more basic version. If you aren’t sure about creating a show yet, this should help get you started.

Just try it out.

You will need 3 things.

1. Microphone (most computers, especially laptops, have these built in nowadays)
2. Recording program (Mac users should go with Garageband from what I’ve heard. I use Audacity, which is free and super easy to use.)
3. Headphones/Earbuds (to avoid feedback issues)

And of course, something to talk about.

Open Audacity (or Garageband), press record, and go. I promise that it will be awkward at first, but once you get the hang of it, it isn’t so bad. Good luck!

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Podcasting on a Budget

by Jamie Sanford on June 14, 2013

This is one in a series of posts pulled from Chris Brogan’s “100 blog topics I hope YOU write.” (#96)

My current setup for podcast recording.

I started officially podcasting with The Jamie and David Show (completely NSFW) in 2009. We fell off the wagon for quite a while but have been doing shows about once a month for a while now. We’ve been through a few different methods of recording, but this is the current setup. I am not making any money from the show, so this is my budget version of podcasting.

To create the podcast, you will need the following:

1. Computer. I am assuming that everyone has access to a computer and the Internet. (Here’s some info on recording podcasts with a mobile device if you’re into that – I haven’t worked that out just yet.)

2. Software. I have always used Audacity to edit and assemble my podcasts. It’s free and really user friendly. Here’s a list of some other pieces of software for podcasting. I also use MP3 Skype Recorder (also free), since David and I do not currently live in the same place so Skype is a necessity. It’s also been great for recording interviews for the show.

3. Hardware. Other than the computer, there are some things you need, at the very least a microphone and headphones. If your computer has an onboard mic, feel free to start with that. However, if you’re going to be using Skype or another program to record with more than one person, a set of headphones is  necessary to avoid feedback issues. Even earbuds will be fine for this.

My version:

I started out in podcasting with the earbuds I had with the attached mic from my iPhone.  This was a workable solution but the sound left something to be desired. I did some research and purchased a Blue Yeti microphone (currently $79.99 on Amazon). An even less expensive option is the Blue Snowball ($58.68 for the white version on Amazon), which I had also used successfully at my previous workplace. I admit to choosing the Yeti in part because it just looks amazing. (Warning though – if you have this in your carry-on when flying, you are SO getting searched, because it definitely looks like an incendiary device in the x-ray machine. I speak from experience.)

After doing some reading about sound issues, I also purchased this Nady Pop Filter ($17.56 on Amazon), which has been an amazing improvement for the money. I cannot listen to our old episodes now without feeling like I’m being tortured. I’m thrilled with the results that have some from spending less than $100 to improve the sound. I don’t imagine I will ever need to replace these items.

To share the podcast, you will need the following:

1. Hosting Location. You need somewhere to host the file you’ve created, and a good place to start would be Blogger. You can get a free blog, and easily post files and have an RSS Feed created for you. Tumblr + Dropbox would also work, as described here by Adam Wilcox.

2. RSS Feed. Feedburner will let you enter in the RSS feed info and it will convert it to work as a podcast feed. In my opinion, everyone should be using Feedburner for their podcast feed, because the stats are good, and if you ever change hosting locations, you will not lose subscribers when you update the information.

3. iTunes Submission. It is free to submit your podcast to iTunes, so why not? Here’s a great instructional page from the fine people at iTunes on creating and submitting your show.

My version:

I started out our show at Mevio, but that went downhill and we lost all of our data and subscribers. I learned the hard way about not using Feedburner. After some Twitter chat, I moved our show hosting to Libsyn, and started hosting our show notes on a Tumblr blog. I chose Tumblr for this particular show because of the existing audience for our content and ease in sharing.

Libsyn is not free. The cheapest plan is $5 a month for 50MB of file adding. I currently have the slightly higher $15 version as our shows are rarely under 50MB. Libsyn really did all of the work with creating our new show feed, and that was the clincher in choosing to move our show there. It’s super simple to add episodes and so I will stick with them for now. However, the free methods are totally fine as well.

Extras:

1. Music. Some podcasts have music constantly playing in the background, which isn’t for everyone. Some, like mine, have music at the beginning and the end. You can certainly Google “royalty-free music” to try and find something to use, but I highly recommend Jamendo. Searching for what you want is very easy, and there are a lot of free options for downloadable tracks. Remember to give credit to the artist in your show notes!

That’s my guide for podcasting on a budget. Please leave your own ideas and tips in the comments!

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Could I Quit My Day Job?

by Jamie Sanford on May 24, 2010

Well, I did.  I do have another one though.

I have completed my first week in the new position of Internet Marketing Manager at Noritake, specifically working in the tabletop division (you’ll note that I’ve linked right to the Noritake China site – there’s a new site coming soon).  It is a new position within the organization, and I’m very excited about the opportunity.

I got some lovely responses on Twitter when I mentioned that it was my first day, and I responded to thank my Twitter and blogger family members, many of whom have helped me to learn more about so many topics that have contributed to my knowledge base – the knowledge base that I knew would help me to find a new position.

This is one in a series of posts pulled from Chris Brogan’s “100 blog topics I hope YOU write.” (#53)

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