Blogs are dead (or, are dying). Or are they? Wed 12 Aug 09

Blog_for_sale_john_weise My friend Jason Alba who owns JibberJobber (by the way a great career management tool) recently sent out a newsletter and asked the question "…let me know what you think about the following phrase: "Blogs are dead (or, are dying)."  Could blogs become obsolete?  On one side people say that Twitter and such will make them obsolete... on the other side there are too many blogs, and many of them plain junk. What do YOU, as a blogger, think?"

A great question and one I couldn't help but comment on. In one sense, I do think blogs are dying but in the same sense all other forms of communicating ideas are "dying".  Let me explain my reasoning.

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Career Management With The Help of Technology: Nurturing Your Network Wed 25 Feb 09

This is the fourth in a series of four posts regarding managing your career with the help of technology.  I've chosen the title words very carefully as I wanted to talk about the life-long process of career management not to be confused with the job search process.  Oh for sure, the job search process is a part of this but the management of your career should not start and stop with each job search you go through.  I am eager to learn what has worked well for you.  Please leave your comments and suggestions. 

Watering_plants_at_dunwoody_jstownsley Okay, you've told people who you are, branded yourself and have established your network, time to kick back and relax, right?  Not exactly.  Your network is really about relationships.  It needs care and attentive nurturing.  Would you be inclined to help out a former network who only calls every few years when they need something from you?  Of course not.

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Comments and Trackbacks Sun 15 Feb 09

I love comments and trackbacks!  To keep these useful for everyone I've added a statement about my policy on Comments and Trackbacks.  You can always find the link to this in the footer at the bottom of the page if you have any questions.

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Career Management With The Help of Technology: Branding & Marketing Yourself Wed 11 Feb 09

This is the third in a series of four posts regarding managing your career with the help of technology.  I've chosen the title words very carefully as I wanted to talk about the life-long process of career management not to be confused with the job search process.  Oh for sure, the job search process is a part of this but the management of your career should not start and stop with each job search you go through.  I am eager to learn what has worked well for you.  Please leave your comments and suggestions. 

In the first post in this series I talked about "Who You Are" which on the surface sounds like it is about your "brand", but it is different.  Think about Chevrolet and Ferrari.  Who are they?  Well they are both car companies.  What's their brand?  Ah, big difference!  Your brand is what distinguishes you from all the other people in the same role.  Think about the group of programmers or analysts you work with.  Through their actions they've established a brand as "the go-to guy in an emergency", "the plodder", the "yeh, I can make that work", or the "that can't be done" person.

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Twitter Overload Mon 12 Jan 09

Too many tweets I've got a problem with Twitter overload in a couple of different ways.  I recently started using Twitter but because of these various overload issues  I'm still undecided about how much (or if at all) I want to use it.

The first issue is with Twitter itself.  They've been growing at a very rapid pace, reportedly up 752% in 2008.  It shows.  Along with this they are having scalability and performance issues.  This past Thursday the system was so bogged down that when I replied to a tweet it did not appear to "take" and I restarted Twitter and tried again only to later find out that I ended up sending the same reply 3 times.  That night performance was so bad that it was for all intents and purposes unusable.

In addition, in the 2 weeks I've been using Twitter I've received the "Too Many Tweets" screen about a half dozen times.  Fortunately, the system came back quickly but disturbing nonetheless.

The other overload issue has to do with the number of Tweets.  This is not an issue with Twitter performance but in what I'm using it.  I'm only following a couple of dozen or so people right now and a couple of them are big names in the IT field and get a lot of tweets directed to them and about them and they use Twitter extensively.

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Snap Shots Link Preview Wed 31 Dec 08

Snapshots-logo I have just added Snap Shots link preview.  Now when you mouse over an external link with the Snap Shot icon ( ) you'll get a preview of the linked site allowing you to look at it before clicking on it. [Update January 3rd - I've removed the icon as is seemed to be cluttering things up.  The preview will still work as you mouse over the external links.]

The configuration of the preview window was easy and installation was a quick install of some java script on the template pages.  The also have 1-click installation of widgets for a number of blog platforms.

Let me know what you think of this.  Is it something helpful or just clutter?

Logo and icon are trademarks of Snap

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I'm On Twitter! Tue 30 Dec 08

Twitter_logo_sIt's official, I'm now on Twitter (MikeSchaffner)!  I've been thinking about doing it for some time but to be honest I've been holding back because a lot of it seemed to put it simply, inane.  I really don't care what TV show someone is watching nor can I figure out why someone would care what show I'm watching or even what would ever make me think that someone might care.

Jason-Alba However, things have come together to change my view due to two good friends, Jason Alba and Kent Blumberg.  Jason runs JibberJobber, a Career Management 2.0 tool and blogs regularly about career management.  A few days ago he wrote "Okay, I’m Sold On Twitter" explaining why he thought Twitter was a great tool in your career management.  Then today he had announced his December Personal Branding Winner of the Month - Warren Sukernek which included some pretty compelling reasons on why it makes sense to use Twitter.

Kent_blumberg To top it all off I had a phone conversation with Kent Blumberg today.  I met Kent during my job search and he is the one that introduced me to Jason.  Kent is a fantastic executive coach so if you in need of a coach for your career (note I said career and not just job search) give Kent a call.  Kent is also the one that got me started on blogging so I alternate between loving him and damning him depending on how the blog writing is going.  During our conversation he reiterated the benefits and explained that it if someone is blathering you can simply stop following them and that I can Tweet as much or as little as I care to.  He closed the deal, I'm in!

So from this point I'll start using Twitter.   When I signed up I got set up to follow both Jason and Kent who quickly reciprocated and I also put Twitter in my sidebar.  Interestingly enough within in a few minutes I had my first follower that I didn't even know.  Amazing!  I promise to keep to try to be interesting and keep the inane out of it.  But if you don't like it blame Jason and Kent - I will (just kidding).  If you're so inclined I be pleased to have you follow me on Twitter (MikeSchaffner)

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Unexpected Christmas Presents from Bloggers Dave Weiss and Debra Hamel Fri 26 Dec 08

Please_can_I_open_it_casch52 Christmas morning while waiting for our girls to get up (Caitlin and Allison are in their 20's so no early morning risers here) I checked my email.   I was pleasantly surprised to see an email from Dave Weiss in response to a query I posted regarding styling author comments to make the stand out from the other comments.

I had previously done that by highlighting my comments with a light blue background and putting a logo on them.  However, I recently switched to TypePad Connect to have threaded comments and lost all author comment stylization.  I had tried a number of ways to re-format this to re-style them but was unsuccessful.  Dave's email gave me some tips and I was able to quickly make the changes needed.  Dave has indicated that he will make a blog post on this technique and I'll pass along the link when he does.

I also recently was upgraded by TypePad to their new platform and unfortunately this broke a hack that allowed me to quickly open a post for editing from a link on the post itself.  After again being unsuccessful in figuring this out I went to the original source of this hack and found a comment by Debra Hamel with the revised code needed and was quickly back in business.

Two nagging problems solved easily in one day - what great Christmas presents.  Thanks to Dave Weiss and Debra Hamel.



"Please can I open it??? 1197" photo by casch52

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TypePad Connect and Blog Comments Fri 26 Dec 08

Typepad

I've just switched my platform for managing comments on my blog to TypePad Connect (Beta) and so far have been very happy with it.  Interestingly enough it is designed to work with a number of major blog platforms including: Movable Type, WordPress.org, Blogger, Tumblr, and of course,  TypePad.  TypePad Connect offers a number of advantages for both bloggers and commenters. 

  • You can add a profile which is important for those of you that are trying to build and manage your digital presence by commenting on blogs without having to have your own blog.  If you had a TypeKey account this has now been migrated. 
  • You can add a picture of yourself which will appear alongside your comments when commenting of a blog that uses TypePad Connect.
  • For me the biggest advantage was that you can "thread" the comments.  I was always frustrated that the comments appeared in the order entered and as a result I would have:
    • Comment 1
    • Comment 2
    • Comment 3 which was actually my response to Comment 1
    • Comment 4 which was my response to Comment 2  

Now with TypePad Connect my responses (and your comments about a comment) can now appear directly following the comment regardless of when we make them.

  • TypePad allows you to use CAPTCHA technology for comment anti-spam validation but recommends against it as they have a way of preventing spam.  I've decided to follow their recommendation and see how well their anti-spam technology works as CAPTCHA can be a real pain at times for commenters.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

"TypePad" logo copyright Six Apart, Ltd.

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Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for TypePad Thu 28 Aug 08

Last Saturday I mentioned that I had done some search engine optimization (SEO) changes on my blog.  I also promised, time permitting, to explain how I did this since some of you may find yourself in the same situation.  Here it is.

Fair warning - this won't be my typical conversation or whatever you care to call it.  Rather it is a more instructional article on how to add code to your TypePad blog for search engine optimization (SEO).  If this is of interest, read on. 

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This is the personal blog of Michael W. Schaffner. The opinions expressed in this blog are soley mine and those of commenters. You should not infer that these opinions are the opinion of or have been endorsed by any current or former employer.

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Copyright © 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 Michael W. Schaffner       You may copy or quote sections of this blog if you provide an attribution consisting of a reference to the Michael Schaffner and ''Beyond Blinking Lights and Acronyms" along with a hyperlink (if a web reference) to the blog posting.     

Creative Commons License 
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 License.