Monthly Archives: February 2011

Make Money in Your Spare Time Doing Simple Online Tasks

Written by Melanie Pinola Photo by Janis Neilands

Yes, many “online jobs” promising quick riches and little effort are really scams. While the tasks below won’t make you rich, they can earn you a little pocket money on the side—and these days that can make a big difference.

Most of these online money making opportunities only require you have a computer, a decent internet connection, and some sort of marketable skill (or the ability to provide valuable consumer insight to marketers). You’ll be operating as a free agent and can choose when, where, and how much to participate.

Sound too good to be true? It’s not, because as mentioned earlier, you won’t likely be able to quit your day job with any of these programs, which typically pay way less than regular part-time gigs. But if you’re a student, insomniac, or just someone who wants an occasional cash boost without the commitment required by a typical job, these are some of the best tasks you can do online in your spare time.

Also beware: because specialized skills aren’t always required, you do have to be wary of scams. Before you sign up to become a virtual focus group participant, paid survey taker, mystery shopper or any online worker, keep in mind this important rule of thumb: you should never have to pay to work. Also, read the fine print.

That out of the way, here are a few sources of legitimate online single-task jobs:

Research Study/Survey Participant: Harvard Business School Computer Lab for Experimental Research (CLER): Participate in research studies at Harvard Business School and you can earn $15 to $40 or more per on-site study (in Cambridge, MA) or do one of their occasional online studies, which typically take less than 15 minutes to complete and usually compensate you with a $5 electronic gift certificate. The studies ask you about decisions you would make in various business-related disciplines, such as economics and psychology.Additional options: Lightspeed Consumer Panel, Pinecone Research, SurveySpot.

Focus Group Participant: 20|20 Panel: Since 1986, 20|20 Research has been providing companies with qualitative research from focus groups. Recent calls for focus group participants include: an online study of cell phones usage that pays $60 (adults 18-44) and an online study of household products purchases that pays $150 (adults 25-65). Additional options: Focus Forward, Hagen Sinclair, AlphaBuzz.

Artificial Artificial Intelligence: Amazon Mechanical Turk: Yeah, that’s a weird title. As a Mechanical Turk Worker (or MTurk), you complete odd jobs like looking up companies’ hours of operation, checking translations, coming up with ideas for marketing projects, and so on. The pay can be extremely low — a couple of cents even — but the tasks can usually be done quickly and some tasks pay more. Additional option: ShortTask.

User Tester: UserTesting.com: Get $10 for visiting a website and providing live, honest feedback about it. Your reactions as you traipse the site are recorded by UserTesting’s software. Additional option: uTest.

Tech Support Expert: FixYa.com: Put your knowledge to good use at FixYa and earn $2 to $6 for answering a posted question, $6 to $10 for helping someone in chat, $10-$15 if you do it by phone, or a variable amount for written tips and how-to’s. Additional options:Support Space, JustAnswer.

Blogger: Commission Junction: If you maintain a blog already, you can monetize it by inserting advertising links or affiliate links from Commission Junction, LinkShare, Chitika,Smorty, and, of course, Google AdSense. There’s no set amount you can make (and no guarantee you’ll make anything at all), but if you write often and get a decent following, you can generate some nice supplemental income.


Know any other ways to make a quick buck online (legitimately, that is)? Let us know in the comments!

Bonus: Now that’s a way to propose

142+ Ways to Make Money Online

Written by my4hrworkweek

I love list posts, especially ones that can be bookmarked and revisited as a resource.  I’ve always wanted to create something like that, which is what led me to this article.  I’ve been working on this article for a couple months now, adding to it little by little.  I’m proud to be able to finally share it with you today.

The contents of this article are not in any way revolutionary.  Given enough time (this actually took much longer than I expected), you could easily compile a similar list. The concept of making money online is so broad, however, that I wanted a resource that captures most aspects of it.  Take from it whatever you’d like, or simply bookmark it for future reference.

Here’s some food for thought: If you could find a way to make just $1 per day utilizing each of the following sources, you would earn over $52,000 per year!

Side note: I could have easily used affiliate links for the majority of the items listed below, however I have decided to only use affiliate links for services that I actually use, or ones that I’ve seen highly recommended.  The vast majority of these links are not affiliate links.  I want this article to be a valuable resource, not a source of income for me.

I’m leading with this category because I believe article writing is one of the best ways to get started making money online if you’re new to the game.  It costs nothing, and you can be up and running within a matter of minutes.  There is a learning curve (especially with respect to SEO and researching keywords) and you’ll need to be patient, but in time, this can be a significant source of passive income.  Not sure of what to write about?  I’ve discussed that before. Note: These are not listed in any particular order.

  1. InfoBarrel – This has been a continually increasing source of online passive income for me (ever since my original “challenge”).  Last month, I earned $96 with InfoBarrel.  If you want to see what others are earning, check out Mike Moyer’s January InfoBarrel earnings rankings.  The top person on there earned $1,586 from InfoBarrel last month.  InfoBarrel’s AdSense revenue share ranges from 75% to 90%, and also includes Chitika and Amazon ads.
  2. HubPages – One of the more popular revenue-sharing article websites. I still prefer InfoBarrel to HubPages due to its relative youth and growth potential, but HubPages is also a great option, even just for backlinking.  The AdSense share here is 60%, and you can also monetize with Kontera, eBay and Amazon.
  3. Squidoo – Another revenue-sharing article site (great for building backlinks to your niche sites).  They share revenue, but the way they do it is a bit complicated.
  4. Bukisa – Article site with 60% revenue share (Adsense or Chitika).
  5. Xomba – High-ranking bookmarking site with 50% AdSense revenue share (links are no-follow).  They recently changed their rules to disallow links to your own content (to improve the quality of the site), so use this at your own risk.
  6. Snipsly – Social bookmarking site with 80% revenue share (AdSense).
  7. Seekyt – Social bookmarking site with 70% revenue share (AdSense and Amazon).
  8. InfoPirate – Social bookmarking site with 80% revenue share (AdSense).
  9. SquidStop – Social bookmarking site with 100% revenue share (AdSense).
  10. Jevitt – Social bookmarking site with 80% revenue share (AdSense).
  11. SheToldMe – Social bookmarking site with 100% revenue share (AdSense).
  12. TipDrop – Social bookmarking site with 75% revenue share (AdSense).
  13. Best Reviewer – Get paid to write top lists (e.g. “Top 10 Ways to…”) – 100% AdSense revenue share.
  14. Flixya – Share video, photos, and blogs – 100% AdSense revenue share.
  15. OnGoBee – Social bookmarking site with 60% revenue share (AdSense).
  16. Tagfoot – Social bookmarking site (along with others types of content you can share) with 50% revenue share (AdSense).
  17. Mixx – Share a variety of content (articles, photos, videos) for 50% AdSense revenue share.
  18. Rate It All – Write reviews or rate products, and get 50% AdSense revenue share on your content there.

Social networking and social media is a great way to share your content, gain followers, and in general, increase your presence online.  There are, however, ways to make money by sharing someone else’s content with your followers via Twitter.  I generally don’t consider this to be a great way to make money online, but it can be lucrative for those who have a big following. (Side note: I tried to see if there was a way to sell Facebook “likes” or get paid to share content on Facebook, and couldn’t find anything.)

  1. Sponsored Tweets – Just like it sounds, this site allows you to make money by tweeting for someone else.  I wrote about it here.
  2. MyLikes – Very similar to SponsoredTweets, however I like Sponsored Tweets a bit more.
  3. Magpie – Another Twitter advertising platform.

You’ll recognize many of the sites below.  However, when I usually write about them, I’m referring to them as means of outsourcing.  In this case, I’m listing them as ways to make money online by being a provider of services.

  1. Elance – I love Elance for outsourcing, and on the flip side, it could be a great way to make money online as a freelancer.
  2. oDeskSame as Elance.
  3. MicroworkersMake money by performing mini-tasks.  I wrote a review on Microworkers early last year.
  4. Mechanical Turk – Owned by Amazon, this site is similar to Microworkers, but maybe a bit more sophisticated.
  5. FiverrMake money online by offering virtually any service or mini-task…the catch is, you have to charge $5!
  6. Just a Five – Very similar to Fiverr.
  7. TenBux – Make money with gigs that cost either $5 or $10.
  8. GigMe5 – I think you get the idea…
  9. UpHype – Another gig site, with odd price points: $8, $16, or $24.
  10. Dollar3 – A gig site with price point in multiples of $3, starting at $3.
  11. Jobs for 10 – Take a guess at what this one’s about.
  12. Fittytown – A little bit more upscale – all gigs are $50 each.
  13. Demand Media – A great site for freelance writers, however you must be approved first (and I’ve heard they’re somewhat selective).  Once you’re accepted, however, you can earn up to $15+ per article, which can be quite lucrative if you’re a fast writer.
  14. Constant Content – Another freelance writing site.

E-mail marketing is one of the oldest forms of making money online.  As the old cliche goes,“the money is in the list.” Within the MMO niche, e-mail marketing has become somewhat annoying, but there are some people who still do it well.  I like to think my newsletter subscribers get value out of my e-mail, as I very rarely promote anything.  I think e-mail marketing is critical, not just because it’s a way to drive traffic to things that make you money, but because it’s another way to stay in touch with people who follow your website, blog, or brand.  I only use Aweber, but I thought it would be helpful to include a list of alternatives.  I’ve noted the ones that are free.

  1. AweberThis is what I use for my newsletter, and it works really well.
  2. Getresponse
  3. Stream Send
  4. iContact
  5. 1AutomationWiz
  6. Send FreeHas a free ad-supported option.
  7. Free Follow Up – One time fee of $4.99, and then free lifetime usage (I can’t attest to the quality of the service though.)
  8. Supersponders
  9. Topica
  10. MailChimp – Send up to 12,000 e-mails per month to a list of up to 2,000 subscribers for free.

There are some people who make a living with PPC ad campaigns, so it’s definitely a viable way to make money online, either as a publisher or advertiser.  Be careful though – you can easily lose a lot of money if you aren’t continually testing and optimizing ads.

  1. Google AdSense – Probably the most common way to monetize a website or blog.  You can easily add AdSense ads to your site and earn money for each click.  Click value depends on your niche and targeted keywords.
  2. Google AdWords – This is the flip side to AdSense. You can use Google AdWords to drive traffic (which costs money of course) to a landing page or website where you will ideally make more money off that traffic than what it costs you per click.
  3. Chitika – Another way to monetize your website with ads, similar to AdSense.  Usually, Chitika ads don’t pay as well, but can still be effective.
  4. Facebook Ads – Similar concept to AdWords.  Create ads that drive traffic to a landing page, blog, or an affiliate offer (I’m not sure if you can still use affiliate links with Facebook ads).  Facebook ads are nice because you can target very specific demographics and funnel that targeted traffic to a product or service you’re selling.
  5. MySpace Ads – Similar concept to Facebook Ads.
  6. LinkedIn Ads
  7. 7Search – An inexpensive alternative to AdWords.  There’s obviously less traffic, but it’s a fraction of what it costs you on AdWords.
  8. Speedy Ads – Another PPC alternative.  Looks like a pretty cool site, though I’ve never used them.

Another way to drive traffic to your affiliate promotions and landing pages.  The benefit here is that they are usually less strict than PPC sites (i.e. you can usually directly link to an affiliate offer).  It’s a different beast though, from what I’ve been told, so it’s best to do a little bit of research before you spend money on PPV traffic.

  1. Direct CPV
  2. Lead Impact
  3. Traffic Vance
  4. AdOn Network
  5. Media Traffic
  6. Adoori

These are great for monetizing your blog/website, or using in conjunction with PPC/PPV ads.  In general, CPA offers allow you to be paid for someone completing an action.  For example, there may be an offer that requires someone to input their e-mail address or zip code.  Upon that submission, you’re paid an amount, usually ranging between $1-10.  There are more lucrative offers that pay $20+, like filling out a short form for a free credit report.  It may require some creativity to use CPA offers to monetize your website or PPC ad campaign, but there are people who make a living doing this online.

Note: Many of these sites are selective about who they accept.  They want to make sure you’re going to send legitimate traffic to offers, and will often want to talk to you on the phone before they allow you to begin making money with them.  There’s a thread on Warrior Forumthat gives you some good tips.

  1. CX Digital
  2. Neverblue
  3. Affiliate.com
  4. GetAds
  5. MaxBounty
  6. Epic Direct/Azoogle
  7. Clickbooth
  8. Offerweb
  9. DirectLeads
  10. CPA Lead
  11. Web Jam Ads
  12. Market Leverage
  13. Inuvo
  14. Flux Ads
  15. Adfish
  16. Offer Vault – Compare offers from many CPA networks (free sign up, but beware, they like to send e-mail frequently).

I don’t see this talked about too much within the MMO niche, but there are several sites that allow you to make money by answering people’s questions online (usually related to very specific topics).  For some of these sites, you need to sign up and be approved before you can begin answering questions for money.

  1. Just Answer – Great if you are an expert in a particular field.
  2. kgbGet paid for answering questions that people send via mobile text message.
  3. Fun Advice Earn points for answering questions, which get converted to dollars.
  4. EtherThis is actually a pretty cool concept.  Essentially, you’re selling your advice via telephone (almost like a phone version of Just Answer). They give you a free Ether phone number (which forwards to an actual phone), you set your hourly (or by-the-minute) rate, and you can schedule times that you’re available for calls.  You can also sell digital content via Ether.

When we think of “making money online,” we often immediately think about affiliate marketing or selling digital products.  Sometimes, it’s easy to forget one of the oldest forms of making money online…selling products you own! Clear out your house, apartment, or bedroom.  Instead of throwing things away or letting them pile up and make a mess, get some money for them.

  1. eBay
  2. Craigslist
  3. Backpage
  4. Half.com
  5. Shopit
  6. Oodle
  7. Sell.com

…Also known as affiliate marketing.  This is perhaps the most common or hottest way to make money online at the moment.  You recommend a product, using an affiliate link.  Someone clicks through that link , purchases the product, and you get a commission.  It’s a simple concept, but sometimes difficult to execute.

One common way to do it is to create a niche site – a site generally focused on one type of product or sub-market – and populate the site with relevant articles, with affiliate links embedded.  One of my current challenges is to add $20,000 per year to my passive income portfolio by creating niche sites that focus on Amazon products.  Here are some good sources for products to sell as an affiliate:

  1. Amazon AssociatesWhen someone clicks on your Amazon affiliate link, you’ll receive a commission from anything they purchase within 24 hours.
  2. eBay Partner Network – Earn a commission on eBay auctions that people find via your affiliate links.
  3. Commission Junction – Huge marketplace of affiliate offers.
  4. Clickbank – One of the largest marketplaces for eBooks and other digital products.
  5. E-JunkieSimilar to Clickbank, but I find it a bit more difficult to navigate and find certain digital products to sell as an affiliate.
  6. Google Affiliate Network – I view this as pretty similar to Commission Junction.

In some cases, you may want to design your own products (we’re talking simple things, like t-shirts, magnets, mugs, etc.), but you don’t want to take on the cost of having inventory that you can’t sell.  The below options are great for this situation – for the most part, it’s free to set up a virtual storefront, and you earn money when your products sell (and if nothing sells, it costs you nothing).  These are generally great if you already have an established brand and want to sell your branded gear.

  1. Cafe Press – Easily design products like t-shirts, mugs, etc. and sell them from a virtual storefront through Cafe Press.
  2. E-Shirt – Cheaper alternative to Cafe Press that focuses primarily on t-shirts.
  3. Spreadshirt – Similar to E-Shirt.
  4. Zazzle – Very similar to Cafe Press.
  5. Shirt City – Another shirt design site/store.

This isn’t really my cup of tea, but there are several sites that will pay you to take surveys or give your opinions.  Important note: Don’t ever pay to sign up to a site that offers to pay you for surveys.  Here are ones that, based on my limited research, are legitimate.

  1. Dollar Surveys
  2. Opinion Outpost
  3. Toluna
  4. Global Test Market
  5. MySurvey
  6. Pinecone Research
  7. ZoomPanel
  8. Permission Research
  9. Synovate
  10. MyView
  11. Test Spin
  12. Clear Voice Surveys
  13. Hot Spex
  14. Survey Spot

There are some good sites out there that will pay you to write reviews on your blog for various products and services.  I haven’t done much of this, but I’m hoping to eventually incorporate it into my niche sites.  Some of them are picky about what blogs they accept/approve, so you may have to wait until your blog is older and more established.

  1. Social Spark
  2. Pay Per Post
  3. Blog To Profit
  4. Bloggerwave
  5. Blogging Ads
  6. Blogitive
  7. Linkworth
  8. PayU2Blog
  9. Sponsored Reviews

Peer-to-peer lending is an interesting concept, because it allows individuals to secure relatively large loans without getting a bank involved.  On its face, it sounds like a risky proposition, but these P2P lending sites generally have good measures in place to mitigate your risk (not to mention, you’re compensated for this risk by earning very high interest rates).  In addition, you can usually invest in someone else’s loan for a small amount (e.g. $25), which reduces the risk you take for any given loan.

  1. Lending Club (U.S. Residents Only) – I’ve been talking about this site ever since I started this blog, so there’s no reason to stop now.  Lending Club is an important part of my passive income strategy.  I discuss it in all of my income reports, so you can read those for more detail.
  2. Community Lend – Like Lending Club, for Canada residents.  I have not done business with them, so do a bit of research first if you plan to invest here.
  3. Zopa – Like Lending Club, for UK residents.  I have not done business with them, so do a bit of research first if you plan to invest here.

There were some things I couldn’t fit in any particular MMO category, so here they are:

  1. SurfBounty – I’m generally not a big fan of this, but others have had success with it.  This site allows you to get paid for reading e-mail, surfing the internet, and participating in surveys.  Some of these types of sites are scammy, but I don’t believe this one is.
  2. FlippaMake money by reselling your websites and domains.
  3. Cash Crate – Get paid for doing a variety of things online.
  4. Quick Rewards – Similar to Cash Crate.

These are some of the blogs that I subscribe to in my RSS reader.  Not all of these blogs will consider themselves “make money online” blogs, which I completely understand and appreciate.  What I’m saying, by listing them here, is that they’re great resources that will no doubt help you make money online in one way or another.

  1. Smart Passive Income
  2. Viper Chill
  3. Escaping the 9 to 5
  4. Virtual Business Lifestyle
  5. Shoemoney
  6. Jonathon Volk
  7. Make Money on the Internet
  8. PPC Ian
  9. Jason Clegg
  10. Murlu
  11. The Life Design Project
  12. Income Diary
  13. Quick Sprout
  14. Cash Campfire
  15. Experiments in Passive Income
  16. ProBlogger
  17. Profit Addiction

I don’t frequent these forums too often (and there’s often a lot of garbage to sift through), but there are some gems of information here.  It’s usually a good place to check on reviews of various SEO software, see what people think about different changes in the MMO world (like when Google changes their ranking algorithm), and other miscellaneous MMO/affiliate marketing topics.

  1. Warrior ForumMy favorite.  Be careful, you can get sucked into some of the threads here, and before you know it, you’ll find that you’ve just “wasted” 2 hours.
  2. Digital PointNot as good as Warrior Forum (in my opinion), but still worth visiting.
  3. Black Hat WorldI certainly don’t recommend or practice black hat SEO tactics, but occasionally there is some interesting information and discussion within this forum.

Hopefully something in this article will help you earn more online.  With that said, I’m sure there’s still a LOT out there that I’m missing.  Share it in the comments!  If I hear some interesting ones that I completely missed, I will probably come back and edit this article to include them.

Bonus: We’ve all been there

10 Ways to Survive & Savor 24-Hours Tech-Free

Written by Jessica Root

Taking the Unplug Challenge? Create an inspiring itinerary.

With the National Day of Unplugging approaching, I’m gearing up to make the most out of my tech-free 24-hours so they’re relaxing, rewarding and enriching. Basically, the antithesis of my myriad of days consumed by Facebook, Twitter, website updates, and blog posts. All things I love, but that all have the capacity to pull me away from the balance I seek between rest, play, and work.

The Unplug Challenge going on sunset to sunset, March 4-5, 2011, will be all about restoring my sanity—the balance. And here’s exactly what I plan to include following the event’s 10 principles (in bold below) with my own personal touch (not in bold). As the website states, the principles are open to interpretation so go ahead and create your own and feel free to follow mine!

1. Avoid technology.

e-reader photo

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Create your own rules. Prep/arrange the day prior to avoid last minute stress. If work keeps you chained to your e-mail, even on the weekends (sound familiar?), set up an auto-e-mail reply so colleagues know when to expect to hear back from you. One tech-free exception I’ll likely make: indulging in my Kindle. I’m a self-confessed bookworm and reading helps me unwind.

2. Connect with loved ones.

couple snuggling photo

Photo: iStockphoto

Let everyone know ahead of time what you’re doing and that you’re possibly cell-free. If a hang out sesh is on your itinerary, plan in advance so phone calls can be avoided. Host a brunch, lunch, or dinner party or keep it simple with a rendezvous over a glass of wine with a friend or lover.

3. Nurture your health.

yoga photo

Photo: iStockphoto

This tenet is a built-in bonus. The act of disconnecting from gadgets alone de-activates the stress response. Why not take it further with a little yoga at home—or in class?

4. Get outside.

Rain, shine, cold or cool, I’ll be making a point to hit my local park for a stroll or bike ride. In Japan they call this shinrin-yoku or “forest bathing.” Recent studies have found that time spent among plants can lower levels of cortisol (which induces stress), a lower pulse rate and lower blood pressure.

5. Avoid commerce.

tea photo

Photo: iStockphoto

Yes, my lunchtime PureCitizen window web shop will be put on hold. I know stuff doesn’t bring happiness but I’m still a sucker for pretty things. Today, all things pretty will be in the form of nature, silence and sensory pleasures. All things (literally) right under my nose like trying a new recipe with items in my cupboard or enjoying a mug of tea.

6. Light candles.

beeswax photo

Photo: Rosemary Calvert/Getty Images

Or get crafty making your own. Isn’t it fun having time to kill? Just think. The sexy dim light can set the mood for that glass of shared wine, snuggle time or booty time.

7. Drink wine.

wine photo

Photo: iStockphoto

Well, if you’re going to twist my arm… I’ll be stocking up on an organic and/or low-carbon variety. Another cool idea: seek out a wine tasting or host your own. Here in my Brooklyn ‘hood on Friday nights, several local wine shops offer free tastings. It’s a great way to bond with a friend or circulate and meet neighbors.

8. Eat bread.

pizza photo

Photo: iStockphoto

Another arm twist…one that definitely calls for making your own pizza and pairing it with that tasty wine. Jerry over at TreeHugger has done all the work for you with his Green Wine Guide featuring Homemade Pizza with Cherry Tomatoes, Red Onion and Gorgonzola.

9. Find silence.

meditation photo

Photo: Juzant/Getty Images

I’ll do that in my morning and PM meditation sessions. Simply, meditation means directing your mind one-pointedly at an object. If you’re new to this, start with five minutes, practicing keeping your mind directed toward your breath. You can do it brushing your teeth, putting on your socks or practicing yoga. If it ends up rocking your world and becomes easier to sustain, slowly increase the time and perhaps take it into a cross-legged seat. It’s a boon for the heart, anti-aging, and increasing happiness, among other goodies.

10. Give back.

volunteer photo

Photo: iStockphoto

What do you do best or love to do? Share it with your friends, family or extend it to your community. I’ll be offering to my local yoga community, a free window of time to practice yoga at my studio space. If you’re all out of ideas, hit up VolunteerMatch. They’ve partnered up with the Unplug Challenge.

Want more? I’ve got a slew of other refreshing tech-free ideas in my post on The 4-Hour Staycation.

BONUS:Have you seen this…

AN INSIDER’S GUIDE TO SOCIAL MEDIA ETIQUETTE

Written by chrisbrogan

Cocktail Party At The Imperial Hotel

I receive a lot of questions about various points of etiquette with regards to social media. I also observe instances where I wish people knew some of the more common etiquette, because they seem like wonderful people, who maybe have made a mistake because they didn’t know better. To that end, I thought I’d give a brief set of ideas around social media etiquette. You’re very welcome to add to these in the comments. There will be a mix of do’s and don’ts, and remember this above all else: you’re doing it wrong.

SOCIAL MEDIA ETIQUETTE: YOUR APPEARANCE
  • Your avatar picture shouldn’t be a logo. We don’t meet logos at parties, do we? You caninclude a logo, but make it you.
  • Unless you’re a fictional character, more often than not, your avatar should be you. Amazing Simpson-like renditions of you are interesting for about four hours.
  • Your Facebook profile pic can be not you, but it often means that others might not accept your friend request. It feels creepy friending a four year old kid (avatar).
  • Your picture can be you from 10 or 15 years ago, but that first face to face meeting is going to be jarring.
  • It doesn’t take a lot of work to take a decent pic. Why use those “me cut out from posing with someone while I have red eyes” photos?
SOCIAL MEDIA ETIQUETTE: FRIENDING
  • You’re not obligated to follow/friend anyone. No matter what. Not even your mother. (I follow my mother, btw).
  • If you decide to unfollow someone, don’t make a big stink and announce why. Just leave.
  • It’s okay to let the competition follow you. It’s okay to follow the competition.
  • Famous people don’t always want to follow back. I’m looking at you, Justin Bieber!
  • You can set your own rules on Facebook. I’m in the process of moving everyone to a fan page and just keeping VERY close family and friends.
SOCIAL MEDIA ETIQUETTE: CONVERSATION
  • Commenting about other people’s stuff and promoting other people’s stuff is very nice.
  • Retweeting people’s praise of you comes off as jerky. Just thank them.
  • If you retweet something interesting, always give credit for who found it first.
  • Facebook wall comment streams can get long. Don’t grumble. If you’re along for the ride, it’ll end some day.
  • Promote others more often than you promote yourself. My long-standing measure is 12:1. (If it doesn’t work at first, it’s because maybe you’re not sincere in your promoting of others).
  • Listening is important and commenting is important. Be the #1 commenter on your blog. (See next one)
  • It’s okay to NOT comment back for every single comment you receive. It’s nice when you can respond, but don’t litter the comments with a bunch of “Thanks, Judy.” People know you care, if you’re doing it right.
  • If you are talking about someone in a blog post, link to them. Steve Garfield is a pro at this.
  • If you’re really nice, you’ll think about link text and help them even more by linking to Internet video expert Steve Garfield. Make sense?
  • Links do matter to Google and to the people you care about. When you can, give them a link.
    SOCIAL MEDIA ETIQUETTE: DISCLOSURE

    (Note: I’ve written about disclosure before).

    • If you’re writing about a client, add (client) to the tweet/post/update.
    • If you’re selling me something with an affiliate link, disclose that in the tweet/post/update.
    • If there’s a material reason (or perception of such) that you want me to take an action or click a link, tell me.
    • Tell me once in the post, and once again on a disclosure page. I use part of my about pagefor disclosures. See also: one of my other favorite disclosure pages (for cheekiness).
    • Make sure your audience comfortably knows your motives, and everything goes better.
    SOCIAL MEDIA ETIQUETTE: PROMOTING
    • Promote as if you’re at a cocktail party. It’s not the same as your email blast list.
    • Promote others, and it’s much more likely people will help promote you when it’s your turn.
    • Leave room for retweets. Writing 139 characters won’t get you anywhere.
    • Promoting on Facebook is MUCH nicer on my wall than in my private messages. (Do you agree?)
    • It’s probably okay to promote something 4x a day on a social network, so that you hit all the time zones appropriately. In the last hour, you can always give it a couple more pushes, but that’s about it.
    • Direct messaging people for promotion help is often annoying. It happens much more than you know.
    • Your cause isn’t always our cause. If we don’t want to help, don’t badger.
    • Things where you have to get 1,000 tweets to raise money are litter on Twitter. Things to get 1,000 “likes” on Facebook are fine. (Remember, however, that a “like” gives your demographic data to the thing that you’ve liked, plus permission for that page to message you privately.)
    SOCIAL MEDIA ETIQUETTE: CONTENT PRODUCTION
    • You can post as often as you want on your blog. It’s your blog. Monthly will probably fade from our memory. Weekly could work. Daily is my favorite. Some people post many times a day. It’s up to you.
    • You can tweet as often as you want, but people unfollow “noisy” tweeters (I get unfollowed often).
    • You can update Facebook often, and if you’re running pages, you might want to update 3-4 times a day, I’m starting to observe.
    • Depending on your blog’s purpose, be wary of over-selling. (I ran into this personally.) Make sure you’re still providing great community value.
    • If you find great content from other places, use it only after you understand whether you have permission to do so, and under the terms that the people have set.
    • If you’re linking and sharing someone else’s blog post (which is good to do), it’s also wonderful when you add something to it. Add some commentary. Add a thought or two as to why it matters to your community.
    • If someone’s work inspires your own post, it’s a nice thing to “hat tip” them with a link to the post that inspired you, somewhere in the post (usually down at the bottom).
    • If you go a long time between blog updates, don’t write a “sorry I haven’t written lately” post. No one cares. Just publish something good.
    SOCIAL MEDIA ETIQUETTE: SHARING IS CARING
  • Every blog I know has a share/like/tweet/stumble button at the bottom or somewhere. They’re there for a reason. If you like the article, pushing those buttons is a “tip jar” for the artist. Push it. It doesn’t take long.
  • If you’re reading in Google Reader, sharing is as simple as “[SHIFT] S” and that goes to everyone who reads your shared items.
  • Tell the blogger when you love something they’ve done. People’s #1 complaint to me when they’re starting out blogging is that they lack any feedback. It’d take you 30 seconds to do, and would change a person’s perspective for a whole day.
  • Comments in Twitter are temporary moments in a stream. Comments on the blog post itself are forever, in the best (and worst) of ways.
  • The web thrives on links and social sharing. The more YOU do to participate, the more people will create material for free for you to enjoy.
    YOUR MILEAGE WILL VARY

    For every idea above, there’s an exception. For every idea above, there’s a great reason to do the opposite. If you’re doing it differently than above, you’re not wrong. You’re doing it your way. Okay, I lied: you’re doing it wrong.

    I look forward to your thoughts, disagreements, counter-posts, additional thoughts, sharing, and more.

  • Bonus: If you’re Forever Alone…

    7 Reasons Why You Should Buy An Android Phone Instead Of An iPhone

    Written by Steve Kovach

    Google booth slide TBI MWC 2011

    Image: Dan Frommer, Business Insider

    There are so many options when it comes to choosing an Android phone. With the release of the Motorola Atrix, every major U.S. carrier has at least one premium Android device to choose from.

    Despite the large variety, there are still several common factors in choosing that most Android phones have that could be reason enough to choose one over an iPhone or other competitor.

    We found some of these reasons from Unplggd, and included a few of our own based on our experience with various Android phones.

    Get a larger screen

    Get a larger screen

    Image: Gizmodo

    With iPhone, you have one option for screen size: 3.5 inches. But several Android phones such as the Atrix, Droid X, HTC EVO, and Nexus S offer screens 4 inches or larger. That extra space is excellent for users who like to watch movies, play games, or view full web pages on their phone.

    Customize your home screen

    Customize your home screen

    Image: Dan Frommer, Business Insider

    Android phones give you a ton of options for customizing your home screen. You can add live widgets that receive constant updates on weather, RSS feeds, and Facebook or Twitter updates. You can also bookmark your favorite contacts directly on the home screen so you can dial them with just a tap.

    Use a camera with more power

    Use a camera with more power

    Image: Gizmodod

    Many Android phones like the Droid Incredible and the HTC EVO 4G have 8 megapixel cameras and shoot 720p HD video. While the iPhone 4 can shoot HD video, it only has a 5 megapixel camera.

    Play HD video on your TV

    Play HD video on your TV

    There are many Android devices that offer HDMI ports for playing HD video on your big screen TV. Since it’s unlikely the iPhone will ever have a port other than the standard iPod connector, you’ll never be able to watch true HD on your TV by plugging it in.

    Expand your storage

    Expand your storage

    Image: Tested

    Most Android phones will allow you to expand and swap your storage with a removable SD card. This is useful for those who want more space for music, video, and apps than their phone allows out of the box.

    Enjoy faster processor speeds

    Enjoy faster processor speeds

    Image: Tested

    Starting with the Atrix, we’re beginning to see Android phones sport dual core processors that can offer amazing speed for your phone. We put one through its paces and were impressed with the results. The downside? All that processing power will kill your battery.

    Take advantage of 4G data speeds

    Take advantage of 4G data speeds

    Image: Verizon

    There’s a huge wave of 4G Android phones hitting the market this year. And that’s on top of the handful that are already available from Sprint and T-Mobile. The consensus seems to be we won’t see a 4G iPhone until 2012 at the earliest.

    Bonus: Awesome note left on my truck after after lunch.

    8 Skills Our Parents Had That We Don’t

    Written by Anne Merritt

    fifties parents

    Photo by velvettangerine

    When it comes to skills like penmanship and manual driving, mom and dad have got us beat.

    My love of baking has always made me feel geeky, a bit granny-ish. In recent years though, Generation Y’s cool kids have all started baking blogs. They also knit, crochet, and grow vegetables in community plots. I once met a very urban couple my age who proudly admitted to making their own cheese. Cheese!

    While twentysomethings are often painted as gadget-obsessed, we’re known as a nostalgic bunch too. These homebody hobbies are proof. Some babyboomer skills, however, aren’t trickling down through the generations. Below is a list of things our parents did: talents and hobbies that, however useful, have fallen out of fashion.

    1. Driving a Stick

    In 1950, half of the cars being bought in the United States were manual transmission. By the start of the millenium, more than 90% of cars purchased were automatic. Our parents may hold onto their manual cars, but as younger generations hit the road, the stick declined in popularity.

    Why (pardon the pun) the shift? When the automatic car was first introduced, it was more expensive than manual, and the new technology was met with skepticism from car lovers. Now, automatic cars have levelled out pricewise and won our trust. Parents often feel automatics are safer for their children, as they’re easier to drive and run no risk of burning out the clutch.

    People usually drive whatever kind of car they used when learning. My father learned how to drive standard from his dad, but preferred automatic. When it came time for my driving lessons, he hadn’t driven stick in decades.

    storebought cupcakes

    Photo by Rachel from Cupcakes take the Cake

    2. Cooking from Scratch

    My father likes to tell me a burn he heard once between gossiping wives, thirty years ago. “She’s the type of woman who would serve a store-bought dessert!”

    I love this line for how telling it is of our generational differences. My peers wouldn’t bat an eye at bakery cupcakes or baklava at a dinner party. They’d probably cheer. We may watch Masterchef and sign up for weekend Thai cooking classes, but on average Generation Y cooks less than our parents did.

    What’s more, when we do cook, we use more ready-made ingredients than the baby boomers. I’m not just talking brownie mix and instant pudding, but staple items that, in our parents’ day, would be cooked up from scratch. I mean the chicken stock, tomato paste, and ready-made pie crusts that even self-proclaimed foodies keep in their cupboards.

    3. Soapmaking

    If you made your own soap in middle school, you’ll remember how surprisingly easy it was: lye, water, and animal fat or oil. The cost? Pennies. While past generations would whip up large batches at home, the practice is almost obsolete today.

    I remember my granny’s homemade bars of soap: cloudy-looking cut slabs with pointy corners. It was a world apart from the smooth, milky Dove bar in my bathroom today. The humble bar of soap has been branded many times over into a luxurious, multitasking product. Now, commercial soaps have added properties that aren’t easily replicated at home. You can buy a bar that is non-irritating, antibacterial, exfoliating, moisturizing, shaped like a kitty-cat, and smells like Clinique Happy. Even the fancy bars are still fairly cheap.

    parents sawing

    Photo by soundfromwayout

    4. Simple Carpentry

    My parents built their dining room table over thirty years ago.

    My dining room table is a previous tenant hand-me-down. The one before that? A $70 Ikea number assembled from a box with an Allen key, and sold online when I moved.

    Simple carpentry has declined in popularity, and not just because college kids have figured out how to build bookshelves with milk crates and 2x4s.

    Furniture is now mass-produced like never before, making it cheaper and easier to replace when redecorating or moving house. Secondhand furniture, which used to mean shabby hand-me-downs from grandparents, has gained chic through fleamarkets and and popularity Craigslist. We can kit out an apartment for cheap without taking to the saw and hammer… though that Ikea Allen key is in the drawer, ever-ready.

    5. Knife Sharpening

    At a dinner party, an older and ever-practical friend pointed at my knife and asked, “Why don’t you sharpen it? It’s become dull.”

    I nodded. “You’re right, I should.” I knew he meant to sharpen the knife myself. He knew I meant paying a professional to do it. Knife-sharpening is (I was told) a simple skill, but definitely on the decline.

    With Gen Y-ers eating our more and cooking less, it makes sense that our knives don’t dull as quickly as our parents’ knives. A lot of knives today have no-dull guarantees or free sharpening included in their warranties. Large home supply stores sometimes offer free knife-sharpening too.

    As for the Ikea or Target knives that most of my friends have in their kitchens? We don’t mind swallowing the $9 loss and just buying a new one.

    leaky faucet

    Photo by Alyssa Nicole

    6. Home Maintenance

    Sure, our generation can install an antivirus system and disable a firewall. I’m sometimes called to do so on my parents’ computer, while they eye their PC with wariness and distrust. They call me “handy,” and I know they’re just being nice. I call constantly for advice on banal home issues like replacing fridge lightbulbs.

    When it comes to household maintenance, though, it seems we’re not nearly as handy as our folks. Faced with a leaky pipe or a door fallen off its hinges, Generation Y is more inclined to call a professional for help (or… our dads).

    In the 1970s, over 70% of men learned basic home repair skills from their fathers. Now, the number is at 40%.

    Why the decline? While our parents bought houses in their twenties, ours is a generation ofrenters, subletters, and condo dwellers. If something breaks, we can (and do) get a landlord to fix it.

    7. Mending

    My mother’s sewing supply kit takes up a full dresser drawer. Mine is a Ziplock bag of complimentary thread-and-shitty-needle packs, pocketed from hotel rooms. Even sadder? My “kit” gets borrowed a lot. I’m the prepared one among my peers. Yikes.

    Most baby boomers can alter hemlines, sew on buttons, and mend rips in their clothing. Generation Y, not so much. Though many twentysomethings learn the basics of sewing from parents or in school, they’re rarely put into practice.

    With the rise of cheap clothing retailers (H&M, Primark, Target), fashion has become a disposable, replaceable commodity. Our penchant for picking up cheap secondhand clothes affirms this too.

    When we do have a piece that needs tailoring, we take it to a professional. Also, some people just get their moms to mend their clothes. You know who you are.

    cursive writing

    Photo by kpwerker

    8. Cursive Writing

    I’ve been conscious of penmanship ever since, two years ago, a Japanese student asked to see me write in “beautiful” cursive. I took my pen to paper, and only after a few blushing tries could I finally remember how to do it. “I’m sorry,” I told her, “I haven’t written like this since I was a child.” I’m sure that even my third grade self would have done a nicer job.

    It turns out, most of Gen Y is in the same boat, Our parents learned penmanship as a valuable art, practicing it with hand-written essays and letters all through their lives. For my peers and I, the penmanship skills we learned in school have faded from lack of use. Our technophile generation rarely writes by hand, except for scribbling notes to ourselves. Though we can email, text and tweet more easily than our parents, mom and dad would smoke us when it comes to neat handwriting.

    Cursive writing, according to teachers, helps muscle control and hand-eye coordination. Funny, my students say the same thing about the Nintendo DS.

    COMMUNITY CONNECTION

    What are some skills you admire in your parents? Are there talents you wish you had learned? Are there skills you hope to pass on to your children? Share your thoughts below.

    Bonus: Ice Cream Honey

    Now, I elevate…

    Collected by alice

    Natsumi Hayashi is a sweet-looking Japanese girl who, one day, decided to take self-portraits..of herself levitating. She can be spotted in and around Tokyo, equipped with her SLR and her self-timer. When she feels the moment strike, she presses the shutter button down and then, quite literally, “jumps” into place.

    What I love most about her shots is that they don’t feel forced. Natsumi has a way of making us feel as though she naturally levitates throughout life.

    When I asked her how others react to her jumping around Tokyo, here is a funny story that she shared. “One day, when I was jumping at a famous sightseeing spot in western Tokyo, workers at a souvenir shop were frightened by how I was jumping. They were whispering things like ‘Is the girl mentally ill’ and ‘Do we need to call the police?’

    “So I stopped jumping and apologized to them by saying, ‘I am taking jumping photos for my wedding party’s slide show.’ Their faces turned bright red, and they said things like ‘Oh dear!’ and ‘Congratulations!’ and even ‘Keep jumping!'”

    “Then, I took one of the best levitation shots of the entire series.”

    “We are all surrounded by social stress as we are bound by the forces of earth’s gravity,” Natsumi says when asked why she took on the series. “So, I hope that people feel something like an instant release from their stressful days by seeing my levitation photos.”

    Natsumi Hayashi’s website

    via [NotCot]

    The 5 Best Quotes From Justin Bieber’s Rolling Stone Interview

    Collected by Matt Stopera

    • 1. On sex before marriage: “I don’t think you should have sex with anyone unless you love them.I think you should just wait for the person you’re…in love with.”

    • 2. On health care: “Canada’s the best country in the world. We go to the doctor and we don’t need to worry about paying him, but here, your whole life, you’re broke because of medical bills. My bodyguard’s baby was premature, and now he has to pay for it. In Canada, if your baby’s premature, he stays in the hospital as long as he needs to, and then you go home.”

    • 3. On abortion: “I really don’t believe in abortion. It’s like killing a baby?”

    • 4. On abortion in cases of rape: “Um. Well, I think that’s really sad, but everything happens for a reason. I guess I haven’t been in that position, so I wouldn’t be able to judge that.”

    • 5. On politics: “I’m not sure about the parties. But whatever they have in Korea, that’s bad.”

    • BONUS! On homosexuality: It’s everyone’s own decision to do that. It doesn’t affect me and shouldn’t affect anyone else.

    Justin Bieber Shot and Killed on CSI