Sheila Guides You to the Good Stuff

July 11, 2009

The end is near! Moving the blog to a new home

Moving Day (courtesy cwwycoff1 at Flickr CC)I wanted to let all of my readers know that I’ve decided to move this blog from the free domain name to what is known as a “self-hosted” WordPress blog (meaning I pay for blog hosting, in this case on Bluehost, but still using WordPress blog publishing software.)

My thoughts on understanding the social Web, especially with regards to tourism and travel, will appear very soon at a new URL and domain name, Sheila’s Guide To The Good Stuff.

The free setup is wonderful and met a lot of my requirements, but I need more control and customization options so I decided to move the blog before it got any further along in growth, development and Google juice.  I learned when we moved my BootsnAll Family Travel blog that rebuilding search engine authority takes time and lots of link-gathering, so I need to get going.

I’m learning a lot of good geeky stuff during the transfer process (with the help of my WordPress guru Jennifer Navarrete) and those insights will be valuable to my tourism clients in the near future when I launch a new paid membership and learning site, Tourism Currents, with Small Biz Survival’s Becky McCray.

I’m worried that I’ll lose my RSS and email subscribers amongst the cardboard boxes and packing tape, so you folks keep a lookout for the “We’ve Moved Now!” post that I’ll probably be putting up on here either Monday or Tuesday, July 13 or 14.

This blog will remain in place, but it won’t be updated any more once I move.

Thanks for your patience!


July 2, 2009

The dumb names are not important

Filed under: Mobile,Twitter,Web Communications — Sheila Scarborough @ 10:29 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Model T Ford club members (courtesy me'nthedogs' on Flickr CC)It’s hard to take something called “Twitter” seriously, I know, but the various cutesy-named social media tools and applications are not important in and of themselves.

It is what people are doing with them.

These are early days for Web connection technology, very much akin to the early days of the automobile. Sure, the first cars were loud, stupid and rather unreliable, compared to Ye Olde Horse.

Why bother, said most folks.  Aren’t those silly new machines a ridiculous extravagance?

If, however, one looked beyond how to make the danged things work, and finding decent roads to drive them on, and locating places that sold gas, tires and parts, one could see the Big Picture….fast and affordable personal transportation across vast distances, anywhere, anytime.

That’s the social Web, too: human connection, anywhere and anytime.

Today I’m reading a John Sutter article on about Steve Tucker, a farmer in Brandon, Nebraska who sends tweets from his tractor (I learned about the article on Twitter, of course.)

Who the hell cares, you ask? I care. Here is why, from the article:

“Tucker is proof that smartphones are starting to put down roots in rural America. He lives in a 150-person town near Brandon, Nebraska — a place even he calls ‘the middle of nowhere.’ The nearest neighbor to his 4,000-acre farm is about 2 miles away.

Yet, farmers like Tucker are using Internet-enabled phones to gain a foothold on online social networks — both for business and personal reasons. (Follow him on Twitter)

‘I can be in the most remote place and just with the power of having a BlackBerry … I can communicate with anybody at anytime about anything,’ he said. ‘It is just amazing.’

The growth of smartphones on farms is important because many people don’t think about where their food comes from, much less associate a specific farmer with that process, said Andy Kleinschmidt, a farmer and agricultural extension educator at Ohio State University.

‘When you can put a name or personality with someone who’s actually raising corn and soybeans or actually milking cows, that’s the most important thing that’s come about in my opinion,’ he said.”

We are watching our society knit itself together, making far-reaching human connections across timezones and cultures, in totally new and unexpected ways.  I learned about Steve in Nebraska on the same day that I reconnected with a wonderful travel writer in Florida;  I first heard Tom Swick speak at the best annual book festival anywhere, and now he’s figuring out what to do with Twitter, just like Steve on the tractor.

I would not miss this moment in history for anything, even if it does come laden with goofy names for the tools we are using to make that history.

June 27, 2009

Does social media ROI mean Return on Investment or Return on Ignoring?

Filed under: Web Communications — Sheila Scarborough @ 10:56 pm
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The 3 monkeys who don't see, hear or speak (courtesy Anderson Mancini at Flickr CC)I wanted to call your attention to my Aussie friend Des Walsh’s excellent post on why social media ignorance [is] not an option for business.

One of the post comments, from Carlos Hernandez, mentioned a moderator’s remark during the recent 140 Characters Conference (about Twitter) in New York.

While moderating a panel, Jeffrey Hayzlett, Kodak Chief Marketing Officer, noted that ROI (in addition to its usual “Return on Investment”) can also mean “Return on Ignoring” if a business or organization sticks its collective head in the sand about the fundamental changes wrought by the social Web.

Couldn’t agree more.

The connectivity of the Web and cellular technology, in the hands of humans who desire connection, is equivalent to the impact of the printing press in Western culture or movable type in East Asian culture. In fact, it has MORE impact because we can reach around the world with it almost instantly.  The “Return on Ignoring” is finding that one’s business has been left behind.

Yet, the scoffs and laughter continue amongst those who will not see, unfortunately many of them around my age (I’m 48.)

I see it, though.

I see it even with bifocal contacts and gray hair. I’ve seen it ever since I wrote about network-centric warfare and Navy organizational structure.

I see the path and I’m heading down it with confidence, even if I have to leave a few folks wandering behind in the wilderness. They see a mirage called “the way it was,” but my feet are taking me along the path carved by “the way it is.”

Want to travel with me?

May 14, 2009

Share your virtual cookies with your imaginary Internet friends

Sheila shares a social media cookie in Hutchinson, Kansas (courtesy Becky McCray on Facebook)As soon as our gaggle settled in for the first meeting on the blogger’s tour in Hutchinson, Kansas, we started whipping out the laptops, cameras and other geek accoutrements.

That’s what those who are wired into the social web do – we start connecting immediately.

Bloggers are natural connectors, but we do it differently than some, and we use Web tools in ways that seem strange to the unplugged.

Sitting around the table, we introduced ourselves and ate box lunches while we yakked, tweeted and photographed everything.

At one point, I pulled this enormous cookie from my lunch and made some joke about it, and small business whiz Becky McCray pulled out her camera to take a photo.

You could sense that our Hutchinson hosts thought we were a bit silly, photographing everything, but I said, “Just you wait, this cookie can get around, and we’ll use it to talk about your town.”

  • The “Hutch cookie” lives on Becky McCray’s Facebook profile under Photos. More importantly, it’s in the Hutch Blogger Tour set. That set shows people some of the neat stuff we saw in Hutchinson (and every time she uploaded something to it, everyone in her Facebook network saw it.)
  • I tweeted about the cookie after the “Share your cookies with your imaginary Internet friends” was posted.  Because the post was hashtagged with #Hutch (the Hutchinson-related hashtag) it also shows up in Twitter Search.

Yes, it’s only a cookie. It’s a seemingly pointless photo; but, it will live on forever, and so will our words about Hutchinson, Kansas.

THAT’S why the Web is powerful as hell.

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