According to experts, it’s wise to see if the Heartbleed bug has affected the websites you visit most. CNET has compiled a list of the top 100 sites across the web that shows which sites are vulnerable to this bug. When you look at CNET’s list you’ll notice that a password change is recommended for most sites including Google, Facebook, YouTube, Yahoo and more.
Before you join the collective groan being heard around the Internet at the prospect of changing your passwords, look at the bright side. This security glitch actually offers parents and their kids an opportunity to share an important and timely “teachable” moment. Why not use Heartbleed as reason to talk to your kids [and adults!] about how and why to make safe and secure passwords in the first place?
Here’s a tip that most of my clients and students love for creating relatively secure passwords that you won’t forget:
Pick 3 numbers
Pick 3 letters
Pick a special character like !
Now, for each website where you need a password, use the 3 numbers followed by the name of the website or service you are using and use a capital letter. Follow that with the 3 letters and the special character so that your WordPress password would be something like this:
Like I said — relatively secure and you’ll never forget it — just be sure that your number and letter combinations are relatively random!
Update: April 11…
It doesn’t do any good to change your password in a service that has not been updated to protect itself against Heartbleed because your new password will be subject to the same concerns. Check this list of services that has already been updated and in which you can safely change your password. Other than that, be on the lookout for emails from service providers who are telling you it’s now ok to update your password in their service. Questions? Feedback?
In an authentic search for God, the cosmos of inclusiveness just keeps widening and expanding, not unlike the ever-expanding universe in which we live.
That’s a bit of a paraphrase of something Fr. Richard Rohr says in his book Immortal Diamond. It has been my experience, too. It seems the more aware I become of the Immortal Presence, the wider my heart stretches to include all persons…all faiths…all traditions.
Whether you’re actively posting or just browsing through your social streams, things move pretty fast. A post is often there one minute and gone the next. With hundreds of millions of status updates and tweets sent every day, finding them later is next to impossible. Here are 5 tools to help you hang on to those updates through archiving social media posts you’d like to save.
So many people call themselves thought leaders now – but they aren’t. To be a thought leader takes some doing. It’s not so much about being original as it is about putting things together in an original way. It comes down to packaging your knowledge, skills, abilities, experiences, and yes, your thoughts in a way that makes you media worthy and worth listening to by your audience—a huge audience. Follow these nine steps to get going on the path to be respected, heard and reverberated out into the world.
Susan has some great ideas on how to achieve thought leadership, however, I think she leaves out one important point in her article: you have to document your work in a way that people can find it! Maybe I’m being Captain Obvious here, but while you read her article, think about how you can leverage business blogging and social networking to provide social proof of your thought leadership…
If this is all geeks to you comment below and asked me how you can get started! I have developed an efficient, cost-effective workflow that you can use as a platform for transformational thought leadership…
Earlier this year I ‘discovered’ the ‘imposter complex’ thanks to my yogi Jackie Dumaine. The more I learned about it the more I understood why I haven’t finished my epic book on ‘Becoming Known’. I believe, you see, that if you can name it you can ‘fix it’. If something has a name, that means you can google it and find tools to help. There are a few reasons why my book remains 70% completed — one of them is that as soon as you put your thoughts into words and declare your expertise in an area, someone smarter can come along and prove that you’re a moron…
A few days ago, Tanya Geisler [the author of the following quote] was kind enough to track me down in Twitter and share her TEDx Women talk on the same subject — how I missed this, I’ll never know but as the Buddha said ‘when the student is ready the teacher comes along‘. She says:
Ever since November 2012, I knew that there would be a moment that my TEDxWomen talk would be available for all to see. And that I’d need to find a way to share it with my corner of the world. That is, YOU. I’d love to say that I was excited, but the reality is, I’ve been a little, well…nervous.
I mean, I KNEW I’d be proud of it…I spent weeks (and weeks) preparing, researching, training, practicing, finessing and getting it under the requisite 18 minutes. And I KNEW the content would be good…I know the Impostor Complex like the back of my hand.
But asking everyone, YOU, to go check out my TEDxWomen talk is just…so…selfish, right?
Me, me, me, me, me.
I’ve started and stopped this very post about 15 times. Each time I approached with this question:: “what huge, massive, COLOSSAL value can I bring to my readers AND STILL let them know that my talk is available for viewing?”…as though the two were mutually exclusive.
So I’m about to take a leap of faith. The huge value of this post IS my talk.
Whoa. Whoa. Whooooooooa.
That seriously just kind of took my breath away. The sheer audacity.
But there it is.
My friends, I know A LOT about the Impostor Complex. So much so, that I am indeed becoming an Authority on the topic.
I’m claiming that.
In my perfectly imperfect talk, I’ve outlined a process that moves us from feeling like an Impostor to feeling like an Authority. I use it with my coaching clients, and in my own life. It’s also the backbone of my Step into Your Starring Role program.
If you ever, EVER struggle with the Impostor Complex, then you WILL get value from watching this talk…because I wrote the talk for you.
And now, I leave it in your loving hands, and will go and celebrate (an ever-important step in the process, you’ll see) by busting my Kid out of after-school care early for an ice cream cone.
I did it. I really, really did it.
And if you want to do it too, you can and will too. ”How do you begin? The answer is simple: you decide to.” – Anne Lamott
Can I recommend you take the time to watch her talk? I just did…
I believe that the danger and the opportunity of social media and transformational thought leadership is walking the fine line and finding the ‘golden mean’ between imposter syndrome and narcissism. This is such an important impediment to transformational thought leadership that I’m going to start a resource page here. I’ll keep adding to it so come back often…
Sometimes, I think I post more about how much I love Twylah than the folks at Twylah do. Whether that’s true or not, I’m a huge fan and the main reason why is Twylah is the only social networking tool I know of that actually adds Search Engine Optimization [SEO] to your domain simply by tweeting. Still, if the DNS manager of your domain host is unfamiliar territory you may not be getting the maximum value out of Twylah and Twitter. I talk you through it here…
Recently thought leader Michael Hyatt had two guest posters on his blog; both had some interesting perspectives that serve as great instruction [or gentle reminders for seasoned bloggers] on structure in a blog post. The first is from Philip Rothschild who says:
I do, in fact, use a blog post template. I don’t follow it slavishly, but I always start with it. It includes all the elements that I have learned make for an effective post. It also helps me write faster, because it provides me with a track to run on.
My blog post template consists of five components:
Lead Paragraph. This is key. If you take too long on the wind-up, you will lose readers. You have to get into the premise of the post and make it relevant to your readers. After the title, this is the second most important component of your post.
Relevant Image. I use images for the same reasons magazines do: I want to pull my readers into the post itself. Pictures do that. I get 90 percent of mine from iStockPhoto. (Click here for a 20% discount.) Occasionally, I use a screenshot or an embedded video or slideshow.
Personal Experience. I always try to share my personal experience. Why? Because readers connect with stories. The more honest and transparent I can be, the better. In fact, my most popular posts generally come out of some failure on my part.
Main Body. Everything to this point has been an introduction. I always try to make my main content scannable.I use bullets, numbered lists—and often both. This makes the content more accessible to readers and more sharable via Twitter and Facebook.
Discussion Question. For the past few years, I have ended every post with a question. I don’t intend my posts to be a monologue. Instead, I want to start a conversation. As a result, I measure my effectiveness at this by how many comments I get.
I also follow a few overall rules when writing my posts:
Make the posts short.This is my biggest personal challenge. I have a tendency to be too thorough. Consequently, I aim for 500 words. This usually means I have to write the post and then go back and tighten it up.
Use short paragraphs.I try to stick to 3–4 sentences. If it’s more than this, the content looks too dense. Readers will give up and move on. (Notice how newspapers usually follow this rule.)
Keep short sentences.As a general rule, I try avoid compound sentences. A period gives the reader a natural stop—and a sense of progress as they pass one milestone after another. To quote a common copywriting axion, short sentences make the copy read fast.
Use simple words. I love language, so I am often tempted to use big words. However, I have learned to avoid this. My goal is to communicate, notto impress my readers with my vocabulary.
Provide internal links. I can’t say everything in one post, so I link to other posts where I have developed a thought in more detail. This has the added vantage of increasing my pageviews and session times. I think it is also genuinely helpful to my readers.
While your template might be different, it is worth outlining and tweaking as you hone your writing skills. This will allow you to write faster and more effectively.
Blogger Ali Luke offers these insights on basic types of blog posts…
These are the three simple post structures you can use:
The How-to Post.A how-to post aims to teach the reader something, by taking them through a step-by-step process. It’s usually structured with numbered, sequential steps. And, where appropriate, these steps might include a screenshot or photo to show the reader what to expect at each stage.If you’re writing a how-to post, the easiest way to begin is with a careful plan. Work out the necessary steps. You may find you need to break complicated procedures into several parts, or merge simple ones together. Get them into the best possible order.Once you’ve done that, your post will be straightforward to write—and straightforward for readers to follow.Variations:
“How I ____ and How You Can Too”: Readers love to hear how you succeeded with something. This formula lets you explain your own steps and offer action points for them.
“Why ___ Matters and How To Do It”: If you suspect your readers need to know the why before the how, spend the first third or half of your post explaining the why, then move on to practical steps.
The List Post.A list post offers readers a selection of ideas, tips, suggestions, or resources. These are normally numbered. If you’ve been around the blogging world for long, you’ll have come across this type of post—probably many times.The key difference between a list post and a how-to post is that readers don’t need to follow the list from start to end: they can dip in and use those points that seem most applicable to their own situation.As with a how-to post, pre-planning is essential. Aim to come up with a couple more items than you need, and cut the weakest. Think about the order of your items, too: easiest to hardest works well, or you could alternate “do” and “don’t” tips.Variations:
“The A–Z of ___”: You may well have seen this format used in magazines. An A–Z list post usually aims to produce a comprehensive overview of a particular topic, in bite-size chunks.
“Roundup: ___”: This form of post gathers together resources (generally blog posts) on a particular topic, meaning each list item includes a link. You could also use this to list, say, the top 20 tweeters in your niche.
The Review Post.Review posts offer an informed opinion about a particular product or service. These are a great way to serve your readers, who might be debating whether or not to purchase a particular item. They also help establish your own knowledge and expertise in your field.It’s up to you what exactly you include in your reviews, but one simple structure you can use is this:
Overview—what’s included, how much it costs, and so on
The good—mention the two or three aspects that were most enjoyable or useful to you
The bad—write about what didn’t work so well – this adds credibility, especially if you’re an affiliate for the product / service
Verdict—should your readers buy the product / service?
“Product X vs Product Y”: Often, readers will be struggling to choose between two similar products or companies. A comparative review helps them make up their mind.
“Top Ten Books On ___”: Similar to a roundup list post, but with added opinion, a “top ten” of books or other products in your niche offers readers bite-size reviews—and a resource to return to.
Of course, these aren’t the only structures you can use. But they do give you a great basis to build on. And they help ensure that your reader gets real value from your writing.
If you’ve had success with one of the above post structures, or if you’ve got a favorite structure of your own, let us know in the comments.
To Ali’s list I would add a 4th type of blog post which I call a ‘curative’ or curation post. That’s the type of post you see here! I could have just tweeted this two links or emailed them to a few friends, but I took a little extra time to glue the relevant parts of the two posts together and when I’m done, I’ll share this post with a couple of hundred people I work with but it will also be posted here on the blog for anyone who might find nature Google search or be searching for something specific on my site. While some people may frown on the concept of curation, curators provide a valuable service to the original writer, to their readers and to themselves when their curation truly adds value. As an added bonus, here’s a link to a recent post that shows my curation workflow…
I invite you to interact with me through the comment form or the connect menu option above — I’d be happy to talk with you about how I use all of these tactics for effective blogging…
Jeff Bullas has some interesting thoughts on how to become a better blogger:
Blogging plus Social Media
The rise of social media has allowed bloggers to display and market themselves and their content globally without having to pay a cent to a newspaper, television mogul or to the mass media elite.
Bloggers that were previously undiscovered became global brands on topics as diverse as food, fashion and technology. Marketing your blog was no longer restricted to building an RSS or email subscription list.
Publishing and marketing has been democratized. Freedom to express yourself globally is available in seconds and it is also mobile.
The age of the printing press is now threatened after 573 years. Print media marketing has now been surpassed by digital media for the first time in history.
In his epic book “Here Comes Everybody”, Clay Shirky writes:
We are living in the middle of the largest increase in expressive capability in the history of the human race. More people can communicate more things to more people than has ever been possible in the past, and the size and speed of this increase, from under one million participants to over one billion in a generation, makes the change unprecedented, even considered against the background of previous revolutions in communications tools. The truly dramatic changes in such tools can be counted on the fingers of one hand: the printing press and movable type (considered as one long period of innovation); the telegraph and telephone; recorded content (music, then movies); and finally the harnessing of radio signals (for broadcasting radio and TV). None of these examples was a simple improvement, which is to say a better way of doing what a society already did. Instead, each was a real break with the continuity of the past, because any radical change in our ability to communicate with one another changes society.
So now you are an expert. I know it. You know it. It’s the rest of the world that may not know it. Yet. In my humble opinion however you did not get to this ripe old age of wherever you’re at without becoming an expert in something. The 10,000 hour rule is just that – Malcolm Gladwell hypothesized that it takes approximately 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at something. Now think of all the things you are an expert at!
Here’s the problem, however: your area of expertise may be so narrow or specialized that no one in your town or county or even your state needs it. There are however almost 2,000,000,000 people on the Internet. Even if your expertise appeals to only one in 1 million people that still means there are 2,000 people who need you to guide them. The 10,000 hours you spent gaining your expertise probably means you’re pretty good thinker too. The challenge is you can be the sharpest knife in the drawer but if no one can find the drawer you’ll never get a chance to get out…
Chris Brogan says:
“As you now know, if you have no Google results, in a sense you don’t exist.
My good friend Dana VanDen Heuvel, a thought leader in his own right, says “there are thinkers and there are thought leaders. They both have a point of view. The thinker has a point of view that is limited by word-of-mouth but the thought leader is only limited by world of mouth.” Using the good, fast and cheap tools available on the Internet a thinker can make his or her thought leadership position searchable, findable, knowable, usable, and shareable. Because of all those ‘ibles’, they may actually become credible. Publishing your thought leadership position will give you a share of voice which may lead to share of mind and ultimately to share of market…
The first step in ‘being known’ is actually accepting the face that you ARE an expert and discovering your ‘onlyness’ as author Nilofer Merchant puts it in her book “11 Rules for Creating Value in the #SocialEra“:
The foundational element starts with celebrating each human and, more specifically, something I’ve termed onlyness. Onlyness is that thing that only one particular person can bring to a situation. It includes the skills, passions, and purpose of each human. Onlyness is fundamentally about honoring each person, first as we view ourselves and second as we are valued. Each of us is standing in a spot that no one else occupies. That unique point of view is born of our accumulated experience, perspective, and vision. Some of those experiences are not as “perfect” as we might want, but even those experiences are a source of ideas and creativity. Without this tenet of celebrating onlyness, we allow ourselves to be simply cogs in a machine—dispensable and undervalued.
Merchant, Nilofer (2012-09-12). 11 Rules for Creating Value in the Social Era (Kindle Locations 107-113). Perseus Books Group. Kindle Edition.
So now we have established the foundation of being known; you have to define your area of expertise and embrace your ‘onlyness’; only then can you take the next step. More next Tuesday…
For the most part, I agree these are 5 important steps, but I think the sequence is way out of whack. For example; how can you brainstorm if you haven’t pondered the market. Me? I think if the objective is to be in alignment with your customer’s value demand the sequence should go like this:
Ponder the market
Create and Share
Kick ass! [I think my friend Nilofer would insert that!]
I don’t know — I’m just a humble internet mechanic! What do you think?
Here’s my approach to blogging and social media in a nutshell…
“You’ve got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between
You’ve got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith or pandemonium
Liable to walk upon the scene”
Whether you’re a solopreneur or the ‘Director, Corporate Marketing and Brand Communications Worldwide’ for a large farm implement manufacturer you can use good, fast and cheap social media tools to implement the ‘Perry Como’ approach to publicizing your business. Did you find some great news about your company on the web? “Accentuate the positive” by posting it to your corporate blog. Is someone harassing you online? “Eliminate the negative” by posting positive content and feeding your fans. Get the picture? Old Perry had it right, even if social media didn’t exist in 1958 when he recorded that song…
So, you latch on to the Perry Como method when you think about promoting your own personal brand…
PS Originally posted 02/24/2010, updated 9/21/2012; still true over two years later…
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