Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Online tab, now I'm happy.

The Internet Machine has really outdone itself this time. As someone who spent hours working away at songs in guitar Tab books, I am glad to come across the above site. Songsterr.com provides standard tab, but also keeps time and gives you an audio cue of individual notes and chords. It's also got an option to play a song at half-speed, just in case it's your first go round with...let's say ...the Chili Peppers' Under the Bridge. I also have to thank Stumbleupon for helping me to find this site. If you haven't signed up for Stumbleupon, do it, do it now!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Are you an info pusher?

I was trying to figure out why I migrate to certain people on Twitter over others today, and I settled on this...there's info pushers and then there's citizens(call them Twitizens, if you need a catchy new word. Take it, it's free.)
Some of of us sign up (on purpose) for info push on Twitter, via email, etc., to get sports scores, tech news, beard trimming tips, and the like. This is fine when we've made a mutual agreement that we want someone to shout news or information in our general direction. But what of the shouters on Twitter? Personally, I find them annoying and I'll tell you why.
Twitter is basically a venue for a large conversation. I describe it to the uninitiated as if I am sitting around a giant table with some good friends, some content experts, some jokesters and a few advertising wonks. They all add to my day, and hopefully I add to theirs. Accepting the premise that it is a conversational medium, why all the shouting. We all have those friends who incessantly pepper us with news every time we see them. As they give you their verbal news feed, you're really thinking "Can we just have a real conversation here?"
Twitter's for real conversation. Use it that way. And if you're just now realizing you are an info pusher, make a clean break. Start out by doing some quality listening. Follow some interesting people and then follow their lead.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The only object in life is to grow

The only object in life is to grow.

"Very early, I knew that the only object in life was to grow." - Margaret Fuller

Every once in a while, I come across a quote that I can't let go of. Such is the case with the above quote from Margaret Fuller, a writer from the early 1800's. It's not hard to apply this thought to your own life, as this simple thought can take on various meanings.
I think this quote is very applicable to social media in PR/Communications. When discussed, many people regard the social media phenomenon as a passing fad or worse, a trivial waste of time. The early adopters are upset because they can't exactly explain why this new world is so important for others to discover. I offer this simple plea to those who are still skeptical - social media is personal growth.
For me, every step of the way has been very challenging and very exciting. Sure, it's fun to tell your friends that you have a blog - but guess what? It's hard work. It requires a shift in your thinking and the way you process information. But, for me as a writer at heart, it has been a wonderful revelation. Also, when I worked for a newspaper, I felt very constrained by style and editors - but there's no editor in the blog world. Your readers decide if they like your style and content.
I've also ventured into other avenues, including social bookmarking(Delicious, Digg), network creation/management(Ning), microblogging(Twitter,Plurk), social media aggregation (FriendFeed) and unique animals like Jott and Mosio, to name a few. Each adventure has been just that, and each has exposed me to a world of new people and new ideas that I never would have been exposed to under normal circumstances.
So, dear reader. Why do you read books? Why do you have dinner with interesting friends? Why do you go to professional conferences? Why do you engage with the arts? You do all of these things to learn, and to grow. So, if you're not out there, get out there. If you are, you have one more reason to give those who doubt the value of this new medium.