Tag Archives: tips

Thats A Nice Tnetennba

9 Apr

Do you know what a Tnetennba is? Go ahead, cheat… do a quick google search. Still confused? That’s understandable. The first use of the word tnetennba is widely thought to be an episode of the sitcom The IT Crowd (its a cute show and I highly recommend taking a watch).

Tnetennba is in fact a completely made-up word. Yet, google lists over 38,000 results for this term. In many ways the relative popularity of something that doesn’t actually exist is a very interesting paradox. At the core of this is the question: can something be as powerful even if its fake?

Everyone understands the power that can be obtained by malicious lies, liable or simple rumors. But this made up word really isn’t any of those, it wasn’t created with the intent of harming others, it was just the byproduct of a joke. In the absence of the internet there is a very good possibility that the term would simply have vanished after the airing of the episode; however, human curiosity prompted many a viewer to search for and record the use of the word. By taking this action tnetennba has become a real thing. Its far from being a part of common speech but its difficult to deny the existence of something that has 38,000 results in google – most random collections of 9 letters only display a couple, if any, results.

The importance of tnetennba is similar to that of a misspelling. Curiosity drives people to search for the word when they hear it and so sites with this keyword will get hits. The same is principle holds true with frequently misspelled words. Sites that take note of the common misspellings will get the traffic of those who misspell the words. Potentially by creating content that is targeted at fake words which have some type of cultural relevance you could increase your search engine ranking.

The downfall of this comes with relevancy. The tnetennba can be a dangerous thing. There is a great deal of documentation about the improper use of keywords on sites in an attempt to fool search engines. Simply placing terms like tnetennba in your site can actually be a detriment to your ranking if the words aren’t used in a context that is truly relevant to readers. In the words of Peter Parker’s Uncle, “with great power comes great responsibility.” This holds true for tnetennba as well, being a forerunner in the definition and promotion of a new term can be a great and powerful thing – but taking advantage of its popularity for self promotion can result in backlash.

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Time Management for Bloggers

5 Apr

Blogging is one of those funny little things that falls between the cracks of technical and creative mediums. On the one hand the basis for most blogs is to convey useful information to readers, but at the same time doing so in an entertaining and inspired way takes a fair amount of creativity. Last week I explored the creative side of this a little bit when examining writer’s block. The big obstacle on the more technical side of blogging is time management. It takes more than a few minutes to create and maintain a decent blog and for many people, even when you really want to blog, finding this time can prove to be a struggle.

A big portion of my day job is that of project management. Thankfully I love the topic and enjoy working with others so its a good fit. I find it to be a personal challenge to get projects done on time and in budget and have both the team and client happy along the way – this can be quite a challenge at time. But what has proved most challenging is applying these same techniques to myself as a blogger. After much trial and error these are the principles I promote when managing time as a blogger:

Be Realistic about goals

Positive reinforcement is an important part of motivating yourself as a blogger. If you set goals that are beyond what you can realistically accomplish then you’re building in a sense of failure into your blogging process. This isn’t good for you or the blog. If you aren’t currently meeting your blogging goals then try re-evaluating them. Maybe you’re spending too much time on the drafting process, or researching your potential topics. Try alternative approaches to your blogging process and reign in your goals until they feel like a good fit.

Obey the writing process

A very important thing which can save time and improve your blogs is to obey that simple writing process we all learned in 4th grade. Brainstorm your idea, do a little research if needed, write an outline, then expand it into a full story and lastly edit it before you publish. This is a 5 step process which means that ideally you have 5 working sessions for each blog before it needs to be published. If you need to combine some of these items then so be it but try hard to at least separate into outline, writing, editing/publishing.

Manage risk

As a project manager I trust that the people I work with know how to do their jobs a whole lot better than I can do their jobs. I don’t spend time trying to manage them and the tasks they do; instead, I spend my time managing risk. If someone gets the flu how will I make sure a project still gets done on time? If new information comes in at the 11th hour that would change some part of a project how will we make sure the team can handle it? The same principles apply to blogging. Make sure you allow enough time to expect the unexpected.

Find accountability

Nothing is quite so motivating as accountability. When I work with teams we most often use the agile method of project management and implement my favorite accountability tool, the scrum. It makes everyone accountable to one another and boosts a sense of team spirit. When you’re working alone accountability can be much harder to find and stick to. You might publish a roadmap to your readers of your upcoming blog posts – reader can get pretty vocal when you don’t publish on time when you said you would. Another option is to join a blogging group or challenge, this is a group of other bloggers that all support one another in regularly posting to their blogs.

While all of the above advice may make time management for blogging seem simple its always more difficult in reality. The most important thing to remember is to take it a step at a time and start at the beginning. Set small and realistic goals for yourself and celebrate when you accomplish your blogging challenges.

Notes on Writers Block

30 Mar

Most would agree that one of the keys to success with social media is creating content consistently. This was actually the basis of my first post to this blog. Ofcourse at some point almost everyone will come across a tiny bit of writers block. If your lucky it will move on in a day or two but sometimes you have to be proactive and assist writer’s block out the door. Thankfully there are more than a few ways to get the creative (or at least productive juices flowing again) here are a few of my favorites:

  1. Handy Dandy Notebook – sure it may be low tech compared to alternatives, like the smart phone, but there is something wonderful about carrying around an actual paper and pencil all day. Most of the time just having the small reminder that my goal is to come up with ideas will be enough to fill up a page with various blog topics or a series of tweets.
  2. Reviews – if your out of ideas yourself then piggy back off of someone else’s creativity. Review a series of similar items… for an extra boost you can even post a title like “Top 5 ___!”
  3. Play Games – it may seem a little odd but interactivity and engagement can be a very viable substitute for actual content. There are a multitude of games that can be played between you and those that are following you on twitter and the same goes for you blog, facebook or other social media outlet. If you can’t come up with meaningful content at least you can have fun.
  4. Switch Mediums – sometimes its good to mix things up, this is true both as the writer as well as the reader. If you normally post long and detailed blogs consider posting a collection of photos instead. You may find that your readers appreciated the change of pace as well.
  5. Ask For Help – every once in a while writer’s block is just bad enough that its best to just ask for some help. See if you can cash in on some guest posts from friends who had always offered or ask a coach for some prompts.