Ten Years of Automattic | Matt Mullenweg

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I’ll remember the days before I knew everything.

— The Automattic Creed

via Ten Years of Automattic | Matt Mullenweg.

When I was still running my old business, I always had in my back pocket the idea that if I were to ever close up shop and work for The Man again, there would only be one man I’d want to work for, and that’s Matt Mullenweg. I’ve been a WordPress user and fan for years, but I’ve also been kind of a Matt groupie, ever since I read his “How I work” profile in Inc.

It’s kind of weird now to actually be working for Matt, be on a first-name basis with him, and even get to chat with him now and then. But now that I’ve been here for just over a year and have become a part of the Automattic, I’ve come to realize that the WordPress and open source communities are bigger than any one person. While there’s a part of me that will always be a tiny bit starstruck by Matt, I’m in even greater awe of how much this little software project has grown to power nearly a quarter of the Internet. It lets everyone from giant media organizations like the New York Times and Fortune to mom bloggers with hyperlocal audiences have a global platform from which to share their ideas, their vision, their message with the world. And heck, you can even do it for free.

Remember the days when you needed to get the word out about anything, even if it’s just your neighborhood yard sale? Or when beautiful, innocent animals would perish in local shelters, forgotten because they received so little attention, and municipalities and volunteer groups struggled to get any kind of media attention? Now, if you have a message, you have the means to blast it out to the world, and at no cost to you other than your time. I’m still in shock that this has all come about in such a short period of time, but most of all I’m so incredibly proud to be a part of the company driving this forward and inspiring so much change.

We’re celebrating 10 years of being in the biz this week, and I can’t wait to see what the next 10 will bring.

Ten Years of Automattic | Matt Mullenweg

Standard

I’ll remember the days before I knew everything.

— The Automattic Creed

via Ten Years of Automattic | Matt Mullenweg.

When I was still running my old business, I always had in my back pocket the idea that if I were to ever close up shop and work for The Man again, there would only be one man I’d want to work for, and that’s Matt Mullenweg. I’ve been a WordPress user and fan for years, but I’ve also been kind of a Matt groupie, ever since I read his “How I work” profile in Inc.

It’s kind of weird now to actually be working for Matt, be on a first-name basis with him, and even get to chat with him now and then. But now that I’ve been here for just over a year and have become a part of the Automattic, I’ve come to realize that the WordPress and open source communities are bigger than any one person. While there’s a part of me that will always be a tiny bit starstruck by Matt, I’m in even greater awe of how much this little software project has grown to power nearly a quarter of the Internet. It lets everyone from giant media organizations like the New York Times and Fortune to mom bloggers with hyperlocal audiences have a global platform from which to share their ideas, their vision, their message with the world. And heck, you can even do it for free.

Remember the days when you needed to get the word out about anything, even if it’s just your neighborhood yard sale? Or when beautiful, innocent animals would perish in local shelters, forgotten because they received so little attention, and municipalities and volunteer groups struggled to get any kind of media attention? Now, if you have a message, you have the means to blast it out to the world, and at no cost to you other than your time. I’m still in shock that this has all come about in such a short period of time, but most of all I’m so incredibly proud to be a part of the company driving this forward and inspiring so much change.

We’re celebrating 10 years of being in the biz this week, and I can’t wait to see what the next 10 will bring.

Quick, useful radio interview with Darren Rowse

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If you’re looking to blog for money, Darren Rowse should definitely be on your feed reader list. He’s the founder and publisher of the phenomenally popular Problogger.net, which offers daily tips on how to grow your blog audience and earn a good income from your efforts.

Here’s a link to a recent radio interview Darren had with an Australian radio show (Darren lives Down Under). It’s a quick listen (about 14 minutes), so grab a cup of coffee or your favorite tea and have a go.

My takeaways:

a) Network, network, network.

b) Create useful content.

c) Post regularly.

d) Find a niche.

e) Repeat ad nauseam.

Goodbye, AdSense

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A year or so ago, I removed Amazon.com’s links on my site because of growing concern of their obvious attempts to monopolize the publishing sphere, both off- and online. I will admit that I still do purchase from the site; the current state of the economy means lots of penny-pinching where we can do it, regardless of the source. Heck, I might start going to Wal-Mart again. (But probably not.)

Now I’m removing Google AdSense from my blog pages. An email sent to all Google AdSense partners yesterday announced that the search engine giant will now begin to track the sites that blog readers visit so that the ads will be tailored to their “interests,” e.g., “sports enthusiast.” (That’s an example Google mentioned in the email.) The letter informed us that we must now change our privacy policies to reflect these new changes.

Welllllll. No. I have one privacy policy on all my blogs: Any information you send via this blog (e.g., your email address if you choose to subscribe via email) is used solely for the purpose for which you gave that info, and nothing more. I don’t use the info to send anything other than updates to this blog; if you send me a direct email, I use that address only to respond to you personally, not to bombard you with even a single page of spam. And I certainly don’t want any visitors to this blog to have to worry about any tracking service that follows them around the Internet.

So I’ve removed all Google AdSense ads from this blog and will do the same for the others that I maintain. Eventually I want to create advertiser space for companies/individuals to buy directly, but for now, whatever advertising is on this page is from non-Google networks with which I’m affiliated but which don’t [yet?] use tracking services.

My definition of compensation vs. their definition of compensation

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I applied for a blogger position with a career/college site the other day (or was it last week?), and the following is a little sample from their automatically generated response:

We would like contributors to blog about career and job topics and as compensation, we will be giving away 4 $50 American express [sic] gift cards to four bloggers who will be selected at random at the end of the month. Each month, every blogger will be eligible to win even if you were a winner in a previous month.

Eh…hold the phone. Since when has compensation been determined by a random raffle drawing?

Yeah, I didn’t apply for that one. And I hope no one else who responded to this stupid ad will either.

Plurk plurk plurk (I just like to hear the word in my head)

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I was using Twitter for awhile but not really getting into it much. Like a lot of people who make their first foray into that micro-blogging service, I wasn’t really sure how to use it. I used to have one Twitter on my RSS feed reader who was really good at it, but then he traveled constantly, had presentations about fascinating tech stuff like software developments, and knew lots of interesting people in his field, people whose names even I recognized. So he made for some very good Tweeting.

Me? I’m an unknown freelance writer who mostly works from home and considers herself lucky if she could travel overseas at least once a year. At least my Dallas trips have some cool shopping reports.

PLURKING

Anyway, I’ve recently found Plurk, the great blogger and artist Shai Coggins having first introduced me to it. B. laughs at the name, and yes, the name is pretty weird, not to mention the logo. (I mean, what the hell is that? An elephant with its head chopped off and a bone sticking through it? Creeeeepy.) Still, it’s so much more fun and interactive than Twitter, as you have all your friends hanging out on the same open space, and you can watch the conversations all at once rather than having to scroll down to catch older ones.

Also, it’s easier (to me, anyway) to find new friends on Plurk, as you can check out conversations your current friends have with their friends and decide if they’re people you want to get to know as well. It can be hard to find new friends on Twitter, not just because of the sheer number of people using it but also because of the awkward interface.

TWITTER’S LOSSES, PLURK’S GAINS

Oh, and did I mention that Twitter’s rapid growth has resulted in some pretty frequent slowdowns and service interruptions? At one point their Replies function was shut down entirely for days on end, which resulted in quite a few Twitter folks writing angry posts on their respective blogs about abandoning Twitter entirely and finding a more robust service. Several times a day I’ll also try and post something on Twitter, only to get an Oops! page letting me know that heavy usage at that moment won’t allow me to update and that I should try again shortly. Yeah, right. I have that much time to twiddle my thumbs while I wait for Twitter to get its act together.

So if you’re interested in checking out this new, real-time social networking medium, now’s the time to do it. Play around and see how many friends you can find in this small community. You can find my Plurk widget on the right hand side of this page, and you can see the kind of stuff people like to post. And feel free to visit my profile and add me on as a friend. Would love to see you there!

USING MICRO-BLOGGING FOR PROMOTION & MARKETING

Lots of bloggers (Darren Rowse comes to mind) use these micro-blogging media as a means to promote their blogs and products, network with like-minded souls, and just hang out while taking a break from their jobs. The nature of the medium (maximum of 140 characters — not words — means that you can carry on quick, casual conversations without worrying about it taking up too much of your time. (Although I warn you that Plurk can be very addictive, even more so than Twitter.) If you’re a writer always on the lookout for ways to promote your work, your latest novel or e-Book or consulting services, this might be a good, easy option.

If, for example, you wrote a book about phobias, you can poll fellow Plurkers about their individual fears or phobias or ways that they’ve dealt with them. You can link to your blog posts about the subject, although I strongly recommend against using Plurk to do nothing but link to your blog. Otherwise, people will see through your blatant marketing push and ignore you. After all, this is supposed to be about building community, not a marketplace.

Include your Plurk widget on your blog or Web site so that visitors can check out your profile and add you on as a friend. You can begin to build your audience for your book or writing services, not to mention a community whom you can engage on the subjects you know best.

Again, though, Plurk can be terribly addictive, which can only mean one thing for working writers: time away from your writing. Still, it’s a great way to chat with friends and find out what’s going on in their day or in their part of the world without taking too much time out of your schedule.

News flash! Corporate blogs are freakin' dull!

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No duh.

I rarely, rarely read corporate blogs. The only ones I have in my Google Reader at the moment are those belonging to Red Hat and Soft Skull Press (although I doubt the latter would look too kindly at my referring to their blog as “corporate” in nature). I like Red Hat’s not just because it’s related to some work I do for an online IT publication, but also because they just have really interesting notes about their programming. They’re not just regurgitated press releases or self-serving news (although in essence, that’s what they are). They obviously put a lot of effort into ensuring that they provide useful info on their blogs for their readers, and I appreciate that.

Otherwise, corporate blogs are so tired, most often it’s in the company’s best interest to just get rid of them. I associate boring corporate blogs with a boring, non-innovative corporate structure. If they’re not willing to invest in the resources to engage actively with their customers and fans in the most user-friendly way possible, then how could I possibly think that they’d be willing to make any effort in ensuring that my business with them will be pleasant and productive for me?

So if any corporate entities are reading this post (or that article I linked to above) and are wondering what they can do to ensure that their blog reflects the dynamism and customer service-orientation of their company, ask me. I’d love to help you figure out if your communications/marketing efforts in your blog(s) are optimized and reaching your target audience.

News flash! Corporate blogs are freakin’ dull!

Standard

No duh.

I rarely, rarely read corporate blogs. The only ones I have in my Google Reader at the moment are those belonging to Red Hat and Soft Skull Press (although I doubt the latter would look too kindly at my referring to their blog as “corporate” in nature). I like Red Hat’s not just because it’s related to some work I do for an online IT publication, but also because they just have really interesting notes about their programming. They’re not just regurgitated press releases or self-serving news (although in essence, that’s what they are). They obviously put a lot of effort into ensuring that they provide useful info on their blogs for their readers, and I appreciate that.

Otherwise, corporate blogs are so tired, most often it’s in the company’s best interest to just get rid of them. I associate boring corporate blogs with a boring, non-innovative corporate structure. If they’re not willing to invest in the resources to engage actively with their customers and fans in the most user-friendly way possible, then how could I possibly think that they’d be willing to make any effort in ensuring that my business with them will be pleasant and productive for me?

So if any corporate entities are reading this post (or that article I linked to above) and are wondering what they can do to ensure that their blog reflects the dynamism and customer service-orientation of their company, ask me. I’d love to help you figure out if your communications/marketing efforts in your blog(s) are optimized and reaching your target audience.