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Thanks, glad to hear it was helpful! Do let us know what new ideas you bring to life on your blog. And let me know if you have any questions you'd like to learn more about in Part 2.
Congrats, Bill! Proud to say we knew you when we were all just starting out in this social stuff. Love Hootsuite, too, so I'll be thinking of you during our #BlogPawsChat tonight. Hootsuite is the only hope I have for keeping anywhere close to the speed of the tweet stream on these things! Tough on us old guys with slow fingers! ;-D
I was running some ethernet cable across the ceiling in our basement office and stopped to check an email. I caught a movement our of the corner of my eye, turned, and Molly had climbed the stepladder all by herself and was trying to find here way into the ceiling spaces ... unless she really was checking my work! ;-D
I actually heard her bark from my office in the basement and went upstairs to back patio doors on the main floor 2 or 3 times, but no Emily. She does that often enough, playing with me, I guess. Now, I can imagine her in our bedroom another level up, giving her "let me in bark" and hearing me come up the basement stairs, sitting quiet, but all a-wiggle like a good girl. And then wondering why I didn't open the door? When I finally went up again and got a little annoyed to find no Emily, again, I went outside to get her from the side of the house and ... no Emily! That's when I got a little worried and started looking everywhere in the house for her, except our bedroom. Because the door was closed, so she couldn't be in there ... until she barked again. Happy ending for silly Tom!
Toggle Commented Feb 12, 2013 on Missing the fur kids at Scratchings-and-Sniffings
@ Mary - I think you "fit in" perfectly on BlogPaws. You're a blogger who cares about social media and animals! I just watched your absolutely mesmerizing video of the chick resuscitation and that post alone demonstrates that you CARE about both the animals on your farm and how you share that passion with others. Those two things, more than anything else, are the bonds that make us a community. On a practical note, have you tried laying out an editorial calendar for your blogging? Yvonne started doing that on her Lip-Sticking blog years ago and it helped her embrace the chaos of a pretty broad "niche" - women, with a tilt toward business and career. It also seems to give readers as sense of what to expect and when their "can't miss" topics would appear. Tom
Yvonne's right ... it's work, but not work, pure fun most of the time, like all family stuff! And we can't do any of it without our team and the whole BlogPaws Community. We're definitely looking forward to an amazing 2013, shared with all our (like the sign says) "Two- and Four-Legged" family!
@Colby - Great tip! I've read a little about Google's authorship concept and kept meaning to circle back to it. Can you share a quick "how-to" description of setting up Google Authorship? Or a link to one?
Great list, Elisa! I agree with all of your items. I'd add that that I've been happy and proud: - when President Obama stood by the U.S. auto industry - when the U.S. auto companies AND their workers AND their customers stood up, rebounded, and paid back the loans early (no, the CEOs didn't "build it" by themselves) - when the President kept his pledge to put enough troops and resources into Afghanistan to make a difference and then announced a definite plan for getting them home - when he brokered the international effort to minimize the blood-bath in Libya (only wish there was a similar solution for Syria) - when he worked so hard and came so close to reaching a compromise deficit reduction deal, only to have it scuttled by the Republicans over tax cuts for the wealthy (McConnel, Cantor, and Ryan, to name some names mentioned in the press coverage last July) On your Affordable Healthcare Act item, I'd also note we are personal victims of the private insurance company system and will be helped greatly when the pre-existing condition rules take effect in 2014. We were both covered continuously from birth, when for no other reason than we moved to a new state, the insurance company took the opportunity to treat everything in our medical histories as pre-existing. Until the new law kicks in, we essentially pay premiums for nothing except possible future catastrophic illnesses. In know there are more, but these help show the leadership I want in my president.
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Hi Bonnie, One of the screwiest parts for me is that there never were any "cowboys" in the romanticized sense from our TV and movie shows. From Lewis and Clark on, the West was populated by wagon trains and groups of trappers, miners, explorers, and settlers. Glad you like the graphic and please feel free to share it anywhere you think it'd be useful. Facebook image link Tom
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Hi Sybil, Congratulations! Both you and Toby have always inspired us and re-affirmed our conviction that blogging is a great way to find and nurture long-term friendships. What business or organization wouldn't benefit from making that a core function? I laughed out loud at Toby's "strange, but true" observation that so many business folk still worry about blogs being "on their way out." Way back in 2008-09, I had some fun with Graeme Thickens (with his good-natured help) in a series of posts about the evolution of his attitude toward blogging as a business tool. He had the misfortune of being one of the earliest examples I found online, with his 2005 article, Enough with the Blogging, which opened with, "Business is like so not interested." He gave ten reasons why he thought blogging would never be adopted broadly by businesses. Here's a link to my intro post on our (since evolved) Business Blogging Boot Camp blog: But if you really want to experience one of the biggest benefits to business from blogging (SEO-juice that lasts a LONG time), try finding it the way I just did: Google this string of terms (without the quotation marks) - "Tom Collins Graeme Thickins blogging" One never knows how Google's algorithm adjustments will affect individual results (I'd love to hear what others get), but on my screen the top three were: #1 - Graeme's blog, Tech-Surf-Blog (yes, he's still blogging actively for his business) #2 - Our Business Blogging Boot Camp blog main page, with what turned out to be the last post on that blog, before it became Books, Blogs, and Beyond (if you scroll down, the second post dated Nov. 30, 2008, is part 3 of my series) #3 - My intro post to the series, linked above. Anyway, for me, the blogging-is-dead crowd have always been businesses and marketers who are too lazy to commit to a long-term integrated strategy for their online marketing. Yes of course, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest, and so on, are great tools for making connections. But, as Toby pointed out, putting all your content on somebody else's platform is "digital sharecropping." Try finding something that anyone posted on Facebook in 2008! I don't mind renting extra acres to serve the needs of a particular season or crop (campaign). But I prefer to own my main farm land, for long-term business relationship-building. So congrats, again, to both of you for sticking with what (still) works!
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@Caren - Hey there, are you using the "light" version on BlogPaws Community? If so, once you've saved the image in your photo album(s), you should be able to Right-click on it and "Save Image As ..." (or whatever the Mac equivalent is), to save to your hard drive. Then, if you didn't want it public, I suppose you could delete if from your album (though I don't warrant anything being truly "deleted" once it's online!) ;-D If you're in Phoenix, I haven't tried actually creating images and saving them from it, he typed sheepishly! ;-P The tool set is just so impressively similar to what I'm used to in Photoshop and Fireworks, that I had to share! I guess I'm going to have to commit to looking over their tutorials and recommending (or adding to them), eh?
@Dayna - Happy to contribute to your happiness! As to layers, if you've ever seen one of those shows about how Disney animators worked with multiple layers of clear plastic to create scenes with depth, that might help you envision how to use layers with images. Does that ring any bells? @Linda - Ah well, I can't "activate" it unless/until the NL provider first installs the API in their tools. ;-( Meanwhile, you can use the "light" version in the Community (that's likely all we'd ever get inside another tool), or take the plunge with Phoenix! Happy to try to help, if you hit any snags. Let us know if you give it a whirl and what your results are, okay?
Hi Amelia, I was completely overwhelmed the first time I attended a Pawty. One of the nice folks attending saw my tweet to that effect and suggested using TweetGrid. After setting up a 1x1 grid, you can search for the hashtag #BlogPawty, which slows things down (a little bit) by showing you only the conversations using that hashtag. Of course, nowadays you can do much the same right in Twitter by doing a search for #BlogPawty, saving the search, and using the Searches tab in your Twitter account. And I now pretty much do all my Twitter stuff in HootSuite, creating a separate stream tab for the search: "#BlogPawty" But the one big advantage TweetGrid still has is the ability to enter the hashtag in a box and have it automatically entered in each of your tweets, so you can keep up, without losing the thread of your own conversations! Please come and see, even if it just looks crazy at first. I think you'll figure it out sooner than you expect! Tom
@ Lisa, I think you have "perfect pitch" on this whole paid product review problem! If all bloggers who do product reviews can keep in mind how they want to be treated as readers (friends), then they'll have no trouble keeping faith with, and the trust of, their own reader-friends. If marketers can understand and operate within that mindset, there really shouldn't be any problem to worry about. Thank you for expressing it so well! Tom
@ Robert & Gene (samsonmedia), Others have addressed your question about what to do if you get paid to review a product that turns out to be horrible and provided good guidance. But I also think the way the question is asked is over-simplified and appears to set up a highly unrealistic and unlikely problem in a couple of ways. First, the question seems based on a scenario where a company sends a blogger both a product and payment without the blogger first making a choice to accept the task - and the particular product. If you're doing product reviews at all, the most likely sequence will be a pitch from the company or agency. The blogger will get the opportunity to review the information about the product in the pitch and probably find more online, both from the company, media coverage, and consumer generated sources. In most cases, the blogger will be able to tell ahead of time if it's a product she or her pet is likely to find "horrible." And it's at that point that most bloggers will decline the offer. Thus, the problem you postulate will rarely arise. The second oversimplification, though, is the notion of sending a blogger a product that he finds "horrible" in every possible way. In almost every case I can imagine, there will be something positive the blogger can write about. That does not mean leave out the constructive criticism. The blogger's readers expect and deserve to hear his full and honest opinion of the product. And the company who sent it should expect the same -- and be grateful to get it. There's a wonderful book about consumer feedback called A Complaint is a Gift. That's what the negative parts of a review are and how the company should view them. A really smart marketer would take part in the comment stream on all reviews of their products. On those reviews with negative or critical aspects, they'd see it as an opportunity to gain as much feedback as possible, while (if appropriate) providing additional information to the blogger and readers. A negative review doesn't always have to be a negative, for the blogger or the company. Tom
Hi Megan and Gregg, In Gregg's comment and an email exchange with Megan, you both address the payment of bloggers for content they create using the analogy of newspapers and reporters. I think Gregg's suggestion that we find a whole new way to think about the roles of content creators in social media marketing may be the key. But I don't think it helps to keep using analogies to old media based on assumptions that were never true in the first place. With Megan's permission and to provide full context for my thoughts, here's what she wrote to us about Yvonne's post: "It’s actually articles like these that get bloggers in trouble. As PR people, we don’t expect people to “work for free” and I have no problem sponsoring bloggers or paying for ads. I do not advise clients to pay for a review though. We treat bloggers like reporters. We wouldn’t ask a reporter to take money in exchange for a story. They’d frown upon that. Now, advertising in the reporter’s magazine? Completely okay. So, we’ll pay for advertisements on the blog, but not the review. "And, if that closes off some bloggers to me? So be it." Here's a slightly revised version of what I wrote back to Megan: I think your view of bloggers is founded on a faulty analogy. “Reporters” have always been paid for the stories they wrote. They have always been paid by marketers. In the traditional media model, they just made deals with middlemen called editors/publishers to pass the money through. This allowed the “reporters” to pretend that what we call independent journalism was/is somehow devoid of profit motivation. It allowed marketers to pretend that what we call “earned media” was/is, too. Neither pretension has ever been true. If your clients came to you with a blogger outreach marketing program intended to generate “earned” product reviews by bloggers, would they expect you to handle it for free? Would you do so? Your clients are paying for the reviews. You mention in your post over on your blog that you value the reviews at 9 times that of an advertisement. Why should the bloggers who create the actual content that you and your clients covet most be expected to do so for free? Suppose a client came to you with a celebrity endorsement marketing project where they had a relatively low budget and wanted to get, say, a rookie athlete who was one of the late round drafted, not-yet-a-big-name players. Now suppose you went to his agent and suggested that he appear in a couple of endorsement spots for free to establish himself (as Stephanie Azzarone says bloggers must do in her Engage:Moms post, How long do you think it would take the agent to stop laughing? As Yvonne always points out, when you pay bloggers for a review, you’re paying for the work they’re doing, not for their opinion. Just as you’ve always less directly paid “reporters.” I’d add that you’re also paying bloggers for their writing skill, web-style publishing talents, and access to the numbers and relationships they’ve built with their readers. It’s those relationships with our readers that make bloggers more valuable to you than most paid “reporters,” not less. A quality blogger has devoted a lot of time developing her writing and publishing skills, but poured even more into nurturing relationships with readers and fellow bloggers. It matters less (or should) how big the audience is, than the depth and strength of these relationships. When a blogger with strong reader relationships reviews a product and opens with the FTC required disclosure, those readers trust the part that says, yes, I’ve been paid by the company, but this is my full, honest, impartial review of the product/service. That trust is something a quality blogger has earned and will not abuse. It is something you and your clients cannot buy elsewhere. In the end, I’m talking about quality. Over the long haul, you’ll get what you pay for, or pretend you don’t have to pay for. It has always made a difference to your clients (and the fee you can charge them) whether you could get them written up in the New York Times, or a small town weekly. In the blogger review arena, you can work with quality bloggers who’ve come to understand their own value, or keep finding new bloggers who are willing to work for free. So, in my opinion, when you talk about being okay with being closed off to “some bloggers” that’s what you’re really doing: closing yourself and your clients off to quality. By the way, for me the term “earned media” in the blogging context should now refer to things like comments, trackbacks, shares, Facebook likes, Tweets, and so on. Which kind of bloggers are more likely to help your client spark those kinds of earnings? As I wrote to Megan, this comment is really a blog post (or series) that's been rattling around my head ever since I read the Engage:Moms piece linked above. But Yvonne keeps preempting me! ;-D So I'm glad this one, along with the comments, gave me the excuse and inspiration to get it out. Thanks! Tom
Thanks, Cokie. Love the quote you shared, too! I'd seen a couple of similar sentiments, but his choice of wording helps drive home his point ("misfits" ... "push [us] forward" ... "crazy enough" ...). So I guess we should all be checking occasionally to see if we're crazy enough, eh? Tom
Hi Nancy, I hope you'll go read Pamela Webster's wonderful post: Lessons in Grace - The Idealists vs. the Realists: It is a beautiful set of guidelines for life and work among people trying to make things better, each in their own way. And if anything positive can come from our recent conflict, her advice may help the wonderful, passionate pet people who have come together around BlogPaws accomplish more together than we could apart. The big bad institution BlogPaws has consisted of three people and a handful of helpers and volunteers. We've been working to build the pet blogging community BlogPaws for less than two years. None of us have ever claimed to be infallible, as some seemed to think we should be. If that's what you expect of us, then to quote Wesley in The Princess Bride, "Get used to disappointment." We can only try to get better from each lesson. I'm sorry we upset you and sorrier that our actions seem to have left no room for forgiveness in your heart. May you heal from this, too, Tom
Thanks, Vicki. And thanks, Mary, for the heads up on the link - all fixed.
Thank you, Kyla, for reminding us we're all on the same side when it comes to pet welfare and pointing the way for us to work together and be more effective as a pet blogging community.
Wow, Edie ... I expected more from a professional writer like you, whose work I've admired and complimented, publicly and privately, over and over. As far as being unfair to Mel, I went back through our post again and I do regret not being more disciplined about saying it was her posts (both of them) that are examples of irresponsible blogging, and not her personally. But frankly, having just typed that, it was not her blog that made no attempt to reach out to us before clicking publish. I'm a bit fuzzy on the meaning of your second sentence, where you apparently accuse us of misrepresentation. Are you saying that all puppy mills, websites that sell puppies, and responsible breeders are the same? And your third sentence, where you say a website "seems like" a front for a puppy mill ... well, Edie, that's exactly the kind of unsupported assumption that makes it harder for all bloggers. And your last paragraph is both ironic and ... exasperating. You rehash the problems of BSL in Ohio and Denver, although you attended both events and were a speaker at the one in Ohio. You know from private conversations with me and from Yvonne's public comment on your post ( ), that we were not aware of either location's rules until after the conference venues had been booked. Before all "you-without-sin" go off on questioning how we could not know, go read Dr. Kay's Speaking for Spot post from less than a year ago on her "education" about the scope of the puppy mill problem ( ), where she wrote, "As a veterinarian I’m embarrassed by my naïveté about puppy mills. To some degree, I think I’ve been floating along that river in Egypt (De Nial)- far more pleasant to be “out of touch” rather than “in touch” with the true horrors of what goes on in puppy mills." Since those first two mistakes, we've worked very hard to investigate the pet-related laws in any location we consider. We've crossed off California entirely, because it has an idiotic ferret ban and we can't imagine BlogPaws without our littlest attendees (so far)! Edie, I was and still am hopeful we can elevate this discussion to be more about how we can all get better, instead of what we've all done wrong. I'd have pegged you as a leader in that direction. As our post says clearly, we acted on the FACTS that we were able to gather. Our speaker list was published for months and nobody said a word, let alone offer any new, verifiable information. I certainly stand by our choice not to demonize a person based on unsupported allegations and assumptions about what a website "seems like." If it turns out we screwed up, we'll be the first to own up to that and keep trying to figure out how to do things better next time. It's the only way I know to move forward ... Tom
@Barbara - As I wrote on FB, I've never stopped enjoying "kids" movies, so I was happy to read your review with a similar reaction. @Laura - Hmmm ... do we have a certain French Canadian brew in mind? That might REALLY help save the local theater industry! ;-D
Thanks for the input Maida, Edie, and Karen. Edie, I've had some interactions from @ScottMonty and some of the attendees at #FordTrends via Facebook and Twitter, all indicating thoughtful awareness. As you say, it'll be interesting to see where it leads. Maida and Karen, you both mention Subaru and I'm curious what actual pet safety features you're thinking of? In the BarkBuckleUP ratings for 2010, only one Subaru model, the Outback, made the list. My understanding is that - in the absence of real safety features - criteria like how easy it is for dogs to get in and out are often treated as important. What I'm hoping to spark is a discussion and then serious actions to make both pets and the people they're riding with safer. From what I saw at Ford, the folks there are very much tuned in to safety issues and have some great resources available to bring real pet safety to their vehicles. Tom
Yes, Missy, and you've shown again what a great "village" the online pet cummunity is to be part of! Your "no one alive is you-er than you" quote keeps echoing in my head. I hadn't seen it before and, because of the ... let's go with "uniqueness" of me, I had to try to find out where it came from! As you probably already knew, I learned it's from Dr. Seuss' book, Happy Birthday to You! Anyway, you've given us another inspiring example of what one person can accomplish -- and the personal joy that person gets back -- by taking action on an idea and follow the winding path it will lead you on. We have many other examples, especially among our more artistic BlogPaws folk, from painters like you and BZTAT, to Kyla Duffy's "Don't Kill Bill" aerial act, to our 12 year old granddaughter Miah's efforts to use her passions for dance to Start the Change. But I think it's important to re-emphasize your main point that it doesn't matter what your particular talents or passions might be, you can still make a difference. This quote from Kyla's Up for Pups Do Your Part page drives home that point: "Consider the difference between sitting at your office desk and entering data into a spreadsheet and sitting on your couch, listening to good music with your furry best friend by your side, entering data into a spreadsheet. Either way, you’re entering data, but for obvious reasons doing it at home with your furry friend is much more enjoyable. Now consider entering data at home with your furry friend warming your hip but doing it for a cause close to your heart. That’s creative volunteerism." The creativity comes, not from trying to be the next Missy Johnson, but from finding a way to use "the uniqueness of you" for a cause that matters to ... you! Thanks again for sharing your story and inspiring us all.
We enjoyed seeing you, too, Beth. Global Pet Expo was amazing in lots of ways and we'll be sharing more, once we get Yvonne back from AAHA. And THANKS for that personal intro to -- and impressive demo of -- the new BISSELL hot water carpet cleaning system! Looking forward to seeing you and the BISSELL Team again at BlogPaws 2011!