Social Networks for Writers

August 27th, 2012 |

Social media networks have grown to be a major part of popular culture. People throughout the world use the largest sites to express short, random thoughts or to rant about various topics. Social media networks allow people to stay in touch with their friends or reconnect with people from the past. Other, slightly less popular social networks can be used for career building or professional networking purposes.

The online communities these days do not have to be trendy mainstream sites. There are also social networking sites for particular interests. For example, there are several social networks for writers. is one of the networking sites dedicated to writers and their interests. Pondrin works by encouraging a system of feedback and encouragement among its members. The process is simple. A user earns points by commenting on other users’ blogs, stories, publications, and other works. The points can then be redeemed to allow the user to publish his or her own writing. Any type of writer is welcome. Users can write poetry, short stories, opinion pieces, academically inclined explanations of prominent news topics, or whatever else strikes their fancy. The front page shows links to the newest members, the most recent posts on blogs, and the latest publications in the creative writing area. The site also allows users to “friend’ each other.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Oh Ning It! The Cost of Free

April 27th, 2010 |

Ning, a community builder, is now phasing out their free version, leaving all the non-premium networks without a home. While relocating to another place may not be an issue for most people (small, non-serious niche sites), the ones who planned on making a business out of their site are pretty much left with two choices; build elsewhere or upgrade.

If you find yourself leaning towards the “build elsewhere” option, you might want to take this lesson into consideration: Even free has a price. While it’s a common sense lesson, I constantly run into people who forgo my advice to pay for something they can actually call their own, instead choosing to go the DIY route in search of free.

Free doesn't always equal freedom

I remember a client who wanted to purchase my domain name and services… only to reverse their decision and use a Ning site instead. After trying for a year, their attempt at branding the site not only failed (the brand name competed against my former brand), but they underestimated the complexity of the net in general. They thought upgrading to premium features would help. They did not understand what they were getting into, causing confusion to both the owners and the members. Oh, and they lost a lot of money in the process.

Are free web apps and sites are the devil? This isn’t always the case. I, myself, use free apps on a daily basis because I understand “the cost of free.” The cost I’m referring to can be expressed in a simple equation:

(Ease of use + Ability to grow) – Frustration with limits = The Cost of Free Read the rest of this entry »

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Ready for Tomorrow? Brace Yourselves for the IPad Release!

April 2nd, 2010 |

Apple iPadFor all you Apple aficionados, we’re down to the last few hours. Thus begins the hardest part, waiting the less than 24 hours away from the  “big release.” To some of you, it’s like following the Dead on tour; you’ve done it enough to know the ins-and-outs. For others, this may be your first time.  A word of wisdom – always assume the product is going to be bad so that you don’t get shocked into unconsciousness. Plus, if it’s not that bad, you’ll have something to feel good about. If you have an iPhone, assume it will be the same but much more intense; Apple isn’t releasing a new product, but feels they’ve found the missing link. Remember that you can always walk away.

The iPad is a curious gadget; while it’s not really a tablet PC, it’s not an e-reader, iPhone, or iPod, either. Wait! I’ve got it. The iPad is the bridge between your phone and your computer.  The iPad is really a new species – a hybrid, if you will – integrating much of the activities for which we use phone or computer.  I think that it started off as an iPod but didn’t want to become a full fledged laptop.  In a way, the iPad is like a utility baseball player; they can play every position, but their not focused on one particular position.  In case you were wondering, Apple refers to the iPad as an “Internet Tablet.”

Before rushing to the store, or getting irritated by yet another gadget, the iPad does have some impressive standard features. Off the shelf (if it even makes it to the shelf), the iPad will be decked out with the following features:

  • iPod and iTunes Store. iPad will sync just like an iPod
  • Safari (web browser) and E-mail
  • Photo and video storage
  • YouTube Application
  • The App Store (of course) as well as Apple’s new iBooks and iBookstore
  • Maps, Notes, Calendar, Contacts, and Spotlight (desktop search)

The iPad was not created to replace your phone, but it can if necessary by using a Bluetooth headset to place calls over WiFi or 3G using VoIp protocols. Everything is touch-pad sensitive, just like the iPhone.

I’d tend to think that with the speed of technology, waiting might be the best gambit, although I do have to admit that “having it first” is a narcissistic pleasure that somehow defies logic. Yet, first isn’t always best. There are bound to be software bugs mixed in a with healthy dose of user stupidity. Lets not forget all of the other sordid details a new product release brings, like arguments, pushing, fights, disgruntled customers and similar crap. We’re buying iPads to make our lives easier, but we’ll take a couple of shots at our neighbor to do so – all our work towards civility, kindness, love thy brother, and peace all goes down the drain when you’re between me, and what I want. I will fricking kill you if you get in the way of making my life more fluid and urbane. That’s right. I will kill you. (If you happen to meet this person, let them have the iPad. People have been robbed at gun point for a Tickle Me Elmo.) Read the rest of this entry »

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Jeff Louis