virtualDavis

ˈvər-chə-wəlˈdā-vəs Serial storyteller, poetry pusher, digital doodler, flâneur.
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Migration Time

Serengeti wildebeest migration, Tanzania

Wildebeest Migration, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania (Image by Marc Veraart via Flickr)

Welcome to the future. virtualDavis is migrating.

Unlike the annual wildebeest migrations across the Serengeti, Masai Mara and Liuwa Plain, it’s been almost a decade since my last migration, and I’m not searching for greener pastures. Not literally, at least. I’m not abandoning my URL, but I am transitioning the site from Drupal to WordPress in order to standardize and simplify daily blogging. I am still (and will continue to be) an outspoken Drupal enthusiast and advocate. Organizations and individuals building websites with sophisticated CMS should at least consider Drupal. If they don’t they obviously have time and money to waste. Let them waste it. It will help buoy the economy. I continue to use Drupal for sites that I maintain and/or develop, and I intend to for a long time. Drupal is to website developers what Creative Commons is to content creators. Times ten. Or a hundred!

So why am I switching to WordPress? If Drupal is the CMS Holy Grail, I’ve come to believe that WordPress is the blogging holy grail. It is intuitive, easy to use and teach others to use, incredibly well supported and for all practical purposes it has become the “Dixie cup” of blogging software. I do wish that it offered a bit more robust, non-blogging CMS potential, but for my current needs (blogging across multiple domains), consolidating my interface to a single, effective platform offers me a major value.

It will take some time to make the transition, so until further notice I encourage you to stick with my regular domain where I’ll keep a link posted to the temporary site. Once I complete the migration from Drupal to WordPress, I’ll shift the new site to the old URL. Until then, thanks for your patience. Heck, thanks for following my blog in the first place!

FYI: If you’re looking for current happenings, you might want to check out virtualDavis on Twitter, virtualDavis on Facebook or virtualDavis on Google+. Or drop a note!

Power of Story

“Facebook: Unfriend Coal” (video via youtube.com)

Clever, clever, clever! A slightly annoying yet surprisingly compelling digital story about Mark Zuckerberg (the face behind Facebook), his web progeny’s appetite and the dietary choices Zuckerberg makes for said progeny. I’ll leave the conclusions up to you, but take a moment to experience this digital storytelling gem.

Update:

Activist efforts to green social networking giant Facebook appear to be gaining traction. Corporations around the world are watching and learning from Facebook, not just how to grow a business in record time, but how to respond to global pressure from the very social network you’ve created. Tolerance and dialogue are key, but so is weighing and responding to the needs of your constituents. The following stories are a good barometric reading. What will tomorrow bring?

  • Facebook Under Pressure to Be Greener “Facebook, the giant social networking site, is under fire from Greenpeace International, the environmental campaigner, over its construction of a data center in Prineville, Oregon, that will be powered by PacifiCorp, a company that gets 58 percent of its energy from burning coal…”
  • Facebook Saves Face, Joins Verizon, Sony, Microsoft in Green Coalition “Facebook is the latest digital giant to join the Digital Energy Solutions Campaign (DESC), a nonprofit launched in 2008 that brings together leaders in the information technology industry to work on environmental and energy consumption issues. The social network joins Intel, Verizon, Sony, Cisco, AMD, Microsoft, and Hewlett-Packard in the campaign, which works on sustainable best practices for large technology companies…”
  • Facebook Kicks Off A Weak Green Offensive “Facebook has been repeatedly called out for not doing enough to promote renewable energy for its new data center, so what is the massive social network doing with this public relations dilemma? Launching its own Facebook page and joining groups to demonstrate its green cred, of course…”
  • Facebook friends the environment … or does it?“Facebook announced today it’s going green. The social networking giant unveiled “Green on Facebook,” [and] … joined the Digital Energy Solutions Campaign, a group that works on public policy and setting standards for energy efficiency. In a way, the move marks Facebook’s position as a top, global company — it’s certainly trendy, if not mandatory, for all large, big-name companies to sign onto green initiatives…”
  • Facebook enlists in pro-green coalition “Facebook on Thursday unveiled “Green on Facebook,” a page dedicated to spreading environmental awareness and other “green” news, and in tandem announced its participation in the Digital Energy Solutions Campaign (DESC), a nonprofit coalition of large technology companies and trade groups designed to solving the problems of environmental degradation and energy consumption. It’s organized by the Information Technology Industry Council…”
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Are Twitter Friends Real Friends?

This isn’t a new question (or a new answer, for that matter), but Misty Belardo (@mistygirl on Twitter) underscores her affirmation with five pointers for how to stack the odds in your favor.

Twitter is a great social networking platform. It lets you communicate with people from all over the world 24/7 real time. We are always told that you cannot have real friends online and that it is impossible to have meaningful friendships with your Twitter friends. I would like to disagree. I believe that you can have real friends. There are a lot of people that I have become close with that I met on Twitter. They are a source of encouragement and a true source of joy. You may think I am nuts… It is really not hard finding wonderful people on Twitter, you just need to know how to be open to friendships as well.

  1. Don’t follow just for numbers – Twitter is your chance to really get to know real people.  The numbers may be worthless if you cannot connect and inspire others.
  2. They are not mere avatars – They are human beings that live and breath.  Twitter is full of real people that you can communicate and share with 140 characters at a time.
  3. Be Yourself – Don’t be pretentious.  People will recognize that you are being that way. Just be who you are in real life.  If they see that you are genuine, people will warm up to you.
  4. Don’t be afraid to say hello – Just like in real life, friendships begin with a HELLO, so don’t be afraid to speak out. It does not matter how many followers that person has, they will reply to you if they see that you are friendly, share wonderful info and are open to communicating.
  5. Introduce others you know – I know the coolest people and the most engaging ones because I was introduced to them by other people. I also, in turn, introduce the people I know. Giving is always much more fun, don’t you think?

via Can You Have Real Friends on Twitter?

I’ve frankly been a little surprised at the sort of friendships which can develop out of Twitter. I was a reluctant latecomer to the Twitterfest (“Tweet, Tweet, Tweet”), and I initially considered Twitter to be little more than a playful, less personal alternative to Facebook. The 140 character limit was a fun challenge, and the communications were quirkier (and often more clever) than the updates on other social networks. And the open, searchable sea of tweets was intriguing. I began to find myself “polling” twitter to find the pulse on topics that I normally would have used Google news for. Raw, unfiltered, real time information. Real people. Real social web! Sort of an open source social network. I got hooked.

I enjoyed posting more and more. And I enjoyed following other interesting posters more and more. I honed down the niches which really compelled me (ie: @virtualDavis) and began “stumbling” upon fascinating individuals all around the world who shared (or despised) the ideas, activities, ambitions, curiosities, etc. which tug my attention. Often bizarre, sometimes inspiring and ocassionally critical dialogue (trialogue, quintialogue,…) evolved. And in several cases, these virtual conversations — 140 character ping pong matches — have germinated into friendships. Real friends. So, are Twitter friends real friends? They can be. But just like the non-Twitter realm, friendship is rare, special and takes some effort. Twitter just ramps up the diversity and geography of your potential friends. What are you waiting for?

Keyboard Fandango


Flying Fingers (Photo credit: The Hamster Factor)

Plenty of keyboard clatter of late, but less productive than I need to be. To Do lists remain long. The “I’ll get right to that” pile is growing. The Twitter chatter is excessive. Time to knuckle down and knock out an outline, another chapter, a running commentary for 15k+ photographs. So if I vanish from the blogosphere for a few days, please celebrate. If you find me back in the banter, remind me not-so-gently to get my posterior back to work.

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Cut Through the Social Media Noise

Once you find time for social media and move from social chatter to using social media for a purpose, you’ll see firsthand how difficult it can be to get noticed… How do you cut through all the social media noise and get people to notice what you have to say? Fact is, it’s not always easy.  To help you, here are 10 ways to make your message more likely to get noticed:

  1. Simplify Your Message
  2. Find Your Space
  3. Use Appropriate Channels
  4. Spread Your Message
  5. Get Help
  6. Appeal to Ego
  7. Cut the Clutter
  8. Appeal to Primitive Instincts
  9. Use Keywords
  10. Stick to One Point

Getting your message out there is not always about what you say but as much how you say it. Don’t just shovel your messages out into your social media channels. Think carefully about your audience, what they like and react to, and what else is going on within those services and networks.

Most of all… It’s not what you say that matters, but what your readers hear!

It’s your job to keep crafting and honing your message until you get it right. If people don’t “get it,” keep working until they do!

Chris Garrett‘s post is a good reminder to everyone using social networking for anything more than mere entertainment. If you have a message that you’re trying to spread, these ten steps are a good starting point! Read the full post on via Social Media Examiner.

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Influence the Influencers

I’ve discovered that the top thought leaders on the web will bend over backwards to help a true fan. Let’s talk about how to become one… (PushingSocial.com)

Despite the goofy Michael Jackson admission/reflection, Stanford’s three tips for how to get your blog noticed and promoted by super influencers is on target:

  1. Help influencers create, curate and promote their content
  2. Become a “true fan” by learning, following and recruiting
  3. Act now; don’t get derailed asking, begging and waiting

As Seth Godin explains: “Change isn’t made by asking permission. Change is made by asking forgiveness later.” Seems germane here, no? You’re hoping to change an influencer’s opinion of you (notice you, respect you, refer you, etc.) and there’s no better way to do this than to contribute your own influence. So long as it’s authentic endorsement. Keep it real! Life’s too short to pose or pander, and your integrity’s all that you’ve got!

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20 Best WordPress Tutorial Blogs

WordPress is one of the most popular CMS and blogging platforms around, mainly because it is free and it is 100% customizable… I will showcase 20 of the best WordPress Tutorial Blogs that have written many wonderful and insightful articles with various tips that either helped me optimize my blog for SEO, helped secure my WordPress installation from hackers, to finding the best WordPress themes , or even creating my own WordPress theme for my blog. (Web Design Fan)

I recently helped a friend with her blog, poking around under a WordPress hood for the first time in years. I was impressed. It’s a whole different beast from what I experimented with years ago, and I now understand why it’s the world leader among blog/cms software when ranked by number of users. Impressive! And I’m going to keep exploring in the weeks and months ahead. This posting is a great springboard for new-to-WordPress bloggersDo you know of any other great WordPress resources?

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Do We Need to Kill Social Media?

Unfortunately, today’s “social media” conversation is all too often like the Buddha on the road. Instead of discussing the profound impact the phenomena is having within businesses, society and brands, the conversation is often focused on setting up a Twitter account or the next “viral video” — tempting eye candy that shifts the attention away from the transformative nature of this emerging form of human communication. It can be argued that the term “social media” itself is stunting the potential of the very force it is trying to describe and, hence, has outlived its usefulness.

via imediaconnection.com

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How to Get Traffic for Your Blog

Seth Godin (author of Tribes which is captivating me at present) offers an epic list as “a partial answer” to the question, “How can I drive more traffic to my blog?” Here are my “Top 10” favorites from his list:

  1. Share your expertise generously so people recognize it and depend on you.
  2. Encourage your readers to help you manipulate the technorati top blog list.
  3. Tag your posts. Use del.ico.us.
  4. Do email interviews with the well-known.
  5. Encourage your readers to digg your posts. (and to use furl and reddit). Do it with every post.
  6. Post your photos on flickr.
  7. Highlight your best posts on your Squidoo lens.
  8. Point to useful but little-known resources.
  9. Ping technorati. Or have someone smarter than me tell you how to do it automatically.
  10. Write stuff that people want to read and share.

Posted by Seth Godin on June 03, 2006 | Permalink

Read the full post here: sethgodin.typepad.com

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Want to Go Viral on Twitter?

“Publishers can complain and wistfully wish for the good old days of blog links and Google juice, or they can adapt to the new reality Twitter represents. Getting your content “ReTweeted” on Twitter (i.e. getting people to repeat what you’ve said, usually along with a link) can drive significant quality traffic to your site, which in turn can boost your subscriber numbers… So, how does ReTweeting happen, anyway? Well, here are the 5 factors you need to take into account when trying to get your content to spread virally on Twitter”:

1. Call to Action
2. Timing
3. Links
4. Social Proof
5. Value

Read the post at Copyblogger.

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