Matt Damon’s Speech

This article has been making the rounds recently.  It captures the speech given by Matt Damon at the Save Our Schools march in Washington.  The speech ends with a vote of support for teachers.

Please know that there are millions of us behind you. You have an army of regular people standing right behind you, and our appreciation for what you do is so deeply felt. We love you, we thank you and we will always have your back.

The message, captured as a Tagxedo appears below.  If you’re an educator, make sure that your read the entire article.

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Response to “Blogging Pet Peeve Number One”

I enjoy it when I read a blog post that expresses a strong opinion that I can agree with.  It lets me know that I’m not alone in my feelings.  I ran into such a post about blogging yesterday morning.  "Blogging Pet Peeve Number One" by Barbara Swafford talked about one of the blogger’s frustrations – that nobody reads your blog.  The timing was so perfect as I had just sat in on the "comments4kids" presentation at the Reform Symposium.  As I’ve noted before, this is a "Hashtag You Shouldn’t Ignore".

Towards the end of the post, she talked about some suggestions for bloggers.

  1. Write shorter posts
  2. Use bullet points
  3. Use photos or white space to break up the verbiage
  4. Ask questions at the end which don’t “test” to see if the visitor read our post, but instead are relevant to the content.

These are good solid points of advice for anyone who blogs and should lead to a more successful blog and subsequent following of it.  I know that it describes my reading habits – I want to get in, get the point, and be on my way.  I like to think that the content in this blog is created the same way.  I’d like to think that I take up to two minutes of your time for me to say whatever it is that I’m saying and then you’re off to the next stop of your reading journey.

Think of your own reading habits?  Do you spend time reading long epistles or are you the quick in and out type of reader?

Barbara ends her posting with a question "Do you have any other tips on how a blogger can improve their chances of having their posts read in their entirety?

My answer to that is reader loyalty.  I think that once you establish that, they will read it – particularly if you follow the suggestions above.  But, how do you get reader loyalty?

I believe that it stems from posting regularly.

If you establish a regular posting routine, it honours the reader and lets her/him know that dropping by your blog is worth their time and effort.  How often do you find one good post and then wait for months for the next?

I’d like to think that I follow this myself.  I try to make sure that there are things posted here regularly.  Not every entry hits it out of the park but you never know what will entice your followers.  Now, many people blog to push a business entity and you’ll read about people blogging their brand.  I’d like to think that I’m blogging my brand as well.  For me, it’s about constantly learning and I’ve always shared what I’ve learned with anyone who cares to read/listen.

When I worked for a local school board in the role of Computers in the Classroom Teacher Consultant, I felt that it was imperative to share what I’m learning.  After all, I didn’t have tests to mark or report cards to finish – I thought that my job was to learn, research, and share so that others didn’t have to – flatten the learning curve, if you will.  While I was a blogger, we also had a private conferencing system where I shared so much with our teachers.  Once a month, I also put together an online newsletter.  It was part of my bigger Computers in the Classroom website.  While I’ve declared my content deprecated now, the content is still online and you can read things from the last May newsletter all the way back to the first online newsletter in February 1998!  Even back then, I had no sense of design but hey… The nice thing was that I always had an opportunity to create my own resources for the workshops and presentations that I did.  You could set your watch by the announcement of a newsletter.  It was always available at the beginning of the first Monday of classes in any given month.

I do agree with the content in Barbara’s blog post and would encourage you to read it in its entirety.  I know that I’m going to follow it – maybe she’ll talk about "Blogging Pet Peeve Number Two"?  I think she’s nailed it with her suggestions and I think that having regularly posted content will establish better reader loyalty.

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OTR Links for 07/31/2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Best Extension In a While

For the longest time, I was a real Firefox fan.  What appealed to me was not only was it a great web browser, but with all of the add-ons, you could truly make it your own personalized browser.  With the add-ons, you could actually make it do things that were unique to the way that you browsed and processed information.  It was the beginning of “life in a browser”.  I still have Firefox on all my computers and keep it up to date.  There are still some websites that work best with Firefox.

My primary browsing is done now using Google Chrome.  Its appeal is largely the same as Firefox – I can make the browser my own.  My browsing experiences are so much better the more that I enhance basic Chrome with its extensions.  In fact, my extension collection looks like this.

Can you name them all?

In this post, I want to highlight the newest extension to my collection.  It’s located on the far right and goes by the name G+me.  When you click to configure it, it sure doesn’t look like much.

However, if you’re a Google Plus user, it does so much.

I was actually getting frustrated with Google Plus.  I know that it’s new and that there are lots of new user trying things out and building their own networks and all that stuff.  But, after a while, I must admit that it was overwhelming.  Good people posting good things and then comment after comment just kept piling it on.  However, G+me changed things dramatically.

By default, Google Plus is set to what’s identified above as “expanded mode”.  That gives you everything.  A simple radio button click later and list mode changes everything.  Instead of post and reply and reply and reply and reply…., you’re presented with a stream of one line per message.

My Ontario Educator stream, for example looks manageably like this!

It’s now a piece of cake to see exactly what’s going on in that world.  I get who, time, a snippet of the message and the number of replies to the message.  And, when there’s something of import, like a posting from Peter McAsh, it’s just a matter of moving your mouse over the one liner and the complete message along with any replies.

If I could make one suggestion for a change to it, it would be to make it configurable to various circles.  There may well be smaller circles where an expanded view might be better as a default.  It’s a small thing.

Singlehandedly, this one extension has changed my whole perspective of Google Plus.  I still get the same volume of information but it’s now manageable.  If you’re a Google Plus user and you use Chrome as your browser, you owe it to yourself to give it a shot.  For those big circles with lots of people and lots of posts, it really makes a difference.

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OTR Links for 07/30/2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.