Have you ever wondered how Bluetooth got its name?
OK, the headline does say ‘unusual’ so perhaps this would be a good time to slip in a link to the mechanics of a man hug – a post with some truly entertaining videos and pictures, naturally.
It seems like everyone thinks they know everything about grammar. In reality, there are a lot of folks who correct others without even realizing their own corrections are also wrong. So, before you assume you know what’s right and wrong check out these top ten grammar myths.
I’m not sure if there is anything truly new here but it’s good to read some life hackery now and again so here are 5 tips for being a good leader.]]>
Not all travel has to be out-of-country to be exotic. Here are some great travel ideas for seeing the United States in ways that you might not normally think of.
Here are some amazing abandoned buildings in Europe that are well worth a visit – and most of them are far less vandalized and much older than comparable abandonments in the United States.
If you’re into something really offbeat, you could always check out these theme parks. Alright, maybe you’d rather go on a more traditional kind of trip. Want to hit the beach? Here are ten of them to choose from.]]>
1) Original Posts: Sure, there are blog posts you could call “original” articles. Usually, though, these means telling a personal narrative rather than discussing a current idea, topic or news item. Why? Because as soon as you are talking about news or anything outside of your personal life you will inevitably be repeating information. Still, this applies to a rather limited set of blogs and blogging styles or one-off articles.
2) Collections of Information: One of the best ways to add value for a reader is to collect information (whether in list format or otherwise) in one place. In this case the creative act comes not in the discovery but in the presentation of said information. Take the Discovery or History channels for example: they typically are not showing you anything you couldn’t find out in some obscure source or possibly even a textbook. Still, many of us don’t have time to research topics so we tune in to regularly scheduled programs for a dose of information on a particular topic. Is the information completely original? Not typically, but it is presented in a new and easily legible format.
3) Connecting Readers to Resources: A great way to bring value to your readers is to bring your readers to other resources that they value. This is often something that is done in conjunction with the above strategy. You can create an article collecting a variety of information on a single topic and link intelligently so that readers can learn more about the specific aspect of that topic that they are interested in. Again, you aren’t creating entirely original content but you may be pointing readers to other original (or not!) content in a unique way.
So, while it might not be terribly useful to simple reword what someone else writes about on another blog you can add value without being the first and only person to know about something. The question you should always ask yourself, though, is whether what you are doing adds value for your readers – whether it gives them something that they couldn’t find (at least not as easily, quickly and legibly) somewhere else.]]>
Researching online can be a real pain and too many people default to Wikipedia when they aren’t sure where to look. These 25 Online Resources for Reliable Researched Facts are a good place to start looking beyond your standard haunts. There are many other places of course but this well-written list is a good one to bookmark for future use.
I saw this a while back but never posted about it: a great article on How to Find Weird Stuff on the Web by ReadWriteWeb. Even if you’re not looking for weird stuff per say this is a good introduction to alternative methods of finding information online.]]>
How does an article go from being just another post on a blog to a web-wide sensation overnight? I would argue that at their core most of these strike the right blend of fascinating, novel and mainstream: they are compelling enough to grab your attention, strange enough that they present new information and yet of general enough interest to have a broad appeal to many people who frequent the world wide interwebs. Here are 12 great examples that illustrate these principles in more ways than one and are incredibly entertaining to boot!
LifeHackery’s 99 Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Objects another great ‘themed’ post built around items that everyone has in their home – what better way to draw readers immediately than to point out that boring old objects laying around might have strange secondary uses? Some of the particularly clever/innovative ones come complete with pictures which provide a great initial boost to the article.
OddOrama’s 5 Brilliant Reverse 419 Scams is immediately understood by anyone with an email account, because we have all gotten those strange scammers who offer us billions if we just help them out, right? Better yet, this article shows how people got back at those scammers we all love to hate. Images help break up the content visually and provide some interest on top of the text.
DarkRoastedBlend’s Art of Extreme Sleeping is an excellent example of a themed image collection that, no doubt, started when the author found one such image and became determined to find more related images. There isn’t much text, but not much is needed: the title is self-explanatory and the work of assembling the post comes mostly in the form of finding great photographs for it.
DeputyDog’s 13 Worst Fake Accents in Film taps into classics that many people have seen, and is sufficiently comprehensive (as a list of thirteen) to include something for everyone. Moreover, who hasn’t cringed when they heard a truly terrible accent from a famous actor whose nationality is painfully obvious? Of course, no such post would be complete without a series of YouTube videos as examples.
Ecoble’s Man-Made Mexican Island Paradise conjures the age-old idealized goal of living somewhere on one’s own private island. Pictures and videos help fill in the details for sure, but the article taps in on a more basic level to a combination of popularly held dreams and extreme oddities. After all, it isn’t every day you read about an island built from a quarter-million plastic bottles!
OneMansBlog’s How I’d Hack Your Week Passwords hits you on the head with the first sentence: it addresses the reader directly and in a highly alarming way. A lot of us realize in the back of our minds that we have weak and possibly hackable passwords but we tend to try not to think about it. This post explains how some strategies are weaker than others, helping (after scaring) the readers.
WallStreetFighter’s 11 Photographs that Look Photoshopped but Aren’t ties into the classic debate about images found online: are they edited or are they real? Well, this collection of images highlights the fact that images that seem impossibly surreal may actually have been created by unconventional means and yet may not have been edited after the fact – you just never know.
PocketGadget’s 10 Accidental Inventions again ties together the basic argument of this article: that web-wide successful articles and blog posts involve elements of the familiar and the unknown, tied together under a common theme that everyone can relate to. Some of these inventions you will be familiar with, others undoubtedly not and all are quite interesting.
EliteFeet’s Eaten by Trees immediately conjures a seductively strange and implausible mental image – one that begs readers or potential link-clickers to reach forward and find out more. And when they look? A potent and somewhat humorous set of illustrated examples of the passage of time, with objects being overrun by trees – a seeming paradox since trees are some of the slowest-growing things on Earth.
CapnWacky’s 20 examples of Unusual eBay Feedback really hits home for most any mainstream web user. Who hasn’t used eBay or a similar site and checked feedback to see what a seller’s or buyer’s reputation is? So readers can instantly relate to the content and yet it is probably funnier than any similar content they read on eBay (and they almost certainly have never seen so many strange ones in one place).
WebUrbanist’s 7 Abandoned Wonders of America brings home a strange point: that even in the wealthiest of countries in the world there are buildings that remain abandoned and unused. For American readers this is perhaps a strange awakening, though many of the locations are in major cities that people are familiar with and maybe didn’t know contained abandonments.
AllSux’s collection of strange articles that went all over the internet … oh wait, that’s this article?! Well, it is impossible to say for sure what will happen with it, but it does fit the formula I argued for: you can of course relate to popular articles on interesting subjects, the topics chosen are of general interest to web readers and hopefully you haven’t seen some or all of these before so this post contains new information. Thanks for reading and if you enjoyed this article feel free to pass it along.]]>
Perhaps you some enjoy pages you find on StumbleUpon but a lot of the results aren’t relevant? Maybe many of your finds are relevant but you want more people to share them with? Or maybe you just love StumbleUpon, have some people you know using it, but want to find even more? If any of these rings true perhaps you could use some better methods of finding ‘friends’ on SU.
While many StumbleUpon users merrily Stumble away without interacting with others, a fair number of people join StumbleUpon in part because they want to network with others in the community. Whether you want to find people with similar interests or simply want to find more interesting things to StumbleUpon it is worthwhile for every Stumbler to make Stumble-friends.
A good first step is to be sure you have ‘Stumblers’ selected as a StumbleUpon interest. That way in the course of your normal Stumbling you will come across other users. You can choose to either add these users as friends or simply Stumble on. To add this category go to your StumbleUpon page (username.stumbleupon.com), select ‘preferences’ then ‘Stumbling’ then ‘Update Your Topics’ then ‘Society’ and check the ‘Stumblers’ box.
Another great way to find and friend Stumblers is by clicking the bubble dialog box on pages you like (the cartoon talk bubble you see next to your ‘I like it’ thumbs up and thumbs down buttons). See who discovered the page and/or who left interesting and positive comments on it. Then go to that person’s Stumble-page and see what common interests you share.
For those who use various social media sites: be sure to check friends’ profiles in places like Digg and Pownce to see if they list their StumbleUpon social media profile. For some people, they may have the same username across multiple sites. Other users may have a variant so simply checking username.stumbleupon.com may not be enough to find them!
If a person has more than 200 friends (the limit on StumbleUpon) you may wish to ping them and ask if they would be interested in adding you back – otherwise you could decide you’d rather wait for someone who will be a mutual friend. Some Stumblers who regularly find or rate interesting things may be worth adding regardless of whether they ‘friend’ you back.
Don’t worry about networking on StumbleUpon all at once. Usually these things happen over time and some people will become inactive over time as well, buying you more free ‘space’ in your friends network to add new people as you encounter them. Maybe you know of some better ways than those listed here to find people, places and things on StumbleUpon – if so feel free to share below!]]>
And can you blame them? There is a lot of good content on the web, so an introduction that is catchy (a question, little known fact or amazing statistic) is key. If you can, make your article into a list whether or not you envisioned or even initially wrote it in list format.
If there is any way to do it, be sure to lead with an image. Have more than one image in your article? Then lead with the best one you have. People will read the bold print of the headline, see the image and on that basis will (likely) decide to stay or go.
To maintain visual interest, it can be helpful to mix images in through a post to provide relief from the text and to keep the reader interested. Another way to do this is to provide bullet points, indentations or other visual breaks to relieve the monotony.
But wait, you found something interesting to write about, but it’s short and self-contained … it could never go viral, right? Well, in some cases a single subject post can succeed if it is provocative, newsworthy or original enough. However, in many cases you can take a seemingly solitary item and make it into a collection.
But before you jump all the way into researching your article: check social news, networking and bookmarking sites to see if your seemingly brilliant idea has a shot on them. A subject may be interesting to you but you need to know if a broader audience will go for it.
OK, so you tried it and it didn’t go as planned. What did you do wrong? Well, you might have a hard time finding that out. You should be sure to check the comments on your site and on social media sites to see what the public’s reaction was. Also, it might seem scary, but you can always contact someone in your niche who has success writing viral content and see if they will give you feedback.]]>
1) Digg is a democracy: in point of fact there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work that goes on with regards to upcoming stories making the front page of Digg. The algorithms of Digg are designed to enable newer users and new sites to frontpage more easily. However, the flipside is: new users on and sites submitted to Digg are watched more closely as possible spam. Further, there are even “secret editors” (Digg employees) that make final decisions on some content and who might choose to promote something (or not) for unknown reasons.
2) Digg is completely corrupt: while some users come in with rose-colored glasses others come in with huge skepticism about the Digg voting and promoting systems. Anything as extreme as “completely corrupt” is, as you might have guessed, going to far. Sure there is corruption but there are also checks and balances in the form of Digg’s algorithm, manual bury features (including a “bury as spam” option) and Digg’s secret editors.
3) Digg is all about who you know: there is definitely an element of trust when it comes to veteran Diggers submitting content. However, a completely new user could frontpage their first story if it were completely exciting, extremely original or breaking news. Another way to break in as a new user without many “Digg friends” is to watch the RSS feeds of top sites like Ars Technica that have a huge following – you can then “piggy-back” off the popularity of the site.
These are just a few, really, and my final advice would be: seek out someone who knows the ropes on Digg and ask them what’s what. Honestly, at first (at least for me) the idea of approaching a veteran user was a wee bit frightening, but looking back on it any one of a number of top users would have been happy to answer questions related to Digg.]]>
Huffington Post: Anonymous has already beaten Scientology: “In other words, for all their supposed higher-brain functions, compliments of L. Ron Hubbard’s questionable teachings, they can’t win this one. A group of internet savvy kid vigilantes has, to some extent, already beaten them. ” February 10th, Join the protests at Churches of Scientology Worldwide
How I Escaped Scientology: A well-written, honest account of the experiences a former upper-level, inner-circle Scientologist who spent 20 years in what he describes as a “slavish” cult. He also gives the insider’s scoop on the formation of Scientology.
And for Good Measure: Secret Documents of Scientology
Anonymous’ Second Address to Scientology:
Honk if you Hate Scientology:]]>
For one thing, they are long, cumbersome, awkward and hard to remember at times. They also tell any web-savvy visitor that you are doing whatever you can to come up on searches – that your goal is traffic and that you’re ‘working the system’ to get it. To people like me at least that is a warning light, a red flag that you might have poor content you are simply trying to dress up with targetted Google-friendly keywords.
There is another thing, though, that a lot of people don’t think about: the prestige of the domain name. A short, quirky and memorable domain is hard to think of and many or most are taken. Anyone can go out and find three generic words to string together (e.g. BlogHomeZone.com or MedicalTreatmentSolutions) but few can find 5 to 8 letter domains that aren’t a jumble of consonants and vowels. In short, when people see a shorter domain name they are cued into the owner’s credibility in one (or all) of three ways:
(1) they can see the owner spent time and thought coming up with a creative name and thus that they have a personal investment in the site
(2) they understand that the owner has paid something for the domain and, as in the point above, that the author consequently has an investment (monetary in this case) that they wish to protect
(3) they realize that the owner has probably had the domain for a long time and thus has already invested considerable time and effort into the site
These kinds of things may not be readily apparent to a new blogger or website developer but that is precisely the point: they are common pitfalls made when people purchase their first domains. Are you stuck with a domain you don’t like? It might be best to learn from it and move on. Still picking one? Think about how tech-savvy individuals will perceive it and let that guide you in your purchase!]]>