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If the journalist vs. blogger debate hasn’t died yet, here’s some new fodder to either fuel it, or finally put it to rest. I say kudos to PR Newswire.

Here’s the skinny from PR Newswire:

NEW YORK, April 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — PR Newswire, the global leader of innovative marketing and communications solutions, today announced the launch of PR Newswire… for bloggers , a dedicated resource for self publishers, online journalists, hobbyists and other members of the ever-growing blogosphere.

PR Newswire… for bloggers features both original and third-party content relevant to a blogging audience, while also providing information about the range of services PR Newswire offers to bloggers, such as customized newsfeeds, listings of upcoming events, a news widget for websites and blogger media tour opportunities.

“PR Newswire recognizes the growing influence of bloggers and our goal is to make it as easy as possible for them to access the content, tools and information they need to develop their blogs and increase visibility,” said Thomas Hynes, manager, blogger relations, PR Newswire.  “PR Newswire…for bloggers is designed to be a one-stop shop, consolidating numerous resources into one comprehensive and easy-to-navigate space.”

Furthermore, each week, five new blogs are reviewed and profiled on the site. The compilation of blog reviews illustrates strong examples of blogging on a variety of subject matters. Currently, the site includes reviews of food, film and education blogs.  The chosen bloggers are also given a badge of recognition from PR Newswire to display on their site.

“There are so many great blogs out there – and that list grows daily,” said Hynes. “Our goal is to highlight some of those blogs we find interesting or influential – which ultimately comes down to engaging content.  Fortunately, there is no shortage of great blogs publishing just that so we shouldn’t run out of candidates any time soon.”

For more information on what PR Newswire is offering to bloggers, visit:

It is so easy to read through your favorite blog posts and chime in with a cursory comment such as: “Spot on,” “great post,” “I agree with you 100%” and “Me too.”

The same goes for online communities and forums.  While I enjoy reading the actual posts, sometimes the best content is in the comments. It’s the different perspectives and point-of-view that add value while also introducing you to people you may not have otherwise come in contact with.

I can recall a time when I was a very active commenter on my favorite blogs. It comes in waves now based on my workload but I always strive to post something of value. So whenever you see one of my comments, you better believe that I thought about my words before posting them and felt like I had something worth adding.

As a community manager, you come to value comments in a way that is indescribable. I’m sure that bloggers feel that way too. But when you are charged with growing a community, you truly associate the comment with the person’s time. You see the direct correlation because you are painfully aware of the fact that there  are so many choices online and you’re grateful that for that moment, you were one of their choices.

Comments yield opportunities  

Another reason to be smart about your comments is that you never know who is reading. I’ve gotten great opportunities from comments. It’s nice to get an email from someone indicating that they read your comment on  a post and they’d like to interview you for a story or connect with you in some other way. It happens all the time, so you’re actually helping yourself when you do this.

Posting thoughtful comments isn’t hard to do, but it’s much easier when you care about the topic or feel some sort of emotion as a result of what you just read. But even if that emotion is lacking, you can still add quality to the conversation beyond “Spot on” and the others mentioned above.

If you want to get started on improving the quality of your comments, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Post a different perspective with no intention of starting a fight
  • Explain why you agree with the author
  • Always post more than one sentence
  • Quote exactly what you liked and add a bit about why it struck you
  • Encourage the author to write more and tell them what you’d like to see discussed next
  • Offer new ideas

I recognize that some of these tips may be painfully obvious, but if they really were, I think we’d see many more thoughtful comments. And if you’re on the receiving end of those comments, be sure to express some gratitude and thank people for their time.

Remember, they could be anywhere else on the web, and the fact that they are with you is something you have to learn to appreciate.

Jeremiah Owyang has a thought-provoking post today about whether or not blogging is evolving into life streams. He notes how bloggers like Robert Scoble and others are much more focused on the real-time web, while seemingly putting their blogs on the back burner or shutting them down altogether.  It’s a great read and I encourage you to go over the Jeremiah’s blog and take it all in.

What I want to focus on for a bit is the concept of building community through these life streams, or through an aggregation of life streams. I’m not sure that it’s possible.

I am a big twitter user. I also use Friendfeed and a great deal of other social media platforms. I like the constant stream of fresh new content coming in. But I also know that I miss a whole lot of it and the stuff that I miss is pretty much gone forever for me.

I may go back a few hours on my twitter stream as time permits, but for the most part, I don’t. I miss 85% of the happenings on Friendfeed, but since so much of it is feeds from twitter, blogs, etc….chances are I may see it somewhere else. So to be fair, I’ll say I miss about 65% of the content streaming on FriendFeed.

Existing solely through life streams seems a bit disjointed to me.

The ultimate aggregation of your activity across 10 or more platforms is not a selling point in my book. Talk about noise.  I do not believe that ones online presence is the sum of it’s parts, and that is what such aggregation suggests.

You can’t combine all of your activity into one place without somehow connecting the dots and expect people to latch on to you, or join your Tribe.

Now, I know that this may work for the superstars and we can see that it does.

But you will lose me if you resort solely to this kind of online presence. I am not saying that blogging is the only way. But your followers, readers and viewers sometimes deserve a complete thought with a beginning, middle and end. If you are providing that in your life stream, kudos to you. Maybe you will continue to build community, which for me is the ultimate goal.

What do you think? Are life streams a bit disjointed or am I way off-base here?

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This is a cross post from the American Society of Business Publication Editor’s national blog.

Engage or Die: Why your publication must embrace social media

Would I like you to click the link and read the post? Yes, but that is not the point of this particular post. I am bringing it to your attention to highlight a different lesson altogether. It’s one that I believe is greatly overlooked but can be done almost daily, and without a great amount of effort if you’re passionate about a topic.

Let me tell you how I got the opportunity to blog over there.

It all came from a thoughtful comment I left on a post that was recognized by the editor who later contacted me and asked me to write on a specific subject. That was not my goal when I left the comment. I was just doing what I do: Participate in the conversation, add value when I have it to offer and share my passion about online communities, social media, journalism and a few other topics that I pretty much live and breathe.

But the opportunities didn’t stop there. I was also asked to come speak to a group of editors in Washington, DC next month. All from one little comment.

Do you see the amazing value in that?

This is why I always say that we have to communicate like the whole world is watching. Chris Brogan often talks about providing value and readily sharing what you know. I think comments is one of he easiest ways to do that on a large scale.

Have you ever seen entire posts on popular blogs that stem from the comments? That is often where the reading gets good and the conversations reach a whole new level.

There’s power in the comment box. Share what you know, and scour the comments section of your own posts for nuggets of wisdom and ask for more. It’s the ultimate community builder.


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As I was perusing my feed reader two nights ago looking to see if there was any room to clear before adding some great new voices, I found myself at a loss in terms of determining who, if anyone, I should ditch.

I wasn’t necessarily looking to ditch anyone in particular because I like to have lots of options and throughly enjoy reading and learning from other bloggers, but I figured there had to be a few I could do without at this point.

What I found was there were several who had seemingly abandoned blogging altogether or had perhaps gotten way to busy to post with any regularity. But I still couldn’t bring myself to ditch them.

I thought about various “time-elapsed since posting” criteria to incorporate such as eliminating any blog that hadn’t been updated in, say…three-four weeks, but then I thought: “Well, what if they’re sick or had a family emergency?” “What if they’re working on a project overseas or if life has just gotten them tied up and away from the computer for a while?”

I then became concerned that I’d miss their next gem. What if they write something that could change my life and I miss it? That could be tragic!

I didn’t even want to entertain such a miss, but a few minutes later I did a complete 180 and convinced myself that if it was indeed a gem, surely one of my tweeps would post it and I’d come across the link that way.

Then I thought about how much I miss on twitter, so that took me right back to square one.

Now, two days and one clear head later, I’ve decided that a blog subscription is a privilege. It’s an honor. It’s me saying to you that I value your posts, your insight, your intellect and the time you take to share it all and most importantly I want the opportunity to read everything you write. To me, that’s a pretty big deal.

So shouldn’t that value come back to me, your faithful reader, as well?

Shouldn’t I expect a little more from you? I certainly want my Essence magazine to show up in the mailbox every month, and when it doesn’t I’m unhappy and ultimately due a refund, right?

Now, I do know that I didn’t pay for the blog subscription, at least not in cash.

But I do pay in a different currency, and it’s an ongoing payment: T-I-M-E.
And that is worth it’s weight in gold.

So please, keep blogging. You have readers for a reason. They want to read.

If you can’t deliver, perhaps it’s time to issue a refund.

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internetsummitI’m here at the inaugural Internet Summit in Chapel Hill and just left an interesting presentation called Blogging and New Media.

The panelists: Andy Beal of Trackur, Henry Copeland of, Brad Hill of Weblogs, Inc, Tim Schigel of ShareThis and Scott Gardner of Triangle Direct Media.

They all underscored the importance of something I believe in wholeheartedly: Creating a conversation and engaging users online. Andy consults on reputation management, so I was particularly interested in some of his comments because I always open presentations with this: “If you don’t manage your online reputation, Google and others will do it for you.”

Here are a few of the notes I was able to jot down during the panel. I’m also sending out tweets, so if you aren’t already following me on Twitter, I’m @communitygirl.

A few takeaways:

  • The driving force behind blogs should be radical commitment to transparency.
  • Blogging is a lifestyle, attitude and participation in the community. No blog is an island. There is a series of blgospheres. A swarm of people behaving as a group.
  • It’s not about audience. The word is community.
  • Principles of blogging:Post a lot, and succinctly. Be short and targeted. Be prolific and precise.
  • If CEO wants to blog, ask what communities you want to participate in.
  • Companies that treat bloggers like they would The New York Times will find success.

More to come…

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While perusing my feed reader tonight I realized that I am in need of some fresh voices, new inspiration and mind-blowing ideas.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe I follow some of the best in the business and come in contact with good ideas often, but it’s time to mix it up a little.

I am still very interested in social and traditional media, and managing online communities but I’ve also become quite intrigued with various aspects of online marketing, personal branding (thanks, Chris Brogan) and book publishing.

I am just about done with what will be an amazing book proposal, following on the coattails of my ebook 18 Ways to Engage users Online (yes, I’m confident) and I need to add some of the best brains in the business to my reader.

So, who do you read on a daily basis? Who is your Twitter VIP? Which FriendFeeds send you into creative overdrive? Do tell. It’s time I take it to the next level and I’m ready to be blown away.

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This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer. Feel free to challenge me, disagree with me, or tell me I’m completely nuts in the comments section of each blog entry.


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