Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

I am still thinking about what I will do after receiving my final results from Udacity. I am not a party guy but am thinking of doing something really cool. Any suggestions are welcome. There are several things I have picked up along the way, and I have developed my opinions after considering everything I thought I knew and what I know now. Here are my general ideas:

I came from a Java background. After seven weeks, I still love Java so much. My opinions have changed a bit though: I think new programmers should start with Python programming language rather than C++ or Java. The big question is: if you can use a single line of code to print ‘Hello World!‘ in Python, why should you use almost six lines in either Java or C/C++? Go figure that out for yourself. Again, I am not saying Python is the best language out there because that would be an ignorant statement to make. Every language has been designed to do a certain thing.

While my views and ideas have changed, I wonder, what did you pick up from this course? I cannot afford to forget this: the friendships. I joined Udacity with two goals in mind: learn how to program in Python and secondly, make as many friends as possible. I am very sure that I have accomplished both! On my left arm, I have the programming skills I learned and on my right arm, I have friends I made – and yet I have never met them face to face! Just being able to talk to them means a lot, still. Thank you all.

So, what will I let go? A couple of things: the great moments we shared on the forums, especially when I was asking for hints only to be told that I was closer to the answer than I thought. I kept looking through my code lines and three hours later, there it was! I had it. It felt really good, and I was not surprised! Every programmer has a right to shout, jump, scream, but only after fixing a problem in his/her own code! Keep doing the same and never hold back, even when all problems have been solved!

This is my final word for today and this hexamester: This walk in search of skills will not stop here. The road to success has never been smooth. It winds up to the mountaintop from where you and I can look up to the sky and shout ‘We Made It!’. Before that day comes, we must keep fighting the bugs, working hard and going the distance. The question is: How long are you willing and able to make the strides?

I didn’t say this but I will take a photo of me after tonight wearing something like a gown – yeah, why? I don’t take graduations very lightly, even if it is just one course in question – it is an accomplishment right? Thank you for reading and remember to subscribe to my blog! You can read more about me by downloading My Life Sentences – A True Story . Thanks again!! Stay Udacious!!

Elisha Chirchir

 

About The Author:

 

If I say that I am an author, I would be untrue to myself and if I say that am a computer programmer, I would still be untrue to myself. What I can confidently say though, is that I am a little bit of both. I write column(s) for Kansas City Star Newspaper [Faith Walk section], have written my own book(s) and have taught myself to write code [and you can do it too on your own if you have the spirit]. I like charity work and anything that will help make this world a better place catches my attention! Welcome to my blog and have fun.

 

With over 8 million members, StumbleUpon is a web 2.0 community site that discovers great websites and matches them to your interests. Its features allow users to rate Web pages, photos, and videos that are personalized to you using social-networking. StumbleUpon is a great place to discover new interesting articles, useful apps and funny videos. Aside from that, StumbleUpon has the potential to get new visitor traffic and generate some new fans. Many website owners and bloggers encourage the sharing of their articles to StumbleUpon in hopes of driving traffic to their sites. StumbleUpon can be a very powerful tool; when used correctly, some stumblers have garnered up to several thousand hits on a single post, in a single day.

If your looking to maximize results from StumbleUpon with minimal effort check out the tips and video below that cover how to use StumbleUpon effectively.

8  Great StumbleUpon Tips To Maximize Your Web Result

1. Add A Real Photo - Add a photo to reveal that you’re a real person. This is a straightforward task and one of the simplest things to do. Prove you’re a real person and people will more likely follow you. On the top right bar click ‘Settings’ and on the page that loads, click the ‘Profile Picture’ tab. 

2. Write A Catching Intro - The intro which is the spot next to your photo is another important addition. A new visitor who lands on your page will see this next to your photo which will help with credibility and proves you have a blog. Make sure to include links and apply HTML. For instance you can use the tag to separate all links from the actual bio. That way you make them more visible and you add a neat look to the whole intro. Keep in mind that using keywords as your anchor text won’t work, so just go with your blog name.

3. Take Advantage Of The Share Feature -The share feature is a good way to get more likes on your content which gives your content higher priority. “Sharing” can be done in two ways - via the StumbleUpon toolbar, by clicking “Share” and choosing the stumblers you want to share your content with or through the “Your favorites” page. After having someone followed on StumbleUpon a check-box “accept shares to my toolbar” below the “Follow” button appears. Sharing works reciprocally only. Even if you have checked the box, you won’t be able to see the other person’s shares unless he also accepts your shares and vice versa.

4. Get People To Follow You -Getting more followers on StumbleUpon isn’t as easy. Quality content is the single most important reason why people follow you. Problem is that in order to click the “Follow” button, people first need to find you. That can hardly happen simply by making a few stumbles. First place to focus your efforts is your blog and more specifically the “About” page. Believe it or not, the “About” page is one of the most visited places in a blog, so you’ll get plenty of visibility. My second approach is TwitterEvery now and then I’m posting a tweet along the lines of “Are you a StumbleUpon user? Check out my favorites!” Following others and getting them to follow back is another powerful technique. Unlike Twitter, StumbleUpon isn’t really about building relationships and engaging with others, so I don’t see a problem with the strategy.

5. Link to Other Bloggers Who Use StumbleUpon - If anyone links back to you, stumble that post. And be gracious when other people Stumble your pages and content. Say thank you! Positive and genuine interactions, partnerships and content are what give StumbleUpon and other social networking tools power.

6. Track Your StumbleUpon Favorites - It’s important when Stumbling your own website content to track and test which pages get the most attention. Then you know how to create specific content to StumbleUpon users.

7. Don’t Add Stumble Upon Buttons To Your Site - Social sharing buttons and widgets are great: they help your visitors to submit your stories fast to the social and bookmarking sites of their choice. But did you know that onsite SU buttons could be detrimental? StumbleUpon wants you to use the toolbar rather than using special widgets that “stumble” automatically. Simply use the toolbar on a regular basis, clicking I-like-it at any page other members would like to stumble upon. 

8. Keep a Good Follow / Followers Ratio - There is a limit of how many people you can followUnlike Twitter, that limit is fixed, currently at 500 followers. So in order to apply the ‘follow-back’ strategy, you will need to know who to stop following. I first unfollow the least active users. Everyone who hasn’t stumbled (again don’t confuse ‘stumbled’ with hasn’t been online) since more than five days is being unfollowed. After I’ve done that, I go through every page and open all profiles to find stumblers with similarity meter, showing less than 20%. They get unfollowed as well. Then I start unfollowing, folks who aren’t following back.

I hope that the above tips help you to make your Stumbleupon experience a better one and further contribute to the community.

Let us know about your experience of using stumbleupon in the comments.

Thank you for reading this blog.  If you have any questions or suggestions contact me.

The social-powered Web browsing service StumbleUpon now claims to drive more than half of all social media referral traffic in the U.S., according to new data from StatCounter.

Is it true? Is it possible this lesser-known service, which helps users discover Web pages based on their interests and other people’s recommendations, has dethroned Facebook and Twitter?

All we really know from the data is that StumbleUpon drives most of the social media traffic to the 3 million websites that use StatCounter for their Web analytics.

StatCounter is a free service that some website owners install to track relatively simple data about the number of visits. Most news organizations and large websites use more detailed analytics services like Google Analytics or Omniture.

We don’t know who exactly the 3 million sites using StatCounter are (there’s no overview on the site), but we can assume they don’t include a representative sample of mainstream content publishers. And because StatCounter’s data is not weighted to represent news sites or the Internet as a whole, we can’t draw any conclusions.

In the specific case of a news website publishing timely or breaking stories, I expect Twitter and Facebook are the dominant referrers. But there is still a role for StumbleUpon in your social media strategy.

What does it mean?

StumbleUpon has grown to 15 million users and its site traffic is rising. Whether or not it beats Facebook, it can generate significant referrals, so news websites ought to pay attention to it.

While Twitter and Facebook excel at spreading the breaking or local news of the day, StumbleUpon is for the long tail. The type of content that succeeds on StumbleUpon meets a few criteria: the subject is useful, interesting or bizarre; addresses a niche topic; and has enduring value.

To understand why, you have to know how the service works.

  • Impressive. StumbleUpon is a serendipity engine that tries to recommend amusing and delightful pages based on the number of similar users (people who share a particular interest) who “like” a page over time. A page needs to be especially useful, interesting or bizarre to get someone to stop and like it, rather than stumbling on to the next thing.
  • Niche. StumbleUpon users begin by defining their personal interests, and now they can browse within one interest at a time. So the service is a home for things that appeal greatly to narrowly defined audiences rather than general-interest audiences.
  • Enduring. This is not a real-time news network like Twitter. Pages in StumbleUpon gain likes and momentum over time. So think of explainers, guides or revealing features as good candidates from a news site. A site homepage itself often gets traction for the general purpose of discovering the site, whereas you don’t see many Facebook likes or tweets of home pages.

To cement that a little, here are some of the Poynter.org pages that have received the most StumbleUpon referrals this year. The home page of Poynter.org comes in first, and near the top are several how-tos (useful and enduring) on:

How to optimize for StumbleUpon

Not that we need another cottage industry like SEO for StumbleUpon (SUO?), but you can take some basic steps to capitalize on the service.

First, add the StumbleUpon badge to your home page and article pages. Much like the Facebook and Twitter buttons that surely are there now, this badge enables a user to add or recommend your page to StumbleUpon. You also can add a widget to your site that shows your best-rated StumbleUpon content.

Second, be prepared to capitalize on the new visitors that stumble your way. The nature of StumbleUpon is to send browsers to sites that are new to them.

When they land on your site and realize they like it, you should have obvious widgets or links somewhere encouraging them to follow you on other networks or to sign up for email or RSS content delivery.

Linking to related posts on your site also can help extend a StumbleUpon visit through a few pages instead of directly bouncing to the next recommendation. That’s generally good practice for all Web visitors.

For something more specifically targeted to StumbleUpon, you could build a special widget that greets StumbleUpon visitors, introduces your site in a sentence or two, shows other popular SU pages on your site and invites the user to follow you or subscribe.

In the long run, it’s really not useful to measure StumbleUpon against Facebook or Twitter. They exist in two entirely different classes — one is a timeless, passive, serendipity engine, the other is timely, active, two broadcasting networks. Both are important in their own ways, and deserve their own strategies.

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The sun is shining here in Seattle, and I’m beginning to see the faintest hint of tulips peeking up among the tangle of dried weeds and brush in the flower bed.

That can only mean one thing – it’s time for some spring cleaning.

The concept of sprucing up the house and clearing away the winter wardrobe is part and parcel of the whole spring cleaning process.

It’s about a fresh start – a new beginning.

I’ve decided to take my spring cleaning activities on-line this year, and I’m starting with (gasp!) my social media accounts.

I’ve taken to Twitter, followed by Facebook, and I’ve dropped hundreds of “friends” faster than Lindsay Lohan’s stint in rehab.

Wait…did you say dropped?

Yep, you bet I did. I realize that is counterintuitive to anything and everything we hear about social media. Everywhere you turn, folks are telling you how to “automate the friending process,” or “gain thousands of new followers.”

Call me crazy, but to that I simply say, “why?” You already know that I likened buying followers to stuffing your bra, so we won’t go there again.

If you’re like me, you probably have acquired your fair share of followers on the various social networks. I’d like to invite you to take a quick quiz.

Take a look at the bullet items below, and answer them honestly:

  • Of the Facebook friend requests that you’ve approved in the last six months, how many have you never seen or heard from again, aside from that initial contact?
  • Have you bothered to say hello, or introduced yourself on their wall?
  • How many of these new friends contact you only with a slew of requests to “like” their pages, or attend their webinars or launches?
  • How many have disappeared altogether?

These were just a few of the questions I asked myself when I began to take a critical look at my friends list, and pare them down. When I took an honest look at my answers, I knew I needed to make some changes.

I realize that my approach is not for everyone. In fact, I’m sure that there will be plenty of folks who disagree completely. I can only base my decisions on my own user experience.

Speaking of which, once I cleared away some of the cobwebs from my accounts and dusted them off, something interesting began to happen.

The quality of the engagement with my friends actually improved. I no longer needed to wade through pages of clutter, delete dozens of invites, or block countless game updates. They simply disappeared.

It left me time to actually enjoy the experience, develop new partnerships, and make deeper connections.

Of course, now that I’ve got that out of the way, I suppose I need to turn my attention to the spring cleaning tasks here at home.

Anyone got the number for Merry Maids?

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