Facebook is changing the rules again …

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I like Facebook!

One of the things that will likely remain constant is that if you rely on Facebook for your online presence, you will always be changing and updating – mostly because they like to change things up quite often.  This time it looks like the changes are preparing them for increasing revenues within the Facebook Ad system.

Change is Good Donkey!

Don’t get me wrong, I love Facebook just as much as the next guy.  But, I have to admit that I am terrible at adding content to my Facebook page, and my friends know that I am also terrible at adding content to my personal account.  I log in once in a while and leave funny (actually I am the only one that thinks they are funny) comments on other people walls.

I think that your Facebook page is essential to your online presence for your business.  I also advocate that you should have an actually website address, and if you want to participate with your community, you should probably have Twitter as well.  It’s tough to keep up.

I can help you if you would like to learn more about these changes.  I am in the process of updating my Facebook page.  Sign up below to keep up with the new changes for local online marketing.

Community Merge Epiphany – Worlds are Colliding!

On my way to work this morning I was listening to Mitch Joel’s “6 Pixels of Separation”, for the second time.  I purchased the audible book about a year ago, and listened to it then.  I pulled it out of the console the other day and popped it in to get a second listen.  It was awesome the first time.

He was talking about how communities are starting to become just communities.  At least that was my take on in.  Before I used to have on-line communities, and off-line communities that I belonged to.  I participated in both.

I know for me it was actually like a divide between both.  I had to consciously strive to add value to my on-line community when I was on the Internet (which is probably too much).  I was always an early adopter.  I was on Twitter relatively early, and Facebook as well.  I have a Linked In account, and recently Pinterest (I have a lot more that I never log into).  I resisted the Pinterest craze for awhile, and I’m still not sure it’s for me, even though most of the women at work rave about it.  I have yet to meet one guy who has even mentioned it (except me in this article – oops).

I realized that I have started blurring the lines.  I don’t even think about it now.  When talking to friends we find ourselves continuing conversations started on-line, while we are talking in person at the gym or the rink.  Information gleaned off-line is added to conversations on-line and separation of the two worlds has merged.  Like George on Seinfeld said, “Worlds are colliding”.

For George it was a bad thing, but for me it’s a great thing!  That’s my random thought for the day…

Have a great one!

Save $5000, and Build Your Own Site

So you need a website?  Or maybe you already have a site that you contracted out to a designer? It’s a really good looking site, and you probably paid quite a bit of money for it.  Maybe $5000 or more…

Did you know that you can create your own site, and do it for a relatively small cost (Free to create, and about $10-$15 per month for hosting)?  You will need to invest some time to learn the process, and get familiar with terms and concepts that are important for completing the task.

The thing that I would recommend for anyone wanting to create their own site is to create a website that incorporates a blog.

I actually use blogging software – specifically WordPress (It’s very easy and you can do it yourself) to build the entire site.  There really is no better way to start your online presence in a practical way that will grow with you, and help keep all of the content you have, and the content you are going to add, organized.

That’s what I do with this site, and with my newest site GoYorkton, and I have also been doing this for Premier Cabinets and many other sites I developed over the past few years.

Everything I do can be done by yourself for free.  It’s pretty easy, depending on the skill set you already possess, and your desire.  Actually your desire might be the only real obstacle.

Below is a very rudimentary list of steps to create your site:

1.  Research and Buy a Domain Name
2.  Pick a Webhosting Company that has Fantasico installed on it’s cpanel.
3.  Use Fanatisco to install WordPress on your domain.
4.  Modify WordPress and start adding content.

It’s really that easy.  You can keep it that simple, or modify and create as much as you’d like to.

Thank You Twitter

I just wanted to do a quick “Thank You” to twitter.  This post was inspired by Jimmy Fallon’s new book of Thank You’s.  He is hilarious.  So here I go;

Thank You Twitter, for keeping a record of all the insane thoughts, and comments, that I would normally just think, and forget.  As I grow old it will be nice to see how many times I said publicly what I was thinking, rather than just keeping it to myself and avoiding future embarrassing moments.

Top 9 Things We Do Online

We are online more now than ever before.  As a society we are replacing what we used to do offline with online activities. It is easier, quicker and way more convenient to do these things online.  According to the PEW Research center (May 2010), here are the top 9 things we do online.

9.  32% of us take the time to rate products and services.

8.  59% of us look for “How To” information.  (As an aside, that is one of my favorite things about the web)

7.  61% of us do Social Networking.

6.  66% of us buy products online.

5.  72% of us go online to have fun, and pass the time.

4.  75% of us get our news online.

3.  78% of the population does product research.

2.  87% of us use search engines.

Drum Roll Please!!

1.  94% of us send or read email online.

I’m not sure about you, but I do all of these things.

The Internet Has Changed The Way We Live

It’s a fact that the Internet has fundamentally changed the way that people find, discover, share, shop, and connect.

My wife and I were talking the other day, and we both agreed that we could not live without our computers.  We are in our 40′s, and we still associate the Internet with computers.  But, many people use the internet everyday and never log on to a PC, or a MAC. Smart phones and tablets give us everything we need to actively use the Internet for our daily lives. I’m not there yet, but I do use my Blackberry for a lot of things.  I still do like the feel of looking for most of my information online using my laptop.

In a typical day I may need to find a number for someone.  I don’t use the phone book anymore unless I absolutely have to.  In addition to being inconvenient, and sometimes hard to use, I hate getting my fingers all black while looking for a number.  (maybe it’s just my phone book?)  I’d much rather just google the name of the business I am looking for, or go to Sasktel.com and find the person I’m looking for.

The last item I purchased, of significant value, was a hockey (goalie) helmet.  After sizing up the options at a Sporting Goods store in Winnipeg, I returned home with a great price in mind ($399.00 CDN).  I then went online to a Canadian Sporting Goods site, and the best price I could find was $429.00 CDN.  That did not include shipping.  I then checked a US based site, and they had the exact same helmet on sale for $349.00 US.  I ordered it there, and including shipping, the helmet cost $365.00 CDN to arrive at my doorstep. (I love the value of our Canadian currency right now)

My aunt, and cousins live on Vancouver Island.  I keep in contact, and know what’s going on in their lives more that if they lived in Yorkton.  Even though Facebook gets a bad rap at times from some people, many, many more love it and use it every day to connect and keep up with friends and relatives all over the world.

I’m pretty much done writing now for today.  I think I’ll take a few minutes now to day dream and maybe plan my next vacation.  I can find airfare and hotel costs in about 5 minutes.

I love the Internet!!

Sign Me Up Sparky!

Well it’s actually called mySpark. But it looks like it may just give the Ipad a little competition, and if the price is right I will definitely be looking into one for myself, and maybe my students as well.

Plus, and this is a big one for me, it’s Canadian. This tablet will be coming out sometime in 2011. It will be worth a good long look.

http://mysparktech.com/features.html

The Future of School

This post is inspired by Chris Brogan’s post, The Future of Work.

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Everyone has a story about school.  We all attended school, and we all have some good memories and, unfortunately, some bad.  My goal as an educator is to make more good memories, and we are all about celebrating success at my school.  By the way, I am a Vice-Principal, which traditionally has been the person who handles most of the discipline after the students have made some poor decisons.  My main focus at my school is to make the school a better place, and to make the learning experience for our students that best that it can be.  Below is a list of how I see the future of school evolving.  Some of these things are already starting to happen. Schools that embrace these trends will succeed.

School is team work, and collaboration.
Desks will no longer be in rows all day.  Students will be given tasks that require team work and foster interpersonal skills that will be valuable in the “real world”. Working as part of a team is how life works for most people. Students and teachers will embrace this new model and work together to help  everyone learn.

Teachers are Facilitators of Learning.
Teachers pose questions and let students discover the answers.  The days of sitting in your desk and listening to someone for half an hour or more are gone.  Ideas are presented, shared, discussed, and then utilized to solve problems.  Discovery is the key!

Students who struggle will get help!
Struggling students have almost always been left behind in the past. Teachers have always felt pressure to teach all of the material presented before the end of the term, or the school year. Teachers will now work closely together to gage learning, and then go back to meet the needs of those who did not get it the first time.  This will have a huge impact on student self perception and success rates.  You will know that your teacher cares, and this will inspire you to succeed.

Testing will be the start, not the end.
Testing of students will set the course of study.  It will not be the only measuring stick.  There really is no sense focusing lessons and teaching on things that students already know.  The only way to find out what is the best to teach is to test before you really begin a topic.  That will give definition to future needs.

Education will take place everywhere.

Kids have all the gadgets.  they are super connected and they use their connections to find out anything they are interested in.  It is intuitive for them to search out answers.  They don’t wait to find out the answers at school, and probably never really did for their most important questions. Schools will embrace this fact and stop fighting it, finding ways to welcome this connectedness and using it to advance learning in school.  Those who “get it” first, will succeed faster!

Schools are changing, but change it difficult for those involved. The future is here in our home life, and it is imperative for our society to bring the future to school as well. Our work force is reliant on schools to prepare people.  Everyone wants to be productive.

3 Words for 2011

This post was totally inspired from Chris Brogan’s post, “My 3 Words for 2011″.  I’m a teacher, and a visual learner, so I took the words submitted by Chris’s readers and put them into a Wordle.  We use Wordle’s in school all the time to get visual representations of vocabulary, and other concepts related to all types of subjects and classes.

The beauty of the wordle below is that you can get a real good idea of the most popular words that people think will impact them in 2011.  The words that are the biggest are the ones that are repeated the most.  Starting from biggest, you can see that the big ideas are:

Grow
Learn
Focus
Create

followed real close by,

Connect
Share
Love
Passion
Balance

There are a ton of ideas for you entrepreneurial types in this Wordle.  Focus on providing services and products that will provide these solutions for businesses, or individuals and you will have a prosperous 2011.

Wordle: 3 Words for 2011

Thanks for the ideas Chris Brogan.

Selecting Keywords – Web Design Guide

Keywords are a group of words that describe the topic of your site.

They are the words your customers would use to find you in a google search.

For example, if you sell kitchen cabinets, and you only use the words “kitchen cabinets” to describe your products but your potential customer searches for “custom cabinets” or “custom kitchens” your website will probably not be found.

Finding the best and most popular keywords and using them effectively is a vital part of driving more traffic to your site.

For best results you should use a keyword research tools like the Google Keyword Tool.  Google keyword tool can compile a list of terms people search for, indicate how often they are searched for, and even help you discover keywords you may not have considered. Developing a database of customer searched keywords will help to focus the efforts of the next step most successfully; the script.