2011 WJCC/York School Supply Drive launched

A 1998 USPS stamp commemorating Crayola crayon...

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September 2011 will be a challenge for thousands of area families, as rising gas and food prices leave little for children’s school supplies. Several area businesses want to ensure that local public school students and kindergartners have the materials they need to do their best.

“Success in school is often linked to success as an adult, and having the right tools is vital to success,” says Knights Inn owner and Williamsburg City Councilman Doug Pons. “We want to make sure the first day of school is exciting for every local child.”

This year’s school supply drive is nicknamed “Fill the Room,” because the Knights Inn Williamsburg Busch Gardens Area (620 York Street) has emptied a guest room to fill with school supplies. Cosponsors of the drive are Basecamp Productions and Helen’s Place Photography. (more…)

How to add Google’s Plus One button to WordPress

Google Plus iconWhy do you want Google’s Plus One (+1) button? Like Facebook “Likes” and Twitter’s tweets, the +1 button gives your stamp of approval.

Or maybe you’re tired of Facebook and want to support Google’s latest foray into the social media world. I’m not positive, but I believe that Plus One replaces Google Buzz.

Like Facebook and Twitter, you need a Google Profile before embarking on your new career of Google approval stamping.

Add Google’s plus one button to WordPress

1. If you don’t have one, get your Google Profile.

2. If you don’t have one, set up a Google gmail account.

3. Download Plus One, the plug-in, or use your WordPress console’s plugin area to download. Plus One worked right out of the box, without adding any coding to the header or anywhere else. It was released the same day as the Plus One button itself, so I have a feeling its developer used the months of beta testing to prepare this plug-in. I always prefer using a plugin to messing with the code editor.

That’s it.

Now, when you see a Plus One button and click on it to like something, the “like” will go to a list on your Google Profile.

Google has announced that it’s launching some kind of Plus One analytics. Should be one more interesting piece of social technology in an already competitive marketplace.

"Why is my blog posted on a Chinese web site?"

The Pirate Bay logo

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Welcome to Internet piracy.

Why is my blog posted on a Chinese web site?

Your blog can be “scraped” by illicit web bandits and posted elsewhere.

What is scraping? No more than plain vanilla cutting and pasting — by really fast computers that don’t care what they steal, so long as it’s somewhat popular. Scraped postings usually end up on web sites with advertising.

Stealing is bad enough, but this kind of stealing is worse than bad. Google and some other search engines penalize content that appears more than once.

You never want to have two identical web sites, for instance. I’ve known businesses that have done this, thinking that their content would be found twice as often. In fact, both web sites invariably end up at the bottom of the heap in search engine results.

Guess what? You can’t do much about scraping after the fact, especially if you’re a small business. And if your content has been scraped by an overseas thief … well, I hate to tell you this … but you might be SOL.

Unfortunately, we don’t think that Google’s algorithm yet identifies who the original poster is, so as to give the original web site priority over another. Right now, it appears that both web sites fail.

HOWEVER, in April 2011, Google did start penalizing content “farms” — sites that offer more ads than content. That has been a help, but we’re not sure how much. Check out NPR’s story on content farms.

We hope that piracy is righteously penalized in the famed Google algorithm one day.

For now, check out plug-ins for your blogs. One is WP-Protect (for WordPress). With WP-Protect (free), or a similar product, you can disable text and photo copying. This doesn’t mean that a smart pirate can’t come into your web site and figure out a way to download your stories, but at least it won’t be automatic. These plug-ins are a great deterrent. Whatever your CMS platform, please do a search for copy protection plug-ins. You won’t be sorry.

Go ahead … try to cut and paste even one word from this blog. You’d have to go through several laborious steps to extract any text. And yet … my blog can still offer linked copy, and is still searched by Google’s spiders just fine.

Software like Wp-Protect is, still and always will be (perhaps), a deterrent. Like your home, it is nigh impossible to keep out someone who wants to break in. At least we’re well on the way to creating a burglar-proof web site.

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Networking vs. socializing

Students socializing in the courtyard at Demac...

Students socializing … the way socializing ought to be

I don’t consider myself a networking specialist. In fact, I would kind of hate to be viewed that way, or even called “a networker.”

Nonetheless, I find myself in a town where I need to “get out” to get work. I’m in a town where people won’t hire you if they don’t know you. I probably attend at least four or five networking events a week, from coffees to lunches to organized events.

Yet, when it comes to networking and marketing, I would much prefer more collaborative terms: perhaps “socializing” for networking and “attracting followers” for marketing.

Still, networking vs. socializing are more commonly accepted terms.

“Socializing” and “attracting followers” are much closer to what it takes to generate excitement about you and/or your product(s) or service(s), and much closer to your target audience’s need for excitement in order to purchase a product or service.

Case in point.

The other evening I was at a socializing event at which an organizer exclaimed to the entire group, “You know what? It would be great if you could chat with five people you haven’t met before.” Game on.

I was immediately tapped by a Networking Woman who introduced herself and then launched into a monologue about her business. Sure, I asked questions, which kept her fueled. But after 10 minutes or so, she finally came to the realization that I was a human being. “So, what do YOU do?” It felt very wooden.

This isn’t socializing, or even networking. Would you approach someone at a cocktail party and deliver a speech about yourself? (OK, some would.) But, in general, you’d engage, entertain, and have a good time visiting with friends and getting to know new friends. There would be, or ought to be, something new and exciting you learn each time.

The same should be true of business socializing. Business socializing isn’t about “pushing.” It’s about pulling. Attracting people to you and creating a sense of excitement and trust. Otherwise, why talk to people at all?

In an ideal world, Networking Woman might have approached me this way: “Hi! You’re my first of five people to meet tonight. Have you been to these events before?” Or “Do you like meeting new people?” Or “Haven’t they done a great job putting this event together?” In other words, a way to strike up a conversation, not to preface a speech or elevator pitch.

If Networking Woman had done this, we might have had a chance to have a conversation and get to know each other. Sure, eventually she might have asked a question like, “So, have you had good experiences with home inspectors when you’ve bought and sold homes? I’m always interested in how people perceive my business.” (I am replacing her real business with another.)

This kind of question would have drawn me out, and would have engaged me with real memories and feelings. It also would have given Networking Woman some real feedback. As it was, she learned nothing from me.

And, as a result, I can’t even remember her name.

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