5 Ways Leading to The Zen Art of Blogging

pen&blog

Writing is hard. First you start a blog then, like a seed, you water it. Did I say "seed"? My bad! 
I should have described it as a "Gremlin" that turns into a monster soon as there's water involved.
More seriously, writing is an habit. A rhythm, a bit like jogging: the day you stop ... 
you're in trouble. Get back at it again is painful, you feel rusty. So you have to write drafts every day,   
at regular times. But facing a busy schedule, the temptation to take shortcuts is strong. 
It's a double-edged sword. Jasmine Star, a photographer specialized in wedding events learned 
it the hard way. 

Star's work got noticed and started to be everywhere. She maximized her exposure with blog 
posts, interview, podcasts, social network posts, tutorials, etc. Success knocked at the door and, 
although gladly welcomed, Jasmine got swamped up with a LOT of work. The catch? The pressure. 
To keep up with all of it she had to steal two photos and include them in her blog. 
A scandal came along. 

Here are right habits that come in handy when blogging: 

Make it short ( sometimes)
Before, I was writing articles so long they could make my readers give up reading. When people 
stumble upon an article, guess  what they do? They scroll down to the end of it. It's a reflex. 
Remember: short material can be digested faster.

No images? No big deal
Seth Godin is a source of inspiration to me because his posts are so simple. He got an incredible 
audience, put few -to none- images in his  articles, and it works! Find your sweet spot. 
I'm really tired of these pictures of red 3D dummies carrying a briefcase in every corporate 
articles I read on the net. Better putting no images than awful ones.

Use the right tool for the craft
Microsoft Word is taking a lifetime to start up, I'd recommend Evernote. The later is uglier but
it's a very effective tool to throw down ideas quickly. I was also used to Windows Live Writer 
but I found it bugging and unstable. Again, it's a matter of personal taste here.

Cite your sources
Protect yourself from unpleasant surprises, it does not hurt to mention the author of the picture
you'll be using in a post. Everyone copies everyone, but we have to be smart when we do so.

Take a break
The pressure can take a toll on you. As you write you'll be 
thinking about your latest unedited photo, a video to shoot, this follow 
up email to send. Stop! Take some time away from your blog when 
you are feeling not OK to write. Set smart writing goals: one 
can't blog everyday! Follow your own pace.

Well, I hope you'll find this blog post inspiring to take your blogging skills to the next level.
 
Please do share your tips to prevent overworking issues that may arise when blogging.
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5 Reasons Why The LinkedIn Mobile Experience Is Ugly

linkedin_logo
People are not buying devices just because they are shiny, it’s all about the experience. How the apps make us feel and how convenient they are. For example, I write a ten lines comment and, as I hide the keyboard to check the previous post I’m answering to, my sentences are…all…gone…disappeared. Oh no! Don’t make me start it all over again! I’m sure the same thing happened to you. Did you find yourself selecting all your comment, hit copy and repeat the same process to every five or ten words you add?

There are 5 things that, according to me, make LinkedIn a painful experience on mobile and tablet:

Updates issues (tablet)
If you want to post an update on your time line, you have to go to the “Home” section -or hit the LinkedIn logo- and you’ll find a speech bubble (tablet) or a pen surrounded by a square (smartphone). Why are they different? I don’t know. Here’s another problem, you can’t attach a picture to your post (tablet) -as if tablets didn’t sport a camera nowadays -you can’t copy and paste in a pic from your camera roll as well-. Let’s say you lack of inspiration, and maybe want to save an update as a draft, and come back at it later. You can’t.

Messaging issues (tablet / smartphone)
It would be really nice to see the previous messages sent to a contact displayed in a different section. Actually, when you respond you can  see the messages you sent earlier -like in an email conversation-. But what if the conversation’s subject has changed? The ability to search through your entire messaging system is gone, on both platform. This is handy when you only remember a word – or a chain of words- you’ve sent previously to a contact whom you don’t remember the name-or vice versa-.

Sharing issues (tablet / smartphone)
Discussions and debate are the heart of LinkedIn. A topic is great when its comments keep coming even months after its publication. Sometimes they are so good that you wish you shared them to your Twitter, Facebook, Google+ friends as well. Unfortunately, you can only like or comment a group’s discussion. Maybe this is why debates in general have have a short life span on LinkedIn. Debating is sharing.

Following and Mentioning issues (tablet / smartphone)
You can follow a discussion on LinkedIn’s website, but only there. How to unfollow it on your smartphone or tablet? Furthermore, here are the instructions if you want to mention properly someone on LinkedIn website:

  • Begin by typing the name of a connection or a company in your status update box or a comment field on the Homepage.
  • Select someone from the list of your connections that appear in the drop-down, complete your status or comment and post it.
  • The person or company* you mentioned will receive a notification alerting them that they have been mentioned.

Dear LinkedIn, the persons I’m interacting with in a group are not in my connections and no drop-down will pop out as a result. Plus, how do I let them know that I’m talking to them and that they just have to touch a notification alert to fall directly on it?


Invitation issues (tablet)
Somebody has viewed your profile and you want to -have to- make a connection. It is politeness. Bad news: you can’t send a customized invitation to him/her. You just hit the “connect” button and that’s it. We know how important invitations are on LinkedIn, and people are more inclined to respond -positively- when they feel they are approached in a more human way. 

In conclusion, I think that this is maybe the reason why few people are commenting on the time line’s posts, responding to the messages: LinkedIn mobile interface is complicated! It hurts and left so many users sorry and frustrated. Furthermore, the tablet and phone interfaces are on the opposite side of the street. It seems like someone didn’t think about tablet users at all!  If I had to choose, I’d take the smartphone -and would write very long comments on it with my thumbs-. Tablets are wonderful and powerful tools for writing and catching ideas on the fly: don’t have to wait minutes for apps to start, it’s all up and running. Plus we can link Bluetooth keyboards up to them.

I wish I could save the most interesting posts of my connexions to my Pocket application for a later reading. Save a discussion to my Evernote, without bothering asking myself: “Hmm what was this conversation about again? A specific comment caught my interest! Where is it? Do I need to flip trough all the notifications archives to find it? We are not only using LinkedIn, we use the social media venue we are most comfortable with. Facebook felt the need to imitate LinkedIn by launching groups features, Twitter did the same and now you can send messages to group members and they don’t even have to follow you or likewise.

Don’t you think that if the tablets sales figures are plummeting, isn’t it because their apps are getting more and more sophisticated, complicated? What are the features you’d like to see on your LinkedIn app, and which will change the experience for the better?

Update: I’ve noticed today that LinkedIn has redesigned its website UI, and that’s a good news. Can we get some mobile enhancements as well please?