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Apr 30, 2010

Who do you follow?

Do you have a Twitter account? If so, who are your favorite people to follow? Chances are it's not the people that are constantly spamming links and "deals." It's probably the people tweeting good content. The people that connect with you and bring something of value to the relationship. It might be a famous person with something funny or insightful to say, or a business colleague dishing out excellent advice. It's like life outside of the digital world--you decide which people to become friends with based on what benefits they'll bring to the relationship, and what you can offer them. Treat your Twitter account in the same way.

Whoever it is, there's a reason you follow them, a reason you like to read the things they write. Keep that in mind as you tweet your own content. If you want people to follow you, then you have to provide something they want.

is a great way to network with others.
Make yourself worth following!
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Apr 28, 2010

Keeping your business information safe

Just because you're using a program that is based on your desktop, doesn't mean it's safe from hackers and viruses. In some cases, desktop programs have lower security than online programs because they don't have to stay updated against all the latest viruses. Here are some things you can do to protect your business information:

Password Protection

If the programs or websites you use offer password protection, use it! Make sure your password is not obvious, you'd be amazed the amount of passwords out there that are simply "password." A good password includes a few letters at least one number and at least one special character, something like @ or $.

Financial info

Make sure your financial information, and your customer financial information, is safe and encrypted. Some desktop programs store payment information in text format or easy-to-access files. If someone stole or hacked into your computer, they shouldn't be able to find that information easily (or at all). If someone steals the credit cards of your clients, you could be held responsible. Some online programs have integration with financial websites like ProPay, so payment and credit card information is encrypted and secure.

Back it up!

If your computer suddenly melted today, what would happen to all your business information? Would you still have it? It's important to back up your information on a routine basis. Use a portable hard drive, DVDs, or an online storage solution. If you use an online program, you never have to worry about losing your information, it's available anywhere.

Don't put your business and customers at risk, start practicing safe computer habits now.

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Apr 26, 2010

Learning to blog through Facebook

If you're new to blogging, but you're a Facebook veteran, there's no need to worry. Facebook is like a more open, accessible form of blogging.

-Status updates are like micro-blogs. 

-For more in-depth updates you can write notes for others to read. 

-You gain friends by commenting on other posts and pictures, just as you would do to gain readers on your blog. 

-The comment and reply system on a Facebook wall is very similar to the comment system in most blogging tools

-Other things, like uploading pictures and inserting links are also similar. 

-You arrange pictures and notes into albums--similar to the way you arrange posts on a blog into categories.

-You put captions on photos and tag friends in them, just like you would put tags on a blog post so people know what's in it.

If you're a heavy Facebook user, you might be more accustomed to the world of blogging than you think. Practicing good Facebook habits--commenting, tagging, frequent posting--can help you form good blogging habits.

Later this week, we'll discuss the differences between Facebook Groups and Facebook Fan Pages.

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Apr 23, 2010

Juggling programs

If you've ever tried to manage a business with your computer, you know it takes a number of different programs. You've got your email program, your document program, spreadsheet program, inventory program, financial and account management program, your social media programs, and on and on and on. Before you know it, half of your time is gobbled up jumping between programs. The worst part is, most of those things don't talk to each other. If your inventory goes down, you have to switch programs and make sure it is reflected in your financial management program. It can be a measure headache.

That's why it's good to consolidate. If you can find programs that offer a lot of the same functionalities under one roof, you'll save time and money. That's why it's good to learn and now your programs before getting into them. If email program you use can also update Twitter and Facebook, then there's no need to download another social media program. The fewer programs you  juggle, the easier it is on you, and your computer!

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Apr 21, 2010

An intro to blogging

So you've signed up for a blog and you're ready to go. What now? Before you start writing, there are a few questions you can answer that will make blogging easier.

Why are you writing?

This is the most important one. What's the reason behind this blog? Is it to act as an online journal? Will it cover a specific topic? If you know why you're writing, it will make coming up with new entries easy.

Who are you writing for?

Is there a certain reader or demographic you have in mind? Knowing your audience is key to writing good content. You wouldn't use the same language with toddlers as you would with adults!

When will you write?

Creating a posting schedule isn't a must, but it can make things easier for you and your readers. If your readers know that you'll have new content up every MWF, then they don't have to guess. 

Having the answers to these questions will make blogging much easier and even more satisfying.

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