New Society with its New Technologies #FeatureFriday

One of the best things about being a content writer, for me at least, is I get to learn new things and acquire more knowledge. I love doing research. I love finding out facts. I love getting and giving trivia.

So one of my tasks at work that I’m enjoying right now is I get to write stuff again (being a content writer isn’t all about actually writing stuff, just so you know). I am kind of OC, therefore, you can bet I usually try as much as I can to find out every useful information. Sometimes, it sucks that I can’t include some information as they are not vital to the specific topics. But I value what I learn so I take notes.

Anyway, here is one of my newer articles that I really liked writing. I got to talk about technology and new stuff in general. It’s not at all that techie that any non-techie reader won’t have a hard time understanding it.

So, for today’s #FeatureFriday I am featuring NEW TECHNOLOGIES.

New Technologies Drive Society Forward

 

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I am all about sharing what people will hopefully appreciate. Did you like this one? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

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Your Bilingual Child

Ever-noticed how bilingual your pets are, knowing both animal- and people-speak? They  have acquired this “skill” through your mostly indirect teaching. Now, imagine how much knowledge and skill can be learned if you, instead, actually start teaching your own child a second language.

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Check out the source of this image I just found for more relevant advice

Many countries teach mainly one language, theirs, denying their people opportunities a second language can bring. So if you happen to be one of the few who know at least one other language, start teaching it to your kid. It would be doubly interesting and satisfying if it is a particular language your family elders spoke before it “dissipated” down the familial line. After all, “Language is the archives of history” (Ralph Waldo Emerson).

If possible, start while he is still very young – small kids are basically impressionable, therefore, better knowledge sponges. The better to teach them, my dear. Bigger kids are more challenging, with all the more interesting distractions. Besides, suddenly, parents just aren’t cool enough to hang out with!

Make learning a new language an enjoyable experience for your little one. Teach him to sing or dance to funny Irish songs, if you’re Irish, and explain the lyrics. Read him children’s literature by British or American authors if you’re not in an English-speaking country – there are many books with available translations to help you. Plan activities with him to practice the language: talk about your second country’s native food (like delicious Asian dishes), tell stories with puppets, discuss nursery rhymes, check out child-friendly animations and comics (animés and mangas in Japanese), review clips of native speakers, write together your own stories or poetry. Be creative.

Your child will learn a new skill with these activities. There are lots of opportunities for parent-child bonding! The best way to hit two birds with one stone, don’t you think?

 

 

RESOURCES: ESLpartyland.com , antimoon.com, omniglot.com, greatschools.org

Business Talk: More Than Words

There’s a little-known anecdote of someone who came to the US to work as a nurse, one I personally heard from someone who had direct knowledge of it. One day, an accident victim was brought in to the hospital. After a while, in came his very worried, hysterical relatives demanding what happened. Smiling kindly, she told them, “Don’t worry…he will not live today…”

You can just imagine how this was received. What she really meant: “He’s okay now but we cannot discharge him today.” In other words, he was not to leave. She mispronounced the word “leave” so the reactions were inevitable. It’s funny, yes, if we’re not the relatives.

This is one very good example of a big miscommunication. You think you know, but an effective communication skill is more than just using words. It’s also in how you say them. Do you study enough to widen your vocabulary especially of work-related terms?  Remember, the nurse gave the right message using the less appropriate words. Do you pronounce words properly, is your diction correct? “Leave” is not “live” and the incident, unfortunately, made it to the incident reports.

Miscommunication is really not funny especially if it involves work. Here’s an epic Public Relations failure: The Chevy Nova was brought to Latin America, where “no va” means “it does not run.” Let us not anymore wonder how it fared in the market.

Now, maybe you are a new employee with not much opportunity to work with a computer before – and surf the Internet – for some reason. No, you can’t eat that cookie, catch a computer virus, see an Internet spider, or find a Google Panda in the zoo. It never hurts to update yourself occasionally so as to keep up with your work peers.

Stay competitive. Stay out of the joke radar permanently. Be an asset. Study, research, update. Practice.

 

RESOURCES: stjohns.edu, blogs.hbr.org

 

Little Dove: Cat of a Feather #atozchallenge2015

Ladies and gentlemen, today I share to you one of my most favorite stage thespians. I bring you…LITTLE DOVE. Oh, and all images and videos, unless indicated, are not mine, just to make it clear. Also, this was written circa 2006, just so you know.

From Gazet Van Antwerpen

This is Veerle Casteleyn
and this is my most favorite photo of hers. Photo credit: Gazet Van Antwerpen

CAT OF A FEATHER

Truth be told, there isn’t much to be said about Veerle Casteleyn… Uh, let me rephrase that—there isn’t much info available about this li’l lady, not even in the whole, wide world of the web. Any true-blue Veerle-fan knows that.

Her First Catwalks

Veerle Casteleyn was born in Vlaanderen, Belgium on March 6, 1978. ‘Veerle’ is Flemish for ‘feather’, which appropriately describes her to a ‘T’. Figuratively speaking, of course. Lithe and graceful on her feet, it’s no wonder. After all, Veerle is a dancer first before actress and singer, with quite a credible resumé in dancing tucked under her belt. She is a sweet/light soprano and wonderful actress. A fantastic all-around thespian…

Her official foray in the performing arts really started when she began training as ballet/jazz dancer at the Municipal Institute for Ballet in Antwerp, Belgium. She performed in “Joint Venture”, “Initiate”, “Fanfare”, “The Three Musketeers” and “Self-Made”. More roles came after school–an orphan in “Annie”, Liesl in “The Sound of Music”Sylvani a.k.a. Jemima (meaning ‘little dove‘) in “CATS the Musical” (she played the role both in the Antwerp and a London production), and more roles as understudy.

In 2002, she successfully essayed the role of Julia in “Romeo en Julia: van Haat tot Liefde” (R&J), the Belgian production of, well, you’ve guessed it by now. That was her first-ever lead role, complete with a CD release of the show’s songs where you can hear her sing, and believe me, as you will later find out, her voice before was and still is a subject of much debate.

What Curious Cats Ought to Know
veerle-casteleyn-as-Jemima

Veerle as Jemima in the film version of CATS The Musical

To those not familiar with Veerle, she is actually best-known (so far) as Jemima, the cute kitten in Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s (ALW) “CATS The Musical” video, whose wisdom is far beyond her years; the kitten that made Veerle famous (to musical-lovers, at least). On second thought, Veerle made Jemima famous. Though she was first played by the great Sarah Brightman (best-known as the original Christine Daaé of “The Phantom of the Opera”, another ALW masterpiece), Jemima had always been a minor role and was not at all that noticeable until Veerle came along and immortalized her on video.

Veerle was only about 19 or 20, the youngest in the whole ensemble in fact, when she joined the production.  She would later play Jemima on a more regular basis in the West End, as well as do swing parts (a swing is like a bit player) and, more impressive, Victoria the White Cat and Rumpleteazer as an understudy. These two latter roles should tell you how great a dancer Veerle really is. After all, both require superb dancing skills and “Energizer”-charged moves. Not to mention, playful with a sensual flair. Vicky alone always gets to display her dancing prowess, often taking center stage.

ALW had to choose the best performers for the roles, especially since the show was to be shown in another form. Jemima’s role called for a “little, young thing with a wonderful, wide-open face” and Veerle was definitely IT. (See her in the video below smiling so sweetly with Jo Bingham who played Etcetera at 0:29-0:31, then choreographer Gillian Lynne is talking about her as you see her at 1:00-1:09).

(Below, you’ll see her all over the video having her whole look done)

(Now watch her duet with the great Elaine Paige…)

Many viewers get enthralled upon seeing her sweet face and large, expressive eyes during her solo parts. Maybe it helps that she is, indeed, a lovely girl with an unusual charm even sans makeup. However, any other lovely girl would have been hard-pressed to pull it off the way she did in the film. Veerle obviously knew how to work it and project what needed to be projected. Besides, she was not all-face, too. She was the shortest but she wasn’t short in talent at all. She proved to be one of the giants, holding her own against or alongside other great talents like John Partridge (as Rum Tum Tugger) and Phyllida Crowley-Smith (as Victoria).

This Cat’s Meow

Undoubtedly, it is her duet with the Great Elaine Paige who reprised her role as Grizabella, that often leaves the biggest mark in most viewers’ mind. Paige is obviously way up there in the superstar department, having amazingly sung the most original version of ‘Memory’. Still, perhaps, part of the charm of the said duet is “Veerle’s” singing voice…

Now is the time when I have to address the issue of dubbing. In the credits, you will read somewhere that Jemima’s singing voice was dubbed by Helen Massie. That is correct. The long-standing issues here have been: “Why was Veerle dubbed?” and “Didn’t she sing anything in the film?”

The why has been answered time and time again! It wasn’t because she couldn’t sing, but due to her strong accent at the time of the filming that affected her English. Veerle may not be the greatest soprano around, and maybe she was pretty raw back then, especially with no formal voice training, but she delivered. Quite convincingly, in fact. As for the second question, it has not been properly addressed yet. Nevertheless, we who have seen the film more than we should can say that she actually did sing in many parts of the video. Where exactly? I will leave the fun of finding it out to you.

[Ed. THIS is how her voice would have sounded singing her solo parts, just fast-forward to 1:30, though she is everywhere in the vid dancing . Meanwhile, CLICK HERE and HERE to hear her sing in “R&J” — these are my fave of hers from that musical, her first real recording ever, though the voice is really raw, but I think that’s exactly what made her perfect for the role of a young and naive protagonist.]

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The CATS DVD Jemima poster (sorry the feet are cropped out in this image I found)

As I said, Miss Feather made Jemima, so much so that when the movie was released, the wide-eyed, innocent-but-wise li’l kitty was a big hit. Soon, the movie’s off- and on-line release posters and ads featured Jemima holding a “CATS” DVD, etcetera. Why not Grizabella? Or Old Deuteronomy? Or Munkustrap? Or Rum Tum Tugger? Or any of the major roles? The answer may have been “Why not Jemima?”

Jemima is also easily remembered now. The girls love to imitate her and wish they look like her, cat or not. The boys mostly drool at her (especially those who look for and find her unmade-up countenance). Let’s face it. She is easily one of the most beautiful cats in the show, if not the most, ’cause that, of course, depends on taste.

Let the Cat Play

Moving on…Post-“CATS”, Veerle did several plays/musicals onstage again. As mentioned, she did the London production. Then it was in various other productions for her as she toured UK/Europe, The Netherlands and her home country, Belgium: “Carousel” (as Louise in the UK tour),“A Little Night Music” (as Fredrika on the Netherlands tour), “R&J” (Belgian production…another girl acted for The Netherlands tour), “Fiddler on the Roof” (as Chava…great solo ballet sequence, I’m sure), “Alleen op de Wereld” (as the adult Remi), “Dracula” (as part of the ensemble), and “Mamma Mia!” (ensemble).

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Veerle played the lead female in Romeo en Julia opposite Davy Gilles

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Julia is devastated to find Romeo without life…

She didn’t always get the major parts. But that’s show business. Veerle knows that. Meanwhile, she also found time to make her TV debut in an episode of the police show “Flikken” (‘Police’, in the Sporen episode) as Elke de Brock, rape victim.  Then she became part of the short-lived courtroom drama “De Wet Volgens Milo” (‘The Law According to Milo’) (2004-2005) as law firm intern Sonja who’s “youthful enthusiasm and ambition often gets her into trouble” (this is a loose online translation of the info I found on the show’s site).

If that wasn’t enough, some people reported spotting Veerle in a commercial somewhere, but they’re just speculations. Meanwhile, as far as I know, aside from singing in the “R&J” soundtrack, she recorded at least one song (again, as far as I know for now) for the “Alleen op de Wereld” soundtrack (CLICK HERE).

(See her in “Romeo en Julia — van Haat tot Liefde” at 8:42-8:51, so do a fast-forward thing. Had to find the best vid that clearly shows her especially with Davy)

(Her guest starring role in “Flikken”, Sporen episode. Do not even try to auto-translate, it sucks)

(Very short clips from the TV show she was a part of…Is it me or somebody loves mixing reddish shades and blue?)

The Cat of a Feather

Veerle knows she has yet to make a bigger mark to be really called famous, despite the fact that she indeed achieved semi-superstar status with a still growing number of fans scattered all over the globe. She has achieved something that most performers still only dream of. Yet, swell-headed she is not.

Ironically, this girl is a very shy individual in person, embarrassed by the amount of attention given her. Perhaps, too, she feels the pressure of living up to what people expect from artists they admire, or it’s possible she simply does not like being admired for her looks alone. Veerle has actually expressed surprise and bewilderment by all of this. She is so unassuming to the point of being unintentionally private; thus, we only have what little more personal information about her we have. This, by the way, does her real good. Stalk her not, please.

It has been proven several times that she isn’t a snob either. Veerle might be private, but she is definitely not a snob. Though the instances are few, accounts of her have been made, not any of them negative. Not yet. Hope not. If you’re lucky, she just might recognize and surprise you by linking arms with you at the parking lot (that is, if her shyness does not get to her first). She may visit your forum and leave a message even if only once. [Ed. Got proof of this, screenshots to follow.] She may meet up with you if she knows you’ve come all the way from across the globe just to watch her in a show, which dialogues you don’t understand anyway. Or she may spend even just a bit of time chatting with you online provided that you…

(1) will understand she types slow, being admittedly not-so-techno- and Net-savvy.

And….

(2) won’t go borderline creepy and scare her away.

And of course, ambush photo shoots with fans, that’s a given…

 

That’s about it when it comes to getting a bit more glimpse of what Veerle is.  And oh, did I tell you she has a very nice, curvy penmanship? [Ed.  Proof to follow, sorry]

Cats Sometimes Take a Bow, Too

At present, as of this writing, Veerle is already preparing—or maybe already rehearsing—for the role of Electra for this year’s Dutch production of “CATS”. Yes, you die-hard Veerle-fans, I hate to be the bearer of a really-not-so-“bad” news, but she isn’t playing Jemima. Veerle opted not to do her, a personal decision. I am not surprised. One can only do a routine role so much. She said it herself, she wants a new challenge.

Veerle Casteleyn may still be ‘a kitten still wet behind the ears’ (sorry, I just like saying that), but one thing is definite–this cat is not going anywhere but up! Kitty heaven, here she comes!!!

 

Copyright © J.Gi Federizo

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UPDATE: Veerle has since done the Dutch “CATS”, as reported she would do, and I gave a link to a vid somewhere above, then “Les Miserables” (ensemble), “Oliver!” (ensemble/Charlotte) and “Musical Droomvlucht” (ensemble). From what I recently found out, she worked or works (not sure if she still does–dunno if it was a one-time deal or what) as a choreographer for Diluna Dansstudio. She choreographed their 2015 “CATS” musical, as can be seen below. They are the ONLY pics of the ever-elusive Veerle I’ve found from there. There’s not even a mention of her there except on NieuwsBlad.be. On the caption, she was said to be a top choreographer, so I am hazarding a guess that she’s been doing choreography these past years.

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Veerle doing choreography for Diluna Dansstudio’s “CATS” show

veerle-casteleyn-choreography

I wonder which part of the musical she is working on here….

You can actually find the above same article as The Veerle Essay, posted with my permission, at the Unofficial Veerle Casteleyn Fansite, which is owned by a fellow fan. There’s a mention of a certain “Gracie” as author — that’s me.

You see, I wrote this first for my Multiply blog years ago, and around the same time, I joined the Steven’s Veerle Forum, which I believed to be already inactive for years, but I just found out the “new” one, VeerleForum.com , and registered. The old became inactive not because it had a few active members but due to technical problems, but I won’t go into details anymore. I had been a fan a few years before the writeup. Meanwhile, I’ve got more updates (as of Nov. 4, 2016), especially about a probable personal Facebook account, but until I’m sure, I’m not posting about it/them yet. And if it is her FB account, she probably won’t want it shared to the public unless it’s a fan page…

Anyhoo, I edited the article now here, seeing grammar loopholes, etc. (hope I got them all). But if you’re looking for more updated info, based on my current research, as I keep saying, not much has been found out about her in later years, which saddens me a bit. I’ll continue my research, though.

 

Lastly, just to let you know, this is my  “L” post for the A-to-Z Challenge (so that explains the title more, hee…).

L

An Author’s Responsibilities by Aya Walksfar

I have been meaning to write an article about something but have not been able to. Coincidentally, I chanced upon this guest blog post over at The Jumbled Writer. It’s a very good writeup on author responsibilities from novelist Aya Walksfar.

I have decided to reblog it (with permission). Actually, I am unable to click “Reblog” so I just provided the link. Just click on the title or the image and…ENJOY!!!!

AN AUTHOR’S RESPONSIBILITIES

article-on-author-responsibilities

How to Improve Site Performance? Audit, for Business’ Sake!

Nothing but quality products, 24/7 customer support, a lovely website, excellent service overall. Discriminating customers demand for the best, and that’s what your business is all about. So now you wonder, after doing everything right, how come business is not picking up? Frustrating, I know.

Basically, what you need is to reach out to more people than the usual. Make your online presence solid and felt. That said, have you checked your site lately? Start checking!

A lovely website” needs to show brains and brawn, too, otherwise, you lose prospective customers. Perhaps, it’s time to hire a web content writer to help you.

Basic Auditing How-to

audit-your-site

I got this image from the well-known Search Engine Watch that incidentally has written a more extensive article on this topic as well

Site checking or auditing is essential. For a website to be an effective tool in your business, keeping it should involve critical analyses, content strategy and the right people to make it work. If you already have a writer in your stable, then good. Make sure she knows or learns how to audit sites as well.

Writers mainly take care of the articles, but the misconception is that’s the only skill expected of them. A skilled one helps take care of things beyond the articles. In the web business, content means a lot of things aside from textual information.

For a start, in auditing, you need to know how your site is faring in the online world. What is its domain authority and page authority? How many backlinks and by whom? On what pages do search engines list it when a search is done, if it gets listed at all? And so on.

Next, find out its existing page status problems and technical issues. Those maybe getting in the way of good user experience, therefore, visitors leave.

Then there’s the matter of whether keywords, optimizations, web designs and layout work or not. An SEO content writer with ample knowledge of web development and design would be a prize to find.

All of the factors mentioned, your auditor needs in order to identify and analyze problem areas and consequently fix them.

To be able to do this, she has to have enough know-how, especially in using helpful software and platforms like Google Analytics, OpenSiteExplorer, SEMrush, WhiteSpark, and ScreamingFrog. She has to be able to interpret what the results mean.

But the more critical part is the analyzing, the precursor to crafting solutions.

Questions to Consider for Review

site-health-check

Of course, you or your current employees can do this, provided you have the time and necessary skills. You can start reviewing the contents, design and layout of your site based on some of the questions I have gathered.

Contents

  1. Are the business names and logo/brand visible and clear? Where are they?

  2. Is there a header image?

  3. Where are the Name-Address-Phone (NAP) details in the site? Do they include emails and toll-free numbers?

  4. Is there a Google map at the Contact Us page? How about at the footer?

  5. Is there a working contact form in all the pages?

  6. Is there a navigation menu at the top? Does the top menu have dropdowns? Is there a navigation menu at the bottom?

  7. Are there pages specifically for Home, About Us / Firm Overview, Blog (if any), News, Resources, and FAQs at the navigation menu?

  8. Are there pages for the Terms and Conditions and the Privacy Policy? Are there links leading to them?

  9. Are there sidebars? Does your site need them?

  10. Are the images and videos posted in the site relevant and clear?

  11. Are there visible social media logos around the site?

  12. Do all the links redirect properly and to the right pages?

  13. How many fonts are used in the site?

  14. Are accreditation and/or rank seals added?

  15. Are there copyright details at the bottom? If yes, are they present in all the pages?

Design Principles

  1. Is there precedence (guiding-the-eye)?

    – position (where something in particular is placed), color, contrast, size (does it affect perceived order of relevance), design elements (largely based on what is added to the site and how it affects visitor’s actions)

  1. How effective is the spacing?

    – line spacing (affects readability), padding (putting space between text and other elements), white space (for balance, proportion, and contrast)

  1. How clear, easy and user-friendly is the navigation feature?

  2. Are there breadcrumbs in all the pages, sub-headings and a sitemap?

  1. How are the texts (typography) looking and working?

    – font choices (do they look good and appropriate for the site, how many used), font sizes (affects readability), spacing, line length (affects readability), color (must make sure the texts can actually be read by anyone), paragraphing (left-alignment is always suggested to avoid gaps)

  1. Are things aligned in an orderly and polished manner?

  1. How is the design clarity? Are the pixels creating problems?

  1. Does everything match (consistency)?

    – sizes, choices, coloring, styles, elements, etcetera

  1. Is the site aesthetically pleasing as well as useful?

  1. How relevant, clear, appropriate and useful are the pages and contents to the site?

  1. Are there unnecessary elements (music, flash, autoplay, etc.) that can be done without?

  1. Are the title pages/headings easily understood and logical?

  1. How informative is the FAQ page?

  1. Are testimonials included in the site? How many? Do they appear real or fake?

  1. Is the Call to Action clear?

    – contact forms, online customer service representative, registration feature, email address for questions and feedback, indirect action items like “learn more”

  1. Is the site selling something? Does it have an SSL certificate?

  2. How mobile-ready is the site?

I have given you initial ideas on how to audit your site. These are culled from research (like a Psdtuts+ article I found very useful) and my own auditing experiences. There are more to find and learn but the further research, I will leave to you. Meanwhile, your auditor must be able to work with your web developers and designers to incorporate changes.

In auditing, it’s not simply knowing what to look for. It takes a lot of common sense, an analytic mind, patience and practical approach—all of which, the writer hopefully has. If your current writer is not cut out for this, find another who is. Hire a web content writer who can.

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NOTE: I’ve been saying this for a year or so already. This was originally a guest blog that got published along with my byline. Unfortunately, the site soon became inaccessible for quite a while. It went back then I found that somebody else took my place as author. I tried every way to reach them and actually sent a message telling them to fix it, to no avail. I just checked last Friday and found the site missing again. So here it is, I thought I’d share here. It’s just fair considering that it was supposed to be a reciprocal thing. No one paid anybody and if the other party is unable to hold its part of the bargain, we have the right to take back what is ours.

Blogging Ethics: Five Ways to Keep it Proper

Call it ‘online journaling,’ ‘weblogging,’ or simply ‘blogging.’ Gone are the days it was called ‘writing in my diary,’ which we kept under lock and key, stacked away where no other person could find it. Nowadays, we write in our own journals for others to find and (gasp!) read.

Blame it on technology. Due to social media, weblogs emerged out of people’s need to be heard and seen, and to return to others the favor. It’s neo-exhibitionism and -voyeurism in a more positive context.

Everyone can now have his own blog. A web content writer like you, however, is not everyone.

web-content-blogger

Creating Your Brand

Brand awareness is the key to landing projects. You don’t just write and hope what you’ve written is good enough. “Good enough” is not good at all if it fails to capture and keep your intended clients’ attention.

Let them know that if an article is by you, it’s all about originality, credibility and quality—YOUR brand. That will definitely keep them interested in getting you especially when they outsource article writing.

Always keep that in mind when you are blogging. By now, you’ve heard of the famous line “Content is king.” Concentrate on that, make it your blogging mantra.

Meanwhile, a part of building your brand is to make sure you are doing things properly when you blog. This is important as many employers do tend to check how applicants “behave” when they don’t think the employers are looking.

They want to make sure it is really you who have written the samples sent them, if you can be trusted with company information, if you can do more than write content,…The reasons are for them to know and for you to find out, hopefully, not the hard way.

Becoming a good writer isn’t just through writing well. Half of it is practical know-how, common sense and discipline.

Blogging Ethics 101

As a blogger, there are several things you must remember and that are listed below. These are quite important, considering that as a web content writer, writing is your life and, most probably, your bread and butter. You’ll want to look as professional as possible.

1. Post more articles rather than photos and videos of yourself so that clients can have a look-see on your potential as a writer, not as a photographer, filmmaker or party animal. Not to go off-tangent here, be careful with what audio-visuals you choose to share either. Wholesome is the word.

Remember, this is the word to follow when posting stuff in your social media accounts as well. If you’re going to be unwholesome, make sure you keep your account private. Stay hidden from prying eyes.

2. Blogs are often where some share private thoughts and vent their spleen on various angsts. Well, it’s your blog so you can do that, but if you want to be taken seriously, don’t. Treat your blog as your own business, ergo, professionalism and discretion are in order.

Write less about your emotional baggages. In fact, reserve that for a more personal, more private blog.

3. Be trustworthy. Prospective clients, for instance, won’t be impressed by you dishing out dirt and trade secrets of past employers.

4. Never plagiarize. In a comment somewhere, somebody shared “…what you can do is pick up the content from that website and modify its language so that the language that appears on your blog does not match with it. So you get your content as well as escape from plagiarism.” Uh, not really.

Clueless or just plain evil, I don’t know. Changing clothes, however, does not change who you are. So plagiarism is still plagiarism, no matter how you dress it up. Any self-respecting writer will never do this and try to fool himself. If you’re worth your salt, you”ll be a decently working professional. It gives that pop-culture born phrase “Honest to blog!” a whole new meaning.

5. Don’t be a snob. Reply to comments to your posts. If others find time to read what you’ve written and comment, say even a simple “thank you.” That’s being respectful, showing appreciation and a sign of professionalism.

Don’t be afraid to read and comment on others’ posts either, although always make sure you comment wisely. That can widen your network and build up your reputation as a credible writer.

Very easy tips, really, but highly important. So keep to the right and you’ll never go wrong. You can only get better.

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Before anyone reacts violently and say we should blog what we want to blog about, let me say that first, I agree with you (as long as it’s not any kind of discrimination), and second, the target audience for this (though not strictly just for them) are web content writers. This is actually a sort of reblog of Blogging the Ethical Way.

As a guest blogging venture, the deal was the article provider would get exposure but the publisher got exclusive rights to the unique article. However, the publisher’s site has been missing for many months, so to speak, and now it’s Domain For Sale! That’s hardly fair, is it? So until they come back, this stays here.

Tips in Choosing Unique Gifts for Special Occasions

Looking for the perfect gift to give a friend or a loved one? Let guest blogger Janet Adams give you a few practical tips.  🙂

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Tips in Choosing Unique Gifts for Special Occasions

Gift is the word that strikes our mind when we think of any occasion. If you are invited for any special occasion, choosing a gift really becomes a mind-numbing work. You contemplate for some time on it. While musing, your mind runs through various kinds of gifts. But then you need to choose the best, unique gift that suits the occasion. Your selection of gift should be in such a way that it scintillates the eyes of the receiver.

How to select a unique gift for any special occasion?

For Birthdays

Birthday bashes occur so often around the world. Children love to celebrate their birthdays and they wait for their special days to receive a number of gifts. So it will be apt to give gifts according to the age of the child. Some soft toys or animated toys, stuffed animals, crayons, or markers will be suitable. Or may be some dresses like frocks, shirts and jeans. There are some children who love to read books. So then a book by their favorite author must be apt gift.

In case of a teenager’s birthday, if it’s a guy, then you can gift him T shirts, and if it’s a girl, may be some jewel accessories. Perfume is also another option that can be gifted to both guys and girls. For a best friend, you can gift a photo frame, a personal favorite book, a watch, bags and accessories ,a set of his favorite musical band CD’s etc.

For the birthday of a mother, you can give her ornaments, or outfits, books if she loves to read, a vanity bag etc. While for a father, you can buy watch, wallets, a pair of shirts and denims etc. And with the case of siblings, may be a movie ticket or any type of gadgets would make their gift better.

For Weddings and Anniversaries

Weddings and Anniversaries are auspicious and special occasions. So choosing the right kind of gift is always important. Wedding gifts should reflect the interest and requisites of both the bride and the groom. The gift that you buy should be an asset for them. Household presents, kitchen ware and appliances, a bigger photo frame for a picture of the bride and the groom, a pair of rings, a pair of branded watches, flower vase etc. Your gift depends on how well you know the couple. If you are a really close best friend, then you could go for costly gifts, but at the same time, if you are just a casual friend, select some normal stuff that project a classy, rich look.

Moving on to anniversaries, choosing the best anniversary gift isn’t much difficult. In choosing a gift for your spouse, a piece of jewelry, a mug emblazoned with a picture of you both, any event or vacation tickets, a surprise romantic candle light dinner, etc., will be perfect. While if you are gifting a couple, you can give them a heart-shaped keychain engraved with the duo’s names, gallery frame set, an antique piece of rich look etc. If it’s your parent’s anniversary, you can gift them bouquets of flowers or a piece of poem written by you.

The “Days”

So we are living in a generation where we have some specific special days such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day etc. A mother always puts her happiness away for you and family. So to your mom, give the best gift she’ll ever get. In fact whatever you give is a gift to your mom. Take her out for shopping and buy her what she wants. Buy ornaments, bags or outfits, books, etc., according to her wish. It’s her day, so leave all selections to her. On Father’s Day, you can give him a pair of branded shoes, wallets, blazer, etc. For Valentines’ Day, you are left to choose anything that your love or lover likes. You will surely get a hint of what your beloved likes through leisurely chit-chats.

 

Presenting a gift brings excitement and exhilaration to the one who receives it. So choose the best gifts according to the individual’s taste and add more happiness to their special day.

 

Author Bio:

Janet Adams has chosen a career in writing to serve in an organization, English-literature writing service that helps students in building a successful career in academics. She has a Masters Degree in Business Studies from a reputable university and has a good experience in writing business papers as well.

Blogging vs. Writing

Not all bloggers are writers. Some can’t write, some don’t want to, some do other things with their blogs. Not all writers are bloggers. Some don’t have the time or means, some choose not to blog, some want privacy. Not all writer-bloggers write professionally. Many just want to write and share…

I mention this because two bloggers posted about being bloggers and being writers recently. I thought I’d reblog one of those as it’s perfect to add to my Wordsmithereens page…

What are your thoughts on this? Here were my comments that I posted at his page:

“I think everyone has the right to blog, writer or not. A blog is a modernized diary – no one told others before that they couldn’t write in a diary (except maybe the bullies and hecklers, but that’s different). What it all comes down to is whether people will like what he’s blogged about and how he’s written it. It’s totally up to the reader/visitor to stay, and totally up to the blogger to improve. I admit to having seen blogs I didn’t like, but I always say that’s their right to blog as long as they don’t hurt anyone else, plus I can always leave. If it is supposed to be a professional blog where the blogger earns from writing, of course, I would like to see a well-written piece.

Who made writers gods of the blogging world? I don’t even know why the issue should be an issue and be debated on. Besides, not all bloggers write. We can all benefit from blogging, writer or not, and it is up to us to make it happen. Personally, I think the best thing to do is to just have fun writing and have pride in doing it. That’s where quality really comes in. If you care about what you write, others may care about it as well.”

Makeup & Breakup

Blogging and traditional media work together. Twitter complements traditional media

– Evan Williams

 

Blog Sphere Blog Sphere

Is blogging same as writing, meaning “real” writing?

It is a question gaining significance with rapid growth in blogging fraternity. Are the purist writers immune to this fractured debate that blogging is not real writing? The discourse has evolved into two classical schools of thought – one that blogging is all about writing, and the other is creative writing is qualitatively different from constant blogging.

Superior arguments have been built for and against the case of real writers as bloggers; arguments from each school of thoughts are carrying reasonable meaning to hold their ground. But with ground breaking arguments that bloggers are also real writers and greater counter-arguments are flowing thick and fast from the other side that real writers needn’t blog…the discourse is gaining its decisive direction.

So, what…

View original post 864 more words

On Social Media Background Checks

I’ve been reading a lot about background checks lately (don’t ask why). I just realized that in some of the guest blogs I’ve done about writing and blogging, I’ve mentioned and warned about careless use of social media and how it may affect potential clients/employers. Come to think of it, it generally can affect most of us and our credibility.

skeletones-in-the-closet

What skeletons have you been hiding in your closet?

You never know who’s really looking at information and images you share publicly. Lately, while social media has helped personalities boost their reputation and following, some have actually ruined theirs by being absolutely careless, if not clueless. Others have lost jobs or opportunities this way. Meanwhile, you just never know anymore when your picture is ever going to end up as a meme, which can be fun at times, but as we all know, they can also be often downright insulting, and it’s suddenly for all the world to see, laugh at and make fun of.

But going back to jobs and opportunities (at what, that depends on the situation), it is now a reality that employers — and clients — may perform background checks to see what employing you can possibly bring to their company, especially what can possibly jeopardize their credibility and reputation due to hiring you. It’s all for prevention, you see, and very understandable.

Their HR people may do these themselves or they will hire other companies that will do legitimate background checks for them. The thing is, employee screening has now gone from coming up with the usual reports that may include your  educational background, court records, credit records, etcetera, to them checking out your personal blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts and activities. What they may see or read maybe the end of your chance to be hired; it may even spell termination if you are currently employed by them.

This is all one big issue. Is it legal? How is it legal? Isn’t that an invasion of privacy? How private is private? But if it’s public, how can that be an invasion of privacy? Do you have to share your login details? Would “shoulder-surfing” be okay?

So many things to consider here, folks. So let me share to you two links (they’re not written by me, BTW), just to share information. I hope you find them helpful as not just an employee but an employer. Read on 🙂

Social Media Background Checks: Where to Draw the Ethical Line

The Accuracy of Social Media