Innevation Center Blogging meetup


Last night was my first Blogging Meetup at the Innevation Center in Las Vegas, which offers state-of-the-art meeting rooms with smoking-fast free wifi, and more, to the southern Nevada tech community. It’s sponsored by Switch, who have ginormous data centers in Vegas, Reno, and worldwide. What a resource. Wow.

Scott Roeben spoke at the Blogging meetup. He runs and writes for the popular VitalVegas blog (irreverent, fun) and is Interactive Marketing Manager for the Fremont Street Experience. Before this he ran a company blog for Caesar’s which was directly responsible for $2 million in revenue. He clearly knows Vegas and knows blogging. Please, please, please, he implores, give your blog personality. This especially applies to corporate blogs. Do not regurgitate press releases and expect anyone to read or care about it. You want engagement. That means people will sometimes say you suck. This will horrify company lawyers and higher management. Oh well. Talk about things not directly related to your company. Once, while at Caesar’s, he blogged about the 10 Best Steak Houses on the Strip, mentioned one not owned by Caesar’s, and “heads exploded” in higher management. Upper management (“make no waves”), lawyers (“our job is to say ‘no'”), and traditional PR people (“blogs are icky”) are the enemies of blogging, especially blogging with a personality.

[bctt tweet=”Use blogs as your hub, social media as spokes. Innevation Center blogging meetup advice” username=”polizeros”]

Use the blog as the hub and social media as the spokes. Experiment to see which social media works best. He says Fremont Street does great on Facebook and is crickets on Twitter, while VitalVegas is the opposite. He has no explanation. Do whatever brings the most engagement and interest.

My own experience echoes this. It’s important to aim a blog towards the potential customer / client. Focus is important. My business blog is aimed solely at upper level IT and management looking for something very specific, which is converting ancient DOS databases to modern Windows platforms.

Thus, I don’t care if someone finds the site and has no idea what it is about. They aren’t the target. The site has been there for ten years, is highly ranked on Google, and the page names never change (that’s important for SEO.) I get almost all my database business from it.

In contrast, almost all my WordPress clients are word-of-mouth. The competition for WordPress dev sites is huge so having a website that gets highly ranked for that is way more difficult than for a niche business like converting DOS databases.

So, figure out what the focus of your site is, and aim the content and marketing towards that.

No Agenda: How to have a successful podcast with no advertising

No Agenda podcast artwork. Show #760

The No Agenda podcast with Adam Curry and John Dvorak uses a value for value model to support a great podcast that deconstructs the media and our omnipresent propaganda machines. It does so with no advertising. There are two shows a week, each about three hours, and is entirely supported by users. (Unlike NPR, there really are no ads). They’ve done 760 shows so far and generally raise about $3,000 a show, allowing them to focus full-time on the podcast.

Because there are no advertisers or corporate funding, No Agenda can investigate whatever it wants. Unlike too much other media, they go to original sources, read congressional records, then deconstruct it. They are highly opposed to the current bullshit meme of red vs blue, Republican vs Democrat. They skewer anyone who needs it. Curry likes to play the crackpot (indeed, they call themselves Crackpot and Buzzkill). He’s anything but. There have been multiple times he’s said something I thought patently ridiculous that turned out to be true.

Dvorak and Curry work hard at the show. It’s is superbly produced, never a dedicated  falters. They make it look easy. It’s not. They’ve built an audience that cares about what they say and in return get contributions.

Curry and Dave Winer played a major role in inventing podcasting. I was at the Gnomedex 2005 convention when Curry did the keynote speech and Apple announced podcasts would be on iTunes for free, a hugely generous move that put podcasting into the mainstream.

Curry explains how value for value works in a CUSP talk in 2012.


Password Hell: WordPress Jetpack Protect, LastPass collide


So, I tried to log into this blog last night and it said “wrong password.” Hmm. I try two more times and WordPress pops up a message saying it’s blocking my IP because I must be evil, and points me to cryptic instructions explaining how to allow myself back on my blog by whitelisting my IP address. Sigh.

If you are blocked from entering your site, you can enter the IP or IPv6 address(es) via by visiting My Sites → Settings → Security → Whitelist. You can also whitelist one IP address by setting it as the JETPACK_IP_ADDRESS_OK constant in your wp-config.php  define(‘JETPACK_IP_ADDRESS_OK’, ‘X.X.X.X’);

Many earth people would probably look at that and go WTF? However, being as I’ve bashed around WordPress for a while, I knew what to do, which was FTP to the server and add the magic line to wp_config.php.

This stopped WordPress from blocking my IP address. Since I always come prepared, I logged in using another admin account and changed my main account password back to what it was.

Here’s what happened. I use LastPass as my password program. It has a dubious option to auto-change passwords, which I must have accidentally clicked for my main blog account. It changed the password, which is ok, except it didn’t put in a user name. So LastPass then had two entries for my main blog account and both were wrong. Thus I couldn’t log in. And after three wrong attempts, WordPress blocked my IP address.

However, after getting unblocked I could log in using the backup account. Which is why you should always have backup accounts. WordPress has a useful plugin called JetPack that has many great features. JetPack Protect was enabled. It stops brute force attacks and is what locked me out of my own site.  It also keeps asking you to re-login and answer math problems, which is really annoying. So I disabled it.

Now everything is back to normal. Whew.

Michael Moore redesigns blog as social media portal


Michael Moore shows us one possibility for the future of blogging. His newly-designed is now a one-stop portal for his Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr posts. Social media will now be the primary way he communicates. His blog now aggregates it in one place and provides links to other articles too. He plans to drive lots of traffic to other sites too.

This is a new way to do a website. Every word I write on Twitter and Facebook is mine. I don’t have someone writing these things up for me — all posts you read are conceived and typed by yours truly. I have no website staff. I charge no one to use this. I refuse to allow ads on my site or to make money on it in any way. There are no investors and no outside money funding this. All costs come out of my pocket and no one reimburses me. How can I afford that? Because you’ve bought millions of copies of my books and millions of tickets to my films. So YOU paid for this. I thank you for that — and now I want you to use what you paid for!

Sin City Siren. Feminism live from Las Vegas!


Award-winning journalist Emmily Bristol blogs hard and thoughtfully on feminism at Sin City Siren. She has an engaging writing style  and is unafraid of wading into online conflicts. Sin City Siren has a considerable following, and for good reason. It has content not easily found elsewhere, the posts tend to be long and informative, and they take a stand on feminist issues. This blog is a leader, not a follower.

Emmily recently listed her most popular articles for 2013 (Part 1, Part 2). These excerpts give the flavor of this the blog.

How to have a bikini body — put a bikini on your body:
One of the posts I’m most proud of this year is Feminist in a fat-shaming world, in which I take on a lot of negative fat-hating that goes on in the media and I offered my 10 secrets to beauty, which had nothing to do with diets, fashion, makeup, or any fucked-up beauty standard that limits the beauty of the human spirit.

SLUT RIOT sparks interest and conversation about the racism and patriarchy of shaming:
In the heat of August, SCS intern De’Liza Galimidi and I launched a week-long campaign to talk about slut-shaming and related negativity toward sexuality, empowerment, and desire. In the white woman’s parlance, that usually comes down to being called a slut, but it takes many forms (ho, bitch, hoochie, fast, etc.). The campaign, called SLUT RIOT, featured a diverse panel of guest writers, including the perspective of a sex worker. We might not have answered the problem of slut-shaming, but we started a conversation that continues, as many of those posts still get hits every day. Perhaps we’ll start another RIOT in 2014 to take it to the next level!

Las Vegas Review Journal columnist calls Hispanic girls “easy” and insinuates sex with yours truly:
One of the weirdest aspect of the comprehensive sex ed bill debate was the very public crossfire. In the age of social media, politicians, pundits, parents, and people of all persuasions lobbied and vented in the public sphere. One of the strangest spectacles was a back-and-forth between me and disgraced Review Journal publisher Sherman Frederick…. You don’t get to call me a whore in front of the whole world. I’ll stand up for myself and every other person who has to deal with that misogynistic bullshit all day long, twice on Sundays.

Panty raid, or, why aren’t there Spiderman underwear for girls?
This post was a surprise hit. Frankly, I was venting my frustration on how it is impossible for me to find underpants for my daughter that feature her favorite superhero, Spiderman. You can find underwear with some female heroes, like Wonder Woman and Super Girl. That’s great. But why the gendered lockdown on underwear? It turns out, I’m not the only parent with this issue, as I share in the post, another mom started a petition to get Spiderman underwear for girls. I’d take it a step further and just make all characters available for both styles of underwear — girls and boys. Until then, I’ll keep complaining.