Archives for October 2010

Know Me, Like Me, Follow Me

I’m in Bournemouth at my Mum’s and have the luxury of visiting the local library where I pounced on a book by the founder of Ecademy – Penny Power. Know Me, Like Me, Follow Me is about using social networking and I thought it was totally brilliant!

I’ve been a member of Ecademy for many years but have swooped in and out of it. Penny’s book has made me want to go back and really make the most of it. I had no idea that Ecademy was the world’s first social networking site but that was just one of many, many inspirational nuggets in this book.

The very heart of social networking is in giving not getting. No upfront marketing or sales pitches but sharing, helping and supporting. I like that very much but was never really sure whether I was using sites like Twitter, Facebook, Linked In and Ecademy properly. Should I be mentioning my services? What could I say that would make people interested? Should I be accepting a gazillion friends request from people I didn’t know? Can you really have online ‘friends’?

I have always maintained that my experience of the internet has been overwhelmingly positive, I’ve met great people, have always gone to the top when looking for interviews or information and been surprised and gratified when people have given generously of their expertise and time. Penny’s book confirms this. Her personality and values sing from every page. She gets to the heart of social media and explains it in a clear and compelling way. I loved this book.

Rescue of the Chilean Miners – A Symbol of Hope

And so the final miner and the brave rescuers are above ground again after the most incredible rescue operation many of us have ever seen. In fact, the whole story was covered by the 24-hours news journalists with a stream of superlatives – the longest time underground, the deepest rescue shaft, the largest number of men, the first, the youngest, the oldest, the last…

The rescue craft was called Phoenix – a symbol of hope and rebirth. What power that magical name has and what magic it brought about. The whole area resounded with cheers and tears and chanting "CHI CHI CHI LE LE LE" as every man was reborn to life from the dark and symbolic womb of the earth.

But much as I want to wax lyrical, and despite the acres of newsprint and torrent of commentary, in this case words have to defer to pictures.

Just as the horrific and heartbreaking images from 9/11 were seared into mass consciousness, replayed over and over again until they became the archetype for terror, so I hope the images of those incredible men, symbolising the triumph of courage over fear, light over darkness, good over bad will become a positive and enduring message of hope for all of us in a world addicted to bad news.

6 Tips For Online Writing

Online writing - your world wide audience

A Map of the Internet – Your Potential Audience

I do a lot of my writing online – blogs, websites, ezines and over the years I’ve been doing it, I’ve learned a few things I’d like to pass on.


Online writers, particularly bloggers – know titles are important, and that a few tweaks can make a big difference. The following are good things to put in a blog title:

  • numbers written as numbers – e.g 10 Ways to Make a Million as a Writer (I wish!)
  • A list – linked to numbers (above) – e.g. The 5 Best Books I’ve Read This Year
  • Stating – to quote Basil Fawlty – ‘the bleeding obvious’! If your article is about online writing then call it that. It may not demonstrate your whizzy skills as a wordsmith par excellence but Google will love you.
  • ‘Hot’ words and phrases like: secret, new, how to, you, discover
  • Use Capitals for Each Word – I know, I know, it goes against the grain. But this is For Your Own Good!


Online writing needs white space. Your poor visitor can’t concentrate on densely written text.


Today’s web visitors (with the exception of your own good self, of course) have the concentration span of a gnat – they want it fast, and they want it bite-sized. Leave the magnum opus in the drawer.


Online writers use short sentences. That’s it. Sad, I know, but there you are. 


If you can jazz your words up with a picture or a video, Google will love you even more. If you can label your image with a phrase that has some keywords in it – that is better than D_photo_ 1345.jpeg


Try to keep the text complete in your viewer’s browser so they don’t have the tedious and exhausting  job of scrolling down. That usually means around 400 words. I know, I haven’t managed it with this!



Book Launch 2.0 Video

This award-winning spoof video called Book Launch 2.0 isn't new, but if you haven't seen it before I guarantee you'll find it absolutely hilarious. Even if you don't know the publishing world it will strike a chord. As our American friends say: Enjoy!