Tuesday, January 30, 2007

email from Swicki custom search engines

I really like my Blog Revolution Search Engine, a FREE custom SE from Swicki/Eurekster. (See my sidebar)

Here's an email they sent me, which I pass along to you to help promote them.



How do you make your swicki better than Google? By getting help from the experts in your swicki community!

This is a quick note to let you know about the great new "Community Features" in your swicki.

It is estimated that people find what they want from general search engines only 40-70% of the time. We want to make that closer to 100% and your swicki's new tools will allow your community members to fill in any gaps in the search results.

Your swicki uses the information you give it, along with the best indexing technologies, to gather search results about your topic. No matter how good the automatic tools it uses, there will still be gaps that you and other experts can now easily fill. This means your swicki can become the definitive search destination on the web for "blog revolution search engine".

Your swicki's users can now:

  • Vote for results directly on a new results page (http://blog-revolution-search-engine-swicki.eurekster.com).
  • Easily write an answer directly into the search results (see the "Write your own search result" link at the top of the swicki results page).
  • Use the new WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor for writing great looking search results, including: URL links and embedded video.
  • See a list of unanswered questions that includes search terms people have searched for or asked on your swicki but didn't find good answers for.
  • Subscribe to your swicki for the latest questions and answers using your swicki's RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed.

As moderator, you can:

  • Click on the "write an answer" link beside each new search term in your Buzzcloud activity emails to quickly write answers.
  • Approve or exclude answers contributed by your community members.

Search is becoming increasingly verticalized and our aim is to help you use your expertise to turn your swicki into a valuable and useful search engine and to help you earn your part of the multi-billion-dollar search industry.

We always appreciate your feedback so let us know your thoughts.

Kind regards,

Grant Ryan


blogs as surveillance tools

Since many bloggers mistakenly think that a digital journal is as intimate and private as a print diary, strategic details about a person's life may be seen in their blog. Details they may not have communicated otherwise.

Surveillance: covertly watching or recording a suspect to (hopefully) catch them doing something wrong.

Parents, who care enough about their children, can command the child to open their blog and let their mom and dad see what photos and text are in the blog.

On the U.S. television program "Wife Swap" last night, the parents of a 12 year old girl are exposed to the raunchy, sleazy, sexual content of the daughter's blog, and demand that she remove specific content.

When the parents took issue with her blog contents, she whined: "Everybody's doing it, so it's not fair for you to stop me. What am I supposed to say, that I'm an angel?"

You can do research on your competitors by reading the blogs of employees or the CEO blog. At the very least, you can learn how a competitor is talking to and influencing the market. You may also see some vulnerabilities and opportunities to provide a better product or serve a market segment (niche) that is underserved.

If you fire an employee, and that former employee has a blog, you can monitor that blog, for libel, defamation of character, lies, false accusations, over-compensating egotism, and other forms of wounded self-aggrandizement.

These details may prove useful in legal actions, for example, if the employee tries to sue the company for unlawful firing, if that archaic concept has any sense left in an At Will state. Unfortunately, corporations have all the rights and the individual has practically none.

For example: I was physically assaulted, commanded to conduct unauthorized activity on a cash register (enter retail sales volume under someone else's password whenever I had alreadymet "plan", i.e., the sales goals for the week), and sexually harrassed on the job -- but my attorney told me I had no grounds for a lawsuit. That's insane, it's not America or democracy, but that's what happened nevertheless.

My point is that it seems that many bloggers gush out all kinds of sordid, offensive, rash statements on their blogs, not thinking how it makes them look (immature, crazy, stupid), nor considering how it could be used against them.

Here's one way it works: the person has a web site. It might be an ecommerce site or a marketing site that displays expertise, talent, art, writing, music, or design work. On that web site there may also be a link called "blog", "journal", or "my diary". That's where the incriminating or embarrassing content can be found.

Why do bloggers post such self-condemning material?

I have warned bloggers in the past not to post hateful statements or threats against other individuals or companies. In the event of an arson, vandalism, murder, or suspicious death, what you wrote in you blog could come back to haunt you.

I won't address the issue of posting naked or sexually oriented photos on your blog, especially if you're a young girl, since this is so obviously stupid, it doesn't even require any cautions. Predators and stalkers are out there seeking such dummies.

I think we should all remember that what we publish in our public-access blogs (those that are not password protected) may be used against us as an individual or organization.

Think before you post. Pause before clicking that Publish Post button. Be sure that you really want the entire world to know what you reveal in your post. Some topics are best left out of the blogosphere and reserved for intimate conversations with family, friends, and confidantes.

This is not a new "rule" to limit the freedom of blogging, it's just a friendly reminder that "loose lips sink ships" and not everything needs to be blurted out on a blog. Use some discretion and protect yourself from those who might use your reckless abandon and ill considered revelations against you.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

books and music for blogging

These are the books and music that influence this blog. Not all of the influences, just a few of my favorites.

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Acts of Religion, by Jacques Derrida

Books can tell us things we would have not known, if not for books. We can curl up with them, when they're good, and boil them when they're bad. Book soup is not too grueling.

Some books come to us as self-parody and deep insight.

Some are technical resources for web analysts and usability professionals.

Others are marketing books that everyone should read, for laughs, lessons, and leaping ahead.

When you want to understand how the Technological Imperative is attempting to rule your life, there are books that treat the topic in a rich phenomenology.

It helps your mind to stay young, vibrant, and strong, when you read difficult, challenging, provocative, combative books on topics related to your passion and/or career.

Read the simple, study the deep, struggle with the esoteric, practice the fundamentals, master the profound.

Music, too, could be merely entertaining, or intellectually enlightening, mentally expanding.

Many ways to do it.

Music can appear to the ear as a concern with novel ways to organize and interrogate sound: clashing, jarring, explosive, harsh, abrasive, unexpected, uncategorized, suspended, inert, hovering.

[Iannis Xenakis: "Perseopolis + remixes, edition 1"]

Or murky quirky avant garde.

[Luciano Berio: "Corale, Chemins II & IV, Points on the curve to find..."]

Perhaps we decide to smarten our brains and refresh our creative and strategic batteries. Why not listen to successful blogger podcasts?

Ah, my friend in Moscow, the musician Djet.

[Djet: "Snow Maiden", "Abrasive", "Silent Pictures", "Inanimate Objects" EPs]

Back in 1972, when Tangerine Dream was a more experimental band.

This has the honor of being the first album I know of that deliberately tried to make music that was stationary, that seemed to move, sort of, but refused to actually arrive anywhere.

It was done to symbolize the inertia of time, the lack of motion in temporality, the stillness of eternity now.

top 25 content

Vaspers the Grate top 25 content, according to Google Analytics on 1-28-2007.
Top Content / Google Analytics / 1-28-2007


[home page]

2. say hello to these CEO blogs

3. sales pitch book

4. dangers of personal blogging

5. You Tube director account

6. web credibility destroyers

7. blog taglines experiment

8. 15 signs of an amateur web site





11. spiritual slothfulness book

12. new Bibles of personal revelation





15. horrible web monstrosities



17. your invitation to join my new wiki



19. 24 tips for new bloggers

20. check your functionalities: coupon example



22. caravan

23. gabor ivan kish 1968-2006

24. 10 things you didn't know about Vaspers



burn podcasts to CDs

I have been downloading podcasts, opening them with iTunes, putting them into playlists, then burning CDs of them. By burning podcasts to CDs, I can listen to them in the car, in a boombox, or in the livingroom stereo system.

When you feel like listening to talk, don't turn to talk radio, full of jarring commercials, turn instead to podcasts in your field of expertise or practice, in art or music, marketing or management, whatever is your passion or career.

I have a meagre library that is doomed to expand exponentially:

(1) "Computer Music Pioneers" playlist with an interview and music by Tod Dockstader.

(2) "CalacanisCast Beta" featuring Jason Calacanis.

(3) PodTech Marketing Voices Interviews with:

Seth Godin

("most of the time you need to ignore your customers, because the goal is to get your customers talking to each other, and you need to listen to what they're saying to each other...customers cannot innovate for you, if Edison listened only to customers, he would have made brighter candles.")

Robert Scoble (PodTech.net)

Bill Kircos (Intel)

Debbie Weil (BlogWrite for CEOs)

Kelly Wagman (Juniper Networks)

Michael Sippey

Steve Broback (Blog Business Summit)

Peter Rojas (Engadget)

Pete Blackshaw (Nielsen Buzzmetrics)

Guy Kawasaki

Regis McKenna

Jeremiah Owyang (PodTech.net)

Steve Rubel (Edelman)

Sharon Wienbar (BA Venture Partners).

Saturday, January 27, 2007

85 blogger tee shirt sayings

Mr. Angry, my online sedative, makes tee shirts with fabric painted sayings on them.

Here are some ideas for him. As you hurriedly skim and scan my list, think of your own witty and fiendish blogger tee shirt sayings, okay? Then post a comment here, telling us what they are, please. Thanks.

(0) Proud Member of the New Reformed Insane Blog Media Network

(1) “I’m a blogger, therefore I will flame you in my next post.”

(2) "She-bloggers eat lumberjacks for lunch and spit hyper-nails."

(3) "Your _____ will be exposed in my next blog post."

(4) "My boss doesn't know I blog. About him."

(5) "Mommy bloggers put their children at risk with predators."

(6) "Political blogs make me want to vote for NONE OF THE ABOVE."

(7) "How am I? Didn't you read my blog today?"

(8) "Blog = Boring Lame Obnoxious Gushings"

(9) “You don't blog? You don't exist!”

(10) “Blog until your head falls off.”

(11) "Feed my RSS scraper, baby!"

(12) "Ping me!"

(13) "V is for Victory over the MSM!"

(14) "MOUSE = Multi Operational User Selection Enabler"

(15) "I blog, therefore I am (a blogger--doh!)"

(16) "Blog: ugly word with a lovely future."

(17) "Post videos and podcasts -- or delete your blog!"

(18) "What would Kurt Cobain blog? Oh, stupid lyrics, that's right. Never mind."

(19) "Friends don't let friends blog drunk."

(20) "Blogrolls are the new RSS" -- Evan Williams.

(21) "Blog = an email to the world" -- Doc Searls.

(22) "Only web wusses avoid blogocombat."

(23) "She-bloggers are prettier than half-males."

(24) "Geek-neckers, unite!"

(25) "Embed my link in your name, baby!"

(26) "Reciprocal commenting: the new online high."

(27) "There is no offline reality."

(28) "My monetized blog paid off my student loan!"

(29) "Build your dream house for $1.49"

(30) "Web 2 point Oh No!"

(31) "I'm an auto-refreshing page boy."

(32) "Ajax: not just for sinks anymore."

(32) "XML is my feed size. Here it comes."

(33) "I want to Trackback you."

(34) "WARNING: I drank the social media Koolaid."

(35) "Meet me at my sidebar" OR "sip my parsing syntax" (not sure what this means...)

(36) "Push Button Publishing made me rich!" -- Post Secret.

(37) "Make millions doing next to nothing." -- Post Secret.

(38) "Let users create ALL your blog content." -- Post Secret.

(39) WEB INFORMATION UTOPIA: Any Content. Any Time. Any Amount. Any Format. Any Place.

(40) "Markets are now smarter than the companies that serve them." -- Christopher Locke

(41) "Sneak my Easter Egg into your Office app." -- Christopher Locke (Gonzo 49)

(42) "Up with Thick Description!" --Christopher Locke (Gonzo 45)

(43) "The future is already here. It's just not distributed equally."

(44) "What would a digital journalist do?"

(45) "What to blog about today? Your annoying defects and irrational masochism!"

(46) "Doug Engelbart rocks!"

(47) "Happy information trails 2 U" -- Vannevar Bush

(48) "/qW=e don't need no thought kontrol!"

(49) "typos R mandytory"

(50) "Jurgen Habermas was right!" -- Christopher Locke (Gonzo 156)

(51) "So was Jacques Derrida!" -- Christopher Locke (Gonzo 156)

(55) "Vin~t Cerf > ce]rtifie[d T\ech-nic^ian"

(56) "My dad is Charles Babbage and Konrad Zuse"

(57) "There is no one unaffected by the computer technology explosion." -- Steven Levy

(58) "Computer Literacy Tutor"

(59) "Multi Hyper Media Tycoon"

(60) "Help! I'm stuck in Arpanet!"

(61) "digitized appetite hunger strike"

(70) "World Wide Web Whiner"

(71) "Wanna Wiki?"

(72) "My blog speaks Python" (partially sure what this might mean)

(73) "I got your Up-skilling"

(74) "CPU first, RAM second" (may be fading in relevance)

(75) "Married to a data warehousewife"

(76) "Debugger...for girsl and half-males only" (intentional typo, see 49)

(77) "dot matrix guitar player -- Resonance FM"

(78) "Ooops. Was that your social security number? Sorry. Sold it."

(79) "Thwart and stymie and deter identity theft. De-entitize yourself."

(80) "Gmail, not Fee Mail"

(81) "Net Neutrality stole my girlfriend. Have you seen 'im?"

(81 1/2) "Technorati Illuminati"

(82) "They call me Macro."

(83) "I can fix your user error."

(84) "Sphere me."

(85) "Digg this!"

10 ecommerce insights

These tips are a mashup of advice to sales people selling ecommerce web sites and for clients who use ecommerce web sites to sell or advertise products.

(1) Don't sell web sites. Sell web-based marketing/sales/PR solutions.

(2) First, do research and consultation with clients to fully understand client business, what the company is trying to do, and what the users want to know, do, and buy, and then custom build a site around that.

(3) Ecommerce sites need to contain what all other blogs, wikis, and other web sites need: About, Contact (form and email address, fax, phone, land location, cell, etc.), Profile.

(4) User observation tests are mandatory.

(5) Don't give the client what will please the client, give them what their customers actually want from a web site, and make that astonishing customer gratification and service well pleasing to the client.

(6) Consider enabling the ecommerce site visitor to customize the product you're selling, as in Flash-enable "Design Your Own" functionalities. See www.uberprints.com for an example of tee shirt customizing Flash application.

(7) If you require registration for a site, provide and explain the benefits of, and reasons for, registration. Don't just have Register and Login links.

(8) Warn web design prospects of the dangers of letting amateur, student, or well meaning friends build your web site. Explain to clients why a professional, non-generic, stable, securely hosted, customized web site is essential to achieve their business goals.

(9) Study books and blogs by Seth Godin, Kellogg Marketing Faculty at Northwestern University, Jakob Nielsen, Jared Spool, Harvey Mackay, Peter Drucker, W. Edwards Deming, John Battelle, David Weinberger, Laura and Al Ries, Debbie Weil, Tom Peters for insight, strategy, and inspiration.

(10) A blase, laid back, non-hype, casual, relaxed, friendly, no pressure approach is best, plus helping customers to compare one product versus another in your lineup, helping them decide which product to buy is where most ecommerce sites fail.

24 tips for new bloggers

Advice, wisdom, and insights for a new blogger, for anyone who just started, or is "getting ready" to start a blog.

Any person or organization.

In no particular order, just a random riffing:

(1) Get, buy, or create a custom or at least non-default, non-generic cookie cutter blog design template.

(2) Have a purpose for your blog and an intended audience. Family and friends? Employees and customers? Potential clients? Other musicians? A niche market? A specialty expertise? Art lovers? Voyeurs and nosey busy bodies who love to drill into other people's problems and confessed shortcomings? A people of the future?

(3) Focus on what really matters to you, to your company, to your customers, your peers, your readers, your fans.

(4) Use a Post Quality Test: "Does this post REALLY satisfy any known or guessed needs of my readers, or is it just an idiosyncratic tangent or vain confession that need not be publicized?

(5) Don't imagine that people are searching for you.

People are searching for rich, rare, relevant content, task-accomplishing functionalities, answers to questions, good deals on quality merchandise, expertise on difficult subjects, fully customized products, fully personalized service, truth, honesty, and value.

(6) Be aware that the MSM (main/morbid stream media) is your enemy, with a few exceptions.

Some exceptions are Business Week, Fortune, US News & World Report (because they interviewed me), Business Week, New York Times, CBS MarketWatch, PBS, NPR, and C-SPAN (e.g., Book TV). There may, and I stress that word "may", be, and I don't stress the word "be", others.

(7) Blogocombat is fun and builds mental muscles. Attack the MSM every chance you get, except for the exceptions I mentioned earlier, of course.

(8) Blogocombat is a good use of your time, defending the blogosphere and the core values of blogging.

(9) Blogocombat is calmly, intellectually, giftedly, gently and gingerly clobbering your debate opponent. I think I've only lost two or three fights, but that's because I was tired and sleepy.

(10) Practice blogocombat never. Just use it when absolutely necessary.

(11) Avoid it whenever possible.

But face it, one day you'll read a blog, and something will jump out at you. You'll feel a delicious shiver of hate pulse up and down your spine.

You hate a lie, a stupidity, an unbearably smug hubris that you detect in a post by some blogger. You fill out the comment form and pass the Turing test to put your comment into moderation, hoping it gets published by the spambot fighting blogger.

(12) Get a book on HTML, the code that web sites are built with, though other code is also used.

Learn enough to be able to get into your design template source code and fiddle around with it, changing colors, adding images, creating blogrolls of recommended external sites, feedrolls (like I used to have with Digg and Lockergnome), polls, Technorati tracking code, various sidebar category links, podcast players, video players, custom search engines, games, news rivers, and other embeds into your blog.

(13) Change your photo, blog colors and design, and other things once in a while, to stir things up, and keep it interesting.

(14) Do unexpected things, blog about some tangent, some odd topic, again: to add spice and variety to your blog, to keep it from getting stale and predictable.

(15) Use some comedy, self-parody, and all the grand unquestionable principles of Winning Through Self-loathing which dovetails into Miserably Servile Customer Pampering which can easily run on the platform of Zero Budget Marketing for Mass/Niche Market Triumph.

(16) Choose your blogroll entries carefully.

One of the best ways to judge a new or unfamiliar blog is by the blogroll. If it's a blog about online marketing, universal content utopia, absolute switched-on user empowerment, and the new share economy, for example, does the blogroll contain the established thought leaders, marketing practice (not consultant) bloggers, and business book authors?

(17) Remember you want to blogroll those who practice and succeed in their field, not ivory tower speculators, or armchair salesmen. You want to link to experts who are experts not by thinking and writing about something, but by thinking and DOING and writing about it. A list of clients or accounts is nice, if you can verify the veracity of it.

(18) Craft your post titles with utmost care, perhaps spending more time working on the title that you do on the post itself.


That title is what search engine spiders will see, it's what will show up in your Recent Posts sidebar display, it's what will probably/hopefully appear in your post URL (the web address of that specific post, rather than the main index home page of your blog).

It's the post title that is the advertising ambassador of your entire blog. The post title will be what decides an RSS subscriber who is seeking relevant, helpful, useful, interesting, shocking, or entertaining content.

Treat that post title with the respect it deserves. Shorter is generally better, and numbered lists convey substance and organized information that is easy to skim quickly.

Use bizarre, poetic, absurd, or surreal post titles once in a while, to stir things up and strike an off-key chord.

See Carrie Snell for post titles that are imaginative, provocative, and usually totally irrelevant to the posts themselves, which is a good avant garde blog technique.

(19) If you want traffic and comments, there are only two ways to get them: (a) be famous and sought after already, or (b) post rich, relevant, funny, polite comments at other, comment-reciprocating, or high traffic, or niche influence, blogs.

(20) Interact swiftly, politely, and completely with your readers. Reply quickly to their emails and post comments. Never attack or censor commentors.

Comment moderation with delayed posting and email notification of comments in moderation is the way to go.

You DO NOT need to use a captcha, a word or character verification device. In most cases, your blog will not be under relentless onslaughts of spambot attacks, which is what captchas block. When you have to answer a simple math problem, or type in the letters/numbers you see in a fouled background box, that jazzes the characters so it's a real pain to decipher them, you're in a captcha botkiller.

Don't annoy your readers with a word verification test. Just moderate comments, not censoring, but deleting spam comments, comments that are off topic, vague, stupid, and contain a link to some web site that usually is pornographic, pseudo pharmacy, attaches spyware or viruses or other malicious attacks or dubious if not criminal practices.

Filter out ALL and IMMEDIATELY the comment spam and abusive comments that try to fight its way into your blog. Learn about abusive comments and spambot prevention devices and techniques.

Do not allow anyone to use your blog as a free billboard for their products or services, by posting opportunistic comments, comments that contain links to their sites, whether commercial or informational. Unless you know and like them.

(21) Understand what "blog residue" is. Blog residue is what remains inside you when you walk away from the computer: your connecting with other bloggers, and your increasing skills in debate, research, networking, writing, web design, HTML, CSS, RSS, credibility evaluation, and even improvements in your appreciation of diversity, democracy, and free thought.

(22) Evolve your blog. Come on, learn something, okay? Put a podcast "welcome" message in your sidebar. Put a photo of you on it. Why? To humanize your blog, make it more personal, more intimate, candid, transparent, authentic, that's why. Think of new ways to get more of you into your blog, not for narcissistic, myopic, or selfish vanity reasons, but to connect with other real human beings transmitting their thoughts and visions via networked overwrought computers.

(23) Never post "boilerplate" comments on other people's blogs. "Boilerplate comments" are basically press release type remarks, defending a company or product or person, and paid or somehow incentivized by a third party, like a company. Also, you don't want to kill your credibility and ethics by being a PayPerPost spambot, littering the blogosphere with pollutions in the form of insincere or sincere, but paid, compensated, incentivized, or coached comments attacking or promoting a third party or product.

(24) Don't believe everything you see in the blogosphere.

Some blogs are NOT HUMAN. Yes, the threat is at its greatest when you do a search on a word or topic. You'll run into RSS feed blogs, vampire blogs, inhuman blogoid objects that do not enable reader comments, no About or Contact page, floating like an aggregated lump of exploitive cyber sewage. These blogoid monstrosities will suck a post right out of your blog and re-blog it, re-post it to their authorless blog. Your post then sits there, linking back to your blog, as can be seen in a Technorati Other Blgos That Link Here search. It sits there, staring at you like a kidnapped child in distress. And there's nothing you can do about it.

What other blogger reveals such blogospheric estoterica to you? Name one.

Smiling sincerely,

your pal Vaspers

CyberJournalist post titles in newsletter

I got the latest CyberJournalist email newsletter yesterday I think it was.

Here's a smart idea for you newsletter senders, which I must become soon. Include a linked list of your 20 latest, or 20 best or most popular posts, so newsletter subscribers can catch up, derive benefit, and fall more deeply in love with your resources.

Turn the clocks in your head back to square one and, as you burn into your brain the truth that users are always impatient, distracted, multi-tasking, hurried, and madly searching for relevant info, task-accomplishment functionalities, or nichey entertainment, with all this in mind, now go, go to the very beginning and ask yourself, from ground zero:

"Do my blog post titles, archive categories, content, sidebar buttons, profile facts, and navigation systems truly reflect what my readers need, want, and seek?"

CyberJournalist.net recent articles:

Recent headlines

Which title do you click, if any? I'm curious. Do YOU think these post titles are compelling? Which is the most attractive to YOU???

I like "Blog Readership Growing for Major Newspapers" (since online newspapers never know how to do a blog, link to other sites, or enable comments for every article).

I also am intrigued by "New York Times launches video obits".

Imagine if your obituary in an online newspaper, or in your own blog, could be like
"Hello. If you're viewing this, then it's official: I'm deceased. Dead. Departed. Hope I end up in a better world, but not no heaven or nirvana if it don't have no computers, blogs, or noise music CDs."
while you're clowing around with tuna and ketchup.

Yesterday, I figured out how to sell web sites to local businesses. I now know how to pick the low hanging fruit of those who want a web site, who are proclaiming "everybody's buying everything online now". It's so simple what my boss taught me, but I'll never reveal it.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

say hello to these CEO blogs

Here are some CEO blogs -- some good, some rather poor. Can you tell which is which?

John W. Scherer Video Professor Blog

Bill Marriott, Chairman & CEO Marriott Intl.

Jim Estill, CEO, Synnex-Canada

Marc Cuban, CEO, HDNET, Dallas Mavericks

Lester Wunderman

Michael Hyatt

Jason Calacanis

John Dragoon, CMO, Sr. VP, Novell

Joe Wikert, Publisher, Wiley & Sons

Ted's Take: the blogging site of Ted Leonis, AOL

CEO Blogs List


new Bibles of personal revelation

Blogs are the New Bibles of Personal Revelation.

People, journalists, web sites, universities are starting to say "the blogs are..." and "in the blogs they're saying..."

Blogs are becoming solemn, prestigious, recognized for the hard, disciplined work of research, insight, and inscription that they are. A blog can be a frivolous piece of junk, yes, like any TV show, music band, telephone call, or direct mail package. But increasing numbers of respected intellects, most of them authors or thought leaders, are starting blogs.

And even in the most exalted and intellectual blogs, the blogs act as mirrors, mirroring the passion, knowledge, skills, and personalities of the bloggers. Every blog is a personal blog. CEO blogs just happen to have a CEO as the person blogging. Product blogs are simply personal blogs in which the product and it's blogging surrogates are the star.

Blogs enable you to express your deep or casual feelings about a brand, a company, a person (self), a product, an expertise, a hobby, a life style, an artform, a social cause, an ideology. To understand a market, it wouldn't hurt to read a bunch of blogs devoted to topics relevant to your target market.

Do a Google or Technorati search on a key phrase related to your market, say "small business accounting". You'll see web pages and blog posts devoted to "small business accounting". Click on a few of them. Inspect their blogrolls. A blogroll can tell you a lot about a blog. Do the blogs that look professional and credible link to certain blogs consistently? Click on them.

You're "trust-linking" from reputable sites to what they link to. You're starting to assemble a fairly valuable, seat of the pants list of seemingly credible and authoritative sites on a topic or industry. It's fun.

Be sure to post your final list for your own blog readers.

Deconstructively speaking, or rather writing, the word "blog" is beginning to get close to both "babel" and "bible". Most blogs are in the middle. Somewhere between narcissistic chatter and technology white paper.

Blogosphere: from private musings to network storage.

When people say "blogs" now, everyone knows that only the good blogs is meant. "Bloggers" now refers exclusively, in most cases, to the good bloggers. Personal bloggers, science bloggers, art bloggers, mommy bloggers, CEO bloggers, musician bloggers, it makes no difference.

Blogs: the New Telephone, Television, and (Compu-) Telepathy.

No matter what business or art or hobby you're in, you can learn a lot from the tech bloggers. You don't even have to understand or care about their blog content. Just skim through them and notice how each post title sounds like the name of a seminar. The posts are like mini-seminars.

Here's how a data storage blogger speaks of his little corner of the blogosphere. Notice what he says is "impossible". He's right.

Blogs: the New Defenders of Democracy.

Blogs: the New Thought Liberators.

Blogs: the New Bibles of Personal Revelation.

You can trust them more than you thought you could.

From "Top 10 Network Storage Blogs"


When you're immersed in storage as I am, it’s impossible to ignore the blogs of analysts, vendors and consultants.

The blogs written by storage company executives can be surprisingly vendor-agnostic, though the analysts and consultants still tend to pull fewer punches.


Isn't this what blogging's all about?

Freely expressing your un-incentivized, non-compensated, spontaneous, uncoached opinions and gripes?

Mouthing off, loudly, relentlessly, triumphalistically -- about your fears, dreams, desires, needs, solutions, products, music, art, expertise, lunch, favorite movies, marketing ideas, parenting experiences, exercise plan, office innovation, and political view?

your pal,

22 things you could do with a web site

…but hurry, before your competitors beat you to it.

1. Show customers who like to surf the web that you care about their business: you have a web site they can visit.

2. Make your expertise, credentials, and products known to a global audience.

3. Establish yourself as an industry leader, innovator, authoritative speaker, or rising star.

4. Sell more product with a 24 hour, 7 days a week, 365 days a year sales channel.

5. Put your yellow pages information online: hours, location, phone number, years in business, types and brands of products carried, payment methods, credit cards accepted, menu, slogan, claim to fame, reasons why customers should buy from you.

6. Take dining reservations, class registrations, and other forms-based input.

7. Get valuable feedback, questions, testimonials, and purchase orders from customers, with a web contact (or blog comment) form.

8. Provide customers with news updates, press coverage, road construction detours, school closings, business address and map, and other urgent, time-sensitive material.

9. Reach more educated, higher income customers, which is what web users tend to be.

10. Announce changes to your organization, staff, product line, store hours, or location.

11. Attract customers by showcasing your products in text, photos, mp3s, and video.

12. Have a blog in your web site, in which you frequently post announcements, anecdotes, how-to tips, promotions, ads, downloadable free, trial, or paid products, and links to relevant sites.

13. Become visible to researchers, job applicants, and suppliers who search the web.

14. Get more media attention and interviews by having a “media room” page on your site. Journalists prefer online information and are increasingly not accepting paper press kits anymore.
15. Sell products online with an ecommerce site that includes a shopping cart, credit card processing, and order tracking.

16. Show your customers and colleagues that you understand the changing environment of sales and marketing that now requires an online presence: web sites, wikis, blogs, podcasts, VoIP, digital catalogs, and online interaction devices like virtual receptionists and digital butlers (human-like personas who help web users).

17. Make it easy for customers to find your company when they use search engines to find a product. This requires SEO (search engine optimization) techniques & frequent, relevant content updates and enrichments.

18. Test market new products and services, to targeted audiences, i.e., hot prospects only, without the huge expense and randomicity of print, radio, and TV promotions.

19. Find fresh, new focus for your marketing strategy by having a web site that zeroes in on the most important message and offers that will increase sales and brand loyalty.

20. Easily update, revise, tweak, reformulate, or revolutionize your marketing strategy, since web site changes are relatively easy to make.

21. Network online via chat, VoiP, webcam videoconferencing, etc., with business allies, who may end up partnering with you on special projects or promotions.

22. Reach a specialized market of hard-to-identify “rare item” customers. Those who are searching for products that are exotic, one-of-a-kind, out of the ordinary, and unique –and who tend to search the web for them (using both eBay and Google Search).

your pal,

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

abandoned blog wiki & blog

start blog, get no results, abandon blog
The deconstructivist experiment in blog phenomenology is under full sway now, up and running to who knows what glorious goal or advantageous aim?

Wiki contributors include: Carrie Snell, Vaspers, Liz Strauss, Yvonne Divita, Valeria Maltoni, Paul Woodhouse, Chip Camden, Steven Brent, and Bill Dennis.

Dropping Out of the Blogosphere (wiki)

Archiving and analyzing the terrible tragedy, or the refreshing liberation, of quitting the discipline of blogging.

View the constantly updated content and watch the saga of blog abandonment unfold.

Now up to 10 highly motivated Contributing Editors at your service, collecting and commenting on orphaned, deleted, or poorly maintained blogs and vanishing bloggers.

New content added daily, as much as possible.

A world premier web site.

..and don't forget
the exciting and

Abandoned Blog

In which posts occur, tragically betraying the sense and sincerity of the title, making the Abandoned Blog one of the most active and unabandoned blog, but it's still worthy of the title Abandoned Blog, because it's a little deconstruction machine.

It's unobtrusively digesting the mystery of the meaning of being an "abandoned blog".

start a blog, get no results, abandon blog

Monday, January 22, 2007

electronic linguists and word voltage

Electronic Linguistics

[Written by George Quasha, in part in dialogue with Gary Hill, and with a view to further dialogue with Chrissie Iles, as preliminary statement in contribution to Thomas Bartscherer’s project of a collection of art-centered essays on information technology. The views expressed herein are George Quasha’s, reflecting many years of collaboration with Gary Hill, who expresses agreement with these views, as well as Charles Stein.]

The notion of “language” is subject to radical reframing in any unprecedented context, and indeed, albeit subtly, in any actual unexampled use.

[VASPERS: But "reframing" means we're speaking of a visual metaphor, as if language, that is trans-mental communication, were a landscape, capable of being rendered or received in the form of a photo or painting, and what bizarre language could this be then?]

“Information technology,” due in part to its continuous demand on new descriptive terminology as well as its appeal to artists, may be regarded as a continuous opportunity for reframing further the possible understandings of what language is. This seems particularly true in the artistic uses of new technologies.

[VASPERS: Information Technology means replacing humans with Automated Inter-Computer Communications, and even Language Itself now needs to be clarified by means of a means? We are going to take our picture of language and rip it or gently lift it out of its frame, it boundaries and borders, and not to let it roam free, either. No. It must immediately have a new frame imposed upon it. Call it a "reframing". A repeat taming.]

As an instance of such an artist’s response to new technological use, Gary Hill from early in his work developed a parallel interest in new uses of technology and in innovative uses of language.

He discovered, for example, a language function that kicks in when working with specific electronically generated processes of image formation (initially with a Rutt-Etra Video Synthesizer).

Visual abstractions through synthesized video, of which there are a potentially infinite number, take on a self-limiting and self-organizing quality of “identity” manifestation; that is, they come to seem somehow entitative, even though the boundaries of a given emergent entity are relatively fluid.

[VASPERS: And what "fluids" are you now pouring down your thirsty throat, that makes you talk so?]

There comes a point where the emergent entity assumes a sort of responsive intelligence with which one feels oneself in dialogue, even to the degree that it appears to embody a condition of request, as if it wants to be a certain way.

It is at this point that one feels oneself to be in a state of language.

[VASPERS: With all these emergent entities crawling around, I feel more like I'm in a zoo.]

Understanding this state may make use of innovative notions, such as the one Gary Hill proposed: “electronic linguistics,” languaging that arises uniquely within an electronically generated process.

[VASPERS: And here we now have the unheralded "tyranny of the machine", a totality that squeezes even language and relationship out of the human world that is trying to escape or dominate it.

We see the tyranny in the form of "...one feels oneself to be in a state of language". Why language? Could it also be a state of hunger? Mathematics? Lethargy? Why language, or does it take language to separate the causes: human makes machine which destroys or dominates human?

If there is a "language" that is emerging in the imagination of the narrator, emerging imaginatively with the machine, the information, the technology, that language can only be the inverse metaphor of the silence that exists in between man and made.]

If one’s response to this state of language were to turn to existing vocabularies pertaining to a given domain of, say, information technology or formal philosophy, then the state of language might withdraw from one or refuse further access.

That is, if one interferes with the dialogic state of responsive listening by supplying an already existing languaging, the very creative matrix closes down. This leads to a question as to whether a “natural” or self-generating language state requires radical openness and is therefore in opposition to formal language systems aimed at precise one-to-one referentiality.

[VASPERS: But where is there any evidence that any reality, that of language and its referents, is one-to-one? No word has only one meaning at all time and in all places, nor does a thing have only one word pointing at it.

Why is something as unnatural as "self-generating language state" called "natural" with the quotes being used to beef up the ambiguity?

A "language" that mysteriously "arises" out of the digital realm! But we see it everywhere now: chat abbreviations, emoticons, intentional typos, secret net slang, symbolic typographic gestures, an anti-corporate sloppiness and aggressive opinion slinging.]

Accordingly there are art strategies that aim at keeping formal expressions unresolved. This may imply an understanding of language that is radically different from more common understandings, such as those that see language as generated in specific environments in a context of communication and consensus.

[VASPERS: Yet another informal fantasy. What (or whose) "art strategies", "consensus", "communication", "common understandings"? As expressed or researched by who? According to what definitions? Where is there any evidence to support any suppositions about such things? ]

Specific issues appear within the experience of language to arise from a particular process and state of composition.

Preliminarily we can name some of these:


Instead of viewing language function as either the conventional one of definite figuration (referential) or its contrary, abstraction (non-referential), it is viewed as configurative.

That is, language is the medium of connection between self and world/other that configures reality. Here language is itself a reality generator. Therefore one’s engagement in a specific process moves toward generating reality through language that fits the process.

[VASPERS: But what kind of "reality" can something as flimsy and ethereal as "language" ever hope to "generate"?

Language, based on and permeated with, anxiety? Language, misconstrued and miserable in the stew? Language that changes with the occasion, now mumbled, now shouted. Are the "realites" that language "generates" merely mental, illusory, spoken and written on sands and winds?]

Language of course may also reflect the process and indeed reflect on the experience of the process, even to the point of generating taxonomies and analysis, but such language behavior is not the primary language function but one of many configurations.

The implicit view is that language as instrument of mind and body is inherently configurative. Thus the artist’s engagement with technology can be a magnified instance of the raw configurative force of language, called out by sheer unlimited formativity.

[VASPERS: But what seems impossible to pin down with any reliability is exactly WHAT is being "configured" and a victim of "formativity"? How can we assess the real raw power of any artist's "engagemnet with technology"? Is it necessarily something that is "magnified", even if only the ephemera of "instance" is invoked?]


One of the characteristics of electronic processing is the speed with which forms are generated.

[VASPERS: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz]

The artist attuning consciousness to such processing enters into a unique state of language, one that may have a direct relationship with neurological processing, on one hand, and, on another hand, a trans-neurological state that represents mind and body as a field of language composition and hyperlocality.

Language no longer is drawn to represent things as located in a certain place because things are not experienced that way; rather, things are hyperlocal, generated without regard to place-limitation and experienced as potentially located in more than one place at a time.

Indeed, the experience of speed may have the effect of seeming to abolish time as a constraint, so that one operates within a field of attractions that seems to offer a potential micromoment, a still point, a point of possible atemporality. Language itself may attempt to embody such possibility. (Early exploration of the implications of speed in language composition has occurred in various ways in experimental poetics, for instance, in Charles Olson’s Projective Verse [1950].)

—Body: Electronics seems to take one into more mental space and leave the body behind, which may be a factor in the general non-resistance to jargon-like terminologies dominating the language of technology. However, paradoxically, the artistic engagement with technology can have the opposite effect, perhaps due to the effect of feedback on neurological and trans-neurological (field) processing. Perhaps also such engagement at the electronic level triggers an implicit awareness of the energetics of languaging. Such awareness can see the connection between, for instance, electronic wave phenomena and physical waves (in the ocean, registered in the body [e.g., Gary Hill’s experience as surfer entering the electronic art domain]), suggesting a subtle connection between electronic process-thinking/languaging and body-thinking/languaging.

—Liminality: We think of language in terms of large oppositions – referential/non-referential; figurative/non-figurative; subjective/objective; natural/constructive; etc. However, processual thinking/languaging offers an opportunity to see how these oppositions are merely perspectival and functional most usefully in defining the dynamics of a field. Electronic processing offers an opportunity to see a liminalist stance as optimal in harnessing the energy of field oppositions; that is; instead of orienting thinking/languaging toward resolving the tensions of a field of oppositions, one orients toward sustaining the field and keeping it open. Language itself becomes the threshold where the tension of opposition is retained. Language does not expend energy so much as attract it and carry it toward a further expression. This view suggests that the art/excitatory aim of language is not so much communication as communion – a meeting place of energies.

—Living language: In objectivizing language we may move far from the view, held by many artists (especially language artists), that language itself is in some sense “living.” We say “living language” to mean what sounds the way people actually speak, but in many cases we also mean that the language itself is “more alive.” For the artist engaged in creative languaging there may come a point wherein language seems to have a will and an intention of its own. “Electronic linguistics” suggests a possible tracking of this phenomenon as an attribute of composition within an artist’s electronic processing. It raises questions about what we actually mean by animate language and indeed animation (in a root sense, “ensouling”), where a formal entity takes on a “life of its own.” Inevitably we have to wonder in what sense we are language or at least inseparable from it in the sense that we project it livingly.

— The Hermes Factor: This is a way of naming (after the trickster god or daemon) the unpredictable contrary force that feeds back from “language reality” to disrupt artificial or constructed language (as opposed to “natural language”) whenever it is “applied” to actual life situations. It stands as a placeholder for the unaccountable appearance that language is alive and has a mind of its own, or that there is a chaotic factor in language behavior that could as well be called the “trickster function.” A little “language devil” (Charles Stein) enters language behavior as poetic function to disrupt deadening tendencies in writing and speaking. Electronic language processing can also have this function. And indeed the open view of language itself can become a Hermes Factor in situations of academic discourse.

This view takes into account the way authority-driven language views – whether “conservative” (traditional standards of grammar, style, etc.) or “liberal” (political correctness, etc.) – risk impinging on the very source of creative/chaotic language regeneration, which may be the real hope for social and planetary transformation. Creative tension is at every point subject to dualistic pressure. The question is: what is the integrative focusing (notably in electronic processing) that retains the energy of originary force in such a way that further language is sustained?

15 signs of an amateur web site

Here's how to know that you just stepped into a stinky, slimey pile of Amateur Web Site.

(1) Calling the site a place where you can "hang out", and using welcome statements like "Enjoy your stay here", "Have fun browsing this site", or "Relax in our tea room with fresh brewed aromas and gentle conversation".

(2) Tedious, breathless excitement about the "launch" of a stupid web site (which is no big deal) and unbounded ecstasy over the simple, mundane fact that a YASIWS (Yet Another Self-Impressed Web Site) is now online, as though only 50 or 60 other web sites existed so it was a rare and wondrous event, as though millions of people were waiting in suspense for the stupid thing to spring into existence.

(3) Commanding readers to Contact Us, but the words "Contact Us" are not a link to the Contact Us page, nor to a web contact form.

(4) Mentioning pages in the web site, without linking each occurence.

(5) Pages that are "under construction", that, far too commonly, never materialize.

(6) Lying about credentials, education, or skills.

(7) No "About Me" or "Contact Me" page.

(8) No clear explanation of what the site's about.

(9) Typos and bad design.

(10) Calling a former employer's clients their clients.

(11) Mentioning how "more content" and "more features" are coming, eventually, someday, hopefully, in an attempt to distract you from the fact that the site is pretty barren and dull.

(12) Displaying work that was done as an employee and not as an independent free-lancer.

(13) Attributing complimentary quotes to organizations and not specific individuals and titles.

(14) Using the owner's name as the company name. "Sheila Fields Design Studio" means it's probably just Sheila Fields doing everything. "Paul Miller Graphic Advantage Co." is likely to be just poor old Paul Miller against the world. The same goes for a web site. A www followed by a name then a dot com is surely nothing more than the name, perhaps one or two loosely associated helpers.

(15) Saying "we" and "our" all over the site, thinking it will make your solo act sound like a great big successful company, but not realizing the focus should be on the customer, on "you" and "your".

Saturday, January 20, 2007

your invitation to join my new wiki

Dropping Out of the Blogosphere

World's first WIKI devoted to
mysteriously vanished bloggers
and their abandoned blogs.


Thanks to those who, within the first days of its grotesque birth, are linking and/or contributing editors:

* Doc Searls (linking) -- of Doc Searls Weblog

Contributing Editors &
Founding Members:

* Carrie Snell (founder of Dropping Out wiki) -- of Omnamaste

* Liz Straus -- of Successful-Blog

* Yvonne Divita -- of Lipsticking

* Valeria Maltoni -- of Conversation Agent

* Bill Dennis -- of Peoria Pundit

* Paul Woodhouse -- of Tinbasher

* Steven Brent -- of (title forgotten)

* Steven E. Streight -- of Vaspers the Grate, Blog Core Values, Abandoned Blog


by Carrie and Vaspers and ... (you?)

An ethnomethodological-deconstructivist inquiry of phenomenological proportions.


Want a password?

Just email me at

steven [dot] streight [at]

gmail [dot] com (icbo) ok

farewell to blogging post

A "farewell to blogging" post at A David Gray Flog (Fan Blog).


The "go ahead and laugh" title seems to be tilted out away from the central meaning implied, by the bizarre deleting of the original post, replaced by a long reverie of Crete.

From the intrusive "But since malfouka's asked,...(etc.)" this post slogs in an alienated obliteration, so profound and recurrent, as you click each "previous posts" pseudo-links in the list, they all navigate to the same content.


This blog was largely a failure.

I am putting it out of its misery.

See you around, doggie daddies.

But since malfouka's asked, I am posting this here writing for her.

There's a vapor-filled street and I am standing under the town's only street lamp. It's the night before Greek Orthodox Christmas in Crete. People are calling out "Christos etekhthi." Others answer "Alithos etekhthi." I call it a night and head to the house, up to the loft, where I'm spending the night.


There is also an example of a properly abandoned blog: Cluetrain Manifesto.


Friday, January 19, 2007

power emails that get results

Email messages and subject lines, blog titles and sidebar links, and other tiny amounts of text, are called “micro-content”. Micro-content writing is a special skill that very few people have. Even business people can be stumped about what to say in an email message, and what the subject line should be.

But just think of how important email is, and how mission critical messages must be opened, read and acted upon. For sales communications, project collaborations, status updates, warnings, clarifications, requests, and questions. If you improve your email writing, it could have a huge impact on productivity, sales, and operations.

You’ll probably be astonished at how effective your emails are, once you start using these tested and proven techniques.

(1) Is email appropriate?

Be certain that email is the best vehicle for the message. Would a phone call be better? VoIP? Conference call? Fax? Google Chat? Video chat? Postal letter? Visit in person?

An email says, “Drop whatever you’re doing and read me!” Are you sure you want the other person to stop their work or interrupt their leisure time, to read and respond to your message? Is it really that important?

Emails typically are read, then deleted. People have a limited amount of email storage space. If your message should be saved and referred to in the future, email may not be the best way to go. Tell recipients to save, archive, folder, or print-out vital messages.

(2) Establish legality.

There are specific U.S. laws that govern email. It's a criminal act to violate them. The laws are found here:


Once you've determined that you're sending legal, ethical email, with the recipient's permission, how can you make sure your legitimate email will be read?

Not by putting "Hi" in the subject line, that's for sure. First, let's look at from lines.

(3) From lines.

I delete all emails that claim to be from lusty females (“Christy Cream”), PC product providers, casinos, income boosters, or pharmaceutical companies. A recent trend has been weird names, hoping to provoke curiosity (“Heeltoe Sillastep III”, “me”, or “Mean Bean”), so you'll open the email.

Spammers “spoof,” or pretend their email is from a trusted source, by putting the trusted name in the From line. Example: “From: mom. Subject: my next visit.” Delete these spam emails.

If you open a spam message, that alerts the spam senders to an active email address. Then they'll sell your address to other spammers, and you'll get even more spam.

Spammers often use multiple throwaway, or ridiculously fake, addresses.

Example: when your cursor hovers over a From address, without clicking on it, and the full address appears as a name or phrase followed by an absurd, lengthy line of letters and numbers, that doesn't look like anybody's authentic email address.

Delete that junk.

Typical spam From lines: From: John Godshall From: gfdgfg fgfg From: Quotes.com Alert From: TECH From: news update From: mom From: service @ eBay From: UPI network From: Bald Carpenter From: Online Lenders From: Center for Lending From: egjy = Lee

(4) Subject lines.

I delete all emails with subject lines of "Hi" (except when I know the sender), FREE, no subject at all, or suspicious, pornographic, offensive, foreign language, pharmaceutical, computer or browser add-ons (“record all words typed”), or non-sensical wording.

"Hi" is a dead giveaway that the email is spam, amateur, or contains dangerous code (virus, etc.). “Hi” as subject indicates someone who knows very little about email, the internet, netiquette, business correspondence, or human communication.

"Hi" is not a subject. It's a salutation, a greeting that may begin the text of the email message itself, but should never be the subject line. Spammers keep inventing new Subject lines to bypass filters and get your attention.

Current gimmicks include:


Subject: Look at this

Subject: RE: How’s it going

Subject: Play and Win

Subject: Re: Your Refinance Approval

Subject: (no subject)

Subject: meeting next Wednesday

Subject: RE: Your question

Subject: This is what you were waiting for

Subject: {Business Proposal}

Subject: What is 0EM Software And Why D0 You Care?

Subject: be the man she wants you to be

(5) Use inside information or personal details.

Do you know something about the person? Something relatively unknown to the general public? Some odd fact you read in one of their articles? Some useful information by which you think they may be intrigued? Some insight from one of their books?

These are examples of the micro-content that could be in the subject line.

Keep the subject line as short as possible. But don't use just one or two vague words. Put the most important words first, with less important words after them.

Example: “Widget XYZ marketing meeting May 10, 2007: confirmed,” rather than “RE: Meeting” or “RE: Marketing meeting” or “Confirming our meeting on marketing ideas scheduled for May 10, 2007.”

Subject lines are truncated (shortened) by email services after a certain number of characters. Have you ever seen a subject line that was a long sentence, and it was cut off before the end? It was truncated.

Don't use “RE:” It's redundant.

Of course, we all know the subject line is “regarding” something. Subject: = RE: “RE:” is old fashioned office memo style. I've even received emails with subject lines such as "RE:RE:RE: user observation test forms".

This proliferation of “REs” is caused by hitting “Reply” to multiple replies to the original message. To avoid this, as the subject changes or leads to new thoughts, write a different Subject line. Or, at least, go to Edit Subject and delete all but one of the “REs”. Only use "RE:" when required by an email discussion list.

Consider spending more time composing the subject line than the email message. If the recipient isn't likely to know you, it's the Subject line, with a non-suspicious From line, that will get the recipient to "open the door" of your email message.

Avoid using ALL CAPS in your email subject lines. Spammers tend to use these gimmicks to get people to open their emails. To bypass spam filters, spammers also use unusual symbols and spelling in subject lines.

(6) Write only one email—to busy celebrities and famous experts.

Famous people have very little time to read and respond to emails. They don't carry on continuous emailings. Be satisfied with one reply to one email from you. Send a “thank you” email.

Commenting on each new book they publish is acceptable, or each new project they unleash. But don't expect to carry on frivolous, friendly, ongoing conversations, unless they themselves encourage it, like by asking you questions or requesting clarifications.

(7) Be specific.

Include a reference, like a date, URL, page number, product number, action attempted, or exact information you're seeking. Put at the beginning of your message “please respond by (date)”.

(8) Be brief.

Keep the email message as short as possible. Quick, to the point, no slow, belabored build up. Quickly ask your question, or make your comment. Few of us have time to leisurely read long-winded emails. Use self-restraint. Don't go off on tangents, or try to include lots of complex points. Cut to the chase. Then stop.

(9) Be careful about emotions.

Write the message, then stop. Don’t send it. Review the text. Do you really want to say that, in that way? Could it be misinterpreted? Is it too emotional? Too flattering and fawning? Could it be misconstrued as flirting? Too bitter or upset sounding?

Never send an email in the heat of an angry moment. Do a “Save As Draft” and let it simmer a bit. Cool down. Chill out. Wait a few hours or a day, then see if you still want to send the thing.

(10) No intimate confessionals.

People generally don’t care, nor can they do much, about your problems and illnesses. A brief mention of why you were slow to reply might be acceptable. But don’t spill your guts, don’t use the email as a way of seeking sympathy.

(11) No typos.

Some email specialists say a little sloppiness, some spelling errors for example, will convey the sense that your communication was urgent, passionate, and from a busy, thus important, person. They extend this principle to blog posts, too.

I disagree. Proper spelling and punctuation are easier to read and understand. Write like an educated person. Don't type too fast. Careful with that gourmet coffee.

(12) Use short sentences...and very brief paragraphs.

A telegraph style is acceptable. As long as you're sure your recipient will understand them, and has proven it by using them, or similar, use keyboard emoticons, chat slang, abbreviated sentences, and internet acronyms: "Am on it now", "Will do", "Say again?", "k", ":^)", ":^(", "IMHO", "btw", "LOL", "ROTFL".

Write, then revise. Turn one long sentence into two short ones. Break long paragraphs in half. Go back over your message and chop it into little, bite-sized chunks. Minds get fuzzy when confronted with long sentences and dense paragraphs. People don't like them.

(13) Replying.

Abstain, unless clarity requires it, from hitting “Reply” and attaching the other person's entire email message to your reply message. This is annoying in most cases. If necessary, just quote portions of a previous email from the other person.

In a group mailing, never “Reply To All”, unless you’re sure that your reply will be relevant to all recipients. Many times, a reply to the author of the original message may suffice. Reply with a new subject as appropriate, when you need to change the topic or ask an unrelated question.

(14) File Attachments.

Most of the time, your recipient will probably prefer that you send a text document, like a resume or story, in the body of the message. Then again, other recipients may prefer that you send a text document, generally a Word doc is requested.

If you must send a file as an attachment, first get approval from the recipient, especially with large files (over 50k).

Give the attachment a title that makes sense to the recipient. Example: “Streightemail.rtf” means Steven Streight's article on email, existing as a Rich Text Format document.

Always ask what format is preferred for your attachment. If you're sending an attached article you wrote for a publisher, ask if they want .doc, .txt, .rtf, .zip, (etc.) The StarOffice .sxw text file causes problems for some systems. For an image, ask about .jpeg, .gif, .png, .bmp, .svg, (etc.) formats.

When sending an mp3 file, or other large sized file, be aware that many email clients cannot receive files over 8 or 10 MB. A typical 5 minute song is roughly about 3 to 8 MB.

For larger files, consider using YouSendIt or some other large file hosting service. They typically allow your large file to stay on their server for one week, so you have to tell your recipient that they need to download it within that time period.

(15) Emails are public documents.

They may be forwarded, quoted, cited, copy and pasted, posted on web sites, or printed out, and consequently, seen by unknown others.

Therefore, exercise caution and tact. Don't engage in flaming (blatant anger-provoking language), libel, or accusatory hostility. Many businesses put warnings on email messages, forbidding unauthorized, non-permission forwarding, quoting, or reposting of email message content.

(16) Compose in plain text, not HTML.

HTML emails can contain viruses, and not all email client programs are capable of reading HTML messages. Many people view HTML in plain text rendering.

Email newsletters are an exception to this guideline, but are your graphics really necessary to convey the message you want to put across? Could they be distracting? Minimize the newsletter's appearing to be a web page, magazine layout, or art gallery. Link to such things if you want readers to see them.

Print media aesthetics usually don't transfer effectively to web or email applications.

(17) Configure your “word wrapping”.

Email clients generally allow a line to be around 60 to 70 characters.

Consider conforming to this standard, or your recipient's email program will break lines in bizarre spots, making your message less readable.

(18) Add a “signature file”.

Have your email client automatically append your name, title, company, web site URL, phone number, fax number, etc. Your signature file will be added to the end of all your outgoing emails. This usage of a signature file makes every email message you send a low-key promotion tool.

It also makes it more convenient for recipients to check out your web site or blog, and gain more info about who you are.

(19) One idea per email.

Avoid asking multiple questions and making multiple requests.

Generally, if you ask several questions or make several requests, something will be overlooked, and you’ll have to send another email. You’re far more likely to get the results you want by sticking to one question or request per email.

Ask one question.

Wait for a reply, before asking the next question.

In some cases, it makes sense to ask a few questions, especially if they’re sequential and all related to one topic. But most of the time, one idea per email is the best way to go. One idea per email makes your communication easier to read, easier to understand, and easier to quickly respond to. Your subject line can be more specific, and that helps increase response rates, too.

Get right to the problem or matter at hand. Don’t give long background stories. Condense your message. Edit out any extraneous verbiage. Usually we tend to write too much, and need to delete big chunks. EXAMPLE: “Hi Bill. My company asked me to come up with a list of the 20 best web designers. I have no idea how to find such a list. Any advice you can give will be greatly appreciated. Thanks. Steve.” In the above example, I refrained from explaining why my company needed this list, what I had done to try to find such a list, or any other side issues.

(20) Warning.

Never use email to transmit sensitive, financial information. Reputable firms never ask you to send such data via email. Con artists do this. It's called “phishing.” They tell you to put this data in email, or at a bogus web site.

(22) Send “gift links”.

Don’t bother people with nothing but requests and questions. Vary your message.

Sometimes send them a "gift link": a hypertext link to a site you know they’ll like, a story or information that’s relevant to their work, a blog post you wrote that mentions them, a free and legal music mp3 of your original music or music they like, or a funny YouTube video.

(23) Be patient.

Don’t expect people to respond immediately to your email. It may take them a few days, a week, or even a month to get to it. Never hound people, as in follow-up emails with “HEY, ARE YOU DEAD?” (I’ve actually received such emails) as the Subject line. That will annoy people.

(24) Be infrequent.

Don’t email people over and over again. If you want to get input on a blog post you wrote, send a link to it, but don’t do this very often. It will start to look like spam, or a cheap, lazy way to generate comments for your blog. Generate comments for your blog by consistently posting relevant content, and by posting comments at the blogs of others.

(25) Thank your recipient in advance for spending their valuable time reading and replying to your email.

Express your appreciation for any assistance they may provide. After they reply to your email, send a brief acknowledgement and appreciation email. Remember: the time your recipient has to spend in reading and responding to your email, this time could have been spent doing other, more satisfying, fun, or profitable things.

Should you ever send a second email, when a recipient fails to respond to the first?

If the communication is urgent and vital to you, go ahead. Often your recipient will apologize and tell you that they meant to reply, but got sidetracked. Or your message got filtered as spam, due to some word you used in the Subject line or in message content. Others may be annoyed, but it depends on your tone.

In most cases, just wait.

Or send your question or request to someone else and hope for better luck. Just avoid any appearance of spam, pleading, or bullying. Resist the urge to use a demanding, impatient tone. Remain polite, brief, and appreciative at all times. Focused and short is what email was meant to be.

Follow these guidelines, and you'll greatly increase the readership of, and responses to, your email messages.

You’ll be considered a smart business thinker and an effective communicator.

Suggested reading:

Net Words: Creating High-impact Online Copy by Nick Usborne (McGraw Hill, 2001)

E-writing: 21st Century Tools for Effective Communication by Diane Booher (Simon & Schuster, 2001)

Crisp: Writing Effective Email (2nd Edition) by Nancy Flynn (Crisp Learning, 2003)