In the Midwest, we love to brag about our terrible weather. When I was a storm newbie, gawking out the windows at dark skies and thunder, workmates trolled me with stories about “hail the size of cantaloupes.” I totally believed them.
So when I saw Jim Romesko’s November 18 post, on the heels of a big, tornado-ridden storm, I cracked up! Some local “eye witness” newsies uploaded the image below to Indy’s WTHR TV website, where it appeared, for bit anyway, in the station’s storm gallery.
The image is of downtown Lafayette. If the funnel cloud fooled you, the UFO is a give-away. Now that’s some weather! Allegedly Purdue student prankage was involved.
The spoof was originally caught and posted by Indy Star reporter @EricWeddle on Twitter.
(Both links are worth following — for larger images and goofy comments.)
As a tech-oriented professional, one of the most efficient time-investments you can make is to join a community or two at Stack Exchange, a collection of topic-specific Q&A sites.
Joining a Stack community is one professional development activity that doesn’t require an expensive trip to Orlando (or wherever) to learn fundamental elements of your trade, whether you’re a web developer, a librarian, a project manager or a food blogger. You don’t even have to join the group to read the ongoing conversations.
At the moment, there are about 100 Stack communities. Each consists of experts (and wanna-be experts) willing to answer (and ask) very smart questions on very specific topics. Myself, I’m on the writers and English language Stack. Maybe I’ll see you there.
Over the past several years I’ve been intrigued by the addictive power of curiosity. Following a question thread, especially one with complex little knots, must certainly release dopamine, pleasurable brain juices that, in turn, drive the curious to spend even more energy pursuing questions. (Mirenowicz and Schultz) On the internet, the pursuit and satisfaction of human curiosity, idle or profound, is magically simple.
Sometimes a question that seems casual and crass, like, “Why did LCD Soundsystem break up?” can lead to fascinating little discoveries that bring minutes of joy and enlightenment. James Murphy, a pop genius, will take you there in 4 minutes and 30 seconds. Interestingly, the satisfaction won by curiosity is not dependent on truth or accuracy or even utility.
Our curious brains are too easily satisfied. Just try to tear yourself a way from theuselessweb.com. Say what we will, the Internet may bloody well make us stupid.
Despite the fact that educational sites like Khan Academy do an admirable job harnessing the rat-and-pellet mentality inherent to Internet info-seeking, this kind of directed satisfaction may differ significantly from pleasure earned by organically generated questions. According to the 1994 primate research from Mirenowicz and Schulz cited above, unpredictable rewards stimulate dopamine neurons more reliably than predictable ones. Strange, no?
For most content marketers, the most daunting challenge is time. Here are six ways we must learn to beat the clock.
- It takes months develop a library of content. Even with a blogger posting 2-4 times per week, you need content-mass (with coherent keywording) to build solid SEO. Ideally you’ll have several different content-creating teams working in parallel.
- Learning the best ways to pitch and broadcast content also takes time. You’ll make mistakes and have to rethink your approach. Simply gauging the effects of each new tactic — takes more time.
- Another time-eater: building symbiotic relationships with bloggers and publications who will reproduce and share your content. Add two months.
- Building a social media following takes at least six months. So you have lots of Likes and some Shares? You need a steadily greater number of reliable fans that click on and share your content week after week.
- It takes at least 10 hours per week to monitor and report on blog or website traffic. Not counting the time you take to develop tweaks and changes to your measurement tactics.
- Strategic planning aside, new market technologies present new challenges. Currently, for example, you ought to be syndicating your content. Are you?
The ticking clock could drive anyone crazy, even a PR flack. What’s the answer? Focus under pressure. More on that topic to come.
An enjoyable new app I’ve discovered is Recite. I use it to create catchy, one-line, online posters. For instance:
Type in a quote or slogan. Choose a template. Download or share the resulting graphic. It’s quick-and-dirty and impossible to customize. Still, it’s an interesting way to get layout ideas. Plus, the results are pretty cool!