Tag Archives: Blog

Artwork Feature At Lensblr.com

27 Sep

Many thanks to Lensblr.com for featuring my photomontage art today! The folks there were kind enough to highlight my recent piece, “Find What You Love,” which I created earlier this month. Here’s what it looks like at Lensblr:

"Find What You Love" by rsmithing

My art featured at Lensblr.com. Click to see more of my art at 500px.

Lensblr is a site that, in its own words, “advocates the original photographers on Tumblr — the ‘creators’ in the Tumblr world.” The site focuses specifically on Tumblr, where it seeks to “bring more attention to the creative works of the content creators on Tumblr.”

Social Media, Art and Blogging All In One

This is great for a Tumblr newbie like myself, since only recently do I understand Tumblr – which is exciting for more reasons than just having my artwork featured. I never would have discovered Lensblr were it not for the direct suggestion of another Tumblr user at Darkdisturbingbeautiful, who suggested I submit my art to Lensblr after having followed my blog and then messaging me through the site. Thanks again, Jason!

Adding to the experience, Tumblr user zombodystripe messaged me asking about how I created the piece. My reply made for a neat post on Tumblr all by itself, since adding images and links in replies is just as easy there as blogging. Here’s what I said about my process:

Q via zombodystripe: How did you do Find What You Love on your iPhone? Is there an app? What is it called? I’d love to try it!

My reply via Tumblr

My reply via Tumblr

A: For Find What You Love I took three photos with the Hipstamatic app: the treetops, the peeling paint and the flowers. I put them all together in a now-extinct app called Photoforge2, but you can use any app that supports layers (like Filterstorm, Superimpose, others). I set layer modes according to light/dark for blending — mainly using overlay mode. Finally, I masked out areas I wanted to keep or erase, then merged all layers and did overall sharpening/exposure adjustments to bring it together. I use things like vignettes and textures to unify also, so everything has a similar feel. If you like this, definitely check out more of my photomontages at 500px, and especially the work of Jerry Uelsmann – he is the grand master of montages and my inspiration. And he does all this by hand with film in the darkroom. More on him at this post I did at my blog: “Learning From The Masters.”

Sites like Lensblr greatly enrich the Tumblr experience – and I don’t just say that because they featured my stuff. Definitely check it out if you’re into creative photography and images.

What do you think? What’s something you’ve been turned on to by way of social media or a blog? Was it a temporary interest, or did it further a lasting connection? Let us hear from you in the comments.

 

For When You Don’t Feel Like Blogging

19 Jan

Writing a blog post shouldn’t be a big deal, especially if you’re serious about blogging. That said, there are going to be days when you just don’t feel like it.

Blogging

Check out the full series of blogging-themed images
I created over at Flickr and feel free to use them on your own blog.

Having done this for over a year now, a couple times per week steadily, I can fully attest to the occasional lack of motivation – but I always fight through and deliver the goods. Along the way, I’ve picked up these tips for those dark moments when you might not feel like keeping up with your own blog.

1. Have some posts in the bank

In those spells when you feel like writing, or when an idea hits, try to go with it. Take two minutes to get your thoughts into a few sentences or headings you can easily expand upon later. I’ve found the best tool for doing this is dictation software, or at the very least, the drafts feature in WordPress. I’ll even email some ideas to myself as a way of quickly capturing a subject or notion I know can be expanded upon down the road. That way, when the time is right, the content is ready to go.

Language Is A Virus

Another great site for
writing inspiration: LanguageIsAVirus.com

2. Know your inspiration

Have some role models or examples of sites you enjoy on hand to get you thinking about material for your own blog. Or, as Janet Aronica aptly states over at Shareaholic (among the many other excellent tips there):

“Consume the content you want to create.”

By being able to easily refer to your sources of inspiration, you’ll be more likely to generate your own material with your unique perspective – which is the very best part of having your own blog. Set up some bookmarks, feeds, subscriptions, or whatever aggregation method works best for you so you can get inspired and have your own creative juices flowing.

3. Keep it simple, genius

A blog post does not have to be 10,000 words, nor should it be. In fact, brief is often better. I’ve found some of my most popular posts are sometimes the ones with just a compelling image and only a few sentences. Being handy with the phone cam and always on the lookout for quality visuals to share is something I enjoy, and also something I recommend for having interesting blog fodder at the ready.

What do you think? Are these suggestions useful? What tips would you suggest for drumming up motivation or inspiration in blogging? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Blogchat: Sundays on Twitter

23 Nov

There’s one thing I’ve really gotten into the social media realm lately: Blogchat. This is a chat on Twitter where folks talk, er… tweet, about blogging-related topics.

Blogchat - Sundays at 9:00 p.m. EST on Twitter.

Graphic by me via iPhone, using Hipstamatic & Phonto

I’ve made so many connections there, garnered blogging tips, and become more adept at Twitter by taking part. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in getting more from blogging (as a blog reader, I assume you may have an interest). Once, I even helped suggest a topic for an upcoming chat:

To participate, follow the hashtag #blogchat on Twitter, stay on topic, and keep hitting “refresh” on whatever means you use to keep up with the conversations. It’s fast-moving, so using a tool like TweetChat or HootSuite with multiple columns or tabs can be very helpful, although I’ve navigated it successfully just by using Twitter from the browser, or even by iPhone. It’s led by Mack Collier and happens every Sunday at 9:00 p.m., U.S. Eastern standard time. Recently covered topics include time management for bloggers, copyright issues, and using images.

There’s also a monthly open mic for non-specific blogging-related topics. Even if you don’t specifically participate 0r prefer just to listen in, that’s totally fine. You’ll probably still pick up a tip or two, and it’s a good way to see how the conversations flow.

Participating has encouraged me to explore other Twitter chats, and I’ve found them consistently beneficial, especially given the breadth of perspectives from some experienced and friendly folks. Try it sometime – and have fun chatting.

What do you think? Have you ever participated in a Twitter chat? What are some other resources you recommend for blogging advice and ideas? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Happy Birthday! On One Year of Blogging

12 Oct

This week marks one full year of blogging here at the rsmithing.com. In some ways, it certainly feels like a year. In another ways, I can’t believe it’s been a year already.

Distressed Happy Birthday Cupcake

Original by Keristars, via Flickr. Edited in Pixlr.

First of all, THANK YOU for reading this and thank you even more if you’ve ever commented on a post. I sincerely appreciate your feedback and the fact that you find my ramblings interesting enough to keep on reading.

I started this blog for my own personal enjoyment, education, expression, and curiosity. It’s been a rewarding journey that’s greatly boosted my knowledge of social media in general, and has been a satisfying creative outlet I look forward to growing every single week.

One of the most fun things about this is interacting with some of the folks mentioned in my posts, like Neil Strauss, Delta Airlines, and for-real professional writers such as those featured in Esquire and The Atlantic.

I’ve been contacted to help promote one of my favorite bands, and interviewed some of my favorite artists. I’ve also discovered a plethora of resources on how to get the most out of blogging, and made many meaningful connections with like-minded individuals along the way. It’s all definitely been very fulfilling.

So here’s to the future, and again thank you.

What do you think? How long have you been blogging? What have you learned in the past year, either from blogging or otherwise? Let us hear from you in the comments.

How To Write The Perfect Blog Post

18 Jul

I don’t often straight-up repost content without elaborating much, but wow — this is one great infographic. And I don’t often say that either. Click for full-size, see what you think & share your thoughts below (credit: Alex Mangini of Kolakube, Derek Halpern of SocialTriggers; first spotted at FamousBloggers via Gregory Ciotti):

PerfectBlogPost

What do you think? Do you employ these practices? Is this really a recipe for perfect post? And if not, what else would you do? What would you do differently? Let us hear from you in the comments!

How to Turn Off Comments in WordPress Pages

10 Jul

The WordPress platform makes many things about a website or blog easy, and customizing your visitors’ experience by choosing to turn comments off or to allow comments for any given page on your site is no exception. Here’s a quick tutorial:

How to Disable Comments In WordPress

  1. Go to the main list of pages in your dashboard
  2. Hover over a title and click “Quick Edit”
  3. Uncheck the “Allow Comments” button
How To Disable Comments In WordPress

How To Disable Comments In WordPress:
Go to Quick Edit, click Allow Comments. Boom, done.

That’s all there is to it!

If you like this post, you might like the rest of my blog — try the social media section for more on blogging & related subjects. If you really like this post click “Like” below or say so in the comments. Feel free to follow, or click the “Let’s Do This” button at right to get updates by email. Cheers.

Stuff You May Have Missed: March 2012

1 Apr
Skulls, Bugs, Flowers, Cats

When I do a photo exhibition, it will probably be called this. For accuracy.

To make sure I stay on track with blogging, I’ve set myself the goal each month of writing at least one major post about each of the categories covered here at rsmithing.com. Early on, I didn’t even bother with categories, but as the amount of my posts grew, it made sense to, well, categorize them. Doing this in WordPress makes for an easy navigation menu, and that’s a blogging best practice: including navigation to give visitors a sense of what the heck your site is about.

I’ve done this successfully for three months now, and since you may be a follower, you might be interested in at least one of these posts (and if you aren’t following, consider signing up at left like all the cool kids are doing). Whether recent or from way back four or so weeks ago, your comments are very, very much appreciated, because, well, you rule for reading this.

Seriously: Thank You, from all of us at rsmithing.com (i.e. me and the cats). And now, the rundown:

Photography

Single Image Sundays: The Emerging Dog (Detail)
Single Image Sundays: Moth At The Door
Single Image Saturdays: Spring is Springing
Single Image Sundays: Skull Pendant

Social Media

How to Talk About Social Media In Business: 5 Points, Video Interview

PR

Homeless Hotspots? What Could Go Wrong?

Technology

Digital Ancestry: an iPad Forerunner

Music

iPhone Video Editing: The Black Keys Live

Writing

Blog Post Artwork

What do you think? Should I keep doing this every month, or have you already seen all the posts here? If so, which was your favorite? Want me to comment on a post of yours? Just share your link in the comments below or at the posts listed and let’s do this!

Stuff You May Have Missed: February 2012

29 Feb
February was quite a month at rsmithing.com...

Sabbath and Roses and Jurors – Oh, My! Big month here at rsmithing.com.

To make sure I stay on track with blogging, I’ve set myself the goal each month of writing at least one major post about each of the categories covered here at rsmithing.com. Early on, I didn’t even bother with categories, but as the amount of my posts grew, it made sense to, well, categorize them. Doing this in WordPress makes for an easy navigation menu, and that’s a blogging best practice: including navigation to give visitors a sense of what the heck your site is about.

I’ve done this successfully for two months now, and since you may be a follower, you might be interested in at least one of these posts (and if you aren’t following, consider signing up at left like all the cool kids are doing). Whether recent or from way back four or so weeks ago, your comments are very, very much appreciated, because, well, you rule for reading this.

Seriously: Thank You, from all of us at rsmithing.com (i.e. me and the cats). And now, the rundown:

Photography

A Rosy Photo Edit Tutorial – 2/14
• Jury Duty – 2/14
• Single Image Sundays: Inch Nail – 2/26

Social Media

• Postcards From the Social Media Edge: Postagram – 2/22

PR

• Garbage Video Fan Art: Crowdsourcing Done Right – 2/16

Technology

• iPhoneArt.com – the Next Level of Mobile Photo Sharing – 2/5

Music

• Beats Antique: Tribal Fusion Electronica Awesomeness – 2/29

Writing

• Contrasts Make Connections – 2/7

What do you think? Should I keep doing this every month, or have you already seen all the posts here? If so, which was your favorite? Want me to comment on a post of yours? Just share your link in the comments below or at the posts listed and let’s do this!

WordPress is Best

11 Jan
Click for free blog-themed images

Get free blog-themed images at the rsmithing Flickr page.

I don’t work for WordPress, and there are certainly other great blogging platforms, but I emphatically agree with the points noted recently at ShoutMeLoud, where Mr. Harsh Agrawal lists key reasons why WordPress is the best blogging platform. And Mr. Agrawal would certainly know — see his journey in the Related Articles at the end of this post on how he actually developed income and was presented with his first car through blogging.

I do this for personal development and creative fun, but the idea of making some spare cash or (cue Price is Right voice) A New Car (!!!) is pretty cool. Along with Agrawal’s observations on the WordPress platform, I’ll add:

  • Intuitiveness – through years of refinement, WordPress’s interface is simple for a beginner to understand, yet fluid enough not to slow down those more experienced.
  • Cross-functionality – whether you start with a free WordPress.com blog or go for a self-hosted site via WordPress.org, the interface remains similar enough so that your knowledge of how to use the system easily transfers.

But What Do I Know, Right?

I’ve designed custom WordPress themes; created self-hosted sites with WordPress as content management system; incorporated WordPress blogs into private non-WordPress sites; and of course, run this humble site you’re reading now through WordPress.com (but with my own rsmithing.com domain). I’ve developed code and managed several sites with other CMSs including Ektron, Joomla, and a slew of straight-up hard-coded sites run via good ol’ Dreamweaver or even PageMill. That said, even having used other publishing platforms like Blogger or LiveJournal (no disrespect to any of these), it’s still WordPress for the win in my book.

You have found the best. Welcome. We’re glad you made it. Enjoy.

What’s your favorite blogging platform and why? If WordPress, what made you give it a try? Have you used others and had better or worse experiences? Let us hear from you in the comments!

Best Buy Going Bye-Bye?

6 Jan
Best Buy Distressed

Best Buy Distressed: illustrating a less rosy, more hazy future. Created with Hipstamatic. Free for your use with attribution. Click to Download Hi-res at Flickr.

At Forbes.com this week, Larry Downes expands thoughtfully on “Why Best Buy is Going out of Business…Gradually.” Among other salient points, Downes slices and dices the following corporatespeak issued to some about-to-be-very-disappointed customers (you know, those who keep the company in business):

“Due to overwhelming demand of hot product offerings on BestBuy.com during the November and December time period, we have encountered a situation that has affected redemption of some of our customers’ online orders.”

And then Downes totally pwns them:

Let’s parse that sentence for a moment.  The company “encountered a situation”—that is, it was a passive victim of an external problem it couldn’t control, in this case, customers daring to order products it acknowledges were “hot” buys.  This happened, inconveniently for Best Buy, during “the November and December period,” that is, the only months that matter to a retailer. For obvious reasons, the statement ties itself in knots trying to avoid mentioning that the “situation” occurred during the holidays.

Ugh. I can see Best Buy’s directors from marketing, legal and fulfilment all in a conference room drafting that missive, the poor souls. I don’t envy them, and I will not get on some high horse about how this kind of bad news could be better delivered — because it’s so obvious, as Downes rightfully notes. He continues:

The situation that Best Buy “encountered” has “affected redemption” of some orders.  Best Buy doesn’t fill online orders, it seems. Rather, customers “redeem” them. So it’s the customers, not Best Buy, who have the problem. And those customers haven’t been left hanging; they’ve only been “affected” in efforts to “redeem” their orders. It’s not as if the company did anything wrong, or, indeed, anything at all. — Larry Downes, for Forbes

Best Buy at Forbes

Click to view original article at Forbes.com

YIKES. So does Best Buy Even Apologize?

To Best Buy’s credit, they did apologize later in the same communication. Yet I can’t help but slap my forehead and wonder what could have happened If only they were more direct, maybe even going out of their way to make things right (free $20 gift cards, store credit, etc.) — they could even have turned this into a PR win… instead of something bloggers are writing about weeks later as a burgeoning harbinger of disaster.

Though I’m not sure I agree with Downes on Best Buy going the way of Circuit City in the immediate future, it certainly does not look rosy for them at present. And I’m not even talking about their finances. I’ve had great service and lousy service there, but the culture hinted at by this kind of language does not sound like that of an organization built to last.

At least, if it doesn’t want things like this written about it in Forbes.

And in blogs.

What’s your Best Buy experience been? Have you ever had an online order cancelled on you, and if so, what happened? Do you think the company is spiraling toward the drainhole? Let us hear from you in the comments!
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