Tag Archives: blogging

Minus Manhattan Artwork Feature

20 Jun

Big thanks to Minus Manhattan for featuring my artwork today!

Minus Manhattan


My photomontage, “Light Electric,” featured at the Minus Manhattan site.
For more like this, check out my creations at Flickr, 500px, or Pinterest.

Readers of rsmithing.com would likely enjoy this well-curated and prolific visual blog by Chase Turner, with a huge selection of “links and stories on photography, art, politics, design, advertising, technology, music, and culture.” The site has been featured on The Daily WhatGizmodoJezebelAmerican Photo MagazineThe Village VoiceBoing BoingBlackBook, and Buzzfeed.

Thanks again to Minus Manhattan for the feature!

Evernote, Three Months In

19 Apr

At the beginning of this year I made it a point to get in the habit of using Evernote. I’ve kept reading its praises and since I’m in the world of collecting ideas for future blog posts, it made enough sense to give it a try.

evernote

I should say that I’ve previously relied on emailing myself ideas, links, images and other content, filing them away under “read later” or “ideas” in Gmail. This has kinda worked, but I don’t really find myself going through that content often. The idea of a standalone app dedicated to capturing ideas and organizing them at least makes sense to me for that reason. I get the concept, but it’s still taking work to make myself use the program.

Part of the adoption curve for me is having content actually in Evernote. Without many notes to search, there’s not much to draw from, so I can see how some users may get turned off if, say, within a week or two they aren’t reaping tremendous benefit.

But so far for me, it’s been at least good for peace of mind, knowing that all the stuff I’d otherwise be emailing myself is now tagged and easily referenced. In fact, it was the process of going through my notes in Evernote that led to this blog post, so hey… there’s something! I’m interested enough to keep using it, and I’m surely only scratching the surface, given the capabilities some of its power users explore. There will be more to come on this for sure.

What do you think? Do you use Evernote or a similar service? What’s your process for capturing ideas, to-dos or things go investigate later? 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!

From Music and Words into Movement – The Fun of Art

5 Jul

Here’s an excerpt of a deftly written story by Mike Sager from the May 2012 Esquire. I wasn’t that interested at first, but after giving it a chance while streaming some music, I was knocked over by one of those transcendent moments that come about through experiencing real art. Or something like that.

“Ugly” by Mike Sager. This paragraph with the right music playing at the time was like watching a live-action portrayal of The Grapes of Wrath. So I noted the image with the Labelbox app for future use in this post. Click for full article at Esquire.com.

The above paragraph is best experienced with music: Orsten – Adagio Sostenuto

 

I hear the broken piano and shuffling yet determined electric beat, and reading the story of this vagabond, seeking out other vagabonds, having the scene painted along the lines of something modern-day that would make sense to Tom Joad, it hits me at once.

And that’s why I read. That’s why I love music. That’s why I’ve made myself adept with an iPhone enough to capture the moment,then blog about it (typed most of this post in a note with my thumbs).

There’s beauty in being moved, expanding on the thought and then channeling that into something new altogether, even if it is just a pastiche of other art. Those pieces become the colors of a new palette. What’s important is that the idea gets sketched, moving from the brain into the living world, to be seen. It’s a very satisfying feeling.

Next time you have the thought when something moves you, “I could do something with that!” — make it happen. Make it real.

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!

Blog Post Artwork

8 Mar

This post is kind of about art, kind of about technology, and hey, there’s even a link referenced about music. But mainly… it’s about writing. That’s the great thing about having your own blog: you make the rules.

Beats Antique A Rosy Photo Edit Tutorial Contrasts Make Connectionss
Digital Ancestry - KITT Wallpaper Moth Drama Cheap Trick In Color 1998
Blogging About Blogging Photography, Technology, and Connections in the Name of Art Insect Photography Tips

Though I’m going to go on about these images, I consider this post to be about writing since all the above visuals were created specifically to promote blog posts (linked in the above images). One thing I enjoy doing to promote my posts, even though results are limited – but fun when they happen (see comments here) is to create images with text and visuals on my phone hyping the posts via Instagram.

iPhone Text Apps

I use the apps Phonto and Labelbox to overlay text onto images created using something from the posts. Having been a graphic designer for years, producing advertisements, brochures, order forms, whatever… it’s amazing to me to have not only such image editing capability at my thumbs via my iPhone, but now to be able to put together decent layouts with text as well.

It’s Like Flyers for Your Blog

I got my start in graphic design by creating flyers for my various bands’ gigs (more on that here), so whipping up these mini-promos comes naturally. I also like the limitations of the square format, the imprecise-yet-as-precise-as-allowable ethos of dragging text around with your fingertips, the instant gratification of working in such small file sizes, and the direct connection to principles of graphic design.

Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept…

I challenge anyone reading this who hasn’t done so to create a layout using these tools and not encounter considerations of space, hierarchy of information and typesetting (and maybe, just maybe, have fun in the process). If you do this for the first time, definitely come back here and comment with a link to your artwork and details on how you did it.

It’s part of my designer thinking to consider typography, negative space, flow and whatnot, so doing this as a complement to blog posts is a rewarding outlet. I’ve noticed a few others on Instagram doing similar stuff, and I nearly always check out the posts if the visuals are cool enough. Below are some more examples by Maddy McCoy, aka The_Real_McCoy of the MadAboutPixls blog. Great stuff there about mobile art; check ’em out.

What do you think? Would seeing visuals like this leave you inclined to click through to a blog post? Have you ever created layouts with text and images on your phone? If so, what apps do you use and what has your experience been like? Let us hear from you in the comments!

Jury Duty

14 Feb

20120213-100408.jpg

Recently I was part of the process as a potential juror in our legal system. Having done this once before, I know there’s a ton of waiting around. Or, as seen through blogging iPhoneography eyes, some unique photo opportunities. I made it a mobile project to document what was nearby to the extent that you also may find it interesting, using only my iPhone and WordPress app, and of course, without discussing any elements of any case I or others may or may not be involved in. That said, I’d welcome your thoughts on these photos in the comments, or your thoughts about jury duty in general.

Have you been a juror lately? Without getting into case specifics, what was your experience like?

20120213-100648.jpg
Queuing at security that morning. Not as bad as the airport, thankfully.

20120213-100917.jpg
We were chilling in the pool. My usual pool chilling usually includes a cocktail, but hey.

20120213-105013.jpg
Pretty sure this dude did not move for one solid hour.

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More faces of waiting. We were all pretty much wired up via laptops, phones, etc.

Last time I served was two years ago for three days. Meanwhile, my work at the office wasn’t getting done, which was sort of a drag. Nevertheless, I’m glad to have done my part in the American judicial system, getting a decent hands-on civics lesson, and some unique blog material for afterward.

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