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Monthly Archives: August 2011

Innovative Digital Signage Helps Boost Sales

With the banking crisis of 2009 still sending shockwaves around many world markets, the drive for innovation, sustainability and business streamlining is on. Many businesses have already paid the price for not adhering to this, as markets become more competitive more and more organisations fold altogether.
However, the ones that have survived through this have learned some valuable lessons in what to do in order to survive. Technology has been a big part of this, from new renewable energy sources and materials to save on bills, to digital advertising and marketing. One market within this that has seen a good year on year increase since 2009 is that of digital signage. What began as simply illuminated signs spelled out with incandescent bulbs in Victorian times has now become a multi million pound high tech industry that enters more and more parts of our lives. In the past decade there have been great leaps in digital signage, alongside advances in technology. Here are some of the more innovative products currently available to help you push your products:

- Camvine Coda
Camvine is a UK based signage company specialising in wireless systems for businesses. Their main product is a clever program and system that allows content to be displayed on a whole range of monitors and changed through a drag and drop GUI. You can control either all of set groups of screens, and input all kinds of media from streaming video, webcams, stocks and shares information, pre programmed videos and audio. It’s a great and very flexible systems that allows a massive range of options, and can connect to almost anything.

- Janus Displays LED Interactive
Janus Displays are a US based manufacturer of point of sale displays, and have recently launched a new model that has some great features. Firstly it has a built in Kinect camera so that games and interactive promotions can be built in. This camera can track the movements of people stood nearby so they can interact with the advertisement, giving them a much fuller experience. The camera can also tell what colour the background of the advertisement is, and change the LED lighting to suit. A very clever bit of kit.

- Magnetic 3D
With recent renewed interest in 3D technology, the method of delivery is now being looked at in more detail. Many systems still rely on having to wear glasses, but this has come a long way from the red and blue paper specs you used to have. Today, clear glasses are used, but systems developed by Magnetic 3D for point of sale no longer need them. The use of clever lenticular lenses create an illusion of depth without the need for any glasses, but it’s not quite as effective as proper 3D. It is, however, still under development and will no doubt make an excellent and engaging signage option.

Jessie works for Reflex.co.uk, specialists in audio visual systems and digital signage. She is self confessed audio and technology geek and a keen blogger, and can often be found surrounded by her gadget collection.

 

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Chicken Farming – Another Industry Too Big to Fail?

After the banks received their bailout the running joke around every town in the U.S. was – Where is my bailout?

Apparently the USDA was listening to chicken farmers’ cries in the tune of a one-time purchase of $40 million worth of chicken meat to be distributed throughout school programs, soup kitchens, food banks and other organizations.

This is nothing out of the ordinary as the USDA makes regular bids to stabilize food markets. What is alarming is the fact that this comes on the backside of a similar $30 million purchase on chicken last year, and a staggering $42 million dollar purchase on these very products in 2008.

One could argue that the chicken producers in this country are having a hard time learning the economics of their products. Product production is up 4 percent in the first half of 2011 while consumers are beginning to cut back on demand. This creates an obvious problem and results in an industry surplus.

Unfortunately for organizations like the National Chicken Council, these problems are not always avoidable. The recession may be to blame for some of the curbed demand. Consumers tend to change their eating habits in direct relation to economic slowdown. On the other hand, chicken prices are plummeting down from last year and the industry has yet to experience the uptick in demand.

With increasing production costs and an expected drop roughly 5% in an annual $45 billion indsutry, chicken farmers are getting pushed up against a wall.

So what will be the result of this latest government assistance? Only time will tell.. What is likely good for producers in terms of stabilizing prices, may result in higher prices at your local food store. Supply decrease = Price increase. Nevertheless, chicken is cheap right now and is likely to stay cheap for a while. For the frugal household, this may remain appealing just long enough to help bring back a distressed market.

What is sure is that our nation’s food banks and schools will be doling out plenty of chicken products in the second half of this year. Which is a good thing considering we don’t want to know what $40 million of raw chicken meat looks like. More importantly, it’s nothing like the bailout of our banks and other major corporations.. any mistakes or mis-judgments aside, people will eat this product whether it be in their homes or through what are already over stressed food banks.

Anthony is a freelance writer most notable for his work with Ketchum MFG CO. – A leading manufactuer of poultry leg bands and other animal tags.

 

OK, All You Internet Marketers Out There…

Here is your chance to show off.  I need a cool URL for a Chiropractor in Florida that wants to start a help line where his patients can call in for free advice on natural healing and dietary supplements.  Aside from “talktoarealdoc.com”  do you have any suggestions?

 

Blackle: Is it really the First Green Search Engine and why

There is a new website called Blackle, which has the ambitious goal of becoming a new type of green search engine. It has been specifically designed with the eco-conscious web surfers in mind. This author set about to investigate whether the design and the claims made about its eco-design are in fact true.

It should be noted that this website serves as gateway for Google searches and comes with a completely different look. The designers have reversed the Google color scheme so that result pages are shown in colored text with a black back drop. They say that this is done in order to decrease the energy utilization of computer monitors.

It seems that the idea behind this eco-friendly search engine came from a claim that if Google changed its design to black, then it would save a huge amount of power and energy.

However it is important to note that the savings made are likely to come from older monitors, such as the CRT monitors, which many people have now upgraded from. With an older cathode ray tube monitor, you will certainly make energy savings with a black background, but as many consumers now use thin screen, energy efficient monitors, the savings are likely to be much smaller.

These days it is common to find LCD monitors on the desks of most offices and in the homes of a majority of people. As such, the savings are going to be much less. It has actually been discovered that the computer monitor’s use of color can only minimally affect the change in the energy output. In fact, there was a consulting firm that ran a test and found that loading Google Blackle on a CRT monitor and a LCD monitor made very little difference.

David Korn, principal at Cadmus who ran the test uncovered data showing that the screen color just didn’t really matter when it came to the cosumption of energy caused by the color of the LCD monitor.  As such, this shows that the difference is so small that it is almost hard to trace. In fact, the only major changes that they saw from the test occured when they made changes to the monitor’s contrast and brightness settings.

As you can see from the data above, it seems that the idea of creating an eco-friendly search engine needs to be re-thought. It is still a possibility but we will need to wait a little longer.

Pat Lindle is a business owner and an environmentalist.  Pat makes Blackle the default search engine for all computers in his metal deck / steel deck business to ensure that his company is as environmentally conscious as possible, at all times.

 

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Why Personalised Wine Labels are a Great Idea for Businesses

Businesses need to be inventive, original and creative when it comes to promoting themselves. In today’s highly competitive international marketplace, this is the only way to ensure your company makes an impression on a potential client and encourages them to visit your company website or consider your services for future projects. Increasingly companies are personalising the gifts they give and see personalised wine labels as an effective way to make an impact, catch attention and remain in your client’s mind.

Given that wine has such a broad appeal, the opportunities for taking advantage of this new trend are numerous. Here are a few suggestions:

Personalise the wine labels for a function you are hosting.

Serving your guests with wine from personalised labels indicates an impressive attention to detail and a willingness to go that extra bit further. This will leave your guests feeling that you have made a special effort and put thought into making them feel welcome and entertained.

Personalise wine bottles that you intend to give as presents.

When businesses feel they have especially loyal customers, they often like to show their appreciation through a gift, particularly at Christmas time. By presenting a client with a bottle of wine that has a personalised label, your company’s gift will make a greater impact and your customer will be reminded of your thoughtful treatment of them as they enjoy the wine, even if it is months later.

Personalise the wine labels at a corporate-sponsored event.

Your company has found a cause or event it would like to sponsor and has invested money in it to help promote the business. How can you make sure your logo and name stand out among other sponsors? By providing the wine with labels that have been personalised with your company logo, your business will have a more effective impact on attendees than if you are simply listed on flyers or banners that line the entrance.

Gifts that are personalised for employees who are retiring.

Personalised wine bottles can also be one-off presents. Choosing a special wine and designing a label that includes the names of closest colleagues can be a thoughtful retirement present that will mean much more than more traditional impersonal gifts. It provides a stylish and elegant way to combine the signatures of a greeting card with the present itself and can be chosen according to the particular tastes of the retiring employee.

Visit SpottySpoon.com and create your own personalised wine label for weddings, corporate gifts and every other occasion.

 

The Wonders of “Outsourced” Technical Support – From a Customers View

Authors note:  My one regret is that they have conveniently omitted a clock next to the entries, as would normally best practices for any company that truly wanted to monitor customer service.  This transaction took 47 minutes.

My actual chat with PeoplePc Tech Support:

Please wait for a site operator to respond. Your feedback is important to us! Please complete our Exit Survey by clicking on the Grey Close Button at the end of your LiveChat.
‘Shirley’ says: Thank you for contacting PeoplePC LiveChat, how may I help you today?
customer@peoplepc.com: you are telling me that my password is incorrect, but it’s the same one I’ve used for 15 years
Shirley: It is quite unfortunate that one of our best customers has to face such difficulty. Let me get this clarified for you.
customer@peoplepc.com: I was trying to send out a newsletter today, did I piss the system off?
Shirley: Please give me the last four digits of your Debit Card or a Credit Card (CC).
customer@peoplepc.com: 2607
Shirley: Thank you for the verification.
Shirley: I see that some fraud was detected on your account due to which our fraud department changed your password to prevent you.
Shirley: This is why you are not able to login.
Shirley: Let me guide you what needs to be done now.
Shirley: 1st, we will need to reset your password.
Shirley: 2nd, please do not use your old password ever.
Shirley: 3rd, when you make a new password now do not share it with any one. Please make a strong password for example: combination of letters and numbers in such a way that no one good guess it. Example: Ab45Cd
Shirley: 4th, please scan your computer for viruses.
Shirley: Thus, before we proceed with the change password option, Nowadays we receive lot of calls where a customer’s computer is affected by hackers or viruses and they end up having to spend a lot of money to get it fixed.
Shirley: Thus, may I know, is your computer protected from viruses, spyware, and other Internet threats?
customer@peoplepc.com: AVG
customer@peoplepc.com: I’m fine, I just need the password
Shirley: Great. How old is your avg though if I may know?
customer@peoplepc.com: and how many emails can I send without arrising the ire of your “fraud department?”
Shirley: due to security reasons, we will not be able to provide the original password of your email address via Live Chat.
Shirley: Instead I can reset the password and give it to you on this chat window.
Shirley: Then, you can then change it through My Account online.
Shirley: Once I do this, you will receive an email that your password has been viewed.
Shirley: Is that fine with you?
customer@peoplepc.com: fine, but and how many emails can I send without arrising the ire of your “fraud department?”
Shirley: This is not due to sending more email messages.
customer@peoplepc.com: then it is a very timely “coinsidence.”
Shirley: May be.
customer@peoplepc.com: and can you answer my question?
Shirley: Yes.
Shirley: Please give me five minutes.
customer@peoplepc.com: take your time
Shirley: Thank you.
customer@peoplepc.com: hard to find a supervisor at this time of night?
Shirley: Thank you for your patience.
Shirley: I apologize for the delay.
Shirley: I am yet researching on your issue.
Shirley: There is no specified limit, but it is best if you send an email to just a few receivers at a time.
customer@peoplepc.com: that is inconvenient with a mail list of 2700
customer@peoplepc.com: please see if you can find a number
Shirley: Okay. I would suggest you to send an email to as minimum recipients as you can.
Shirley: You can divide your address book into groups.
Shirley: Like school.
Shirley: College
Shirley: friends
Shirley: Official
Shirley: Then accordingly send an email.
customer@peoplepc.com: that is not a number. Say, my “minimum” is in one catagory, “newsletter” and my list is 2700. Can I use 2700 for a minimum ?
Shirley: No.
Shirley: Minimum would mean 10 to 50 receipts only.
customer@peoplepc.com: so your “fraud” department wants me to send 2700 emails in groups of 50?
Shirley: Again, there is no specific number or requirement.
Shirley: The smaller the list the better the results.
customer@peoplepc.com: well then whats wrong with 200?
Shirley: You can sure try 200 as well.
customer@peoplepc.com: I dont like the word “try” it has connotations of my haveing to reset my password again and again if i exceed your arbitrary number
Shirley: Okay.
customer@peoplepc.com: surely you must have some sort of written guidelines for your “fraud” department to follow?
Shirley: Let me check.
customer@peoplepc.com: thank you
Shirley: Please be on hold for five minutes.
customer@peoplepc.com: i was
Shirley: Yes, Please be on hold for another five minutes,
Shirley: Thank you for your patience.
Shirley: I would need some more time.
Shirley: I apologize for the delay. Please be on hold for another five minutes.
Shirley: Thank you for your patience.
Shirley: Please click on the link given below.
Shirley:http://www.earthlink.net/about/policies/use/bulkmail/
Shirley: Please fill in the form with your requirement to send bulk email messages.
customer@peoplepc.com: is PeoplePC owned by earhlink now?
customer@peoplepc.com: Anyhow, your form is filled out. Can I please have my password now?
Shirley: Yes. EarthLink is our parent company now.
customer@peoplepc.com: congratulations, I guess
Shirley: Sure.
Shirley: Thank you.
Shirley: step6243 is your new password.
Shirley: Your password changed successfully!
Shirley: This change will take 20 minutes for it to take effect.
Shirley: Though we can try it right now, to test.
customer@peoplepc.com: Thank you. Have a pleasant evening
Shirley: Please use this password to log into My Account and from there you will be able to reset your password.  You can reach My Account from the following link.
Shirley: http://myaccount.peoplepc.com
Shirley: Please use just the first part of your email address as the member name. (All in lower case). Do not type @peoplepc.com For example: if abc@peoplepc.com is your email address. Use only abc as your member name. Then, type in your password. (The password that I gave you.) Then, Click on Sign in.
Shirley: After logging into My Account – In the Profiles area, click the your email address that you would like to change the password for.
Shirley: In the Primary Profile area, click Edit next to the password.
Shirley: In the Old Password field, type the password which has just been given to you.
Shirley: In the New Password field, type your new PeoplePC password. In the Retype New Password field, type your new password.
Shirley: Click the Change Password button.
Shirley: Let me know once done.
Shirley: Also, once done. Since we have gone ahead and reset the password on the account, and you would be then resetting the password again at your end via My Account, I would suggest that you also use the new password for your email program and connection.
Shirley: 
Shirley:  Do you want me to go ahead and provide you with the directions to change the password for the email program and connection software?
customer@peoplepc.com: please
Shirley: Please reset your password first by following the steps givven above.
customer@peoplepc.com: so I get to reset my servers, and my iPhone?
Shirley: Yes.
customer@peoplepc.com: I cant get to your server with this chat window open.
customer@peoplepc.com: Chrome wont open another tab
Shirley: You can click on the Minus sign at the top right of this window to minimize this window.
Shirley: You can always click on the chat window at the bottom of the screen when you need to read the chat.
Shirley: Please open another window.
customer@peoplepc.com: again, Chrome wont open another window. It just toggles this one back and forth
Shirley: Please use Internet Explorer.
customer@peoplepc.com: kk
Shirley: Okay.
customer@peoplepc.com: I think were good. According to your form, it WAS the number of emails I sent (400) that caused your “fraud” department to suspend my account. When you change companies and enforce a new set of restrictions, it would be nice to inform your customers.
Shirley: We always send an email alert for each and every change.
Shirley: Which email program do you use in order to send and receive email messages?
Shirley: Is it Web Mail or Outlook Express or Windows Mail?
customer@peoplepc.com: Outlook
customer@peoplepc.com: and if you sent a notice, it must have gotten trapped in my spam filter. Ironic.
Shirley: May I know the version of your Microsoft Outlook that you are using?
Shirley: Is it Outlook 2000, Outlook 2002, Outlook 2003, Outlook 2007 or is it Outlook Express?
Shirley: If you are not sure, open your Outlook.
Shirley: Click on Help > About. Let me know the version for the same.
customer@peoplepc.com: why?
customer@peoplepc.com: its 2007
Shirley: So, that I can help you changer your password there.
Shirley: Okay.
customer@peoplepc.com: i got it covered. Thanks
Shirley: Great. Make sure you use your new password the next time you connect.
Shirley: Do you use the peoplepc software ( blue smiley face icon ) to get connected to the  Internet ?
customer@peoplepc.com: I’ve already changed it. No, I set up the POP and SMTP servers on my Outlook and connect through that.
Shirley: Okay.
Shirley: Connect better with PeoplePC dial-up software. Our Smart Dialer technology automatically chooses the best local dial-up access number for you each time you go online. You can download the Software fromhttps://myaccount.peoplepc.com .Login to Myaccount then click on my Downloads on the left hand side and then download the Dial up Connection software. I will also mail you the CD of the Software on your Mailing Address, which you will receive in two to five business days. May I have the Mailing Address?
customer@peoplepc.com: God how retro. I have a T1
Shirley: Okay. I understand.
Shirley: 7th is your bill cycle date of every month. You were last charged on 08/08/11 for $12.95.
Shirley: PeoplePC will occasionally need to send important administrative emails to you about your service.  Do you have a specific contact email address you would like us to use when sending these messages?
customer@peoplepc.com: No thanks. Were good. Bye now!
Shirley: You are welcome.
Shirley: Is there anything else I may assist you with today?
customer@peoplepc.com: No thanks. Were good. Bye now!
Shirley: I was indeed glad to get this opportunity to help you.
Shirley: You’re welcome and thank you for using PeoplePC LiveChat. Should you need further assistance, please feel free to contact us again. It was a pleasure assisting a friendly customer like you.
Shirley: Thank you for your understanding and patience. Have a wonderful day. Take care. Bye.
Shirley: Please click on ‘X’ button on top of the chat window to end this chat session.

 

But Shirley, whatever happened to: Your feedback is important to us! Please complete our Exit Survey by clicking on the Grey Close Button at the end of your LiveChat?

By the way, I changed the password back to my old one  (which she told me never to use again) rather than changing all the other instruments I use it on.  It works fine.

 

 

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Electric Bikes Set To Continue Growth

With the economic downturn still affecting many markets, new ones are springing up all over the place due to different demands. Some markets that were thriving only a few years ago have now all but disappeared, but as many have been created in their place. For example newer, lightweight and more efficient vehicles are now in demand all over the world, as rising energy prices cause running costs to skyrocket.
As the demand for more efficient petrol and diesel cars grows, the variety of energy sources also grows. The general realisation that fossil fuels cannot support us seems to have sunk in, and investment in alternative fuels has never been higher. Electric cell technology is slowly becoming better and better, and can now make a viable alternative to petrol, as can hydrogen fuel cells. The Tesla was the first commercially successful electric car to be released in mid 2008, but had several problems including a huge weight in the front and an unreliable range. However, there still needs to be an introduction of refuelling infrastructure before the technology can be rolled out on any large scale. Efforts are being made in both Europe and America to add these fuelling options to standard petrol stations, but this has a long way to go. Despite all of this, consumer demand for electric bikes has been rising at an average annual demand of around 9%. This began around 2009 and is predicted to continue to 2016 and beyond.

Another big step towards mass market electric motorbikes was taken recently with the partnership between lithium ion battery producer Ener1 and Lightning Motorcycles. Lightning motorcycles are currently produce the fastest electric production motorbike, clocked recently at 178mph, and are looking to widen their product range. The partnership between them and Ener1, leaders in LiON battery technology will enable the company to diversify into a range of electric super bikes, scooters and even some bicycles, and provide them with a whole range of lightweight energy solutions for them to work with.

With both companies leaders in their respective fields, this is a very promising partnership for motorbike and electric vehicle enthusiasts, and the environment. The hope is that they will be able to bring to market a range of vehicles that will act as a truly viable alternative to petrol powered bikes. With new battery technology holding more charge and being able to recharge quicker, we surely aren’t that far away for electric vehicles being the norm.

Jim is a freelance writer working for Action Motorcycles, Travelworld RV and MCN. He loves all kinds of vehicles, and splits his spare time between several motorbike and restoring his old motorhome.

 

Health Insurance Possibilities for the Newly Self-Employed

When you are starting a new business, you concentrate so very much on the details—location, organization, advertising and finance, to name a few—that your thoughts of health insurance might take a back seat. You know you should have it, but there are so many other things that you have to care of that it slips into a low-priority slot. When the dust settles, it’s time to revive it and take a good look at your options.

Your COBRA Option

COBRA or the Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1985 allows you to carry your previous insurance plan from your old employer for up to 18 months. You’ll notice a rather large increase in the premium price, however: You have to pay the full amount instead of sharing it with the employer. There is no change to the policy stipulations, though. It’s the same plan. The only thing that changes is who is ultimately responsible for payment.

Life Partner Option

Life Partner coverage is a second possibility. If you are covered under your partner’s health insurance policy, the basic coverage can be adjusted to include a family—you too—instead of just the partner. Premiums, deductible, co-pay and coinsurance amounts may change for family coverage, but you would have health insurance as well as your partner.

Individual Policy Option

An individual policy is also an option, but within that category there are two options for the self-employed. One option is a policy that is issued to individuals as individual entities: Your premiums, deductibles, coverage restrictions and limitations are based solely on your medical history and claim activity. Your financial risk is a burden carried only by you.

The second option can be described as a policy for a “group who are individuals.” This “individuals’ group” is constructed identically to the employer’s group policy. The members opt to share risk of others’ health claims, not just their own.

Every individual who purchases this group policy has the same group number, just like an employer’s plan, and has the same coverage and limitations as everyone else in that group. If the group experiences a lot of health claim submissions, the group could experience a rise in premiums. Your financial risk isn’t carried by you alone, but by others as well.

Association Policy Option

You might find a reasonably priced policy through an association, such as your local Chamber of Commerce or other professional organization. NAFE or the National Association of Female Executives might endorse a group plan for those who qualify. AARP is another possibility if you qualify.

The Small Business Service Bureau—not to be confused with the Small Business Administration—and the Freelancers Union both have health insurance options for the small business owner that are reasonably priced within the area of self-paid policies.

Guaranteed or High-Risk Insurance

First, guaranteed coverage is determined by individual states. Some require that insurance companies grant coverage to individuals who can pay the premiums, regardless of medical condition or history. Usually, premiums are expensive, and deductibles are high, but coverage is coverage, especially when you need it.

High-Risk pools are special group-type coverages where everyone with high-risk conditions share financial risk. Insurance companies that offer these policies are, in essence, segregating the financial drain from their other policy holders. The high-risk pool will cease to exist in 2014 under its conditional creation under the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act. When it ends, those who were covered will transfer into the states’ health insurance system.

Summary

None of these options are as cheap as partial-premium payment through an employer for an individual plan, but they all offer the protection and peace of mind that comes with it.

This post was contributed by John Walker.  John runs a payday loans website and works as a financial analyst in London, UK.

 

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The Ultimate Guide To “LinkedIn Today” & How To Optimize Your Presence On It

by 

In March, LinkedIn launched LinkedIn Today, which was dubbed as a news source from your connections and peers in the industry. It has quickly grown to drive massive amounts of traffic to popular content. This service works by aggregating news from industries, connections and sources that you follow, then displaying stories in a visually appealing news format.

Meet LinkedIn Today

LinkedIn Today exists as a standalone website, where you can browse through some of the top articles that LinkedIn thinks you’ll find interesting:

But beyond the LinkedIn Today home page, LinkedIn Today also powers articles that also appear on your own personal home page. The top three articles of the day are pulled into a section titled “Top Headlines on LinkedIn Today” above connection updates, as shown below:

 

LinkedIn Today differs from other social news sites as it skews heavily towards B2B topics.  While some categories could be viewed as B2C exist (such as entertainment, automotive, etc) the vast majority of content is aimed at businesses, a unique niche in social media.

 

How Does It Work?

Like most social news sites, LinkedIn Today works off a voting algorithm that aims to match popular articles with interested users.

Every time a user vouches for an article it is called a “share” and can be tracked by the number next to the blue banner across the featured image.  Shares can be viewed by clicking on that banner, but only those who shared the article publicly will be shown.

Today then matches content to like-minded people by showing top news across industries that you follow and are a part of.  The specific industry of the user sharing the story is taken into account as well.  If a LinkedIn member is listed as a member of the advertising industry, that information is factored in when an article is shared or liked and will help to boost the articles presence within the “marketing & advertising” industry.  The more targeted votes from industry individuals, the quicker an article will rise up within that category.

There are currently a few different ways to share an article that will be recognized on Today, through the LinkedIn Bar, on the LinkedIn site itself, likes of other’s shared articles and via Twitter.

Voting Via The LinkedIn Bar

This is the simplest method of sharing content on LinkedIn and requires a user to post activity with the link to the article.  When clicking on a link, a LinkedIn branded browser bar may appear at the top of the page:

If clicked over directly from your connection sharing, context will appear in the form of their description or tweet in the bar:

 

This bar allows users to like the update of their connection, comment on it, or share it with their friends.  It is important to know that some sites bust frames, such as Search Engine Land, will not show this bar.

Votes At LinkedIn Through Shares & Updates

Shares, or votes, on LinkedIn can be accumulated in a variety of formats. One is through a LinkedIn Update. This occurs when a user attaches a link to an update using the  “attach a link” option:

If an article has already been shared by someone, it can be reshared, which counts as a vote. For example, here’s an article already on LinkedIn Today, with an option to share it:

Doing that brings up a sharing dialog box:An additional way to share outside of the standard update is via the LinkedIn share widget discussed below.  Private shares are also taken into account when listing articles on Today.

Votes Via Likes

LinkedIn allows users to like articles shared by your connections and these do play a role in what shows on Today.  LinkedIn users can like articles right from the updates stream or within LinkedIn Groups.

Votes Via Twitter

If a user ties their Twitter account to their LinkedIn account, a tweet will also count as a LinkedIn share due to a partnership between LinkedIn and Twitter.  This will only occur if a user’s LinkedIn Profile is joined with their Twitter account, or if a user shares an article on LinkedIn and selects the “tweet” button as their form of sharing.

Following Industries & Sources

LinkedIn Today features multiple industries and news sources to follow helping users customize the stories on in their LinkedIn Today headlines.  Other than your connections, there are two additional ways to customize the content you see on LinkedIn Today.

The first is to follow content from particular industries. If you following a category like “Marketing & Advertising Industry,” related content will have a higher percentage of showing up as top stories on your front page.

LinkedIn will suggest some to you at the top of LinkedIn Today and to the right side, in the “Suggested Industries” section, as shown below:

The “See all” button below the Suggested Industries section will open a dialog box of all industries you can follow.

Have a favorite site?  Want to see it show up more often in LinkedIn Today?  Well if you follow a specific source, their top stories will become “whitelisted” and show up more frequently on your LinkedIn Today front page.

The “Top Sources” area on the LinkedIn Today home page provides suggestions, and the “See all” link brings up a dialog box listing more:

How To Consume

LinkedIn makes it easy to consume content from LinkedIn Today by offering multiple ways to obtain hot stories.  The main ways to use LinkedIn Today:

LinkedIn Today Site: The full-featured website allows users to follow sources, industries and see a wide variety of recommended articles.

Digest Emails: Users can choose from daily or weekly email subscriptions for top stories.  This can be set within your email frequency settings.

Bookmarking – Save Feature: One of the really nice features of LinkedIn Today in my opinion is the ‘Save’ option for articles. Many social news sites like Digg have lacked the ability to view at a later time, but LinkedIn makes saving an article easy.

Each article features a save button to the right of the article:

Saved articles will show up in your saved article bin.  Once read, you can then check off to remove from your saved articles.

iPhone & Android Apps: LinkedIn Today can be found on the LinkedIn iPhone & Android apps under the news category.  The apps allow users to view the full site, send to a connection or post directly to updates.  Users can also clearly see what is ‘hot right now’ and how many other connections shared an article:

 

StumbleUpon Partnership: In March, LinkedIn and Stumble partnered up to help promote content across platforms:

StumbleUpon added a LinkedIn Share button in their browser, while LinkedIn pulled in top stories from StumbleUpon into each category:

 

How To Optimize

Now that you know what LinkedIn Today is, how can you optimize for it?  Here are some marketing tactics to make your content more successful on LinkedIn Today.

To have content become popular, LinkedIn Today looks at what links members share, like and comment on the most. The higher the numbers, the higher the probability of your content ranking. LinkedIn says:

A higher preference is assigned to recent articles if they’re being shared quickly by a broad base of members.

Share

This is the most obvious (and effective) way to help your content become popular as a share acts as a vote for your content.  There are a few additional ways to share:

  • Post Your Stories As Updates: This share goes out on your LinkedIn profile and can be viewed by all of your connections. Public shares will be shown when a user clicks on the share number of the article.
  • Post Your Stories To Groups: Are you member of some targeted groups?  Well cut through the clutter of main connection updates and share directly to a relevant audience of group members. This can be annoying if over utilized, so use in moderation!
  • Send To Individuals: No need for DMs, CC’s or copying-pasting to an email. If you find an article you’d like to share with someone specific, simply send it directly to a connection or via email. When talking to LinkedIn, it was mentioned that private shares do play a role in the algorithm.

Share Button

Launched in late 2010, the LinkedIn share button gives publishers a tool to help facilitate content sharing on their site.  The share button gives the option to feature the share count vertically, horizontally or having no count.This is a dynamic button that opens the LinkedIn page in a new window with all information pre-filled for the user.  Posting this button on important articles and blog posts can help to get an extra boost for your most important content.  The button can also be added to WordPressquickly and easily.

Become a Source

If your site is very popular on LinkedIn Today, you can apply to have it added as a source.  Simply reach out as a publisher and see if LinkedIn deems you worthy!

Promote on Twitter

Many LinkedIn users have tied their Twitter account to their LinkedIn account, and every tweet from one of those users will count as a share on LinkedIn Today.

So if your audience is socially savvy, there should be a high correlation between number of Tweets and the number of Shares on LinkedIn.  Make sure to promote your most important content on Twitter it will have a trickledown effect on LinkedIn Today.

Add Like-Minded Connections

Like all other social media news sites, having a larger network will help the reach of your message.  By adding in connections that are of a similar mindset, you will be able to put more eyeballs on your content, thereby increasing the number of shares your content will receive.

Don’t Overlook LinkedIn!

Overall, LinkedIn is one of the most powerful forms of social sharing in the B2B realm, and is growing steadily.  This service fills a deep void in business-to-business social news aggregation providing numerous ways of harnessing the growing LinkedIn population.

 

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Is Your Anger Killing Your Art?

by Seth Godin

It’s rare to find a consistently creative or insightful person who is also an angry person.*

They can’t occupy the same space, and if your anger moves in, generosity and creativity often move out. It’s difficult to use revenge or animus to fuel great work.

Ironically, when you decide to teach someone a lesson they richly deserve, you often end up strangling the very source you were counting on.

(*Angry is not the same as being a jerk. For some reason, there are plenty of creative jerks–I think because they mistakenly believe that being a jerk is a useful way for some people to wrestle with their lizard brains).

 

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