Fundamental Technology, Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and Other Social Networking — Session 4, AIW Going Freelance Seminar — I’m liveblogging the AIW Going Freelance! seminar today at Johns Hopkins University. Forgive the typos, as I’m trying to keep up. You can handle it. Trust me. -kk

SHASHI BELLAMKONDA on social networking and your business…

Social media survey by Network Solutions’s Grow Smart Business indicated growth in use of social networking for small biz. At least 59% of active Web users have a social media profile.

Skeptics can suggest that social media is a passing fad, but time is showing that that’s not true. Social media creates a level playing field for small and large businesses alike. You’re no less likely to be seen online just because you’re small. It also gives you equal control in terms of managing your reputation online. It’s a business necessity to search your own name online.

Ideally your top Google results should be information you create yourself. If someone is creating a profile for you on some site you’ve never heard of, go join and at least put your correct info in because that will give you one more link in Google.

Know your audience. One tool is Google Alerts to notify you when your name, your business, your product, etc. is mentioned. Google doesn’t spider comments on photos, so BackType is a good tool to help you find content about you that Google might overlook.

Writers can use social media to identify ideas, trends, and buzz; find peers and network; distribute content easily; have a greater reach; and find new clients. Be a connector, one of the people who introduces people to others. Give without expecting anything back. Promote others not just yourself. Add value.

If you check your sent e-mail, you’ll find that you’re pretty much already blogging by sharing information about things you love and or know well with others. Blogging builds your credibility and facilitates conversations. Blogging is also a way to create links, which are nonmonetary currency. Blogs are shareable, taggable, trackable.

Create clear guidelines for your web presence — common sense guidance.

Listen first, be useful, and build relationships.

GABE GOLDBERG on essential technology and tools for writers

Multiple monitors and larger monitors lead to huge leaps in productivity. Instead of having to search through windows for the item you want, you can have all of the applications you use open at all times all day. More of the desktop to work with means more productivity. It’s an easy operation to add a video connection for a second monitor, but most modern computers have them.

Gabe also recommends making sure your computer has plenty of USB ports OR you get additional ports that are powered to expand your capacity. And he recommends an intellimouse with multifunction programmable keys to increase productivity and simplify your life. Keep ergonomics in mind when it comes to keyboards, mice, desks, chairs, and overall office configuration.

For anyone who never ever has power problems, you may not need an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) to keep your computer running in the event of a power outage so you can shut it down manually rather than just yanking the power. Modern UPSs will connect to your computer with a USB cord that will send a warning signal to your computer if you’re not there to shut it down.

If you have multiple computers in the house, you might consider getting a home server to centralize your backup and make sure your whole network of computers at home has access to all of the same files as necessary. Same with a printer, so anyone in the house can print to the network printer. This means you don’t have to have a particular computer turned on all the time to be able to share printers with all of your computers. Also same deal for network storage and/or a shared drive.

All-in-one devices (scanner, fax, printer, copier) do save space, but if you pick them individually you can get the best of breed for each function. Also, if one breaks, you don’t lose all of the other functions when you have each of them individually.

If you have old peripherals that you want to keep even though the connections on the new computer don’t match the cord for the old printer/ fax/ whatever, you can pick up an adapter at virtually any electronics store.

Gabe uses a U3 USB drive that he can run applications from just as though they were on his hard drive. Most of them work with both Mac and PC. (Check the label.)

For transferring files from one computer to another, the Tornado is a great tool. Hiro wireless mouse and laser pointer is handy for presentations.

Gabe recommends always doing a custom installation on all software so you can make choices about how your software functions and what else is installed. For instance, he recently updated his Java installation and opted out of also installing the Java toolbar. Also, be sure that you keep all of your applications and software current.

Speaking of which, your router IS a computer. Make sure you have the current version of the router software and download updates to fix problems, add function, and improve security. Check your computer and router configuration to see if any software updates are necessary to bring your computer up to date.

Make sure your virus software is up to date. Use the competitor’s site to do a “drive-by” security check to make sure your software is keeping you virus free.

Take advantage of e-mail filters to reduce inbox clutter by filing things as they arrive so you can batch process your email activities. You can disable the default display of graphics in your email to have better protection from spam and enable it on a message-by-message base.

Be consistent and deliberate about naming and organizing files. Compress files for storage. Archive inactive files to avoid clutter. If you have multiple versions of a file and need to figure out what’s what, use the compare files tool in most office suites. Browser add-ons and plug-ins can increase productivity online and eliminate redundancy.

You can do voice, video, and direct file transfer over instant messaging.

A broadband internet connection is essential to productivity. Measure you actual connection speed using a site like and touch base with your ISP if your speed is substantially lower than what the ISP says your speed will be “up to.” Most connections are optimized for download. If you need upload and download to be more similar, talk to your ISP because you most likely will not be able to get what you need through residential service. Be sure to use a router and make sure it’s secure so you have to enter a password to connect. This is for safety and also controls your usage.

Send and receive faxes via e-mail to save paper and toner or ink, and make it easier to forward or archive content.

You can use Audacity to record phone calls on your landline through your computer with a $45 or $50 gizmo that connects your phone to your computer’s audio input.

Do regular upkeep on your computer to keep it running at maximum effectiveness. Defragment your hard drive, toss old files, that kind of thing, on an annual basis. You can do it yourself, have a pal do it, or take it to a shop that specializes in that type of work to sanitize it of old files, etc. Or you can have someone make a house call so you can keep an eye on them and your machine to make sure they’re not stealing or accessing your personal data if that is a concern for you.

Separate administrative privileges from normal user privileges to avoid your kid, spouse, roommate, or whoever from screwing up your machine.

When doing backup, use a portable drive rather than just an external drive. Be sure to back up not just your regular document files, including bookmarks, music, photos, QuickBooks or Quicken, etc.

Keyboard shortcuts can save you a massive amount of time for any program. If you learn one or two at a time, you’ll find yourself getting a lot more done.

Don’t install software you don’t understand, don’t install software that hasn’t been recommended, and don’t click on links in emails. Don’t trust first and verify later; mistrust first and then verify before doing anything.

Contents Copyright © 2006-2014 Kristen King

4 comments… add one
  • Fluorosint Nov 16, 2009

    Excellent points. You should never install anything that you’re not sure of. Also, I agree, that all in one devices may save space, but there are limits on what they can do.

  • Zubair Khan Dec 27, 2009

    ya really good points nice post and thanks for sharing it! i am new to this site liked it a lot and hope i will carry on in the future as well thanks!
    .-= Zubair Khan´s last blog ..Infernal Hell’s Vengeance Sees the Light of Day in the Land of the Rising Sun =-.

  • gochi Jan 11, 2010

    I agree that social media is the next big thing in internet marketing right now but places like Facebook and Twitter have got to be cleaned up! All the useless banter, meaningless conversations, and word vomit are getting to be extremely difficult to wade through. Also, people are starting too share a little bit too much on Facebook – there has got to be some way to regulate it.

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