To hashtag or not to hashtag, that is the question
It looks like a tic tac toe board, or the “pound sign” from a push-button telephone. The weird and wonderful hashtag is pretty much everywhere, from TV shows to the sides of buses. This post will get you up to speed with the latest hashtag etiquette, so you can take advantage of its power.
The origins of the hashtag go all the way back to IRC, which is a free real-time text chat tool that was popular before graphic interfaces (and video chat) took over. (Incidentally, there are still a lot of people using IRC.) The hashtag was used to pull together messages that all related to a certain subject. Later, Twitter denizens decided to adopt the same mechanism (legend attributes this to Chris Messina).
When you see a hyperlinked hashtag, it means you can click it to find content that relates to that subject, whether it’s an event, show, Twitter chat, meme, or random topic. When you see a non-hyperlinked hashtag, it usually means that someone has inserted a hashtag in a platform where it’s not recognized. That’s usually seen as an annoyance by the citizens of that platform, so it might be best to avoid doing that.
Recent hashtag changes
Supposedly Facebook is going to announce that it will start recognizing hashtags soon. This is a major boon to marketers, who will now be able to extend the reach of a hashtag across two huge platforms at once (Twitter and Facebook). Flickr also just added hashtags to its iOS app. However, Pinterest’s latest update renders hashtags non-clickable.
Pro hashtag tips
- If you’re using a new/unfamiliar hashtag, go to Twitter Advanced Search and check to see who else is already using it. You can also use an external site like hashtags.org.
- Join some Twitter chats in your niche; it’s a great way to network (click here for massive spreadsheet of chats). You can use a tool like Tweetchat to automatically add the hashtag to your Tweets and see the stream.
- Don’t use more than one hashtag in a status update unless there’s a really compelling reason.
- Remember you’re in public. Since hashtags are aggregated all over the place, remember that content you hashtag is accessible to the world.
- If you’re using a hashtag for an event, be sure to publicize it in advance, and then display it at the event on screen, and on conference materials. The first two questions at every conference are “what’s the WiFi password” and “what hashtag should we use?”
- If you want to see action around a specific hashtag from across the web, look at a site like Twubs.com, which pulls together content from a hashtag and allows you to screen content if you’re streaming it live (to delete spam from the stream).
Are you using hashtags? Have any hashtag pet peeves you want to share with us?
By Elaine Love
The media is buzzing about the “newest kid on the printing block.” What marvelous potential exists for this new technology! Just think what 3D printing can accomplish for the medical community, the automobile industry, architecture and even the toy industry. Will 3D printing ever reach the widespread popularity of the print industry as we know and use it currently?
Pause and hit Rewind
How does 3D Printing Work?
Three-dimensional printing is a process by which layers of material are stacked creating a physical object. Materials such as plastics, fabric fibers and even human tissue are fed into the machine to create the designs. Depending upon the machine, those layers could be created through stacking layers of light (FTI- film transfer imaging), fusing heated plastic filament or metal wire (FDM – fused deposition modeling) or laser technology with at least seven different types of metals (SLS – Selective laser sintering).
Sound complicated? Relax. I don’t pretend to understand exactly how the technology works. Do you know all of the exact technology behind how your smart phone works? Neither do I, but we still use our phones constantly.
What Benefit does 3D Provide?
Imagine being able to create an intricate architectural design to visualize exactly how your building or sculpture will look prior to construction. Imagine being able to create artificial limbs for accident victims or to correct birth defects. Imagine being able to create a spare part for a machine long after the model had been discontinued.
Through contour crafting it is possible to build an entire home: concrete foundation, plumbing, electrical wiring and all of the furnishings. A 2500 square foot house could be built in 20 hours. Imagine the benefit in restoring homes for victims of natural disasters.
Artificial limbs, prosthesis, can be created to assist accident victims and correct birth defects. 3D printing can produce medical devices such as those used in my spinal fusions. It is scary to think what could be created from human tissue as this technology advances.
Prototypes of automobiles, planes, boats and other mobile devices can be created and tested; design adjustments can be made prior to the expensive final production stage.
Can you imagine giving a child a 3D computer to create their own toys? At least it would be more engaging and positive for their mind than watching violence on TV. A few decades ago a child was given an erector set; next came Legos. Imagine telling a child to go to their room and create their own toy. At this point the complexity of programming the machine prevents this scenario, but will that change in the future?
How would a blogger utilize the services of a 3D printer? Imagine bringing your concept to life? The familiar quotation is “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Adding an image to your text enhances the visual appeal and engages the reader. Granted, becoming an excellent photographer to capture the 3D image to include in your post could present a challenge, but then you are up for a challenge. Tap your incredible imagination. Let me hear from you.
The possibilities are endless
What’s the Catch?
Three-dimensional printing is not new; 3D has existed for three decades. 3D printing has been too expensive, non-accessible, inefficient and too slow. Times are changing. According to Lisa Harouni of Digital Forming, detail and quality are improving; the price has been reduced to about $300 and the machine will now fit on a desktop.
What’s the problem?
The programming complexity makes the machine very difficult to use. At this point 3D Printing machines are not user friendly; however with rapidly advancing technology, this could change in the next few years. Three-dimensional printing has the potential to create a manufacturing revolution. Some are touting 3D printing as the answer to ending “made in China.” When manufacturing is cost effective, time efficient to produce, inexpensive to ship and accurate (machines eliminate the human error factor), 3D has the potential to bring the manufacturing industry back to America.
Will 3D Printing Replace Traditional Printing Companies?
No. 3D and traditional printing as we know it now serve two totally different purposes. It’s like asking if an exotic alcoholic drink will replace green tea. Both have their value, but they fill entirely different purposes.
The current fiercely competitive printing industry is expanding. A new online printing company will be challenged to the max to go head to head with the printing giants like Vista Print, PrintPlace.com, or PsPrint. The printing industry is not declining but thriving. Competition in the printing industry is intensifying. UPS and FedEx are trying to capture their own piece of the printing industry market.
A business card created with 3D printing shaped as an exact replica of an entire set of golf clubs may be fun and unique, but imagine attempting to place 20 of them in your wallet.
3D Printer in Every Home?
Does the possibility exist for 3D printers to be in most homes and offices? It’s possible. Is it probable? It was only a few decades ago when Ken Olsen, founder of the legendary minicomputer company DEC said, “there is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.” Now we all have at least one computer and probably several when you include our smart phones.
As the volume of information increases and more and more records must be created and retained, does it really make logical sense to create three-dimensional contracts, three-dimensional business cards, three-dimensional letters or postcards and three dimensional grocery lists? No. Will the marketplace still need business cards, legal documents, restaurant guest checks, and printed marketing materials? Yes. The majority of printed materials as we know them will continue to be of significance.
There is a greater likelihood of electronic media replacing some paper documents than 3D printing replacing traditional printed materials. Three-dimensional printing serves an entirely different function in the marketplace than traditional printed materials.
So did we spark your creative juices? How could you potentially take advantage of 3D printing in your online business?
By Joel Parkinson
What would the workplace be, without collaboration? Collaboration is a positive trait because itâ€™s where people work together (even if they belong to different departments or divisions) towards achieving a common goal. Without effective business collaboration, companies would probably end up with a lot of in-fighting among co-workers, and deadlines wouldnâ€™t be met, and a lot of money, resources and time would be lost.
What are the tools used for effective collaboration during these high-tech times? Letâ€™s list the top 10 business collaboration tools.
Skype has been around offices and manufacturing centers, as well as at home, for quite some time. Most use Skype on a daily basis, for both official work and leisure purposes. Skype has been hailed as a â€œgreatâ€ collaboration too because it allows for team brainstorming, and it enables workers to check on their clients quickly, as well as provide time for relaxing chat-sessions, which can add sparkle to remote workers.
Yammer is more than just your typical company social network site. Its feeds also provide workers and managers with a constant stream of ideas, articles and more. Yammer also encourages employees to think differently, without worrying about the distractions of the wider Internet. Yammer is a service which is best-known for promoting cross-departmental collaboration.
Projectmanager.com was founded in 2008 by four people who wanted to develop a more innovative toolset for managing projects. Today, projectmanager.com has customers in over 100 countries, and is one of the fastest project management service provides on the Internet.
Google Docs has been around for a long time too, and yet it continues to provide a solid platform for all types of collaboration. It perhaps provides the simplest method for having multiple individuals work on one document, and keep things organized.
Teambox is an innovative project management system that allows everyone to piggyback on other ideas, and discuss new project ideas in real time.
Facebook Member Pages
While closed groups on Facebook are nothing new, more office or work-related communities are now shifting towards a platform, where office or work-related requests are posted around the clock, and colleagues give and receive feedback across different time zones, any time, any week or month.
Basecamp is now considered as the worldâ€™s number one project management software. It offers to-do lists, Wiki-type web-based text documents, file-sharing, time-tracking and a messaging system. Itâ€™s also available in Spanish, Italian, French, German, Portuguese, Polish, Danish, Russian, Hungarian, Japanese and English versions.
Status.net allows users to do micro-blogging, file-sharing and groups via desktop or mobile applications. It also allows people to integrate their tools into their own domain, as well as integrate with other social networks.
GoToMeeting offers more than just email or instant messaging. It allows office managers or supervisors and workers to distribute meeting invitations, audio-conference in VoIP, and even dial a toll-free number. Itâ€™s a very straightforward web-conferencing tool for small and medium-sized businesses.
Socialcast is a microblogging tool that fully integrates SharePoint, Outlook and others. The collaboration tool also provides a solid analytics suite, as part of its admin tools.
The new business collaboration tools are very helpful when it comes to providing a seamless, real-time and all-day, all-night system for communication, progress tracking, memo or document-sharing and much more.keep looking »