Thursday, December 24, 2009

The 2009 Holiday Spirit Blog Carnival 3rd Edition

Welcome to the Third Edition of The 2009 Holiday Spirit Blog Carnival. Thank you for joining us and we hope that you'll find some Holiday Spirit. This is the last edition for 2009 and for those of you that are still looking for the perfect gifts or just some things to do for the holidays, there are several good articles for you this issue. We plan to run the blog carnival again next year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so be sure to check back. We've seen some really nice entries this year and look forward to next year's submissions, where we'll again hope to share with you all stories about how different people celebrate this time of year, family traditions, gift ideas. The Holiday Spirit is not intended to focus only on Christmas, in fact we'd love to to hear how other faiths celebrate holidays that are meaningful to them that occur this time of year. Iit would be great if we can use this time of year to bring people closer together.

Another Somebody presents best online holiday shopping posted at Another Somebody.

Christie Lohr presents Holiday Hotness posted at Christie Lohr.

Joanne presents Cheap Ideas For Christmas Gifts posted at Cheap Ideas For Christmas Gifts.

Peak Personal Finance presents Tips for Better Holiday Shopping posted at Peak Personal Finance.

Eric Gargiulo presents Holidays Gifts and Ideas for Women posted at, saying, "So, I’ve been researching “Holiday gifts for your girlfriend” just to see if my boyfriend is able to find good options for my holiday gift, which is a little selfish, but I want a good gift! And I have to say that a few of the options are fairly decent, and even I would be satisfied with nice jewelry (who wouldn’t) or a cheesy picture frame with a picture of us! There were however, many gifts that I did not think were suitable for the holidays! Holidays are supposed to be fun and although pretty lingerie could be a lot of fun, this isn’t really a gift for your girlfriend….is it fellas?? On a similar note, cooking ware is a household appliance and it’s more of a necessity than a fun holiday gift, so steer clear of kitchen appliances!"

Eric Gargiulo presents Holiday Gift Ideas For Men By A Man posted at, saying, "My girlfriend recently started looking at blogs about holiday shopping ideas for men and I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Most of these blogs are written by women who have no clue what men really want as a holiday gift. This inspired me to put some shopping ideas together for men by men."

mmresources presents Free Christmas Postcards posted at Oharas Postcard Junction, saying, "Christmas cards are a great way to spread the holiday cheer. A cost efficient alternative is chistmas postcards, we put together a few free christmas postcards for download."

Silicon Valley Blogger presents Online Shopping Tips To Help You Shop Safely posted at The Digerati Life.

Vera Lang presents How to Knit Christmas Tree Ornaments posted at Fine Craft Guild .com, saying, "These ornaments are both fun to make and fun to give. And, cost (next to) nothing. Classified as super easy, they make a good holiday activity to do with kids. Free patterns and tips to make them successfully provided. Super cute ~ check these out."

Kara Thurmond presents Food as Gifts posted at An Hour In the Kitchen, saying, "I’ve been making gifts for years. Not only do I get to satisfy my ever-present desire to be making something, I also get to avoid the holiday shopping crowds and hopefully create something my friends and family will enjoy."

Kimberly Clay presents Antique Christmas Gifts – Top 3 Antique Christmas Gift Ideas posted at Central Kentucky Antiques and Collectibles.

Silicon Valley Blogger presents Ebates Review: Online Rewards, Double Cash Back When You Shop! posted at The Digerati Life, saying, "where to get gifts at cheaper price."

Peak Personal Finance presents Saving Money on Holiday Gifts posted at Peak Personal Finance, saying, "Every extra dollar counts these days!"

Allan Inocente presents 7 Ways to Celebrate Christmas Without Breaking Your Piggy Bank posted at Rich Money Habits, saying, "Christmas is just around the corner. With all the 13th and 14th month pays being given just before the month of December, everyone enjoys his own “extra” jolt of cash. Suddenly, people have money to spend. Protect your money from unnecessary spending. Discover 7 Ways to Celebrate Christmas Without Breaking Your Piggy Bank!" presents Drinking App posted at Trimega Laboratories Blog, saying, "The NHS has launched a new phone app to help the health-conscious more accurately calculate the amount of alcohol they are consuming over the festive season"

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of The Holiday Spirit Blog Carnival using our carnival submission form. Past and future editions can be found on our
blog carnival index page. I hope that you've enjoyed this edition and we look forward to your next visit. Feel free to submit an article, give us your comments, and spread the Holiday Spirit to others. Please check out the other Blog Carnivals that we run here in addition to the other articles.

Here are some Holiday Spirit articles from us that you might like...

Photo Credit: Some area trees naturally decorated at Christmas at Christmas 2007.

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

The 2009 Holiday Spirt Blog Carnival 2nd Edition

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Welcome to the Second Edition of The 2009 Holiday Spirit Blog Carnival. I've enjoyed this time of year for as long as I can remember. First there was all the excitement of the kid wondering what he'd get for Christmas and how much fun you could have in this time of year. Later on this time of year become more about connecting with family and friends and letting them know how much they meant to me. After becoming a parent there was of coursed the excitement of seeing the holidays through their eyes and getting all excited again. Over the course of The Holiday Spirit Blog Carnival, I hope that you'll join me in getting excited and spreading some holiday cheer. I plan to do one more edition before Christmas so I hope to share with you all stories about how different people celebrate this time of year, family traditions, gift ideas. Last year when I chose the title for the blog carnival, I purposely choose Holiday Spirit because I didn't want to only focus on Christmas, and in fact I'd love to see some submissions on how other faiths celebrate holidays that are meaningful to them that occur this time of year. I'd love to hear how Jewish and Muslim people celebrate their holidays, it would be great if we can use this time of year to bring people closer together.

Billeater presents Save Money This Holiday Shopping Season posted at Billeater.

The Smarter Wallet presents Hot Holiday Gift Ideas For The Shopping Season posted at The Smarter Wallet.

Grazyna presents Decorating Your Kitchen for Christmas posted at Christmas Ideas.

Jen from windy ridge presents Christmas Day posted at The Chronicles Of Windy Ridge, saying, "Christmas at Windy Ridge"

Ella Moss presents 2 MORE LIGHTS « Zodiac Times posted at Zodiac Times. A little soul-searching at Christmas

Silicon Valley Blogger presents A Collection of Money Tips For The Holidays posted at The Digerati Life.

Carm presents Xmas Party Games posted at Party Supply News, saying, "Holiday party's are great fun. Try out this quick thinking holiday party game."

Kristen Ellis presents Holiday Planning Made Easy For the Unorganized posted at Frugality In the Making.

Alex presents Christmas Cards Designs posted at Home Life Weekly, saying, "I have put together a great selection of Christmas Card designs they are really easy to make all you need to do is download the free Christmas Card design of you choice then print and fold."

Kerry Fletcher presents How to Decorate Your Christmas Tree Like a Professional Designer posted at Interior Design Info.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of The Holiday Spirit Blog Carnival using our carnival submission form. Past and future editions can be found on our
blog carnival index page. I hope that you've enjoyed this edition and we look forward to your next visit. Feel free to submit an article, give us your comments, and spread the Holiday Spirit to others.

Photo Credit: A Christmas picture drawn by my daughter Sarah. It is posted at Flickr.

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Saturday, December 5, 2009

What Is Social Media?

Social Media

Have you ever wondered what Social Media was or how you might be able to explain it to someone that didn't already have any knowledge of the subject or perhaps someone that had only heard some of the buzz words? Since a picture is worth a thousand words and can be so much better in getting our point across, I created the mind map above to try to make things clearer.

What Does Social Media Mean to You?

When explaining social media to someone it is good to get an idea of where they're coming from and what it means to them. Maybe they have a good idea of what it is already and only need to have some minor things explained or maybe you need to start a square one.

The Old Media And The New Media

Have you ever bought or read a newspaper, watched television, listened to the radio, or read a book or magazine article? These are all what could be considered "the Old Media". Newspapers are going out of business at an alarming rate, and there are lots of reports that suggest that more and more people are getting their news from the internet. This is where social media comes in. Almost anything that you want to "sell" or communicate is already being done on the internet via social media. The New Media makes use of many social media tools and will hopefully become a little clearer after reading this article and looking at the picture above. Social Media allows you get your message out in ways not even imagined even five years ago. I created the mind map based on an article that I saw in wikipedia on social media, so my structure started from there and I branched out a little. I used FreeMind to create the mind map. The mind map does not include every facet or tool available because there are many but it does give you a good picture of social media. I put a cloud around things that I use or are more famaliar to myself and possibly others. These are also areas where people might wish to start when there are lots of other options in any one area.


Communication is at the core of social media and all media for that matter. In the mind map it is one of the branches that includes:

  • Blogs- A blog (a contraction of the term "web log") is a type of website, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. (according to Wikipedia). You're in fact looking at a blog now. For the mind map this is referring to various blogging platforms like Blogger, LiveJournal, Open Diary, WordPress, Vox, ExpressionalEngine.

  • Micro blogging- This is a smaller version of a blog that is easy to do and maintain. While Twitter is probably the most recognizable member of this category, it also includes: Plurk, Tumblr(I use this to share links and other things from my blogs), Jaiku, and fmylife.
  • Social Networking- There is a good chance that you're already using one or more of these sites that include: Bebo, Big Tent, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Orkutt, Skyrock, Hi5, Ning, Elgg, and Drupal.
  • Social Network aggregation- These are sites that aggregate or consolidate your various social network activities into one location. FriendFeed and NutshellMail are two examples.
  • Events- These allow you to promote and share events with others and include: Upcoming, Eventful, and
  • Social Networking Tools- These are tools that can be used to update one or more of your social networks and they all allow you to update Twitter (which as been listed under Micro blogging). Ping allows you to update several sites without having to log into each one individually. TweetDeck is an Adobe Air based tool that allows you to do all sorts of things with Twitter and is quite amazing. HootSuite is very powerful because you can use it to do a lot of things in Twitter but you can integrate it with Ping so that you can update several sites at once and you can schedule when your updates appear.


Multimedia is probably as you'd imagine it and includes:

  • Photo sharing- Flickr, Zoomer, Photobucket, SmugMug, and Picasa.
  • Video sharing- YouTube, Viddler, Vimeo, and sevenload.
  • Livecasting- These allow you to broadcast an event live over the internet and include:,, Stickam, and Skype
  • Audio and Music Sharing- imeem, The Hype Machine,, ccMixter, and


Collaboration allows you to work with other people and includes:

  • Wikis- According to Wikipedia a wiki is a website that allows the easy creation and editing of any number of interlinked web pages via a web browser using a simplified markup language or a WYSIWYG text editor; are typically powered by wiki software and are often used to create collaborative websites, to power community websites, used in corporate intranets, and in knowledge management systems. Wikipedia is by far the best recognized within this category but it also includes PBwiki, and wetpaint

  • Social bookmarking- Is a method for Internet users to share, organize, search, and manage bookmarks of web resources. Unlike file sharing, the resources themselves aren't shared, merely bookmarks that reference them (according to Wikipedia). Some sites include: Delicious, StumbleUpon, and Google Reader.

  • Social news- Refers to websites where users submit and vote on news stories or other links, thus determining which links are presented (according to Wikipedia). Digg is probably the most recognisable of this type of site but it also includes: Mixx, Reddit, and Now Public. When an article or link reaches the front page of Digg, there is the potential for a lot of web traffic to it, something most people putting content on the web want.

  • Opinion sites- inludes: epinions, and Yelp.

Reviews and Opinions

Reviews and Opinions focus on reviews, opinions, and getting answers to questions that you might have and include:

  • Product Reviews- Includes: epinions and
  • Business Review- is an example.
  • Community Q&A- These sites allow users to submit questions and get other uses to answer them. Yahoo! Answers, WikiAnswers, AskVille, Google Answers are examples.


Other here is referring only to...

  • Information aggregators- These are typically sites that collect information from a variety of sites and sources and include NetVibes and Twine (website).

RSS Feeds

RSS (Really Simple Syndication)- is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works—such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video—in a standardized format
(according to Wikipedia). This allows publishers to easily notify subscribers when there is new content or something has been updated or changed and it allows people to easily follow their favorite blogs and websites without have to check all the time if there is anything new or updated. RSS Readers allow collect the "feeds" from the sites and blogs you've subscribed to and include: Google Reader, NewsGator, FeedDemon, NetVibes, Sage (Firefox extension), and Bloglines. RSS Publishers allow websites and blogs to "publish" when there is new content or something has changed, one of the most widely used RSS Publishers is FeedBurner.


Entertainment includes:

  • Media & Entertainment Platforms- Cisco Eos.
  • Virtual Worlds- According to Wikipedia a virtual world is a computer-based simulated environment intended for its users to inhabit and interact via avatars. These avatars are usually depicted as textual, two-dimensional, or three-dimensional graphical representations. You might have heard of Second Life, The Sims Online, or Forterra.

  • Game Sharing- sites allow multiple users to play each other in various games are becoming more and more popular all the time. Miniclip and Kongregate are a couple of game sharing sites.


Podcasts is a series of digital media files (either audio or video) that are released episodically and downloaded through web syndication (according to Wikipedia). There are a thousands (if not millions) of different podcasts about a variety of subjects. More and more companies and people are seeing podcasts as a way of marketing themselves. In my mind map I broke podcasts down to:

  • Search- These sites allow you to search for podcasts and include: Podcast Alley and iTunes.
  • Subscribe- Allows users to download new podcasts that they're subscribed to. One of the more famous is iTunes.

Social Media is at its heart, social and provides a variety of channels in which you can communicate ("sell" and "market") your product, service, or idea. Unlike the "Old Media", you have a lot of possibilities of doing it yourself and aren't dependent upon the old networks to distribute your message. You have a message that you wish to get out and you want to find an audience that wants to "hear" your message, with Social Media you can find these people and they can find you, and better still is that it happens 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Social Media allows communication and conversations that never existed with the Old Media and people that receive your message can let you know what they think about it, maybe how you can improve it or what they like about it. Reaching an audience with Social Media is way easier than via the Old Media and getting your message out is a lot less costly to do than via the Old Media and you have a better chance of reaching your target audience. Because everyone has some sort of message that they wish to get out (regardless of if they realize it or not yet) the people making use of it and those that become active in the field will only grow. I've embedded a video put together by Common Craft that gives an even higher level simple view of Social Media below and I've written (and will continue to write) about several social media topics at this blog, so why not subscribe in your rss reader of choice or via email.

Social Media In Plain English

Other Articles that you might be interested in...

Credits: Social Media mind map created by myself. The Social Media in Plain English video is part of a series of video tutorials that make complex subjects easier to understand visit the Common Craft YouTube channel to see other In Plain English videos or visit their website.