I recently started a post on this subject at my Webgrammar social networking site. Here is one response, with more to come. Guest post by Angela Allen I think books are on their way out, and it makes me sad. I think there will always be books, but they will fall into two categories -- the disposable paperbacks (the kind of trash novels you read on the beach, and don't care if you lose on the plane home - similar to paper cups that are used once and discarded) and the collector's beautiful gilt-edged, leather-bound tomes. As a writer and a technology nut, I'm watching with amazement and, sometimes, horror as this magnificent change materializes. Like you, I think the change in photography is a good, close comparison. But I still have those photos that I adore -- the ones printed "properly" on paper and hanging on my wall or sitting at my desk -- but I have thousands on my hard drive. So photos ... and probably books... will become something we only keep in physical formats when they are quite dear to us. The rest, the "dirty masses" if you will, will probably be in electronic format. On the flip side, I love that I can carry a couple hundred books on my iPhone. I think it's great that my one little pocket-sized device can entertain me on so many levels (books, movies, music, photos, communication, research, Internet, etc.) It appeals to my "minimization" tendencies. And, I must admit that the "flick to turn" graphics on a touch screen is pretty cool as a book reader. I like the idea of "digital paper" in a big way... but I like writing in ALL formats. I love words. Period. I admit that I miss the big and bulky, but tactile-silky pages of a hard-bound book for pleasure reading. I don't miss it for research, however. I prefer my research to be digital -- I like searching instead of scanning for hundreds of pages for the information I seek. What's happening with the publishing industry is similar to what's happening to the music industry -- we are seeing a change in the way it's approached. It's a growth and a change... and it's probably a natural evolution. I, for one, will always have a few prized books in heavy, old-fashioned hard back. But, I'm carrying more books with me now than I have since college, and I don't have the huge backpack or the backache I had then. Now, I have a pocket that's a little bulgy. It's a pretty worthwhile trade-off when I'm thinking in a practical way rather than an emotional one. What really makes me crazy is to have the educators devalue reading. To be told that "spelling really isn't that important, so long as you can sort of figure out what they are trying to say, since everything has spell-check now" makes me want to scream. And to have my 12-year old, who can read on a college level, bring home a permission slip to check out audio books, so she can listen to books instead of read them, makes me nuts. (This child has a book in her hand 18 hours a day -- to the point that I actually fuss at her for reading too much!!!) While I think she should put down the book to eat and to do her chores, she disagrees every time my back is turned. To encourage her to "listen" instead of to read is a sin, IMHO. This is the direction of books that bothers me, not the actual format for reading words. I want it to be READING -- not watching or listening -- especially in school. I like listening to an audio book while driving or while working out, so I can see some times when that's a great option. But it is not a substitution.
By Judy Vorfeld
Do you want a Web site that generates more business? That’s what most of us want. Once I decided to create and manage my own Web site, I began studying how to build a site that would reach out and touch potential clients.
As I immersed myself in cyber-information, one phrase kept popping up: “give free stuff.” At first, this turned me off. Giving something free sounded like a gimmick. Then I realized that the information I used to learn HTML, Web architecture, and marketing techniques was almost all free: tutorials, graphics, site analyzers, graphics crunchers, message boards, etc.
Having time but no money, I began searching for a give-away...something for my visitors. Finally, I invented Webgrammar, a woman willing to encourage people with problems in grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and usage. Further, she would provide links to sites and articles helpful to Web designers, students, educators, and writers.
My Internet business began taking off once I created Webgrammar’s Place. But I had more to learn. I kept hearing from respected Internet leaders that being part of a vibrant Internet community is as important as offering something free. Networking. (Network locally, too.) This is a valuable marketing tool that far too many people unknowingly dismiss.
And there’s even more: if you offer a quality product or service, prove it. Reveal that yours is a business site, especially the first page first screen. Clearly explain your business. Describe how you can help potential clients with their problems...their challenges. Let them know you understand their perspectives. I know, I know...it’s not easy!
Tie in your free offerings as part of your product or service. Please don’t plaster free offering boxes and phrases all over that important piece of real estate while inserting a weak little sentence that says, "...by the way, just in case you’re interested, I’m a marketing coach."
Take free stuff, networking, and clear definition and blend them with patience, hard work, and a sense of humor. You may be pleasantly surprised.For more information, contact Judy Vorfeld.
Webgrammar (well, really me) has a new site on the excellent social networking site, Ning. How come? It's been clear for some time that social networking is here to stay. Technology and communications change almost in the blink of an eye. And everything moves forward. I want to stay in the mainstream so I can give my best to my two ezine subscribers and to my clients. I decided to focus for now on Twitter and Ning. I'm also participating in a third social networking site that will be open to the public in October. It's for people who pre-bought Seth Godin's latest book. He's the Permission Marketing/Purple Cow guy. Amazing. Anyway, I happen to know all of my ezine subscribers are remarkable in one way or another, and some of them love to network ideas, projects, etc. Sure enough, I no sooner started the place when author/educator/marketer Hal Alpiar joined. You've got to read about his project, Tales on Wheels. And Helen Harris, a brilliant watercolorist, joined and graciously shared some of her exquisite work. We'll also be hearing about a startup nonprofit in the Pacific Northwest called Mossyrock Area Education Foundation, a comprehensive after-school project that finally took wing. Grammar. Sooner or later we'll touch on that, but for now, we're focusing on Tales on Wheels and the Mossyrock Area Education Foundation. Please consider joining us.
Professor Karen Chung of National Taiwan University is a longtime subscriber to Webgrammar's Food for Thought ezine, and today she chose Webgrammar's website as the site of the week. Thanks for the honor, Karen. And here's one of Karen's many exquisite photos