Rob Cottingham's blog

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Blog ROI: Storytelling

10 ways to maximize your blog's ROI: Part 6, telling a story over time

Typewriter: It was a dark and stormy night

Not every story fits in a few neat paragraphs - especially stories that are still unfolding. Maybe you're taking on a major advocacy project. Adding a green roof to your office building. Or tracking an intern's apprenticeship in the skills and culture of your industry.

Either way, you have a story that can engage readers over an extended period: weeks, months or even years.

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Problem children

David Eaves on coping with difficult comments

Shouting and spitting

Some blog comments are easy to deal with. They praise you to the heavens, share a related story or gently offer a different perspective... that is, they're a positive part of the conversation. You thank, you respond (or they're comment spam, in which case you report them to Mollom or Akismet and then delete) and the circle of life continues.

But other comments are hard. They get your back up. They seem to question not just your argument but your integrity. The more you read them, the clearer it becomes that they were written by evil, evil people. And with your fight-or-flight mechanism firmly in gear, you write a blistering reply...

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Colour commentary

Veerle Pieters at SXSW on colour and the Social Signal web redesign

Pencil crayons in many colours

For something that has such a huge impact on our emotional response, colour often gets surprisingly short shrift in web projects. People who can argue for hours about the relative merits of "About" over "About Us" will flip a coin to choose between blue, purple or green as the colour for text links.

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Pieces of you

Handling your identity across many online profiles

According to Microsoft Canada, the average Canuck has seven online profiles out there. A lot of us have a lot more - some active, some abandoned and gathering dust, and still others that are forgotten yet still chug automatically along. (I haven't opened my FriendFeed page in well over a month, but it includes things I did only a few minutes ago.)

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Bonjour, guten tag and buenos dias, Google Forms!

How to display a Google Form in a particular language

Update: Something's changed at Google's end, and this tip no longer works... at least, not in the four browsers I checked it in. I'll be on the lookout for workarounds, but in the meantime, any suggestions are welcome. And thanks to the commenters who've pointed it out.

Google Forms are one of the lesser-known and more powerful features of Google Docs. They let you capture data from your users in a Google Spreadsheet, via simple web-based forms that can stand on their own or sit embedded in a web page.

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Blog ROI: Firefighting

10 ways to maximize your blog's ROI: Part 5, crisis communications

Firefighter battling blaze

You'll never find your communications skills put to the test more strenuously than during a crisis. Even the best of organizations feels the strain when a crisis hits, whether it's a scandal, a service interruption, a product recall or a natural disaster.

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Presented, and accountable for

Another entry in online community for speakers and audiences: logo

A quick note for speakers, event organizers and - most of all - folks who attend presentations: SpeakerRate, the presentation-reviewing site I mentioned a week or two ago, isn't the only game in town.

The folks at dropped me a line to let me know about their site. Here's how they describe it:

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You are your own privacy policy

Security and social media in an age of disclosure and aggregation

Online security and privacy can matter a lot, both to individuals and to organizations. A lapse can mean anything from embarrassment to financial loss... and even physical danger.

But we're living in the social media age, with all sorts of opportunities - and incentives - to disclose even intimate aspects of our personal and professional lives. And when that information gets aggregated, the result can be a surprisingly comprehensive dossier - one far more extensive than we'd ever intended to reveal to the world.

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We're looking for a few good ungulates

CPAWS seeks blogger-campaigner for Caribou and You

Caribou (credit: Wayne Sawchuk)

See if you recognize yourself here:

  • Instead of locking antlers with the other young bucks or preparing for the fall migration, you were off trying to operate a Flip video camera with your hooves, type on a netbook without stomping it to pieces, and hold down a decent WiFi signal in the middle of the boreal forest.


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Hear how art and tech combine for social change

Designing for Democracy: Thursday, March 5 in Vancouver

Frequent collaborator and Friend Of the Show Jason Mogus tells us about a fantastic-sounding event this Thursday, March 5 in Vancouver. Alex met the keynote speaker, Favianna Rodriguez, at Web of Change last year and was blown away; this is your chance to experience something amazing.

Here's the scoop, directly from Jason:

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Work Smarter with Evernote

Get more out of Evernote with Alexandra Samuel's great new ebook, the first in the Harvard Business Press Work Smarter with Social Media series!

Available on Amazon, iTunes and HBR.

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