My personal blog pretty much lies dormant. With so many other blogs
to write for, I'm often at my wit's end. What on earth is left to write
about on this last little blog? Plinky has arrived to put an end to that.

Plinky is a microblogging service that intends to put an end to
blogger writer's block. Plinky offers a series of prompts – questions –
that you can answer. So far I've answered the equivalent of  "What was
your first job?" and "What do you wear when you get home from work?"

When you answer the question, you have the option to expand upon
your thoughts and even add an introduction. After you publish to
Plinky, you can still come back and edit your answer.

Like any good social network, you can follow others and people can
follow you. On Plinky, interacting with others is sort of like a
virtual brainstorming session, helping you to piggyback and learn from
the ideas of your friends.

When you've written your short Plink, you can publish it to Twitter, Facebook, or your blog.

Founder Jason Shellen told VentureBeat that he started Plinky to help fight blogger’s block. “After years of blogging, it turns out I’m that person.”

(re-posted from

 | Posted by | Categories: Web 2.0, Web/Tech, Weblogs |

When I teach my class on using Twitter in Business, I always spend a
fair amount of time on Twitter Search. After all, where else can you
watch comments on your brand in real time?

So I really like Twingly. Previously a blog search engine, they've expanded to microblogging.

Twingly searches Twitter, but it also searches other microblogging
sites, including Jaiku,, the Pownce archives, and
microblogging options I haven't even heard of.

I like being able to aggregate the information from all the sites.
However, my only complaint is that the results are not real-time
updates, as in It functions more like a Google for microblogging, but that's not always a bad thing.

(re-posted from

 | Posted by | Categories: Twitter, Web 2.0, Web/Tech |

A while back, I did a blog post on using images, legally from Flickr and understanding Creative Commons. The blog post was a hit, and inspired me to submit a proposal to ASTD TechKnowledge on the same thing.

The proposal, Cool Tools: Spice Up Your Training with Free Web 2.0 Tools, was accepted and I'll be presenting it at the end of the month in Las Vegas.The presentation is a 70 minute concurrent session.

I bring this up because the first time I always like to have a practice run of sorts. So if you're semi-local to Cincinnati, and your group or office would be interested in having a free session on this before the end of the month, let me know!  The presentation could quickly and easily be changed to Using Free Web 2.0 Tools Legally.

The presentation focuses on understanding what is free on the Internet and what is not – and what the rules are. I talk about more than Flickr. The presentation is currently geared towards ASTD's core audience of trainers, but can be changed.

Creative Commons and Copyright
Searching for CC-Licensed Media

Using Flickr Advanced Search
Licensing Your Own Flickr Photos
Alternative Flickr Searches
Alternative Free Photo Options

Video and Audio

Legal Podcasting


Open Source
Learning Management Systems

Basic Free Tools

 | Posted by | Categories: Write Technology |

Upcoming Events

8 January 2009

I keep a note over on the side bar, but for you RSS folks, every now and then I like to mention those upcoming events where I'm speaking or delivering training.

Jan 28-30
ASTD TechKnowledge 2009, Las Vegas, NV

  • W102 Cool Tools: Spice Up Your Training with Web 2.0 Tools
    In this session, I'll introduce Flickr, Compfight search, and Creative Commons licensing. I'll show how to add Creative Commons licensing to your own Flickr images, as well as search for free – legal – images. I'll also briefly touch on free tools that are out there, including Ning, Blogger, and various wikis.
  • FR210TI: 140 Characters or Less: Microblogging in Learning
    Hands-on with Twitter! This Tech Intensive is a slightly smaller version of my Intro to Microblogging class. You'll learn why people twitter, how it is used in business, and how your peers are using it in learning. We'll set up your own Twitter account, get you tweeting, and even participate in a grouptweet account.

Feb 12, 9 am – 4 pm
What, Why, and How of Web 2.0

The Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati offers classes to non-profit employees at a great value. I'm teaching this class (with a repeat in September). We'll touch on all the big Web 2.0 topics, including wikis, twitter, podcasts, and blogs. It's a great primer on all the exciting technology that's not only out there, but cheap and easy to implement for your non-profit.
Cost: $20 if you're a non-profit, $450 if you're not. Register online.

I hope to see you at one of the above events!

 | Posted by | Categories: Events |
cross-posted from

Be careful what you click. I know you are all smart, capable adults, but sometimes we can all accidentally click the wrong thing.

In the last few days, I've received several direct messages from
friends that were phishing attacks (twishing) in disguise. The first screenshot
below – hey look at this funny blog – is the one that worries me the most. To me, at least, that one sounds the most believable.

The rule here? If it looks suspicious, don't click it. At least one of these takes you to
When you get to the site, it looks just like the Twitter login page,
with the exception of the URL. If you enter your information, you're
essentially offering your user name and password to the phishers.

Image Credit

Now, it's just Twitter, so it's not that big of a deal until you
consider how many people out there just might be using the same user
name/password combination all over the web. Suddenly all sorts of
accounts are vulnerable.

Remember what I said about paying attention? My guess is some
folks out there, overworked personal assistants or interns or who
knows, did not pay attention. Apparently the Twitter feed for Barack
Obama, Rick Sanchez (CNN), Britney Spears, and Fox News have been
hacked. Well, hacked in that they are certainly not posting the latest
updates themselves. TechCrunch has the full story on the Celeb Hacking.

Twitter is doing a good job of pulling all of these fake tweets, as
well as direct message phishes, fairly rapidly. The only sign of
several of the direct messages I received was in my email – they've
been pulled from my Twitter feed.

Just be aware of what you click.

UPDATE: Twitter announced today that the two circumstances have nothing to do with each other. In fact, the celeb account issues stemmed from an insecure support tool Twitter was using. Those tools have now been shut down and will not be put into use again until all security holes are plugged.

Once you're hacked, you're heading towards mainstream. However it remains to be seen if Twitter is truly ready for prime-time yet.

 | Posted by | Categories: Twitter |

I can't believe I forgot two resolutions. This is a sign I'm spreading myself too thin already!

6. Find national conferences outside of eLearning and Training conferences. I love them, and I love being around my peers. Unfortunately, my peers aren't the ones hiring me, so perhaps I should go where the clients are. Do you have suggestions of additional conferences to which I should submit? I'd love your ideas in the comments.

7. Move this blog, and my entire site, to WordPress. I've done some research, and I can use WordPress as a mini-CMS. If I end up doing it myself, it will probably be a year-long project, but I do intend to get started on it as soon as possible.

 | Posted by | Categories: Current Affairs |

As far as Write Technology and my world goes, I have some New Year's Resolutions. Here's hoping I stick to them!

1. Speak at more local events. Odd that I'm better known on the national circuit than I am locally.

2. Remember to submit for National events. I tend to forget and miss the deadline. The eLearning Guild spring event comes to mind. Oops.

3. Acquire three new pieces of technology:

  • A Kindle: I'm waiting for 2.0, but I'm waiting impatiently.
  • A DSLR camera and photography lessons: We're heading to Alaska this year, and that deserves a quality camera.
  • A new phone: I've about had it with my iPhone and my contract is up in August. I wonder what amazing phones will be available by then.

4. Teach a local class on microblogging. Arranging the class isn't the hard part, nor is creating the training materials. It's marketing myself, which I'm always a little to embarrassed to do.

5. Make a career decision: do I want to continue as a freelancer or do I want to find a "real" job? Are there even any "real" jobs in social media locally? That might make my decision for me.

 | Posted by | Categories: Current Affairs |

Appy Holidays from Google

20 December 2008

Other than a bad pun, what is Google's Appy Holidays? Well, it's a surprisingly useful collection of their applications themed and ready for the holiday season.

Appy Holidays links you to Google Docs, which has templates for
things such as invitations, cards, holiday gift lifts, wish lists, gift
tags, address lists, and holiday letters. It also links to your Google
Calendar, with no holiday theme, but it does allow you to share
appointments for those cookie baking dates and holiday parties you're
attending. Appy Holidays links to Picasa to share and edit your holiday
images. Finally, it links to Google Chat's new video integration. Your
relatives aren't that far away after all.

I found the holiday templates in Google Docs incredibly useful. I've
been keeping a list of everyone we have to buy for in my head, so a
holiday spreadsheet I could easily share with my husband was the
perfect solution. Like me, you're probably familiar with the rest of
it, but I like the fact that Google has grouped it so easily in one
spot and tied it into the holidays.

(cross-posted from

 | Posted by | Categories: Web 2.0 |

No Kindles for Christmas

19 December 2008

So my number one "Want" on my Christmas List is a Kindle, but apparently Santa's elves and Amazon are not on the same page this year.

The over-priced eReader is SOLD OUT. Obviously someone is
getting a Kindle for Christmas. If you order one now, you'll be put on
a wait list. Estimated delivery is a whopping 11-13 weeks away.

According a TechCrunch article at the beginning of December, the Kindle 2.0 will be released in the early first quarter
of 2009 (would that be 11-13 weeks from now?). I have high hopes that
the price might drop a little. Heck, drop it to $299 and it makes a
psychological jump from almost $400 to less than $300.

Maybe the Valentine's Day fairy will bring me a Kindle.

(cross-posted from

 | Posted by | Categories: Web 2.0, Web/Tech |

cross-posted from

 I'm a social media consultant but really, in Cincinnati, that doesn't get me a lot of traction at the moment. So my bread and butter is instructional design and technical writing. It's not always the most exciting work, but it helps pay the bills. In the process of technical documentation, I may get two or three versions of the same document, edited by developers, SMEs, and overzealous copyeditors. I then have to incorporate all those changes into my master document. In the past, that's involved some hard copies, where I check things off as I integrate the changes.

It looks like that's all about to change. TextFlow by Nordic River made some news early last summer, but they've released their Adobe Air application in a new beta, and it looks pretty awesome. I haven't tried it out yet, but I'll be taking it for a test run in early January when I expect a documentation nightmare to appear on my desk.
TextFlow allows you to drag different versions of a document into their app. It will merge them, highlighting the differences, and allow you to show the changes, hide them, and integrate them. From the perspective of a technical writer, this is a real timesaver. They have a fantastic (but non embeddable) demo video on their site, but here's a great video from C|Net's Josh Lowensohn demonstrating the product.

 | Posted by | Categories: Technical Writing, Web 2.0, Web/Tech |