These are the Featured Stories – the articles that are just so awesome they go to the front page of the website.

Simple Social Icons Fontello

For the Short and Sweet instructions, Click Here. Otherwise, read on.

You’re running a WordPress site and wanted some cool "Follow Me" social icons your users could click on and get social.

So you install the Simple Social Icons plugin (especially if you’ve got a Genesis theme). The plugin is easy-to-use and cool, but…

You soon realize that there’s no options for re-ordering the icons or adding new ones, like Yelp. 🙁

You search online and find links to a few tutorials. Only…They ask you to become a paid member in order to read the tutorial!

This happened to me on a recent site re-design, so after digging around I figured it out and thought I would share. For Free.

Remember: If the plugin is updated, you will have to do this all over again. Unless the developers build in the options in a new release.

Point to remember: The "image" used to link to a site = an icon = a font (think like the font Wingdings) = a Glyph.

The Nine Simple Steps – Detailed Version

Simple Social Icons Plugin Editor

WordPress Plugin editor simple social icons

In the back-end Admin area of your WordPress site, go to Plugins - Editor. Select Simple Social Icons from the drop-down box on the top right and click "Select".

Click on simple-social-icons/simple-social-icons.php.

Open a new tab in your browser and go to www.fontello.com

Open your preferred code editing software. Mine is Dreamweaver. You could also just use Notepad or something similar for this, and use the Edit – Find functions to locate the bits that you will need to work with.

Get your preferred FTP software handy (I use FilezillaIt’s Free :)). If you rely on cPanel, for uploading files, open up a new tab and get it ready.

Write down / type up a complete list of all the sites / icons you will want. Decide what order you want the icons to be in. If you only need to add one site, then there’s no need for this.

Fontello's SERPs for Yelp

Fontello Search – Yelp

Go to the browser tab with www.fontello.com.

Type the name of the first site into the search bar. For example, yelp. The search functionality happens as you type and it will show a list of available icons for this site. In the yelp example, it pulled up two: Font Awesome and Zocial. Pick one and click it.

Look over at the red button on the right, labeled "Download webfont". You should now see it saying (1). This number will increase each time you select one, like a shopping cart.

Go back over to the search box and type in your next one. Click the one you want & Download number goes up. Continue doing this until you have all you need.

If you forget which ones you have selected, click on "Customize Names" and you can see a list. You may have noticed there are many icons available, with only a small percentage being the social website ones.

So if you see one you like (that’s not a website) and select it, make sure you come to the "Customize Names" area, click on the icon’s name after "icon-" and give it a name that you can remember.

You might have to do this anyway on some of them. For example, the name of Flickr’s icon is icon-dot-2, which will probably be hard to remember – even if the icon is actually two dots; so I’d change it to icon-Flickr, but it’s up to you.

Now, once you have all of the ones you want selected, click on "Download webfont (number of icons)".

Save the downloaded zip file somewhere you can easily access it.

Extract the contents to a similarly-accessible location. I tend to use my desktop for temporary use / immediately-available files.

Go to your code editor and open /font/fontello.svg from the folder you downloaded & extracted.

The majority of the code is comprised of <glyph> tags.

There should be one <glyph> tag for every site/icon that you selected and downloaded from fontello.com. But they might not be in the order that you want them in.

Although the order here does not affect the order on your site, it would help to put them in the proper order to make things easier on yourself.

So just take each complete tag, for example:

<glyph glyph-name="youtube" unicode="&#xe800;" d="…numbers, letters, dashes…" horiz-adv-x="857.1" />

and copy and paste them in the order that you want and then save the file but don’t close it.

We will be going back and forth between our the plugin editor in our browser and this file.

Any time you are editing code, be very careful what you select, copy, paste. Moving or deleting any parenthesis, semi-colon, etc. that you don’t need to, will potentially break your site.

Save your work.

Go over to the browser tab with the plugin editor opened to simple-social-icons/simple-social-icons.php.

Luckily, the plugin developers commented their code, so it’s very easy to find what we need to work with.

Scroll down through the page and take a look. PHP comments are usually labels saying "This is what this bit of code below will do" and looks like this:

	  /**
	  * Default widget option values.
	  */

There are three blocks of code that we will be working with, each labelled by a comment above it. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, use the browser’s built-in Edit-Find functionality.

  1. Default widget option values.
    This creates an instance of each of our icons.
  2. Social profile glyphs.
    This assigns each icon name a font number; it’s how our fontello.svg file & this file work together.
  3. Social profile choices.
    This sets up the HTML code (and individual classes for CSS) to display each icon link on the front-end of your site.

We want each of these code blocks & icons to be in the same order as we set up over in fontello.svg.

Let’s look at the first code block, "Default widget option values.".

The first 12 or so lines establish the default CSS values. I wouldn’t suggest messing with these – just use the regular Admin options or CSS to change them. You can if you want, but these values will be the norm defaults.

After that, we start getting into the names of the actual icons.

The one that is listed in my code first is 'bloglovin' => '',. But let’s say I wanted Yelp to be first on my list, as I’ve ordered them in fontello.svg. I would select that line of code and copy. Then put my cursor in front of it and hit enter (re-adjust the spacing) and paste that bit in the new line. And then I’d change the bloglovin text to yelp. Do this for the whole list.

Scroll down to the next code block, "Social profile glyphs." and do the same thing – place the lines of code in the desired order.

Next, we need to edit the values for each icon in this code block. Go back to fontello.svg (you should have been going back & forth between these two anyway, to help you with the order) and look at your first <glyph> tag. Each tag has four attributes, but we are only interested in the first two: glyph-name and unicode.


<glyph glyph-name="bloglovin" unicode="&#xe800;" d="…numbers, letters, dashes…" horiz-adv-x="857.1" />

Grab the unicode value, go back to the plugin-editor screen and paste it into the spot between the single quotes for the relevant glyph. Be sure to include the & (ampersand), # (hash mark) and ; (semi-colon), but not double or single quotes. Do this for the whole list.

Scroll down to the next code block, "Social profile choices." and place the lines of code in the desired order.

Be Careful. An entire section here looks like this:

				'bloglovin' => array(
				'label'   => __( 'Bloglovin URI', 'ssiw' ),
				'pattern' => '<li class="social-bloglovin"><a href="%s" %s>' . $this->glyphs['bloglovin'] . '</a></li>',
			),

Take note of the single quotes and especially the parenthesis + comma at the end.

Use the same process for those custom or newly-created glyphs; grab a block of relevant code, copy & paste it where it belongs in the list. Then change all the name values to be the proper ones, including the li class. There are four places in each block of code where the name should be changed.

If you want to edit the output HTML, go for it. If you’re not familiar with HTML and/or PHP, I’d just leave them alone and only move the code segments and edit the text.

Save the file.

We’re done with the hard part. 🙂 You can close your code editor program after you save your work.

Go to your FTP program or cPanel. Navigate to the plugin folder /wp-content/plugins/simple-social-icons/.

Go to the folder you downloaded and extracted. Move the file config.json into the plugin’s font folder. Yes, you want to replace the one that is currently there with the new one you downloaded.

Don’t worry about the CSS folder.

Move the font folder over to the plugin root folder on your site, replacing the old one.

Close your FTP and code editor programs.

In the Admin area of your site, go to Appearance – Widgets. Drag and Drop the Simple Social Icons widget where you want it. Check it out! There’s your new site inputs and with everything in the right order.

Go to the front end of your site and make sure to flush your browser cache. And then voila! New Simple Social Icons in the order you want, customized the way you want!

The Nine Simple Steps – Short Version

SHORT & SWEET

  1. Go to www.fontello.com
  2. Select icons, Customize the names, Download and Extract
  3. Open /font/fontello.svg in editor & reorder glyph tags
  4. Go to WordPress Admin – Plugins – Editor – Simple Social Icons – simple-social-icons.php. See 3 blocks of relevant code. Reorder & Add/Edit text values.
  5. Replace Unicode values in plugin file with those in the downloaded fontello.svg.
  6. Edit HTML & CSS classes to your liking
  7. Replace config.json in plugin’s font folder with downloaded one (it’s in the root)
  8. Replace font folder with the one you downloaded – ignore CSS folder
  9. Flush browser cache and have fun!

Google Search Tricks

It’s no new revelation that Google is the King of Search Engines. And some of you may know that Google has tons of other products as well. But even within their Search functionality lay hidden some really cool gems. Google Search Tricks.

Check out these Google Goodies!

Cool Google Search Tricks

Just type in these search phrases without the quotes and experience the helpful, the fun or the silly.

  • Type in "Do a barrel roll”" ()
  • Type in "tilt" or "askew" (without the quotes)
  • Type in "recursion"
  • Type in "define anagram"
  • Type in "anagram"
  • Type in "zerg rush"
  • Type in "calculate tip" or "tip calculator"
  • Type in the name of a Holiday, like "Chinese New Year", "Thanksgiving" or "Presidents Day", etc.
  • Type in "books by" or "movies by" or "songs by" or "albums by" and then put someone’s name in, for example "Stephen King"
  • Type in "graph for" and then a math function, for example "sin(x)+cos(x)"
  • Type in "solve" and a geometric shape, for example "circle" or "hexagon"
  • Type in "what time is it"
  • Type in "google in 1998"
  • Type in a number then a currency "in" and then a different currency, for example "100 usd in inr" or "100 dollars in rupees"
  • Type in "the answer to life the universe and everything"
  • Type in "define" and then any word
  • Type in "synonym" and then any word
  • Type in "word origin" and then any word
  • Type in "translate"
  • Type in "distance" a geographic location "to" and another geographic location, for example "distance atlanta to new york"
  • Type in "set timer" and then a number, for example "set timer 1:00"
  • Type in "atari breakout" then select images
  • Type in "pacman"
  • Type in a city name, another city name and "flights", for example "atlanta tokyo flights"
  • Type in "flip a coin"
  • Type in "i love you"
  • Type in a food "vs" another food, for example try "cheeseburger vs spaghetti"
  • Type in "sunrise in" or "sunset in" and a city name, for example "sunrise in atlanta"
  • Type in "weather" and a city name
  • Type in "forecast" and a city name
  • Type in "movies"
  • Type in the name of a Television show and the word "episodes", for example "breaking bad episodes"
  • Type in a movie title and the words "release date", for example "E.T. release date"
  • Type in a movie or TV show title and the word "cast", for example "breaking bad cast"
  • Type in the name of a company and the words "stock price", for example "google stock price"
  • Type in "founder" and the name of a company, for example "founder Cisco"
  • Type in "metric conversion"
  • Type in "time" and city name"
  • Type in "ip address"
  • Type in a stock symbol, for example "hlf"
  • Type in a sports team name, for example "new orleans saints"
  • Type in "bacon number" and a celebrity name, like "bacon number tom cruise"
  • Type "roll die"

Adobe Premiere

I recently finished a site re-design, complete with mobile responsiveness, for the PATHS Atlanta Kung Fu website and decided I that I need to update the featured video on the homepage.

Although I have a fairly heavy duty video application for editing, most of its power has been extremely under-utilized, since I am a complete N00b to all this.

Sure, I’ve created several videos in the past, but they all scream amateur.

So I’m working on a new video.

But now I am taking a little bit of time to do some research online, read articles, watching videos, etc., to be just a wee bit more knowledgeable.

I’ll never be peer to a professional producer or editor, but I must say that it’s a fun learning experience.

And although I can tell that this current project will end up looking amateurish yet again, it will be one step beyond, intimating that I’m actually towing around with concepts and tools. Think of "cool" Photoshop images with so much drop-shadow and gradients. 😛

Anyway, the point of this post is to share with you a page I’ve come across in my research that is great if you are a complete N00B like myself. Just like the title says, it’s a list of Digital Video Terminology, explaining commonly-used terms in the industry for a N00B like me. And if the explanation isn’t enough, since the terms are quite common industry-standards, you can easily find a Wikipedia article with more in-depth information.

Digital Video Editing Terminology.

Jerzy Kosinski Steps book

I just finished reading Steps by Jerzy Kosinski.

In one word: Wow.

This book is definitely not for everyone. Because it’s weird. Very weird.

It’s stark, shocking, in-your-face.

But better than that, it’s thought-provoking.

The format is refreshingly-odd to what I am use to reading – typical novels. Instead, Steps is a collection of short autobiographical vignettes, written in a very interesting manner.

Blurbs on Kosinski’s Steps

One review on Amazon says:

And its crowning prose achievement is the outrageously pregnant concision, like Kafka’s work, but in a way that seems even less possible to replicate. I wish I knew how he did it.

However, the book is not for the overly-sensitive. The blurb:

Jerzy Kosinski’s classic vision of moral and sexual estrangement brilliantly captures the disturbing undercurrents of modern politics and culture. In this haunting novel, distinctions are eroded between oppressor and oppressed, perpetrator and victim, narcissism and anonymity. Kosinski portrays men and women both aroused and desensitized by an environment that disdains the individual and seeks control over the imagination in his unforgettable and immensely provocative work.

After reading a short piece in the book, I usually had to set it aside.

And think.

How the hell did I just vividly imagine that scene when he gave so little descriptive detail? Did he intend mere face value? Or are the meat and potatoes at a deeper level and on a different island? Why am I unsettled by this? Was the shock necessary? And so on…

And I LOVE media that does that – Make you THINK.

For a very brief taste, here’s a less shocking but no less thought-provoking, short vignette from the book.

A short vignette from Steps

I telephoned her after my return, but she wasn’t at home. Finally I reached her and arranged to meet her for lunch. She piled me with all the usual questions: How had the trip been? What had I done? Where had I stayed? Whom had I met?… I gave her a full account and then asked what she had been doing in the city during the past few days.

She told me that she had gone to the baths to keep the appointment I had made for her. She had been expecting a masseuse, but there she was told that the masseur I had sent was waiting. She felt very uneasy, she said, but didn’t want to embarrass me by refusing him.

“But why did you send a man? Did you have any particular reason?”

“None besides the massage. Did you enjoy it?”

“He was very efficient. He seemed to know exactly what he was doing.”

“Then you have no complaints?”

“None.”

“Why did you feel so uneasy?”

“There was something he was doing which I didn’t known how to accept.”

“But you did accept it?”

“I had no choice. All I could have done was to leave.”

“Did you leave?”

“No, I stayed for the whole session.”

“Did you say anything to him? No, you allowed his hands to do whatever they were doing.”

“The way you say that makes me feel you knew in advance what he would try to do. If that is so, why did you choose him?”

“I wanted to know what you would do: how you would behave in that sort of situation.”

“How I would behave? Don’t you think it was far more important for you to prevent him from behaving as he did? After all, you know me very well.”

“I sent him to you on purpose, because I know his hands. Tell me, did you get any relief?”

“They were not his hands any more. Somehow, during the massage, the thought occurred to me they were your hands. I suppose that’s what you really wanted.”

If you can hang with crazy, stand a little shock and dig some urging to thought…

Pick up a copy of Steps and give it a read; you’ll be glad you did.

As an interesting aside…The first website I ever built was a horrible lil thing, way back when, hosted on a free site covered with adverts, etc. And it was called “Steps to Insanity”. The line between genius and madman, my friend, is thin indeed.

WARNING: Multiple reviews on Amazon.com say that the eBook version is absolutely horrible; you may want to go with the paperback.

Steps by

5.0
Strange and Thought-Provoking
If you can hang with crazy, stand a little shock and dig some urging to thought…Read this Book!

Big Data

Wikipedia will tell you that Big Data" is a collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data processing applications".

Online Marketers have jumped all over this (not-so-new) Big Data concept, buzzword and hype. Why? Well it’s fairly obvious. Data = Information and Information = Power. But beyond that, it’s what we use in Marketing; email lists, social media profiles, analytics, CRM (Customer / Client Relationship Management), and many other things are opportunities to fine-tune our message, our audience, our websites, our understanding…

There are blatant advantages in having access to deep data in marketing. However, there is also the innate potential that is not so good; and it is happening right now.

Just look at the recent hot trend of Infographics. During 2011 – 2013, I have seen so many of them, but now we are seeing fewer and fewer as it’s become saturated (Marketers and saturation in the same sentence? Say it ain’t so… 😛), over-hyped, over-used, mis-used and just plain tired.

But think for a moment why they popped up in the first place. Unless you’re an Accountant or someone who just gets overly-excited by seeing a gazillion numbers in a spreadsheet, which I doubt, then you need a way to visualize the information being thrown your way.

I’m searching for employment. So I’m looking at Job Boards, LinkedIn, classifieds, blogs – you name it – but basically I am reading a whole lot of Job Descriptions. And I learn a lot from this activity, besides merely collecting Big Data:

  • What the hiring trends are
  • What recruiters, hiring managers and HR Pros believe certain technologies, buzzwords and more mean
  • What these people believe are best practices
  • What they feel is good experience or knowledge to fulfill these roles are
  • What the best KPI (Key Performance Indicators) are
  • What the latest trend, tool, methodology, etc. is and how important it is to them
  • And much more

For the most part, what I learn is both disappointing (as someone fairly knowledgeable in the field) and frustrating (as someone looking to fill these roles). For example, I see many companies with e-commerce websites who want Online Marketers or SEO Pros to specifically have X years in Retail. This tells me that they really do not understand what is involved in these areas; yes – understanding the retail holiday shopping calendar is important – but this is common "marketing" knowledge; yes we need to understand taxes, shipping, etc. and again – this is "marketing" knowledge. Or how about the ads that say they want a Front-End Developer (and this always kills me), yet the Job Requirements list a host of Server-Side Languages. And a bit more relevant…Social Media Marketer needs to be expert in analytics, CRM, CMS, (Content Management System) jQuery and other completely irrelevant things…

Another area of example is the last item in that list up there – the "Latest & Greatest" craze. People listen to podcasts, read blogs and other media, attend conferences, etc. and hear about the hottest new thing. And they gobble it up. This piece of "Big Data" would be called Early Adopters.

Those rare good Marketing Managers source and read a whole lotta Case Studies. And this is a good thing. I, for one, love Case Studies. They help you learn, help you sell, help you win. Often. However…These two things go hand-in-hand more often than not: Latest & Greatest + Case Studies. Take a look at it and think for a minute – Twitter comes out – everybody loves it – it’s the coolest ever! All sorts of studies, all sorts of best practices, all sorts of new tools and methodologies. And then there is our earlier example of Infographics. But look at it today – yes all that stuff is still out there. But now we realize it may not be for everybody. We realize that it takes some sort of magic to have decent ROI (Return On Investment) in its use. Or does it?

You are doing it wrong

Bad Big Data?

So am I saying Big Data, Data Visualization, Case Studies, Social Media, Actionable Data and all the other goodies are bad? Definitely not. However I am saying something similar to a recently popular Facebook meme. You’ve seen them – funny photos with a specific quote – for example the picture of a bus in NYC, where the front LED sign says something like "Moon" and the quote says something like "Go Home bus, You’re Drunk" or "You’re Doing it Wrong". Yep – that’s what I want to say to a whole lot of folks out there – you’re doing it wrong.

Yeah, yeah, I know – Who am I to say such a thing? How Dare I? And so on. But hear me out.

Although I have been feeling this way for quite a while now, it wasn’t until recently when I began re-reading (for like the 10th time) a certain collaborative work that hoped to give a clue to these very people. Reading it for the tenth time should tell you something:

  1. It’s an older work, and more importantly
  2. It’s valuable and still relevant

That last piece is the most bothersome. It’s a very popular work – many people have read it, thought they understood it and implemented it in the way they understood it. And that’s where I have to say yet again You Totally Missed the Boat, Missed the Point; in short – You’re Doing It Wrong.

So get on your thinking caps and take off your PR Magical Buzzwords from the Big Data Boss Hats and let’s get cracking!

SEO - Don't believe the Hype

SEO – Disbelieve the Hype

SEO. (Search Engine Optimization).

The majority of the folks in the world claiming to know SEO, to offer services, etc. are absolutely clueless about what SEO really is and isn’t.

Penguin! Panda! Oh No! What do I do now?

This work-around and that one.

In short – NO!

I constantly hear people freaking out about Google algorithm changes; oh many "innocent" sites are getting caught up in the wide net and suffering penalties…yadda yadda…

In short – NO.

Oh – you have the words "SEO" and "Search Engine Optimization" on your website – that must make you the ideal candidate for my super-duper SEO services – you know, where I claim first position in Google and will slam links to your site all over the internet or some other such crap.

In short – NO.

We need a great PPC person – Now hiring for SEO.

In short, NO.

SEO is dead. It’s about Content Marketing. No it’s about Article Marketing. No it’s about Guest Posting. No it’s about Links. No it’s about PageRank. Hey why won’t my Alexa ranking go up? Forum signatures is the way to go. No it’s all about social now. No – you’ve all go it wrong, it’s paid SEO that really delivers.

In short, No NO NO!!!

SEO is about what it has ALWAYS been about!

Sure, there are some things that algorithm changes force even the most "innocent" of us to change – for example variety in anchor text, etc.

I love SEO. I can’t stand SEO Hype.

However "innocent" and White Hat, ethics, conversion optimization, smart marketing, etc. are not all synonymous.

The Hype of SEO Innocence

Paying somebody for any type of social networking followers etc. is NOT innocent.

Paying for loads of links is NOT innocent.

Crap content just for "fresh" content is NOT innocent.

Drive-by link spam on Social Media is NOT innocent.

Implementing Bait-and-Switch techniques is NOT innocent.

In short – ANY attempt to trick, fool, beat, win, reroute etc. "the system" IS NOT INNOCENT!

Stop the Hype. Proper SEO takes time, is sure as hell not a one-off, not a project, not a technique, etc.

Unique, relevant and fresh content. And all the tons of extra stuff. But it’s to HELP the visitors get the information or take the action they want – NOT what you want.

Oh noes! Don’t worry – there are people out there who want and need your product, service, information, etc.. And if there’s not, then you need to completely re-think what you’re doing.

Okay. I think I am finished with my rant for now.

Definition of Silly

Craig Kiessling, Are You Silly? Yes. No. Ummm…

With the definition provided by Google (define silly), I’d rather like to say no. Being labeled a "fool" is not something anyone wants. But acting "foolish"? Good and Plenty. And moar please.

Being Silly

If you know me personally, you’ll most likely agree with this statement: "Craig Kiessling can be a silly guy."

There is most definitely a serious side to me, but then there is also this clown character.

I love to watch practical joke clips on YouTube. I love to read, hear and tell jokes. Comedy flicks crack me up. Teaching seriously-intense Northern Shaolin Kung Fu classes, I’ll inject a bit of humor to lighten the load. Mahjong games are full of my odd quips. And if you’ve ever heard me on our podcast, Hiyaa…well, nuff said on that.

Humor as a Defense Mechanism

Craig Kiessling with Daughter Athens, GA

Childhood was a dramatic time for me so I guess I can agree with the head doctors’ view on Humor as a Defense Mechanism.

Divine Caroline (okay, I admit I simply searched Google for "Humor Defense Mechanism" and this page seemed appropriate) classifies Humor as a Mature defense mechanism and has this to say about it:

There are some defense mechanisms that indicate overall mental health and maturity. What makes them unique is the fact that people deliberately choose these methods of handling stress, rather than allowing their mind to react unconsciously.

Humor can be a defense mechanism, too. Making people laugh can be a way to lighten and defuse a tense or sad situation. Pointing out absurdities or making jokes is a mature and healthy way to ease tension, so there’s no need to feel bad the next time you feel the urge to crack a joke at an inappropriate time. If you’re driving in a funeral procession, pointing out a hilarious road sign can lighten everyone’s mood.


(Defense Mechanisms: What’s Normal and What’s Nuts [Article Removed])

Craig Kiessling, Are You Silly? In this regard, yeah, I’d have to say I am.

Humor and Teaching

Regarding this topic, I’d like to introduce you to the beginning lines of "Pedagogical Effect of Humor on Teaching", written by Said Shiyab, of United Arab Emirates University:

Humor is a social phenomenon and a form of communication that should not be disregarded in any learning or teaching environment. It plays a fundamental role in creating harmony and cohesion between students and teachers. The significant role humor plays stems from the fact that humor is conducive to the learning process and intercultural awareness.

In an article entitled "Transforming Thought: the Role of Humor in Teaching", Brunner (2002) shows how humor can change the way individuals think about problems and situations. The new way in which individuals view problems and situations is called the chemical element that transforms the individual’s mood (Lin Yutang 1976). Yutang suggests that the effect of such transformation is that of a catalyst, or may even be silent but inevitable and dramatic. This, according to Brunner (2002), belongs to the teaching toolkit, and it should be used by teachers most of the time. Brunner believes that the substance of what most teachers have to teach is problematic and is not funny, but in order for humor to be effective, it must rely heavily on delivery. Although teachers have not learned this kind of delivery in school nor was it part of their professional training, Brunner still believes that great teachers display the ability to use humor effectively for the purpose of learning.

While humor has good advantages in teaching, there is a dangerous side to it. In an article entitled "Humor as a Double-Edged Sword: Four Functions of Humor", Meyer (2000) rightly asserts that while humor use unites communicators through mutual identification and clarification of positions and values, it divides them through enforcement of norms and differentiation of acceptable versus unacceptable behavior of people. This paradox in the function of humor in communication, Meyer argues, functions as a unifier and divider, allowing humor use to define social boundaries.

Craig Kiessling teaching Northern Shaolin Kung Fu weapons


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To add some punch to his paper, Said conducted a study.

In order to achieve the objectives set out at the beginning of this study, questionnaires were distributed to students in four separate courses within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at the United Arab Emirates University.

These courses were Business Correspondence and Promotional Material, Basic Issues in Translation, Introduction to Linguistics, and Introduction to Language and Communication. Students spanned from different academic disciplines: Education,English Literature, and Translation Studies.


()

Without going into too much detail, let’s just say that the results were as expected – students felt humor in learning is a good thing. I suggest you visit the paper, scroll down and look at the actual results; it’s pretty interesting to say the least.

Craig Kiessling, Are You Silly? In this regard, yeah, I’d have to say I am.

Humor in the Workplace

Oddly enough, as silly as Craig Kiessling is, and as much humor that I like to inject into things, I’ve only recently began to inject it into the workplace.

From Eric J. Romero and Kevin W. Cruthirds ‘ "The Use of Humor in the Workplace":

Humor is a common element of human interaction and therefore has an impact on work groups and organizations. Despite this observation, managers often fail to take humor seriously or realize its numerous benefits. Humor is more than just funny concepts; it represents a multifunctional management tool that can be used to achieve many objectives.

[This article describes] how managers can use humor to reduce stress and enhance leadership, group cohesiveness, communication, creativity, and organizational culture. Specifically, we suggest humor styles that are best suited to realize these outcomes.

At the Taste of Chamblee event, after a Kung Fu performance

Additionally, the effect of humor on organizational outcomes is moderated by individual differences such as ethnicity and gender. Much like selecting the proper tool from a toolkit, managers can select the appropriate humor style suitable for the desired organizational outcome, adjust for individual differences, and achieve positive organizational outcomes


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The reason I’ve only recently begun to inject humor into the workplace can be fairly obvious: it’s a delicate dance; you can’t just willy-nilly crack jokes, silliness or humor – it must be relevant and appropriate. You need to know if your coworkers, boss, etc. will enjoy it ahead of time. And you need to know what is funny and what is not in this context.

Craig Kiessling, Are You Silly? In this regard, no. But I am trying to learn how to better inject humor intelligently into the workplace.

Humor in the Home

Holiday Fun with my Daughter - 2012

I have a three year old little girl and she is definitely the firelight of my world.

Craig Kiessling, Are You Silly? In this regard, yeah, I most definitely am.

I’m watching her sense of humor mature, grow and evolve and it’s a wonderful thing.

Craig Kiessling, Are You Silly?

Hell Yes I am!

Pagination Duplicate Content and SEO

Pagination and Duplicate Content in SEO

Pagination creating Duplicate Content is a very real issue within SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

Pagination is basically breaking up long "stuff" into shorter chunks, with a navigation system to move on to the next or previous piece.

Duplicate Content means pretty much what you’d expect it to mean, however…

Let’s look at what these things are, how they interact, what they have to do with SEO and what best practice to put into place.


Pagination

Wikipedia defines it this way:

Pagination as the process of dividing (content) into discrete pages, either electronic pages or printed pages.


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Paginated content exists all across the internet. Websites paginate in different ways. For example:

  • Long articles divided into several shorter pages
  • eCommerce sites might divide a list of products in a large category into pages
  • Forums often divide threads into URLs of a sequence

Duplicate Content

Wikipedia defines it this way:

Duplicate Content as a term used in the field of search engine optimization to describe content that appears on more than one web page. The duplicate content can be substantial parts of the content within or across domains and can be either exactly duplicate or closely similar. When multiple pages within a web site contain essentially the same content, search engines such as Google can penalise or cease displaying that site in any relevant search results.


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Interaction and SEO Effects

When you take a look at your average SERP, you’re looking at a list of (hopefully relevant) pages. That word, pages is key here. It’s what we optimize in SEO – pages.

Each page should have unique titles, descriptions, and most importantly, content.

So if you break up a long article across several pages, won’t each and every one of those pages have the exact same title, description, etc.? And that, my friends, is the rub.

What Google Says

In short, there are three things that Google says you can do in order to use Paginated Content and still whoop tail at SEO:

  1. Specify a View All page
  2. Use rel="next" and rel="prev" links
  3. Do Nothing

Specify a View All Page

Google attempts to detect the View All version of our content and, if available, its associated component pages. However, to make it more explicit, you can include rel="canonical" from your component pages to your view-all page to increase the chances that your series of pages are found.

Use rel="next" and rel="prev" links

Google’s default is to search for a View All page. However, if you’d like to override this, or if you don’t have a View All page, then using the rel="next" and rel="prev" links would be your best bet.

Let’s look at an implementation example. On the site, www.example.com, there could be an article titled abc and is broken down into three pages.

On the second page, http://www.example.com/article?story=abc&page=2, in the <head> section, you would put:

<link rel="prev" href="http://www.example.com/article?story=abc&page=1" />
<link rel="next" href="http://www.example.com/article?story=abc&page=3" />

Do Nothing

Um… What?

That’s right. Doing nothing is actually a viable alternative in the eyes of Google.

The reason? Paginated content is extremely common, and Google will still attempt to return the most relevant results, regardless of content’s pagination or lack thereof.

My Take

So out of these three options, what would I do?

Sorry but I’m not opting for doing nothing.

I’d honestly suggest doing both of options one and two. Create a View All page for your users; I imagine this may come in handy in other ways as well.

And also use rel="next" and rel="prev" links. This overrides the Google View All default, giving you complete control over Duplicate Content issues, but allows your creation of the View All page to help your users.

Keep in mind, however, that when using the rel="next" and rel="prev" links, they need to be complete and correct; one mis-step and Google will pop back into its default search for the View All page.

And here’s a handy little video from Google putting all this into perspective.

Listen

Listen to Market

It still surprises me how many people, businesses, big brands and even agencies miss this extremely important yet basic concept: Listen to Market.

Yes it’s a double entendre; a play on words, if you will.

You need to listen in order to market and you must also listen to your market.

These concepts seem so common sense that it almost feels ridiculous to point them out, however… These concepts are often not being utilized by many businesses.

From targeting irrelevant keywords to being unaware of waves of negative online reputation, the list of examples go on and on.

Yes, you’re in business to make money. But does the money you receive just come a poppin out of Narnia via wardrobe? Or is there…Hmmm…another entity that gets a minus where you get a plus?

Getting the hint? You actually have to pay some attention to your customers. You have to know your audience. You have to listen to your ideal market.

Ideal customer personas. Target markets. Social Media. Comments. Buzz. Conversations. Relevance. Solutions. Trust. And many others.

These things had better be more than just a trumped up list of buzz terms in your business strategy and methodology.

Listen to Market.

We love Youtube and all it has to offer, don’t we? It can be used for marketing purposes, training, education, communication, and just plain fun. Of course the N00B comments we could do without.

Here’s a quick look at ten of the hottest Youtube videos gone viral of 2012.

  1. KONY 2012
  2. Gangnam Style
  3. A Dramatic Surprise on a Quiet Street
  4. Opera duo Charlotte & Jonathan — Britain’s Got Talent 2012 audition
  5. Call Me Maybe
  6. Catch the Ice Dude
  7. Somebody That I Used to Know
  8. Donna the Deer Lady
  9. Arrested Drunk Guy Sings Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’
  10. Golden Eagle snatches kid

I hope you enjoyed these as much as I did!