How the internet lets me stay awake 24 hours a day. Sort of.

Right now, I am asleep. And it’s not even today. Right now, it’s actually last week, which is when I wrote this post.

You see, this is a scheduled post, which means I wrote it, set a posting date and then went along my business (probably writing another post). But what about the Facebook post and the Tweet I sent out about this post? Also scheduled, so that they would go out after the article was published. I was, in fact having a sandwhich at the time.

How does it work?

I run my blog on WordPress, which I consider one of the best bloggin platforms around. Whenever I write my blog posts (usually on Sundays) I schedule them to be posted at different times and dates using the built in scheduling option. There’s not much to it, and anyone can learn how to schedule wordpress posts in just three steps

How To Schedule WordPress Posts

how to schedule a wordpress post

  1. Write your post
  2. Click on the Publish date and set it to whatever you want
  3. Click ‘Publish’ et voila.

You will receive a confirmation message above the post editor that let’s you know when your post will be published.

“Post scheduled for: Jun 22, 2012 @ 6:00”

That really is all there is to it

Tip #1 – WordPress Editorial Calendar Plugin.

Sometimes looking at all your upcoming posts in list view can be a little disorientating – you don’t get a clear sense of what is posted when. To solve this problem, I use a plugin called WordPress Editorial Calendar to show me exactly when my posts will be sent out.

Have a look – each of these is scheduled to be posted at around 2-3pm South African time, which is when I get the best response to content I post.

Wordpress Editorial Calendar Plugin
You can download the plugin here

Tip #2 – Posting to Facebook and Twitter in the Future

To help me schedule my Status updates and Tweets I use Buffer. It works by allowing you to set a time window for your content to be published. Most of the traffic to this blog comes from South Africa, which is why my posts are set to go out between 10am and 4pm SA time. That’s 2am to 8am my time. And I’m still fast asleep.

Buffer App for Social Media

Status updates and Tweets are intentionally scheduled to go out later than blog posts and not at the same time. I learned the hard way that it’s better to give it a little while (caching, daylight savings time, whatever).

buffer-time-setting

You can create a free Buffer account here

Using these two simple tools, I’m able to post content, comments,status updates and tweets pretty much around the clock. Which in my opinion is pretty cool.

Go ahead, try it for yourself – it’s easier than you think and people will think that you are somehow magically awake all the time.

Img Src: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bootcoot/4802606550/in/faves-joeshlabotnik/

How to create a free Grooveshark player in just one step

Following on from my previous post on how to create a free Grooveshark desktop player in two steps (and save yourself $3) using Mozilla Prism, this is how you can do it in just one step using Chrome.

Open up grooveshark.com in Chrome. Now click Tools>> Create Application Shortcuts

Create a free Grooveshark player in one step with Google Chrome

Now all you need to do is choose what you want – I selected a desktop shortcut. And that’s it.

Grooveshark desktop player

Thanks to Jordan Duncan for dropping this useful tip in the comments section.

Grooveshark sucks – spoils my day

Grooveshark is web-based music player that allows you to play songs that other users have uploaded. When I first discovered Grooveshark, I though it was amazing. I would hop on to find a track that I didn’t have in my collection and that I just HAD to hear. Since I use my browsers quite extensively, I decided to spring for the $3 desktop player.

 

Grooveshark logo

After downloading and installing, away I went. Except I didn’t. After choosing what I wanted to listen to, the player would simply skip through the songs in the playlist in a seemingly never ending loop. Eventually I get annoyed, close down Grooveshark and open iTunes.

Grooveshark #Fail from Lester Hein on Vimeo.

Everytime I use it, I want to punch my monitor. For now I think I’ll save my $3 and wait until the service is a bit more mature, or until something else comes along.

The Grooveshark recommendation engine also leaves a lot to be desired. The recommendations I’ve been receiving a strange to say the least – I was served a Justin Bieber track in the middle of a radio set loaded with Common and Mos Def. I think they’re trying to tell me something. Marking a track also did not fix this – the same track appeared 4 more times.

Grooveshark sucking is a real shame – I really do want to like the service. It’s a welcome introduction and I was a very vocal promoter of the service after the first few uses.

Some of Grooveshark’s faults are forgivable and will probably be improved over time – the UI needs some work and the recommendation has some way to go, but I can’t use (much less pay for) a music service that doesn’t play music!

And it seems I’m not the only one who feels this way – http://amplicate.com/sucks/grooveshark

Using MXit on your PC

I found this post on the uber cool WebAddict blog and I know that you’ll find this info very useful (if you haven’t already gotten it from their very informative blog)

The previous posts about MXit have become so popular that I thought I’d give you a little more info. So you want to Access MXit from you computer? What is the use of sitting at the PC and having the screen blurr when you cell (mobile) phone’s GPRS is active?

Ok, You’ll need 2 things to run MXit on you PC:

1. Firstly you’ll need Java, which you can get at http://www.java.com. You’ll see a big green “Free Java Download” button on the homepage. Just click it and follow the instructions to install Java.

2. Next you’ll need to install MXitPC, which you can get at http://www.mxit.com/mxitpc. Same story, you’ll see on the homepage a blue “Free Download” button near the bottom of the page. Just click it and wait for it to automatically download and install.

Once those 2 things are installed, you open the mpowerplayer application and search for mxit in the provided search box. Click on the MXit logo that was returned in the search results and bingo, you have MXit on your PC.

Try it out – your thumbs will thank you :)

Lester Hein


Follow that band! The Radiohead model goes local

During lectures at Nomadic Marketing last week at the UCT Graduate School of Business, one band that almost all the lecturers referred to was Radiohead. This isn’t because they specifically liked the band (although Colin Daniels did confess to being a fan) but more specifically because of the way that the band released their latest album online.

Here’s the short version of what the band did

On 1 October 2007, Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood announced in a brief post on Dead Air Space (the band’s blog)  “Well, the new album is finished, and it’s coming out in 10 days . . . We’ve called it In Rainbows”. Bypassing a traditional physical release in stores, Radiohead released the album as a download available for order from inrainbows.com on 10 October 2007. In a Wired interview, Yorke explained that “every record for the last four—including my solo record—has been leaked. So the idea was like, we’ll leak it, then. Radiohead’

The download, packaged as a ZIP file, included the ten album tracks encoded in 160 kbps DRM-free MP3 format. Upon purchase, the buyer was prompted to type in their desired price. The staggered online release of the album began at about 5:30 GMT on 10 October, but on 10 December 2007, the official digital download was no longer made available. A special made-to-order “discbox”, available for pre-order through inrainbows.com, was released on 3 December 2007.

(source – www.wikipedia.com)

One of the questions that was raised in the lecture was whether this business model was a viable one for bands, or whether it only worked for Radiohead because they were Radiohead. On the other hand, to quote Colin – “if the album was crap, this wouldn’t have worked.” Madonna soon followed suit by making digital downloads of her album available on line to similar success, and in his lecture on New Media Law Paul Jacobson also pointed me to the Nine Inch Nails free download case study which was also a success for the band.

Now it seems that we have the first South African take on this give-your-work-away-for-free model. Jet Black and the Multi Colours have decided to distribute their new seemingly untitles EP for free on the net with their overtone record label. When I first saw the post up on www.muti.co.za, I dismissed it without realising what it actually was –  a record label collaborating with a local band to make their music freely available online. This goes some way to validate something that Rafiq Philips mentioned on the WebAddiCT blog a while back: “We’re seeing the shift from the commoditisation of music to the commoditisation of attention in the music industry (…)”

I for one think that he’s right and will be keeping my eyes on JetBlack to see a) whether their attempt at the new community focussed business model yields positive results and b)whether they will follow Radiohead’s lead a step further and make the album available for purchase as a CD if the download campaign is a success. If this model does yield positive results, I think that we’ll see many more local bands and artists following suit, especially in Cape Town where there’s a wealth of musical talent with no real form of monetizing their gift (anti Joburg flame suit on,lol)

If anyone from the band or from overtone is reading this, drop me a comment and let me know how things are going.

Lester
P.S.  – I’m downloading the EP now and will post a review up here in the next day or two.

What's that score thing in Muti?

How the score index works in muti

So, after joining Muti (a digg type service for South Africa) on Wednesday, one of the first things that I noticed was that each of my submissions had a score attached to it. Immediately my sense of curiousity was sparked, and so was my competitive nature – what was this score jobbie, and how could i get mine to be higher than everyone else’s?

After scrounging around the muti site and reading all the support docs I could find, I finally realized that the answer was not on the muti site. At first this hacked me off a teensy bit (the inner OCD me coming out) but now I see why it’s not up there.  Following the futile site digging i sent out a tweet with a #muti hashtag hoping that a) this hashtag existed and b)someone would be able to help.

As luck would have it, thakadu had just started following hashtags and we started conversing on tweet. Here’s the low down on muti scores:

(Oh, before i start – these scores will be removed from the muti site soon, and that’s why there’s no lit on them available anywhere.Take it away Thakadu)

Muti Scores

That score is a composite of “clicks” and votes. It is a holdover from the very early days of muti when I needed a way to differentiate posts before there were many voters. Its basically a weighted value for votes (right now I think its 15 points per vote) and “clicks” (I think its 9 points per click)

I say “clicks” in quotes because its not as simple as just plain clicks for the following reasons:

  1. Only the first 5 clicks at the same ip address are counted, this is so that you cant just repeatedly click on an item to raise its score.
  2. Many people (more than 60%) don’t use the muti site to read muti (They use rss, twitter, jaiku, jabber etc etc) ie its only clicks from the site (In the early days muti did not yet have all these alternate means of reading so it was more reflective)
  3. Some browsers quite simply don’t report the click accurately, most notably some versions of IE. (The click is an ajax call and some browsers simply ignore ajax when clicking away)

So as you can see its a very rough score it worked well in the early days but its pretty much obsolete now and one of these days I will probably remove it, most people look at the votes and not the score.

</end muti goodness>

Thanks for taking the time to give me the lowdown thakadu! After less than one week as a part of the muti community, I think I can already say that I really like it here. Now if I could only get a t-shit out of them (nudge’s rafiq)

Really good really free Edelman paper on influence of social networks

Download distributed-influence_quantifying-the-impact-of-social-media

Here’s a sample of the type of information that you can glean from this paper:

“In Jeremiah Owyang’s Dow Jones White Paper on ‘Tracking the Influence of Conversation’, a meme was defined as: “an idea or discussion that grows and spreads from individual to individual into a lengthy commentary”.

(Jeff Jarvis) strongly believed that for someone to be influential they will likely be either a meme starter or a meme spreader:

  1. The meme starter (Who? When? Where? Why? How) This person typically is creative, forms opinions and articulates them well. They have the ability to state a view at the right time. Their readership is not necessarily large but views the individual as trustworthy.
  2. The meme spreader (Who? How fast? How long? Where? Why? How?) This person thrives by sharing opinions and wants to do it first. They are trusted and have a large readership. However, following the roundtable, I believe that there are a further three types of influencer that should be taken into consideration. They may not be as strong an influencer but they still have a high impact in the community. These people are:
  3. The meme adapter This person reads what is going on outside their traditional sphere of knowledge. They take the opinions of others and reform them so that it is tailored to their bespoke niche group. This information is then published and spread to a smaller but highly targeted audience.
  4. The meme commentator This person does not create content but reads the views and opinions of others and takes part in conversation via adding Starters and spreaders of memes are the most influential people – Jeff Jarviscomments. They are far more likely to share the knowledge of this topic with their peers through offline discussion rather than published content.
  5. The meme reader This person does not create any online content. However, they tend to be a vociferous consumer of information to which they read, learn and share with their peers in the offline world. Although not having the same reach as the meme spreader, their views are trusted and are able to promote these ideas in an alternative method.”

“Much of what has been discussed in this White Paper focused on people who create and shape ideas that become influential. However, these are just passing moments in time. The higher order bit is the influence these events have on the longer term through search. This can be illustrated by showing how influential blogs, Twitter posts are indexed very highly in Google. For example, a Google search on Dell technical support will bring a negative blog post by Jeremy Zawodny
as the third choice. ”

P.S – I originally tried to embed the pdf off scribd, but wordpress.com won’t allow me to add scripts :( hencet the direct download

Lather, rinse, retweet – how i wound up @ technomadic

a little birdie told meAll week long i’ve been hearing stories on just how cool Twitter is and about how people have been connecting both locally and internationally, so I thought that I’d tell my own little twitter story.

How i wound up @ technomadic.

It’s all @magictim’s fault, really it is. I got on to twitter about two weeks ago. Sure i’d heard and read about it, but i though ‘what the hell good is a 140 character blog? I talk far too much for that to be of any use to me.’ And oh how I wrong I was.

I met Tim very briefly at Quirk eMarketing‘s staff bash a while back (the promise of free beer and pizza on a Friday night was more than enough to lure me there…) After baffling him about how i knew his name (i saw his pic on facebook) and chatting over a beer, I next met him online in the twittersphere (is that a word yet?). After watching Tim tweet to some of his contacts, I started following @simonebiz. That still sounds weird when I say it out loud. Anyway, I started following simone and one of her tweets read something along the lines of ‘Simone is looking forward to Nomadic Marketing.’ So me being me i busted in and asked about what exactly Nomadic Marketing was all about, since the name sounded really cool. She explained it all to me and then informed that sadly, registrations for the course had closed 2 weeks earlier :(

Simone then recommended that I follow @daveduarte, who was hosting the course. So i did just that. Dave put me in contact with someone at the GSB and before you could say comfy geek slippers I was registered as a delegate at Nomadic Marketing. I’m sure that if they’d told me they’d be calling me a ‘delegate’ I would have signed up just so I could pretend to be Kofi Anan.

Anyway, I thought that it was really cool that I was able to get a tangible real world benefit from thus ‘new’ social network which is slowly taking a beakhold in South Africa. a clear indication on that power that these networks offer. UCT likes it too, since they now have my money.

As soon as I figure out how to add twitter feeds to wordpress.com‘s widgets, I’ll do just that.

Till then, a little birdie told me that you can follow me @here

@lesterhein