Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Why is Blogging So Popular?

It's estimated that there are over
31 million bloggers in the U.S. alone.
As of 2012, there are over 170 million blogs in the world. In 2013, there are estimated to be a total of about 141.6 million people who read blogs daily. This is a growing industry, with a booming market, and it's becoming more popular everyday.

Why is that?

What drives you to crank out another post, even when you've got many other things on your mind? What is it about a certain blog that has you coming back close to everyday? Each persons personal answer is different, but usually it can come down to a few things. You either love it and you are passionate about writing or reading, it's a pass time for you, or you're just interesting in the specific material the blog offers.

A blog is a website that is more personal. Blogging is a form of personal expression. Static webpages can over information and reader's delight, also, but a blog is something entirely different. A blog is reading the thoughts of the author, or connecting with the author on a regular basis. You can feel what they feel on a subject through the words they type and you can get their opinions. You become closer to the author in a way, because you get to see them change and see what is on their mind during certain time periods.

That's why I think blogging is a increasingly popular market. It's the relation, and the more first-hand experience you get as a reader. You know as a reader that the authors entire blog is dedicated to you, and without their loyal readers, they'd only be writing to themselves.

People open up new blogs everyday. Whether they live to see their first year or die in the first few days, people are interested in doing it at some point or another. Society is beginning to see the positive effects and wants to get it's inexperienced fingers on it. Yet, every famous blogger had a first post at some point. They weren't created superstars. They worked their way to the top of the ladder, and now it's someone else's turn for their shot in the limelight.

So whether you're a reader or a blogger, you know why blogging is a popular pass time or even career. As for others, they might soon find out.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Saving Battery Life on Your Apple Devices

If you have a phone, you probably know the feeling of trying to do as much as possible before it dies. Some phones just have really bad battery life, but with most phones there are things you can do to make it last longer. These methods work mostly on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, but this also might work on other smartphones or tablets, too.

Turn Your Brightness Down

This is an obvious one, but sometimes it's overlooked, and it's one of your biggest battery-suckers. To do this, go to settings and to "Brightness and Wallpaper". You can easily slide the brightness up or down from here. You can choose whether you want your device to automatically adjust the brightness based on what it thinks the surrounding light levels are. You should notice longer lasting battery life.

Turn off Bluetooth if You Don't Need It

In your settings, you can choose "Bluetooth" and slide it to off. This will keep your phone from constantly searching for Bluetooth devices to connect to. This helps preserve your battery overtime.

Turn Off Unneeded Location Services

Does Angry Birds really need to know where you are during the day? Location services can be helpful in finding places on Apple Maps (Like the ocean) or using Google to find Restaurants near by. By going to settings, to privacy, to location services and disabling the service for apps who don't need it, you can save battery throughout the day. This also includes turning off Traffic, which is used to track you and see where there is more traffic in an area by number of iPhones there. You do this by going to settings, to privacy, to location services and scrolling down to System Services. Just leave Cell Network Search on, Compass Calibration if wanted, and Setting Time Zone if you want it to automatically change when you enter a new timezone.

Fetch Email instead of Push

Push for email helps by constantly checking if you have email coming in. To turn it off, go to settings, to "Mail, Contacts, Calendars" and configure your mail settings to fetch. Set it to the longest amount of time you can stand, but preferably make it Manual, so you must refresh it to receive new emails.

Turn Off Wifi

With Wifi constantly on (even when you're not using it) your device is constantly trying to connect to wifi's and searching for networks. By only turning it on when you need it, you can help preserve even more battery.

Have Your Device Set To Autolock More Frequently

By doing this, your device will not sit on standby for as long draining battery; it will instead lock and save you battery. You can do this by going to Setting, General, and to Auto-lock. You can there set the times for how long you want it to standby before locking.

By doing these things you should be able to have more battery on your Apple Device and be able to use it for longer. If you have any other suggestions you can leave them in the comments below. Do you think iOS 6 will affect battery life?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

iPhone 4S: Why I Picked It

Does anyone still remember these?
This Monday was my birthday (Woo!) so to celebrate, I received the iPhone 4S on Saturday. It was an upgrade from my old LG Optimus S which I'd had to replace multiple times for screen problems. We got it from a Sprint Kiosk in our nearby mall, and I decided to let you know what I think of it after the first few days.

Right away I noticed how nice the phone was. That's what makes iPhone's so nice. They're easy to use and easy to navigate. If you've ever had an iPod touch then you've basically got it. It looked nice, and ran fast, and I really liked it.

Bad Battery Life

I realized fast that the battery life is pretty low. By the time I got home (a few hours) it was dead. I charged it all night and by about seven the next night it was dead again. And that was intermittently texting on it. If you're constantly doing things, you're going to run into trouble with it.

Call Quality

After getting it, I called a few people, and they complained of high pitched tones every few minutes. That could just be Sprint's fault or the phone, but I never had that problem before.

With my old phone I always had to speak loudly and clearly or the other person couldn't hear me. On the iPhone, I could whisper and they could clearly make out what I was saying.

The New iOS 6

Apple recently updated its software to iOS 6. It has a lot of new features, including an app called Passport that stores all your coupons and things. It updated the look of many things, and it's supposed to make it run faster. I don't like the way the new music app looks, because it's all white and plain. There were a few other differences that weren't big enough to make it to this post, but it's definitely not a game changer to me.

The Camera

I definitely noticed a difference in the iPhone 4S camera from the iPod Touch 4th Generation, which is what I used to use for all my picture taking. Pictures have noticeably more detail where you wouldn't expect it, and warmer colors. It's auto-focus is more advanced, and pictures just came out clearer.

Pictures off of my iPhone 4S:

(Birthday Cake!)

I think it was worth the $99 it cost. It's a pretty great phone, and I would recommend it. Do any of you have the 4S?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

50 Blog Posts I Wish You'd Write

In honor of Chris Brogans ever-popular "100 Topics I Hope YOU Write", I'd like to give my list of topics I hope to see one day in the blogosphere. Brogan's topics were more focused around Web 2.0 Tools and technology, but mine are all over the board.

Everyone has those moments when they just can't think of what to write about. Feel free to book mark this and come back to it when you need some inspiration or you're trying to battle writer's block.

But maybe out of the kindness of your hearts, you could throw a link my way?

Without further ado, here's my list of 50 Blog Posts I Wish You'd Write.

  1. Mac Verses PC: Which I Prefer
  2. Someone Who Has Changed My Life
  3. Why I Picked The Brand Name I Did
  4. How I Use Social Media
  5. Ways I've Increased My Blog Traffic
  6. What I Do Before I Write A Post
  7. One Show I Wish Was Still On TV
  8. My Favorite Foods to Serve During the Holidays
  9. The Best Present I Ever Got As A Child
  10. My Top Ten Websites I Use Everyday
  11. The Biggest Scams I've Fallen For
  12. Twenty Things I Wish I Knew When I Started My Blog
  13. Things That Have Changed Since My Childhood
  14. How I Wrote My First Blog Post
  15. My Firsts: Car, Job, and House
  16. Why I Decided to Join Facebook (Or Didn't)
  17. Blogger Verses WordPress: The Best Host
  18. A Restaurant in My Town that I Love
  19. My Favorite Fashion Trend From the '80's (or whatever generation)
  20. My Opinion of Michael Jackson
  21. How I Met My Spouse (Or Girlfriend... or cat)
  22. An Event that Changed My Life
  23. Why I'm Glad I Live in America
  24. My Favorite Pass-time as a Child
  25. What My iTunes Library Says About Me
  26. My Biggest Blogging Pet Peeve
  27. One Language I Wish I Had Learned
  28. How Twitter Has Brought Me More Viewers
  29. How I Use SEO in my Posts
  30. Twenty Things I Wish I Knew at Twenty
  31. Five Books that Changed Society
  32. Ways I Get More Subscribers
  33. My Top Five Favorite Blogs
  34. Why I Started Blogging
  35. The Biggest Mistakes You Can Make As A Blogger
  36. I Wish I Could Change This About Society
  37. My Biggest Fear
  38. My Favorite Thing About Blogging
  39. How I Use Craigslist
  40. What I Do in My Free Time
  41. How To Double Your Subscribers
  42. My Ideal Future
  43. Ten Things I Wish I Had
  44. Chrome or Firefox: Which is Better
  45. Nine Things I've Learned About the Internet
  46. My Opinion on the iPhone 5
  47. How to Save Battery Life on Your Phone
  48. My Opinion on Guest Bloggers
  49. My Inspirations for Writing
  50. Fifty Blog Posts I Wish You'd Write
Feel free to use any of these, or a variation on them. They're here to help you. 
But, you know, if your feeling generous, you could always throw a link back my way. I'd really appreciate it!

Whats your favorite thing to write about?

Friday, October 12, 2012

It's Your Blog: Use It When You Need It

Sometimes, your writing is actually better when you just relax.
Sometimes I, as many of you other bloggers out there might, get too caught up in the business aspect of a blog, rather than the other, less work aspect of blogging. The writing. When I feel like I'm up to my ears in traffic-increase articles and SEO tip blogs, I take a step back from it all and think.

Why did you start blogging in the first place?

What were you thinking when you opening Blogger, full of fresh ideas and ready to change the blogosphere, or maybe the world? You were going to take the world by storm, remember?

Now, you may not be exactly like me in that sense, but I'm sure you had some reason for starting your blog. Regardless of what it is, sit back and think about it.

I started a blog because I love writing, it seemed fun, and I wanted to experience a new kind of community. When I think about that, I realize that it's not a big deal sometimes if you just can't figure out what the heck SEO is.

Because frankly, I don't think too many people have it down pat either.

This post is a spawn of one of those hectic times, when I needed to sit back and think about why I love blogging, and do this everyday, aside from being a full time student. I do it because I love that feeling when you publish a post, that feeling when you see you have a new comment, that feeling when your page views for the day reach a new high for you. I love the feeling of being a blogger.

So, I opened a new tab, because those other articles can wait. I opened up a new post, and just wrote out whatever I was feeling.

And you know what? I feel ten times better. Thank you for that.

Because without my readers, my commenters, my subscribers, my wall flowers who skim yet never come forward to leave a comment; I do this for you. My blog would be nothing without you. And this is your thank you.

Next time you want to post something, but you're not sure how it's going to sound, or if it's going to look right, or you don't feel like doing research for yet another pillar article; just remember these four words:

That Is Your Blog.

You are the only one who can wholly decide what goes and what doesn't, what gets posted and what becomes a regular in the draft folder. When you need to vent ideas, or rant about someone in the Starbucks line, go Nike on those thoughts and JUST DO IT.

You'll feel better, and if your readers are as loyal as you think, they aren't going to mind. They may actually like the change from the informational and dry posts. Giving a glimpse of your thoughts is sometimes a great thing for readers.

Remember that not every post has to start in your head as hard work. Not everything you type has to start with you trying to make it your "best ever".

Sometimes your best posts will be the ones you just put your heart into. Next time you sit down to peck out another article on whatever niche you're in, try sitting down and just writing what comes to mind.

You may just be surprised with the results.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

How To Get More Traffic To Your Blog: Craigslist

Okay, I discovered something last night, and I just had to share it. While trying to think about ways to promote my blog and advertise, somehow this idea popped into my head, and I'm so glad it did.

Last evening I went onto Craigslist, and went to my town's Computer Gigs section. I typed up a quick ad, and posted it to the site. I'm not sure if advertising on Craigslist is allowed, or white hat, or anything, but all I know is it worked extremely well.

I went to all the big towns (New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, etc) and posted on their page. I put the exact same ad for each one. After ten minutes, and five posts, I checked my page views for the day.

They had tripled. And it wasn't just quick click, then leaving. People were staying, people were commenting. I was shocked.

Here's a picture of what my ad looked like:

I placed this ad on multiple "Computer Gigs" post lists on Craigslist.

So before writing this post today, I check my feeds subscribers. They were increased 110%. I was again shocked that so little work had such great results. I realized then it's all about getting your name out there.

So here's how I did it, step by step:

Step One: Pick a Town's Craigslist Posting Page
You can do that by going to Craigslist here and picking a town.

Step Two: Click on anything under "Gigs"
I picked "Computer Gigs", since it seemed fitting.

Step Three: Pick "I Need To Hire".
It really doesn't matter, but you'll get more views that way.

Step Four: Finish that, and enter in your information. 
I picked a title saying "Blog Readers Needed" and put the location as "Anywhere".

Step Five: Type Up a Quick Ad.
Fill in your email, and click "No Pay" (Unless you're paying people to read your blog).

Step Six: Submit It and Confirm by Email
Once you do, it'll be live on the site.

I'm not sure if Craigslist will keep these ads up or take them down for spam. I didn't do it on my account so I'm not worried about being banned or anything, so if you are I wouldn't recommend this. This is just a way to get your blog's name out there, and maybe gain some readers or subscriptions from it.

If you're worried about Craigslist getting upset or something horrific happens from Google because of this, this is my warning (and way of not getting angry comments from it). I don't know if it will work for sure, but it definitely worked for me, and I want to share my success.

What was your biggest advertisement success?

Also, a great site to view for a plethora of advertising ideas is SEOMOZ, it's a great site and has helped me out a lot.

Happy Blogging!

Five Hundred Views! (You guys are the best)

At least I'm not the only one excited about this.
(10 Points for Cuteness)
Okay, maybe five hundred views isn't something to get excited about for you. If you are one of those people, I'm sorry this post might seem a bit frivolous.

As for the others...

I'm seriously pretty excited! I mean, five hundred views isn't breath-taking. It isn't phenomenal, and it isn't top-notch by any means. And I am aware of this. Yet, I still was very happy to see that number in my page view box last evening. (And yes, I turned off tracking my own page views, so these are all legitimate.) Why am I excited?

Because before you can hit fifty-thousand, you have to first pass five hundred. So this is my milestone.

Maybe your baby rolling over isn't huge in the scheme of things, and they will probably do it many times in their lifetime, but that first time your pretty happy.

And can you honestly say when you first entered the blogging world, your first little achievements didn't make you even a tiny bit excited?

Not even a little?

So October 10th was my first full week with Balescene. It's been a really fun experience blogging and getting used to all the features and things that go along with it. I've enjoyed it, and often found myself looking forward to writing during classes. This has been a fun beginning.

So what my comments are still very sparing, and my page views might be small depending on your own? This is my first time around, and I feel pretty darn happy about it.

Celebratory hot chocolate anyone? :)

UPDATE: By the way, by the time I posted this, I had already gotten to 600 views! You guys are the best!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Make Money With Your Blog: Google Adsense

With Some Work, Your Blog Can Be Making Money With Adsense, Too.

Most people who own a blog know at least something about  trying to monetize it. Making money for your blog can help with domain name costs, help increase your advertising budget, and just help you have some extra money on the side. One way to make money from your blog is to use Google's Adsense feature.

Google Adsense is nothing more than text and image ads. They use words that are written on your page to make ads that go along with your articles. You earn a percentage of the amount paid by the advertiser, depending on how many people click on the ads on your website.

Google Adsense is defiantly not a get rich quick scheme. Your money directly reflects on how many page views you have and how many people click on your ads. Google will monitor your blog once you put them up though, so don't try to post ads saying to click on your ads, because they will shut down your account.

Step One: Make A Google Adsense Account

You can do this by going to You log into your Google Account, and then go through the steps on the screen to set up your account. You may need to verify your email address, also.

After finishing the set up, Google may take up to three days to review your website, and to make sure it is legitimate and you're not just trying to scam them out of some money. Once they approve you, you're ready to start making money.

Step Two: Ad Placement

After you've been approved, you need to think about where you're going to place the ads on your page. Where you place them can directly impact how much money you make. Try experimenting with different positions, but don't over fill your blog with ads, because Google might take it as spam and ban you.

Along with ads placement comes ads coloring. You want to try to make the ads look appealing, and make people want to click on them. For this, you can try hundreds of different combinations and pick what you like best.

Step Three: Start Earning

Basically, that's all there is to making money using Adsense. Like I said earlier, this is no get rich quick scheme, and it usually takes a long time to even make pocket change when your starting out. So don't rush things; just sit down, write good posts, and get more traffic to your site, and the money will start to roll in. There are many good pages to read to learn how to monetize your blog, and some will give you more tips, but be careful with what you try, because Google can dock your search engine rankings for trying to cheat them in their own game.

I hope this blog helps you with making a little money on the side with your blog. If you have any questions just leave them below! Follow @Balescene on Twitter for news on any new posts or upcoming contests.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Your URL... Live It, Love It, Promote It.

Getting more viewers is easy when you know how.
How many of you caught my slight “The Game Plan” reference? Great Movie. Anyways, an idea for a post came to me while checking up on my favorite blogs today.

How Do You Feel About Your Brand’s Name?

How many of you love your URL?

You may be thinking how strange of a question that is, but really think about it. What do you think when you hear your brands name? What made you pick the brand name you did?

Once you pick a name for your blog, and you start promoting it, there’s usually no going back. If you really wanted to change it, you could, but it would result in confusion and a noticeable loss of viewership. 

That’s why picking a name is so important. It’s like naming your child; once you pick it, it usually sticks.

Live It

What I mean by “Live It” is that you need to incorporate your blog’s name into your every day life. Whether it’s checking your blogs social media pages daily, or replying to emails it’s generated, it needs to become a part of your routine for it to have the success you desire.

Love It

If you cringe every time you hear your brand’s name, you might have to change it. Even if you’ve done a lot of promoting, you can’t truly give it your all to a blog with a name you hate.

You need to love the name; love saying the name, love writing the name, love posting the name. The quicker you learn that, the quicker you’ll be able to move on to the next step.

Promote It

Whatever advice people have given you on promoting, take it and put it aside. Don’t get rid of it, but always be willing to let more come in and to give the new ideas a chance.

You never know what will bring in subscribers. Put a hyperlinked version of your blog name in your email signature. Mention it during a lull in conversation. 

If you feel like you talk about your blog more than anything else, this can either be a great thing, or a not-so-great thing. Great if you’re promoting it on social media, mentioning it once in a conversation, attaching it on an email; but bad if you’re over doing it.

Over-doing it can be as simple as mentioning it more than one time ever in a conversation with a person. People don’t want to hear about the same thing over and over. They get bored. Once you’ve said your piece, step down and let the seeds you’ve planted grow.

What have you done recently to noticeably gain readers? Have you ever had to change your brand’s name? Join the discussion in the box below.

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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Quick Way to Fix a Crack in Your Phone Screen

So it happened. You were walking on the sidewalk, rocking out to some awesome songs, when your phone or iPod took it's final skydive, and now the screen's shattered.

Usually, taking it in to your provider can result in either you having to buy a whole new phone, which can get pricey, or you can buy a replacement screen and kit for about $100.

If you're looking for ways to avoid that burden, here's a couple of ideas to try to mend the crack, or at least keep it from spreading.

Warning: Once you do any of these, your warranty may be voided. Take caution in doing this. If you're not sure if it will void your warranty or not, ask your service provider.

Use Clear Nail Polish, Superglue or Nail Glue, etc.

A few years ago, after getting a shiny new Apple iPod Touch, I inevitably cracked the screen. It was a combination of their easy-to-crack screens, and me carrying it in my back pocket and leaning over the edge of a chair. Nonetheless, The bottom left hand corner of my iPod had been shattered.

I knew I couldn't get another as this one had been a gift, I had to do some thinking. I knew I didn't have a warranty on it, so basically I was stuck with it. Once I cut myself on a piece of glass trying to use the screen, I knew I had to do something about it.

What You'll Need:

- Your Cracked Screen

- Clear Nail Polish, Nail Glue, or Super Glue

This kind of fix is for small cracks only! This would probably not work as well in a full on shatter.

This method is not perfect, but it kept my few cracks from spreading for five months (until I completely shattered the screen in another horrible, yet unrelated, incident.) 

I cleaned off the cracks as best possible, took out some clear nail polish, and followed the lines of the crack using the brush. I made sure it filled the cracks without them overflowing, and I kept it on only that part of the screen.

I let it dry and made sure that it was smooth, and I never had another problem with it again. I'm sure nail glue or small amounts of superglue would work the same way as the nail polish did.

If your screen is shattered or has more than a few cracks, visit any of these websites that have detailed descriptions on how to fix your screen:

How To Fix A Cell Phone Screen

C.R.A.F.T. # 76: How to Replace a Broken/ Cracked iPhone Screen

How to Fix A Broken Screen on your iPhone 

Do you have an interesting story on how you shattered your phone screen? Tell me in the comment section below, along with any other questions or suggestions you have.

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Friday, October 5, 2012

Five Easy Ways to Get More Readers on Your Blog

reading, reading, reading
Getting Readers On Your Blog Isn't as Hard
As It Seems When You Know How
Everyone wants to get recognized for their work in their blog. One of the best ways to get the online traffic you desire is to get your name out there.

1. Pick a niche.

Just as Balescene is a blog revolving mainly around technology and social media, your blog needs to be about something.

That may sound obvious, but you wouldn't know how many people have blogs about, well, nothing.

Pick something you're passionate about, or something you can't stop thinking up topics for. Once you have a niche, you can move on to your next step.

2. Post on fifty blogs matching your niche.

Fifty might sound like a lot, but the main way to get recognized is to get your blogs name out there.

Find at least fifty or more blogs that pertain to what you like, and post a comment. Don’t post something like “Good work!” or “Check out my blog!” because people won’t pay attention to those comments, and you won’t be taken seriously.

Write down whatever thoughts are in your head as your reading it. Be constructive, but don’t be afraid to disagree. Chances are, longer comments draw more attention and look professional, and people out there who have the same opinion as you will be more inclined to check out your other work.

Tack on a signature; something like “Amy Bales,” and remember to keep it simple, yet tasteful.

3. Make your posts interesting.

This may seem like another obvious suggestion, but it’s an important one.

Blog posts need to stay on topic so readers stay interested. Pick a topic, write all the detail you need, and publish it. Don’t go on a tangent with too many with stories and side notes, because people are looking for information, and usually will lose interest.

As long as you’re staying close to your niche topic in a post, readers are usually pretty open minded.

4. Promote, Promote, Promote.

Whether it’s Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or any other social media, the more your brand is out there, the more people will hear about it.

Get a Google+ and make a page promoting your brand, and make sure to send it out to all your circles. When you set up a Facebook page, promote it and  keep it updated with new information. Tweet often about current trending topics and watch your followers grow.

Don’t over do it, but the more people who see your name, the more people you’ll get checking out your site. Use your link in your signature everywhere, and never forget to add it in before you post anything.

It's like advertising a business, and putting effort into this could help you later on.

5. Write with your own voice.

Everyone has their own voice in writing, and the best writers express it in all their works. Instead of thinking about how you’re typing for the whole internet to see, create your ideal reader in your head.

Think about your target audience; their age, gender, and personality. Imagine a person matching that description in your head. Give them a name and a short biography, and make them seem real.

Now when you go to write, sit down and pretend your writing a post directly to that person. Talk comfortably, like how you would with friends, and relax when writing. Chances are, your writing will noticeably improve, and writing will feel more natural for you.

I’m not guaranteeing you to get a plethora of new readers, or even overly improved traffic; but if you do these things, you have a better chance of getting noticed.

Your blog or website's success is directly based on your input to it; how much time and effort you spend each night will show. Nobody ever said it was easy to get an award-winning blog, but it’s definitely not impossible either.

If you have a blog, what ways do you use to bring in subscriptions? What ways do you recommend?

Tell me in the comment section below, along with any other questions you have. Oh yeah, don't forget to subscribe to my RSS feed! (as seen on the right above "Blog Archive")

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Five Great Websites I Couldn’t Live Without

It's no surprise that the internet is as popular as it is today. Everything in the world is at your finger tips, easily searched and found in a matter of minutes.

According to, "the average Internet user spends most of his time online on social media (22 percent), search (21 percent), reading content (20 percent), and email (19 percent)".

Think about what you do as soon as you get online. What websites do you check everyday on your phone before you leave for work? Where's the first place you visit when you have a moment of free time online?

Well, here's my list of five websites that I use every day, and probably couldn't live without.

1. Google

What would our internet experience be like if we didn’t have Google? There’s a reason it’s one of the most known websites worldwide. 

Google is my top pick search engine because it can help you find anything that’s on the internet, and its simplistic interface makes finding anything you need easy. 

I like it because it looks clean and I almost never have trouble finding what I'm looking for. If it's out there, it's on Google. And personally, I think there's a reason why people don't say, "Oh yeah, I'll Bing it."

2. Pinterest

Pinterest is a newer social media website in the scheme of the internet, but it's really taken off. I just recently made an account, and I seriously spend more time than necessary on it.

It might not have too much productive merit, but it has some nifty how-to’s and interesting or funny pictures, and that makes it a great place to spend some extra time.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, I recommend visiting the website and looking at the preview.

Oh, Facebook. Although lately I have been neglecting you, you're a great to keep in touch with close friends, relatives, and long distance acquaintances. 

Although Facebook might not be particularly a necessity, I still ranks in ones I use close to every day. 

And by the looks of it's growing number of new profiles, Facebook won't be slowing down any time soon. But who knows? Maybe it'll become the next Myspace.

4. Tumblr

At first I wasn’t so sure about Tumblr. I didn't really know what it's purpose was and I didn't visit it very often. Now I realize it's actually a lot like blogger in the way that you have posts, and if used correctly it can be like a very simple blog.

Once I got my followers straight, I realized that it was a pretty good, simple blogging format. It’s another good site for your additional time, and it’s like twitter in the following aspect, but also entirely unique.

What can I say? Discovering Blogger has helped me put my ideas into words. I was debating a while between WordPress and Blogger as a host, but after some extensive research, I've decided on Blogger for many reasons, and I'll discuss these reasons in an upcoming post, "Blogger Verses WordPress: Why I Choose Blogger." 

It has a lot of user options and is very simple, so first time bloggers can easily navigate this site. Blogger (and even blogging itself) can be highly addicting. If you like writing and have opinions or have a lot to say, read up on this site, or just make an account. 

It's actually really simple and there's help along the setup process. It's also weaved into Google, so all of your accounts can easily be synced through that.

Now that I've shared mine, what are some websites that you often visit? Why are they so important to you? Tell me in the comment section below, along with any other questions you have.


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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Children With Cellphones: What’s the Right Age?

Every Kid is Different With Cell Phones
When it comes to cell phones, they’re a great resource. They’re extremely helpful in communicating and in hundreds of other ways, too. 

The big question that everyone with kids is asking is when the right age to give your son or daughter their first phone?

The Right Age

Unfortunately, there is no right answer. 

Each kid is so unique with their maturity level and intentions that what works for one kid might not work for any others. It all depends on your personal situation.

First you need to ask yourself why your child needs a cell phone. Are they going places where there is no way for them to contact you frequently? Do you work late and need to be able to talk to them at a moments notice?

Whatever your reasoning, you need to at least have one set reason. Giving your child a phone for no reason can lead to unfavorable results.

How old are they? I’ve seen kids as young as six with their own cell phone number. 

Ages Six Through Eleven

If they are an elementary school student (ages six through eleven), you could opt for a parental monitored phone like the Disney Phone. This way they can only call numbers you approve of and aren’t in contact with everyone. 

I don’t suggest giving an iPhone (or any other smart phone) to a younger child. These phones are subject to shattered screens, scratches, and you can’t control the content as easily.

Ages Twelve Through Fourteen

If your children are ages twelve to about fourteen, you can experiment with giving them a phone of their choice. Just remember that most phones now can easily connect to the internet, and your child will have access to websites about anything and everything that pops into their head. 

If you have a mature, trustable child, this isn’t a bad plan.

Ages Fifteen and Older

As for any child above fifteen, you can usually give any phone to. Usually older kids are more trustworthy and responsible, and can handle a phone will more features. 

As stated above, it’s always up to the parent to make any final decisions, because you know your child and how they behave, and whether you can trust them with a phone.

Overall, giving your child a phone isn’t as preposterous as it was a few years ago. More and more people are using them everyday. It isn’t a responsibility to be taken lightly, either. 

Just remember to talk to your kids before about any and all expectations you have with letting them own a cell phones.

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Top Ten Things You Need to Remember on Facebook

With Facebook being one of the most visited social media site on the web today, you're going to see all types of people; and with different people comes different internet manners of sorts.

Normally that's okay, but sometimes it can become too much. Even if you feel on the cutting edge of Facebook, make sure you're doing these things next time you log in.

10. Everyone can see what you've written.

Even if you have your privacy settings enabled, and you only posted it on one persons wall, others are going to see it.

If they're friends with that person or they log into a friend's account, there's a chance that someone else will read it. That includes friends, family, children, and co-works.

So just watch what you say.

9. Even if you took three dozen pictures, they don't all need to be uploaded.

Yes, your baby is adorable. Cute as a button, really. But sometimes, five or six photos of your little ball of sunshine are more effective than sixty five.

People are more likely to scan them and throw out a comment on how tiny his cute little feet are than scan the whole album.

People usually only spend a limited amount of time on social media, and chances are it won't be spent entirely on you. Moving on.

8. Know when to post, and when to message.

When deciding whether to post on someones wall or just send them a message, think about what you're saying.

Is it just a "Hey, give me a call!" or is it a question they may not want everyone on the internet thinking about? When in doubt, just send a message to be safe. You don't want to risk embarrassing someone when you honestly didn't mean to.

7. Stop sending so many game requests.

How many times have you logged into your Facebook to see that so-and-so send you eighteen MyFish requests? Usually you ignore them. But now your news feed is clogged with Farmville achievements, too.

If it hasn't already, it's going to start getting on your nerves. Same goes with everyone else. Sending a request every once in a while isn't going to hurt anyone, but don't be surprised when your friends list dwindles down when your sharing your game achievements... and nothing else.

6. Keep the statuses short.

Just because they give you near to unlimited space to write about your day, doesn't mean you have to use it. Sometimes less is more in this aspect.

You are more likely to get a response from a few sentences you shared then the three paragraphs about your whole day. People are more likely to read what you have to say that way.

5. Don't spend all day logged in.

We've all done it. Clicking 'Home' over six times per minute to see if anyone posted anything new or interesting. Chances are, they didn't.

Instead of sitting on Facebook just reading about what everyone did at work today, go for a run, pet your dog, read something interesting, or hey... try writing a blog!

4. Keep it updated.

Don't the picture you've had as your avatar the same for a year. Switch it up! Keep things interesting. Update your information every once in a while, change your cover photo is you have timeline, and post a status.

If this seems like a lot of work or something you wouldn't want to do, reconsider why you have a Facebook in the first place. Is it really worth the hassle?

3. Don't be trashy.

Everyone has that friend who has a bit of a sailors mouth. Don't be the internet version of that.

It's as simple as that.

2. Know who your friends are.

Just because you had a conversation with that guy at your kids soccer game, or you think you might have went to college with him, doesn't mean you should add him.

If you're wondering whether or not to add them, there's a simple way to decide. Would you consider them your "friend"? There's your answer.

There are a few exceptions, like people who you'd like to keep in touch with. Other than that, keep the friends list trimmed down to only your true friends.
1. Not everybody is who they say they are. 

Their name says Neil Patrick Harrison, so they have to be the famous reality TV star... right?

Sadly, no, they're probably just some crazy fan with too much time on their hands. Sometimes it's not as innocent as that, though. Be wary of adding people you don't know on any social media site, and you'll end up being safer in the end.

Basically, just use your common sense online, and things should be alright. And if something seems to be a little sketchy, it probably is; so watch out.


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