Thursday, August 28, 2014

Getty Images Cracking Down. Bloggers Read!

In a previous blog post, I stated that each entry should have a compelling image to catch attention.


However, I suggested using Google Image search and filtering the results by "labeled for reuse."  Technically speaking, this should have been a quick solution when needing images on the fly.

You can usually tell if an image is copyrighted.

HOWEVER, this isn't always the case as I found out the hard way after receiving a fine for using a Getty image (unknowingly). Obviously I had not paid for the licensed image, so as a result, I was charged a 470$ fine.


In retrospect, I know I was taking the lazy approach.  But when you need to do one or two blog posts a day, it can be tough to find a relevant image for each of them.

So let me provide a great link with a collection of MANY free image sites (and this post will act as a bookmark for myself as well)

53+ Free Image Sources For Your Blog and Social Media Posts

And remember, just because an image says "Royalty Free," does not mean it's free.  But hopefully a blogger knows that.

And hopefully, you'll never make the blunder I made!


12 Million Historic Rights Free Images Coming to the Internet

Friday, August 8, 2014

Which #Marketing Guru Do You Listen To?

There are A LOT of self-named "gurus" of social media on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc. (Take your pick.)  Let me say first off, I think calling yourself a guru is a wee bit narcissistic... But technically it's a LEADER in the field. If you're a leader in the field, your Twitter followers should have a "K" behind the number.

If you're trying to make it as a marketing and/or social media professional, like me, you will read everything you possibly can on strategies, content, tone, branding, which platform to use...

Not everyone can be right. And you know what? There is no right! There are only ideas, floating around like code bits in the matrix.

Here is my ever-growing and changing Twitter list of Marketing and Social Media folks I follow.  I read what they have to say... Some of it I've heard before, some I disagree with, some of it I've tried and implement, and some advice is a little golden treasure I had not discovered.

Each social media and marketing strategy has some value for everyone, but they will vary based on the target audience and the goal of what you're marketing.

I differ on my online presence approach because I'm extremely eclectic and refuse to be "branded" in just one category.  But that is me as an individual - not a company presence. Totally different.

My advice:

1. INTERACT with folks on social media - don't just blast content.
I make real-life friends from Twitter all the time.

2. Take everything "experts" say with a grain of salt

That being said....
3. EXPERIMENT with the strategies the experts suggest

4. Pay attention to your successful competition and how they are doing it right

5. Read, read, read - These trends change daily!

Happy networking!

#Supernatural Rant. The Plight of Sam.

At the request of my good friend @NerdAlertNews, fellow obsessive fan-girl of Supernatural, I am blogging my rant about how I shifted from Team Dean, to Team Sam.  
It's crazy to me that I can be so invested in these fictional characters. All of the SPN fans are, and that's really a credit to the writers and the actors. 
For those who have not seen the end of Season 9, *spoilers* - and what is wrong with you??
I always thought Sam was too whiny, and Dean was the funny, beautiful one. Therefore, I identified as "Team Dean." I mean for a LONG time... Team Dean all the way.
But as we have watched them live through their "river of crap that would send most people howling to the nuthouse," I had an epiphany that slowly started the beginning of Season 9 and crashed into a wall by the finale.
Dean definitely loves Sam in his own way. We all know that. As a child, poor Dean had the burden of trying to be tough and do what his dad told him and protect Sam at any cost. He had to lie to Sam constantly and try to be a parental figure; (cue the heart-breaking Christmas episode). 
For that, I am very sorry for Dean. And it makes some sense that childhood is where the pattern of lying to Sam began for Dean.
HOWEVER... Dean got tired of hunting alone when their dad went missing, and he dragged Sam back into the life selfishly. Sam did not want back in, but his guilt compelled him to go. (Or perhaps it was that "destiny" crap. That's a whole other can of worms!)
On that premise, Dean has no right to complain about anything Sam does from there on out. Sam was force-fed demon blood as a baby and forced into the life of hunting which he tried to escape. Sam had no choice in his destiny of being Lucifer's vessel and Sam always tried to do the right thing. Yes, he made apocalyptic mistakes but so did Dean.... and Sam always paid a huge price for his mistakes.
Yet Sam is ALWAYS the one who takes the heat. Dean NEVER lets him forget how Sam sided with Ruby.
Sam is ready to be done after Dean goes to Purgatory. He had no leads on how to get Dean back --- no allies since Bobby was dead. How was he to know Dean was in Purgatory OR the first thing about getting Dean back? He didn't yet have access to the Men of Letters "mother-lode" with endless information at his disposal. 
And for the first time in eight years, he found some happiness with Amelia... and he was punished for that. (Even after Sam tried desperately to make sure Dean tried to have some happiness with Lisa.)  
Dean again, never let Sam forget that he abandoned his duties as a hunter, and to add insult to injury, ghost Bobby yelled at Sam too when Sam was rescuing Bobby's soul from hell!
Sam was ready to make the ultimate sacrifice for the world in order to shut the gates of hell - and he was at peace with it. He was chillin with Death and BEYOND ready to be done with everything, and Dean tricked him and dragged him back in... again. And essentially, it was Dean's fault that Sam killed Kevin (when possessed by Galadriel).
Does Dean freely admit his mistakes? No, he gets caught eventually and then acts out like the angry little boy he always was. Dean lies to his brother over and over and over and over. 
I would like to refer you to their conversation in "Sacrifice," the Season 8 finale. We were all so touched, and moved... but if you will examine it... you will see Sam's true repentance, and Dean's continual denial of ways that he has actually hurt Sam. (Though we can probably agree, hurting Sam isn't Dean's intention):
Sam: You want to know what I confessed in there? What my greatest sin was? It was how many times I let you down. I can’t do that again. What happens when you’ve decided I can’t be trusted again? Who are you gonna turn to next time instead of me? Another angel? Another vampire? Do you have any idea what it feels like to watch your brother… 
Dean: Hold on, hold on. Do you seriously think that? Because none of it, none of it is true. Listen man, I know we’ve had our disagreements. Hell, I know I’ve said some junk that sent you back on your heels. But Sammy, come on. I killed Benny to save you. I’m willing to let this bastard and all the sons of bitches that killed mom walk because of you. Don’t you dare think that there is anything, past or present, that I would put in front of you. It has never been like that, ever.
Don't get me wrong. I still love Dean. He truly believes every word he is saying and he loves his brother, in his way. My point is - he's not evolving like Sam. It's kinda pesky.
SO, what does Dean do as Season 9 progresses? He decides that teaming up with CROWLEY is a better idea than working with Sam in order to stop Abaddon. He does what Dean always does; acts rashly and doesn't trust Sam enough to get the job done. Dean listens to a demon over his own brother. Hmm, the shoe is on the other foot. (Sam lost his shoe! Ha! Couldn't help it.)
Now Sam is left abandoned. Again. I mean, totally abandoned in a life he never wanted, with a demon brother. His life just BLOWS! So I am Team Sam all the way now! I always go back and enjoy the funny episodes, but I also see how much of a dick Dean is when Sam screws up and Sam rarely calls Dean on the mistakes that Dean makes...
Team Dean - Don't get mad! I love our boys; both of them - flaws and all.
And demon Dean is going to be a hell of a ride in Season 10!
Whew! Sammy... hang in there.