Keeping you informed: Great links you should read

I’ve read and shared a lot of great articles and posts on my Twitter feed and Facebook and Google+ pages over the past few weeks. Here is a round-up of my six favorites. I’ll give you the link and a brief description of what the article is about and why I liked it. Take a look at the ones that intrigue you!

1. How a password changed my life

We usually think of passwords as nuisances that force us to come up with a complex string of letters, numbers and special characters that mean nothing to anyone else, but that we won’t forget. But this post tells the story of a man who used his password as a monthly goal, or mantra. He pulled himself out of a depression and changed his life. I won’t tell you how; you have to read it.

I really enjoyed this story because it’s about someone who turned an annoyance into a motivator. There are several lessons here about turning negatives into positives. To meet our goals, we need small steps and constant reminders. The way this author used his password to do that is a unique approach, which I appreciate. The story also has a happy ending. If you’re sentimental, you might get a little misty-eyed.

2. Why in the world I hand-wrote my emails – and what it taught me about how we write

Handwriting? As in, picking up a pen and paper and forming letters? Who does that anymore? In this column, one journalist for the Seattle Times wrote about her two-day experiment to handwrite everything – tweets, texts, statuses and emails. She explained what she was doing to recipients and got back some interesting responses, as well as a slew of handwritten tweets.

This column was thought-provoking for me. I don’t handwrite much anymore. I spent my early career in journalism, where you had to be efficient. So I learned to type everything, except for keeping a handwritten to-do list. Now, I’ve even converted that to Google Calendar and Google Keep. This column reminded me that there’s a slowness and thoughtfulness to handwriting. You have to be more careful to make it legible. You have to engage your mind differently than typing. This is a good reminder that handwriting, even if only for yourself, has benefits that typing doesn’t.

3. Three Psychological Secrets to Turn Visitors into Customers

This post gives us a fictional buyer, Jane, and tells us why Jane might visit a website or blog. What is she looking for? Why did she follow the link? Then the post moves on to give three ways we can tweak our copy to overcome Jane’s objections before she even knows she has them.

I like this approach because it could apply to so many areas of online business. If you’re looking to make money from your blog or from your own informational products, this post offers great ways to write your sales copy so that it stands out from other sales copy on the web. If you’re a freelancer, I can see how you could apply this approach to your positioning copy. It could help get a potential client to hire you once they find your website. Overall, I found this article very useful.

4. Would You Quit Facebook for 99 Days?

A Dutch communications agency started the idea of giving up Facebook for 99 days after the social network’s experiments with users’ emotions were recently reported. This agency is conducting a mood experiment of its own, asking if people are happier without Facebook. Participants complete surveys along the way during the 99 days to measure the experiment’s impact on their lives.

First, I was intrigued by the question in the headline of this article. As Facebook becomes more boring and banal, and keeps changing its algorithms, I often wonder why I check it so many times a day. Yet, I can’t leave it alone. I wondered if I could give up Facebook for 99 days. Could you? Even if you decide you can’t give it up, this article might make you think about Facebook’s place in your life.

5. The Surprisingly Savvy Weird Al Internet Machine

This article analyzes famous parody artist Weird Al Yankovic as a media brand. The story highlights the ways in which he has adapted remarkably well to the Internet, YouTube, and the new faster media culture. It also looks at the ways his recording contract and marketing process have held him back. The article ends with speculation, and a few quotes from Al, about how he will distribute his work in the new media culture now that his recording contract is fulfilled.

This article caught my eye because, well, I love Weird Al! The man’s a genius, and he has stayed in the music business longer than most musicians he has spoofed over the years. This article takes an objective look at how he has done that. He has not only used his talent and intelligence, but also good old-fashioned hard work. I’m glad to see this musician, who is often underappreciated, get a few minutes in the limelight for the talent behind his comedy music.

6. Video: “Word Crimes” by Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al bonus! Al takes on bad grammar in this parody of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” He’s just as sick of it as I am! Not only is Al’s parody much more intelligent than the original in my opinion, but he teaches us something that desperately needs to be taught, with a fun and catchy beat.

I have loved many Weird Al songs over the years, but this one may have just become my favorite. Al uses his celebrity power to say what I’ve been saying on my humble little blog. I’m so glad to see celebrities calling out the bad grammar that we now see all over the place.

For another celebrity example, TV star Kelsey Grammer has started a Twitter account for the express purpose of correcting people’s Twitter grammar. If you’re interested, follow him at @kelseygrammer or his hashtag at #KelseyGrammerGrammar. Go Weird Al and Kelsey!

I hope you enjoy these articles as much as I did!

Readers, what articles did you enjoy over the past couple of weeks? Which one on my list was your favorite? Share a link or a comment!


Keeping you informed: Great links you should read — 14 Comments

  1. I loved the password story! What a great idea that I’m definitely going to implement! And as one who still sends handwritten postcards to friends, I really cherished the hand-writing experiment. It immediately made me think of Alton Brown (Food Network) who writes on lined post-it notes – snaps a pic and posts that to Twitter. I might have to embrace a few handwritten tweets – that would be fun. Besides I think seeing someone’s handwriting is so intriguing. It’s so uniquely personal that to me, a handwritten note brings that much more connection. I’ll check out the Weird Al link next!

  2. My chosen post to read is the FB one your shared. If I had not JUST invested in an online bootcamp which has one of its support platforms in a FB group, I would start this today. Now, that TO DO is on my list for the end of the program.

    I loved the Weird Al video! Love that guy’s work.

  3. I’d love to ditch Facebook but unfortunately, it’s the best way to keep in touch with family. Twitter and Tumblr have been much better for actually engaging with people. This is such a great list of stories. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I am going with the crowd here. Love Al Yankovic and the password story. Just goes to show if you hunt and peck enough online, you can find just about anything to suit your taste. Good round up and summaries. Enjoyed reading this.

  5. What a great round-up of awesome posts! I loved, loved, loved the password story! I also loved the video. I’ve been accused of being the “Grammar Police” on more than one occasion. FYI, I just Tweeted to Kelsey Grammer, too. Thanks for sharing your awesome finds! :)

    I might just have to use Weird Al’s video in a blog post. ;)

  6. I loved the password story. I don’t work in a company where I’m required to keep changing my password and typing it in. But there are no doubt other tricks we can use to jostle us out of a bad mood or help us to commit to a course of action. There are a lot of online programs — like communities that help members to lose weight. I tried, but that one didn’t work for me!

  7. I really enjoy the posts Open Culture shares. Just today I read a great post about Homeric heroes complete with an hand-drawn illustrative sketch. At times it’s possible to feel like one is on information overload. These are all interesting links, and I’m going to check out the Weird All one.

  8. Great Article. I too am a big Weird Al fan. I use to listen to him when he got his start on the Dr. Demento show.

  9. Great round-up! I had seen the Weird Al…so funny! As to the password post…to view it as an agent for change wad very inspired. Thanks for the share!

  10. Hi Jennifr; thanks for sharing these posts with us. I have already read number five and enjoyed it. will be checking out the other posts as round up posts like these are great for finding new friends with new voices to follow. I am planning to add one of these to my site the blind blogger. Once a month I’m going to feature three to five visually impaired bloggers in hopes of bringing them needed attention. thanks for sharing, max

  11. Love this roundup of posts you like. The password change is a burden for most of us but I think I might adopt that writers attitude and make it a mantra for change. A new years resolution every month.