Martine Rolls: Entertaining a crowd


What I love most about the internet is that it always grows, at rapid speed.

If you have a few hours, browsing around online can move you in the most unexpected directions. In the last few days, I have taken some time to further explore some of the new developments online.

My eye is easily caught by great design, as well as clever use of social networks for brand awareness. I have a special interest in new online initiatives that quickly gain a huge following.

New sites that are integrated with social media networks like Twitter and Facebook are easily discovered and explored. If they look good and work well, they can become very popular in no time at all. Other ways to find interesting new sites and networks are making good use of Google, or sites like stumbleupon.com.

Creating a buzz online today is all about sharing. It's an easy and accessible way to discover new trends, keep up to date, and to get connected.

The latest craze I see on Facebook at the moment is Pinterest. I have only just started playing around, but I think I am falling for it.

Pinterest is a digital pin board full of images of beautiful and interesting things.<inline type="recurring-inline" id="1003" align="outside" enforce-sites="no" />

Pinterest looks great but I must admit that it's a little girly. By reading about it on several blog posts, I found out that 97 per cent of Pinterest's Facebook fans are women. It seems that there is little of interest for the average bloke on this website even though History, DIY, Geek, Technology and Architecture are popular themes.

So is there a social network that mainly targets men? Most sites with men in mind are business-like networks or sites from men's magazines.

A good one I came across recently was artofmanliness.com. It's an American website for guys who want to keep up with what's cool in the world of males. If all this is a tick too Yankee for you, then you can check out the cool men's stuff gathered on getfrank.co.nz.

What I found out so far is that many men, geek and non-geek alike, enjoy blogging. Women like it, too. A blog is like having your own voice on the web.

The great thing about blogs is that there are very few rules. On several occasions, I have played with the thought of setting up my own, but right now I simply haven't got the time to do it right. I'm already struggling to fit everything else in most days.

But if there are plenty of things you would like to share with people, and you have enough to say to keep an audience informed or entertained on a regular basis, then set yourself up at blogger.com or blogspot.com. The site is managed by Google so you'll have to set up a Google/gmail account if you haven't got one already.

Pick a template, customise it to create a blog that suits your personal style, and start writing. In case you find it helpful, you can find plenty of tips and tricks on the internet to help you establish and increase a following.

You can email all your contacts to let them know you have started a blog and tell them a little bit about what they can expect. You can use the Blogger Following Feature on blogger.com as well as your Twitter and Facebook pages to get people to read and start following your blog.

When it comes to writing for the blog, make sure to be consistent and deliver attention-grabbing copy. Be aware of structure and a logical flow, as writing for the web is a little different than writing to your friends or for a magazine. A blog should not be all about you, unless of course you are a major character. It's about your audience, and what they are interested in.

It's a good move to use search engine optimisation (SEO) so people can find you and just a small word of warning: when you post photos, watch out for copyright restrictions.

Feel free to spice it up where you can and even though it is all right to be controversial, there is no point in offending people because you will rapidly lose momentum.

Basically, the number one rule for a successful blog is that you have to keep it going. Rule number two is: do whatever you like.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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