SOPA and What You Need To Know

the internet needs you1 SOPA and What You Need To Know

The countdown is on, and SOPA is expected to pass through the Senate on January 24th. (*UPDATE 1/19/2012 : Key Supporters of the bill have backed down after Wednesday’s protest)

Tomorrow, January 18th, 2012, many of the most popular sites on the internet will be taking part in a ‘blackout’ of their sites to protest this bill.

While none of our sites are equal to Mozilla (Firefox), WordPress.org or Wikipedia‘s traffic (<<< those links will take you to posts on their stance on this bill), we are taking part, to show our disapproval of this bill in its current state.

Our own sites will be blacked-out.

While we sympathize with those who have their work stolen from piracy sites online, this bill is not a good compromise.

It will change the internet as you know it.

Please educate yourself on this topic (in addition to the links above):

Stop American Censorship
Strike Against SOPA
WIRED.com – Black out your site the Google friendly way
SOPA Blackout rebuffed by bill authors (*duh…)
and on…
and on…
and on…
and at this point of my list [not trying to be rude] but, I say, just do your own Google search on SOPA Blackout (see how there are currently more than 2600 (!!) news stories on this?)… There is so much info out there…

And if you are so inclined, please add these plugins to your WordPress sites:

SOPA Strike (you will see out black-out tomorrow, January 18th, 2012)
Stop SOPA Ribbon (you can see this in the upper right-side of this site)

On that note — all of our sites will be on ‘blackout’ tomorrow.

Educate yourself.

(*this post is being cross-posted on all of our sites: Archer Creative, Living The Life Fantastic, Karla Archer )

as always — please feel free to include your own links on this issue…

What good is blogging?

IMG 1550 300x300 What good is blogging?

Tonight I got sucked down a rabbit hole that placed me smack in the middle of my old blog posts.

Those journeys always start so innocently, don’t they?

All I wanted to do was check for broken links. But alas, I found myself thrust back into a different world that seems both a million years ago and yet, a mere second ago.

I’m not the first person to ponder the point of blogging, or what, if  any, value there is to it. Many have written about it way more eloquently than I will, but I couldn’t help but try to capture a bit of what I’m feeling right now.

Vulnerable: I was surprised by the rawness and openness that I had in many of my posts. Many of my posts were (are) soul-searching… seeking meaning and purpose in events that have occurred in my life. It’s hard to look over those sorts of things and not instinctively touch the spot where the wound has healed, no matter how invisible or ugly the scar.

Guilt: Blogging provides only a snapshot of a person’s life. As I read through some of those old posts, I cringed at the picture I portrayed of certain aspects of my life and the stories that weren’t being told.

Pressure: I always want to be moving forward and improving at the things that are important to me. Writing is one of those things. Yet, I sometimes put so much pressure on myself to write the next great blog post (heh) that no words come. I have a sheet filled with blog post topics and ideas. Dozens of unfinished drafts saved. I walk around composing blog posts in my head only to draw a blank when face-to-face with my monitor.

Comforted: While there are pieces missing on some levels, blogging adds a layer of richness to the legacy that we each have. While it may not be printed in a book that’s sitting on my shelf, the fact that I am leaving a trail of something that my children can one day read and, hopefully, understand me, and thus themselves more, brings me great comfort.

Grateful: I’ve had three computers die since I started blogging. I’ve lost hundreds of photos each time (excuse me while I try not to vomit at that thought…) Because I blog and share snippets of my life via photos, many of those photos were not gone forever. As I looked over photos I hadn’t seen in several years, I was flooded by the memories encapsulated within each image.

Encouraged: To be able to look back over experiences I’ve had and see how I grew from each is pretty amazing. (Along with that, I’m so grateful that I’ve written so much of these things down, because apparently, I have the worst memory ever. And who couldn’t use a reminder of how far they’ve come, once in awhile?)

All of these feelings flooded me tonight and it was important for me to sift through them and embrace each and every one.

Blogging has caused me to examine myself more. To see the importance in the stories that fill my life. To be grateful for all of the days I’ve had with my children, loved ones and friends, no matter how perfect or painful.

Is there value in blogging? Heck yeah.

(PS – if you dare venture back through my archives, be warned: while there is quite a bit of depth, there is also a lot of fluff. Oh, and if you see broken links, please let me know. I’d prefer to not have to head down the rabbit hole on a daily basis)

Processing a Disaster: restoration

One of the problems I keep encountering in my personal blogging is knowing where to write certain things. I’ve mentioned this dilemma before, and it frustrates me to admit that I am not one step closer to sorting it out than I was 5 months ago. (I’m still open to ideas, so feel free to weigh in)

Therefore, here I sit, attempting to write about my visit to Pleasant Grove, Alabama, three weeks after the fact.

Its taken about that long to begin to process what I saw.

As I’m sifting through it and trying to process it,  I am all over the board. On one level, I find myself racing to help. On another, I want to sit quietly and just pray. I recognize that people can only take so much before they shut it out completely, yet  I struggle with the desire to post every single article, photo and video I come across that pertains to the destruction and recovery.

Because in every way, this strikes something deep that ignites a fear. We long for control. For a sense of order. And nothing about this feels orderly.

IMG 5406 Processing a Disaster: restoration

While the entire state of Alabama and other parts of the Southeast continue to process this record-setting devastation and destruction, a fear that creeps in to our minds is that others will quickly forget and move on.

And there lies the trigger for my struggle for control.

What many are faced with every single day now is this:

IMG 5399 Processing a Disaster: restoration

Their lives and spirit broken and scattered in every direction.

From the outside, it has the appearance of  hopelessness. It’s scary; overwhelming.

I hear it so loudly in my head: How in the world can we pick up the pieces?

IMG 5398 Processing a Disaster: restoration

Until I find myself back in that spot where I recognize and acknowledge that I am not in control. I still have no answers for my children who ask why some were spared on one side of the street while the other side is gone. Who try to wrap their heads around whether or not God caused this…

I believe in a God who doesn’t cause the storms, but Who is with us through them.

4441 Processing a Disaster: restoration

(image credit: Church of the Highlands)

So even though I can’t hold and comfort every victim of this storm, nor wipe every tear that falls, I am seeing Him all around in the recovery and relief efforts. He is still here in the midst of it. And once again, I am reminded of how restoration works.

As love pours in…

IMG 5354 Version 2 Processing a Disaster: restoration

Restoration takes place.

IMG 5350 Version 21 Processing a Disaster: restoration

And pinned to the sleeve of a child’s shirt, I am spoken to:

IMG 53491 Processing a Disaster: restoration

Restoration will take place across the state and in our hearts.

To help those affected visit Magic City Post’s “Now It’s Time to Help” – many volunteer opportunities and lists of needs. Also included are ways that those not in the region can help directly.

For more related links, see my prior post “Pray for Alabama” and scroll to the bottom

Amazon Associates now integrated with Blogger

As of today, if your blog is hosted on Blogger.com,  you can easily add affiliate links to all of your posts.

With this integration, you will be able to link relevant text to products sold on Amazon directly within Blogger, while crafting your posts. No need to open a separate tab to hunt around for products.

blogger amazon screenshot thumb Amazon Associates now integrated with Blogger

To add links to your site:

1) Open an Amazon Associates and Blogger account, if you don’t already have one. If you already have a Blogger account but not an Associates account, you can create your Associates account directly within Blogger (so create your Blogger account first)

2) You will need to create a gadget associated with your account. Blogger provides simple steps for doing so.

blogger amazon screenshot3 thumb Amazon Associates now integrated with Blogger

(click images for more detail)

blogger amazon screenshot4 thumb Amazon Associates now integrated with Blogger

2) Once the gadget is created, your post area will now look like this:

blogger amazon screenshot5 thumb Amazon Associates now integrated with Blogger

Write your post as you normally would, including any text regarding a product.

3) Highlight the relevant text and the Product Finder will recommend the ones most closely associated with the text.

blogger amazon screenshot2 thumb Amazon Associates now integrated with Blogger

4) Choose to either insert the product link or an image of the product. The link will automatically include your Associate number.

Amazon wants to hear what you think about this, so they’ve created a hashtag (#AMZN4BLGR) to use on Twitter. Or you may contact them via the contact form.

2010 Digital Trends

3573703421 1b93e157af b 300x220 2010 Digital Trendsphoto credit

Wondering what the trends will be in the Digital world next year?

Here are some ideas from around the web:

1. Facebook Replaces Personal Email (via Marketing Charts)

2. More Flash, Not Less (via Marketing Charts)

3. Brands Must Become More Social Online (via DesignDamage)

4. Marketing Platform Extends to Mobile, Social, and Local in Real-Time (via DesignDamage)

5. Open source software starts making proper money, thanks to the cloud (via Branding Strategy)

Click on the above links to see the lists in their entirety.

What trends do you think will take place in 2010?