Today is a big day for me and for Shane Birley, my co-author on “Blogging for Dummies, 2nd Edition.” We’re having a book launch party! I haven’t done this with either of my other books. It can be hard to find the energy to plan an event like this after you’ve written the whole book and done a bunch of marketing. But this time friends urged us not to let the opportunity go, and even helped organize it (Thanks Allyson!).
This is an RSVP event, but we still have a few slots available, so if you would like to come, let me know and I’ll put you on the list. Here are the details:
Wednesday, Feb. 13, 6 pm - 9 pm
Railway Club Chill Lounge
579 Dunsmuir at Seymour
File this one in the category of interesting reasons people chose to blog: a CNN story today explains how a women used blogging to help lose weight.
Writer drops 168 pounds, blogs to inspire others
In February 2005, Bering was finally ready to do something about it. Never one to join a club or like big crowds, she decided to join Weight Watchers online. She also started walking at the track at a local university. At first, she walked a mile and then a mile and a half, two miles and eventually she completed a 5K in 38 minutes.
But Bering said the one thing that’s helped her most is her blog.
The thing I like best about this story is that there really isn’t a story here at all: I don’t think we’re really so hard up for news that “woman loses weight gradually” ought to make CNN. The news “hook” here is that blogging helped her lose the weight.
And if that’s the news hook, then the real point the story is making is: blogs can be used for something besides narcissistic navel-gazing while wearing pajamas during the middle of the day. Woah.
Everybody loves a good poll, right? Well, everybody loves to answer short questions and measure themselves against others, so the answer is definitely yes! Luckily for bloggers there are several very good tools you can use to put a poll on your blog. Some blogging software even has a polling function built in!
Just because I’m a word person, I have to take a moment to let you know that really, we shouldn’t be using the word poll at all. We’re really talking about a survey. Polls, by definition, are more rigorously administered than a survey, with an attempt made to ensure that a truly random sampling of people are interviewed so that the results are truly a measure of public opinion. Surveys, on the other hand, don’t attempt to do anything but find out the opinions of a bunch of people. I know it sounds similar, but trust me—it’s not. For instance, when you ask a question of those who visit your blog you aren’t getting a truly random sample of the population. After all, it can be a random sampling of the public since it is limited to readers of your blog!
Anyway, if you want to do a survey on your blog, one of my favorite tools is PollDaddy. PollDaddy lets you quickly and easy set up a survey or a poll using 11 types of questions (like multiple choice or fill in the blank), several different looks, and then pop it into your blog post or blog sidebar. (Polls have only one question; surveys are mutliple questions.) PollDaddy tracks the answers and gives you the results in a downloadable file. There is also a pay version that gives you the ability to do more questions, and get information about those who vote in your polls. It’s pretty cool! You can sign up for a free account at http://www.polldaddy.com/. I set up this quick poll in about two minutes.