Archives for September 2011

How Facebook helped me find the most gorgeous piece of jewellery

I first met Ruth of Seba Dizajn on Facebook, when she took on my 30 Day Blogging Challenge. We exchanged a lot of messages regarding the challenge, and on the way I found out more about her and her husband’s bespoke filigree jewellery makers based in Korcula, Croatia.

Ruth and her husband hand make the most gorgeously delicate jewellery I’ve ever seen, and are nice people to boot.

I spent an age browsing through the photos on their website and Facebook page, before finally taking the plunge and asking them to design me something completely unique to me.

I wanted something that would represent my two daughters; Leigh is 19 years old and Olivia is 19 months old, an Aries and a Pisces respectively. Although I’m not a great believer in horoscopes and star signs, it seemed the perfect way to have a piece of jewellery that represented my love for both my children.

The birthstone for Pisces is amethyst, which Ruth sourced for me very quickly. The birthstone for Aries is a diamond, which was a little beyond my budget, so Ruth suggested a gorgeous white stone that is truly beautiful.

Throughout the design process Ruth emailed me pictures and asked what I thought – a touch that really made me feel a part of the project, and I was thrilled with the final design, which you can see on the left.

However, no matter how good the pictures are, nothing prepared me for the real thing! Delicate, swirly, beautiful and sparkly; I spent an age admiring it before finding a chain to put it on. It is truly gorgeous.

I can’t recommend Seba Dizajn highly enough; my jewellery arrived in about a week from Croatia to France, and the whole process took less than a month.

My first piece of bespoke jewellery, and all because of Facebook. Who says you can’t do business and find suppliers on what they deem is a personal social network? 😉

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What You Need to Know about Cloud Computing that Could Help Your Business – A guest post by Henry Fitzgerald

Cloud Computing is a fairly new technology, but it’s experienced rapid growth. Pretty much any business can gain benefit from it. Free programs like Dropbox or Shutterfly provide simple solutions while cloud computing companies can provide a lot of support and structure. Luckily, many companies provide both dedicated server and cloud computing services. The benefits of dedicated servers have been supporting businesses for years. The power behind cloud computing is less well known, but its efficiencies can be a huge benefit to any business.

Here are some of its best benefits:

Mobility
By storing your data on the Internet a user can access it wherever they have a connection. There is no more worrying about traveling with the appropriate content. It also makes it easier to share with clients. One can simply give them a link or password that they can use again and again as opposed to continually sending data through e-mail or hard mail.

Security
When a company puts information on a cloud-computing program like Dropbox or SharePoint they control who has access to the information. In the past, privileged information has been handed out to employees with a death sentence. Once an employee has sensitive data stored on their computer the process of getting it back can get hairy. With an internet server, however, the administrator can change who has access to files with just a few clicks. This keeps important documents in one manageable place, not floating around on tons of different systems.

Dependability
An inconvenient system crash can cripple a business. By storing information externally businesses no longer have to stress about suddenly losing everything. The information can be accessed from any computer, so one device is just as good as the next. This makes data storage more reliable as well as data transferring more efficient.

Sustainability
The days of filing cabinets are over. Storing information online saves paper but it also saves space and energy. Businesses no longer need an entire room for storing files. The energy spent copying, printing and storing files can be redirected. This makes cloud computing a valuable time and money saver.

Remote Working
One of the biggest benefits of Internet documents is that multiple people can view AND edit them at the same time. This replaces the need to make everyone stop what she or he is doing and come in for a meeting. As a result, collaborating across the office or across the world becomes equally simple.

Outsourcing
Outsourcing work isn’t just for large-scale global manufactures. Take the possibility of remote working a step farther and cloud computing can make having freelance workers possible. Sending work outside your walls makes it so that you can reach the best deals in cheap service. Additionally, having employees that work from home can save money. You can have a small office space and cut the costs that having, 20 extra people using the water, lights, power etc. would expend.

Cloud computing, whether through free software, more complex systems or a server company, can be a huge help to businesses interested in increasing efficiency and saving a little money.

Henry Fitzgerald is a technology consultant based in Seattle. When not geeking out over the latest tech gadgets, he spends his time cooking, playing soccer, and sailing. Check out his tech blog here or follow him on twitter:@hfitzy34

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5 Ways NOT To Market Your Services On Twitter

Follow me on Twitter logo

Image via Wikipedia

If you are a business owner who needs to learn about marketing, it’s important to learn how to Tweet for success. Like any other matter in marketing, there’s a right way to do things, and then there is the wrong way to do things. Those who want to market their services on Twitter should learn how to gain followers, but not by being these five marketers.

The Internet Explosion – Above all, this is the #1 thing you don’t ever want to do. Some very, very foolish business owners don’t know when to step away from the computer when they are angry about something. Once in a very blue moon, a Twitter marketer will post a rant about customers, or something along those lines, in a very unflattering light. If you ever post a rant about a customer, you can bet that people will always think twice about choosing you as the business they want to go to. Should you get the feeling that you need to do this, just back away from the computer, and get a cup of tea. You don’t need to sacrifice your business for a 5 minute revenge.

The Spammer – You have probably seen this one on Twitter. Constantly posting links without any information is a great way to get people to filter out your tweets at the blink of an eye. Customers won’t know whether you are a virused user, a business with a really terrible marketing approach, or a spam bot. For their own computers’ sakes, users will quickly stop following you if they feel this is what you’re doing. Actually put some effort in your Twitter marketing! Come up with real content that isn’t a pile of links or repetitive phrases, and your Twitter following will blossom.

The Trigger – Similar to the internet explosion, the person who posts something very controversial or incendiary will probably find a drop in their sales. Topics that could trigger a nasty backlash include politics, anything that could be considered racism, or anything that could be related to religion. Your customer base could include anyone. Why alienate them? Why alienate yourself? If it’s a really bad gaffe, your company could be faced with protesters and boycotts. Natural food megastore recently had an entire Twitter following devoted to boycotting their products after unsavory staff relations had come to light. Do you really want to be the one to spark your own Twitter boycott?

The Strong, Silent Type – Some people simply feel strange talking about their Twitter accounts off Twitter. And, it’s understandable. It can be awkward. But, if you don’t advertise your Twitter account, you won’t ever see enough followers for it to become a substantial part of your marketing campaign. The point of marketing is to get people included in your company, and to develop a better community around your company. Not telling them how to be a more active part of that community keeps that community from growing.

The Pre-Packaged Dealer – People can smell out fakers a mile away. You want to appear like a human being to them, which means that any message or following that appears to be manufactured will quickly be disregarded by most people. No one, but no one, wants to feel like they are talking (or listening) to a robot. This is why formula invites, tweets, and messages don’t work. Believe it or not, an organic approach with one or two tweaks might be the best approach that you can have on Twitter.

Done ‘properly’, Twitter can boost your web traffic, increase your sales, encourage referrals and build relationships – surely that’s what every business owner on Twitter wants?

What puts you off following people?

Still finding your way with Twitter? Need a helping hand? Check out my 30 Day Twitter Challenge to kickstart your Tweeting today!

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Google pays tribute to the late great Freddie Mercury

Had he lived, Freddie Mercury would have been 65 today – and I bet he would still have been up on stage, as flamboyant as ever! Unfortunately, as we all know, he died of AIDS related causes on 24th November 1991, and the world mourned the passing of a true talent.

I was (and am) a massive Queen and Freddie fan, so I was thrilled to pop over to Google today and see the Google Doodle in Freddie’s honour. Click on over to Google, press play on the logo and sit back and watch – it’s a great piece of work.

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Social Media & IP Law – A guest post by Henry Fitzgerald

Henry Fitzgerald talks to us about Twitter and Intellectual Property Law

Twitter is only as good as the people you follow. If you are a small business owner and interested in economics or business news then following people on the topic is necessary. Once you’ve figured out which papers, people and polls deliver the best tweets you will have built yourself a veritable business news powerhouse. At the same time someone interested in fashion or pop culture could just as easily create a streaming update of the latest celebrity gossip.

Twitter is a powerful tool to generate communication and voice, however when you’re dealing with someone’s personal voice you should be careful. Twitter is a fantastic means of expression and sharing; but you don’t want your “sharing” to warrant a visit from an ip attorney.

Intellectual property, commonly referred to, as “IP” is an equally hot and nebulous topic. Intellectual Property, technically, is someone’s creative work, “intangible asset” or something that took time and effort to produce as opposed to an item that someone purchased. Common pieces of intellectual property that are thought of as intangible assets are patents, artistic works, copyrights–even phrases can be seen as intellectual property—which is where Twitter comes in.

In 2011 Ryan Giggs, a premier league soccer player, sued Twitter in what I think is the best-known Twitter battle. Giggs had allegedly been involved in an affair with ex-reality TV star Imogen Thomas. Because Giggs was married with two children and thought of as one of the “gentlemen” of the game he thought it prudent to stifle the rumors. Gibbs was able to effectively quiet the London media but found no success with the U.S. Gibbs had no control over individual voices and his name was smudged across 75,000 different Twitter accounts.

When the lawyers representing Giggs asked for the information of the users who mentioned his name, things seemed out of hand. By trying to quell the rumors Giggs had merely called more attention to himself and his scandal.

The rise and fall of Napster is probably the best-known scandal involving Intellectual Property. Napster, of course, was a file-sharing website that allowed its users to upload and download music for free. Ultimately, Napster was completely shut down because the music it was providing is the property of the artists and recording studios, not Napster itself. Napster, after its recent rebirth, now sells music and pays licensing fees for its products.

Social media is a pretty new topic in the subject of intellectual property and can be very ambiguous. The area is made even grayer because so much of Twitter’s appeal is based on sharing and quickly passing along ideas, presenting others ideas haphazardly can cause a lot of problems.

In general the safest route for businesses that are using social media is to remain transparent. Even though Twitter limits your posts to 140 characters it’s important to credit users when retweeting or referencing. There are even applications that can lengthen your tweet just to make sure you can credit everyone fairly. If you are talking about someone, mention him or her. If you wouldn’t want that company or person to see what you are posting then you shouldn’t tweet it.

Twitter gains its power by being a concise and direct “micro blog,” but don’t let the speed and ease of it make you sloppy. Even in the quick, casual and contemporary social media world keeping yourself accountable will pay off in the end.

Enhanced by ZemantaHenry Fitzgerald is a technology consultant based in Seattle. When not geeking out over the latest tech gadgets, he spends his time cooking, playing soccer, and sailing. Check out his tech blog here or follow him on twitter: @hfitzy34
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