Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Post the best photos on blog or social media. For that, learn image concepts, use the top editing app.

Look at these facts:
  • It is extremely easy to put photographs on the blog and social media.
  • All bloggers and social media users have mobile phones with cameras - and most have a smartphone, i.e. mobile phone with internet connection.
  • Most users of mobile phone cameras do not take care to use camera features properly and therefore the photographs have many deficiencies of composition, color, lighting etc. 
  • All bloggers need to put photographs on their blog posts because that increases visitors' stay on the blog and their grasping the content better. Photographs also come up when the post is shared on social platforms such as Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter.
  • Many bloggers now blog on Instagram, where images and video do the most of talking. Some ppublish long posts on Facebook and LinkedIn, without having a standalone blog.
  • Different social media platforms have their own optimal shapes and sizes of photographs. On most platforms, use of text over photos makes them special. Sometimes, special effects lift the mood of the photo.
  • New mobile phones come with apps for editing images. In addition, smartphones can download editing apps - many of them are available free.
  • Proper use of camera (even on cheap phones) and editing can improve the quality of photographs. It is very important because once a poor-quality photograph is posted on the web, it gives poor impression about the one who has posted the photo. On the other hand, a good photograph can win appreciation. For bloggers, it adds value to the text content on the blog.

You can draw this conclusion from the above:
One must use camera on mobile by making the best available features on it and then edit the picture for removing blemishes before putting the photographs on blogs and social networking/ sharing accounts.

mkobile phone photography

Minor editing of photographs is very easy

It is very easy to 'touch up' photographs and you do not need special skills for that. Similarly, adding effects to photographs is usually a one-click action on most apps. There are many free tools available for computers and mobile phones that do the job easily. These  beauty is that if you do not like some change, you can go back to the original picture and start again.

Some quick and easy photo shooting and editing tips

In fact, the quality of photograph depends more on how and in what situations it was shot. If you have a good sense of composition (how different elements are arranged in the frame) and lighting, you can shoot very good pictures from an elementary camera. Now most mobile phone cameras come with good size (in megapixels) and a number of settings but most mobile users have never tried to learn how they operate. Believe me, these are very simple to learn.

Then comes editing. Most of the times we need to just re-size the picture or adjust its colors and lighting, and these are very easy to do. Effects are even easier to apply and the results are instant.

You should note one important thing here: if you do not know the basics of how a setting or tool in the camera or app makes changes to the quality of picture, you will not be confident of using that setting or tool. More than that, unless you have the basic knowledge of how the digital pictures are created, edited and stored, you will not be able to appreciate why and how much you should play with colors, lighting etc. It also helps to know some very important concepts that go with digital pictures (e.g. contrast, transparency, color intensity, blur, text overlay).

You can read these concepts on the web. If you want to learn them in a compact ebook, you can consider buying Better Digital Images from Amazon. It will take you through all the basic concepts of digital images and also give you numerous tips on photography.

Go for a mobile photo editing app if you do not want major image editing 

There are hundreds of apps on Google Play Store as welll as iPhone App Store that can carry out image editing. However, I find that Snapseed is the best app available at present.

Snapseed has a long list of editing features and can also apply numerous effects on photos. No learning is required; however, since there are so many options available, initially you might get confused on how much of an effect would be the best for a photograph. (If you know the basic concepts, it becomes very easy to choose the right tools and apply them to the right amount.)

mobile phone photo app

This app has long back received the recognition as the 'app of the year' on App Store. It is a Google product. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Live blogging: some organizations use it so brilliantly!

Live blogging (as defined in The Manual of Blogging) is when the blog runs updates on an event in a single post. The post is ‘live’ for a specified period (say, 24 hours) during which it carries updates on the event, the latest being on top. This can be called precursor of today's micro-blogging/ social networking (e.g. Twitter, Facebook) and chat (e.g. WhatsApp) timelines.

You might think that in this age of every event being relayed realtime on Twitter and chat apps, there is no place for more 'traditional looking' ways of sharing updates. Add to that the constant blaring of 'live reports' by television channels and thier apps, and live events on Facebook/ YouTube/ Twitter - and there seems no scope for a slower way of web-based reporting on events.

what is live blog?
Yet, live blogging is live and kicking! The use of live blogging by some organizations, including prominent news sites, shows that at times less visual and instant modes of communication are even more powerful than the happening media. Yes, when they are used for more grounded and serious updating of events. There is more scope for engagement and putting different points of views. Though Facebook/ Twitter/ YouTube live events or hangouts have a text comment stream running along side the video, that is too transitional for a more considered discussion/ arguments.

Let me give two recent examples of good live blogging: Take the case of Wired, the popular tech web-magazine. It ran a live blog to report Apple's launch of  new iPads and Macbooks.

Take another example. The Guardian, the highly reputed UK newspaper/ news website ran a live blog for giving updates on Hurricane Michael that devasted Florida and nearby areas in the US in October. During the peak, it had fresh news every 15 seconds or so. You can see the thread here (might go away after a while): Hurricane Michael updates on the Guardian.

The blog 'Blogging The Boys' must find an honrable mention whenever we talk of live blogging. This blog is devoted to the fan community of US football team Dallas Cowboys. The blog is always abuzz with activity, and its posts generate a lot of discussion around the topics that are carried on posts giving news on the team.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Travel bloggers fall to death while taking selfie

Two young Indian travel bloggers fell off a cliff at Yosemite National Park, California on Tuesday.

It is reported that the Indian travel blogging couple Vishnu Viswanath and Meenakshi Moorthy were taking selfie at Taft Point and a slip took them 800 feet down.

The Instagram blog of theirs shows how much they loved traveling and sharing their photographs on their blog. As in the case of most Instagrammers, they seem to be in a great hurry to turn top Instagram bloggers.

It so happened that Meenakshi, in hair dyed deep red, was captured just before their fall, on the selfie being taken by another Instagram blogger duo [dreaslaugh].

Meenakshi seen in the background, at Taft Point.

Ironical that on one of her Instagram post a few months back, Meenakshi had written this:
Sooo today on #socialmediabadasstribe we are talking about limits of #doitforthegram.😶Yeah sure it can be limitless but guys, we reaaaallly need to have boundaries(this is handy as life lessons too but we will revisit that later😉)
A lot of us including yours truly is a fan of daredevilry attempts of standing at the edge of cliffs ⛰and skyscrapers🌆, but did you know that wind gusts can be FATAL??? ☠️ Is our life just worth one photo?

Let the craft of writing not die... and how blogging can help

If I tell you that people are writing less than they used to write a generation back, you would perhaps not agree. You might say that even if writing on paper might have gone down, writing on the web and social media has more than compensated it.

The total weight of written words has definitely gone up due to rise in population, much higher level of economic activity and much much higher content generation on the social media. People are sharing content and commenting on social media all the time and generating billions of words a day, but if we exclude short and transitional content on social networks and chat apps, perhaps not much of substance is really being written.

Add to that the trend of sharing feelings and events through emojis, photos and videos. Use of photographs started with the advent of digital cameras, then cameras being available on mobile phones, then mobile cameras getting high-tech and enoght bandwidth being available to upload and download, and then social platforms making it easy to share videos. The trend towards videos is only rising and pundits predict that by 2020, 70 percent of web traffic will be in the form of videos. Add to that the coming of virtual assistants and improvements in speech recognition technology. These developments are making sure that talking to a machine would replace most of the writing that we do. That means, in a few years from now you will not need to write/ type out things unless you force yourself to do so.

blogging for writing

Having videos and photos to express yourself is fine, more so as it is less burdonsome and more effective than expressing in print. But there is a very dark side of the coin: people - especially the young ones - developing a dislike for writing. If you find the argument of no significance or too sweeping, I request you to read on for another one minute. (Again, you might not like to read further... because it also is in print and not as an image or a video!)

It is documented that children's capacity to write and do maths has been decreasing over the years, and the phenomenon is global. Many teachers have written on their blogs and have shared in other places that kids do not like to write essays or do creative writing. And since it does not pay in terms of better marks in higher classes or in employment, parents also do not see any value in teaching writing skills to their children.

Juxtapose that with how languages all over the world are growing: many non-English people have stopped communicating in their mother tongues and many languages that do not have value in finding employment or influencing marketing decisions are are being shunned by the new generation. So, the market is driving the adoption of English at the cost of native languages.

Come back to writing. Since the market and socio-technical forces are going against expressing oneself in written word, the will to write will diminish by the day and would find few takers like the native languages. There would be very little inducement to write, and only a bunch of people would continue to express themeselves in writing. If the trend continues, the toddler of today - when he becomes a teen and has all the gadgetry and virtual assistants in her command - would sure abhor the idea of writing or reading.

Blogging can promote good writing

Here comes the role of blogging. Blogging can be a very useful tool in the hands of young and old alike for expressing themselves in different ways including by writing down their feelings, their logic, their ideas.

Children, when induced to blogging at an early age, have been found to enjoy writing. Empirical studies have shown that students' ability to express themselves shows significant improvement - and that applies to small kids as well as university goers. Many examples of how children's focus, confidence, team-spirit and creativity have improved after they adopted blogging can be seen on educational blogs (edublogs).

Children who enjoy blogging are more likely to appreciate others' creativity and thus develop a natural appreciation of arts and literature, which lead to more humanized humans and more evolved civilizations.

Adults' writing abilities too can improve if they do blogging: not for money but for expressing themselves. Besides improving their writing skills, blogging can give them confidence as a writer. I have seen a number of bloggers who have published books after blogging on the subject for a while, many are able to write on the mainstream press based on their blogging experience. (Well, let me share that the two books that I have published recently are in a way an outcome of blogging.)  

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

A mommy blogger's advice to other bloggers.

Mommy blogging is one of the most popular blogging niche among women bloggers. This becomes the best place to share their motherhood and tips they themselves have learnt during the motherhood journey.

But there is a dark side to it. Katie Paulson could not be wrong because she has learnt her lesson after suffering due to her indiscretions.
Before I share what Katie has shared in her blog recently about blogging by mothers, let me tell that she maintains a blog that is well-read and she is happy about blogging - after she changed course.

The mistakes this mommy blogger made

Katie shared too much about her son till he was six, so much that complete strangers meeting them in public places would know the child by his name! Only when he was six did she realized that she was depriving herself and her child of privacy that was very much essential.

The child had multiple ailments and she had all the problems that come with such a situation and she would compose her posts on each of them and got kick out of people's validation.

She very candidly shares that she become so much of herself - thinking that what she shared was worth getting approbation all the time - that it ruined her social life.

As happens with all bloggers who expose themselves on the social media, she would get all types of responses - many of nasty kind. That too was avoidable.

mom blogging

And this comment from Katie perhaps applies to many mom bloggers: they are not experts but after having become a mom, give all sorts of advice to curious would-be moms and new moms.
You can visit the post from Katie here: 4 WaysMommy Blogging Disrupted and Harmed My Life

It is a good reminder for mommy bloggers that while this blogging niche is quite rewarding in many ways, the blogger must be discreet in what and how much she shares.