What’s the deal with that hashtag thing?

Live to Write - Write to Live

Last weekend, at the blogging panel (which, by the way, was a blast) during the question and answer period, a woman asked about hashtags – “what are they?”

facebook-hashtagIf she asked that, then I figured someone else in our audience might have the same question. Here is the scoop about hashtags.

A hashtag is just that little crossed symbol on your keypad that used to be called the number sign (#).

It’s used on social media (mostly Twitter but it’s on other sites, like Facebook, as well) as a way to do searches. Hashtagged words act as keywords in a search. Think about it, how many words do you know in the English language that start with #? I’m guessing that you can’t come up with many. Because of this, hashtags are used on the internet as a way to easily do searches.

Finding information with Hashtags

Let’s say I’m…

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How to Get More Blog Followers

Nicholas C. Rossis

My dear friend MMJaye published this awesome blog post today, titled 13 Strategy-Altering Blogging Stats, that was based on a post by Mitt Ray of Social Marketing Writing.  Mitt has taken all blog-related statistics he could lay his hands on and created a superb infographic that is an excellent resource for all us bloggers.

Along with the blogging stats, Mitt has provided some tips on how they can be used to create a better blog.  He also lists his original sources, which is a great idea for anyone looking for some extra reading into this. I have converted these to easy-to-follow links, for your convenience. I suggest you take a look whenever you have some free time to spare; they make for a fascinating read. On the other hand, the most important lessons are already included in Mitt’s infographic, so even if you’re pressed for time (and who isn’t?), you can just look at…

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My Smart Phone is Dumb

smartphone 109

I shuffled my way to the lady behind the customer service counter, “How come other people’s smart phones are smart and mine is dumb? I paid for a smart phone, but it doesn’t do anything.”

The representative scratched her head. I continued. My granddaughter’s phone can text, email, take selfies, instagram (whatever the heck that is), play games, take pictures, and do a bunch of other stuff I’ve never seen before. My phone looks just like hers . . . so why is hers smart and mine dumb?”

Rep: “Can I see your phone please?”

I handed her my phone. The screen was completely blank . . . as blank as the look on my face.

Rep: “You just need to charge the batteries in your phone.”

Me: “My phone has batteries?”

Rep: “Uh . . . huh.”

Me: “I don’t want a phone that has batteries.”

Rep: “Would you rather have a land-line phone?”

Me: “No. I want a phone that sits on my kitchen counter.”

The look on her face was as blank as the screen on my dumb smart phone, so I walked out of the store.

Boy, some people sure are dumb.

Swollen Vulva?


That little thing that hangs down the back of my throat was crimson red and swollen. It looked sort of like a puffer fish—only down my throat. It was so inflamed, I could hardly swallow water. Forget about chewed up food.

It was time to call the doctor. I hate calling my doctor. No kidding. Actually, I never get to speak to the doctor. No, I have to go through the operator, and then talk to one of the receptionists at the nurses station.

It’s never fun to call them. They all know me by name. How can that be? There’s at least 50,000 patients that go to the clinic. How come all the nurses know my name? I hate that. It makes me feel self-conscious. I hate feeling self-conscious. I mean it.

Anyway, when I talked with one of the receptionist at the nurses station she said, “How can I help you?”

Me: “Ahem.” (cleared my throat) I have a terrible sore throat. It’s so sore that the little thing that hangs down in the back of it is really swollen. I can hardly swallow.

Nurse: “Little thing? You have a little thing down your throat?”

Me: “Yes. We all do. You know, that little thing that hangs down at the very back of our throats? I think it’s called a vulva.

Nurse: Busts out laughing.

Me: “What’s so funny?”

Nurse: “Just one moment please.”

She then covers her hand over the phone mouthpiece. I could tell because I heard her muffle to everyone. “LaRae thinks the ulna in her mouth is a vulva.”

I waited on the phone for about five minutes before everyone stopped laughing.

Nurse: “Sorry.”

Me: “What?”

Nurse: “Um, sorry you had to wait.”

Me: “Could you just talk to the dang doctor and tell him I need some antibiotics for my swollen vulva?

Enormous clap of laughter. I think she had me on speaker phone.

Me: “Hey. This isn’t funny. I’m really sick.”

Nurse: (Trying not to laugh) “I know. I’m sorry. (Giggle) I’ll talk to the doctor right away.”

Me: “Thank you. I really appreciate it.

When I went to hang up, I heard more laughter from the clown station.

What’s up with them?

The 12 Most Important Twitter Hashtags for Promoting Your Book


readers+writers journal

The Twelve Most Important Twitter Hashtags for Promoting Your Book

Hashtags are, arguably, the most important part of tweeting.  Without these keywords that categorize the subject of your tweet, you’re never going to reach your target audience. If you’re using Twitter to promote your book, it’s crucial that you use hashtags wisely.

How, How Often, How Much

Social media is, ideally, about reciprocity, connecting and interacting.  It works best when it’s a two way street, but too many marketers see it as just another venue for repeating their message over and over and over, regardless of the appropriateness of the audience.  These folks are what are affectionately known as spammers.  And they get blocked very quickly.

Your goal should be to provide useful information to people who are interested in what you’re interested in.  With that in mind, you should try to limit your book promotion tweets to 1 or 2 a day.

Sharing helpful articles or re-tweeting videos that…

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Technical Advice from a Clueless Baby Boomer

#dangfunny #humor #entertainment

The Crazy Lady Speaks


Can you see me? Of course you can’t. I’m in cyberspace, I think. I’m lost in some weird place that people call the Internet, but I call it Bizarre-O World.

Something crazy happened while I wasn’t looking. Something called the World Wide Web, or the Internet—maybe they’re the same thing. I don’t know. I can’t understand a thing about either one. I just know spiders come with webs. I don’t like spiders. They scare the heck out of me. I hate moths more than spiders, so, if the World Wide Web is for a huge spider, I can accept that better than if it was for a gigantic moth.

All I know is I got left in the dust. I think the younger generation created a way to escape a much wiser and older generation, like me. Well, guess what? I’m not going to let that happen. I’m not gonna…

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