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How Will Losing Net Neutrality Affect Small Businesses?

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By Jeff Windecker

The term “net neutrality” has recently been appearing in the media. Net neutrality, loosely defined, means that all web traffic is equal; every site loads at the same speed (depending on your internet connection) and is available to all consumers to find online.

No preferential faster service is being given to any single one website or company. However, if small business websites were to lose net neutrality, what are the potential ramifications?

The current United States Congress is currently debating enacting regulations to preserve or dispose of net neutrality. Representative Greg Walden (R-Ore), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, has said he opposes any legislation that would regulate net neutrality.

While both parties agree a free and open internet is positive, Republicans, led by Walden, are debating if net neutrality limits freedom by adding too much regulation that stifles innovation in the telecom industry. They are trying to strip the FCC’s authority to enforce strong internet protections.

Recent developments have FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler proposing the organization uses its authority under Title II of the Communications Act to protect neutral consumer broadband internet, in an effort to stop Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from possibly throttling website load speeds and potentially charging premiums to run streaming or social media sites faster. President Obama is in favor of this Title II proposal.

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If net neutrality is lost, huge entities like Facebook and Amazon could buy preferential treatment from ISPs for faster, more reliable service, giving them a huge advantage over smaller competitors. This creates internet inequality, where the playing field is tilted in the favor of big money, stifling innovation from smaller competitors that could provide a better service or product.

Online companies especially need a neutral internet to even attempt to compete with large corporations. ISPs could also slow down sites that won’t comply with their possible financial requirements, which could be tantamount to legalized extortion.

Similar to how telecom companies bundled major cable channels together to form cable packages, ISPs could also offer/enforce internet packages that only include bundles of major sites for a certain low fee, which could be enticing to consumers on a budget. However, this could effectively negate their ability to access a free and open internet, and could close off access to a variety of small business sites from millions of consumers. ISPs could essentially pick and choose the online content for millions of consumers, limiting free speech and their ability to express their free speech.

Net_NeutralityThis could result in extra costs to small businesses to even be included on internet packages, which would require a higher premium for consumers to access more sites and get faster service. Online companies that are dependent on video marketing for traffic would crumble, as they couldn’t afford to pay ISPs to host and share their content.

It would limit the ability for consumers to even see these marketing videos. Also, any and all costs invested to make and produce videos they currently had would be a total financial loss, as they still couldn’t host and share them online without paying.

If you’re a small business owner that depends on being online, keep a close eye on the net neutrality issue. It is important to keep the internet neutral, free and open for all to access it as they wish, for the continuation of successful online business. Regulating a utility does not stifle innovation or freedom, it allows for an equal playing field and fights against monopolization of the internet by large organizations and companies. Allowing the Internet Service Providers to control speed, access and the information you see online will destroy small businesses in North America.

Like this article? Check out our blog at http://www.fokusyn.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jeff_Windecker
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10 Ways to Feed a Starving Artist

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brainstormThanks to MyBlogU I was able to collaborate with a group of knowledgeable and wonderful people to get answers to the question: How do you feed a starving artist?

A lot more than 10 ideas are shared, but 10 people are doing the “talking”.

“Listen”!

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Matthew Gates – Confessions of the Professions

Have a website where you present and sell your work.

If you live in a city with tourists, go set up shop on a sidewalk or in a park and show off and sell your artwork.

Sign up for Fiverr and learn the tricks of the trade: Yes, you will only get about $3.90 after a sale, but you need to learn how to up sell the $3.90, that is the icing on the cake, make your clients want more from you. Reel the client in, give them just enough to be satisfied.

If you offer something unique and different as far as art goes, offer training lessons and charge a fair price per hour or per lesson via Skype or in person.

In continuing the idea from above, find after-school centers or activity centers and see if they will hire you for a few hours a week to offer lessons to others.

Attend Comic Cons or Arts & Crafts Fairs and sell your work there – don’t be greedy – sell it for a price that makes people believe it is not too much and not too little. I’ve seen people sell beautiful artwork for as little as $5 (or 4 for $20) — they know it is not much, but it is something, and they might just sell it to that one person who wants to buy it all and then some.

Learn the art of up selling, for example, someone at Comic Con put their artwork on a metal plate, signed their name and wrote 1 out of 50 on the back. He assured me that he would only ever be making 50 pieces of this particular artwork and that I would have the first one.  Why wouldn’t I want the first one of only 50? Maybe in 20 years, when they are all released, I am the FIRST – only 1 out of 50-people that owns that particular artwork. He assured me that any other piece of art I wanted that day would be half price.

He also gave me a card in which he wrote a unique number on it – this way, if I ever see him again, all I have to do is show him the card and he will give me a 20% discount on all his future artwork.

Be unique, different, and crazy. Stand out and make people laugh. Humor and weirdness will always grab people’s attention. If you are like everyone else, you are just like the average person who gets looked at once and passed over.

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Additional advice:

Gain as much insight into the world of these fields: Entrepreneur, Business, Marketing, Advertising, and Psychology.

Have a steady day job until your talent and skills as a starving artist are so in demand, you won’t have time for a day job, because your passion will become your day job.

Know that you are never a failure and that your vision stands for something: You do have something to offer the world.

I advise you to check out one of my idols, the violinist Lindsey Stirling, for example, whom was shot down and told she had nothing to offer by 3 judges on America’s Got Talent. She knew she had something unique and different to offer the world, she just had to figure out how to sell it to the world and overcome what the judges told her she could not do.  She is now a millionaire traveling the world, playing her music, and America’s Got Talent has asked her to perform for the audience multiple times.

Believe in yourself and know you can do it no matter what anyone tells you. Never see rejection as failure. Never see failure as the end. Everything in your life that happens to you is an opportunity and a possibility for anything to happen. Anything is possible.


Natalia – Blogger & Jewelry Artist

incomestreamsI know very few artists who can make money just one way. Most likely you will be successful if you can set a few different streams of income. Go to craft fairs, sell in the galleries, have a blog and build your online presence. Sell online through web-sites like Etsy, Dawanda and Zibbet (choose only one or you will have zero free time if you are trying to be everywhere).

Take commissions. Consider teaching your art, as teaching is actually a very good source of income. Constantly create new work, you need a lot of it to get noticed. The most important, do not give up.


Katie DeCicco – Celebration Saunas

music-in-fashion-lisa-vaglund-537x402The most important aspects of our strategy to get more venues and more CD sales is as follows:

  1. A WordPress website to drive fans and potential clients to.
    • An easy navigation system with the option to buy from the home page.
    • Samples available to listen to or view.
    • You should also have an events calendar that should appear full of private parties or venues to create the illusion of popularity.
  2. A cdbaby or tunecore account –  This is an excellent way to get your music played on online music or  radio stations with similar artists.
  3. A gigmasters account – Our profile helps us recruit new clients seeking jazz musicians for events.
  4. A paypal account Everyone wants to pay with a credit card.  You must be able to accept credit cards and Paypal is one of the easiest methods to do so.
  5. Social Media accounts. Create a dialogue with your fan base and potential clients. FB, Twitter, LinkedIn. Friend and follow everyone you can and help each other push events, messages or publications.  You need a following to get the word out.
  6. Cross promotion of high-end local products.  For Celebration Saunas our products range in price from $1495 through $5999,abigpurchase for most people.  As an online company it’s important that I develop those relationships in order to get the sale and once I close the sale I reinforce my customers good choice buying my product by sending them a thank you card, my business card and a CD called Simple Measures by Doug Roche the jazz pianist for GAME Jazz.  Why? I want repeat business and referrals from my clients and this an inexpensive, unique gift that gets me remembered.
    • It can take up a lot of time to send out those CDs so the artist does it for me.  As an order comes in I forward it to Doug. Doug packages the CD, my business card and a thank you card to all of my customers for $15 per CD.
    • This is an excellent service to me and an opportunity for Doug to increase his fan base within the right demographic.
    • I encourage all artist to look for companies with high-end products attractive to your fan base and promoting your Music or Art as a free gift with purchase.  Car dealerships and Real Estate Agencies are always looking to create loyalty with their customers and their big purchase.
  7. Talk to reporters.  Get on HelpAReporterOut.com, MyblogU, or SourceBottle to push your art your message and personal brand.  Develop these relationships and deliver sensational and controversial content designed to get your name out there and hook people who would otherwise be disinterested in your art.
  8. Killer Content that gets read: Think of the new movie “The Interview”.  I’ve seen it.  Why?  Because I wanted to know what the North Koreans found so offensive.  Am I a big fan of Seth Rogan movies?  Not necessarily.  Will this movie make my top 20 list.  Probably not but they did create and urgency that I needed to see it to defend my freedom of speech rights as an American.  Aside from the actual terrorism of Sony Pictures, Marketing wise this is the biggest free publicity seen every day in the news since the hacking event occurred.  The point is:  How many people would have watched the movie before the hack?  How many more have watched it because of the hack?  In your own content you want to get people talking about you.  Good, Bad or Ugly.  Press is press – go for it.  Read or listen to the book “Trust Me I’m Lying” by Ryan Holiday to find ideas to create this type of media frenzy.

Rajeev BagraiWebazoid

facebook-moneyLeverage Facebook to create your own brand (which can be you as individual or in the form of business page). After providing free or paid stuff, request for a Facebook (or any other social media that you prefer) like. Have a link of your website/blog (in case you cannot afford for the time being, go for free ones) on Facebook. Include affiliate links of products that you can sell directly to customers on your website. Make use of website to earn revenue through sales which can even be selling flight tickets or mobile recharge to your friends and relatives.


Somali K Chakrabarti  – Scribble and Scrawl

contestFirst you need to keep a track of contests in your field and participate in those contests to showcase your talent. If you win, it may open up new possibilities. Second is to identify influencers in your field and try to get a recommendation of your work from them that you can use as a reference for approaching others for work.


 Alex Yong  – TechMANia411

no-starving-logo-copy

Why “starving” ? Have you heard of the #AntiStarvingArtists hashtag on Twitter? It was created by Nik Parks.

As the hashtag suggests, it’s a movement pertaining to the world of creative professionals and self-sufficiency issues, which a lot of people think don’t go hand in hand.


Philip Turner – Teacher & Entrepreneur

EntrepreneurI am not rich, but no longer starving either – I can afford to fill my oil tank ($800), which I couldn’t last year.

My Story – I am a teacher by training, taught for 27 years. I moved to Ireland for a temporary teaching job, contract not renewed after 1 year. I applied for all manner of jobs, eventually got one working 24/7 standby as a security van driver, repairing ATMs around Ireland. I was made redundant in 2010 aged 57. I had no option but to work as a writer online.

I built up my knowledge, reputation and contacts at InfoBarrel.com for 2 years. People I met on the forum offered me paid work because of my reputation. Every paid job I have had since 2010 has been from someone I met in a forum!

Moral? Help other people 24/7, 100%. Don’t expect any reward, but welcome it if it comes.

My Philosophy Now – The 5 Currencies – Time, Knowledge, Reputation, Contacts, Money – Use every 24 hours of Time every day to grow my Knowledge, Reputation and Contacts. Take every opportunity to spread my Knowledge. The Money just happens – AND it really does work like that!!


Navneet - Javamazon

fluence-ogFluence is a great place to find authors, music artists and much more. They send you submissions and all you have to do is write a review about their work. Also you can feature them by extending your help to feature them.

Try fluence.io to help music, writers and artists.


Deborah E * Jazz Singer

WE_GOT_THE_JAZZThe strange thing, for me, is that I have been told that I am “so good” that it is assumed that I am with a major label.  As a result, I am often excluded from the “starving artist” category because everyone assumes that I have the financial and production backing of a major label.

Also, I was #1 in Los Angeles, for a year, on the Jazz Charts on Reverbnation.  People have written about me as a “legend.”

But, still, the reason I fit in the “starving artist” category is because people download and listen to my music and I have a good fan base, but there is no profit. My music is funded through my social media consulting (socialwebcafe) and not only do I not make money on it, but it hasn’t even been a drop in the bucket for paying for the production and distribution costs.  Basically, I give my music away for free and as a gift.

I have had so many people say, “Why are you not doing the Deborah E gig full-time?”  Well, because then my children wouldn’t eat.  So, instead, I share my music because I love people and love to share.  :)


 Maxwell Ivey – The Blind Blogger

networkingI’m a totally blind coach aspiring public speaker blogger sometimes podcaster and recent self published author. My book is called Leading You Out of The Darkness Into The Light and it’s a short motivational book with exercises that the reader is encouraged to work through and report on their progress via email.

I’m hoping this will result in people actually making progress and it makes my offering unique. This idea I’m going to tell you about isn’t mine but its one me and a fellow coach are working on. She is a coach in California that is part of a women’s professional group. She made a presentation at a conference recently where she put out a poster of my book cover and encouraged people to buy it. She wanted to offer print copies of my book for sale but they aren’t available yet, so she gave them an opportunity to buy the e-book plus pre-order the print copy at the event for a low package price.

I’m thinking this is something that could be replicated by other authors. its something I’m exploring and getting other friends of mine to do at their events. of course once I start attending networking events I will have to return the favor. I have done guest posts and have been interviewed for podcasts, blog articles and radio shows.


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Does Your Blog Need a Makeover?

dionne warwickBut Dionne, we ALL need a makeover!

Have you ever visited a blog that looked a hot cluttered mess and it made you leave immediately? The colors were off and there was way too much going on and you couldn’t find anything you were looking for? That blog needs a makeover!

All blogs at some point will need a makeover, even the best of the best. If for no other reason than to give your readers and yourself a fresh perspective or to just jazz things up a bit.

A blog makeover is more than just adding a new banner, changing the color scheme or implementing a background. A blog makeover includes making changes to the theme, layout, navigation and even involves changing the content.

All these changes will go a long way to increase your readership, subscribers and overall fan base.

It doesn’t matter how great your music, book or art is. If the presentation sucks no one is gonna buy from you.

dangerouskissHi! I’m Dangerous Lee, your Social Media Makeover Specialist! How may I help you?

I recently provided Blog Makeover reports for Vas Littlecrow and Dana Ellington Myles. Read their testimonials:

Vas: WOW! This report is amazing.

The week before I implemented some of the changes that Dangerous Lee recommended for my site, I was averaging 26 visitors a day. The week I began changing my website based upon Dangerous’s analysis, I averaged 46 visitors a day. Five and a half days after that, my traffic averaged 74 visitors a day.

Did I mention that I haven’t even finished implementing all of her recommendations? I am not one to argue with results: Dangerous Lee’s advice works!

Vas wanted to have steadier more consistent traffic. I’d say she’s on her way to reaching and surpassing that goal.

Dana: It took less than 24-hours for her to provide me a thorough report, complete with suggestions, links, and data that I never would have thought to look for regarding the efficacy of my site.

Dana wants to increase engagement on her blog. That can be a little more tricky than reaching traffic goals because to increase engagement you need to more readers/subscribers (which is a job in itself) and then build relationships with those subscribers and ask open-ended questions or include a call to action in each blog post.

I can help you with that too!

You can’t talk at your readers, you must talk to them.

Order a Blog Makeover Report on Fiverr!


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I believe in teaching people how to do things for themselves. You can learn how to give your blog a makeover instead of hiring someone else to do it all for you.

You are an artist for goodness sakes; you can do it!


 

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How To Make Money Blogging With WordPress

Multiple Strategies On How To Earn Money Blogging With WordPress

wordads

The article below, written by Wade Byrd, talks about making money with a WordPress.org blog. The Dangerous Lee Network is created on the free WordPress.com format. To learn more about the differences between the two as well as the pros and cons, read this explanation from WordPress Support.

At some point in the near future I will move this website to the self-hosted WordPress (.org) format because I will have more control, more creative opportunities and most importantly I will be able to make more money.

However, if you already are or plan to blog on WordPress.com, they do have an exclusive ad program called WordAds. In 2014, I made $1,126.07 by participating in this program!

Remember, as a starving artist you have to think of multiple streams of income! Create a blog that gets lots of traffic and your earnings will soar!

Be sure to join the #feedart campaign and sign up for my Blogging for Starving Artists newsletter. You’ll get exclusive updates, not shared on the Dangerous Lee Network, and you’ll receive the Starving Artist Resource Guide FREE just for signing up.

Over to you Wade…

wordpress-history By Wade Byrd

Blogging is a great option when it comes to making money online. WordPress is the most popular blog software because it’s easier to use when compared to other blogging software such as Blogger. It has powerful features such as plug-ins and web templates, which uses a template processor.

Blogs can be a part of an existing website or independent if one does not have an established website. The good thing about blogging with WordPress is the monetization part. Here is what you need to know about how to earn money blogging in WordPress.

Before you start your blog in WordPress, if your goal is to make money, do a brief research on a profitable niche. The topic and the domain name of your blog should contain words that suggest you offer help in a certain field.

For instance, if the potential niche is selling computer hardware and software to people experiencing computer problems, “fix computer problems” might be a good direction and a good domain name to make it appear at the top of search engine results.

When you have selected an appropriate market niche, start blogging. The design of your blog should contain content, videos, or images for organizational purposes. The most important factor that expert bloggers suggest when advising people on how to earn money blogging in WordPress is the quality of the content.

wordpress-tag-cloudThe next stage is running ads on your blog. This is done with programs like Google AdSense. You must apply for Google AdSense and once approved, your account will be activated.

This stage requires your blog to be up and running to drive traffic to it. You get paid when people visiting your blog click on the ads. These ads are paid per click and the payment ranges from $0.05 to $20 according to the ad placed on your blog.

Expert bloggers who advise people on how to earn money blogging in WordPress recommend promoting their blog on social media and to become affiliates of people selling multiple products related to their blog topic and category.

Becoming a member of a membership site is also another way of monetizing your blog.

When your blog is generating sufficient income, you can then become a full-time blogger. Serious bloggers earn $500 to $ 5000 and more a month. In addition, you can find other helpful information on how to earn money blogging in WordPress on the internet.

Wade Byrd has a passion for helping people in home based businesses who want to get better results and make more money by understanding how to make money on WordPress. For more information on Wade and how he can help you make more money, visit his web site at http://wadebyrdonline.com/blog

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Wade_Byrd http://EzineArticles.com/?Multiple-Strategies-On-How-To-Earn-Money-Blogging-In-WordPress&id=8851346


make money with your web site

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5 Hot Public Relations Trends for 2015

pr-vs-marketing-infograph

By Stephen C Turner

2015 is here. Time to fine tune your public relations and marketing strategy and set a direction for business growth in the new year.

Five marketing trends stand out that will help you better connect with your targeted audience, confirm or change perceptions with stakeholders and clients, and convert more prospects into customers.

1. Focus on visual storytelling.

The growth and use of mobile devices is requiring marketers to become more creative and more precise as they communicate with potential customers. This includes formulating messages that are not only interesting but also digestible in the smaller platform.

One way to achieve this goal is to use more graphics, more photos and more videos as opposed to long form text.

Instead of a three page blog or email, focus on telling your story creatively. Like any good book, generate a beginning with a thought-provoking ending.

Use visual mediums to deliver the message. The result will be better viewership, better readership, and an increase in customer engagement.

2. Use More Video.

A 2014 trend continues. In a recent study by Sharaholic.com an analysis focused on various levels of engagement from different social sites. The site with the longest time of engagement, average pages per visit, and lowest bounce rate was YouTube.

Google+ was second and LinkedIn third. Interestingly Twitter and Facebook were well behind toward the end of the pack.

By its nature, video is entertaining and engaging. It lends itself perfectly to visual storytelling. Therefore if you use any of these social sites for marketing purposes, think video first.

3. Content Marketing is Still King.

Those companies that consistently create valuable content will gain a giant step on their competition. This includes reaching customers through a variety of channels.

The goal is to provide insight to your audience. When done correctly you can build rapport with your targeted demographic and build a loyal following.

Focus on social media, articles on your website, eNewsletters, case studies, videos, and sharing articles from other pertinent websites.

Finding-the-Right-PR-Firm

4. Develop Mobile Friendly Content.

As mentioned earlier, the growing use of mobile devices is going to demand content that is easily accessible on smaller devices.

According to Forbes, 87% of connected device sales by 2017 will be tablets and smartphones.

Businesses can create an alternate mobile version of a website or use web design that is more responsive to the smaller format.

Those companies failing to adapt to this trend will fall behind competitors adapting to these newer platforms.

5. Leverage Earned Media with Social Media.

In 2015, content may be king but quality content will rule. Businesses should use their PR and spread it across multiple platforms. Articles, interviews and even award lists are considered quality content not only by customers but also by search engines.

When published by a credible media organization, these placements not only help build corporate reputation but also boost your ranking on Google, Bing and others.

The result will help your business rise above the noise and gain a leg up on the competition.

Stephen Turner is a Principal and owner with Solomon/Turner PR, a St. Louis public relations firm. The PR firm specializes in media campaigns for both social and traditional media. Solomon/Turner is celebrating its 25th year in business in 2015. Steve has over 25 years of experience in PR and marketing communications. He has a special expertise in high-technology and has worked with clients on a national and local basis. Mr. Turner has written dozens of blogs and articles on P.R. and marketing. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism. Visit http://www.solomonturner.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Stephen_C_Turner
http://EzineArticles.com/?Five-Hot-Public-Relations-Trends-for-2015&id=8896919

 

 

Social Media, Hashtags on Twitter and Blogging for Business

twitter-hashtag-infographic1

By Michelle Duffy

So you want to market your business online through social media marketing? Don’t know where to start? Well, here are some strategies to get you started, including the power of hashtags on Twitter. (A subject I will cover again later.) They are free and easy to apply and great for any small business or if you simply work from home to make money in your chosen industry, along with using the best apps for iPhone.

  • Instagram account for business – One of the key actions to have come out of Instagram is that small businesses across the planet are embracing this relatively new phenomena to market their business. Visitors engage with platforms of color and image (as well as short videos too) and see a different side to businesses. It shows a very human side of a company thus proving that it’s not just sell, sell, sell. Take action on Instagram if you haven’t already. A cool little app for your iPhone, it allows you to engage with your customers even when you’re not in the office or in fact, not even at work.
  • Facebook and Twitter – FB is still the favorite of the world with Twitter hashtags coming up as a close second. The saying goes, your friends are who you talk to on FB, on Twitter, you talk to the world. Hashtags are a must on Twitter although they are still frowned upon on FB and Facebook marketing. Although people do use them, I am inclined not to as they hold no purpose in how people use FB for searching, and therefore, not the ideal way to make money for your business. There is a rule of three on Twitter, so if you want to use hashtags on Twitter, never use more than that. You don’t want to be caught spamming on either site, or FB would shut your page down. Hashtag your keyword in the search box and see what people are saying about it. Join in the conversation if you can and answer questions if they have any. This is a free thing to do and it will get you noticed by the world.
  • Facebook Advertising – You don’t have to sign up for FB’s high advert charges either, although I would make use of their ads manager as you can use this to see the demographics of your audience. The tools on FB allow you to see exactly how many people you could address who are on FB already. FB will calculate the number of people who match your ‘ideal customer’ criteria (so if you haven’t done this, do it! It’s highly valuable!) I would also recommend getting your friends to share your business page and so on. Join groups on FB who already have an interest in the area or the product you are marketing, and watch the discussions on these pages, and join in. Once people see you as an expert, they are more likely to trust you, and therefore buy from you. The way to benefit from all these social media platforms is to be consistent with your content and link them all together for easy posting. The best Apps for iPhone and Android hardware for this are free and makes this process very easy. I recommend a free Hootsuite account to get you started.
  • YouTube - Should not to be ruled out and is growing steadily in social media marketing. It is used as a search engine by a growing number of people (you will also be able to link a Google+ account to this too and has rocketed marketing success. Mainly for the bigger companies but small businesses are homing in on it too. All owned by Google of course, it is the big G word you need to impress on the net!) I would certainly consider making films about you, your team, product and give demonstrations on how to use your product or if it’s a service, use the video to tell them how they will benefit from using your service. People need to know what the benefits are.

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The Art of Has, Which So..

  • As a mantra, always remember this… ‘Has, Which, So.’ In other words… tell your customers what you have or what your product has, then tell them what that service/product will do. ‘So’… tell them the benefit of them using the service/product. You will need to use this type of content on your website too. Have fun with your videos. Add music (free music of course – a number of sites will offer free music) and credits, also add a link to your website at the beginning and the end of the film. Don’t make it longer than three minutes – people tend to get bored if it goes on longer than this. Bear this in mind with your podcasts too. AudioBoom for business is an excellent place to upload podcasts very easily. They do all the formating for you and you can download the app so that you can podcast and upload on the move. Three minutes on this site will get you a free account. If you want to do podcasts an hour-long, then you will need to pay. Around $60 for the year is a sound investment, but the free account will serve just as well.
  • Blogging - Can’t stress this enough. Use WordPress (loved and adored by Google) – I also advize a plugin called Squirrly SEO. Along with the Google AdWords Keyword Tool, it will maximize your chances of hitting the fist page in Google results. It is a tool that sits next to your posts in the editing stage and will help you make the most out of using keywords that Google looks for. Use the Google Keyword Tool to find the keywords that your customers are likely to use to find you. You tap in a keyword and the plugin will tell you who is searching that word, talking about it from news items sourced instantly and from social media feeds. It will even give you a range of copyright free images to use, so the hard work is being done for you. It will also tell you as you write if your post is Google friendly and how to maximize it. You get the first 40 keywords free, then you need to pay after that and it’s about $6-$9 per month. An excellent investment and not breaking the bank. Of course with your blog, you can share it all over the place including other sites like Empire Avenue and Tumblr.

REMEMBER! Google loves links and you will score highly with G if you have a lot of incoming links to your site from other sites. The best way to do this is share your content as stated above. Always make sure that the links are from sites who are reputable and loved by Google. Don’t simply ask people to link your site from any old plae. Google will spot you and you will lose credit with them. Post your articles on places like ezinearticles.com – another favored site by Google. If you are not sure of something Google it first. Google your keywords and see what comes up – the first page is your competition. There is also an E-zine plugin for WordPress which allows you to post your article the minute you publish it on your blog. I would use WP’s plugins to the hilt. They are brilliant and useful, especially the All In One SEO plugin, which I highly recommend and it will do all the SEO for your site.

Michelle is the editor and writer at The Vintage Business Digital Magazine and is also festival co-organizer of The Vintage Belles Annual Festival in Warwick. Owner of TVG Productions and promotional film maker, she guest speaks all over the UK at events and fairs on better marketing for small businesses in the craft and vintage field. She also writes The Vintage Girl Newsletter which is the longest running publication in the field, and has personally seen the development of several businesses in the UK and the U.S reaching success in their industries.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Michelle_Duffy
http://EzineArticles.com/?Social-Media,-Hashtags-on-Twitter-and-Blogging-for-Business&id=8891735


 

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How to Sell Your Songs To Country Music Artists

Mickey-Guyton-Bio

Mickey Guyton’s debut single Better Than You Left Me has the country music world all abuzz. The ballad scored the biggest radio debut in country music history when it hit airwaves two weeks ago, earning first-week adds on 79 stations across America. While that record may have much to do with modern radio consolidation, it’s nonetheless a remarkable feat – especially given the traditional nature of the song. Adorned with steel guitar and a slow waltz beat, Better Than You Left Me sounds like little else on country radio at the moment. What makes the feat even more remarkable is that Guyton is a black woman in an industry not known for its diversity.

via Mickey Guyton And The Trailblazing Black Women Of Country Music.

Taylor-Swift

By Bill E Watson

Do you want to have your song recorded by a country artist like Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton or Taylor Swift? Wouldn’t it be nice to make big money from royalties every time your song is played on the radio? How great would it be to have the respect of your friends knowing you’ve written hit songs, and experiencing the lifestyle that goes with being a highly successful songwriter?

How do you get there from here? How can your song become the next big country music hit?

There are several steps you’ll need to take before you even get the chance to be heard by a music industry pro in Nashville:

1. Almost everyone knows a song should be copyrighted. But the latest law automatically bestows copyright protection on your work the moment it’s finished. Simply write 2015 Your Name and it’s protected. Music pros don’t steal songs. They may borrow song ideas but ideas can’t be copyrighted anyway. Don’t bother with mailing a copy to yourself, the “poor man’s copyright” is easily defeated and would never hold up in a court of law.

2. You need a quality demonstration recording. Without a quality “demo” your efforts to get your song in front of the decision makers will probably be wasted.

3. You need a list of music industry professionals to run your song by. Some will accept mp3’s, many still want CDs.

You do have the option to register your song with the copyright office of the Library of Congress. If you decide to do that once your application is in the mail you’re pretty safe to begin behaving as if you already have received the registration. The reason you don’t want to wait for it is because your song starts aging the moment you finish it. You want to get your marketing efforts started before the type of songs played on country radio changes, especially if any of your lyrics reference people or objects in popular culture.

The demo recording is an investment that you will easily recoup if/when your song is recorded by a major artist. It’s best to let professionals handle this step. There are “demo services” that will chart your song, hire Nashville session players and singers for it and deliver a mix to you, typically for under $900 per song. You’ll get a pro sounding recording you’ll be proud to shop.

There are regularly published songwriter “tipsheets” you can subscribe to so you’re up-to-date on which artists are seeking material for their next record.

It’s a fascinating business and all it takes is one “yes, we want to use your song on the next record” to change your life!

Do you have unpublished songs available? Producers of major label acts are looking for songs that employ twist, conflict and suspense right now, right here. Be sure to “follow” the blog to get fresh updates.

Bill Watson is the owner of Play It Again Demos which is a demo service for songwriters and song publishers. He has also written magazine articles for publications as diverse as Gig Magazine, Small Business Opportunities, Songwriter’s Monthly, Entertainment Weekly and Sports Afield. His book “Guitar Shop: A Beginner’s Guide To Learning Rhythm and Lead Guitar” was #1 in its category on Amazon.com for nearly two years.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Bill_E_Watson
http://EzineArticles.com/?How-to-Sell-Your-Songs-To-Country-Music-Artists&id=8906107

 

How to Be Memorable in Business

graphic art

By Collette McKenzie

In the professional world, you can be remembered as a brand and as an individual. A good reputation in either context will contribute to your long-term success. People and the companies they work for will have different approaches to standing out among their competitors and clients.

As long as the efforts to be unique are genuine and true to the core values of an individual or organization, the ability to shine around others won’t be too difficult.

Be Present

Being present applies in so many ways.

First, be present at trade shows, meet-ups and other networking events. Get out there and meet the people you’ve been working with. Form new connections and business partnerships from other companies attending the events. In-person meetings are valuable opportunities to speak with potential clients and to see firsthand what your competitor pool looks like.

Second, have an online presence, either through social media, newsletters or marketing campaigns. If people see your name or logo on a consistent basis, it will be ingrained in their minds, making future partnerships more likely. Whether they recognize your face or the company you work for when they see you at an event, they will already know what you do and have reason to strike up a conversation.

Third, have an intellectual presence in conversations, business meetings and any other situation where you’re speaking with colleagues, clients and competitors. Listen to people when they talk, hear what they’re saying and contribute to the conversation in a meaningful way. Acting aloof or unamused may send a negative vibe, while showing interest and bringing energy into the room will have a contagious and positive effect on those around you.

Be Unusual

In any scenario, but especially in the business sector, people will need a good reason to work with you. Whether they’re hiring you, considering you as a potential vendor or eyeing you as competition, they will view you as a whole package. That package needs to be one-of-a-kind!

Provide over-the-top customer service, exude confidence in a humble way, smile and say hello to people you don’t know. Even more, aim to reach goals, create products or make connections that your peers think are impossible. You may not succeed, but you will be known as the only person (or company!) who tried. That in itself will impress and inspire people all around you.

Be Provocative

Being present and unusual will help people remember who you are, but being thought-provoking will take things to a deeper, more impressionable level. Encourage people to think outside of the box.

Push colleagues, clients and competitors to be better versions of themselves and contribute to your industry in new ways. Whether you’re giving an intriguing presentation, releasing an innovative product line or revolutionizing common practices, make an impact that will have a rippling effect. People are much more likely to remember someone who changed their outlook or did something admirable over someone who goes with the status quo. In their minds, you will evolve from a peer into a leader.

Be Involved

Being involved also takes being present one step further. Rather than being around people so that they remember you, be present in a way that brings good into their lives. Community service, fundraisers and other philanthropic events are great ways to show a genuine concern for the well-being of others.

Don’t do these things for the recognition. Your efforts will seem forced and people might think you’re phony. Instead, find outlets and causes you truly care for and get involved there. Not only will you be contributing to your community, you’ll find meaning in the time and efforts you contributed to the cause. The more you care about helping other people, the more other people will care about you.

In some industries, reputation makes or breaks the success of a person or company. Being memorable will help as long as you take an altruistic approach to your partnerships and work environment. Bad work ethic and offensive behavior could ruin your chances of success while following the guidelines above will mean lasting success. Do your best to be remembered in a good way!

To learn more, go to http://www.madrivo.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Collette_McKenzie
http://EzineArticles.com/?How-to-Be-Memorable-in-Business&id=8887529

9 Ways to Use Twitter for Business Naturally

Your art is a business. Treat it like one. – Leigh Langston

Small-Business-Guide-To-Twitter

By Karen S Musselman

You can use Twitter for business and actually get more hits and traffic to your blog or business opportunity than you can on Facebook. At least that’s been my experience lately.

I don’t claim to be a Twitter guru, but I’ve noticed that you can get more Twitter followers just by being yourself and interacting with other members.

So, here are some general tips on how to set up and use this social networking site to your advantage, and get the most out of your business marketing.

#1. Attraction Marketing!

Be sure your Twitter account profile is attractive and says something about you. Use a photo of yourself, not an “avatar” or company logo.

Remember, branding is still very important here as on any other networking site. So if use the same photo across all of your profiles, people will get to know you.

I actually had a follower tweet to me, “You’re everywhere!” That’s the point!

#2. Add eye-catching photos to your tweets!

Twitter allows photos to be uploaded to status updates (tweets) too, so when possible, it’s a good idea to upload a relevant image in every few tweets.

#3. Don’t include a link with every status update.

#quote is a very popular hashtag, so along with trends, use an interesting quote without a link to any other site.

#4. As for links, mix them up!

Don’t just use the same link to the same landing page all the time. Link to a relevant blog post, a favorite or new YouTube video and different landing pages or business opportunities.

People on Twitter like variety!

#5. Every few tweets, add something simple and “personal.”

Here’s an example – “Had a dinner date with hubby! Great to take some time off work and enjoy the evening.”

Your personal tweet – without a link – can be about anything; what your cat just did, how much snow your area is getting, where you took your last vacation.

Personal tweets are something that just add a little more about you so your followers will get to know you, and so you’ll get even more followers.

#6. Say something about one of the Twitter trending topics.

Scan the list of trending topics on the sidebar. Find something interesting and say something about it, like your opinion on the topic, and be sure to use the #hashtag in your tweet.

#7. Ideas for marketing your business

Remember, not every post needs to have a link! The key for marketing here is the same as it is on every social networking site.

You will get more followers, sign ups or sales when you allow people to get to know, like and trust you.

Here are some things you can do to effectively market your business on Twitter:

  • Share something about a new app or tool you use
  • Share a Facebook post to start-up a conversation
  • Talk about an event that’s coming up in your area, like a trade show or community event.
  • Create coupons for a discount on your services or products

#8. Interact with your followers

Respond to followers who mention you in their tweets or retweet (RT) one of your posts. A simple ‘Thanks for the mention’ or ‘Thanks for the RT’ goes a long way!

#9. Avoid Auto-follow and Auto direct messages!

You do not have to follow everyone who follows you. It’s best to simply check your followers a couple of times a week and follow them back if you want to.

For example, there are some “adult-related” members who follow me but I don’t want to see graphic adult-rated images on my feed, so I don’t follow them back. And if they eventually unfollow you because you haven’t followed them, that’s fine.

Hopefully these few tips will help you get more Twitter followers and get the most out of your marketing on this fun social networking site too!

Karen Musselman works from home and provides “Online Marketing Help Without the Hype,” and the importance of video marketing at her blog, “Working at Home with KSMusselman,, where she also has training videos for members of the marketing company she’s a member of. Stop by Karen’s blog today for more online marketing help.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Karen_S_Musselman
http://EzineArticles.com/?How-to-Use-Twitter-for-Business-Naturally&id=8886278

 

 

Branding – How Do YOU Appear on Facebook?

brand-identity-logo-explained1By Terry D Kozlyk

Late to the party, many small and medium size businesses are discovering Facebook as a tool for promoting and branding themselves. In the past few years, the term “branding” has been a hot business topic, created by the media hype around advertising using social media. But I never fully understood the term “branding”, its implications and the practice, until I started actively participating, reading and writing on my Facebook timeline.

My main reason for exposing myself to the world of Facebook, was simply to understand how it works. I wanted to see if there was merit in using Facebook, as over a billion users worldwide were doing. Whether I connected with my classmates from 30+ years ago or not, was furthest from my mind. What I did discover was that not only is Facebook a powerful branding tool for business but how individuals are unwittingly using it to create a personal brand that may come back to haunt them.

There was much that I didn’t know about Facebook. But by “LIKE-ing” a few people I knew, a few more from my club and hometown classmates, I began to build a repertoire of scrolling real-time news. It wasn’t more than a year of regular weekly readings, that the light finally came on for me. Clear as day, I realized how several of my “friends” have casted, stereotyped, say “branded” themselves, and NOT in a good way. I saw a pattern from their postings, that I could have easily used to describe or introduce them, if I was ever asked. I began to label and think of them, specifically by how frequently and what they posted on their timeline. They have managed to “brand” themselves.

I began to detect a consistent pattern with many. Is that how I want to be described or thought of? There was the person that would post just family pics of events with their grand kids. This is commendable, but maybe in a closed family Facebook sub-page; not your general friends list. There was the person who posted pictures that made me wonder, “What am I missing here? Why is this picture being broadcast? It’s just a picture!” All it proved was that they knew how to take a picture and how to post to Facebook. Nice, I thought. They have a heartbeat. There was the friend who spoke of deep inner feelings. Sure; just thinking out loud perhaps, but maybe don’t be posting into words. People will sense you are emotionally unstable and incapable of dealing with everyday life. Then there was the world traveler that would post pictures daily from across the globe. Obviously not current and just drawing from years past vacations. Then there was the person who posts 10 times per day. Well, that person clearly does not have a life and needs constant attention. Some may come across as activists. That’s when I discovered I can UN-follow these while still leaving them in my friends list. And believe me, I did.

branding-marketing-sellingSo before you write on your timeline, and then click POST, ask yourself the following 4 questions.

1) What is the purpose of my post?

Are you hoping to inspire, inform, motivate, instigate or call-to-action someone? Are you sharing an experience with a picture hoping to get some feedback from others? Or are you just blowing off some steam, perhaps getting onto a soapbox and ranting about an incident that happened to you? Are you hoping for support or sympathy? If you are writing in the “heat of the moment” and saturated with emotion such as anger or vindictiveness, then close your laptop and go for a good walk or other physical activity. Yes, writing can very good therapy, so continue writing, but do so in your personal journal, not your Facebook timeline. No one is interested in reading your thoughts repeatedly.

2) Am I comfortable with others repeating my comments attached to my name?

This is more inline with the “gossip session” or water cooler talk, when others may talk about you behind your back. We can’t control gossip about us, so make sure it is gossip you are comfortable having proliferate about you. Hearing your comments in the third person may make the hairs on the back of your neck standup.

3) If this was my last post, would I want to be remembered by it?

Think legacy. What do you want to leave behind for others or society in general? In what light would you like others to talk about you?

4) Is there any value to my post?

Sometimes we get carried away and when others look at our post, they ask themselves, “So what? Why are you telling me this?” This is more along the lines of the “What’s in it for me?” question. If not, then write your post so it will be of value to others.

Today, more than ever, most people reading something are looking for specifics that will bring them value, knowledge or absolute riches. They just don’t want to be an audience, giving their precious time to you, the aspiring author who is going to write the next best seller which will turn into the #1 movie of the year. If not, then your post is simply “noise” and your contacts may not only “un-follow” but also remove you as a friend completely.

brandRemember, when you are posting on Facebook, you are talking to the world. Statements will never be retracted or deleted. Your post may even proliferate and haunt you with someone re-posting on other social media. Even if deleted, people who have already read your post may remember you by that lasting impression you gave them. People can make their minds up about you very quickly and can stereotype you as an activist, anti-whatever and just plain dangerous to have around. Don’t place yourself in the “court of public opinion”. Also, some potential employers hire social media consultants to compile a social media profile of you. Seeing pictures of you volunteering your time with a worthy charity in a developing country is a good thing. But pictures of you getting blasted at the bar on the week-ends, well, not so much.

Facebook is a powerful social media tool. It levels the playing field between a lowly individual and a multi-million dollar company. Done right, you can project as good as the big companies. Use it to showcase your strengths, ambitions and accomplishments. Use it to inspire and summon others to their cause. Use it to stay connected. Use it to develop and advertise “your brand”. I hope my experience with Facebook and tips above will help you “brand” yourself in the best possible light. As a test, you can connect with me on Facebook and practice what I shared above.

Terry is a freelance speaker, writer and the principle content creator and curator (CCC) at TDKtalks.com

His video, audio and written content is disseminated through his website, Slideshare, iTunes, and Ezine Articles.

Terry, a dynamic speaker who listens to his audience, is personable, energetic and passionate about connecting with people. His presentations can be thought-provoking, motivating, inspiring or just entertaining.

Be sure to read Terry’s other articles at http://www.TDKtalks.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Terry_D_Kozlyk
http://EzineArticles.com/?Branding—How-Do-YOU-Appear-on-Facebook?&id=8881934

 

 

Top Story – Video: How To Create EPIC Blog Content

This video highlights events happening at the Dangerous Lee Network now…

View the How To Dissolve an Eggshell video!

Whom is a dirty word.

Who-vs-Whom

Over the last 200 years, the pronoun whom has been on a steady decline. Despite its waning use in speech and ongoing speculation about its imminent extinction, whom still holds a spot in the English language, particularly in formal writing. Understanding when and how to use this embattled pronoun can set your writing apart.

whomowl

Whom is often confused with who. What’s the difference between these two pronouns? Who is a subjective-case pronoun, meaning it functions as a subject in a sentence, and whom is an objective-case pronoun, meaning it functions as an object in a sentence. Who, like I, he, she, and they, performs actions, as in Who rescued the dog? (who is doing the rescuing in this sentence). Whom, like me, him, her, and them, is acted on, as in Whom did you see? (whom is being seen here, not doing the seeing). Whom can also be object of a preposition, as in the salutation To Whom it may concern (whom is the object of to; Does it concern he? No. Does it concern him? Yes.) or in the title of Ernest Hemingway’s 1940 novel For Whom the Bell Tolls.

Get the rest of this lesson – Whom or who? | Dictionary.com Blog.

How to Create Black Wealth

pretty-black-woman-holding-piggy-bank

By Teneisha Monique Street

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 28 seconds. Contains 496 words

Have you ever heard of Black Wall Street? If not, don’t feel too bad. Up until a couple months ago neither had I. For those who are unfamiliar with this part of history, Black Wall Street was an area in Greenwood, OK that thrived with black owned businesses which resulted in black wealth and a higher level of black independence for its residents during a period of segregation. However, after a riot which stemmed from accusations against a young black man for harassing a young white woman on an elevator, the town was burned to the ground and many of its residents were killed by a mob of white residents in the neighboring town. Now, of course, this synopsis does no justice to the full story, but I needed to give a little background for the basis of this article.

I mention Black Wall Street to draw from that concept. We live in a time where social media is riddled with a number of black injustices (and that doesn’t begin to cover the incidents that go unreported); society has directed many to believe that the direction to wealth is by means of “white-washing”; and, black history as a part of school curriculum or even as a discussion in many households is becoming obsolete. (Before I continue, make no mistake in that this article is racist, angry, misdirected, or any combination of the above.)

So, for a second, let’s take a step back and assess the concept of change as it relates to black independence. How exactly do we create black wealth? There is no need to reinvent the wheel; the blueprint has already been laid.

1. Eliminate thinking that detriments further enslave black communities within the community.

2. Allow children of color to embrace their history and who they are without placing emphasis on inferiority.

3. Do not equate black wealth to the ability to mimic the wealth of “others”.

4. Promote the black owned businesses within the community and use those business owners as mentors to continue to grow.

5. Use community centers to teach children of color beyond the confinements of the classroom. Who knows what this simple change alone could invoke?

6. Be as unapologetically “black” and proud as possible.

hustlin

There is no simple method of obtaining black independence, and the list of suggestions or directions is insurmountable depending on which roundtable you chose to sit at. Of course, there is doubt that plagues the minds and hearts of many. After all, who is to say that history won’t repeat itself if the efforts for independence are successful? Black Wall Street as well as many other movements throughout history are proof that there is power in numbers and thinking on one accord. It also proves that the African American race has overcome sufferings far greater than those existing in present times. One or two individuals obtaining success among the masses does not represent a society or create a movement. Sometimes small changes as a whole in the right direction can prove revolutionary.

For more reference, here is an article with a deeper look into the events that lead to that moment in history http://www.ebony.com/black-history/the-destruction-of-black-wall-street-405#axzz3C52fC3LF.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Teneisha_Monique_Street
http://EzineArticles.com/?How-to-Create-Black-Wealth&id=8700747

 

 

The Hidden Life of the African Feminist

African-Feminism

By A George

Gethsemane was not monster-proofed as is the perspective of the African feminist. She is the idea of the private life, the hidden life summoned up courageously in the face of insurmountable challenges. She is the futurist poet whose individual and environmental biochemistry is her moral compass. She is the writer whose brain cells tells her what to do, where to go in praise of the present, the present which radiates sacrifice. She is the feminist thinker who does not rest on her laurels, who does not follow the lead of the followers of the crowd.

Instead the African feminist is the feminine intellectual who in the final analysis is the square peg who does not fit into the round hole. She, the female of the species is a fundi on the modus operandi of the hidden life, the private life far removed from and detached from communicating only with the male gender. Instead she chooses research, teaching, writing, self-learning, study, evaluation and human observation as her preoccupation. She gives herself to the world dominated by the physical strength, the intelligence of men. Governed in the worst case scenario by the prurient, the licentious, and uninhibited she takes from it, the material world around her what will make her matter in the long run and in the broadest sense in today’s proliferated Africa, it means that she has developed herself so far as to having a psychological framework within to withstand the negativity of not acquiescing to those masculine terms. To think like a man but to retain her feminine sensibilities, her female sensuality. She thinks to herself instead, ‘What will help me accomplish success extraordinarily?’ and so she becomes a catalyst, teacher, both the introverted and extroverted advocate, outspoken activist and both existential apprentice of the human condition and master of stentorian multitasking when it comes to her family who never leaves the voice of domestic rules behind her. And so women will learn that men can help men, women can learn from men, and gain trustworthiness, self-esteem for themselves, loyalty and dedicated support from other women who find themselves in the same situation that the feminist finds herself in.

Every day we find new ideas from the arts, students, and their philosophies on life to the sciences. We live in a pop-culture that continually manufactures entertainment, films, fast food, friends with benefits, and what we loftily behold as art or culture one day is gone the next. We tell ourselves we aren’t perfect (nobody is but who is looking, who is checking, it has become part of our personality to see the negative which is a personal crisis in and of itself). We tell ourselves we aren’t good, pretty, thin or rich enough and we go around from buying labels to putting labels smack-dab on our foreheads as far as the eye can see which speaks more to how we view ourselves in the context of a global family experiencing recession and climate change, to global warming, to us rubbing salt on our wounds. But the feminist, and the African feminist in particular can bypass all these inroads into what the Western hemisphere has glorified for decades. She can recognise what the rehabilitation, the recovery, the relapse, the alcoholism, the addiction, the depression, the stressful period you went through as a child, or teen-ager, young adult and grown up, psychotherapist and psychiatrist stands for or is rather a stand-in for. That person who will listen and offer up advice that you should have received from the absent parent in your life (mother or father). The feminist knows that the stand-in is the replacement, the significant key or other, the adjustment snap back into sanity, reality, and the real world so to speak. The exit route out of a bad relationship, the separation or divorce of parents when you were at a young age before you became self-aware and had the knowledge of how to take care of yourself without relying on the instability of having come out of a dysfunctional home. Perhaps in some ways the African feminist has had a more difficult, less sheltered upbringing than her Western counterparts. Let us look at what she has had to deal with as a child, a teen-ager, a young adult in her twenties and a grown up. Draw up a list.

blackgirlnerdsfeminists

In Africa it is difficult to conceive of the African feminist and what to make of her. Is she a poet? Is she a writer? Or a daughter, a mother or a grandmother. Is she the phenomenal matriarch of her family? Does the African feminist simply put have a private life? Or is she a citizen marked with a schizophrenic abandonment, with the ‘scarlet letter’ so to speak? And can this citizen be both political and maternal? Can this blindsided figure find poetic justice within a corrupt colonialized system leaning towards politics? An establishment that has burned its bridges with the opposite sex in order to become borne again as the second sex. In communicating the bohemianism, the surprise, the charisma, the anticipatory inhibitory nostalgia and the spiritual power of privacy in the essays and poetry of Virginia Woolf is where we discover her intimately. We become mindful of her prowess, her prolificacy, her feminism and her acumen as we do of other women ahead of their time who hid behind the variety of their creative energies and impulse, marriage, children and husbands. The important things to remember about feminism is not in which hemisphere and when it started but the way it beautifully circulated across issues, the innerness of privacy and private torment, a private despair when it came to the suicidal depression of both female and male writers and poets. The African feminist as far as I am concerned built elegant foundations where there were none, and how it crossed relationships via flashbacks from childhood, a childhood continued into adolescence and a very much grown up world.

There is also something innocent about the world that both the African feminist and Virginia Woolf inhabited and the philosophy that both of them engender which is this. There is a class system that has stood the test of time. That’s as ancient as dust, the Sphinx and the pyramids. Behold the class system that finds its routes amongst the genders, between those that live in the divide, the passage-of-Gethsemane of poverty and the idyll of extreme wealth. I believe that the African feminist doesn’t believe she is a feminist. She has very little self-worth but then again the other extreme is the brilliant young female whose life experience and background overshadows the female not given enough will and stamina to succeed and to raise herself above the sets of circumstances that she finds herself in. Which is why there is so much promiscuous behavior that colors the livelihood amongst young African women. They see it as their only way out of the inroads of poverty that has marked them for life. They unfortunately will be rooted forever in the mind-set that they are not gifted if they are not educated like their counterparts who live in self-imposed exile in other parts of the world. We have much to learn from visionaries like Nadine Gordimer, Bessie Head, Ingrid Jonker, Virginia Woolf, Susan Sontag, Sylvia Plath and Simone de Beauvoir. That we have to see ourselves as visionaries first instead of mothers, daughters, educationalists, role models and so forth and that we all have a part to play in savoring and questioning the unknown. What is the unknown in this case? The significant and all-important masterpiece ‘of the wretched of this earth’ will always be how we transfigure our personal curiosity, our shock, and our trauma of dealing with, and how we treasure the infinite radiance of learning to understand that as feminists we too have a role to play in a modern African society.

African-Feminist

Firstly by embracing that word ‘feminist’ which has myriads of connotations. We have to learn from each other, our Western counterparts, those that live in a self-imposed exile or not and understand our perceived preciousness as being part of our giftedness, our genius. It is not only female writers and poets from this continent who can be creative but women who find themselves working in every field. What of the insight of women in the urban and rural atmospheres? Don’t they share the same complexities when it comes to motherhood, raising children, having the maternal instinct? Why don’t we recognize our exquisiteness as women with the prying eyes of the world upon us? Why don’t we recognize that word feminist, and by embracing it let that word consume us instead of the other way around. Instead of breaking the negative world’s thought patterns as we know it into the spiritual poverty of the mind, and sensing a pitfall, breeding nothingness where there is no empirical sum of parts to speak of. For so long as we break up contrary notions of discriminating agents against what makes us whole and what is supposed to mean the death of feminism, how on earth are we supposed to put it back together again? Being resolute either encourages two things. The vanity of visibility or the cloak of invisibility. We are a traumatic nation (of children, men and women) and within our fractured identity, our African identity lies the tethered ego where disorder ensues pleasurably to exposure with a loose rhythm in a guarded continuum’s timeline or quite sometimes violently erratic vestibule giving way to an interloper’s solicitude. And for the most part in history we as African feminists have not been a part of the world’s intelligentsia. Slowly coming into our own it is a mysterious female self-hood. There are brick walls, and glass ceilings but in the end do they really matter? And are they made of millions of charismatic benefits, substance or just the facade of something that makes us lose touch with reality?

Women on the whole are thought to be ethereal, romantic, otherworldly, emotionally overwhelmed creatures for the most part endowed with empathy (that unique and authentic virtue that we wear as a tiara or crown, saved for special occasions) but we seem to lose that solidly constructed veneer once we are named ‘feminist’. We must be coupled off in early adult life. We must carry and raise progeny. We must cook and clean. We must smile in the face of adversity, rise wisely above our giftedness, and always show up with humility. We must not cuckold our husbands. Instead we must ignore and forgive them of their indiscretions. Look the other way with a steely-eyed reserve. It is the man in Africa who is the intellectual. The man who is ahead of his time. The thinker, the dreamer, the perfect giant who builds empire after empire, and who is often the introverted leader amongst his peers. Whereas wherever the African feminist shines, she is illuminated amongst her contemporaries’ envious flesh. And this is what is so profound and found in Africa. The woman who lives and writes and works in her self-imposed exile. She finds herself in the written word, the information age. It is her compensation. And this compensation becomes her materialism, her ‘moneyed’ world at large, and it manifests itself further as her truth, her essence, her sense of being reflects itself back at her as her sensitivity towards the trauma of the African humanity, and what the unspecified feminist must endure in Africa. It becomes her education. And everything else is drowned out by it. This is why many young people, young women feel both the yearning to be part of society and yet they want to be left alone too. In other words they want to do their own thing. But they cannot make any sense of that word ‘alone’. To them it means loneliness, acute depression, and suicidal illness and so the question remains how can we revolutionize their negative thought patterns? The feminist writer, the feminist poet has to remain unguarded because she will always be given assignments to test her. In modern-day Africa we are being tested all the time from the state of the nation to the state of our mind-set.

feminist ethics 1

Becoming, or rather claiming feminism as your own, regarding that word ‘feminist’ as yours well, there’s a radiance that comes with it and suddenly you’re transformed into your mother or your grandmother. That woman that you said you would never become. Each and every woman on this ‘wretched part of the world’, who has experienced ‘wretched poverty’, ‘who has ever been wretchedly ridiculed or humiliated by misanthropes or tribalists’ has had their own Gethsemane. Meaning a religious experience tantamount to Noah’s ark or Jonah and the whale. And when I say religious I mean everything that is part of the proverbial unseen. And when we come to issues of religion aren’t we are all reduced to distillates of minutiae? In order to not debate the collective standing of feminists in Africa but rather to understand that we must search within ourselves, discover for ourselves, become more accepting of the unquiet phenomena of the female identity and psyche that exists across the fabric of this continent.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=A_George
http://EzineArticles.com/?The-Hidden-Life-of-the-African-Feminist&id=8632525

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