Connect with us

Blogging

Two Weeks With Echo

Published

on

echo-logoWith a tagline like ‘the next generating commenting system’ how could I resist trying out JS-Kit Echo? I’d been thinking about a comment upgrade for a while, as I liked the easy options I’d seen on other sites for logging in with different social media accounts. But what sold Echo to me in the end was the comment synchronization feature – all my comments would stay in WordPress even if I later uninstalled it.

Echo can be installed on WordPress, Blogger and Drupal via plugins as well as other sites by using Javascript. Other cool features include:

  • real time conversation, with no need to reload the page
  • collection of reactions from across the web
  • sharing links with other social media services
  • allowing photo and video commenting on your site
  • spam protection, including synchronization with Aksimet for WordPress users.

Since I had nothing to lose, I signed up, paid the $12 annual fee for Echo Live and got started. I downloaded and installed the WordPress plugin, which replaces the native WordPress comments function in the admin dashboard.

Immediately, I hit a snag. It turned out that my blog had too many comments for the automatic import to function correctly. Instead, I had to contact JS-Kit support and get someone to import them manually. This took a few days, during which time all my old comments were inaccessible.

In the meantime, my first task was to make sure that I was assigned as the site administrator when I installed Echo. Instructions were conflicting. In one part of the wiki it suggested that this would happen automatically, while other instructions suggested that I leave the first comment so that I would be recognized as the admin. This seemed to work.

Echo For Commenters

Echo lives up to its promise when commenting on a site. It offers multiple options for connecting your blog comments with your other social sites. You can use credentials from Google, Friendfeed, Twitter, Haloscan, OpenID, Yahoo, Blogger and JS-Kit, or use a standard URL. When commenting you can send your comments to followers on Twitter, Friendfeed, Yahoo and Google, keeping the conversation going in multiple arenas and, more importantly, being able to follow this extended conversation by email or RSS.

Echo For Site Admins

One of the best features for site admins is being able to pre-approve trustworthy commenters. Over time, this cuts down on your moderation load. People who make five approved comments can also be automatically approved, making this even more useful. On the JS-Kit site, you can set a number of options for dealing with comments, trackbacks and pingbacks. You can also do a lot of moderation on site, though it’s easiest to do this at the post level.

Moderation screen - JS-Kit Echo

Moderation screen - JS-Kit Echo

There are also some neat analytics on the JS-Kit web dashboard which show views and comments on posts. Useful, though not yet as good as the analytics provided by WordPress.com Stats or similar plugins.

I like the way it integrates comments from other social services, though you can get similar functionality from Backtype Connect.

Room For Improvement

There are a few features I think need to be improved:

  • Echo currently does not support gravatars unless you are a member of JS-Kit, which means that most comments have that ugly grey anonymous box. This is due to change, but I’m not sure when.
  • When I log in to my WordPress dashboard, JS Kit does not always recognize it, which means logging in on the JS-Kit site before I can moderate comments.
  • The spam! The spam! Yes, Echo integrates with Aksimet, but most of the time Aksimet gets rid of spam before I even see it. When I go to the Echo moderation queue, all I see is spam – it would be nice to have a ‘delete all spam’ function.
  • I would love it if I could handle comments in the usual way from the WordPress admin interface, rather than having to go to each post or the JS-Kit site to moderate. This would probably mean a much more involved JS-Kit options panel.

The Verdict

Overall, I like Echo, though whether I will keep it depends on getting those niggles sorted soon. If they were, then it could cut down on the number of WordPress plugins I use. It will also make it easier for me to keep conversations going on all the sites where I participate. That’s where Echo really wins out. However, there’s also competition from Intense Debate and Disqus, which currently have a more attractive interface.

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  

Sharon Hurley Hall is a professional writer and blogger. Her career has spanned more than 25 years, including stints as a journalist, academic writer and ghost writer. Connect with Sharon on her website or Google+.

Continue Reading

Blogging

Beware Who You Trust for Advice

Published

on

Sometimes I ask questions on Quora.

I asked a question recently about shadow boxing while walking and if this practice burns calories.

Peep 2 answers.

 

I was a personal trainer and fitness nut for 20 years. I know shadow boxing does in fact burn calories and help you get more ripped because since doing it every single day during my walks, my arms are becoming as defined as ropes. True; shadow-boxing does not increase muscle mass. But the individual gave me a false, untrue answer because he fears what he looks like and cares about the opinions of others. He is not shadow boxing while walking or jogging because it is not effective; he fears people will look at him and believe he is a fruit loop, whatever that means.

Yikes.

Exhibit B.

 

This individual actually offers honest, truthful advice; shadow-boxing while walking burns more calories. If he ended it there, the advice would have been helpful. But he also fears criticism, aka, what people think about him, so his fears advise me not to do the extra calorie burning thing, because I would look like a Rocky wannabe jerk.

Yikes.

Two well-meaning guys who offer poor fitness advice because each guy deeply fears what people think about them. If I was not a fitness pro I’d have believed their inaccurate advice and would have cheated myself out of calorie burning. All because of the illusion of fear and its hold over most of humanity.

Blogging Advice

Before you trust blogging advice, check the source. Does the blogger:

  • radiate happiness?
  • radiate compassion?
  • exude success?
  • inspire you to succeed?
  • uplift bloggers?

If so, awesome. Trust the advice because you know the person offers advice from love, harmony and truth.

But if someone adds a fear-based element to the advice – like the fitness guys above who fear what people think about them and allowed their fears to become a projection on me – you know it’s bad advice because fear is not real, an illusion, and stepping into illusion moves you away from truth.

The Truth

If you burn more calories, you burn more fat and get ripped. This is truth. Shadow boxing while walking made me super ripped so the truth shines through. But if I stopped shadow-boxing while walking because I feared what people thought about me or what they’d say about me, I would step into the illusion of fear, away from truth, and would not be as ripped and cut as I am now.

Imagine if I listened to those 2 fear-fitness guys last month when I returned home? I’d look a lot more like Olive Oil and less like Bruce Lee.

Be careful about who you trust for blogging advice guys. Most people mean well – like the fitness dudes – but project their deep fears onto you and offer poor, or downright terrible, blogging advice. I have compassion for afraid bloggers but I won’t listen to their illusory advice.

One Such Example

Many top bloggers feel terror at losing email subscribers so offer advice based on the fear. Meanwhile, guys like me who have no such fear offer advice to help you bond deeply with your most rabid fans through email, exponentially increasing your success. Loss is impossible in a Universe of abundance.

Who do you think inspires you to live your dreams?

The blogger offering advice from the illusion of fear, pulling you away from truth, into smoke, mirrors, and appearances, not really there?

Or the blogger offering advice from truth and abundance.

Follow heart-centered bloggers.

Live your dreams.

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
Continue Reading

Blogging

Do You Establish Work at Home Boundaries?

Published

on

Some people love attention.

I know a few who do their best to grab my attention. Phone calls, emails, cryptic Facebook Messages.

I ignore everything and every one outside of what I do in the moment since I set up work at home boundaries. I close the door and go into my office. No way I stop working for anything or anyone who starves for my attention. The house could burn down and I would scoot out at the last minute because work time is work time and I do nothing else save work during work time.

If you do not respect your time, people will not respect your time. If you give people your time whenever they want your time, for:

  • favors
  • gossip
  • small talk
  • chats
  • general BS

people will gladly ask for favors, engage in gossip, engage in small talk, chat you up and BS for hours, because you chose not to establish work at home boundaries.

100% of the time, if people appear to be using you or eating up your precious time, it is your fault. People treat you how you choose to treat yourself.

How a Happy and Successful Blogger Sets Up Work at Home Boundaries

Easy; I close the door, walk into the office and get to work. I do not leave the office until I complete my work. My phone? I turn it off. I check email rarely. I only check Messenger 2-3 times daily for 5 minutes at a clip.

I set up definite, clear, work at home boundaries to respect my time. People reflect my time-respecting back to me. Easy peasy.

If someone tries to grab my attention through Messenger, or the land line, or through email, or at the door, I completely ignore attempts made to grab my attention and time. Boundaries folks; you need to be clear and firm on your work at home boundaries to ensure everybody else respects your boundaries.

You Are Walking into a Word Office

Would a friend, family member or casual neighbor barge into your 9-5 job office asking for a favor? Would said folks barge into your 9-5 job office to spread the latest gossip? Nope. Then why allow said folks to barge into your work at home office to do similar things? Nope. Put up boundaries. Door closes. Enter office. You are busy. You are working. Even my 3 year old niece understands when Uncle Ryan goes to work in the home office. Everybody else can easily grasp this concept.

What About Impatient or Desperate Online Folks?

I completely ignore impatient, fear-filled, desperate folks who demand I answer Messenger or email requests in 1 minute, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, or in 24 hours. I respect my time and completely ignore people who do not respect my time.

I built my blogging business almost completely on a passive income model so nothing I do online is time sensitive. I have answered most questions 1,000 to 10,000 times through my courses, eBooks, blog posts and videos. It is up to these awesome but unclear folks to find and use the answers I created, to improve their lives.

I am generous daily, publishing a blog post and/or video. Plus I published about 800 posts on Blogging Tips, and over 2,000 posts on Blogging From Paradise. It is on the impatient folks screaming for my attention to follow my blog posts, guest posts, videos, eBooks and courses because I answered their questions many times.

People treat you exactly how you teach them to treat you. I have posture so I set up work at home boundaries for offline and online folks.

Respect your time and work schedule and other folks will do the same.

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
Continue Reading

Blogging

Who Do You Surround Yourself with in Your Blogger Network?

Published

on

Some bloggers cannot see the forest for the trees, like the beautiful, lush, thriving national park I visited in New Jersey recently.

The masses tend to be caught up in fear, pain and struggle because they cannot see the big picture.

Birds of a feather flock together.

You have heard that one, right?

I circle the globe and change time zones like most folks breathe. Would I be wise to surround myself with people who tremble at leaving their home town or home neighborhood? Nope. Such people would teach me the world makes for a scary, dangerous place. I would get advice like play it safe, be comfortable, get a job, buy a home and take it easy, from such folks. Such folks also live a bland life because if you rarely or never leave your comfort zone, you cannot:

  • grow
  • thrive
  • face your fears
  • serve humanity
  • be a bright light for people to follow
  • live your deepest, wildest dreams

Obviously, I chose to surround myself with bloggers who happily circled the globe as successful bloggers. I also surrounded myself with happy, successful, home body bloggers too; to learn the basics of building a rocking blog effectively. I learned how to succeed from my blogger friend network, sponging up their knowledge, inspiration and insight.

Meanwhile, if you surround yourself with new, struggling or failing bloggers you will get advice on how to struggle, fail, or flounder through your blogging day.

Do bloggers around you complain about losing $50 on blogging? Lose these zero’s immediately and surround yourself with bloggers who invest thousands of dollars on their blogs. High rollers teach you to succeed. Broke jokes teach you how to fail.

Do bloggers around you see making $25 as being a huge amount of money? You better lose the low-aiming crowd to surround yourself with bloggers who see $1000 and $10,000 and more as making coin.

Do bloggers around you circle the globe as swash buckling travelers? Check out this photo from my trip to Vietnam. Kong: Skull Island was filmed here.

Time to ditch the comfort zone crowd to hang with adventurous types.

Don’t get me wrong; I celebrate every cent I make online. But if you think I’m placing a sponsored post for less than $1000, you are insane. Like a famous super model who said she didn’t get out of bed for anything less than $10,000 a day, you need to develop a prosperity consciousness that demands big money and ignores appearance of poverty, lack, limitation and fear.

Who Do You Hang With?

Who do you count as blogging buddies? Happy, highly successful, prospering bloggers? You better, to increase your success.

For example, observe my blogging paperback on profiting. The aftermarket price is $45 USD. If most or all bloggers in your network would feel uncomfortable receiving $45 in royalties for a paperback, you better lose that network and surround yourself with bloggers who believe in abundance. I know John Chow feels comfortable receiving $45 for anything he offers online. Who cares? It is just money. It is only money.

Surround yourself only with bloggers who:

  • have posture
  • have authority
  • charge top dollar
  • profit freely
  • prosper freely
  • exude confidence
  • have a highly developed prosperity consciousness

You learn from the best, gain inspiration from the best and become the best by surrounding yourself with the best bloggers on earth.

But you need to be honest in who you choose to hang with in your blogging circles. Be clear. Be truthful with yourself. Maybe you feel comfortable trading comments with struggling bloggers you befriended 10 years ago but nothing spectacular happens for you if you surround yourself with struggling bloggers, being firmly fixed in your comfort zone.

Release all bloggers who are not happy and prospering.

Fill your blogger friend network with empowered, inspired, happy, successful, prospering bloggers.

Nothing personal.

Just your blogging success at stake.

 

 

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
Continue Reading










Trending