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A Social Media Christmas Wish List

A Social Media Christmas Wish List

With the holiday shopping season underway, I’m reading in my social feeds that friends are anxiously awaiting the arrival of new tablets and digital readers, new video games and other gadgets guaranteed to cramp their thumbs and strain their eyesight. To be honest, I wouldn’t mind a new eBook reader myself, but I ask continue my work helping clients with social media marketing I find I have a few wish list items that would make my job easier. I probably can’t buy all of them in a store, and I’m not sure all of them exist, but maybe they will in the future.

If you constantly come away from your social media profiles feeling frustrated, you probably have a few wishes you’d like to see granted as well. This year, perhaps we’ll be lucky and discover some joy not in our stockings, but on the Internet.

What would I like to receive this holiday season, or perhaps sometime in the near future?

1) A means to upload to Instagram from a computer. Yes, I realize Instagram is a phone application, and I do have it on my tablet. However, when I think of all the photos I have on my computer that would look great with the Instagram filters, I think surely somebody has devised a way to make this happen. Perhaps the risk of spammers getting hold of such a thing and abusing it keeps Instagram from allowing it, but this would still be something fun to have.

2) A return to the glory days of Facebook pages. Before Facebook went public, I could post to page and expect a good percentage of followers to see the content. These days, you have to know a few tricks or else pay to promote posts. I know, since Facebook is public now, it has to appeal to investors, but surely there is a middle road that will make page owners and investors happy? I only want to post material and have it seen.

3) Pinterest analytics. Now, I know there are sites that offer this service, but I’d some kind of analytics built into the network that would allow me to gauge activity regarding my boards and pins. Social media is very visual now, and I imagine Pinterest will play an even larger role next year. I love the idea of the secret boards from a marketing standpoint, but right now only board participants can see them. It would be great if we could control who can see the board without necessarily contributing to it.

Above all else, though, I’d love for one thing I do on any social network to go wildly viral, without humiliating me in the process. Happy holidays!

Alternative Sources for Buying Books for Your Kindle

Alternative Sources for Buying Books for Your Kindle

While I continue to read and purchase print books, I enjoy the convenience offered by my Kindle. If it’s close to midnight and I find a particular book I want to read immediately, I don’t have to wait until morning when the stores open. A simple click of an online button downloads the book to my reader. If I don’t have my Kindle handy, I can access the books I purchase through the Kindle Cloud on various reading applications on my tablet or laptop. What’s more, I find that I have read more books in the last year than I have in the previous three because of this device.

If you have received a Kindle as a gift, or purchased one as a curiosity, you might think that Amazon is the only place you can buy eBooks compatible with it. Actually, with this eBook reader there are other options. You can shop directly with publishers or third-party bookstores that offer books in the proper formats. Choose titles that are DRM-free (that is, do not use Digital Rights Management and impose certain restrictions on readers), and you can expand your book-buying options and consequent reading enjoyment.

One advantage to searching alternative resources for eBooks is that you have the opportunity to find titles that are not necessarily available on Amazon, or else may be bought at discount. Just a few eBook resources you may wish to consider include:

1) Buying directly from the publisher. If you know of a specific author or title you want to buy, you may wish to check if the publisher sells from its website. Many smaller, eBook only presses have carts set up that allow you download titles and side-load them to your reader.

2) All Romance and OmniLit. This group of websites represents one of the largest independent eBook retailers on the Internet. Launched primarily to sell romance titles, the company known as ARe branched out to all genres and offers a rebate program for regular customers. In your personal library, ARe lets you easily send a book to your Kindle.

3) Smashwords. The Smashwords platform allows authors to self-publish their works in eBook format and publishers to expand distribution of contracted works. Over the last few years, Smashwords has instituted a premium program that expands distribution of approved titles to major retailers.

If you have no problems side-loading books in your reader, you can extend your book-buying options through various eBook retailers. Happy reading!

Kathryn Lively writes articles about romance eBooks and eBook stores.
Top Disney Vacation Experts to Follow on Twitter

Top Disney Vacation Experts to Follow on Twitter

790646_46868782No doubt about it, a trip to any of the amazing Disney theme parks is an event to remember. One might argue, too, that the planning involved in such a vacation is an event in itself. Having spent a long weekend at the Animal Kingdom Lodge in Orlando and enjoying all the amenities of a practically inclusive Disney World trip, I can attest to the amount of preparation – the time invested could support a part-time job! Thirty or so years ago, when only the Magic Kingdom reigned over Lake Buena Vista and visitors sought out coveted E-Tickets, one could simply make Disney a spontaneous day of fun. These days, if you want to eat at one particular restaurant, you better make sure you’ve called weeks, maybe months, in advance. It’s a whole new world indeed.

You can be certain that as more people turn to social media content for tips on travel, a multitude of mouse-eared Tweeters are on hand to dispense insider info on where the lines are longest and what specials are available on food and accommodations. Having browsed Twitter search for updated information on the four Orlando parks in particular, I’ve found some helpful advice, lovely pictures, and have developed a yearning to head back to Florida. If you’re thinking of visiting the Mouse and friends this winter, or even next summer, now’s as good a time as any to check out these regular theme park Tweeters.

@DisneyParks: Of course, there is an official Twitter for the Disney destinations. Here you’ll find information on all the resorts, the cruise lines, and non-park vacation properties owned by the company. You’ll find news on in-park events and tips for good prices on packages.

@Rick_Howard: To read Rick’s Twitter feed, one might think he lives at Disney World. Seems everyday he’s tweeting from a different location within the multi-park complex. Actually, Rick maintains a video travel blog of the different sights and sounds of the Orlando attractions, and updates his Twitter feed with breaking news of interest to Disney-philes (for one, WDW no longer sells all-beef hot dogs, remember that around lunch time).

@wdwfan – This very interactive Twitter feed is maintained by Orlando area travel agents who post specials and updated park information for Disney as well as other parks in the region. Newcomers to central Florida can gain a good sense of the entire area reading the tweets on this feed.

@AllEarsDeb – The founder of popular Disney travel site tweets regular updates and ride reviews, Disney news and travel tips.

@MiceChat – Billed as a “different look” at the Disney properties, MiceChat’s Twitter is fed by the site of the same name, offering detailed updates on park events and issues. This is a great, thorough site for the Disney fan and traveler.

Honorable Mentions

@mousemisers – Primarily fed by the Mouse Misers blog, which offers news on discounts for Disney-themed attractions and vacations.

@DatelineDisney – Specifically covers the Disneyland park and Disney-related news.

When you’re ready to plan that unforgettable Disney vacation, don’t forget to check out the more popular Disney tweeters for inside tips and savings, and don’t forget to tweet from the park and let everybody know how much fun you’re having!