Tag Archives: Blog

Blog Surfing at Its Best

A big thanks and quick shout out to Condron for promoting bloggers like me. Check the site out to peruse some great blogs.

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Filed under Blog, Blogger, Blogroll, Network, Personal, World Wide Web, Writing

Lady Bird Lake the Social Hub for Austin Runners

I originally wrote this article for the Hilltop Views.

If you like to walk, jog or run, you are in luck. Austin provides some of the best trails the nation has to offer. Longtime Austinites, new residents, and visitors have come to love the scenic, natural areas that have been dedicated for trail use in Austin. There are always new regional running trails being created for easy access.

In fact, Austin has—at last count—accumulated over 50 miles of trails used by runners. The natural greenbelt trails are all well-surfaced and accessible.

However, the Lady Bird Lake (formerly Town Lake) trail loop remains the running social hub for Austinites.

running

“It’s a place I can go and enjoy the outdoors while I exercise. There are a lot of trails I can take, depending on what mood I’m in,” says St. Edward’s University Junior Kayanne Armer.

The original 10.1 mile Lady Bird Lake loop, which runs from east to west from MoPac to the Longhorn Dam, is a perfect escape from the Austin ado for everyone, from serious athletes to casual joggers.

The trail—which is mostly flat, rather wide and very popular—offers a variety of trails that fit different runners’ needs. The trails along Lady Bird Lake offer pictorial trails for those wanting a scenic run, or primitive trails in wooded areas for runners wanting a challenge.

St. Edward’s University Junior Jillian Tito is encouraged by the scenery out near Lady Bird Lake. “I like running out there because it’s really beautiful, and you’re easily motivated because of all the Austinites out there.”

After moving from bitterly cold Boston, Mass. to sunny Austin in the summer of 2007, Tito became an avid runner after discovering it made her feel good about herself.

“[Lady Bird Lake] has many different trails, so I can if I feel like running five miles one day, I can. Or 2 miles another [day], I can run that. It has beautiful scenery that just makes you feel good to be outside, and there are lots of people running, walking, swimming; it’s very encouraging.”

An added bonus is that the trails around Lady Bird Lake are pet and bike friendly. Austinites are encouraged to take a run with their four-legged friends, or hop on a bike to cruise the trails.

Previously known as Town Lake, the area was renamed in honor of Lady Bird Johnson on Aug. 6, 2007. Lady Bird was an instrumental figure in getting this area transformed from a drab flood zone to a recreational focal point for the city. Thus, it seems a fitting acknowledgement.

Austin also provides several organizations for varying levels of runners to help facilitate health and fitness. The Austin Runners Club is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization that has members of all ages and abilities. According to the organization’s site, The Austin Runners Club promotes and encourages running, walking, wheelchair racing, and related activities and educates the public to their benefits.  The club also maintains competitive and non-competitive activities for its membership and for the general public.

When asked if she had any tips for beginning runners, Tito replied, “I would say to go at your own pace. Don’t try to compare yourself to other runners around you, set a goal and give it your all. It’ll only get easier.”

No matter what your pace is or what your personal goals are, running has proven itself to be one of the easiest, most convenient forms of exercise. Whether you want to run the Statesman Capitol 10K, or you just want to shed a few pounds, the trails along Lady Bird Lake can lead you down the path of health and happiness.

For a list of Lady Bird Lake trail maps, click here.

To learn more about The Austin Runners Club, click here.

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Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy

Twitter has been my strongest ally in getting my blog out there. For those who have yet to join the tweeting phenomenon, or who have not yet gone to my Twitter page, check it out.

Twitter Screenshot

My typical number of hits per day prior to my active use of Twitter was in the 70-75 range. Now, I manage at least 100 hits a day, averaging about 130-150 hits a day on week days.  Below is a screen shot of my blog’s stat recorder. Look at that line climbing that mountain. I’m a proud mama.

Blog Stat Screesnshot

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Twitter Power!

This is a great list for my fellow bloggers on how to empower your followers with Twitter. Whether you run a small blog that muses at the world’s most imbecilic happenings or a massive social commentary blog on celebrities, you do want loyal (heck, even occasional) readers.

10 Ways to Empower Your Community with Twitter

  1. Ask questions to your readers. What do they think about the topics you are covering, covered or plan to cover? Thoughts? Opinions? Since microblogging networks put a limit on how many characters you can write people have to get to the point. Keeping it simple means all the feedback you get is meaningful.
  2. Answer questions. Ok, so answering all your e-mail is going to lead to e-mail bancruptcy pretty quickly. By having a Twitter account or maybe even your own dedicated network you can crowdsource your community questions. You may not know the answer, but I’m one of your followers does. Or one of his followers. Microblogging lets information circulate quickly, giving people the i nformation they need – when they need it.
  3. Share the passion and linkup. What makes a real community are shared interests and passions. Your readers may love reading your articles, but why stop there. Link up other articles on the topic you cover. Give your readers a chance to explore videos, PDFs. By doing so, you strenghten your relationship with them. There on the inside, and you’re one of the guys sharing the good stuff.
  4. Follow the trends and create hashtags. Trend such as #FollowFriday have become rituals in their own right. By participating in them you can gain exposure since a lot of users monitor certain hashtags. Also, you can create your own meme. Love movies? Start #ThrillerThursday and encourage people to recommend interesting thrillers.
  5. Monitor the Twittersphere. With the help of Twitter search, you can monitor Twitter for terms relating to your topic. Say you write about stocks. Monitoring the term “stocks” lets you engage people who are interested in your topic. They have a question? Well – go on – help them!
  6. Be accessible yet private. With a blog, you become a public figure. Yes, your blog gives you a celebrity-like status to your readers. You the blogger. With time, people want to know more about you, but forums and e-mail make it hard. Microblogging on the other hand gives your community a backchannel into your life. So we discovered that Jason Calacanis loves his dogs and Kevin Rose drinks a lot of tea. The same applies to your own followers. They do want to know those little interesting quirks that sum you up as a person. Through Twitter you can share the little moments you want to share, while still keeping your privacy.
  7. Host contests and offer goodies. Namecheap runs “Fun Facts” Twitter contests. Every hour on the hour Namecheap asks a question and if you answer it correctly you get a $10 credit to your Namecheap account. Two of the players who answer the most questions in the period of two weeks get a Dell Inspiron Netbooks. Basically, they are teaching their community to pay attention. Their tweets don’t go unnoticed. Hosting a contest in terms of getting a response from the community is not hard since there’s basically no entry barrier.
  8. Feature your fans and retweet. Retweeting is also part of the Twitter culture. Basically, if you find something interesting on Twitter, you quote or “retweet” the message, crediting the user who posted it. With your own community you can do the same thing. When a prominent blogger features one’ tweet its like saying “This guy /gal is cool, and this tweet is even cooler”. Social proof you need to use.
  9. Offer them the world. By letting people engage you through Twitter or your own microblogging network you’re introducing them to a whole new level of social networking. By teaching things like how to retweet, use various tools and so on you’re impowering the community. People like to learn stuff and they respect people who show them things. I know I still respect the guy who taught me what RSS feeds were, and yes – I follow him on Twitter.
  10. Let them speak. Giving your community a chance to speak is at the essence of each and every of the things we went through in this article. In that spirit, what would you do to build your blog community with Twitter and microblogging?

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Breaking Blog Records… Again!

It’s only 2 p.m., but I’ve already had a record-high 148 hits today! I’m stunned, but elated.

I noticed that my blog is being posted on other Web sites as a reference, so that probably makes up for a good hunk of the new hits. For instance, Austin Explorer has listed my article on Hamilton Pool Natural Preserve as a link under their “News Headlines” section. Pretty nifty stuff.

Thanks again for following and making me feel like I’m writing things worth reading. Ciao ciao!

 

Update
The total for the 24-hour period was 193 hits! Very nice…

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Breaking Blog Records

Yesterday became my blog’s record day for highest number of hits in its mere three-month history. The 128 hits from yesterday made me very proud of this blog. It brough my total hits to a grand 2,031.

The previous record-holding number of hits in one day was 73. I’m not sure what made my numbers jump to almost double, but I’m pleased, to say the least!

Thanks to everyone who follows and checks in to the blog!

WWW

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Meghan McCain on Ann Coulter

On the “Blogs and Stories” section of the Daily Beast, Meghan McCain dishes on being a middle (wo)man in a politically polar world. From being called a RINO (“Republican in name only”), to having Ann Coulter being the egregious side of the Republican image, McCain explains how the younger generation is being lost in translation.

Meghan McCain

I am sure most extreme conservatives and extreme liberals would find me a confusing, walking contradiction. But I assure you, there are many people out there just like me who represent a new, younger generation of Republicans. It took me almost two years of campaigning across this country and hanging out, on a daily basis, with some of the most famous and most intelligent Republicans to fall in love with the Republican Party. If it took that much time and exposure for me to join the party, how can GOP leaders possibly expect to reach young supporters by staying the course they have been on these past eight years? Where has our extreme thinking gotten us?

In regards to right-wing extremist, Ann Coulter, McCain explains that both her politics and mien.

I straight up don’t understand this woman or her popularity. I find her offensive, radical, insulting, and confusing all at the same time. But no matter how much you or I disagree with her, the cult that follows Coulter cannot be denied. She is a New York Times best-selling author and one of the most notable female members of the Republican Party.

More so than my ideological differences with Ann Coulter, I don’t like her demeanor. I have never been a person who was attracted to hate or negativity. I don’t believe in scare tactics and would never condone or encourage anyone calling President Obama a Muslim. But controversy sells and Coulter is nothing if not controversial. Everything about her is extreme: her voice, her interview tactics, and especially the public statements she makes about liberals. Maybe her popularity stems from the fact that watching her is sometimes like watching a train wreck.

Can I get an amen?

I am a big fan of this article because I reflect similar sentiments as the 2008 Republican presidential candidate’s daughter. Being a proponent of conservative libertarianism , I can relate to feeling of exclusion from either party. I grew up in a conservative environment, but I have some views that are not “deemed appropriate” by the GOP. However, I’m without a doubt more conservative (I do not relate with the Democratic party in terms of fiscal, economic, or military issues in any way).

I can appreciate McCain’s views and even agree with a majority of them. I think it’s honorable and respectable that this young woman has solid beliefs of her own that she refuses to sugarcoat just because the two dominating parties don’t “approve.” Which begs the question: who’s representing us moderates and third-party people?

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