Monday, November 29, 2010

rankings and more rankings

I love rankings, and the arguments that inevitably come from taking a risk and throwing a ranking out there. So, with that in mind, here are a few on my mind today:

Most followed Facebook Pages in Northwest Indiana:
So, who am I missing? I'm sure there's at least one really big fan page out there somewhere that I'm just not connected to ... yet!

Monday, November 1, 2010

A New Media Daily Strategy

Update: Speedblogger coming through - this is an interesting post by the way - and keep going for a few more posts to Home Builder Extra

I get the chance to moderate a Valparaiso University classroom discussion on new/social media each semester as the guest of Professor Scannell. The class is a required communication class for many majors, so the students vary in major and focus. Frankly one of my favorite mornings of the year.

One problem that I struggle with everytime I speak publicly is the challenge of limiting the material to something that is memorable and helpful. I've tried a historical perspective on communications, that was last semester and I bit off way too much by going all the way back to movable type .... yep typically I try to bite off way too much material for the hour or so I have with each of the two class groups.

This semester I thought I'd attempt to be much more practical. So the goal is to present a strategy, a daily routine if you will, for a new media adept young professional.

  • Facebook - perhaps the most active social network in history, with over 500 million active users. 50% of active users login at some time during the day. Average user has 130 friends. People spend 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook. Average user is connected to 80 community pages, groups and events. How can you use Facebook better to propel you to your goals? Daily Strategy - 5 mins quick in and quick out to check profile, home feed, birthdays, friend requests, messages, and top three groups/pages that actually engage. Leave at least one profile update ... always create content.
  • Texts - check nighttime texts from friends, relatives. Any changes to the day? I personally find that texts are the most personal of contacts, and in many ways the most important to read and return. Today text messaging is the most widely used mobile data service, with 74% of all mobile phone users worldwide or 2.4 billion out of 3.3 billion phone subscribers at end of 2007 being active users of the Short Message Service. I even got one text last nite from President Obama on a mass texting list that they set up during the 2008 elections and still use. Daily Strategy - respond on anything important, don't get drawn into conversations that aren't.

  • Handheld device - insert calendar changes, check meeting and appointments, check preset to do lists for the day. What's your preferred reminder procedure? Text, email, alarm on phone? Daily Strategy - maintain a calendar somewhere, one that schedules your day practically to accomplish everything. Plan for brainstorm and creative time.

  • Email - some would suggest that email isn't really new media, that it's an older form of digital communication. I disagree wholeheartedly. Email marketing alone is one of the fastest growing components of new media advertising and getting people to buy things. Simply put, email marketing is one of the places that we've actually seen success at the cash register. Daily Strategy - set up folders on your mail program. One for "Today", others for specific topics like a class or a project, and so on. At the beginning of the day review all read and unread emails from previous day, delete junk, move to project folders, and set get yesterday's "today" items accomplished or put on calender for today.
  • LinkedIN - are you using this site? If not, this is the single best place to put your online profile and resume. No, it's not as interactive as Facebook, but it's a whole lot more professional and your future or current boss will be on there soon. Daily Strategy - accept and reject friends daily, find 3 new connections every day, search for potential connections. I personally set up email alerts when someone is requesting to connect. Therefore when I'm reviewing my emails first thing in the morning, I can login and accept the connection request.

  • Favorite websites organized in RSS reader - what sites do you read everyday? The best thing you can do to save some time is learn to use an RSS reader. Google has one, but so do many other sites. Daily Strategy - set up RSS reader on computer or phone so that you can skim favorite sites and topics quickly, then share even to yourself the ones that you need to follow-up on. I do an entire planning system for my RSS reading and blog commenting.

  • Twitter - all the world a'twitter ... are you? Here's the best clue for using twitter. Use hashtag threads to find people, to converse, and to pick up ongoing conversations. In our area #nwindiana, #nwi, #valpo. Some topical #redin for conservatives, #bluein for liberals, #indiana for statewide, #indy for Indianapolis. #ff for people saying "follow my friends" typicall used on Fridays short for follow Friday. All these tags are searchable. Daily Strategy - check in twice a day on the hashtags you prefer to track, engage conversations through @replies or RT's. No one will want to follow you if you don't engage. Please please please don't just broadcast the headlines and links to your website or blog posts.

  • Foursquare

  • Flickr

  • YouTube

  • Google - are you using the extra searching tools?

  • Iphone (and BB/Droid) applications

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New Media Today - NW Indiana

I won't take the time to use a grading system today, just links and thoughts quickly as i jumped through my list. What are you reading today? In my quick perusal around the digital region I was a bit dismayed that commenting is down, bookmarking is down, posting is down, and frankly even tweets in the #nwindiana stream are down. Come on team, collaborate to dominate.

  • From Steve DeWitt at Bethel. "I want to tell you a story from a few months ago. I’ve removed names but this story is true. There was a man visiting here from Tennessee visiting some family who are members of our church. They left to go back to Tennessee around 3 o’clock in the afternoon.

They got down just north of Indy when their car broke down. They were able to coast onto an exit and into a truck stop. He called his son up here and told him what happened. The son was here at the church for Saturday service. He mentioned it to a woman here. She told her husband. The husband lets the son know that he would be happy to let his dad use their Suburban and he would drive it down with another truck he could use to haul the broken-down car back to Crown Point."

(head over to the post and read the rest of the story)

Figure Eight Brewing

~Brewing a Harvest Ale this Saturday with local hops fresh from a farm.
~On Tap: First Ascent , Ro Shampo, Camp 4 Brown Ale, Rye, Offwidth, Where Lizards, Twist Of F8 and Snake Pro IIPA

Crown Brewing

~On Tap: Replica Pale Ale, Special Forces IPA, Crown Light, Blueberry Light, Crown Brown, Kill'em Ale, Industrial Porter, Belgian Dubbel, Blueberry Wheat, Java Porter, Belgian Tripel

~The Marzen (Oktoberfest beer) will be on tap very very soon.

~City of CP and Crown is teaming up for an Oktoberfest Oct. 9 - 3-11pm on Main Street

~ Nov 13 is the Crown Challenge Homebrew Competition - get your home brew ready - more details to come.

Blogger Illustrated continues a legacy of offering terrific free advice from a true expert in the field of inbound marketing and search engine optimization. Complete with videos and comments that read even more thorough than the original post often. Allyn had some changes to make, google made some SEO changes and it hurt his sites. See how they worked.

The Times is still trying to make their social site work, and posting blog type articles there based on stories in their magazines or newspapers. The 40 under 40 story was all over their publications this week, here's the my.nwi version.

Cody from Center Write Nation posted this in memory of 9-11. Never Forget!

From Christ Lutheran: "We Are Blessed to have members of Christ Lutheran Church in Valparaiso, IN that have time and talents to do wonderful things, like Design, Create and Install the stained glass windows in our new sanctuary! Won't you join us on Sundays in worship and experience the beauty for yourselves. All are welcome here! Until then, here is the story behind the meaning of each window behind the altar..

Oh well, got bored writing this post way before the middle of my target list. What posts did you enjoy today?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ed Soliday | Standing Strong for Hoosiers in the 4th District

Ed Soliday | Standing Strong for Hoosiers in the 4th District: "Serving Lake, Porter and Jasper Counties since 2006, Ed Soliday works on the Commerce, Energy, and Utilities Committee, the Roads and Transportation Committee, and the Technology, Research, and Development Committee. Ed and his wife Mary live in Valparaiso, where they raised their children, Jason and Lindsay. Jason graduated from Bradley University and Lindsay from Valparaiso University."

New Campaign Website - with blog rolling out Monday

Monday, August 2, 2010

Successful promotions - Anatomy of Collaboration

Cool title, and really was just going to spotlight two interesting stories we've been following and the highlights and lessons at first glance:
  • Amy Stark and the mini-social campaign. Here's her mini-social media campaign update. Many of you will remember Amy, she produced the Indiana Social Media Summit last December where some of our own influentia were recognized. She is the original idea behind using the #indiana tag on twitter, and wrote a book about her adventures and collaborative ventures on twitter. (I have a signed copy!) Recently we all worked together to help Amy get hired by @safesitter for a project. The long and the short was, she didn't! What?
  • I say Safesitter made a mistake, one they'll want to rectify soon. But most interestingly is the amount of interest in helping, in collaborating, in pushing her campaign. No one was paid, no one asked for anything in return. We all worked because we knew she would do the same for us.
  • Today Chris Hedges sends out a link on the #nwindiana stream that showcased a promotion by Fast Company magazine. Basically you promote the promotion, and you get credit for how many times people click your link, making you potentially the most influential! Sounds easy enough, and it's been going for a month already and from what I understand the big-wigs of social media thought it was stupid. Hmmm ... oh by the way here's Chris' link so you can help him out: Chris Hedges on Fast Company List
  • Here's my Fast Company List too, go ahead click it for fun.
  • So it's pretty easy to game, and with 5-6 clicks you jump in the rankings pretty fast. Sounds perfect for some promotional online activity and a whole bunch of complaining from the people who didn't think of it right?
  • Enter the pirates! Guy who controls a group called It Starts Here, is going to attempt to hijack the whole promotion, under the guise that it's time to do something good. Whatever that means, I love the idea that one promotion deserves a hijacking! There's something to be learned here folks. Ooops I guess it's called It Starts with Us, Ha funny. Hijacking the Fast Company Influence Project.

So what? So ... the promotion itself is now fading, but the hijacking is gaining steam in the last couple hours. It will get coverage and activity and links. Anyone think it's possible that Fast Company planned it that way? I do.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Music, talent, cornhole and fun at Sunset - get tickets

Why is there a 3in1 Fest

Last year, we had a wonderful event at Sunset Hill called Prayz Dayz. We worked to raise some funds for Spring Valley Shelter while also providing an enjoyable time for the community. We received wonderful feedback from those in attendance. Last September, we began to start planning this year’s event. We found some folks to sponsor and grow the event. Things were looking great!

Then in late March, we felt the swift, sharp blade of the economy when we lost our sponsors, investor and I lost a contract which I was working on full time. It was quite a blow. There was a real desire to continue the event to at least maintain the momentum we had with the music festival, but pulling the pieces together and finding some base backing was challenging.

Then in May, some things started to happen. A local businessman stepped up with some funding to hire bands and reserve the park. Also around that time, I sat in a meeting with several pastors from Valpo. I listened to them talking about the challenges facing some of the churches, the PADS program and New Creation Men’s Center. Even in the difficult situation I found myself, I knew I was in a much better position than those who didn’t have a home for themselves or even a place to sleep each night. I knew the support of my family and my faith was there for me; something many of these men served by PADS and New Creation didn’t have.

I committed myself to doing something to help these men. The newly renamed 3in1 Fest would be a benefit to help tell their story (the story of one of these men) and raise funds for their programs. It only seemed appropriate that the event would use tithing as it’s basis for support. I committed that 10% of the gross proceeds would be given to New Creation. It’s a “first fruits” thing. If I am not committed to living in faith, I am not sure how I can expect my faith to carry me.

3in1 Fest is a designed to be an event anyone can come to. Ticket prices are as low as possible while still trying to cover the event costs. Because of our late start, and the challenges of our economy, sponsorship has been nearly impossible to pull together this year. Even with that, rather than get you there and then gouge you on parking, food and drinks, you can bring in a cooler with refreshments. Parking is free with pre-sale tickets. We will have vendors there with an array of food and treats.

Other vendors, artists and non-profits will be there to share their items and information. Folks from Porter County Parks will help people learn more about Sunset Hill Farm and other county parks to enjoy all-year round.

I hope you will join us for at least some portion of the day. While the many of the artists are Christian praise and worship bands, the blend of music should provide something most people will find enjoyable. Grab a partner, throw some ‘bags and maybe win some money. At the end of the day, I hope people see this as an opportunity to spend some time as friends and families, to be together as a community, absorb some nature and help some people who really need our support.

3in1 Fest is this Saturday, July 31. We’ll be there from 10:30a to 10p with music kicking off around 11 with the (tbd) Showcase.

Pre-sale tickets are available at Tickets TADA!. More information, visit or call RG – (219) 405-3333.

Remember, tickets purchased by Friday include free parking and are discounted.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Tweetup Announcement


Valparaiso, IN. July, 22, 2010 -, Northwest Indiana’s social media networking and resource community, will be hosting their first annual Poker Run on July 29th, 2010 from 6pm-9pm+ along north Calumet Ave. in Valparaiso, IN. The poker run will start at Evelyn Bay Coffee Company at 6pm and will end at Billy Jacks Cafe & Bar at 8pm, followed by announcements and the awarding of prizes. Prizes include t-shirts from Valpo Life as well as gift certificates from Evelyn Bay Coffee Company, Phillip’s Ace Hardware, Cartronix and Majestic Jewelers. The grand prize is a Sonos Wireless multi-room music system courtesy of Cartronix.

Multiple drink specials from Billy Jacks Cafe and Bar will begin the mixer, accompanied by a soothing, live acoustic guitar performance from none other than Valparaiso mayor Jon Costas.

For more information, please visit or email or


NWITweetup is The Region’s community of social media marketers and enthusiasts. By using “tweetups”, NWITweetup helps traditional businesses learn about how to use online marketing to help their businesses, while at the same time providing a stimulating meeting place for area marketers and designers.

To learn more about the ins and outs of social media and online marketing in Northern Indiana, please visit

Friday, July 16, 2010

Mortgage Blogs abound

Have you noticed that there are a lot of blogs by real estate pros and mortgage lenders? Why is that, and why are they so gosh darn boring?

First, it's an easy way to try and game SEO and hope that customers who are using the internet will find you for some niche keyword. Although frankly far far too many realtors and mortgage lenders write a post about a listing or the market and then walk away for weeks or months.

Second, since those two professions are all about selling yourself and your abilities, they need ways to establish credibility, separate even from their companies.

The are so totally boring though. I read dozens a day, and far too many realtors write about a listing or two a week. That's it, virtually an MLS on wordpress. That's no fun to read. Mortgage lenders try to shoot out daily updates, even my own clients are doing this, and yet so seldom take the time to establish personality or let you into their real world outside of staring at the bond markets.

I want a mortgage lender who has a personality. I want a realtor who is involved in the community and giving back and cares about issues. I'm bored with listings and bond market updates. Anyone else?

I'm working with Rob Rud Mortgage Broker here in Northwest Indiana, and we fell right into that same trap. Posting boring and drab market information. What would make you say "I want to meet with that mortgage guy?" Seriously what would?

Please send a “ Hire @AmyStark ” tweet to @SafeSitter

Safe Sitter® is a 501(c)3 headquartered in Indianapolis that “prepares young adolescents for the profound responsibilities of nurturing and protecting children” They have “almost 900 teaching sites from coast to coast and in England. Each year almost 35,000 young adolescents take the course.” This worthy organization is in the process of hiring a development person. In its 30 year history Safe Sitter has not used traditional fundraising techniques for their operating budget, they have relied on sales from the training courses and grants.

I was recommended for this position by Marilyn Burger, a well-respected fundraising professional in central Indiana who is friends with the Executive Director, Sally Herrholz। After meeting with Sally I learned this is a new position that has yet to be fully defined and that I was among the five possible candidates। I asked her, “Compared to the other four, what is my greatest weakness?” She said, “You have no traditional fundraising in your background”

What I DO have is 20 years in Marketing/PR/Sales in the for-profit world and a Masters in Philanthropic Studies, but no fundraising experience। She then said my greatest strength (comparatively) is my social media experience। This gave me an idea: what if I ran a mini-social media campaign using twitter and asked some of my highly influential social media friends to send a tweet recommendation?

The Safe Sitter website is great and they are already using several social media techniques but they aren't using the tools available, so I set up a @SafeSitter Twitter account for them as a donation. Soon after I was tweeting with Diane Brooks - @TalkToDiane – and I asked her opinion about this twitter campaign. She suggested I first get a buy in from Safe Sitter before tweeting anything.

I met with Sally a couple of days later and gave her this proposal:


Mini-social media campaign:

I will tweet the following message a few times throughout the day:

@NancyMyrland [for example] I'm among the final 5 people being considered for a position at @SafeSitter Would U please send them a "Hire @AmyStark" tweet?

This AWARENESS-RAISING campaign will:

  • Introduce the @SafeSitter brand to my 9,300 + followers (repeatedly as I will be sending out 5-9 individualized tweets per day for the next 3-5 days).

  • Introduce the @SafeSitter brand directly to the influential people who will receive the personalized tweet.

  • Introduce the @SafeSitter brand to all their followers if the recipient sends a tweet as requested.

  • Introduce the @SafeSitter brand repeatedly in the public timeline.

  • Build a small following of well-respected tweeters throughout central Indiana.

  • Introduce the @SafeSitter brand to influential tweeters in major metropolitan areas throughout the U.S. and the world.

  • Give you an idea of my capabilities at building a community online and leveraging the power of just one social media tool.

Cost to Safe Sitter …........... $ 0.00

Return on Investment …......... off the chart

Sally agreed saying, “I see no downside to this, however I cannot promise anything. The Board is in charge of winnowing down the five candidates to two possibilities based on the resumes of the I forwarded to them” My heart sank a bit। If the board is traditional they may not consider my social media skills and connections as valuable.

Somewhat disheartened , I moved forward with the campaign beginning Tuesday, July 13th. If I'm hired this will become a tremendous case study on how to leverage social media connections to gain support during a hiring process. If I am not selected, I will be publicly humiliated and use the case study to demonstrate how NOT to use social media in the hiring process. =) I hope it is the former and not the latter because I believe in their mission. I sent my daughter through the training three years ago and she gained valuable information that will help her not only when she babysits, but also when she becomes a mom.

So what do you think? Would Safe Sitter benefit more from hiring a traditional fundraiser, or a well-connected social media strategist?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

NW Indiana Forum on local opportunities

If you wanted to open a new fast-food restaurant, bakery or gift shop, would you do it in Chicago or Valparaiso, Ind.? What if you wanted to build a new office building?

You’d have to consider a lot of factors, but there’s one area in which Valparaiso would probably win out: property taxes.

Indiana state law forbids property taxes of higher than 3 percent of a commercial property’s market value. Chicago, of course, doesn’t.

Don Koliboski, regional director of economic development for the Northwest Indiana Forum, wasn’t shy about promoting this property tax cap when he and I were discussing the benefits for businesses moving to Northwest Indiana, that swath of the state that stretches from the Chicago/Indiana border and runs through LaPorte County and to the border of Michigan.

It’s an area that some businesses may have overlooked, and it often gets lumped into the Chicago market. But Koliboski said that the region offers its own set of benefits to any businesses that want to open shop there. For one thing, there’s the property tax cap. But Northwest Indiana also boasts a skilled labor force, many trained from their work in the area’s steel mills; a low cost of living; and a great location served by road and rail.

It’s why the region’s Porter and LaPorte counties have seen commercial growth even during the down times of the recession, Koliboski said.

“We have a very business-friendly environment here,” Koliboski told me. “That’s what we sell.”

So far, that sales pitch seems to be working. As always, it’s nice to hear of a Midwest region that’s actually doing well in these challenging economic times.

Conversations that last

One really amazing thing about online communication is that the conversations can go on for days, weeks, even years. In the specific case I'm referring to, I wrote a post Who's Who in NW Indiana Blogging that was commented heavily here but the convo also went out to twitter's #nwindiana stream.

Eventually the initial comments died down, but there was a lasting impression left that a few of the bloggers didn't like my summaries of their sites.

Today I run into this post: When your 3rd grade YMCA coach thinks he’s Phil Jackson

Which although very funny, is also equally brutal toward one of those bloggers. How to bring about collaboration then? That's really the goal right? Help everyone see ways to work together towards greater economic activity and innovation. Anyone have any ideas, do we need a beer summit between Coach Lee and The Synergizer? (yeah the energizer bunny was the only photo idea I could come up with)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

NW Indiana Online Vision

I was unabashed about writing Who's Who in Northwest Indiana Blogging last week, and was humbled to get a ton of commenting and input. Thanks to everyone who stopped by, added more blogs to the list, and offered ideas and arguments. Remember I love a good argument.

After reading Joe Porter's Annoying Blog Practices post this week though I realized that at a minimum I've got to put some photos into these long winded posts. (I selfishly linked it to my political site)

First a quick review of where we've been:
  • In 2007 there were very few bloggers in the region
  • When twitter arrived there were only a few users and many were hit or miss
  • Even facebook was pretty slow adoption here locally
  • Chris Hedges began the process of really reaching out and encouraging bloggers to work together on link strategies and carnivals
  • Golden Technologies hosted the first blogger meetup and has been a solid support for many start-ups
  • Kathy Sipple returned from Detroit excited about the possibility of social media as a tool for small business and announced the first official tweetup in early 2009.
  • The tweetup format has ebbed and flowed, sometimes fundraiser sometimes cocktail party. Thanks to Dave Woodson and Natfinn for building and those shockingly funny videos.
  • Later in 2009 the #nwindiana stream really took off, with days approaching 1,000 tweets and a ton of actual engagement not just broadcasting
Where do we go from here?

  • Would love to see a social media inbound marketing conference in the region
  • Are you going to Social Media Day today? Here's the announcement, all are welcome.
  • Would love to see tweetups diversify with more activity in LaPorte and Lake Counties, although Porter County is the center of activity currently
  • Would love to see a ton more blog content creation and engagement in comments and linking, we can all help each other herein
  • As small businesses start using these tools we will all have to shift our focus to reflect the successes and challenges in real business use
  • Would love to see regional awards, real ones not gamed by bots, for this area
  • So far none of the schools are teaching anything that I know of, and shouldn't some of you be those teachers and trainers?
  • My particular passion is politics, and local politicians are just starting to scratch the surface, I just wonder how much local government will change as it is opened to social media, video, and transparent search? Who will be the first to lead that charge?
What do you want to see in this area of innovation? What would actually create jobs and products and incubation? Could we be a place that others want to move to, so they can engage with us? Love to hear everyone's thoughts, and of course get told I missed people in my timeline.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Who's Who in NW Indiana Blogging

Oh my is that a controversial title! Who am I to even suggest an answer?

I tried a little experiment over the last 30 days. I stopped using my RSS reader for a whole month. And today opened my Northwest Indiana folder to see what I missed. An interesting tale of who's creating content, who's commenting, who's getting comments ... who's missing in action!

Some basic data points, and then I'll push out on social media and see who wants to join the convo, by the way these are the bloggers that posted in the last 30 days, I know of more than 150 others who did not post a single thing in the last 30 days ... hmmm

Jeff and Grace Saffrin posted 9 times about real estate in Northwest Indiana and I counted 33 comments during that period. Most posts are about a specific listing, with photos and reasons to buy now! I know that there are other active real estate bloggers in the region, and a few will be listed herein, and many use Active Rain merely for SEO. Thumbs up to Jeff and Grace for providing great content not just SEO. (9 posts, 33 comments) posted 11 times, and I'm still trying to figure out how many comments, not quite as comment rich as Saffrin's. But perhaps that's because many of you aren't following and engaging Dan? (11 posts, 10 comments) One more thought - Dan also occasionally writes on Drum Apprentice.

Adventures in Baby Wearing with 26 posts ranks up there with some of our top content creators in the region. Do you read Stephanie's blog? If not, check it out. She also gets a terrific amount of commenting although most is not regional, for now consider her site a homegrown national mommy site needing more local interaction. (26 posts, lots and lots of comments)

It's all about him, by Crown Point pastor Steve Dewitt at Bethel Church. (3 posts, 0 comments) hello #nwindiana tweeters, I know we all love twitter and using the hashtag but you are missing some great content and really should be engaging on some of these posts with comments too.

Around Crown Point has just one post, this one on the threat of a bug that may wipe out tree population in the area. Allyn, the big time blogger on this site, is a power house and writes on a few of the sites in this list. Do you know Allyn? (1 post, 0 comments) I was down in Indy over the weekend and had the chance to meet some of my favorite conservative bloggers face to face, if you haven't taken the time to meetup with one of your favorite bloggers ... choose Allyn he's well worth the cup of coffee.

ValpoLife Blogs come in with 28 posts and not a whole lot of commenting. Although ValpoLife is the rage of activity and both the Times and Post are trying to figure out how Chris and his team beat them so regularly to local news ... they really need more engagement. Have you logged in and set up a profile? Why not, it's free and the team actually wants your content. (28 outside blog posts, 12 comments) Valpo Life is one of our region aggregators, some of the information comes from other blogs. Business Page 42 posts - Community Page 88 posts - Entertainment Page 63 posts - Health Page 38 posts - Sports 33 posts. By far the most prolific of legitimate blogging platforms ... although I'm sure the newspapers are going to weigh in with disagreement!

Porter County Politics - now actually known as Northwest Indiana Politics and one of my own sites comes in with 28 posts by multiple authors, most is original content and 132 comments. I'm proud to say that the bulk of our commenting on this site are local peeps. Keep up the great work team, but you are getting beaten by a few blogs with more content. (28 posts, 132 comments)

The Sloan Group, one of the newest members of the region's growing online world, posted twice in the last 30 days. Chris, the owner and President, also buried his mother this month so I'm sure we'll see more content in less sad days ahead. (2 posts, 0 comments)

The Pinnacle Blog served up 5 posts, still working on a number for comments ... just a hint to many of you who are blogging, please make it easy to find your RSS for comments. I actually use it to keep track of conversations going on in the region. It's a royal pain on most sites to find! (5 posts, 2 comments)

Jana Caudill brings us 16 postlet powered posts, none all that fun or interesting since they are merely pushing SEO for real estate listings. I'm torn on this, do you care? Should a blogger try to do something more than just SEO? Maybe not, maybe I'm being too pushy. (16 posts, 0 comments) You'll find a bit more original content at Jana's office blog, but zero interaction so I'm guessing no traffic here. I understand the value of SEO and content that allows search engines to see you, but interaction is going to matter going forward.

Political blogger Kevin Tracy takes on Mitch Daniels ... what? He at least suggests that the Governor may have a tough time becoming President because he's short. Kevin has more traffic than many of us will get in a year. In the last 30 days he posted 28 times, which is no record for this prolific local blogger who gets comments similar to Stephanie of Baby Wearing from all over the country. (28 posts, 60 comments)

Buzz at Blue County Red State tends to tick off Democrats and Republicans alike. I saw him at the GOP convention over the weekend, but frankly some GOP types were staying away. He writes what he sees and tends to be controversial. (58 posts, 64 comments) Beating Kevin Tracy in comments is no small feat actually.

Building Indiana Blog is an aggregator of press releases and news in business from around the state, with a particular focus on NW Indiana. In 30 days there were 50 posts but very very few comments. Are you watching this site for breaking news, might be a good addition. (50 posts, 2 comments)

Miracle 21 only posted once in the last month, but he writes about a great project that I can't wait to see in the finished version. (1 post, 0 comments)

Jane McMullen, another local real estate blogger, only posted once as well with one commenter. (1 post, 1 comment) Is this really the best use of real estate professional marketing time? I really wonder if real estate agents should hire out their blogging, SEO, and online marketing.

The Cedar Lake Republicans blog is a newer one for me, mainly introduced by author American Vet who also writes on Northwest Indiana Politics. Only 6 posts on a political site in the midst of the big election year of 2010 is a worry, will they keep going on this blog or fade away like so many before them? (6 posts, 0 comments)

Our first "old media" commentary is the Chesterton Tribune. Can't say I recommend the website, very old school website and I was actually surprised they had an RSS feed last year when I found it. They write from a relatively liberal perspective, tending to be negative on business and favorable to environmentalism. Oh, and no commenting option. (121 stories, 0 comments) no twitter profile, no facebook page ...

Christ Lutheran in Valparaiso posted just 3 times, I think Grace Saffrin from FC Tucker showcased earlier in this post actually handles and edits this blog. (3 posts, 0 comments) are you catching the trend? Far too few comments for these smaller bloggers.

One of the earliest legitimate bloggers in the region is Chris Hedges. He's an attorney, blogger, and internet strategist. I've been reading his material and collaborating with Chris for three years now. Now he's way way off on his posting recently, only 3 posts in a month is crazy low. But due to his exceptional SEO and traffic comments are solid. (3 posts, 18 comments)

Stephanie Precourt from Babywearing mentioned above also writes on NWI Parent the Close to Home Blog. She only posted 3 times, so nowhere near the content she's generating on her other site. (3 posts, 17 comments)

For those wanting to really learn from transparency in blogging, check out NWI Tweetup Blog. Dave Woodson and Nate Findling work together to build tweetup and meetup events. This blog tends to be the most retweeted every month, but comments are way too low. (2 posts, 14 comments)

If one made a list of the top social media, new media, blogging networking in the region then Dave Woodson would be in the top five no matter how the list is measured. I know Dave is building and contributing to multiple sites, but I'd sure like to see more of his original form writing on (4 posts, 3 comments) Hey Daver, I need the comment RSS couldn't find it.

Don Asher cross posts to Valpo Life, and frankly you may get some comments on Valpo Life but there just isn't enough traffic on Don's original site for any activity. This does bring up an interesting question, why host your own blog when a site like ValpoLife or even NWI Times will host your blog for you? (4 posts, 0 comments)

Dr. Saqui has begun a series entitled "How to change any problematic pattern in one hour" great title from NW Indiana's own social media professional counselor and research analyst. (4 posts, 7 comments)

This is a test ... Golden Technologies is considered by some to be one of the technology leaders in the region (myself included) ... once I press publish I just wonder how long before they comment and retweet this? Should be a matter of minutes, lately Nate and Kristy have really been showing the way with their writing and giving to other sites. (24 posts, 59 comments) great balance of new material almost daily and multiple comments. They even comment back when I leave a thought .... hint hint to those of you that don't!

I have never met Glinda, from Glinda says, but she hosted one of the NW Indiana Blog carnivals earlier this year and is writing consistently. I don't always understand her posts (kinda like that Blues Blog of Nate's) but she does get solid commenting from repeat commenters. (4 posts, 24 comments) Now I'm feeling the pressure because my own blogs are showing too few commenting compared with Golden and Glinda.

Welcome Home NWI is a little bit canned copy from subscription sources (written by James Barath) and housing industry searchable market info for Benchmark Mortgage. I have nothing against sales pitch by the way, but the purchased content isn't getting the results that original content is getting for others like Dave Woodson. (9 posts, 15 comments) Oh by the way the comments are 90% twitter mentions funneled into comment stream. Looks like he does well on RT's.

Success Trak's Blog featured only 4 posts in the last month, I think Theresa gets a lot more activity on her Facebook and Linkedin efforts, but it's time to step up the activity in the longer form that blog and comment allows. (4 posts, 0 comments)

Fan Brew is tossing back the brews at a high rate ... 14 posts in a month and about twice that many comments. If you are only going to follow or add one RSS today, add this site. It features a little bit of fun mingling beer and sports. (14 posts, 32 comments)

Full Disclosure - this is my blog - Green Pointe Homes blog with only one post and one comment in the last 30 days. How's that for not stacking the statistics? (1 post, 1 comment) I also blog on Northwest Indiana Mortgage ... what's wrong with me these days, so few posts and so little interaction on my own blog.

Blogger Illustrated is another local phenom, like Kevin Tracy and Babywearing, where a local writer is well known all over the county. The comment counts are high, and content is king! The downside is that Allyn only posted once in the last month, once with 76 comments WOW. (1 post, 76 comments)

Shore Magazine was pretty quiet too, with Phil Potema's blog featuring only one post and a pingback that we won't count as a legit comment. Pat Colander posted four times, pretty good gossip type column on the comings and goings near the lake, I get the feeling though that no one really reads these columns. The hard copy printed magazine is probably still pretty solid, but online just not hitting so far. (5 posts, 0 comments)

This is totally personal, but I really like the format and layout of Redeeming Riches. The site could really use a personality, less hiding behind the format and more personality of the authors ... but with 12 posts on personal finance I think it is searching great with little or no competition in the entire region. (12 posts, 42 comments) and a whole lot of retweets. Note - the sites that feature the RT button like Golden and this site are doing well on retweets. Hmmm.

Have you used NWI Quotes for an insurance quote? Why not? Just a question not trying to tick anyone off. They do need to post more, and commenting is terrible, but this is an actual free service based right here in our community to get you quotes for insurance. (2 posts, 0 comments)

Here's a brain teaser, NWI Parent Magazine featured 86 posts in the last month and not a single comment. Where are people going to discuss these articles, anywhere? I can't say I remember them being on twitter, facebook, or any other platform. So does that mean this terrific content is just laying out there will few readers and even less interaction, sad. (86 posts, 0 comments)

Chris Buckley, new young aggressive attorney from right here in the region, posted the obvious question "Five Reasons to hire a young attorney" love it! But come on Chris you need to post more than once a month, you have followers who are loyal because you've spent time in an SEO group and attend tweetups. They want you to succeed. (1 post, 2 comments)

Irene Tron is probably the most prolific content blogger in real estate in NW Indiana. She writes on two sites, one Active Rain, and I have to assume little by little she's picking up a following of actual readers. Comments tend to be inside baseball from Active Rain members though. (3 posts, 16 comments)

I worked with Scott Swinford on an SEO project earlier this year, and frankly haven't seen him around much lately. Scott are you out there? (2 posts, 0 comments) The post I linked sends the reader to an affiliate credit program that Scott is involved in, I wonder how many bloggers in the area even know what affiliate marketing is? Another post another day.

Northwest Indiana Creative Blog - let me get this off my chest - I offered to write for them and got shot down last year! Why? No idea, I guess they didn't want content. OK, back to the point, some solid and original content but not nearly the amount of commenting you would expect from these designer guys. (4 posts, 14 comments) they did pull together a conference last month so maybe that took a lot of time, more comments soon?

Northwest Indiana and Beyond is the Times' news blog, and at times has featured some good original content and even links to some of us on our blogs. Lately nothing, it looks like this project is on the backburner. The Times does write a lot of content, and commenting can get very active, I cannot report the amount because they cannot supply an RSS for all comments. Many of us link to the Times, and it does tick me off that they never link back from the real newspaper site but only from this blog that very few people read. (5 posts, 2 comments)

Rashaan posted 15 times in the last month, a greater number than normal. He also wrote on NW Indiana Creative. Mr Taylor's Blog is a rambling series of thoughts and ideas, are you comfortable engaging with someone when they are being totally honest? (15 posts, 5 comments) Rashaan took part in the Golden 33 challenge along with some of our other local bloggers.

Not my kind of blog, but I bet lots of you do care a lot about photos and weddings. Region Weddings is pretty good at both. (8 posts, 0 comments)

Josh Walker, audio engineer, was also involved in an SEO project with us earlier this year. Again full disclosure, the best SEO is collaboration amongst local bloggers writing about each other. Give what costs you nearly nothing! (2 posts, 0 comments) Hint - see how I linked to Josh's name and career pursuit ... that helps him not me ... he wants to search for that title ... I gave what cost me nothing and never never never link to the word "the" or "link here" or "this blog". That does nothing for the recipient, or very little.

I'll be honest I don't quite get Jinked, but I know she has a following and writes a ton of content that is very ... very personal. (21 posts, 15 comments)

There are a few people in "old media" in our area that get it. Jerry Davich from the Post and Chris Keller from the Times jump out as guys that get it even though their companies don't. Jerry writes a regular column for the Post and gets quite a bit of commenting by email and phone and even snail mail. He then posts to his blog Jerry Davich: Observations from the Edge with follow up and more commentary. (15 posts, over 100 comments) see particularly his posts on the gay community about three weeks ago WOW! What's the difference between a blog post, great blogger, and newspaper journalist? For one a blog needs to be personal and allow easy commenting, these newspapers are making it too hard.

Indiana Grain Blog, built on a site designed I believe by the aforementioned Golden Technologies, is a little different ... no wordpress template here. Moving tickertape and commenting right on the front page. Remember Michael Essany, this is where he works and writes. (54 posts, can't find comment stream or RSS)

This is a weird one for me, the blog is called Increase Sales Blog, and the blogger was involved at the very beginning with James Barath at our local tweetups. Lately she took to teaching some classes on SEO with Kathy Sipple, our own Indiana Social Media Diva. Again I can't for the life of me find the comment stream or RSS. But she took her own SEO advice and posted 33 times. (33 posts, no idea on comments)

Book of Blues, NatFinn and writing with zeal. I made all that up, but this is one of my favorite reads. Nate writes for work, writes to promote the tweetups, and connects with pithy tweets all day ... but once in a while he writes in long form from a purely creative side. No, not very many readers, but you're missing something here. (3 posts, 0 comments)

Another home builder, GK Development, started blogging and tweeting this spring. Welcome to the community guys, keep up the great work. (2 posts, 0 comments)

Note - many of the bloggers I know are located near Valparaiso. I'm betting I'm missing lots of others. Who? I'd love to add some new ones. I know I missed a bunch, shoot me some ideas.

When was the last time you surfed 10 of your favorite local blogs and left a comment?
When have you taken the time to socially bookmark 10 local posts? Know how?
When you write, do you make sure and link using text words that matter to your recipient?
Have you added any local blog RSS to your reader, set up a folder?

Just ideas, love to hear more from you.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Election nite - Indiana Primary

For up to date news, breaking announcements, and results stay on Northwest Indiana Politics this afternoon and tonite.

We're also using #nwielect on twitter (The Times and Lakeshore seem to be joining us, nothing from the Post so far)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Political intrugue in week before primary

Steve Dalton’s popular blog Northwest Indiana Politics is read by many politicos statewide.

House District 19: The Republican primary pits former Mayor of Crown Point Dan Klein against Fran Katz, chief operating officer of the American Society of Agronomy.

From: Indiana Chamber of Commerce Blog - Northwest Indiana Politics and Intrigue

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Northwest Indiana Blog Carnival - April 18

It's a Carnival! And in Northwest Indiana we feature over 200 active writers on a weekly basis. Did you know there were that many? Who do you read and enjoy?

Our entrants this week:

Glinda Harrison presents Tears for Giovanni: The too short life of a special dog posted at Glinda Says:.

Case Ernsting presents Getting Accurate Unemployment Information posted at FinditLocal411 Blog.

Jeff & Grace Safrin presents NorthWest Indiana Real Estate Blog: Bon Femme Cafe in Valparaiso, IN French Gourmet $ 5. Menu the 1st Thursday of Every Month! posted at NorthWest Indiana Real Estate Blog.

Brad Enslen presents Review: The Secret of Wagner’s Ribs, Porter, IN | NWI Occasional Dining Blog posted at NWI Occasional Dining Blog.

Chris Hedges presents Meteor over Midwest posted at Christopher Hedges.

Dave Woodson presents Why the Yellow Pages are Yellow | Dave Woodson posted at Dave Woodson.

nat finn presents Open Letter to Tweetups in Michiana on the Eve of Blue Chip Casino NWITweetup posted at How to Publish a Book of Blues. Hopefully..

Chris Hedges presents Michiana Tweetup controversy posted at BlogNWI.

But the Week's Number One Blog in Northwest Indiana was:

Kyle Lacy and the Northwest Indiana Tweetup at Blue Chip Casino with: 50+ retweets, hundreds of readers, and over 70 comments in a battle with one social media reject who thought he actually owned the name #MichianaTweetup and threatened to sue. You have to read it to believe it.

To enter next week's blog carnival go to: Northwest Indiana Blog Carnival

The Blue Chip Casino and Hotel

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Mike Adams - Real Estate and Technology Blogger

I recently ran into Mike Adams, a real estate and technology blogger here in Northwest Indiana with two blogs of note:

Mike Adams Real Estate- this post on reverse mortgages


Northwest Indiana Real Estate - this post a market update similar to the ones we post on our own Northwest Indiana Homes site.

Oh, and for all other things technology in NW Indiana, have you seen the total overhaul on the Golden Technologies Blog lately?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Newcomer to NW Indiana - long time blogger

For a couple years I used this site to feature new bloggers in Northwest Indiana, but with the advent of Twitter and our regular use of the #nwindiana stream for communication I began to lose the focus of this site .... which I know needs a basic overhaul on look and feel too.

Here's a blogger who stopped into our Northwest Indiana Politics site recently - Foy Update, I believe she's recently new to NW Indiana but a regular natural foods blogger for quite a while. Check it out!

I'll try to update this site more often, always interested in more writers too, and get it overhauled with more links and a new look.