31 Dec

New Year Resolutions – Social Media and Blogging

I’ve decided to group this years New Year Resolutions into several categories

Social Media

Health and Well-being

Productivity

—————————————————–

I use social media a lot, but sometimes it’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole and become distracted with ineffective activities.

As someone who is trying to build a freelance business, I need to be more focused in my online actions.

So, this years New Years Resolutions are:

  1. Rethink my social media presence
  2. Blog more regularly
  3. Comment more
  4. business branding

Rethink My Social Media Presence

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

As a freelancer working in a range of fields, and having changed careers radically in 2009 (from radio to digital content) I think it’s important to keep track of social media presence, and if necessary, have separate accounts for separate interests. I’m aware that some people I’ve connected with have NO interest in certain areas of my life

  • This means I sometimes hold back on  posting
  • There is the potential to lose some people along the way

I have recently set up a series of accounts purely for my infographics design work

I will then occasionally retweet these to my main account as well, if of wider interest.

But do I need to go further  – should I separate personal and work accounts completely? Do I need a social media presence for other elements of my work?

The New Years Resolution

Conduct a social media audit

  • what accounts do I use
  • what do I use them for
  • what works well on the various accounts
  • do I need to stop using anything? (might be knocking on your door, Pinterest)
  • set up new accounts if necessary

Have you done anything similar? What are the pitfalls? Any advice?

Blog More Regularly

WordPress (Photo credit: Adriano Gasparri)

WordPress (Photo credit: Adriano Gasparri)

I’m always telling people to blog more regularly  – “you don’t need to write a full article” I say, “just pull together an idea and get it up there”.

It’s a great outlet for showcasing work, knowledge, for sharing ideas and connecting with people – and as a freelancer it’s always good to be visible.

The New Years Resolution

I’m going to take my own advice and revive this blog with more ideas and thoughts.

I’m going to do what I promised months ago, and start blogging for MyJQ – a Jewellery Quarter hyperlocal blog in Birmingham

Put more ideas on my design blog (although I’ve not been too bad at doing this recently)

 

Comment More

Even though I do get excited when someone comments on a blog post of mine, I am woefully lazy when it comes to commenting on other peoples. Maybe it’s because I do most of my article reading on my mobile, and it’s difficult to comment via mobile. Maybe I’ve been put off by the few times I HAVE commented and either being attacked, or the website has crashed and my well crafted comment has been lost in the ether.

The side effect of thinking about commenting, is that I will read the article fully, not skim it, and take in the information.

The New Years Resolution

Consider commenting on every article I read, and if I have something to contribute, do it!!!

 

Business Branding

Now I have a cbviz website, Twitter account and Facebook page – it might be a good idea to tie them all together with a logo and some business branding.

I am critically close to the end of my business card stash and have just set up a business bank account, so all in all, it’s a good time to get some new stationery printed off.

The New Years Resolution

Design a logo – apply to Twitter, Facebook, other social media accounts and website

Get business cards printed

31 Dec

Links [27 Dec 2012]

A collection of the articles I’ve been reading and sharing recently

Interesting Sites

Interesting Articles / Finds

Interesting design / From my design blog

Interesting / New Apps / Tools

31 Dec

IPad App Review: Sticky Notes

Ipad app Sticky Notes Post It Notes app icon

 

Sticky Notes on the App Store here

Cost: Free

An app that seems silly and gimmicky – but is actually VERY useful!

Great if you use your iPad as a second screen / organiser

And these post-its won’t fall off your monitor!!

Possible Uses

  1. Daily todo lists – different notes/colours for different groups (ie email, phone calls, errands)
  2. Presentation notes – one for each slide, then email or share on Twitter afterwards
  3. Organisation planning

Organiser_post_its.JPG  Post_it_presentation_notes.PNG  Post_it_structure_planning.PNG

Good Points

  • Easy to use – enough options to make it useful, not not too many that it becomes confusing/messy
  • Choice of colours – good choice of note and font colours, so you can categorise easily
  • Font choices – not as useful as colours, but it’s still nice to use your favourite font for your notes
  • Font size –  changes with a WYSIWYG bar not with a font-size drop down (so you can see how it looks)
  • Scale – good use of 2-finger scaling of each note. Font increases as note does
  • Easy to edit fonts afterwards – changing font changes whole note so easy to edit
  • Email feature – grabs of whole board and individual notes can be shared
  • Twitter share – share individual note or entire board via Twitter

Things to Improve On

  • Can’t sync to another device (so maybe not so useful for shopping lists etc if you’re mobile)
  • Fiddly to delete individual notes – you need to edit note, then click cross then confirm delete
  • No way to clear all notes – if you’re using if for lots of temporary projects, you can’t bulk delete notes
  • Copy Notes – no way to copy notes, which would be useful if you had a template for a particular note

Extras

  • Photos and camera through in app purchase – 69p (incl add photos and save to photos)
  • Unlimited page with upgrade – 69p

 

22 Dec

Flickr, Instagram and Pinterest


 Caroline Beavon is a freelance information and infographics designer – get in touch for more details

linkedin


In this post I discuss how I personally use image services Flickr, Instagram and Pinterest. 

You can see my Flickr images here, you can follow me on Instagram here and see my pins on Pinterest here

Designers? How do you use these sites to promote your work? (I’m working on a future blog post about this)

[toc]

There has been a lot of movement between Flickr and Instagram recently. (did you move?) This has been due to:

  • instagramInstagram changing (then changing back) their T’s and C’s to suggest that users photographs could be sold to advertisers.
  • Flickr giving their iPhone app a long-overdue facelift, making it both more social and easier to use.

So people have been threatening to close their Instagram accounts, and move to Flickr – and I have seen a flurry of new contacts as people make use of the “find friends on Twitter/Facebook” facility.

However, I have no intention of quitting Instagram – because they both serve different purposes

Instagram

Instagram photo of Loco Lounds in Kings Heath, Birmingham For me, Instagram is a (thankfully) watered down version of the-heydey of Facebook pictures – when, most Saturday mornings I would wake up with a notification “Karen has tagged 25 photos of you”.

I use it to snap things that I see and I like – nice street art, a cosy coffee shop or even a favourite chocolate bar. This site is not for mass photo-dumping.

I like the Instagram app: it’s easy to use and it’s possible to make a picture look pretty darn good with filters etc.

Using IFTTT, I bounce all my Instagram pictures onto a Tumblr page (for no other reason than I like Tumblr and like IFTTT and I like to see automation happen!)

I also use Instagram (on a photo by photo basis) to tag venues (via Foursquare) and to share pictures on Facebook or Twitter.

Flickr

flickr exampleFlickr is a very different beast for me.

  • I do not add images to Flickr from my phone
  • I use it to show off my design work – so it has evolved into a portfolio site
  • In the past I used it to host gig photos taken with the terrible-phone-brilliant-camera Sony Ericsson Satio
  • I have also used it when I am employed (by companies like Podnosh) to cover conferences as a digital reporter. Cue lots of shots of conferences, whiteboards and post it notes.

However, I am wondering if I could be doing more with my Flickr account? Question is:

  • how do people browse Flickr? If I suddenly added non-portfolio pictures to my site, could it affect business if people are looking for work?
  • Do I set up a portfolio site on Flickr – potentially losing bookmarked link traffic and current contacts?

Pinterest

Pinterest example

I thought I’d give Pinterest a mention, as the third image service I use.

This is more about sharing content I find online, rather than sharing my own images (although I do share my design work here  – so sue me!)

I use this to save images I find interesting, and they are grouped into boards, such as Infographics, Interiors and Cute.

I deal with subjects here (such as Interiors) that would not fit into the subject of this blog, for example.

However, I am losing interest in Pinterest, rarely using it to browse and my posting is becoming more and more infrequent.

 


 Caroline Beavon is a freelance information and infographics designer – get in touch for more details

linkedin


20 Dec

PROJECT: Sampad Annual Report

You can see more of my infographic and data visualization work here

 

A few months ago I was invited to create an infographic for the charity, Sampad.

The challenge was this: to show some of the key statistics from their year of activity, in a small area on a single or series of small infographics.

(They were keen to reduce their annual report in both page-size and page-numbers, but didn’t want to reduce the amount of information on display).

The statistics included the number of events held, audience statistics and educational ventures  -as well as a series of geographical locations showing their relationships across the world.

 

You can view the Annual Report PDF here

 

Interested in the design process? A few notes/thoughts here

 

 

infogrph

 

 

 

15 Dec

7 work locations for the home working freelancer

As a stay-at-home freelancer, I’m always looking for different places to work.

It’s a perk of the job that you can take your laptop anywhere, so here are my favourite places to get stuff done

INSIDE THE HOUSE

1. Bed

Good for blogging, social networking and social sharing/bookmarking

This is a surprisingly productive place to work.

[69]. HELLLOO MACCCBOOOK!

  • It’s comfy – so why would you get up an wander off somewhere else?
  • Any attempt to move will result in a cable-duvet tangling scenario
  • it’s relaxed – so perfect for creative ventures
  • You can flip between sitting upright and lying on your front if you need to (yes I know, both terrible terrible postures)
Downsides
  • Terrible for your posture
  • If you’re tired it’s hard to get motivated/not fall asleep
  • Definitely not for Skype chats!!

2. Sofa

Good for email answering, planning, to-do list writing and inbox clearing

Less productive than the bed, as it’s far more tempting to put the telly on, do the washing up etc. However, sitting on the sofa in a bright living room is still a valid place of work

 

  • With a bright airy room, you’re less creative but more switched on to tackling simple but useful tasks
  • there are a variety of positions available
  • similar restrictions to moving as “bed” – cables, comfiness etc
Downsides
  • Not ideal for long working sessions
  • Distractions of household chores/TV

3. Desk

Good for design, report writing

I currently do not have a desk (long story) but I always found it the best place to get the “big project” done.

 

  • if set up right, a desk is a comfy, “good posture” place to work
  • There is a sense of purpose on a desk, and the hours can fly by
  • You have all your stuff near you – pens, staplers, printer etc.
Downsides
  • Not very creative space (I always have my design books in another room so I can step away from the desk and into a different coach to get some inspiration)

4. Bath

Just kidding

 

OUTSIDE THE HOUSE

4. Coffee Shop

Good for blogging, social networking, link sharing

Find the right coffee shop and it can become a perfect place to work. I blogged about some of the best working coffee shops in Birmingham here

  • Despite being a public space, there are actually fewer distractions than in your own home. No washing up, no television.
  • There is a sense of time limit – no matter no friendly your coffee shop is, they will close eventually.
  • regular breaks as you get up to buy more drink
  • Once you’re set up, you won’t want to move again for a couple of hours

Downsides

  • Noisy – (especially around lunchtime)
  • unreliable wifi can ruin your session
  • Too much caffeine!
  • Potential to eat cake and carb-heavy food all the time!!
  • Expense
  • People you know “popping over” for a chat

 

5. Library

Birmingham Central Library from Centenary Way
Good for non-online writing, research, concentration, data entry

I’ve always had a soft spot for my my local “big” library – the soon to be demolished Central Library in Birmingham, it was my go-to revision spot when I was doing my A Levels.

Yes, there is free wifi but I’ve sometimes had problems logging on and there is a time-limit, and to be honest it’s sometimes nice to get non-online tasks done in this environment

  • Fewer distractions
  • Sense of a place of learning so encourages self to get stuff done
  • Plenty of research material
  • You can’t wander off without packing everything up

downsides

  • Noise. It doesn’t take a lot to be noisy in a library
  • Wonky wifi connection at times
  • A hassle if you need to pop to loo, for a coffee etc

 

6. pub

Good for social networking, links sharing, filing etc

I know people who love working in pubs. To be honest, I’ve always found it an odd location but it can work, especially as so many now have free wifi

  • During the day pubs can be quieter than coffee shops
  • Range of beverage options (depending how the writing is going!)
  • Fewer distractions from friends as they’re all in the coffee shops
  • Downsides (mainly when the pub gets busy)

Downsides

  • Once the pub starts to fill up, you will end up being the pretentious dick in the corner on a laptop
  • The pub may not be happy with you taking up a table
  • The temptation to have a “cheeky lunchtime drink”

 

7. Co-working space

Good for focus-jobs i.e. report writing, blogging, accounts sorting)

I’ve blogged about the pros and cons of coworking spaces here.

I’m still not a mad fan of these, but there are definite pros and cons

  • If everyone else in the room is diligently working, the pressure is on you to do the same
  • Usually a productive space and a big desk for yourself
  • Tea and coffee on tap

Downsides

  • Too quiet – quite a tense atmosphere sometimes
  • Cost (compared to working at home)
  • Politics / etiquette – how to behave, talking, mobile phones etc
Have I missed anywhere?

 

 

 

All content (c) Caroline Beavon 2020