Tag Archives: writing sites

Why MyLot is My Favorite Social Network

MyLot is a very Social Network

MyLot exists for discussions. Yes, people share photos, too, but only with some personal words and only one per discussion. People join MyLot to make friends or to talk to those on the network who are already friends. Some of those friends may also be friends in the real world, but most are  only virtual friends.

Why Would I Want to Talk to People I Don’t Know?

First, you can speak freely about things you might not want to talk to family and friends about. Many myLot members discuss family problems or other problems they might not want the people they see outside of the internet to be aware of.

For the first years I was on myLot my user name was unlike any other I used online and my real name did not show. I wanted to talk about things on my mind I did not necessarily want customers to see if they googled my name. After I retired from the business I started using my real name. It wouldn’t matter anymore if I had opinions my customers might not have agreed with.

There are many interesting people living where I’d never meet them except on myLot.  There I communicate with people from several different countries I’ve never visited. I learn a lot about their countries from them I’d never learn  from newscasts or online articles. I learn what their lives are really like and how they compare to mine. We see how much we have in common in spite of geographical and cultural differences.

What Do You Talk to Strangers About?

Whatever is on your mind. Maybe it’s the weather or your social life or your family. People talk about their travels, their gardens, their jobs, the anecdotes that reveal what their lives are like.  People vent when they are frustrated and celebrate when they accomplish something. In other words, they  talk to each other as friends  do in the real world.

Many people live alone or don’t have an active social life anymore. They know that there is always someone at myLot they can talk to. MyLot friends live in every time zone. MyLot friends don’t remain strangers long. You soon find you know many of them better than those Facebook friends you haven’t seen since high school.

Why MyLot is My Favorite Social Network

MyLot Friends Really Do Begin to Care about Each Other

On myLot many people have been friends for years. They have developed many friendships in common. So if someone seems to have disappeared, many people do care and try to find out what happened any way they can.

We have a popular person in her nineties who lives in a retirement home. She recently was suddenly MIA.  MyLot is her bridge to the outside world. She normally posted several times a day, so her absence was obvious. Naturally we were concerned. But one person is in touch with her son and lets us know anything she learns. We all care.

I have never met a troll or a mean person on myLot. If one shows up, it gets reported and the troll is gone. Spammers also disappear fast.

When someone  goes through a tough time or has a problem to solve, they can feel  free to share it and be sure they will get support from their friends. Some  continue conversations privately through the private messaging provided.

How Does myLot Work?

Sign Up

 MyLot is free. All all you have to do is sign up and make a simple profile. Choose a username and a display name.  Upload your avatar. To help people who may want to follow you, include your country or city and state. Your age will also show. If you wish,  add a slogan or statement that tells something about you. You may also add a link to your website or other social profile.  When finished, you are ready to participate. Here’s my profile.

Why MyLot is My Favorite Social Network
My MyLot Profile

 

Post Your First Discussion

This should be an introduction that lets people know where you’re from, what you’re interested in, and any facts about yourself that would help people to see what they may have in common with you. This will also give them an idea of your writing style.

Let your personality show.  Do not post any referral or promotional links because they are against the guidelines. MyLot is for discussion, not promotion. Word count doesn’t matter in either discussions or comments. Write as you would talk to friends.

This first discussion will help you make friends. If you comment on other discussions and people like your comments, they will check your profile. They will probably go right to your posts to see what you’ve written and which discussions you have commented on. If they like what they see they will follow you. People are very friendly and always want more people to interact with.

Tip: When you post to myLot, remember your post is for stimulating discussion  rather than just conveying information as you might in a blog post. I try to end every post with at least one question that will encourage commenting. Answer every comment as quickly as you can.

Why MyLot is My Favorite Social Network
Meet People and Start Talking

How Do I Meet People and Get Talking?

First, go to the top of the page and let your mouse  hover over EXPLORE.  (See profile photo above.) You will see a drop down menu. Click any option that looks interesting and dive in wherever you wish.

The best way to meet people is to find a discussion that looks interesting and join in. Don’t be shy! Members expect and welcome people they haven’t met yet who join in. It increases their income when people participate in their discussions. (Yes, you can earn money on myLot. Keep reading.)

When you are commenting on a discussion, be sure to read it carefully and also read the other comments. Then make a relevant and intelligent comment yourself.  Those who don’t know you yet will check your profile if they like your comment and then they will be likely to follow you.

It’s OK to also comment on the comments others make, just as you would in a group conversation. Every MyLot discussion is meant to be a group conversation. The threaded commenting format makes such conversations easy.

Be sure to follow the author of a post you like and the people who make interesting comments on that post. You are sure to find people who share some of your interests. The more active you are, the faster you will make friends — as long as you follow the myLot guidelines.

Did You Say I Can Earn Money at MyLot?

 

Why MyLot is My Favorite Social Network
How to Earn Money at MyLot

Yes, you can earn a few pennies on myLot. As you participate regularly pennies will collect in your account and when you’ve collected $5, you will get paid before the 15th of  the next month.  Learn how to earn money on myLot.

Unlike many online sites, such as Virily,  that pay its members to participate, myLot doesn’t list specific actions they pay for.  You don’t get paid a set amount for each post or comment you make. But the more active you are and the more you inspire others to comment on your posts, the more pennies you will collect. The more you enjoy interacting and the less you  think about how much you may be earning, the more you will probably earn. The amount you have earned always shows at the top of your profile.

Many sites that have disappeared, such as Bubblews,  have specified how much they would pay for each member action. They could not earn enough to pay what they promised, so they stopped paying completely and then disappeared shortly after that. Read how myLot compares to some of those now dead sites.

Will MyLot Help a Writer or Blogger?

It will indirectly help a writer or blogger to participate on myLot. Though you can’t directly promote your work, you can meet many more people who may also want to follow you on other social networks where you do promote your work.  You will gain some name recognition if you are an author or blogger. You can also put a link to your blog or your Facebook page in your myLot profile.

I find myLot most useful for finding ideas, researching what people think about various topics, and just relaxing. Many members have also helped me with technical issues or just provided a listening ear when I needed it.  You will meet students in other countries who are practicing their English. You will meet writers, musicians, artists, young mothers, widowed folk, the rich and the poor. You’ll meet gamers and people who would rather read. You will meet people from all walks of life and from many religions and with many different political views.

I regularly interact with friends from China, India, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, France, the Philippines, and many other countries. But I also communicate with those Americans who live in my own city, the rest of California, and in other states. Being an active member of myLot enables me to keep my finger on the pulse of ordinary people in the international community and in my own country.

Have you joined myLot yet? If not, what are you waiting for? Meet me at myLot.

Virily, Virily, They Said Unto Me

What Is Virily?

After Niume closed, many of my friends joined Virily and convinced me to join. Facebook sharing groups were suddenly flooded with Virily posts. Everyone seemed to be talking about or posting to Virily. I finally decided to join and discovered I’d already joined four months before and forgotten about it. I guess after my accident in June I didn’t have time to really get active. Or maybe the site didn’t appeal to me any more then than it does now.

Virily, Virily, They Said Unto Me: A Review of the Virily Social Blogging Site
Share Content at Virily and Earn Virils. Click image to join

Virily is a social site that gives you “Virils”for different kinds of participation. The Viril points you earn will convert to dollar amounts when they reach the level needed for a payout — $10 for PayPal, and $100 if you prefer a bank transfer.

Members of Virily post original stories, lists, photos, quizzes, and other content they want to share.  Other members view that content, comment on it, and share it to social media. They can also interact by voting content up and down.  Non-members may view content, but they can’t comment on it or post anything themselves.  You can join Virily and join the conversation here. 

Because they can earn Virils for almost everything they do on the site, members tend to interact with the content of others a lot. Both those who make the posts and those who interact with them earn Virils. Comments need to be at least 20 characters long to prevent the repetitious “Nice post” type comments that were prevalent before this rule was instituted.  I think they should make it 30 characters. I still see people trying to game the system.

 

What I Like about Virily

Most active members do try to play fair.

Many Virily members are also members of more established sites and/or have blogs of their own. They post interesting content and make intelligent comments on the posts of others. They have their reputations to maintain and are trying to make more contacts with a wider audience.

Others enjoy keeping up with old friends who moved to Virily after Niume closed.  I’m finding people at Virily I first met on Tsu or Bubblews, as well. I’m  also meeting many new people.

I find Virily relaxing when I have time for it. The problem is that I have too many of my own sites to post to, as well as more established third party sites such as HubPages.  I can only visit Virily when it doesn’t mean neglecting those sites.  But I do find some good conversations to get into on Virily. Yesterday one of them was on this post: Are Panhandlers Swindling Us?   I got really involved in commenting on that one.

 

There Is Lots of Interaction and Motivation to be Active

Members do get Virils for sharing content and commenting on what others post. They get even more Virils for posting content and recruiting new members. Who wouldn’t want to earn more Virils to reach a payout faster?

If Virils aren’t motivating enough, members see badges appearing on their profiles when they have performed a required amount of actions the site rewards. These include recruiting new members, referring visitors to the site, posting content, commenting on the posts of others, viewing the content of others, and logging onto the site regularly.

Virily, Virily, They Said Unto Me: A Review of the Virily Social Blogging Site
Screen shot of the part of my Virily profile that shows the few badges I’ve earned so far.

 

Some Things I Don’t Like as Much about Virily

Documentation is Sketchy

Writing at Virily is experimental until you understand what each kind of post actually does.  The instructions for the different kinds of acceptable posts are sparse. The Frequently Asked Questions don’t include most of mine.

Here’s an example. Among the post options are three different kinds of lists where it’s stated underneath that you can vote the items up or down. There is also a gallery, for which the only description is “a collection of images.” This is what I submitted as a gallery: Autumn Roses.

Virily, Virily, They Said Unto Me: A Review of the Virily Social Blogging Site
An October Rose, © B. Radisavljevic

The form I had to use was confusing. First they ask for an  intro photo. There was a place under that for me to write a general introduction to my photo gallery. So far so good. Then they repeated my intro photo as the first photo in the gallery. I wrote something about that specific photo under it. As I added each photo I presented each rose with specific personality characteristics, each photo with a transition to the next in a logical order. Then I submitted it.

Ooops! When I looked at my gallery the photos were out of the order I’d put them in and the story line no longer made sense. So I chatted up the person responding to the chat button for help. She said I should have submitted my photo essay as a story, since people could vote the gallery photos up and down, thus taking them out of the order I had put them in. So, why was there no explanation of that before I posted? I can’t go back and edit because of another thing I don’t like.

You Have to Wait for Approval Before Publication

Once you submit a post for publication, you wait for someone to approve it. I really hate that, especially since most of the documentation that exists on the site isn’t in perfect standard English and I wonder who is deciding if my post is good enough to publish. So far I’ve had no problem. I think they are more concerned that you follow rules about documentation and acceptable content.

If You Want to Edit Something Already Published, You Can’t

If a typo gets by me and gets published, I can’t edit it without contacting support and getting support to do it for me. I’m pretty independent, so that bugs me. I know they do it to protect themselves against people adding things against the rules after the post has been approved. I don’t blame them, but I hate being treated as untrustworthy.

This also is an issue if you need to update something in a post that is now obsolete or can be supplemented with new information.

Note: When I wrote what’s above I hadn’t watched the help videos yet because I don’t learn  well that way. I did it today, and I guess there is an explanation in the video about galleries and voting up and down. I prefer help files  I can read. 

Help Is Often Very Slow.

Virily, Virily, They Said Unto Me: A Review of the Virily Social Blogging Site
Sometimes there is a long wait for answers from Chat

The first time I talked to chat the agent was very responsive and it was almost instant. Tonight I was writing a post I wanted to submit tonight. I decided to switch my own intro photo for one from Pixabay I thought was more appropriate. Unlike all the other photos I can embed, there is nowhere I can see to put the link to my source on the intro photo. It doesn’t have the same icons for source and alternate text as all the photos you can embed.

This left me wondering if it’s against the rules to use any but an original photo as an intro photo. Or maybe you don’t have to source that one. If it’s against the rules, I would need to find something of my own somewhere. Otherwise they might not accept what I’ve spent an hour working on.

I waited about four hours for the chat person to answer my question. While I was waiting the only response I got was to tell me that it may be a few minutes and to ask if I’d like to play a game while I wait. I declined. I worked on writing this, instead. In all fairness, there is a time difference. It appears I live on the wrong side of the world to get immediate chat assistance. The agent appeared about 1 am Pacific time, and then she was very responsive and quickly answered my questions. The intro image doesn’t have to have the source documented, in case you wanted to know.

Maybe I’m so dumb I need more instructions than others, but I don’t really think that’s the problem. The problem is that I’m constantly wondering how to do something properly. The FAQ rarely address my issues. As far as I know, this doesn’t bother other Virily writers.

 

Why I Hesitate to Get Really Active on Virily

  • It’s addictive: I’m competitive and find myself wanting to get on the Leaderboard or get a higher rank than Newbie. Oh, I just discovered I’ve graduated to Skyrocket, whatever that means. There is no explanation I can find of what causes one’s rank to go up. If I click on Rank on the menu I see only the highest fifty members and their positions and points. I don’t have enough points to get there yet. It’s easy to get caught up in trying. It would be fun if I were convinced it was a worthwhile investment of time.
  • I don’t expect Virily to last very long in Internet time: With its Viril reward system rewarding so many actions besides actual writing, I don’t see how it will make enough money to last longer than Bubblews, Niume, Tsu, Squidoo, Blogjob, Persona Paper and other social blogging sites that are now history or have stopped paying contributors.
  • I might still enjoy Virily, but I don’t have a lot of free time to invest in third-party sites.  I’ll be lucky if I get a first payout before Virly closes down, but I may be wrong. I consider Virily more recreation than income-producing.

If you think you might enjoy sharing posts on Virily or commenting on those of your friends, please click this link or the image below to join Virily. 

Virily, Virily, They Said Unto Me: A Review of the Virily Social Blogging Site

 

How to Make Backup Copies of Your Posts on Closing Sites

Niume Is Gone

It disappeared on October 2, 2017. I’m glad I made  copies of my work the instant I suspected it was on the way out. My sign it was fading was when they stopped paying. I started checking my backups immediately and they were in place by the time the site closed.

I usually make a backup copy of any important post when I publish it. I used to do this only with a text document. Recently I also started making copies as complete web pages as explained below. I like being able to see which photos and videos I used and where I put them.

How to Make Backup Copies of Your Posts on Closing Sites
How to Make Backup Copies of Your Posts on Closing Sites

 

Here’s How I Copied My Data

This will work for any site. Go to the post you want to copy and copy as complete webpage in your browser. I use Chrome, and this is how I do it.

  1. Click the three dots in the upper right-hand corner of your browser bar.
  2. Mouse over “More Tools.”
  3. Select “Save page as.”
  4. A “Save” screen will appear.
  5. Choose a name for your file and a folder to put it in.
  6. Make sure the “Save as” type says “Webpage, Complete” as in the image below.
  7. Here’s the image I snipped an image of that screen.
How to Make Backup Copies of Your Posts on Closing Sites
How to Save as Complete Webpage

I have a folder for blog backups and a subfolder for each blog or writing site. I normally make text files as I write posts now and save them — just in case. You can see I saved this under niume backups, and I gave this a file name. (In this case, I saved this edit page as the file name, since I wasn’t going to save it, just snip the process.) Although I usually have the text file files for my posts saved, I also like to save them as they looked online so I can remember which images I used where.

What Next?

Now you have to decide what to do with all your beautiful work. I will be trying to move it into my own blogs or websites. If you don’t have your own blog yet, I’d recommend hosting one yourself that no one can take out from under you. I use SiteGround for hosting my most important WordPress.org sites. Here’s why.

Web Hosting

 

I no longer use free blogging sites because they are harder to monetize and because the owners can change the rules or even disappear. Self-hosted WordPress sites offer features free sites don’t. They also give you complete control over your site. Of course, it’s up to you to follow Google or other advertiser guidelines if you want to monetize with ads. And you will also need to follow any rules your affiliated sites or networks set for their affiliates.

You may also want to check out these posts: Four Things You Need to Do When a Writing Site Closes and Should You Start a Blog?

If you have questions on what to do next, feel free to leave it in the comments. Or you may want to share what you plan to do with those niume posts. Godspeed on the next step of your blogging journey.

To stay in touch with your blogging buddies from every site, you may want to join myLot. It’s free and still pays a bit for participating in its discussions. Meet me there and connect.

How to Make Backup Copies of Your Posts on Closing Sites

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Four Things You Need to Do After a Writing Site Closes

Writing Sites Sometimes Close With No Warning

 

Four Things You Need to Do After a Writing Site ClosesIt seems almost every few months another writing site closes.  During the past three years Squidoo, Bubblews, Zujava, Wikinut, Seekyt, and sites I never even joined have closed or stopped paying.

When Persona Paper gave notice they would close, the site administrators, who have always been upfront with us, gave us fair warning so that we would have time to save our work. As it turned out, a new owner took over Persona Paper, but it’s no longer paying.  Not very many people are still active there.  Many of us have already backed up our work — just in case.

Besides Persona Paper, I belong to other sites which may or may not be around a year from now. The owners of Blogborne and Niume seem to have lost interest in them and activity has decreased. As income on these third party sites goes down, more and more people are moving work to their own sites.

Checklist for Exiting a Writing Site

  1. Make copies of your work
  2. Delete links to your work
  3. Edit your social media automated feeds
  4. Invest more in your self-hosted sites

Make Copies of Your Work

If you’ve been through a sudden site closure with no warning before, you probably already know you should be making backups for every single post or article you write. When Bubblews closed, many were caught off-guard and lost their work.

There’s another lesson I learned at Bubblews, though. A site can also make a site-wide change that will butcher what you have written. This happened during an update where Bubblews stripped most of the content from many posts that had used multiple images. I lost many photo essays, even though I had drafts of the text.

Four Things You Need to Do After a Writing Site ClosesFrom now on, I plan to save every post with multiple images as a complete web page through my browser. In Chrome this is really easy. Just go to the dots in the top right corner. Click. Choose “More Tools” from the drop-down menu that appears. When you mouse over it, you can click “Save page as.” A window will appear to allow you to choose a file to save to. Choose and save. Wait for the download and you’re finished.  What a simple way to have a model of your page exactly as it appeared when published so you can reconstruct it later.

Delete Links to Your Work

This is the part that is not fun. If you’ve been writing very long, you have probably been crosslinking articles you’ve written on different sites. When Squidoo closed I had lots of links going to my lenses from my blogs and from my Hubs on HubPages and from articles on other sites. Fortunately, many of those links forwarded to HubPages for pages that had been transferred, but I didn’t allow all my articles to transfer.

I have 350 articles on Persona Paper, and a good portion of those are articles I tweeted recently. I have linked to them from blogs. I have pinned them on Pinterest and shared them on Google + and Facebook. I  have linked to them from content websites I own. If Persona Paper goes away for good, those will all be dead links. I will have to remove them. Maybe you also have some link cleaning to do if you have backlinks to work on closed or closing sites.

Edit Your Social Media Feeds

Many people have automated collections of tweets and Facebook posts which they set up ahead of time for a couple of hundred evergreen posts in a service like Hootsuite. They just keep being posted over time until you change them. If links to posts or sites no longer functioning are being tweeted, you will lose credibility.

Invest in More in Your Self-Hosted Sites

Sometimes I feel like I’m on a merry-go-round. Gather closes so I post an old Gather post to Bubblews. Bubblews closes so I republish that same post to Persona Paper. Persona Paper closes… Then what?

Four Things You Need to Do After a Writing Site Closes
Are You on the Content Writing Merry-Go-Round? Courtesy of Pixabay

People are still trying to find new homes for their old Squidoo lenses and hubs that aren’t doing well. Many are starting their own blogs or spending more time creating or republishing content to blogs or sites they already own. I wrote recently about how to move writing from content sites to your own site.

If you’ve been stuck on the content writing site merry-go-round, maybe it’s time to get off and invest in your own self-hosted sites. If your sites are already set up, invest more time in updating them and adding new content. Many who have moved posts from HubPages to their own sites are seeing increased earnings from them now. Check out the great hosting deals for WordPress sites at SiteGround. They are very helpful there.

If you don’t yet have your own blog, join Pajama Affiliates so you can learn to set up a self-hosted WordPress site correctly from the beginning.  It’s a small investment up front, but most get it back in earnings if they apply what they learn there.  I have found it valuable for myself.

My Pajama Affiliate Courses are Worth Every Penny I Paid for Them. The teachers are making thousands a year in affiliate income without being spammy.  They can teach you to monetize your own blogs in a reputable way. The courses go on sale often. While you’re waiting for a sale, you can clean out your dead links in cyberspace.

Hope this post helps you set goals that don’t depend on a third party site to help you earn. Be adventurous. Step out on your own. Take control of your own destiny in cyberspace. I think you will enjoy creating and looking back on your accomplishments.