‘Indian Campuses Under Siege’ Says Fact-Finding Jury of Human Rights Defenders

'Indian Campuses Under Siege' Says Fact-Finding Jury of Human Rights Defenders

New Delhi: In the last few years, the number of universities in Gujarat has swelled from 15 to over 50. “But these universities have no buildings, professors, vice chancellors, clerks, registrars, etc. Several of them are said to be in primary government schools or in tehsildar’s office.”

Professor Hemant Kumar Shah, of the well-known H.K. Arts College of Ahmedabad, stated this to a fact-finding jury put together by a nation-wide collective of human rights defenders called the People’s Commission on Shrinking Democratic Space in India (PCSDS), to delve into the state of university campuses since 2014.

Professor Hemant also added that the shortage of teachers “was so bad” in his state that he was asked by his head “to teach environmental science to all second semester students in the college together in the hall which has a seating capacity of 735 people, since the college didn’t have enough teachers to take division-wise classes”.

In February, Shah was in the news for resigning from his post as the in-charge principal of the college protesting the trust body’s decision to cancel an event in the institution featuring its alumnus Jignesh Mewani.

Ramakant, a student of the fine arts department of Patna University could identify with Shah’s outlook on the shortage of teachers in government-funded universities and colleges, mainly stemming from an increased cut in funding. Ramakant and fellow students have been demanding the appointment of permanent teachers among other facilities in their university for some time now. He told the jury members comprising PCSDS’ People’s Tribunal on Attacks on Educational Institutions in India that,

“The university doesn’t have any permanent teacher and even the ad-hoc teacher has been removed.”

The report, 'Indian Campuses Under Siege' Credit: Special Arrangement

The report, ‘Indian Campuses Under Siege’ Credit: Special Arrangement

The state of Delhi University is marginally different, he said, because although there are 5000 vacancies, “almost all are filled with or operated by ad-hoc teachers.”

Such testimonials of students and teachers – of as many as 50 institutions and universities from across 17 states – are now a part of a one-of-a-kind report on the condition of various university campuses under the Narendra Modi regime. The report, titled ‘Indian Campuses Under Siege‘, was launched in New Delhi on May 7, 2019.

According to Anil Chaudhary, the convener of PCSDS, a total of 130 testimonies of students and faculty members were received from these states between April 11 and 13, 2018. They spoke to the jury comprising Justices (retired) Hosbet Suresh and B.G. Kolse Patil, professors Uma Chakravarty, Amit Bhaduri, T.K. Oommen, Vasanthi Devi, Ghanasyam Shah, Meher Engineer and Kalpana Kannabiran besides journalist-columnist and The Wire‘s public editor Pamela Philipose.

It points out the drastic cut in funding universities, leading to a shortage of teachers and a steep hike in course fees (in some cases from Rs 5,080 to Rs 50,000, triggering the drop-out of students from mainly to SC, ST and OBC groups). Other key findings include centralisation of the admission process; increased privatisation of institutions through policy changes; distortion of history, syllabus and saffronisation of education; appointing loyalists as university heads; the rise of Hindutva forces within the campuses; suppression and criminalisation of dissenting voices; and use of legal measures to curb students’ protests.

The report records, in detail, many cases of students and faculty members who have had to bear the brunt of it, several of them belonging to marginalised sections of society.

The report also says,

“Testimonies presented by students and faculty before the jury revealed a socially exclusive and unjust system prevailing in the higher education institutions, designed to replicate the marginalisations in society. As revealed from the testimonies, the attacks of privatisation and authoritarianism in the campuses have changed in the social composition of students on campus, directly impacting the marginalised sections of society, in particular, the SC, ST and OBC. Coupled with this, the educational institutions have failed to address the systems of oppression and discrimination faced by students both inside and outside the campus on the basis of caste, language, gender, secularity, religion and region.”

From the launch of the report in New Delhi. Credit: Special Arrangement

From the launch of the report in New Delhi. Credit: Special Arrangement

Recording his testimony before the jury, Abhay Flavian Xaxa from the Campaign for Dalit Human Rights said ‘intellectual lynching’ of ST, SC and OBC students is occurring during the present regime. This, he said, is done in three ways: “physical discrimination, fiscal discrimination and barriers put up against the policies meant for the educational development of ST, SC and OBC students.”

Offering an instance, Xaxa pointed out that under a new directive on reservation for faculties, “in the Indira Gandhi Tribal National University at Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh, they advertised 52 positions for professors, assistant professors and associate professors. However, not a single post has been given to ST and SC candidates.”

The jury felt, “there has indeed been a systematic onslaught on the very idea of higher education in India…this is deliberate since an educated gentry can put questions to those who rule and is essential for the furthering and deepening of democracy.”


Closing the early education gap for rural families

The mountain of evidence that early childhood education has profound and life-long effects for students has been building for decades. Educators have made efforts to expand access to high-quality early education opportunities, but that access is not evenly distributed–rural communities are often left out of the loop entirely.

Approximately one in five Americans live in rural areas, and, according to the Center for American Progress, 59% of rural areas are defined as “child care deserts.” This term refers to areas that have fewer available child care spots than there are children in need of them. Even more concerning, there’s no guarantee that those available spots even offer high-quality preschool instruction.

My formal title is director of curriculum and instruction at Greenburg Community Schools, but I also serve as the coordinator for our Federal Title I, Title II, Title III, and Title IV and Rural and Low Income Schools grants, as well as those for high ability and gifted students.

These positions allow me to see where students are when they enter our school system at the kindergarten level and watch them evolve, experience, and mature through graduation. We see students who have been enrolled in childcare facilities since they were six weeks old, others who have attended preschool for two or more years, and still others who have never been away from home before they enter kindergarten.

I have found that there is no simple, one-size-fits-all solution to providing early learning opportunities for rural communities, but at-home, online programs are helping to fill the gap.

The Challenges

A lack of available preschool options isn’t the only challenge facing rural parents seeking to educate their children. With more than a quarter of rural children coming from economically disadvantaged families, cost is also a significant issue. In my own experience working with rural populations in Indiana, I’ve seen this firsthand. Many parents are unemployed or underemployed. They may be working but no longer able to earn a living wage after factories that paid upwards of $20 an hour have closed, forcing them to make due on part-time work from temporary staffing agencies that pay $9–$15 an hour. Some preschool options can cost as much as $200 per week, which puts them firmly out of reach for many rural families.

Transportation is another significant hurdle. Rural communities are geographically isolated. Coupled with the grim economic picture, this means many families cannot take their children to preschool, either because they cannot afford it or because they don’t have flexible enough working hours to take them. A lack of public transportation in these rural areas often takes preschool completely off the table as an option.

The Solution

Luckily, the answers are suggested by the challenges themselves. If high-quality early education is too expensive for rural families, let’s educate their children at no cost to them. If transportation woes prevent them from taking their children to free high-quality options, let’s bring those options to them.

One organization I partner with–the nonprofit Waterford.org–offers an online early learning solution called Waterford UPSTART, which is designed to help children develop early literacy, numeracy and science skills.

I had previously worked with this organization when I was at a larger district. While there, I saw how the platform helped struggling and at-risk students prepare for kindergarten. When I moved to my current position at Greensburg, we adopted it as an early intervention tool with the help of an Early Intervention Literacy Grant.

All of our kindergarten students and our seven kindergarten teachers at Greensburg use Waterford UPSTART. I also serve as a local education partner with the organization for a project in which they provide the program free to pre-K students. Participating children are asked to spend 15 minutes a day, five days a week working with the program. If the family doesn’t have a computer, Waterford provides one. If they don’t have internet access, that’s provided free of charge as well through programs such as an EIR grant.

Families get their own academic coach, who monitors the frequency and duration of use and checks in with them frequently to ensure their children are neither over- or under-using the program. My role is to help promote the program in our district and identify students eligible for the free benefits.

Connecting with Families

As an educator, it has been a joy getting to know the local families I’ve had the privilege to work with and watching “my” children grow from our first meeting through our frequent family engagement events. In April, Greensburg Community Schools will hold its annual Kindergarten Round Up, where we’ll hold an open house for our new students and their families before administering baseline assessments for all incoming kindergartners. I look forward to comparing my online pre-K students’ results to those of their peers and cheering them on as they progress through their academic careers.


Blogging Platform Market: Interactive Websites Is Creating Lucrative Market Opportunities For The Players Operating Into The Global Market

Image result for Blogging Platform Market: Interactive Websites Is Creating Lucrative Market Opportunities For The Players Operating Into The Global MarketA blogging platform is a software associated service which provides a user to publish his content such as blog, onto the internet. A blogging platform is a dedicated form of a content management system. Blogging platform supports blogger to design a professional website using its predesigned templates and available tools. Blogging platforms are broadcast style content delivery and communication systems. The blogging platforms enable bloggers or authors to publish opinions or product review and articles which can be rendered through email, stand-alone websites, social networks and feed syndications systems.

Blogging platform features an interactive website wherein use can engaged with the published content on the site. To feature reader author engagement or reader and other participant engagement, blogging platforms enable user comments. Unlike static websites, blogging platform highlights reverse chronically arranged events. This in turn help reader to easily locate latest and new content, further the platforms supports key word search feature, which help reader to find the appropriate content, moreover the advanced blogging platforms supports ecommerce feature. The chronological arrangement, ecommerce and key-word search feature help bloggers to generate significant traffic compared to traditional websites.

Blogging platforms are useful for commercial and noncommercial applications. Under no commercial applications, an author or a blogger who wish to spread the content onto the internet are opting for both free blogging platforms. Whereas, a blogger or an author with an aim to make money from its content are demanding for paid and premium blogging platforms. Since last 5 to 6 years, commercial applications of blogging platforms are gaining much traction. Wherein, the bloggers are monetizing the blogging platforms. The new and first hand content being published on the blogging platforms, help bloggers to raise its website up in Google’s website ranking.

Thus the website is likely to get more reader’s traffic. Knowing the fact, the other companies such as travel, ecommerce, insurance, etc., pay blogging platform providers to enable their advertisement, the trend of online advertisement is surging very exponentially, this in turn driving blogging platform market during the forecast period 2018 – 2026. Moreover, in the world of digitization need for interactive websites is creating lucrative market opportunities for the players operating into the global blogging platform market.

The global blogging platform market can be segmented into by component, enterprise size, application, and by end user. The component segment is sub divided into solution and services.  The enterprise segment is divided as small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and large enterprises. On the basis of application the global blogging platform market is further segmented as commercial and non-commercial. The end use segment is further categorized into education and research, ecommerce, information and technology (IT) and others.

On the basis of geographic region, the global blogging platform market can be segmented into North America (NA), Asia Pacific (APAC), Europe (EU), South America (SA)., and Middle East & Africa (MEA). Top countries across North America include the U.S. and Canada. Europe includes market analysis of the U.K., Germany, France, and Rest of Europe. The blogging platform market analysis across APAC comprises country level analysis across China, India, Australia, Japan, and Rest of Asia Pacific. Top countries in the Middle East & Africa and South America include GCC Countries, South Africa, and Brazil. Further, demand for enterprise IT infrastructure market from Asia pacific, Middle East & Africa, and South America

Companies operating in the global blogging platform market provide advanced and scalable services in domestic and international markets. Moreover, players in the market are investing in service based models driving the global blogging platform market. Some of these major players in the market include Techclient, WordPress, Blogger, Oath Inc., and Blog.com.


Tips about blogging on Instagram

In this article, we will give you some tips about blogging on Instagram. Obviously, we cannot tell you everything about Instagram in just one article, but we will do our best to highlight the most essential tips to adequately blog on Instagram. We will start with what you should do with the text space you got. Next, we will talk about how you can create a photo album on Instagram, which is a very important aspect of your account. Thirdly we will give you tips on content creation.  After that, we have some tips on how to maintain and promote your Instagram account. Lastly, we will talk about how to make a book blog on Instagram.

A few tips on writing on Instagram

Whenever you post something on Instagram you need to make sure that you give a large block of information. You can never ever post an empty canvas! Remember this. You also need to break the message into essential pieces. Keep the following rule: One paragraph – one thought. And do this with a line break. Remember that there should be no space at the end of the phrase.

If you have trouble with inspiration or remembering where you wanted to talk about, you should consider to either use notepad or notes on your phone to write small notes for ideas every time something pops up in your head. By doing this you will make it yourself a lot easier to format your posts. You just have to write – copy, insert emoji in the part where it is an essential emphasis. And the emojis can also help you to make up lists.

Another essential tip for writing: If you ever have so much text that it does not fit properly, type the remaining thoughts in a regular editor, take a screenshot and add to the gallery together with the primary picture.

Remember the golden rule: ”Write naturally, inspiring, even if you have a complicated and dangerous topic.”

How to create a photo album for Instagram

Visual perception of your Instagram page plays a significant role in its development. Still, Instagram remains a network for visual media. Buy Instagram comments to increase your credibility as an artist. To make a beautiful picture is not as difficult as it seems. The main thing to study the theory of composition, lighting and a lot of practice. There are free mobile photography lessons on the Internet. View pages of famous companies or people and notice interesting details.

It is better to post pictures every day, one or two during the activity of your target audience. Try to identify this part of the day with a practical method, publishing during the week at different hours: in the morning, in the afternoon and in the evening. The results of the experiment are well seen in the statistics of the account. The button is located in the upper right corner.

Content Creation Tips

  • Look for unfamiliar angles. Any object will look unusual and beautiful if you approach the matter with fantasy.
  • Process images in the same style: color, image and text sequence (chess format), frames.
  • Do not overload the picture. It should have one main idea.
  • Products and landscapes dilute portraits of people, animals.
  • Take multiple shots at once. They will come in handy on the day when shooting is not possible.
  • Use backgrounds, decorations. It could be anything. Even an old sweater, if only it is photogenic.
  • Stroll through the city, coffee shops, parks, to catch unusual and beautiful moments in the collection of materials for the posts.

Successful applications for picture development:

  • Vsco cam
  • Snapseed
  • Diptic

Do not forget about the useful tools of video and Instagram story. Both the first and second are popular among users and advertisers. The Instagram videos are short, but make up a plot or a logical sequence for them. Look for unusual angles, break the shot frames of the surrounding reality, details. Add the right music.

Another tip on maintaining and promoting an account

If your ultimate goal is monetization, be sure to go beyond your audience and profile. To find new followers it is sometimes enough to write regularly insightful comments on posts on more well-known pages.

Also, do not leave the questions of your followers unanswered. Put a moderate amount of hashtags with your post. Check out your competitors and invent your personal hashtags that you can write together with each post.

How to make a book blog on Instagram

Such profiles can create stories of book lovers. This direction is now gaining momentum. These pages are especially loved by enthusiastic readers. The account maintenance itself is not much different from any other. The requirements are the same: a beautiful visual series, edited, readable, exciting text.

What you can write about:

  • Feedback on the work.
  • A story about the novelties.
  • Moments from the biography of writers.
  • Myths associated with any publications.
  • News.
  • The roles in books.
  • Reading techniques.
  • Congratulations on the different holidays.
  • And much more.

Photo series depends entirely on the fantasy of the page creator. There are various ideas with beautiful objects, scenes, unusual angles,…

Book, as well as the rest, is monetized. If you lead it with a soul and you already have at least a thousand followers, write to the publishing house with a proposal for cooperation. Tell about yourself, give a link to the profile, show the statistical data and tell them with what conditions you want to work with. Participate in contests, write specific hashtags, thematically related to your work.


We told you how to start and adequately blog on Instagram, we looked at topics for its maintenance. This article does not cover all the secrets of this social network, but we gave essential tips. Using them, you will be able to master the social media networking site called Instagram.


How Blogging Has Changed For The Better In The Past Decade

How Blogging Has Changed For The Better In The Past Decade

Blogging has definitely come a long way since its proliferation a few decades ago.

Before Snapchat, Facebook and other online communication networks, there were blogs. Let’s take a journey to a timeless content platform that’s still as relevant as it was when it first appeared on the world wide web.

The First Blog

In 1994, an individual named Justin Hall created the very first blog.

The site was called Links.net, and it centered around links and personal dispatches. Soon, everyone wanted to have a “weblog” of their own so they could share their interests, thoughts and lives to their online friends.

From Weblog to Blog

Programmer Peter Merolz then shortened it to “blog”, and the name stuck. Then in 2002, the medium shifted from mere words to videos. The same year saw an astounding rise of the medium and the launching of Google Adsense, a monetization platform that served relevant ads within the blogger’s website.

The rise of communities centered around parenting continued, and spilled onto the YouTube platform in 2005. Media companies started moving their content to the internet in the form of opinion posts, expert advice and articles that gathered aggregate articles. People started going online just to read, watch and comment on these posts.


Microblogging soon followed after the rise of social media sites Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Curating feeds, tweets and posting videos soon became the norm. Blogging didn’t die out, but rather served a different, more specialized need.

Professional Success

Successful bloggers like Sourajit Saha filled in a niche that centered around the needs of their audience. Readers benefit from informative content such as comparison guides, ultimate buyer’s list, product reviews, recipe collection, tech and gadgets.

Businesses saw the potential and started hiring digital marketers and SEO companies to do their bidding. Bloggers soon experienced fulfilling careers going their own path or being hired by multinational companies.

Following the trend, we can safely say that blogging has indeed a bright future!


Ex-Ripple CTO Launches Blogging Platform to Pay Content Creators XRP

Image result for Ex-Ripple CTO Launches Blogging Platform to Pay Content Creators XRPCryptocurrency startups are increasingly eyeing content creators as a key use case.

Coil, the San Francisco-based startup founded by former Ripple CTO Stefan Thomas, just opened the public beta on its blogging platform designed to help scribes earn XRP.

Since the closed beta started in August 2018, roughly 1,000 test users have been paying in-browser subscriptions for a monthly rate of $5. Comparable to Spotify, Coil then automatically pays the content creators in XRP based on usage while the user enjoys the flat subscription fee.

Thomas told CoinDesk the new Coil.com blogging platform is working with the digital wallet provider Stronghold for dollar cash-out options in addition to XRP. Initially, the goal is to allow free access with tipping and payment options for bonus content.

“Every participant can decide what currency they want to use,” Thomas said. “Part of the next phase is really to experiment with what works, both from a creator’s side – where the constraints are, ‘How do I get some good quality bonus content without investing a huge amount of effort?’ – and from the users’ perspective of, ‘What will people actually sign up for?’”

Avi Kabani, the author of several nonfiction books about love and relationships, told CoinDesk that so far he’s earned 21 XRP, nearly $6, through Coil and XRP tips. Meanwhile, he’s spent nearly $20 worth of XRP watching Twitch users. So far, it appears Coil has enabled a circular economy within the XRP community.

“I typically like to save [XRP] in my [Coil] balance to support other creators,” Kabani said, adding he’d love to use the Coil blogging platform in addition to his social media channels. “It’s also good to know that XRP is liquid enough so that if someone does need fiat they can get it.”

Likewise, early Coil user and Forbes contributor Thomas Silkjær told CoinDesk he looks forward to seeing Coil integrations replace some publishing paywalls.

“You pay per second you are visiting a website. But the underlying technology is much more capable,” Silkjær said. “Imagine paying per kilobyte streamed of video, or paying for time spent reading articles otherwise walled by paywalls and subscription.”

Competing options

While Coil is uniquely focused on time spent on the page, it is hardly the only tool offering micropayments directly to content creators.

Starting in 2016, the privacy-minded web browser Brave has offered a rewards program for content creators, with payouts to bloggers, YouTubers and publishers denominated in the company’s Basic Attention Token (BAT).

In 2018, the lightning blog Yalls facilitated 20,000 bitcoin invoices in just seven months, while the ethereum-centric platform Cent currently hosts more than 50 blogs that earned creators between $55 and $326 worth of ETH in the past 30 days. By comparison, the Coil subscription earnings appear modest.

However, Silkjær said that Coil’s true potential will only be unlocked when the Ripple-invented interoperability protocol Interledger allows the micropayments tool to support multiple currencies.

“Using Interledger, content creators can define what currency they wish to receive. And no matter if Coil is spending XRP, it will be bridged on the network to match the content creators’ needs: currency-agnostic micropayments,” Silkjær said.

Indeed, Thomas confirmed there are plans to leverage Interledger for a variety of cash-out options, from diverse cryptocurrencies to direct bank transfers.

“We think of it as a platform for publishing and it’s built on open standards so it is more interoperable than past publishing platforms,” Thomas said, adding:

“The standard that we’re built on, called Web Monetization, is intended to be a browser standard someday. But in order to be a browser standard, first you have to show some market traction, so that’s what we’re building out right now.”


What is the right way to ask neighbours for help on the internet?

Small trees, shrubbery beds and tables and chairs with city buildings in the background

Viral internet content, whether meme or catastrophe, burrows into our minds, because that is its way. But occasionally, rather than being replaced by something meaner or madder, a piece of it will set up home there, put the kettle on, never leave. And then I must work out… why.

A man in Philadelphia screenshotted and tweeted a post from nextdoor.com, a request from his pregnant neighbours for meals and favours. It included recipe ideas, their food preferences, and the detail that they’d leave a cooler for meals outside the door. The Sun headlined its piece on the Twitter thread, “YOU WHAT!?” continuing, “Fury as deluded millennial couple expecting baby ‘ask strangers to chip in cooking and cleaning’ because ‘they’ll be tired’.’’ A thousand more “YOU WHAT!?”s abounded, and a familiar kind of internet fury was unleashed, that heightened outrage, a brief sugar high.

This is what fuels the internet, of course, and many friendships, too – the mean bliss of mutual hatred, a linking of arms to form a community of righteous anger. And community is the thing that I kept coming back to, when, the following night, the couple’s cooler turned up in my dream, and the following week, when I found myself contemplating one of their recipe ideas for my tea.

I’ve written before about my own experience of Nextdoor, the website where neighbours are encouraged to share gardening recommendations and information about lost cats, a place that fosters a synthetic (if often warming) sense of community, in a time when such a thing is rare. Having spent time on this site, the pregnant couple’s request felt familiar, if only for its mundanity. But it jarred with the world beyond their doorstep for a number of reasons, the most obvious being the scope of the favour they were asking. They’d exposed themselves as needy – they’d asked for help, but… they’d asked wrong. Which makes you wonder, doesn’t it, what would be the correct way? When you are living far from family and those who love you, what is the correct way to ask for help?

When I first read it, I chuckled, I did. But as I swam deeper into the reactions my sense of unease grew, shifting quickly into a glum sort of hopelessness. I was lucky never to have to ask for help when I had a baby. It arrived in Tupperware, on tube trains, balanced carefully on laps. When I was going into labour, my friend cleaned our windows. When I was a week into a hospital stay and couldn’t bear the idea of company, my mum silently delivered meatballs then drove away again, an hour each way. Later, another friend took the baby while I had the most magical haircut of my life, an inch off the ends, spread thickly over an afternoon.

The question comes sometimes when sick or in need, “What can I do to help?” But often the true reply is gritty and dirty and dull, and few are prepared for honesty here. That exchange of love is only possible when you’re surrounded by people who know you. And today, few of us are.

These poor pregnant sods were vilified for asking for the benefits of a community. It became increasingly clear that reader outrage was based in disbelief that such benefits were a possibility. Which makes sense – it’s difficult to grasp the idea of physically taking part in such openhanded compassion, in part because we get so little respite from individual striving, and in part because the idea of community today is so nebulous and scarred.

It’s spring now, and I find myself impossibly moved by the sight of community gardens, thorn-strewn and blooming, and so departed from the rest of cities’ public spaces. Those spaces, now colonised by private money, and growing, it seems, into well-swept metaphors for the state of community today. A state where 2.4 million adult British residents report chronic loneliness. And yet, many are talking all the time, into the internet, where the possibilities of intimate connection are advertised like wartime propaganda.

There is little understanding that many of these communities are based in words, not action. It’s no wonder that Nextdoor couple got confused – like other internet spaces, they seemed to expect that if they clicked in the right place, their order for love would arrive before 9am the following day.

The international reach of this Nextdoor post has proven that today we’re all neighbours. Sometimes social media works in our favour, by aiding real conversations and providing entertainment in the dark, and sometimes it feels as if we’re pouring our entire selves into a beaker, only for it to turn immediately into steam.

But we shouldn’t deny the many possibilities for connections here, nor let the policing of favours get in the way of kindness. Real communities are often irritating, grabby of time, and require the dirtying of hands, but they are also nourishing. And they are also home. If we’re serious about ending loneliness, a neighbour shouldn’t have to ask for help – we should already have offered.


For Sale: Massive Blogging Platform, Lightly Used

Illustration for article titled For Sale: Massive Blogging Platform, Lightly Used

Six years after being acquired for an astonishing $1.1 billion, blogging platform Tumblr and its 550 million monthly users are reportedly on the auction block with no indication of who might be in market to buy it.

Yahoo—which was folded into Oath, and now Verizon Media Group—purchased the scrappy start-up for a billion and change back in 2006, though it was never clear how the popular service could find profitability. Despite its important place in internet culture, and fandom in particular, Tumblr has still struggled to climb its way out of the red.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Verizon is seeking to divest the business, but gives no indication of potential buyers, or what fraction of the original sale price the company is hoping to recuperate. According to one employee of the blogging platform, the first many employees learned of the sale came from the Journal’s report and leadership has yet to address Tumblr’s staff.

Tumblr recently roiled its own highly-engaged userbase by rolling out policies that forbid the posting of pornography—policies that were often enforced erratically at best. It’s believed the policies were a direct response to Tumblr being briefly booted from Apple’s App Store after a cache of child pornography was found to be hosted on the site by an unknown number of users. Despite the obvious best intentions of the policy change, moving against the contingent of erotica artists who had found a home on the site was a wildly unpopular move.

The site’s founder, David Karp, stepped down from Tumblr a little over a year ago.

A Verizon spokesperson told Gizmodo “We don’t comment on rumors.”


Deal: Drive traffic to your blog with tips from the master

How to Write a Blog Post That Drives Traffic

Anyone can write a blog post, but driving traffic to it is another beast. If you’re keen to tell the world about your favorite Android apps, or even your favorite types of pencils, today’s deal will show you how to bring the masses to your site.

How to Write a Blog Post That Drives Traffic with Darren Murph is a treasure trove of tips and tricks that will teach you the secret to growing traffic and charming your audience.

So who is Darren Murph? Well, he’s a specialist in this field. In fact, he even holds a Guinness World Record for blogging, and he was the editor-in-chief at a big tech news site. Needless to say, he knows his stuff, and you can learn the secrets to his success for just under $20.

Start writing copy that demands attention from readers.

Darren’s 10-step lessons teach you how to bypass the dreaded writer’s block and uncap your creative juice. You’ll soon be able to start writing copy that demands attention from readers.

This learning kit encompasses all the essential aspects of what makes a successful blog. Once you have the writing down, you’ll be schooled in the art of online traffic and growth, great storytelling, and more.

If you’re keen to write a blog today, you can check out the course right now for only $19.99. That’s 31 percent off the usual asking price.

This deal won’t be around for long, so hit the button below right now to get started!


Avoid These 5 Blog Strategy & Creation Mistakes

Avoid These 5 Blog Strategy & Creation Mistakes

Regardless if a business sells gluten-free pasta, real estate software or coaching services, a blog is the most powerful marketing tool.

First, let’s address a vital element that is typically overlooked. A blog helps establish the voice and tone of the business, displaying the personality and core values of the overall brand.

This is something that is sometimes missed in traditional blogging efforts, but now, more than ever, people want to work with those that they trust.

A blog is the easiest way toward building – and sustaining – a trusted relationship.

Blogs, if created with SEO in mind on a frequent and consistent basis, will help a website garner much stronger search engine results.

With blogs, you can chase longer-tail keywords that will earn views from more qualified prospects – those looking for some exact information.

Avoid these blogging mistakes

With the correct strategy, a blog campaign can also speak to various prospects in the inbound sales funnel – those who are looking to be educated to those ready to buy.

And blogs are also the endless fuel for other marketing channels, including social media posts, newsletters and providing useful and linkable information for others within your niche.

Sadly, many agencies and businesses continue to keep blogging on the proverbial backburner. The main reason is blogging is not a short-term power play.

Blogging is for the long term, and if a business leader is truly a visionary, they’d understand the value of a strong blog campaign – one that would build their brand awareness and search results over the next year versus dumping thousands into a paid search campaign for the short-term benefits.

Yes, many, especially those who sell products, need the strength of Google Ads and Facebook advertising. But nothing will create a brand’s authority stronger than optimal content marketing, which is driven by blogging – strategic blogging, that is.

Here’s where many agencies and businesses go wrong.

Many agencies and clients I’ve worked with made the mistake of only discussing the products or services without ever bringing a personality or emotion to the strategy.

Some failed to think of SEO, and others failed in consistency.

And many had a blog strategy, but then outsourced the work to the cheapest freelancers available. There’s no doubt that idea was not sustainable. The work may be super cheap but so will the results.

Over the past few years, I’ve stuck to a few core principals – all learned through what mistakes I’ve witnessed with new clients and other agencies over the past decade.

Here are the top five mistakes you should avoid when creating a blog strategy and each blog itself.

always write a blog with SEO in mind

Mistake 1: Not Performing 3 Layers of Research

Lack of research before a campaign is the biggest mistake I see.

Three types of research should be performed before a word is typed:

  • Overall market analysis
  • Target audience analysis
  • Traditional competitive research

Overall Market Analysis

You’ll want to get an overall snapshot of your market, including its size, profitability, distribution channels, trends, and growth rate.

Unlike the other two, the market analysis doesn’t need a crazy amount of energy. It’s just good to know what the big picture is across the industry.

Do a quick search of “(industry) market analysis 2019”, and you’ll find loads of reputable sources to create a snapshot of this information. The data can also be used in blogs for research, so make sure all the research is fresh.

The other two are more valuable for blogging and require more time.

Target Analysis

The strategist should get some crucial questions answered first by asking various players of a business who their target audience is.

This information should be sourced from everyone from the CEO to CMO to the sales/customer reps.

It helps to ask across a company because sometimes you’ll get a few different answers. This is where you can help a business further refine their target audience, and provide more value than the blog itself.

Once you got a grasp of the target audience, you must learn everything about them.

  • What questions are they asking online (forums, social media, etc.)?
  • What’s their income?
  • What’s their buying habits?
  • What services or products are they using that you can replace and do better?

Again, all this data will be used within the blogs and can help you create various blog topics you would have never explored.

Just typing in niche-specific keywords in Reddit or Quora will show you loads of questions that your target audience is asking. Your goal is to answer those questions with a personality specific to your brand.

Competitive Research

In this third layer of blog-strategy research, you take snapshots of exactly what your biggest competitors are doing.

  • What topics are they exploring?
  • How often are they posting?
  • What keywords are they ranking for?
  • What’s their overall website information (traffic, top-ranking blogs, CTA usage, paid advertising ads and spend, etc.)?

I typically look at five – three directly from the business leaders who say who their top competitors are, and two from SEO tools that show who the top competitors are from an SEO perspective.

And remember one thing when doing competitive research: it’s just for insights, not mimicking.

Just because one blog topic is working for a competitor doesn’t mean it’ll work for your business or client of your agency.

My agency mostly uses competitive research for keywords we want to focus on and to basically see what we can do better.

Once these three levels of data are compiled, it can also be used as a baseline for progress going forward. Make sure to include a snapshot of the business’s data before this strategy even begins.

Most leaders will want loads of vanity metrics, such as increased traffic or rankings for broad keywords that are sometimes impossible to rank for.

It’s the agency or blogger’s responsibility to be a guide and educator, and explain quality over quantity, showing metrics like rankings for keywords that are actually converting.

On the subject of being an educator, one must also explain that this is a long-term play.

I tell clients at minimum true results won’t show until 6-12 months of consistent blogging.

Though results come in sometimes much quicker, it’s always good to stick with the adage of over delivering versus overpromising.

The time and money spent here are vital to serious success. Again, this is what separates a viable blog strategy over just hiring some freelancer and providing a list of topics.

avoid this blog strategy and creation mistakes

Mistake 2: Not Creating Content for Various Target Audiences in Various Buying Stages

Go online and research companies within your niche. For those that have a blog, check out the content:

  • Is it written for those in the beginning stages of learning or those who know everything and are ready to buy?
  • Or is it basically an outline of the services or products that the company sells?

A quick example, even if your selling baby food to moms everywhere in suburbia America, you must create content that speaks to those at different levels of the sales funnel.

  • Some – say a pregnant woman not ready to buy – will research to simply be educated on various types of baby foods, and asking things like what makes one healthier than another. Here the blogs must address the simplest forms of education.
  • Others will be in the middle of a sales funnel, knowing they need food but are looking to refine their reasoning for one brand over another, such as the benefits of organic baby foods. Here the content can get much deeper to show your authority.
  • The third is the one who wants to purchase immediately – they know everything are basically looking for a trusted brand. Here the content can be seriously in depth – but with a focus on the personality and core values of your brand up front. Basically, the content should address the trusted factor.

Though the percentage of what audience to target your blog efforts for will change based on the business, most revolve around the simple formula:

  • 50% educational content for those needing to learn – even the basics.
  • 25% educational content for those ready to buy, but need more focused and deeper content.
  • 25% content for those ready to buy now – deep into the products/services with a focus on the trust factor.

write your blog for a target audience

Mistake 3: Not Thinking of Frequency & Consistency

When growing as an entrepreneur over the past few years, two terms have always been at the forefront of my progress: patience and discipline. Without either, I’d see failure.

In the world of blogging, two terms to live by are frequency and consistency. This goes for your content calendar and days/times of uploads, to the consistency of voice, tone, and style across all your blogs.

Sure, you may be speaking to three different target audiences in various stages of the sales funnel as explained in mistake #2, but your voice, tone, and style should be united across each blog.

Voice and tone will all be contingent on each brand. If the tone is laid back, stick with that style across each blog.

We also recommend the same for all content on the website, social media, and newsletters.

The tone should be the same across each outlet, which will show consistency across your brand. This will help make that brand’s identity unique, and everyone will see that immediately.

  • As for style, do you write in short, choppy sentences?
  • In regards to guidelines for styles of writing, do you adhere to AP or APA?
  • Do you write many listicles, and stick to the same format each time such as numbering conventions for each point?
  • Do you mention #1 or the final number first?

These are all things to ask, and it doesn’t matter what your tone or style of writing is – as long as it’s consistent.

Mistake 4: Writing Without SEO Guidelines on a Technically Sound Platform

Before I work with a client, I run a quick SEO audit of their website.

If they are missing the vital things (e.g., speed, duplicate pages, missing title tags, non-unique meta descriptions), I’d recommend completing an audit first and addressing the main issues.

A blog strategy can’t reach its full intention until the core SEO issues are addressed.

All blogs must also be written with SEO in mind.

After I complete the necessary research and create the strategy and blog calendar, I provide my writers with “SEO Content Templates”. These are basically guidelines for exactly what’s needed, including:

  • The optimized headline.
  • Focus keyword.
  • All related keywords needed for user intent.
  • A list of the top URLs for research.

Again, this is something that’s tough to find with many of the freelancers you can find online – some working for as much as a penny a word.

Never forget a strict editorial process for your blogsMistake 5: Forgetting About a Strong Editorial Process

This is huge.

You can have the most optimized platform, blog posts, voice and consistency in the world, but if your grammar is sloppy, or your information is not factually correct, your prospective clients will go elsewhere – and quickly.

For our campaign clients, I use a seven-layer blog creation process that blends in best practices of grammar, style, fact-checking, and SEO.

The process begins at stage one, individual keyword research and SEO Content Templates that have optimized titles that adhere to an overall blog-calendar strategy.

Once the first draft comes in, it goes through factual edits, then another round for grammar/style.

Then there’s a third edit of SEO elements and creation of a “plug n’ play” document that we provide to clients if they do uploading in house.

Even then I ask them to allow my agency to perform one more edit in preview mode – on their actual website – before allowing it to go live.

The viewing environment changes quickly when it goes from Google Doc or Word to the actual website. This allows an editor to truly look at a blog with fresh eyes.

I do the same if we are doing the uploads, which we do for 90% of our clients – this truly keeps things hands off, something most clients prefer.

Concluding Thoughts

Many businesses, regardless of service- or product-based, don’t understand the power of blogging.

Some do, but go at it haphazardly, doing things as the budget or resources become available.

These types are missing out on the serious potential of blogging, which for those with a long-term vision of their company can be the largest producers of qualified leads and ultimately ROI.

There must be a strategy to truly benefit from everything a blog has to offer, and it begins with avoiding the five mistakes I point out above – mistakes I’ve learned to overcome from over a decade of working with blogs, both as a writer/strategist and now an agency owner with clients who rely on blogs for sales and increased revenue.