GeekMom’s Secret to Online Success is…

The good old Golden Rule. Really, it works online just like it does in real life. Sounds too low-tech to work in the virtual world? Well, it’s not. I’ll prove it in five easy steps.

  1. First, develop a nice, friendly, informative profile page on yourself. This can be your myspace page, your blog, your Squidoo lensmaster page, or whatever. You don’t have to give out your personal information. Include a link back to your blog, or whatever else you’d like visitors to click on.
  2. Then do some surfing. Look for blogs or pages that are well-written and interesting. Find something you really like. Have fun!
  3. Don’t just lurk. Participate in polls, give some stars, add some appreciative comments to the guestbooks. Be genuine. Be kind. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. Remember the Golden Rule, and treat others the way you would like to be treated.
  4. Usually, you can add a link to your comment. This is where you put the address to your profile page, or directly to your blog. Don’t use a spammy, junky link. People don’t like being tricked into clicking on spam!
  5. If you’ve been kind, people will read your insightful comment and want to know more about you. They will click on your link, visit your page, and maybe even leave you a nice comment too. Perhaps they’ll check out your sidebars and ads. If your page is especially wonderful, you might even get a Digg or a bookmark, or even a regular subscriber. Who knows — you might even make a friend!

Give the Golden Rule a try, and see if you get good results. Even if you get one quality visitor for every ten quality visits you make, you will have made Cyberspace a friendlier place. And that’s good for everybody!

Call me old-fashioned, but…

It’s just the way I was brought up. When we were kids, Mom made us sit down after Christmas or birthdays and write thank you notes. By hand. We hated it, and it took forever! It’s not that we wanted to be perceived as ungrateful or rude (Mom explained that’s what people would think), but writing notes was so boring compared to playing with our new stuff.

Now that it’s so quick and easy to send a digitized message, whether by e-mail, IM, text, fax, e-card, or whatever, I find it even more important to do thank-yous the old-fashioned way. I love getting personal notes — thank you or otherwise — in my real mailbox. Every time I walk out to get the mail, I have a little flutter of hope that there might actually be something “real” among the junk. Most of the time it’s just bills, credit card offers, and advertisements. Even though this is normal, it’s still a bit disappointing. When something personal is hidden between the boring business envelopes, I get so excited! Aren’t you the same way?

Which is why I always try to send handwritten thank you notes, and I’m trying to get my kids in the habit of doing the same. It’s a battle, because they say it takes forever, and it’s boring… But I explain that people love getting a nice note in the mail, and it shows an appreciation for thoughtfulness on both sides of the stamp.