Behind-the-Scenes of My New Redesign!

Kontrary by Rebecca Thorman

When I started writing on Kontrary, I wanted to update the site’s branding right away, but I decided to commit to writing first. If I could commit to a weekly schedule, a redesign would be my reward. And oh, how satisfying it has been.

The old design was reflective of my mood at the time – a bit serious, but also clean and modern. For the new site, I wanted to keep the clean and modern, but dial up the happy factor. And in fact, this is the most color I’ve had on my site. Ever. And I love it, because it’s so much more reflective of who I am right now.

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Work is Irrelevant

Work, that of pursuing a specific passion or purpose, has become irrelevant. As technology increasingly gains momentum, we’ve moved from the age of work/life blur to the age of tech/life blur.

For instance, if you’re a writer, it’s not the content that matters (the work itself), but how the content is consumed and packaged. “We are on the brink of accessing digital content through what they call the ‘splinternet,’” argues Columbia Business School professor Rita McGrath. “Devices, hardware, software, applications and content, rather than being offered interoperably in a wide-open World Wide Web are increasingly going to be stacked up in proprietary ecosystems in which denizens can talk only to each other.”

So iPad apps like Flipboard, Zite and others like it are becoming the norm and offer “a much more natural way to consume content on a tablet, and the aggregation they provide is like having a customized newspaper available at any time,” argues Matthew Ingram on GigaOm.

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Bloggers Are Not Writers

There are exceptions, okay. But very few bloggers can actually write. Bloggers pander to a crowd trying to satisfy the hive mind. Blogging is entertainment. Many bloggers are good at marketing, building community, relationships, and especially aggrandizing self-promotion, but not writing.

Crowdsourcing is a bloggers’ anthem. I remember my first blog. I deleted it. The posts didn’t get commented on and weren’t passed around. That wasn’t the point. But for bloggers, that is their mission; to create 500-word packages, bold-faced and headlined, read and digested in two minutes or less, bursting with lackadaisical opinion and junk epithets.

“Blogging is not writing,” the author of You Are Not a Gadget Jaron Lanier agrees.

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Personal branding, integrity and blogging

This is a short video I created at the request of Bret Simmons who teaches a college class called Entrepreneurial Psychology. Since I couldn’t speak to his students in person, this was the next best thing.

While it’s longer than most of my videos, I share a story that I have never talked about publicly before, and discuss personal branding, integrity and how blogging can affect your life.

This video will not show up on the home page. The post was shared exclusively to my subscribers and Facebook fans as bonus content. Thank you for being such a great community!

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Will you regret your online presence?

Bloggers, Facebookers, Tweeters and more seem to be constantly besieged by warnings from young and old alike that we will regret our words, photos and thoughts. One blogger reveals, “I look back at some of my own posts and shake my head.” Online tools make it possible to change in front of the eyes of the entire world… And some believe this is going to be pretty embarrassing in the years ahead.

What do you think? Do you share enough to worry? How do you think your online activities will affect the future?

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How to start a video blog – the definitive guide

A lot of bloggers are more proficient in words than in person, so it’s not surprising that many haven’t taken the leap to video blogging. But they should. Video posts provide a great, unique way to connect with your readership. I’m still learning, but here are six tips that helped me get started:

1. Watch a lot of videos.
Write down what you find appealing and what you don’t like. I tend to like short videos with lots of personality. Pay attention to the video content, length, and the format.

Check out these places to start: Gary Vaynerchuk (Wine, Marketing),  Ill Doctrine (Hip-Hop, Political), Startup Lucky (Entrepreneurship),  Design for Mankind’s Dialogue (Art/Design), Momversation (Lifestyle & Mom Blogging), Brazen Careerist (Contest Announcements), Sam Davidson (Social Change & Motivation), and Shama TV (New Media Marketing).

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A plug for the blogosphere I love

I’m exhausted. I worked eleven hours today. And it wasn’t the work, but the emotional excitement and fatigue that comes with ideas and the wherewithal to execute on them.

I’m exhausted from putting myself out there and taking risks and worrying too much that I’m not doing the right things. I’m exhausted from working the entire weekend. I’m exhausted from missing my friends.

The last thing I want to do is write a blog post. But I made a promise to a fellow blogger. I made a promise to Dan Schawbel, author of Personal Branding Blog, and one of my first friends in the blogosphere.

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I’m launching a new blog

Note: I’m not giving up Modite / Career and Life Advice. I’m simply establishing an additional blog. Read on for more details.

I studied design in college. God only knows why. I arrived at school ready to study journalism only to find myself bored. And subsequently confused. I decided to visit the career advisors.

“You don’t need a journalism degree to be a journalist,” said the journalism advisor.

“We need you,” said the design advisor.

And so I made a decision.

I studied art and photography in high school and thought it would be a good foundation for entering design.

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Yo, Alice…

Here’s a weekly round-up of my Alice blog that is about quirky and practical advice for your life and home…

Quick! One more day to enter to win Alice swag!

Ryan loves Dunkin’ Donuts coffee.

I don’t buy sunglasses like these.

Are you defined by your values or your stuff?

I have the biggest blog crush on this girl.

I’m a shower thinker. Are you?

Find much more on Alice. Thank you!

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Stop writing about social media to be a successful blogger

Stop writing about social media. Talking about how Twitter is or isn’t an effective networking tool is boring. Really, freaking boring.

I read a lot of posts on social media hoping someone will say something new, but that never happens. We need to stop masturbating to what the tool is and start using it to see how it works.

Some of my favorite bloggers have said recently that they want to stop their current blog and start writing a blog about social media. How unoriginal. You aren’t an expert because you write about social media. You’re an expert because you use it.

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Yo, Alice…

Here’s a weekly round-up of my Alice blog that is about quirky and practical advice for your life and home…

So pretty and so clean.

I’ve been searching for a coffee table for nine months.

I don’t hand-wash dishes. Do you?

Miss my Modite posts? Join this discussion:
During recession, consumers opt for value and family time over shopping

Rubber duckies that actually squeak.

Taking a cold shower is better than coffee.

How soon will you get a cool Alice box? – Update on the Alice beta

Find much more on Alice. Thank you!

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Top 8 under-appreciated blogs by Gen Y women

In no particular order, here’s a list of my favorite blogs by Gen Y women:

1. Dorie Morgan’s Rising Up by Dorie Morgan, @brstngphnx
Dorie weaves small ideas into major themes, and seems to have an outlook that is always a step to the side of my own. Which is exactly why I like reading her.

2. McKinney-Oates Cereal by Marie McKinney-Oates, @mckinneyos
Marie is the new Dooce. Wildly entertaining, transparent and hilarious, she writes about such topics as sex, her cat, the Snuggie, religion, her husband and whatever else crosses her mind. She has a special aptitude for dialogue.

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