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How to Create Viral Content?

Recently I have become increasingly fascinated by how quickly stories can spread on the internet via social media and after 2 posts on my humble blog unexpectedly gave me over 28,000 hits in one month, I found myself asking the infamous question “What makes content go viral?” I think this is something, that everybody is searching for, but I’m not sure there is a black and white answer and let’s face it, if it really was that simple, everybody would be doing it.

The only person that I can think of who has the whole viral thing under control is Neetzan Zimmerman. When he was writing for one of the world’s biggest blogs Gawker, he generated more traffic than all of Gawker’s other writers combined, before leaving to become the Editor in Chief at Whisper.

With no background or training in journalism, I found his story fascinating and also inspirational, but anyone looking for a key that will unlock all of his secrets will be disappointed because the key to his success is down to good old fashioned hard work and elbow grease.

A 12 hour shift from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. that consists of posting 10-15 items a day where most of them do not go viral would be soul destroying for those wanting a fast track to success, but nothing in life comes easily and this is all part of the fun.

Everywhere you look, we are bombarded with constant adverts telling us that we can lose weight quickly in only a few weeks or make large sums of money for doing very little in the comfort of your home, but life simply doesn’t work this way and maybe I was brainwashed by being raised on a diet of 80’s TV shows that always ended with a moral at the end of every episode and that you really can achieve anything you want, if you work hard enough, but this kind of work ethic has stuck with me over the years.

We are all guilty of sneering at that certain someone who has achieved more in their life as simply lucky, but I remain convinced that behind any success story is someone who has worked tirelessly for countless hours without reward before their moment of glory arrived.

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New App Spritz App Will Help You Read 1000 Words a Minute

Make no mistake, keeping up to speed in the modern world can be tough, everyday we consume thousands of words via email, Web pages, books and text messages. Step forward Spritz who have been working for nearly 3 years in “Stealth Mode” to perfect our reading methodology. They claim to have discovered that when reading, only around 20% of your time is spent processing content. The remaining 80% is spent physically moving your eyes from word to word and scanning for the next Optimal Recognition Point” or ORP.

The unique aspect of Spritz is that it identifies the ORP of each word, makes that letter red and presents all of the ORPs at the same space on the screen. In this way, our eyes don’t move at all as we see the words, and we can therefore process information instantaneously rather than spend time decoding each word.

According to the official Spritz site, “spritzing,” is the new form of reading that enables users to read up to 1,000 words a minute. Not only can the reader read faster, but Spritz says they are also able to retain much of what they read.  So let’s take a look at how it works…

250

This is 250 words per minute. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s stone is 76,944 words long according to . At this rate you could read the whole book in just over 5 hours.

350

350 words per minute doesn’t seem that much faster. 3 hours and 40 minutes to finish Potter (did you read that in the voice of Alan Rickman?).

I cannot think of anyone that would want to read a novel in this way and to even suggest this would be quite offensive to most readers because the beauty of reading is not like binge viewing your favourite TV show but to be transferred to another universe and escape reality to soak up the language and let your imagination create the world inside the book. You may even stop for a few minutes and ponder what you have just read and for these reasons, this innovation would dumb down the last sacred intelligent past time of reading.

However, nobody is suggesting we all read this way and this is simply a very useful learning tool which will enable students for example to read and digest information quickly which  would be incredibly useful to anyone who needs to wade through text books the size of War and Peace.

Anyone who has ever had to wade through a large text book or technical manual seldom  retrieve any joy from the experience but a tool like this could make our lives just a little easier and may even free up some of your time so that you can relax in your garden reading the entire works of Hemingway the traditional way but the important thing to remember here is you have different ways to access and absorb different types of information.

Nothing that we see or read is black and white any more; this is a very old-fashioned way of pigeon holing things for convenience and help people make sense of things. The truth is that we are all quite unique and the best analogy I can think of is that we all carry a toolbox around with us, and will select a tool from that for whatever situation that we find ourselves in or for any particular job/role and to be successful we just need to ensure that toolbox contains what we need.

The days of “we have done it this way for 20 years, but we get by” are disappearing, if you can use something like this to help make learning a little easier and but still be able relax and emerge yourself in another world for a few hours in the more traditional sense, would make you a more rounded and multitasking individual, but that’s just my opinion.

What is your opinion on apps like this, do they have a place in the modern world? Or is it simply a step to far?

Get Running: Couch to 5K – Week 3

Don’t worry there won’t be any pictures of me holding out a baggy pair of trousers away from belly like Barry Bethnal with a caption like “I’m Barry Bethnal & I lost shit-loads of weight” but I just wanted to show anyone that is thinking about starting the C25K that if a self confessed couch potato that couldn’t run for 1 minute 3 weeks ago can do this then anyone can.

You may recall I mentioned in the previous post, that the “Get Running App” has 3 runs to perform each week , so because I am running 5 days a week I get to dip my toes in the following weeks run.

When I first tried the week 4 run, I felt gutted that I failed on the first occasion, but rather than feel sorry for myself I always made sure I paid it back by doing an additional short run at the end. By the end of this week though, I’m proud to say that week 4 of the app has now been mastered and over the moon that I am now running for 16 minutes of a 28 minute run.

As I progress on the Couch Potato to 5k program, I do wonder how I will cope with the longer runs, but one lesson that is quickly learned, is just how fast the human body adapts to your new regime. The highlight of this weeks runs was when Claire said with perfect timing during the intro of Bitter Sweet Symphony “you have ten seconds until your next run” I needed no further encouragement than that song, the five minutes whizzed by and I loved every second.

This was a massive turning point as I completed the run, I was actually enjoying what I was doing and it felt great. Never underestimate the power of your mind or music for that matter and if me rambling away isn’t enough to inspire you then spare a few minutes to watch this video.

When I have to run for a train now, it feels fantastic that I don’t spend the next 5 minutes coughing and trying to catch my breath, but most importantly I enjoy it and actually feel better, which can only be a great thing. Eat less but but move more is all that you need to remember and don’t let a massive failing diet industry tell you any different.

No more kit has been purchased this week, I have a pair of running shoes and a great running playlist, what more could I possibly need? Sometimes it is hard to believe in this media fueled 24 hour society, that life really is that simple but you know what? it really is.

Have no fear though, I still enjoy a good old fashioned Cadburys Cream Egg and a few JD and Coke’s over the weekend, so there is no chance of me ending up “boring” just yet, after all the secret is everything in moderation and that includes moderation 🙂

For those of you that are considering giving the Couch to 5k app a run-out, I believe that it is now available on both Android and iPhone, so if you can squeeze 30 minutes out of your day, why not give it a try. You will feel more alive than slouching in your chair watching the One Show, I can guarantee you that much.

Get Running: Couch to 5K – Week 2

One week ago, I am ashamed to say that running for 1 minute without stopping was somewhat of struggle but it was made much easier, thanks to the mystery voice of Claire coming through my earphones telling me to keep going. For those of you new to the app “Get Running – Couch Potato to 5k” Each week contains 3 runs that alternates between walking and running for the first six weeks, to ease you into running. As I have decided to do this 5 times a week, this means I sometimes dip into the following weeks exercise routine if I feel ready.

So by the end of my second week of dragging myself out of my armchair, I have just started week 3 on the app (hope this makes sense) and my small baby steps have led to an early mini milestone of being able to run for three minutes several times during each run. This might sound quite amusing to some of you reading this but Claire was quick to motivate me by saying “this is three times more than you were able to do last week“. Since you put it like that Claire, maybe I’m slowly getting the hand of this malarkey.

As my lung capacity slowly increases, my shins and thighs ache a little less I thought it was time to drop by Boots to see if my new walking/running combination has resulted in any weight loss.

I lost 5 pounds and somehow gained .4cm in height...

I wasn’t expecting any great results this early on but I have lost 5 pounds and somehow gained .4cm in height but I suspect the latter was caused by me looking down rather than ahead during the first weight check, either that or I was sneakily wearing a pair of Cuban heels.

Although I have only been doing running for only for two weeks, I am seeing definite improvement which just makes me want to do this even more and dare I say that I am actually enjoying this which makes it even better. It is quite interesting how it makes you evaluate what you are eating too. When you discover that there are 284 calories in a Twix Bar, suddenly that equates to a 25 minute run, is one Twix really worth a 25 minute run?

Don’t worry, I have never been the kind of guy to count calories and I’m not going to start now, but its just a case of being sensible and no matter what anybody tells you it really does boil down to moving more and eating a little less but everyone did that then a billion dollar diet industry wouldn’t exist would it?

Enough rants from me, if I’m going to run 5 nights a week, I’m going to need more than a pair of Adidas Stan Smiths to progress without niggling injuries. So I turned to the internet and the vast running forums to get some advice on some reasonable running shoes without breaking the bank. I somehow ended up on a Daily Mail article that basically suggested running shoes are bad and we should run bare footed but I think running barefoot in the Black Country would bring more risks than wearing shoes. As I will be running straight from work, I am not brave enough to get on a busy commuter train wearing five fingered shoes.

Pro Grid Ignition 2 Running Trainers

After seeing several fantastic reviews on running forums for the Saucony running shoes and the fact I could get them for £20 despite an RRP of £59.99 it was an easy decision to make. My first impressions were a massive step up from the crappy old pair I had been attempting to run in. The two massive differences I notice are the fact they are incredibly light and the independent heel crash pad for increased cushioning makes a massive difference.

My final purchase of the week was a pair of classic Ron Hill Tracksters, sure as we head for summer, shorts would be more appropriate but once again my nightly run is straight from work and I don’t fancy being sat on a train during rush hour looking a cross between Alan Partridge and a member of the 1982 England World Cup squad.

Next week I expect to be running for 5 minute intervals, as the pace slowly picks up but I am genuinely still excited about it all and very optimistic that my 10k race target by the end of the year could be a reality.

My current kit consists of

  • New pair of Saucony Pro Grid Ignition 2 Running Trainers
  • Ron Hill Tracksters
  • X-Cellerate Stamina Mens Full Zip Hooded Running Top
  • Get Running C25K App
  • Run Keeper App (to map where I am and save stats etc to view on website later)
  • Spotify App with a running Playlist
I will forget about my non existent speed for now and continue to do what the app tells me, but rest assured I will return next week to update you on my progress.