Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tutorial: How to Take a Screenshot

Being a seller on Etsy, I sometimes find my items in treasuries that other sellers make. These are always such beautiful collections that I want to take a screenshot, or screen capture, and share these with other people. In talking to a few of my friends the other day, I realized that some of them did not know how to do this. It's super easy. Watch!

Make sure you have the webpage that you want to capture centered on your screen. Look at your keyboard and find the 'Print Screen' button. This is usually somewhere near the top right, to the right of the F12 key.

In some systems, it works fine for you to just press the 'Print Screen' button, but with mine, I have to press 'Ctrl' and 'Print Screen' at the same time. Some systems require you to press 'Alt' and 'Print Screen' at the same time. Try one, test it with the next step or two, and if that doesn't work, try it the other way.

After you've captured your screen, you need to have somewhere to put it!
The easiest place is in your Paint. If you have Windows, you almost certainly have Paint. Look in your start menu.
Start Menu --> All Programs --> Accessories

Once Paint is open, you will see a blank screen. Perfect for pasting your screen capture!
Up at the top in Paint, you will see the Paint menu. Click on Edit and select Paste. Your screenshot will be pasted right there! If Paste is not an available option, that means that your screen was not captured. Try capturing it again with the step I listed above. Try 'Ctrl' and 'Print Screen' together or 'Alt' and 'Print Screen' together, and test it by checking the Edit menu in Paint.

Now that you've taken your screenshot and found somewhere to put it, you could be done! If you like using images as bitmaps or find that it doesn't matter to you either way, then just save your screenshot and you're done.
If you want to crop or otherwise edit the photo, save it and reopen it using your photo editing software. When you save it after editing, it's best to save it as a jpeg. How to edit the photo is a tutorial for another day. I hope this post helped someone!

Originally posted on my blog in March of 2010

Friday, January 18, 2013

Beginner's Tutorial for Using Twitter

Are you lost on twitter? Does it confuse you? Maybe you're scared to sign up or don't know how to use it effectively? Do you care? You should.

Twitter can be a powerful tool for your online business. It can also be a wonderful place to make new friends. Ideally, you will combine the two. I'll try to help you figure out how.

1. First, set up a Twitter account.
The best way to do this is to make it the same as your Etsy ID, your Artfire ID, your domain name, etc. You want to trademark yourself across the internet and be recognizable.

2. Fill out your profile and add an avatar.
This makes you more accessible and people can more easily gauge if you'd be a good person for them to follow.

3. Find some people to follow.
Don't go crazy and just follow anybody. That will end up driving you crazy and add to your confusion later. Twitter has a search box about halfway down on the righthand side where you can search by subjects. Are you a painter? Type art, artist, painting, acrylic, or something similar in the search box and you will find people who have used those "hash tags" recently. These are probably people you will want to check out.

It is also good to find people who share the same hobbies with you, so it's not always about business on Twitter. Do you like to garden? Try searching gardening terms. Or cooking terms. Or music.

It is also a good idea to figure out your target market for your business and aim at having some of those people follow you, too. Do you sew and sell purses? You might try finding well-known fashion magazines on Twitter and following a few of the people who follow those magazines.

4. Comment and reply on the people you follow.
If you see a tweet that sounds interesting or asks a question, answer it! Make sure it is addressed to the person you are replying to so they see it. Meaningful conversations are a great way to meet people and become known on Twitter. Other people can see the conversation and think, "Hey, that person sounds interesting! Let me check them out!"

5. Follow back.
You don't have to follow back everyone who follows you. But check out their profile. If they look interesting, follow them back! If they just spam links to their own items, feel free to pass.

6. Make a few interesting tweets throughout the day.
Don't be one of those people who tweets what they are doing 24/7. No one will care if you are going to the bathroom at 7:47 am and eating toast at 7:52 am and waiting for the mailman at 8:02am. Tweet things that others will respond to or find something in common with or that are just plain interesting. Tweet a few things in the morning to connect with the morning crowd, a few things in the afternoon for a different crowd, and a few things in the evening, too.

7. Let people know you're now using Twitter.
Do you have a facebook fan page? (New tip of the day blog post about that soon) Let your fans know your twitter link. Do you have a blog? Put a 'Follow me on twitter' link there. Visit discussion forums and join in on the twitter talks and see if anyone there looks interesting and add your links if they do.

8. Visit
Here you will find a ton of categories to browse to make it easier to find people you'd be interested in following in the subjects that interest you.

9. Be somewhat consistent.
Don't post a ton of stuff on Monday and then forget to check for a week. People like other active people and will engage much better if you're active. And interesting. (Notice a theme, yet?)

10. Use Direct Messaging sparingly.
This is a big one with a lot of twitterers. DMs are for saying things to people that you don't want public. A lot of people use DMs to spam. Don't do this. Don't send a DM saying "Hey, thanks for the follow. Come buy my stuff." Don't send a DM saying "Retweet this for me". Don't send DMs just to say "Hi."

Originally posted on my blog in March of 2010

Monday, January 14, 2013

New Year's Resolution

Here is my new year's resolution:

I will try to be less of a critic and more of a doer. This will be hard for me because I've realize how very very critical I am. And how scared sometimes of trying certain things. But for such a student of history, I can't believe I've forgotten this quote by Teddy Roosevelt (which really hit home for me).

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”