Category Archives: Community Partner Posts

What Happens To The Blogs Of Know More Media?

Late last week Know More Media, a network of blogs offering tech support, educated authors, and revenue share with it’s authors, unofficially announced it was folding.  Blog authors have a few options.  The blogs will remain online and the authors can continue to update them without revenue and without tech support and the authors have the option of purchasing the domain names.  Additionally, b5 Media has offered to purchase the blogs and allow the authors to continue under the b5 Media umbrella.  After viewing the comments, this is not an option that is preferable to former Know More Media bloggers.

After hearing this unfortunate news, we turned to one of Coutorture’s own and a Know More Media blogger to hear her reaction. Maria Palma (you might remember her from our Twitter BlogTalk Radio segment) authors The Runway Scoop, a respected and successful fashion industry centric blog.  Maria had this to say:

I’m deeply saddened that is ceasing operations and wish the best to everyone who has been involved with the network.  I’ve made some great friends through the network and will continue those relationships.  All businesses go through changes and this is just another one of those changes.  I will continue to write at The Runway Scoop until further notice.

We wish everyone displaced by the closing of Know More Media the best of luck and continued success, should they move forward with their blogs.

Partner Post: Inspiring Readers

Beckie, author of Girl-Woman-Beauty-Brains Blog recently wrote the following post to her readers. Sometimes as bloggers we forget that our words, whether written for recreation or education, can have an unintentional impact on those who read them. 

For the past 24 Sundays my husband has heard the same words: “I am going to stop blogging.”

Why on Sunday? No. 1, Catholic guilt. No. 2, Catholic guilt: I feel shallow and superficial parading my picture on the “About Me” page and my passion for beauty and fashion through the blogosphere.

But Monday arrives and so do the emails. One of my readers has left me an email with regard to the post about anorexia and bulimia, thanking me for helping her rethink her life of vomiting after every meal. A woman dying of breast cancer shares with me her courageous battle with her breasts. A mom whose son suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome writes a genuine thank-you note for the online gift certificate she won from Girl-Woman because she now can shop in the privacy of her home without worrying about her son’s Asperger-induced impatience while shopping in a department store. So I once again get all psyched up for the week and write about beauty products reviewed or style tips and an occasional self-help article.

A month ago, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia (which I am having trouble putting my brain around — pun intended — because it’s such a nebulous disease). Bulging discs at most levels of my spine have caused chronic pain syndrome, which, in turn, allegedly rewired my brain.

Five days ago, I was diagnosed, at a minimum, with essential tremors and possible multiple sclerosis. Although it’s a learning curve, for the most part, I just shake, rattle and roll with the punches.

Two days ago, I had a brain MRI. In my brain, I imagined the radiologist saying, “Hey, Walter. Look at the picture of this woman’s brain. In place of her hypothalamus is a black and pink Sephora store. Jeez, Walter. In her left cerebral hemisphere is Nordstrom. OMG, Walt, her cerebellum is shaped like a Louboutin shoe!”

Today is Sunday. Was my husband going to hear the same, old words that he had heard for 24 previous Sundays? No. On the 25th Sunday, I cheerfully said to The Hubster, “I love writing the blog! I would miss connecting with my readers. They motivate me and inspire me to be a better person. Maybe the way they handled their personal obstacles with grace prepared me for my new level of normal.”

Tomorrow is Monday. I won’t give up the fight to help girls and women feel comfortable in their skin, whether it be through a new beauty product or an updated style or a new lifestyle. If I impact the lives of any girl or woman in my blogging lifetime, whether it be their health issues, fashion issues, or beauty issues, then I have done my job well.

So on Monday, like Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Terminator, “I will be baack.”

With heartfelt thanks for sharing your amazing lives with me,

Partner Post: Making Your Blog Accessible To The Blind

Most bloggers probably haven’t thought about their posts being read by someone who is visually handicapped.  Neither had Alison Gary, author of My Wardrobe Today and Wardrobe Oxygen, until she received a reader email.  After researching how a visually impaired person accesses online media, she wrote about her experience below.

I was recently contacted by a woman who has been a loyal reader to my blogs for over two years.  She is completely blind.  She uses a machine that will read aloud Web sites and blogs to blind people.  She contacted me about some fashion advice but also let me know that sites like FeedBlitz cannot be used by the blind because they have a captcha/word verification to authorize the email process, without an audio option. 

I had never thought about this, and that is pretty bad considering that part of my 9-5 job is making PowerPoint and Word documents 508-compliant for government web sites. From Web Accessibility:

The legislation referred to as “Section 508” is actually an amendment to the Workforce Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The amendment was signed into law by President Clinton on August 7, 1998. Section 508 requires that electronic and information technology that is developed by or purchased by the Federal Agencies be accessible by people with disabilities.

Obviously Section 508 is geared toward Federal Web sites, but it’s a good practice for all sites on the Internet.  Blind people read Web sites and blogs with a machine called a screen reader that will read aloud what is on the screen.  The screen reader reads left to right, top to bottom and will read any descriptions that are entered for images.  You may have noticed that when you hover your cursor over an image, a description pops up.  That is what the screen reader says aloud for a blind person.

I decided to do a little research to find out how I could make my blogs easier to be read by the blind and found this extremely handy post by the American Foundation for the Blind.

This woman asked if she could send me her photograph; she has always had her mother purchase her clothing but now that her mom is getting up in age she knows she needs to become more independent, and she also desires to express her personality through her wardrobe and choice of color.  I never thought about it, but she is asking not just for colors, but different names of these colors that are used regularly by online retailers (blue can also be azure, cerulean, royal, cobalt, sky, robin’s egg, sailor, dusk, navy, indigo, ocean, lake, lapis, sapphire, etc…) so she can navigate shopping with her screen reader.  Not to tell her what types of clothes to purchase, but terms she should look for (empire waist, rouching, bias-cut, bracelet sleeve, handkerchief hem, raglan sleeve, tea-length, besom pockets, tuxedo stripe, etc…) that are understandable to us, but without an image may be hard to imagine.

We all blog about fashion and beauty, well doesn’t every woman deserve to feel and look beautiful?  Imagine how hard it would be if you were blind, and think how maybe you can slightly adjust your image descriptions, your text or your blog template to help a fellow fashionista who is working to be beautiful, despite a disability.

Other helpful sites:

Google Webmaster’s Tips For Making Information Accessible

Blind Access Journal

Business Week’s Is Your Web Site Handicapped Accessible?