It’s All Free (Or At Least It Was)

Chancellor’s Note: This is a reposting of the first WordPress Page I created, which was originally published on October 19, 2006. The original title was “It’s All Free (And Mostly Easy)” and it was my first attempt to keep some basic themes foremost on my blog, which was at that time called “Lines from Lee.” As you’ll see below, I had resolved that I wasn’t going to do anything on my blog that required me to spend any money. This page (now demoted to a post) highlights all the things you can do in social media for free.

Over time, that “It’s all free and mostly easy” theme morphed into the school motto for SMUG: Suus Non Ut Difficile, or “It’s Not That Hard.”

I’m going to be cleaning up some of the navigation on SMUG, and demoting some of the other Pages to “Post” status as well. This also will give me a chance to reflect upon things I wrote three to four years ago, and see how my thinking has evolved since then.

And how many things I saw in social media then really haven’t changed. It’s still mainly free. And it’s not that hard.

So…here’s a blast from October 2009:

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With 100 million blogs listed in Technorati, obviously there isn’t too much inertia preventing people from starting blogs, but among public relations professionals I have seen less familiarity with blogs, podcasts, and social media.

This ought not to be.

One reason for the reticence to jump in might be a lack of understanding and a misperception that it’s expensive, difficult or requires extensive IT support. That’s why I’ve decided that on this blog I will only use services that are FREE, such as:

Flickr, for photos:

Lee Aase

YouTube, for video (and audio):

(For the story behind that clip, click here.)

And, of course, WordPress.com is a free blog hosting site.

For social networking, I use Facebook (and you can friend me here.) MySpace is also free.
Many of these services offer paid upgrade packages that let you do more, and maybe you (and I) will want to do that in the future (e.g. to be able to upload more than 20 megs of photos per month). But the point is, you can start right now with a blog and have it up and running in about 90 seconds (and that’s if you take a minute or so to decide what you want for your username or domain name.)

So, I may blog about some services that have a cost, but what I incorporate in my site will all be free.

This is my first time creating a standalone page (outside of the reverse chronology of the blog.) I hope to add some related pages that would highlight other free stuff, and maybe a step-by-step tutorial on how to get started.

If you want to use another free hosting service other than WordPress, that’s fine. Blogger and others probably have some features that differ slightly. But for whatever tutorial I develop, it will be in WordPress, so my examples will be easiest for you to use on that platform. Besides, how much better can you get than free? And if you decide to wait and research which is the best free hosting service, that’s a recipe for procrastination. Just do it.

Also, to prevent inappropriate mixing of business and personal worlds from an email perspective, go get a free email account from Google or Yahoo!

Here’s another post where I have boiled this all down into a 12-step social media program for PR professionals. Follow this plan and you’ll be conversant with key social media tools and trends within a couple of weeks. Not expert, but at least conversant.

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By the way, I’m now up to spending about $80 a year for blog hosting. And the above post was published just six months after Twitter was created, well before it had gotten any kind of critical mass. Just another free (and easy) service that has become much more prominent in the last four years.

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Author: Lee Aase

Married father of six and grandfather of seven, and the Chancellor of SMUG - Social Media University, Global. By day I'm the Director of the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network. Whatever I say here is my personal opinion, and doesn't reflect the positions of my employer.

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