A Chat with Edweirdo on Copyright Protection

A while back we chatted with akirchner about copyright issues involving the use of others’ images, charts, and graphs, but we have not recently touched on the process of protecting your own work.  As disagreeable as it may sound, there are people out there who may copy things you have written in your Hubs and publish them elsewhere online under their own names.  Thankfully, you have a right to stop them from doing so, and there are methods by which you can monitor your work to check and see if any of it has been copied without your permission.

Edweirdo has taken a particular interest in this subject – enough to actually create an online tool called the HubDefender.  Below, Edweirdo has kindly taken the time to discuss the issue of personal copyright protection with us.  Enjoy!

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HubPages: A lot of Hubbers are unfamiliar with the rights they have to their work?

Edweirdo: It is a sad but true fact that so many people, not just Hubbers, do not understand the rights they have when they publish something online – be it words, pictures, videos or anything else.
Far too many people believe that once something is published online, it becomes public domain and can be used by everyone and anyone, for whatever purposes they wish. This is exactly the opposite of the truth!
There are two essential concepts that all online content creators (including HubPages authors) need to know when it comes to copyright protection: 1) According to U.S. and international law under the Berne Convention, every creative work is copyrighted upon its creation – you do NOT have to register a copyright with the government or anyone else in order to be protected, and 2) All of an author’s rights are reserved unless the author explicitly authorizes use of their work.

What are the downsides of having one’s work copied by someone else online?

There are at least two significant downsides to having your work copied (I would go far as to say “stolen”). First, it feels awful. We put a lot of effort into creating our Hubs, and to have someone else take that work feels like a violation – and it literally is a violation of our rights. Secondly, and most importantly for those of us who want to earn an income from our online work, you can end up in a position where someone else is making money from your work.
It is not very difficult for someone else to steal something you’ve written and republish it somewhere else. And if they know what they are doing, they can easily manage to have their copy of your work appear on the first page of Google search results – higher in the results than your original work – and now the thief is earning money from your writing that should be going to you!
There’s also the infamous “Google duplicate penalty”, which may or may not exist (only Google knows for sure!).
When it comes to indexing things on the Internet, Google prefers original content. When the same article appears in multiple places around the Web, that content – in all of its locations – can be devalued. This would hurt your original work’s potential to rise to the top of Google search results.

When was the first time you noticed your work on HubPages had been copied? How did you find out? What did you do? And what was the result?

My first experience with content theft occurred just two months after I started writing at HubPages. I found a comment on one of my Hubs from fellow Hubber “englightenedsoul”, letting me know that my Hub had been copied on Blogger. She had read in the HubPages forums about a content thief, and while looking to see if her own work had been copied, she coincidentally recognized a Hub of mine that she had recently read.
I felt sick when I followed the link to the coped content! It included my entire Hub, copied word for word, plus all of my original images. The thief had built an entire blog using stolen content, mostly from HubPages, and had included Google Adsense ads on the blog.
This was my first experience with a content thief, so I didn’t know what to do! I turned to the HubPages forums and learned how to report copied content to Google Adsense – on every Adsense ad there is a little question mark icon and/or the words “Ads by Google” in the lower right corner, and clicking on it takes you to Google’s page for reporting abuse. I used that link to report the thief to Google, and the site was quickly taken down.
I felt a feeling of accomplishment and righteousness that almost made up for that initial feeling of violation, but I was still angry! Why did I only find out about this from a fellow Hubber who 1) coincidentally had read my hub and 2) was kind enough to let me know about it?

You’ve created a service to help people find if any of their Hubs have been copied – what inspired you to create it? And how does it compare to the other resources out there that allow Hubbers to check to see if their work has been copied?

I was reading the forums one day and I saw a post form “thisisoli”, who is the constant victim of thieves, and who posts amusing stories about the take-down requests that he files to have duplicate content removed. I posted on one of these threads and asked him if there was a tool that he used to find duplicates.
Turns out he didn’t know of any such tool, but instead he took time out of his schedule every month and manually entered lines from his Hubs into Google to look for duplicates. When he found copies, he then took the necessary steps to have them removed…
I was shocked to realize that there was so much effort involved in something that seemed like it should be so simple! I figured there had to be an easier way to do this, so I started looking for one. I was able to find two services online that could help, but they both had significant drawbacks.
First I found Google Alerts – this is a free service from Google that allows you to store Internet searches and have Google send you an email whenever new results for that search appear online. By copying a sentence from your Hub and enclosing it in quotes, you can get an alert from Google if that exact sentence ever appears elsewhere online. But what if a thief steals your Hub, but leaves out or rewrites the paragraph that contains the line that you randomly chose to monitor?
The other resource I found was Copyscape. They have a more robust service – you can provide the URLs of the articles that you want to monitor, and they will automatically search the Internet on a regular basis to find duplicates. I looked a little deeper and found the price for a membership – their lowest priced automated search service would cost me $20 a month for just 65 Hubs – more than I was even earning from my Hubs at the time!
As a lifelong computer geek and former professional programmer, my wheels started to turn! The people stealing content were most likely using a text-scraping tool to copy our Hubs, so why couldn’t I do the same thing? But instead of turning around and publishing that content, I could use it to feed a program that could run searches for the text – if it appeared anywhere but HubPages, then it was a copy!
That simple flash of inspiration turned into a four-month-long development marathon. As these things usually do, it turned out to be a LOT more complex than it seemed at first, but I kept at it and eventually I had HubDefender up and running! I came up with a price structure that was much more affordable than Copyscape, even for Hubbers who are only making a small amount of money from their Hubs.
HubDefender uses a resource-intensive process to searche every sentence of a Hub, and it costs money to run such a service. My goal with HubDefender was never to get rich, and I never wanted to take advantage of my fellow Hubbers, so I decided upon a price that is high enough to keep HubDefender self-sufficient, but low enough to be affordable for most Hubbers.
Over time I’ve also added some handy tools to the site. There is a U.S. law in place called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA, that defines a specific process for dealing with copyright infringement. When I started writing DMCA requests, I had no idea how to proceed, and I could not find an easy-to-use template for creating one. So, naturally, I created one for HubDefender! When a user needs to file a DMCA request, or even a simple “Cease & Desist” notice, they simply click on a link from their account to generate one with all of the required information in the correct format. The tool even helps users figure out where exactly to email the request.

Could you recommend a basic anti-copyright-infringement routine that the everyday Hubber could adopt? What sorts of things should we do on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis?

The very first thing I would recommend is to let potential thieves know that you know your rights! Even though we are automatically protected by copyright from the moment we create our work, and even though HubPages clearly states on every page that our work is copyrighted, I would still recommend adding a clear and explicit copyright notice to every hub. I add one at the end of each of mine, right before the comments capsule, that simply reads “Copyright 2011, All Rights Reserved.” A thief intent on stealing your work won’t be deterred, but an amateur who thinks everything online is free and up for grabs might think twice before copying a hub.
I also think it’s important for us as Hubbers to honor other people’s copyrights. I frequently see instances of Hubbers using images they find online without giving credit to the source of those photos. Every Hubber should know how to 1) find images on the Web that can legally be used and 2) how to legally use them in their hubs. Stealing someone else’s photo without their permission is exactly the same as someone else stealing one of our hubs! I even wrote a pretty popular hub on this subject for those who want to learn the right way to go about it, called “How To Legally Use Images From The Web In Your Hubs”, and the new HubPages photo capsule makes giving proper attribution easy!
When it comes to a basic anti-copyright-infringement routine, I would recommend using HubDefender! Not to toot my horn, but it really is the most affordable way to protect your copyright on HubPages.
If someone really can’t pay for a duplicate content detection service, then there are two free choices – manually search for duplicate content at least once a month, or set up Google Alerts for every one your hubs.
No offense to HubPages, but Hubbers should not rely solely on the built-in duplicate filter to alert them to copied content. As I stated earlier, I have had many of my hubs copied over the past year, and I have never received a notification from HubPages about the copies. HubPages already does so much for its members without charging us a cent, so to expect them to go to the added expense of rigorous duplicate content detection may be asking too much!

Thanks so much for this opportunity to share HubDefender with my fellow Hubbers!

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Thanks, Edweirdo!!

For more information on what to do when you find out that your writing has been copied, check out our Learning Center guide on how to file a DMCA complaint.

Commenting is Good For You

…and it’s good for the community!

When you read a Hub that piques your interest, makes you laugh, or impresses you, don’t forget to  leave a comment.  In addition to letting authors know that you read and enjoyed his/her Hub, commenting is a great way for you to further establish your own identity within the HubPages community.  When people read your comments, it oftentimes leads them to check out your HubPages profile and your Hubs, boosting the exposure of your own Hubs within the community. Commenting on Hubs is also a great way of letting other Hubbers know that you follow their works and enjoy their writing.

Lisa New England Gets Props from a Real Housewife of New York!

It is not every day that a television celebrity recognizes your work, but Lisa New England could tell you that it still does happen!

A couple days back, Jill Zarin, a Real Housewife of New York, posted a link to Lisa’s Hub on the show’s finale, pointing out that a lot of hurtful or misinformed things about her are posted online, but that Lisa’s Hub was not among them.  The post has since garnered 144 likes on Facebook and Lisa’s Hub has received over 15,000 views from Facebook alone!

This fun find goes to show that your work can be “discovered” at any point when you write on HubPages – and also that Facebook can be quite the place for your Hubs to be discovered!

Congratulations to Lisa New England for the celebrity-endorsed Hub 😀

Way to go!

Finding Work Through HubPages: JanieWrites’ Success Story

JanieWrites on HubPages

JanieWrites on HubPages

Though Hubbers stand to earn an income from Hubs alone, publishing on HubPages can also lead to income- as well as new opportunities- through other channels.  Hubber JanieWrites discovered this a while back, and has shared her story with us below:

In February, 2009, I posted a Hub: APA Formatting in a Nutshell. A couple months later I was contacted by Dave Dunn, one of the founders of a training company in New York.

He had read my Hub and had a need for someone to develop a course in APA formatting for a client. He asked if I was interested. Of course, I said yes, and I wrote an outline for a course in APA formatting for business people.

The course is currently posted on the training company’s website, but so far has not generated any students. The original client evidently changed his mind. However, in early 2010 I was again contacted by the training company, this time to ask if I was interested in teaching a live online class.

They already had all my information, including tax forms, etc. from when I originally wrote the APA course. Again, I said yes, and now I do training for the company, both in live online classes and in face-to-face sessions where I travel around the country delivering training in business topics like writing, communication, marketing, etc. All because Mr. Dunn read my Hub!

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How cool is that?
The lesson here is that HubPages is more than a community of writers, more than a site on which you can earn an income from your Hubs, and more than a place to read fun articles – HubPages can be a place to be found by potential employers, too!

Congrats to JanieWrites – that’s an awesome story!  If you’d like to see more HubPages Success Stories, check out our Success Stories page.

HubPages iPhone app!

For those of you with iPhones out there, be sure to check out our HubPages app. It is super cool.  You can check your Hub stats, moderate comments, and receive HubPages notifications.  You can also use the app to check your HubFeed and discover and rate new Hubs via the HubHopping feature.

But, really, my personal favorite feature is the photo upload.  When I see something that I want to take a picture of to use in an existing Hub or to create a new Hub about, I simply snap a photo with my iPhone and then upload it to my gallery on HubPages.  It’s super convenient.  Check out our app here.

Back from HubCamp NYC

Paul Edmondson at HubCamp NYC

Paul Edmondson gives tips on keyword research at HubCamp NYC

Yesterday was HubCamp NYC, and thanks to everyone who attended! Though HubCamp NYC competed with both the Golden Globes and the Jets game, we had a great turnout and met some really amazing Hubbers – pros and newbies alike!

Though we have shared the HubCamp materials on our HubCamp section of the site and have HubCamp SF up in the Learning Center, every HubCamp is different, and attendees get their own unique set of the latest, insider tips. At HubCamp NYC, Paul and Robin emphasized the growing precedence of social media when it comes to being found in search results, and also got a cool tip that it helps to have slightly different URLs and titles for your Hubs.

Even some of the most seasoned Hubbers at HubCamp NYC came away with new strategies and ideas – though we learned a lot from them, too! We hope that you can make it to one of our upcoming HubCamps soon.

The next HubCamps will be in February – we’re going to be in Atlanta and Miami. In March, we’ll be in Houston and Dallas. In April, HubPages is coming to Philadelphia and Washington, DC, in May, there will be HubCamps in Chicago and Boston, and in July, we’re coming to London!

Can’t wait for us to come to your area? Consider becoming a HubCamp counselor and hosting your own HubCamp!


We are excited to see all of our New York City area Hubbers this Sunday at the  HubCamp we are hosting in Manhattan.  We have a dozen or so other HubCamps scheduled for the upcoming months and if you are interested in attending one of them, you can check the schedule out here.  I encourage you to visit our HubCamp page as it details out how you can organize and host your own HubCamp – which is a great way to connect with other members in the HubPages community who reside in your area and to share tips and ideas.  You will also find materials and videos on the HubCamp page that you can use to conduct your own HubCamp meetup and that are also useful for your own education or to share with friends online.


Dont forget to follow us on facebook!

Get Ready for HubCamp NYC!

Exciting news from the HubCamp front: our next HubCamp is in New York City, and is only 10 days away!  We already have 38 people excited to attend, including Paul Edmondson, the one and only HubPages CEO, Robin Edmondson, our very own Curriculum Developer, and Yours Truly!

If you live in New York City or somewhere nearby, we hope you can make it!  We’ve got some great insider tips to share with you, plus the seminar and get-together are a great opportunity to meet other Hubbers in person.

We hope you can make it!

The Specifics:

The event is in Sunday, January 16th, from 3:00 to 6:00pm.

The place:

World-Wide Business Centres

8th Floor (Large Board Room)

New York, New York 10022

For more details, visit the HubCamp Meetup Everywhere page.

Personal Finance Writing Tips from Money Grows on Hubs Contest Judge Gyutae of Money Crashers

As you may know, the Money Grows on Hubs contest is now in full swing, and we have been introducing you, over the past months, to our contest judges!  One of our contest judges is Gyutae Park, an Editor for MoneyCrashers.com, a personal finance blog and community of authors that exists to educate readers on financial topics and help them make financially sound choices with their money. As an editor and admin for the site, Gyutae sees a lot of personal finance articles and knows what it takes to write the best of the best.  Check out the interview below for some great tips – and also to get to know more about what Money Crashers is all about.

HubPages: What inspired the creation of Money Crashers?

Gyutae: The first version of the Money Crashers site was created back in 2006 by Erik Folgate, who wanted to help college students, recent graduates, and young single or married people understand some of the essentials of personal finance.  While in college, Erik racked up over $20k in credit card and student loan debt in just 2 years.  He later managed to get out of debt and improve his finances, and made it his mission to help others make wise financial decisions and avoid the same mistakes he made early on.

There’s clearly a large void in the US when it comes to teaching personal financial education in high schools and colleges.  Sadly, this leads to the majority of young people not having sufficient knowledge to make some of the most important decisions in their lives including college enrollment, marriage, career, buying a home, and starting a family. Money Crashers and sammycouponcodes.com was created to help fill that void.

Has the format or direction of the blog changed over time?  Do you think it is making the impact on readers that you had hoped to see?

As I mentioned, Money Crashers started off as a one-person blog with Erik sharing his thoughts and experiences managing his finances.  Erik has a lot of interesting and helpful insights for readers, but the site was more of a personal blog about money back then than anything else.

Since that initial start, Money Crashers has evolved quite a bit.  Andrew Schrage, who’s currently another editor, and I took over as the main admins in ’09 and we focused on growing the site and spreading financial education awareness.  We knew that there were a lot of people out there struggling with their finances, especially after the start of the big recession in 2008, and we wanted to use Money Crashers to help these people get back on their feet and improve overall financial literacy.  The timing was great too because all of a sudden personal finance and frugality were “in”.

It’s really a shame that personal finance isn’t taught in schools here in the US.  I would say it’s one of the most important life skills to have, especially at an early age when it matters most.  Our target audience consists mainly of young people in their twenties and thirties, fresh out of college and looking to improve their financial situations and build wealth for the long term.

We’ve brought on quite a few different writers to cater to this audience and discuss a variety of financial topics like budgeting, getting out of debt, smart shopping, best uses for credit cards, insurance, careers, small business, and more.  Basically, we’d like Money Crashers to be a comprehensive resource about personal finance where readers can learn more about the options that they have based on their own unique preferences and situation.

I think we’re definitely making some good progress.  We frequently get emails and comments from readers thanking us for the information and of course healthy discussion and debate is always a good thing.  We’re also looking to partner with other similar sites in the community to further promote the cause of financial literacy.

Would you say that people are more or less informed about personal financial matters today than they were fifty years ago?

Well, it’s tough to say since I wasn’t around 50 years ago to truly understand what the financial awareness was like back then.  However, I do know that history often repeats itself (e.g. wars, depressions) so it’s likely that our parents, grandparents and even great grandparents went through very similar things we’re going through now when it comes to finances.  The biggest difference is that we now have technology and a wealth of information at our disposal through books, TV, and the Internet.  It’s never been easier than now to learn about a subject and connect with like-minded people around the world.

So theoretically, we should be much more informed about personal finance matters today.  The real question is, will we make an effort to actually learn and use all of the tools available to help ourselves?  That’s really what it’s all about.

Which types of articles on Money Crashers are the most popular or useful?

We’ve experimented with a lot of different content on Money Crashers and we’ve found that the most popular and useful articles are usually those that tie in the personal experiences and opinions of the author.  The more unique and interesting, the better.  It definitely helps to be controversial and go against the grain at times.  This is a good way to differentiate and stand out amongst other writers and blogs.  For example, here’s an article that drove a lot of interest: 8 Reasons Why I Quit My Dream Job to Be a Stay At Home Mom & Parent.  Not many people quit their dream jobs, but the author made it work for her.

Additionally, there are 3 types of articles that do particularly well.

Reviews: There are tons of financial products and services out there and it’s usually tough to cut through the marketing and advertising lingo and find out how useful they really are.  For this reason, we try to do a few reviews per week on Money Crashers covering everything from credit cards and savings accounts to tax preparation software and even gadgets .  As you may have guessed, there’s usually a pretty high demand for reviews since readers want to make smart buying decisions and get the most bang for their buck.  As an example, here’s a Lending Club review and a TurboTax review.

Comprehensive How-To’s: In addition to buying, users go online to learn and educate themselves on how to do something.  Create a comprehensive how-to article on a niche topic that people want to learn more about, and readers will naturally be drawn to it.  This is especially effective if your guide is truly all-encompassing and the best available.  Here’s one on Money Crashers that turned out particularly well: How to Find the Perfect Apartment For Rent – The Ultimate 5-Step Process & Guide

Long Lists: Readers like options, lots and lots of options.  So naturally, articles with long lists usually do pretty well, especially since they can easily be scanned and tucked away for reference.  Our list of over 400+ top personal finance blogs was received extremely well by the community and still gets a lot of traffic each day.  And here’s another example: 11+ Uses for Vinegar You Need to Know About

Do you have any tips for our Hubbers on how to go about writing about personal finance if they’re not particular experts on the subject?

In my opinion, there’s no such thing as a true “expert.”  No one knows everything there is to know about a subject and there’s always going to be something new, especially in personal finance where everything changes so fast.  Be content with being a student and always be learning.

At the same time, everyone is an “expert” to someone else who knows less.  Don’t get down on yourself because you “don’t know enough.”  I’m sure someone out there would love to hear or read what you have to say.

Know your audience and pick your spots based on your strengths and unique experiences.  If you’re great at research, create a long list or uncover some new insights that have never been revealed before.  If you’re a good storyteller, share an anecdote and tie that in with your main points.  Don’t try to do too much and stick with what you’re good at.

Sure, this is a writing competition, but you shouldn’t compare yourself with other writers and follow the crowd.  In fact, being different is what will set you apart and increases your chances of being noticed.

Good luck everyone!  I’m looking forward to reading the entries.

[Thanks, Gyutae!]

Gyutae shares some really GREAT advice – here’s the summary in case you are reading this post in haste:

  • Be willing to constantly learn
  • Draw on personal experiences and add a personal aspect to your articles
  • Write good reviews
  • Write comprehensive how-to’s
  • Compile fun, long lists

And if you are out of ideas and feeling writer’s block with the contest, perhaps you can gain some inspiration from the great guides on Money Crashers.  Gyutae shares some wonderful ones above, and we also love these:

The submission portion of the contest is now in full swing, so you can get started right now.  Good luck!!

On HubPages and Research – Insider Tips from a Pro

Leann Zarah on HubPages

Leann Zarah on HubPages

The process of writing a Hub can involve a hefty amount of research, so we thought we’d take some time to chat with Leann Zarah, a parent and professional researcher about her knowledge-seeking craft and its place within the HubPages community.

HubPages: You were recently nominated in the HubPages Top of the Class contest for your Hub “What Makes Research Necessary Within and Beyond the Academe.” The Hub offers a great overview of the many ways in which research can be useful to people on a day to day basis, as a tool for building knowledge, exercising the mind, developing new products, finding work, etc… Do you think HubPages is a good place to post that research?

Leann Zarah: Hi, Simone. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for my first online writing nomination and for this first online interview. The nomination came at a time when I’ve been having doubts of my capability as a writer. It’s really such a huge surprise for me. So, thank you and to HubPages as well.

I’m a newbie Hubber. I’m also essentially new to online and SEO writing. What I appreciate about HubPages is that I can recognize the personal voice of fellow writers. I think (and I’m certain there are many others who’d agree with me) that the insights and knowledge they share are based on a number of factors: their experiences, the lessons they learned from other people, and the knowledge they acquired and/or are interested to acquire. And research is not merely about stats and figures, but it also delves on life, the meat (or spirit) of those stats and figures. Research marries quantity and quality. It helps us make sense of reality or a range of realities. It also fuels a diversity of possibilities.

HubPages provides a good platform that democratizes how research is presented. It does not strictly require a third-person point of reference or detachment to appear objective (unless, of course, the hubber prefers to adopt that format – which is likewise acceptable at HubPages). In essence, the site would like its writers to “talk” to the reader. Call it “objective blogging”. And readers can talk back with their comments or questions.

Also, and this may seem to be a superficial note, HubPages doesn’t require a 400-word article or Hub. But of course, it also doesn’t encourage just a line or two. What it requires though is quality writing. And writing isn’t just a matter of semantics or structure. It has to have substance – even when the writer wants to be funny.

Research can and does provide that substance. And when we study something that interests us, it’s best to form our own ideas based on what we’ve read. We can agree or disagree with the research findings; yet, it cannot be denied that the research process itself facilitates learning and activates critical thinking.

When we share the lessons we’ve gained with anyone willing to listen to what we have to say, or in this case with readers of our hubs, how we present these lessons can be as lengthy as a thousand words or less than 400 words. In either case, HubPages provides a venue for that. Although, of course, we just hope that we’ve presented the message in a clear and coherent manner, enough to convince or make the consumer of our written thoughts think that we’ve produced something with substance.

So, YES. HubPages is a good place to post that research and whatever it is that Hubbers learned from what they’ve researched on. To quote Alvin Toffler, “Information is power.” Online writing sites like HubPages undoubtedly generate such information. Research serves as a vital instrument to provide such information. Also, it can and does humble a researcher, given the fact that there’s so much to learn and that no one person nor a single institution or culture holds monopoly over knowledge.

As a sort of follow up question, have you ever researched something – either because you’re making a purchase, interested in something, or about to make a lifestyle change – and then published your findings as an article online?

Yes, I did. On HubPages, for instance, my first Hub was on self-love. Something that’s a personal interest. Incidentally, I have Erich Fromm’s The Art of Loving. And I’ve always been interested in reading about Erich Fromm and his ideas, but I have yet to finish a book he wrote. Why? Simply because I end up reflecting each time I read something that I could relate with, resulting in unfinished reading. So with that first Hub, I had to do some online research and found a journal article that Fromm wrote about self-love. That’s shorter than The Art of Loving. But of course, aside from that, I had to read some stuff about John Calvin, Immanuel Kant, Max Stirner, and Friedrich Nietzche, people he mentioned in that article. I’ve read some of their works way back in college, but of course, I had to refresh my mind about them to be able to understand what Fromm was saying about self-love better.

The two hubs about roses and rose care are also based on research, as I’m not a gardener. Those two were originally a long article that a private client asked me to do. Sadly, I had my first online employment bump as the client didn’t pay for the work I did, so I opted to use that work and post it on HubPages. I forgot to mention that I like how HubPages gives its writers three lay-out options to present their Hubs.

What inspires most of the articles and Hubs you publish online?

Existential angsts, experiences. The nominated Hub, What Makes Research Necessary Within and Beyond the Academe, was based on my reflections as a researcher. I was thinking of integrating other sources, but I’m not fond of writing long hubs or articles (unless it’s a paid research gig). I can write long emails though. 🙂

I also made use of past academic papers (ones that I submitted to my professors) and past poems and blogs. Most of which are based on my interests in gender and labor issues, human relationships, education, and politics, among other things.

When you research something, do you have a fixed methodology you follow? And do you have any research tips for the community?

I’m partial to qualitative research because math, particularly statistics which quantitative research methodologies embrace with much gusto, is such a formidable ally. 🙂 Seriously, that’s my “Napoleon Waterloo”. My former research boss who digs stats very well though prefers qualitative research. And she allowed me to learn more about it. She also appreciates the convenience of online research, something that I also like to do. The Internet is a good research technology and it has also facilitated social networking with other researchers and writers.

Thus, for research tips, I encourage fellow Hubbers to optimize said technology and have an open-mind. There are studies that contradict one’s personal beliefs, and if we’re going to adopt a narrow perception about life and different realities (for instance, the various cultures from one community to another), it’s like we’re invalidating other people’s experiences or making ourselves superior than those whose ideas and experiences differ from us.

Of course, research can and does invalidate, but it’s important to invalidate with evidence, not mere beliefs which are prone to various interpretations and could incite heated discussions and animosity as can be seen in various site forums. Discussing research is different from using it to sow hatred or anger. If a hubber doesn’t agree with what a fellow hubber is saying, it’s best to counter that with a different take on the subject matter based on research. And if both refuse to give in, then there’s no harm in agreeing to disagree, as knowledge also thrives in diversity of opinions.

Also, have paper and pen handy. Bring them wherever you go. You can also use your cellphone to record topics or insights that you’ve thought of while doing whatever.

Read whenever you can whether online or offline. Going to the public or school library of course is more economical than sitting for hours reading online. This won’t be the case however if you have to drive or commute more than 15 minutes to get there, as gas companies like to create holes in consumer pockets. So, going online is more convenient, though more profitable for power and phone/Internet companies. Old school books, magazines, TV shows, and movies are also useful. Write down immediately your insights or your understanding of what you’ve read or watched.

Talk to people whether online or offline. Informal conversations can inspire topics to write about. I’m sure you’d remember portions of the talk that intrigued you, so write them down. Repeat or clarify your ideas with the person you’re talking to or ask her/him questions. Such process can help you recall parts of the talk. You can also copy and paste portions of the chat that you like to explore on. Do online research to feed your curiosity or to substantiate whatever it is that you want to share with others based on those informal talks.

Choose topics that interest you, enough to make you do research and turn them into original articles. Of course, never forget to cite sources.

Again, be open-minded. Not everyone shares the same opinion as you. This means then that we need to respect other people’s views even if we don’t agree with them. It’s best not to impose beliefs that we feel strongly about because doing so would only result in misunderstandings and hurt feelings. We have to remember that words can also wound, regardless of how or what medium they are said.

Last question- With other articles on Suite 101, Triond, RedGage, and Zarah’s Lane, you are by no means to writing online. What brought you to HubPages?

Fellow Suite101 writers would mention HubPages in the site’s forums as among the online writing sites. I haven’t read anything negative yet about HubPages though. None of whom posted a referral link, so I Googled on HubPages and applied. I’m still learning about SEO writing though. 🙂

[Thanks, Leann Zarah!]

Is your head still spinning from Leann Zarah’s wealth of sage advice?  Here’s a review!

  • Write objectively, and write well
  • Utilize research to add quality and substance to your Hubs
  • Present your information in a clear and understandable manner
  • Research subjects in which you have interest
  • If you do writing or research for a job that falls through, you can always publish the work on HubPages! (If, later on, someone wants to buy it, you can always take if off HP and sell it :D)
  • Academic papers can make great Hubs
  • Explore both qualitative and quantitative
  • Utilize the resources and technology available to you
  • Keep an open mind
  • Keep a pen and paper handy; always be ready to take notes on the fly
  • Talk to people and learn from them – that counts as research too!
  • Respect the viewpoints of others – even if you don’t agree

Happy researching, Hubbers!