We love Facebook. Not only is a fun social site, but it’s a great place to connect with Helium members, share news, promotions, create stories together and keep in touch. So last week we sent out an email to many Helium writers encouraging them to like our Facebook page.

The response was wonderful! Not only did we get more than 700 new people to like the page, we LOVED the amazing comments, feedback and helpful advice members posted on the page.

Our email requested people like the page for a chance to win a $10 assignment. We said we’d raffle off one $10 assignment for every 1,000 new fans of the page. We did break the 2,000 “likes” mark and could have awarded one $10 assignment to a fan. Instead, we thought it would be much more fun to award seven $10 assignments for every 100 new “likes.”

The winners are:

Regine Reviere

Dayna Rutherford

Brian Keith Compton

Ernest Smartt

Cyn Lee

Carolina Dream Coy

Joseph B. Arrington

Congratulations to all! We’ll be in touch via the Helium inbox to coordinate assigning you a great title!

We’re almost to 1,000 fans on Helium’s Facebook page. To celebrate this milestone we’ll be raffling off a Helium goodies prize pack that includes a Helium T-shirt, pen, sticker and more!

“Like” the page to be in the running for this gift pack.

Thanks to everyone who has already liked the page. We’ve had such wonderful interactions with Helium writers already and can’t wait for more writers to join the conversation, share their articles and have fun!

Want to find out everything Helium has to offer its writers? Then check out our new Community page!

Our new Community page is a central hub for Helium writers. It directs members to our Discussion Boards, Groups, Marketplace, writing contests, credentialing program, volunteer opportunities and more.

New to Helium? This page has everything you need to know including new member information and training materials.

Curious about Helium? Read what our writers have to say in our Writer Testimonials.

As a hub for all community aspects of our site it links Helium writers to our social networking pages on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Learn about the amazing opportunities Helium offers its writing community now!

Helium has introduced an exciting change to the Steward Program — Stewards are now Channel Managers. Why the change? What’s in a name? We think a lot!

Channel Manager is a better reflection of what the volunteer program is all about. A Channel Manager is many things… a leader, a helper, an expert in their subject area, a writer and more.

Their mission is to provide and encourage the highest-quality information for readers, through outreach and interaction with capable writers and subject matter experts who share a passion for the success of each channel on Helium.

Channel Managers add their experience and professional perspective to Helium’s large writing community. They help make Helium the go-to place for high-quality information on every subject — whether it’s classic cars, crafts or cat breeds. They are here to help members in need and offer encouragement and critiques about their writing.

They are given special tools and roles on the site, have their bios featured on their channel page and get a badge to tout their expertise. They can suggest new titles, rate and grade articles, and recruit new writers.

Helium expects every Channel Manager to have competence in their specific subject area, to be a leader and to be able to communicate with other members of the Helium writing community in a professional and courteous manner.

Channel Managers make Helium a great place to learn and write. They are a hard working crew and Helium wouldn’t be the amazing writing community that it is without them. Meet them now!

Helium is proud to announce that member Cathie Beck’s “Cheap Cabernet: A Friendship” is officially published today!

Described as a wild ride of a memoir—a “Thelma & Louise-like” tale of love, perseverance, friendship and triumph, Cathie’s book can be purchased on Amazon.com and you can read more about the memoir on her Helium Zone and her website.

Kirkus calls “Cheap Cabernet: A Friendship” a “searing portrait,” and ForeWord Reviews says, “Beck’s writing is breezy, polished
and fun to read.”

Visitors to Cathie Beck’s website can get free “Signature Cheap Cabernet” wine and she has also promised to launch a Helium-based presence on her book promotion to help other Helium authors get their books published and promoted.

In case you didn’t know Helium has an official blog (hint: you’re reading it).  Helium also has an official Twitter.  As well as an official Facebook fan page.  Now, Helium has an official Delicious.

The goal of our Delicious is simple:

  1. To showcase important links in or about Helium.
  2. To store tools that will allow our community to improve their writing skills, SEO, and earnings.

One of the great things about Delicious, is that it enables members to easily share links with other members.  For example, if you found a link that you think Helium should know about you simply include in the tags “for:Helium.com” and it will show up in our Delicious inbox.

A few guidelines:

  1. Don’t send us your articles.  This is not meant to showcase all the articles on Helium.  This is meant to provide Helium-centric information and useful community tools.  While we appreciate your articles and how much effort you put into them this is not the place for them.  Feel free to save them in your own Delicious though.
  2. Do send us tools and resources you find useful in your own writing (note: this doesn’t mean just on Helium, any tools and resources on the web).  If something helps you to craft your articles or increase your earnings (a SEO tool, grammar checker, fact checker, etc) it will likely help other people.
  3. Do send us links you find about Helium that we may have missed.  If someone mentions us on a major website or talks about our partner program, etc, this is something we’d likely be interested in reading and sharing with the community.

That’s it.  This is sort of a “beta” right now but we’re hoping it becomes another useful tool in Helium’s toolbox.

Hope that helps.

Big pat on the back for Helium! And its writers!

Earlier this year, Helium was named to Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers in 2009, in the Jobs and Markets category. Check us out on their website.

Writer's Digest badge

Special thanks to all our members who sent in emails to Writer’s Digest telling them how important Helium is to the online writing space and as a resource for new and experienced writers.

For anyone unfamiliar with Writer’s Digest, it is a highly respected magazine, website and resource for writers. Here’s a quick blurb from the website’s “About Us” page:

Every issue of Writer’s Digest magazine is devoted to helping writers develop their craft and hone their publishing acumen. Since 1920, Writer’s Digest has chronicled the culture of the modern writer and we continue this great tradition through relevant first-person essays, interviews with bestselling authors and profiles with emerging talent. Writer’s Digest also features practical technique articles, and tips and exercises on fiction, nonfiction, poetry and the business-side of writing and publishing.

Truly, our writing community’s dedication and continuous efforts to write well and raise the bar on Helium are paying off. All of Helium’s members deserve praise and congratulations.

And don’t forget to let Writer’s Digest know what Helium can offer writers for 2010!

I’m a big fan of Paul Lines – usually when he chimes in on a subject it’s well thought out, concise, and yet insightful.  He chose to weigh in on an interesting thread I’ve been following.  I’ve reposted the current version below.  You can find the current version and the rest of the thread here.

The format from the blog and the one from the boards are slightly different – so any reformatting is mine simply for readability’s sake.

This has been an interesting thread and, as my name has been mentioned by Khalid, I thought I would add my ‘two cents’ to Kat and the others here. Three issues have been raised that I would like to comment on.

Quote from: Khalid Humayun on July 16, 2009, 01:52:22 AM
“Powers that be are we the writers (Paul Lines).”

I agree with Khalid that this is a democratic site and that, to me, is one of its main attractions. We are ‘the powers that be’ to the extent that it is the content contributions we have made to this site that has helped build its success. The better the quality of that content, the more success will be gained by Helium and, as suppliers, by us the writers as well. The democratic style of this site, such as these discussion boards, helps the ‘supply’ content of writers as a whole to improve, which continues to drive the success that all of us share in.

‘Volunteers’ – I have to say that I dislike the word ‘volunteer’ simply because of the fact that in recent years it has, to a certain extent, become tainted with the belief that ‘volunteers’ have an ulterior motive, which is clearly not the case with the overwhelming majority.

I have to agree that the scenarios outlined by CV yesterday could occur and no doubt some will from time to time. However, at Helium any of these situations are balanced by the depth and breadth of the numbers and people who are volunteering. As Carol suggested the democratic ‘team based’ approach at Helium provides adequate counter-balancing measures to any particular issue. For example, there are always those who will take over if another volunteer has time or other constraints. The team environment lifts, helps and supports the volunteers and makes it stronger and more relevant and reduces issues related to such things as bias and quality.

One other issue on volunteering that I would like to comment on is the discussion related to whether ‘volunteer and should’ are contradictory. I also disagree with the comment that ‘we should all volunteer’ for two reasons. Firstly, I do not believe that I have the right to impose a value standard upon someone else. Secondly the demand context of the word ‘should’ within that statement suggests that a person who does not ‘volunteer’ has a lesser worth than someone who does, almost creating a class distinction. Volunteering is a personal choice not a social demand in my view. I do not think that anyone has the right to judge another using this as a criteria.

Furthermore, I think it has to be remembered that there is a lot of ‘volunteer’ work that goes unnoticed. For example, and I know that I am not alone in this experience, I get a lot of direct messages from Helium writers asking for help. Like all those in this position I do not seek recognition, reward or acclaim for this. I give because it is a two way process. I learn and gain value from the experience and so, I hope, does the person who has asked.

Reward/Pay – many have also commented upon the reward and pay side of volunteering. Personally, although I can understand the comments of those who agree with rewards in this respect and have nothing against payments being made, any payment for volunteering is irrelvant and not sought. As I said, the reward for me is the value I gain from the experience. In addition, by giving I am also helping to improve the quality of the site and this effort is rewarded by increased earnings here, sale of stock and marketplace articles and, perhaps most important, the extra showcase value that it attaches to my work, which has in the past led to a range of other paid freelance opportunities.

Well I see that this was 5 cents rather than 2, but these are just my thoughts and opinions.

Paul

Congratulations to member Zoey Day for her article on How to prevent or end workplace rumors, which was referenced in The New York Times yesterday!

Zoey’s article adds valuable advice to Paul Brown’s piece and suggests employees address potential rumors, rather than doing nothing.

In the absence of information, employees will make up their own information and that piece of information soon snowballs into a full blown rumor.

Thanks to Mr. Brown of The New York Times for sourcing one of Helium’s writers.

It looks like everyone’s continuous efforts to improve quality and the Helium community’s drive to assist one another become better writers is finally starting to pay off. Keep up the great work everyone!

This week’s “Meet the Stew” features Senior Steward, Rex Trulove. Rex is prominent community member who is known for his generosity, dedication, and selflessness. Rex is always there to lend a hand to someone in need and to help guide them in the right direction. We’re proud to have him as part of our team and are excited to be featuring him this week.

Name? Rex Trulove

How long have you been at Helium? 2 years, 2 months

What is your title and responsibilities?
Senior Steward and Board Administrator. I run the boards at Helium, train new stewards, coordinate with channel stewards, seed titles, help with okaying new titles, help train people to seed titles, try to help new and experienced members, reach out to people who would do well on the site, in general help anyone, anytime I can, and try to both continue writing and rating.

Has your writing improved since being a Steward?
Yes. In fact, it has improved every month I’ve been on Helium.

What are your top three favorite Helium articles?
This is like asking a gourmet what their three favorite foods are. With close to a million articles on the site, it would be impossible to choose, because there are so many great articles on the site.

What is your favorite Zone?
Probably the botany channel.

What is your favorite part about being a Steward?
Being able to help others, while learning.

If you could give one bit of advice to new members of Helium, what would it be?
Write, write, write, and rate, rate, rate. That is the path to success on Helium.

If you could change one thing about Helium what would it be?
I’d like to see a lot more active writers on the site.

What is your favorite thing about Helium?
The staff and stewards. A more top notch group of people, you will not find anywhere.

Now on to the more personal side…

What are 3 things people are surprised to find out about you?
1. That I play 9 musical instruments (none well, but I do play them.) 2. That I have virtually a small zoo in my home. 3. That I’ve been an herbalist and wildlife rehabilitator for over 40 years.

What do you do with your extra time?
Extra time? What’s that? Hah I garden, camp, fish, play music, do counseling, and perform weddings, not necessarily in that order.

What is your favorite quote?
“The only stupid question is the one that isn’t asked.” ~ Mabel Haley, my grandmother.

What are your favorite books?
Piers Anthony’s Xanth series, Edgar Rice Burroughs John Carter of Mars series, Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat, Stalking the Wild Asparagus by Euell Gibbons, and several science books that are collaboratives

What is your favorite website other than Helium ;)?
Another hard question. My own, I suppose (sensations.freewebpage.org), though I don’t like to toot my own horn.

Where is your favorite place to visit?
A toss up…camp out in the woods (location isn’t important) or Crater Lake National Park, which I’ll always see as “home”.

Who do you idolize?
My older brother, Stephen Trulove.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
If a person doesn’t do something because they are afraid of failing, they’ve already failed. A person can’t succeed at anything if they don’t at least try. Each of us can do anything, if we honestly try.

Anything else you’d like to share?
Yes. Helium is a wonderful, nurturing, and caring community. The more we all help, the more we all benefit. Not the least of this is that when we help, we interact with everyone else. A person who doesn’t, is sitting out there on a limb, all alone, and it is a terrifying drop to the ground. I don’t personally fear the fall, but that sudden stop at the end is rather bothersome. I’ve been asked if I have fears, and yes I do. I fear not being appreciated. Why? Because that tells me that I didn’t try hard enough. I have one chance to make a positive impact in other lives, and the thought that I may not have done enough gives me the horrors.

 Thanks Rex for taking the time and filling out our “Meet the Stew” interview. Your hardwork and time here at Helium is greatly appreciated.

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