This is nothing new. Passwords are incredibly important, but time and again I find people are using overly simple passwords that provide little to no protection in the event of a hacking attempt. I have heard everything from song lyrics to complicated to spell words used as "safe" passwords over the years.
I love how simple and obvious that comic from XKCD makes it. The goal is to come up with a long password that does not conform to heuristics that can be programed for across the whole population. Anything you can Google for and find is a bad idea.
The other piece of the puzzle for me is 1Password. On your local machine you can store all your passwords in an encrypted file behind your strong password developed through the method above. Using 1Password I have identified all my poor passwords and slowly replaced them. In cases where I need high security and have access to 1Password regularly I use completely random characters. For the cases where I need to type the password on a regular basis and have it memorized I simply make another random set of words, numbers and symbols.
Update: For another perspective on passwords see this post on Coding Horror.
Update 11 Oct 2014: For more ideas on how to protect yourself online please read this post. I am sad that she wrote it out of personal experience, but it is helpful.