Why I Need To Go To A Blogging While Brown Conference

I’d like to share a couple of mentions I got this week, both on the same day. The first was from a post by my buddy Steve Borek, who credits me for convincing him to start blogging, titled The First Step Is The Hardest To Take. The second is from Ileane Smith‘s site Basic Blog Tips, where Lisa Sicard wrote a compilation piece based on advice as to why Twitter is great for marketing titled Twitter For Blogging – 15 Reasons It’s Proven Powerful. Go check them both out, as both articles are excellent.

Street art: 1968 Olympics Black Power (human rights) salute
Melbourne Streets Avant-garde
via Compfight

This coming weekend I’ll be going to my first ever non-medical billing conference. It’s called the Blogging While Brown, and it’s a conference for people of color who blog, this year being held in Washington D.C. I’m hoping it’s a lot of fun and educational at the same time, and my buddy Yasmin Shiraz is the only person I definitely know who’s going to be there.

Some of you might ask why there’s a need for a specific conference for people of color. After all, aren’t we all supposed to be one with each other?

Actually, that would be very nice, but unfortunately it’s still pretty much a pipe dream in America. This past week was more proof that there’s a problem with race and that each side blames the other, to the point that I’ve changed my overall outlook on life as I know it and can’t see any time in the near future where we’re all going to get along with each other.

This isn’t a new thought that’s just come to me. After all, I wrote this post back in April on my business blog and created the video below yesterday:


https://youtu.be/HuJM0v5TQtY

I also created this video in April asking if we could all get along… y’all know that answer…


https://youtu.be/KBo2AFW47kI

I took a tough position on the blog post and kind of a tough position in the second video but not in the first. With the second video I took the position where I said that if we ever hope to overcome the issues we have with race, the police and anything else we can’t agree on we’re going to have to sit down and have a legitimate conversation with each other.

I’m of the opinion that there are really only two ways to solve issues permanently; one is by talking to each other, the other is by totally eliminating every single person who’s unwilling to try to find common ground so all that’s left is a lot of people who agree with each other. However, I’m thinking that second idea is fairly problematic, probably unattainable, and pretty much horrific so I’ll stick with the talking option. 🙂

Unfortunately I don’t see it happening any time soon. I’ve had to block or move a lot of people around who don’t seem to understand the issues or feelings of people like me. People who want to blame President Obama for a mess that’s been going on for almost 400 years are clueless. People who want to blame the Black Lives Movement are clueless. People who want to post stuff like All Lives Matter are pollyanna.

I know the question those who visit this blog want to ask; what’s this got to do with blogging or social media? Everything!

The posts of mine that get the fewest views or comments on my business blog are those that talk about race or diversity issues. Unless I’m addressing freedom of speech, the articles on this blog that get the least amount of traffic are those on social issues. I know few people who write on topics like these when mixed with other topics like those I write about. I’m kind of an anomaly; as if y’all didn’t already know that.

I’m not close to the radical some people might think I am. What I am is someone with a social conscious on a few issues that I feel the need to bring up from time to time. True, it might not necessarily always be good for business, but if that’s the only thing you care about then you’re not really a blogger but an entrepreneur.

Nothing wrong with that because not everyone is expected to stand up for something they believe in. After all, if you don’t stand up for something you’ll fall for anything, and it’ll probably be something negative.

Mark
Christoph Boecken via Compfight

That’s why I’m going to this conference. I don’t expect the topics to have all that much to do with race and I’m good with that; heck, I might be elated if none of it comes up. I’m even expecting to find people who don’t agree with a lot of other things I happen to like.

What I do know is that, for once, I won’t be an “only” at a conference, or one of the “chosen few” who shows up and spends most of my time alone because I didn’t fit in. Sometimes you just want to feel as though you’re part of a crowd where you actually possibly belong.

Four and a half years ago I started a series that I ran for 19 Fridays in a row called Black Web Friday. My intention was to bring websites and blogs that were created and written by black people into the public conscious because I’d been to too many sites that talked about the top 25, 50 or 100 whatever and never seen a single black face on the page. When I asked one writer about it she said ‘I don’t know any black bloggers.”

I felt it was important then to try to help bring some publicity to people who deserved it. I still think it’s important to do while acknowledging that it’s more difficult to find these days. Goodness, it’s difficult to find people in general who are creating new content on their own; even I can’t find that many anymore, which is another great reason to go to this conference.

If you’ve made it this far into the article, I first want to thank you for that. However, I’d like to ask a favor of you, if I may. If you know of any black bloggers you’ve found on your own, please share their name and link in the comment section of this post.

I have to warn you, if you post a link like you normally would your comment is going to spam. Please leave off the “http://www” part of the link so you won’t go to spam, because I think my program sometimes totally bounces some folk who try to post a full link. I’m curious to see who others might put down who I might not already know or who I might not have highlighted before. This could be an interesting experiment; I’ll hope to be pleasantly pleased. 🙂

If you don’t know any don’t fret; I’m sure I’ll be able to share a lot of names and folk with you after I get back next weekend. In the meantime, let’s try to be nice to each other for a while… please?
 

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Goals For A Social Media Strategy

Two posts ago I asked the question Do You Have A Social Media Strategy? I acknowledged that I didn’t have one, and a few steps I was going to take towards having one. I wanted to talk this time about goals, because without goals, a strategy is just a hope. I also wanted to clarify that these goals have nothing to do with this blog, but my traditional businesses.

So, what would my goals be? How would I define these goals? And what about Naomi (that’s for the Electric Company fans in the crowd)? And finally, what are the ramifications of those goals versus my wish to do some other things just because I want to do them? For instance, if I set a business goal, will things such as this blog or some of my political and racial positions impede any benefit a social media marketing strategy might entail?

That last one is the most important one, believe it or not, at least as it pertains to Twitter. I have a definitive political position. I also obviously call out racism wherever I see it. Politics is dangerous because you never know who you might irritate on the other side; you also never know who might irritate you. During the 2008 election, I eliminated a lot of people from my Twitter stream because of some of the outright nasty stuff, including lies, that were being said about people I was supporting. I didn’t mind anyone taking a contrary view; we don’t all agree on everything after all. I wasn’t putting up with certain types of decorum, however. Because I don’t put up with certain decorum as it pertains to people I support, I also won’t act that way against anyone else; well, most of the time anyway. And that becomes a major issue; will my political beliefs, and my penchant for calling someone out on a racial issue, hurt my social media marketing? And if so, how much do I care?

Question answered; I don’t really care. I go out of my way almost always to be as kind as I can. However, there is idiocy in the world, and every once in awhile we have to call it out. The people who usually follow me believe as I do, and those that don’t usually don’t stick around. So, as far as Twitter is concerned, I’m okay with it all. Luckily, I don’t get into politics on either LinkedIn or Facebook, so it’s all good.

The next step is in defining my goals; what do I want to get out of whatever I do. That makes a lot of sense, because how can I set my goals if I don’t know what I hope to achieve. Me being me, I have a lot of things I want to achieve, and each of the three ways I hope to achieve it offers something different. But the overall defined goals are:

          * More brand awareness of my businesses

          * More brand awareness of who I am

          * More consistency in clients and income

On the surface that might not look like a lot, but it is. I have two businesses, but I have many different services I can provide through those two businesses. One is set up for more success, the other isn’t. I also want to market myself, as I keep pushing on my goal of being a professional speaker and presenter, and I speak on a multitude of topics as well.

Social Madness

The last part is every consultant’s dream, that being to make at least a consistent amount of cash, more money than we made working our regular jobs before we became consultants, so we can spend more time becoming more proficient as what it is we hope to do. The way I make my money is in short spurts; I make a lot of money very quickly, then I make a little bit of money for awhile until I get another opportunity to make a lot of money again. Sometimes those gaps between large money go much longer than is comfortable, so I need to shore that part up, and if I shore it up enough I won’t have to worry about the large gaps anymore.

This means that, at this juncture, the final piece is planning my goals, or steps, to achieve what I want to get to. I’m not putting that part down just yet. To me, this is the longest part, the part that needs more thought so that I’m not haphazardly throwing things out without the full plan. I also figure this is enough for anyone else who’s been thinking about setting up a strategy, who might be reading this and thinking that you want to try it along with me, to now sit down and plan your strategy as well. If you do decide to try something, I hope you share either here or on your own blog; I’d love to see where you’re taking it.

By the way, there’s a great possibility that I might be presenting a live seminar in July and August on this topic, which is why I’m now thinking about this entire thing. After all, it makes you much more convincing if you’re actually gone through the entire process as well. Right?

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