Facebook Subscribe; Yea Or Nay?

by now most of you that are on Facebook have probably seen your version of the image you see in this post asking you if you want to allow people to subscribe to things you have to say there or not. It’s kind of a strange thing because I’m trying to figure out why anyone would want to subscribe to the different things some of us have to say. But it turned out to be a bigger issue than I initially thought.

One of the major issues I’ve always had when it comes to Facebook is that little news stream they have there. You basically always had two options. The first option was Facebook automatically making the determination as to what it considered newsworthy from all of the people you’re connected with and giving you that stuff from the newest of the oldest. The second option was your being able to click telling it you wanted everything that anyone you followed posted on Facebook, once again from the newest to the oldest.

Neither option has ever been all that good. I don’t think anybody ever liked the fact that Facebook was going to try to tell them what was news for people they were connected with. At the same time the other option might never allow you to see certain posts and certain people if you happen not to be on Facebook at the same time. Because I keep such strange hours I missed a lot of things that people I knew were saying. A couple of times what was really news wasn’t ever shared with me and if some people hadn’t been paying attention to other things I said I’d never found out about it; that just doesn’t cut it.

So Facebook came up with the subscribe thing. What it allows people to do is go through their list and decide who they want to make sure they see whatever it is they have to post. That means if you’re following 500 people but you really only want to see what 15 of them have to say you can select those 15 without anybody else knowing that you’re not following them as closely. Also, those 15 people don’t know that you’re following them unless you tell them. The problem with that is that now Facebook is open it up so that a person can follow anybody they see fit the following without that person knowing they’re being followed.

For most of us that’s not going to pose a problem, but for some people it is. For instance, how many women are suddenly going to be followed by stalkers who don’t have to go through the game of asking someone to “friend” them, thus giving them the option to block somebody? Facebook doesn’t take this into consideration; instead, what they’re trying to do is get around the limit that they created of how many people someone is allowed to have as a friend with this new option of being able to follow a stream and comment on it. This means that it will be easier for some of these people to follow celebrities, who probably created Facebook accounts only to communicate with their friends, and now suddenly has to worry once again about what they say on Facebook because they never know who’s listening.

Frankly that’s scary. Personally I don’t see this going to affect me that much, but I don’t always bring these things up because I’m worried about how they’re going to affect me. Still, I wonder if I’m being selfish to those friends of mine who want to keep up with me and block some of the noise of all these other people they’re connected with that they don’t know us well. It’s a double edged sword of the little modicum of control that one has with their Facebook account. While I would love to have my friends have the ability to add me to their list, I love the had the ability to know who’s following me and us block certain people if I needed to do so. It’s possible that there, but I haven’t read anywhere that it’s an option.

Luckily, Facebook hasn’t made me have to make a decision yet. So every time I pop on to Facebook I immediately see the image you see above. I get ignored for a while, but I know based on history that at some point I’m going to have to make a decision or they’re going to make it for me, and we both know the decision they’re going to make. But I’m just not sure which direction I want to go yet.

For those of you that are on Facebook, since it makes no sense to ask someone who’s not on Facebook their opinion, what do you think? What have you done? I’d really like to know, and thanks upfront for your response.
 

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Why Do You Revisit Some Blogs And Not Others?

This is a relatively short post, especially coming from me. It’s a simple question; why do you revisit some blogs and not others?

I’ll answer this one first, though I know few people do what I do. I subscribe to around 200 blogs. I’ve been eliminating some over the past month or so because either they weren’t giving me what I needed anymore or their frequency was getting on my nerves. When I talk frequency, I mean posting once every month or longer; I’d already gotten rid of blogs that had 5 to 10 posts a day, as I realized that wasn’t just one person doing all the writing, and there was just no way to keep up with that kind of input.

I’ve also been deleting more blogs that use Disque or Intense Debate, as well as more Blogger blogs. If I’m not going to comment, and your content isn’t compelling enough to keep me reading where I want to comment, it’s time for you to go.

And yet, I’m still around 200. So, what keeps me going to them consistently? Each one of these blogs writes about something that interests me. Each one of these blogs has writers who are giving me something new and different and compelling and educational. They make me feel good, or they make me think, or they give me information I can use. I want that info, and I want to make sure I know where to go so I can receive it. So, I subscribe, and I enjoy.

No one hits a home run every time out; heck, I know I have some posts that get almost no one looking at it. Sometimes I wonder why, but other times I figure I’m just going to continue going for it because, after all, it’s all about writing and sharing and asking questions for me. And I truly am thankful to those of you who come back and check out what I have to say from time to time. I even appreciate those of you who pop in once then leave; at least you gave me a shot.

So, what keeps you going back to certain blogs for more?

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Are You Obsessed With Numbers?

Let me tell you a truth. I am one of those people who sometimes is obsessed with numbers. There are some numbers that I notice all the time, and some other numbers I don’t pay much attention to. I’m probably like a lot of other people, but I’m owning up to it.

I do come by this honestly, though. As a kid around eight years old, I started counting the number of letters in sentences that either I would say or sentences that sounded pretty interesting. I’m obsessed with the number three, so after counting how many letters there are in a sentence, and then start dividing that number by three to make sure that everything comes out as being divisible by three. If it’s not, in my mind I start finding interesting little rules for eliminating letters or adding more letters. I always thought I would grow out of it, but obviously more than 40 years later I’m still doing it.

Anyway back to being obsessed with numbers. The two numbers on most obsessed with these days, as it applies to being online, is my Feedburner subscriber count and my Alexa number. Obviously, since I don’t have any page rank on this blog, I’ll pay any attention to it. I don’t pay any attention to it on any of my other websites, except for my anti-smoking website, which I’m trying to make more prominent so that, hopefully, and start making some of that great Adsense cash. Yeah, I know that page rank doesn’t mean the site will make any more money, but I’m always obsessing about that site wondering if I’d done enough to interlink it so that it’s SEO friendly.

Back to the site. On Monday, Feedburner, over there to the right, said that I had 121 subscribers. That was slightly down from the 125 that I’ve been hanging around, I wasn’t overly worried about it. Today it’s showing the number 85; what’s up with that? I mean really went to check out Google Analytics to see if traffic is dropped. It turns out the traffic is holding steady. Now I’m really confused; what could have caused the number job so far? At this point, I figure it is what it is, or it could be a glitch in Feedburner. Either way, there’s not really anything I can do about it. So I’m telling my mind to calm down and move on. I hope that works, because I don’t like lying to myself about things that I know are bothering me. It’s just strange; is anyone else noticing any fluctuating numbers in their FeedBurner accounts?

Now onto Alexa. Now I’ve been taking on Sire as regards his growth in Alexa over the past couple of weeks. Controversy sells, and he did a great job of starting a couple of posts that really got things going for him. He’s been on a roll over their ever since, and is Alexa number has been steadily looking better. One of my goals for this year has been to get my Alexa ranking under 100,000 also. But it’d been sitting around 135,000 at least a few months, and I figured well maybe that’s just where it’s going to be. So imagine my surprise when I looked at it today and see that it is down around 128,000. How interesting is it that my Alexa rank is getting better and my FeedBurner is going down? Aren’t numbers the strangest thing?

Of course, the numbers I should be obsessing about are the income numbers. And I’ve just about income just as much as anyone else does, but I haven’t obsessed as much about it on this blog. I am starting to get to that point where I think it would be a nice thing for me to start monetizing this blog a bit better. Actually, I think the blog is monetized well enough, but I probably need to kick it up a gear to at least generate a sale here and there every once in a while. After all, how my going to achieve my “problogger” status if I don’t? 🙂 I’ll try not to obsess over that penny I’ve made today on this blog through Adsense; I wonder where that came from?

Okay y’all be truthful, is anyone else obsessing over numbers that they know they shouldn’t be obsessing over? Let’s talk about it, kind of a group therapy session. Maybe we’ll all feel cleansed when it’s over. 😉

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My Online Goals For 2010, And A Look Back At 2009

It’s been a year since I wrote about my online goals for 2009. Let’s take a look at those goals and see what happened.

1. Earn at least $2,500 online. Nope, I didn’t make it, but I did make a little bit more than half, coming in at $1,384.65. I had 7 months over $100, including one month where I was over $225. I think I’ll need another year to see if history has anything to do with sales, as the last two months and the first two months of this year period were the worst for me.

2. Revamp my Services and Stuff site. I looked at it all year and in the end, just didn’t have my heart into changing it around. I did make some minor updates here and there, but nothing dramatic in any way.

3. Work my way up to 500 subscribers to my blog. In January I had 54 subscribers. My best day for subscribers was one day this month where the number showed I was up to 126 subscribers. That’s more than double of what I had, but far shorter than where I was. Oddly enough, things jumped drastically when I said I was going to start writing more personal posts than technical posts; I’ll take that to mean that folks were actually more engaged than they had been before, and I thank those of you who have subscribed to this blog.

4. Determine at least three series to write on this year. I ended up the year with only one new series, but I’m thinking about creating another one because I’ve talked about it enough, such that it’s probably going to be an upcoming post. The series I created was SEO, and the topic that might turn into one is Twitter. Twitter doesn’t quite fit as a series, yet I think by now I’ve written about it in some fashion at least 20 times.

5. Get into Technorati’s top 60,000. This one I didn’t even have a chance to do because at some point this year Technorati totally changed how the numbers worked and looked.

That was a look at where my mind was last year at this time and what I had hoped to accomplish. My mind is in a much different place this year, and yet there are still some major goals I want to reach. I have been reading many other blogs lately that have talked about their 2010 goals, as well as how they did last year. I’m on the failed end, as I didn’t achieve a single one of my goals. And with what I’m about to put up, I’m not sure I’ll hit any of these goals, as they’re going to be somewhat audacious. Sometimes, it’s not hitting the goal that’s as important as the process for improvement. Let’s take a look at my five goals for 2010.

1. Earn at least $15,000 online. Yeah, I know, I didn’t even hit $2,500 last year, so what makes me think I can do even better this year? One has to have a goal, and one has to make plans towards that goal. I’m going to be changing some things up on this blog, and probably my other blogs. I know of some changes I’m going to make on at least one of my sites. In essence, I figure it’s time to set myself up for the possibility of making more money. I need to start putting together more of these things that I’ve learned rather than waiting around for the big epiphany to hit me. I’m not about to change up the frequency of my blogging, but I hope to make some of it better.

2. Reach those 500 subscribers. I had a nice increase this year, but it wasn’t my goal. When I wrote about that fine line between blogging success and failure I recognized that making small changes can sometimes have drastic results. This will be year three of having this blog, and I’ve got a lot of content that I might think is pretty good, but it’s not reaching as much audience as I feel it needs to reach. The same goes for my other blogs and websites, but I’m concentrating on this one for new subscribers.

3. Increase real visitors to this site to 3,000 a month on average. Yeah, that “real” word is there for a reason. If I believed the numbers that my host is telling me, I’m getting more than 25,000 hits a month on this blog. Well, hits aren’t actual visitors, and we all know that. My real visitors has come back up from the hit it took after I left town last year for a consulting assignment, and I need it to keep increasing. I’ve noticed, as many others have noticed, that when I write more, I get more visitors. However, now that I’m making a part of my living doing writing, I’m not sure I can get to a point where I can write two posts a day for this blog. In this past year I only had one month where I wrote fewer than 20 posts for the month, but I didn’t hit 30 once either. I’m going to be doing more of that, and if one of those two posts a day is a sales post of some type, well, that counts as well. I’ve noticed that there are some internet marketers who make sure they mention things more than once that they’re marketing in their blogs; heck, you see how this campaign for the Beyond Blogging book has gone. If I made even 3 sales I’m going to consider that a success for me; if I make more than 5, I’m going to consider it a lesson learned.

4. Get even more publicity this year by guest posting. In 2009, I did a lot of interviews and ended up in both print and online radio. What I haven’t figured out is how to turn any of that into major benefits for myself. The one thing I didn’t do in 2009 was any guest posts; I did my guest posts in 2008. I wasn’t asked, but I also didn’t put myself out there in saying that I would write any guest posts. I’m doing that now; anyone who wants guest posts, write me at the email address on my About page and let me know what you’d like me to write about. Heck, for that matter, if you’d like to write a guest post for my blog on any appropriate topic, let me know that as well.

5. Get my Alexa rank for two of my blogs into the top 100,000. This one is going to be harder than I think it is, but it’s got to get done. This blog is right now sitting at 142,467, which isn’t all that bad, but back in March it was 127,242. My Top Finance Blog was only created last December, and it’s got an Alexa rank of 361,787. My business blog is tied into my entire business website, and I’m not sure if the blog can help the entire website move any higher, but if it can, it’s sitting at 382, 865 as of today. With the two blogs, getting ranked into the top 100,000 means asking for advertising is a legitimate prospect, even though this blog has a 0 page rank because of previously having those nofollow Text Link Ads. I’ve asked Google to evaluate me, but I guess they have better things on their mind so I’m not pushing the issue.

Anyway, those are my 2010 online goals. What do you think, and what are you hoping to achieve in 2010? By the way, if you’d like some help in setting goals, download this free gift from Paul Myers on goals.

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I Want More RSS Subscribers

I was reading this post on Daily Blog Tips called 50 Simple Ways To Gain RSS Subscribers, and one of 50 points, number 5 to be more specific, said this: Write a post asking for people to subscribe.

dessert
feed on this… 🙂

I had to think about it, and truthfully, I don’t think I’ve ever written a post requesting that people subscribe to any of my feeds. I did write this post on what RSS feeds were, with a video no less, and mentioned that it would be nice if people subscribed to my feed, but I’ve never come right out and asked for it.

So I’m doing it now. For those readers who have no idea what RSS stands for, I recommend you click on the link I just gave you and watch the video I posted, which breaks it down nicely.

For everyone else, though I can’t believe I’d have to tell you why it’s a good idea to subscribe to my feeds, of all things, well, y’all see how often I tend to write. I’d hate for you to miss any of my posts, especially the really poignant and funny ones, just because you happened to show up late. The front page only holds so many posts, after all, and some of my posts only stay on the main page 3 or 4 days.

I’ve given people two ways to subscribe to the feeds, the regular way or by email. The regular way offers different feed readers, one that can be put right into Firefox with an add-on called Sage. Of course there’s always Google Reader, which a lot of people like (sorry, this is gone now…), and I’m a major advocate of Feedreader, the program I use because it’s not dependent upon browsers. There are many other programs, obviously, but I think these three get it done best.

Subscribe to my feed! Subscribe to my feed! Subscribe to my feed! Okay, now I’ve said it, and I’ve written it. And, by the way, this post now has me using 8 of the top 10 recommendations. That’s never a bad place to be. 😉