As Seen On TV

I can’t remember the last time I wrote a post on an affiliate like this, but I’m doing it this time around because, well, it’s fun stuff. And I needed something to get the taste of that other affiliate mess out of my mouth.

Who hasn’t seen those commercials on TV for all that stuff that we look at and say either “that looks like garbage” or “that’s the coolest thing; I need to get that”? Well, it seems there’s a website called As Seen On TV Store, and I just signed up to be an affiliate of theirs because, well, I’ve obviously had some experience buying things from TV, with different outcomes. For instance, I’ll own up to the Shamwow absolutely stinking up the joint. But my wife bought these things called Moving Men that have literally saved our backs because what you do is get them under heavy stuff and then it just glides across rugs and floors. As a matter of fact, we have 3 sets of them; absolutely fantastic purchase.

Of course, this now allows me to talk about some other things we’ve purchased, which I’m linking to in case you want to check it out and maybe buy something. For instance, we also bought a couple of these Mister Steamy things that you put in your dryer, putting some water in them, and they help your clothes not to wrinkle. They work pretty well if you don’t stuff the dryer or don’t leave stuff in there longer than an hour after it’s done. And I don’t know many people left that don’t have at least one Ginsu knife; even Mom has one of these things.

My wife also bought a Ped Egg, which one uses to scrape their feet. Most guys know nothing about this, but as someone who has to now take great care of one’s feet, I’ve used this thing and it’s pretty amazing, and it catches all the dead and dry skin in the egg so you don’t have stuff all over the floor; man, I’m strange sometimes. lol

As Seen On TV Total Pillow

Of course I’d love to talk about the Snuggie, which we both have as well as my mother and grandmother, but of all things they’re totally sold out of those things, so you can’t get that right now. But I can talk about this thing to the left called a Total Pillow, which we have two of and is very relaxing if one is sitting in a chair watching TV; doesn’t work as well sitting at my computer desk, however.

Anyway, they have lots of stuff that we’re used to seeing on TV, and the shipping and handling charges are lower off the website, as well as some of the prices. So, if you like this kind of stuff, go take a look at least. Of course, I’m undecided on if I’m going to tell my wife or not. lol

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5 Effective Ways To Use LinkedIn

I’ve been a LinkedIn member for a long time now. As a matter of fact, I got an email last week from LinkedIn announcing their just passing 100 million members, and thanking me for being one of not only the first 1 million members, but actually placing being one of the first 685,000 members; not so bad, right? At first I wasn’t sure what to think of LinkedIn, but as time went along, I started to realize that as a business vehicle it’s fairly essential to be listed on the site and participating in some fashion. I’ve met a few people locally through there as well; that never stinks.

Having said that, as the site has grown I have to say that there are a number of people who don’t get it. I mean, it’s not all that hard to use, yet I see some things that just make me absolutely cringe. Since I figure it’s what I do, I’m going to offer 5 effective ways to use LinkedIn.

1. If you’re inviting someone to accept you as a connection, please write something special other than the standard message given to you by LinkedIn. This is a pet peeve of mine, and it seems to be a pet peeve of man local Syracuse folks based on what I’m reading on Twitter. It takes no time at all to write something a bit more personal, especially when you don’t know the person you’re asking to join, and then if it’s someone you know it’s even more special.

2. If you’re inviting someone to be a connection, don’t list them as someone who has worked with your business or at your business if they never did. This one is common for me, and its irksome. That’s because LinkedIn then believes you actually worked for that company and it starts sending you messages any time someone else from that company signs onto their service. And there’s nothing you can do about it; trust me on this one.

3. Join a group and write something. This was one of the changes LinkedIn made back in 2008 and it was a good one. Their groups are either business related or education related, and they give you a chance to show that you have some knowledge in your field. This is one place where lurking won’t do you any good because no one will know you’re there; why waste your time like that?

4. Every once in awhile, pop in a business update of some kind. I try to get there at least once a week to write something short and sweet that’s happened in my business, though sometimes it’s a couple of weeks. You do this because when LinkedIn sends out its weekly email, your name and what you’ve done might pop up in someone’s inbox, or they may be compelled to follow the link in the email to see what other people they’re connected to have done during the week. People like working with successful people.

5. If you ask for recommendations, only do it for people you know well and who know your work. I get requests all the time from people I barely know or may have met but never worked with. I ignore every single one of them, which of course means I delete them from my inbox, and I never respond to those people at all. Every once in awhile, if I’ve never met them in person, I’ll drop them from my contacts list. That kind of thing is unethical in my opinion, and if you’re unethical and I don’t really know you, how might you treat me when we do get to know each other?

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The Art Of Storytelling

When I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago asking How Far Would I Go, I mentioned that I was in a story contest to try to win a free Kindle. Well, I didn’t win, and I can’t say I placed since I think there was only the main prize. Hey, that’s just how it goes sometimes.

However, I did get one critique on the story, which was a drastically cut down version my tale on meatloaf. The guy said he liked the story and laughed at it, but that I used the word “I” too many times and that if I’d tightened that up then the story might have been stronger.

Let’s talk about storytelling for a moment, if I may. Back when I wrote my series on book writing, I talked about the art of telling a story. People love stories, and the better you can tell your story, the more people love to hear it. My dad loved telling stories, and I think I got that from him. Our friends Charles, Allan and Jessica tell some wonderful true life stories. And of course there’sHyperbole and a Half; ’nuff said.

If you’re telling a story in general, it’s often recommended that you try not to use one or two words over and over. For instance, if you’re writing fiction and your story’s main character is Henry, you shouldn’t always be writing “Harry said” or “Harry thought” or something like that all the time. The idea is to weave Harry’s name in there every once in awhile to make sure everyone knows when it’s Harry or someone else, but otherwise try to make one’s story flow better by not stopping on every sentence by saying “Harry”.

That explains writing other stories; what if you’re telling your own tale? Suddenly the rules change, at least in my mind. It’s would sound silly if you were trying to convey your thoughts and you said “there was this thought that” or “Johnny wondered” if your name was Johnny.

If you’re telling your story one would expect you to use “I” most of the time if you’re in it. For instance, I was the main protagonist in writing my stories on The Keys or the poker tournament I was in back in 2009. How else would I have told those stories without the word “I”? If it was fictionalized maybe one finds a different way, but if I, or you, are telling our own story, how ridiculous would it be without “I”?

There is an art to storytelling, though. Beginning, middle, end; that’s the script, just like the script for most songs follows a 1-4-5-1 chord progression. We want to be introduced to our hero, so to speak, early on, and then we want to see what happens to that character, and then we want to see how it’s resolved.

Stories can be short or long; in essence, they are what they are, as I stated in one of my posts on better blogging. Stories need to follow a progression; not everyone likes stories that suddenly go back in history, or take sidebars that don’t seem to have anything to do with the story.

We want it direct, in order, fleshed out as much as needed, and then concluded in a way that makes us feel something; happy, upset, or even laughing. And if it’s your story, we want to know how you felt, what you thought, and if you have to use “I” often then so be it.

Of course, I could be wrong on this, but I doubt it. As I was reading Traci Lords book Underneath It All, I was struck by this thought; how could she have told her story otherwise without the frequent use of the word “I”? She couldn’t; that’s the point. If you need to use it, use it as long as it’s about you.

If it’s not about you, or you’re telling a story about someone or something else, then it shouldn’t be an issue with that word, but you need to be careful in looking at the words you do use to see if maybe there’s another choice every once in awhile.
 

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King Assassination Anniversary; A Different Take On Things

Today is the 43rd year after the assassination on Dr. Martin Luther King. I’ve written about it in previous years on two blogs of mine, but I’m kind of going a much different route this year, a bit more controversial and kind of a departure for me. But it seems some things have to be said, some truths confronted, and heck, I’m in the mood to do it.

I have been privy lately to reading a lot of, and participating in quite a few, conversations related to minorities online. The major question has been why there aren’t any minorities recognized as A-list bloggers or gurus online if you will. Of course, that kind of generalized statement always gets challenged by the same people who, when people ask why there aren’t more black millionaires, say “look at all the athletes and entertainers”; please! In reality, 43 years after Dr. King, in the realm of being known by a lot of people minorities in general haven’t broken through online. Many people can name one or two, and that always reminds me of “Hey, I have a black friend.” And trust me, I’m not being sensitive; it happens across the board, even in technology.

The overall reality is that one shouldn’t expect that things will be different online than they are in the real world. For instance, there are only 3 black CEOs of Fortune 500 companies; at least in the past, as I haven’t seen the latest list yet. There aren’t any latinos or Asians at all as far as I can tell. Still, out of 500 there’s not even 10% minority representation; that’s a shame in this century.

Then again, it follows a pattern. The other day new unemployment stats came out saying unemployment went down to 8.8%; however, for black people it went up to 18%. For every other minority it also went up; what the heck is that all about? Well, I know, but I’m not saying right now.

Suffice it to say, there hasn’t been any “overcoming” so far. Yet, for all the laments on things that seem to be going against minorities, we don’t get a free pass on this. Bill Cosby was right; we’re doing a lot of this to ourselves overall. I’m not sure if you’ve heard that Latinos now number 50 million in the United States, which is pretty powerful. Yet, for all that power, they can’t get together to vote as a block and effect any change for their community. If they did, you wouldn’t have all this trash going on in Arizona. And if black people were acting right, you wouldn’t end up with incidences like this abhorrent mess in Cleveland, TX, where an 11 year old was raped and many of the people in town are blaming her; what the heck? And then it happened again in Riverside, CA.

Frankly, there’s a lot of blame to go around, and thus one can’t put all the weight on fixing any perceived or real issues on one group or another. However, I’m irked today, which is why I’m posting the video below, even though I’ve thought long and hard as to whether or not I should do it. In the end, I figure it had to be done, and it had to be said, and I’m just glad it’s not coming from my mouth. It’s from a Boondocks episode where Martin Luther King Jr actually came back to life and got a look at some of the “progress” his trials and tribulations had actually brought us to. I hope overall that this isn’t as good as it gets, but this little “speech” is as truthful as it gets… for now, as I acknowledge year #43:


https://youtu.be/DnSzj3NdCkE

 

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Why Aren’t You Well Known Where You Live?

I often think about my place in the blogosphere. I’ve been online for a very long time by now, close to a decade. I’ve got articles all over the place. I have 8 websites which includes 4 blogs. I’ve commented on hundreds of blogs and, for the most part, I have some name recognition, the other Mitch Mitchell notwithstanding.

And you know what? Locally it means absolutely nothing. I think I have maybe 4 or 5 people locally that might ever read any of my blogs, even when I write about things in the Syracuse NY area.

Almost all the retweets I get on Twitter come from people that live elsewhere; that’s kind of fascinating because I’m connected on Twitter to a lot of people from this area. I’ve written about local tweetups on this blog and on my Syracuse blog, and mentioned a lot of people’s names and linked to their Twitter accounts, sometimes to their businesses as well.

I’ve always wondered about this concept of “you’re never as big at home as you are elsewhere” often over the years. Truth be told, I really didn’t believe it until I got into business for myself.

I have spoken in 8 or 9 states professionally, and in New York I’ve only been paid once, and it was very low. People get this impression that, unless you’re an ultra millionaire, you just can’t be that good if you live where they are, and it’s so strange.

Yet when I went to Nebraska, they must have been thinking “hey, we got someone from New York to come here”. And it didn’t have to be New York, per se; just someone from another state (though they probably wouldn’t have been as happy if I’d come from Oklahoma if they were football fans lol).

Almost 18 months ago I asked this question on this blog: can you actually be considered successful if you can’t get your family and friends to subscribe or even stop by to read your blog, or subscribe to your newsletters, or, for that matter, actually try to figure out what you do? Only one person could say they had friends and/or family subscribing, that being Rummuser; how wild is that? Most even said they didn’t expect it and would be surprised if anyone they knew did visit or subscribe.

Not that I’m a total unknown in my area. I have given many presentations around town, and I have been featured in the local newspapers here and there. But for the most part I’m fairly easily ignored locally.

I have to admit that I thought I’d get more people I knew locally to retweet this post for me, as others locally have had gripes with someone and gotten a fairly nice local response from people in retweeting things; I got 2 people locally who did it for me, and I’m thinking that’s kind of shame. But I got a lot of folks who don’t live here, who had never even heard of the company (which was surprising) that retweeted it, and I thank all of you for that.

I put this thought out there to ask it this way; if you can’t be influential locally, can you really be influential anywhere else? I believe you can, but my mind still finds the concept, well, strange.
 

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