G+ Activity Seems To Be Dwindling

Have you lost your love or enthusiasm for Google+ yet? When I wrote my post last month titled The Fuss About Google it was really new, not even a month old yet, and I talked about some of the things there that I felt people should know about.


by Shadow Byrd via Flickr

Since that day Google+ has jumped in members, to the point that there’s now at least 25 million people over there. That’s just phenomenal growth, no matter how you look at it. Then again it’s Google, a very well known technology company, and it was easy to promote and hype so it should have shown tremendous growth.

However, at this juncture it seems that the initial enthusiasm is starting to wane for a lot of users. Sure, there are all these articles out there on how to get a lot of Google+ followers and how it’s going to be an important social media tool, but right now, I almost hate to say it this way, but it’s boring.

Yup, there you have it; boring. Even the people who started out posting links like gangbusters, which I found really irritating, have slowed down. There are fewer images being put up, which pleases me because of all those moving .gif files that I kept having to mute.

What’s the problem? In a weird way the problem is the same complaint people have had about Twitter and Facebook; no real engagement. I have 8 circles set up and I’m starting to see maybe 3 or 4 new posts a day on most of those circles. The circles where I only have 6 or 8 people I can understand, but one of my circles has 30 people in it; one would think more of them would have something to say.

Many do have something to share, but you don’t see any real proof that anyone’s paying attention. Yeah, here and there you see that someone has given a 1+ thumbs up, but it’s a rare thing to see someone actually commenting on something, and then it’s even more rare to see that person get a response.

Frankly, with that kind of engagement I’d rather be on Twitter, where every once in awhile when you retweet something or respond to something someone wrote or posted you might get a response back. Actually, the same goes for Facebook; you at least will get 2 or 3 people, if not more, commenting on something you put up.

Not to say we haven’t had some conversations going on, but for the most part it’s just not something you see. Well, the A-listers are seeing conversations, but they’re not all that participatory, which is a gripe some people have about them on their blogs. Hey, you can only talk to so many people and still get work done, right?

But maybe I’m not being fair, so I’ll throw it out to you. Who think Google+ is the greatest thing since chocolate cake (I know you were wondering why I had a picture of chocolate cake lol)? If not, what do you think it needs to make it better or exciting?
 

Yasmin Shiraz – Writer, Filmmaker, Social Media Star

Yasmin Shiraz does everything I mentioned above and more. Yes, she’s made movies, and she’s written books. She does speaking engagements. And she’s helped to spread both her message and her reputation through social media. I met her on Twitter and to me she’s proof of the good people on Twitter who need to be better known by the masses. She’s also one of the people I highlighted in my post on 21 of the Top Black Social Media Influencers. One of these days I’m going to be in one of her films (okay, she didn’t say that, but who knows right 🙂 ).

1. Can you tell people all that you’ve done and do?

I’ve written 7 books that have been published — a couple of best sellers, an award winner, and even a critically acclaimed book that was taken from my teenage diaries.

The Blueprint for My Girls: How to Build A Life Full of Courage, Determination & Self Love; Retaliation: A Novel, The Blueprint for My Girls in Love: 99 Rules for Dating, Relationships & Intimacyicon; Exclusive: A Novel; Privacy: A Novel; Teens, Handle Your Business: 24 Tools for Motivation & Success; and The Blueprint Guide to Success & Motivation: Identify, Focus On, & Achieve Your Goals.

I’ve written, directed and produced 2 films – one a 4x award winner – Can She Be Saved? is my documentary film about teen girl fights. It won several awards including Best Documentary at the NC Black Film Festival. They Call Me Dae is a short film that explores the life of a teen bully.

I’ve keynoted and conducted speeches for the Essence Music Festival, the NAACP, Planned Parenthood, Congressional Black Caucus, and at least 60 colleges throughout the US.

I’ve owned several businesses including a hip hop magazine, Mad Rhythms. I’ve interviewed more celebrities than I care to recall – though Johnnie Cochran and Martin Lawrence are among my favorites. I’ve been to Diddy’s house in the Hamptons and Jay-Z once threatened to throw me out of his dressing room. (He has a wicked sense of humor.)

2. Where did you get the passion to do all these things?

I love LIFE. I love doing things that I enjoy. I love music. I love being creative. Every day I push myself to enjoy myself through work. I feel that if I’m alive, I should use my life to enjoy myself and be happy.

3. What’s it like putting a movie together?

Wow! Putting together a movie is fun, creative, grueling, exhilarating. It pushes you to your limit. Just when you think you have nothing left, a film lifts you up and you feel satisfied that you didn’t give up on yourself. Its one of the best experiences of my life.

4. Your stuff is so edgy and real; do you ever worry that people will stereotype minorities because of it?

No. I don’t worry about stereotypes. My goal is to educate and give a voice to the voiceless. I want young people’s pain to be heard, seen and felt. If you look at one of my films and are not more in tuned with a young person’s experiences then you have missed the message.

5. You’ve written seven books, even winning awards. What awards have you won, and how did you get your first book published?

My first young adult fiction book, Retaliation won the Top Ten Reluctant Readers Award from the American Library Association in 2009. It was a major moment for me. My Blueprint books have been on various bestseller lists. After numerous agents rejected my manuscript, I wrote The Blueprint for My Girls and published it myself. 6 months after I published it, Simon & Schuster offered me a book deal.

6. You’ve written both fiction and nonfiction. I find fiction difficult; how have you broken through in your mind to be able to write both?

I love writing. I don’t overanalyze it. But, I love writing. I love expression. If I have an idea that I need to express in a non-fiction format then I work it in that medium. If I decide that the message will be better expressed in a fiction medium, then I go with it. I never limit myself or my writing. I’ve written poetry, raps, biographies, screenplays, interviews etc. You name it, I’ve written it. Most writers who truly love writing, love it in all forms. I am a writer’s writer.

7. Which social media outlets do you use and how have you seen it help you?

I use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn… I love the concept of social media and so I’m always game to try it on.

Twitter has helped me reach new people and meet new people. I love it. Facebook has helped me to show people in a sorta intimate way what I really do. It has made me more familiar to people. LinkedIn has brought me new business customers.

8. You also do speaking engagements; do you enjoy that as much as I do?

I don’t know how much you enjoy it, but I am thrilled with it. I love writing speeches and delivering them knowing that I can capture a phrase, or a word in such a way that it punctuates the moment. I love how speeches allow me to be part comedian, part actress, part activist, part showman. I get to do it all when I’m speaking.

9. You do a lot; how do you script your time?

I keep to-do lists and every day I make sure I “to-do” what’s important. (LOL)

10. You’ve already done it all; what’s left?

Getting really paid for it. LOL. But also, I love to continue to stretch myself. Who knows what tomorrow brings? So, I push myself to see if I can make tomorrow a little bit different from today.

To follow Yasmin on Twitter: @yasminshiraz
To Visit her site: www.yasminshiraz.net
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Yasmin-Shirazs-Still-Eye-Rise-Friends-Fans/139699712763511

 

Post #1,100; What’s Next?

Wow, I’ve reached post #1,100; I guess I have shown that I can continue writing stuff after all. 🙂 And since I changed up how I talk about these milestones last time, I’ll continue with some changes, but no video this time around.

Let’s talk about the past almost 5 months. This is the longest it’s taken me to get through 100 posts. I have to admit that I did it on purpose after thinking a little bit.

In the days just before that 1,000th post I had written my pillar post on Better Blogging, which I turned into 2 posts, and decided to give it a little bit of space since each of them was pretty long. I started thinking that I often write some fairly long posts, and that it might take people a day or two to get through them, if they read them at all. Then I started thinking that it wouldn’t hurt every once in awhile to put some space between posts as compared to writing something every single day.

So I started doing that, and initially my visit numbers dropped. But eventually those numbers started to increase as folks realized they now had time to comment on more than one post because they weren’t being bombarded by too many posts at once. Still, since it didn’t take me 180 days to write 100 posts, it means that I still had enough posts that came daily. But the mix is better and truthfully, the pressure’s off in having to have a daily post here.

And there were some outside things as well. My finance blog has started generating income, and that’s not a bad thing. But it takes management time, and though I accept guest posts on that blog, I have my own personal rule that says I won’t have 2 guest posts in a row. I’ve also worked on upping the frequency of my business blog, which I felt was important because I write a lot of posts on leadership topics and one can’t be a leader if one isn’t visible.

Overall I’ve stayed true to my supposed mission here. I wrote 23 posts within the category of blogging, 23, and social media, 13. The rest were a nice mixture of topics, and that’s what I have always hoped to do. With some of those social media posts moving to the new blog, that might decline, but you never know. My main goal for this blog has always been about entertaining and educating folks whenever I can.

It’s never really been about making money here, even though I have my books that I’m promoting and a couple of banners here and there. I’ve removed most of them, though, but I’m not promising I won’t have advertisements on this page, as I was contacted by someone recently that wanted to advertise here; I just didn’t think what they wanted to advertise really fit this blog. However, I’m not above making money; y’all know that. 🙂

A couple more things about the last 100 posts. It was gratifying to see that my post highlighting 21 Top Black Social Media Influencers was in the top 5 of my posts for visitors during this period. It was the only post written during the period that made the top 10, and only 3 posts during the period made the top 20, with the other two being Why’s It Hard To Trust People and Finish Line Steals My Money Then Cancels My Account; yeah, I busted on some affiliates this past period and it’s left me wondering about the state of affiliate marketing.

What’s my expectation in the next 100 posts? I’ll probably continue writing the same types of things I’ve been writing about for the most part. I will be trying to drive more traffic to my other websites, though, and I will be trying to generate more income. I will probably talk more about the concepts of blogging and money, but this won’t become a “make money” blog because I don’t believe anyone can really write about that subject unless they’re making money at it, and I mean more than the little bit I’m making now. I will continue calling things as I see them and motivating folks to be the best they can be. And I will add more videos, since some of you asked for them and I realized I only had one in the last 100 posts; shame on me.

I hope you continue visiting this blog, I hope you visit my other blogs,and I hope we all make it to the top together. Thanks for reading.
 

Responding To Comments… Sigh…

Sometimes it seems like I spend a lot of time writing about the importance of two things regarding blogs; writing good comments and responding to comments. Sometimes it seems like a great cause; sometimes it seems like a lost cause.

Good comments help everyone. They help the writer because the writer knows you understood their words. It helps other people who see your comments because it gives them something to think about as well, and encourages them to comment. And it helps you, the commenter, because you not only show people you have something to say, but of course there’s that all important link back to your site.

Responding to comments helps as well. It shows you’re engaged in the process with others. It shows you honor what they have to say. It shows that you didn’t just pop something up and move on to the next story. And it helps to show that you also know what you’re talking about, in case someone thinks you had another person writing your content; not that there’s anything wrong with that. 😉

Sadly, it seems the lessons aren’t taking very well. It seems that myself and Sire are beating our heads against the wall. I mean, even on posts where we talk about the importance of leaving good comments we get horrible comments. That’s just a shame.

Every once in awhile you have an epiphany, of sorts. I’ve got one now; actually, I’ve been thinking about it for a couple of days. I’ve decided that I’m not responding to every comment anymore. I have a comment policy that I thought would handle everything; seems that was a wishful panacea.

Maybe the problem is just that some people really don’t understand the concept of what a good or bad comment is. Maybe they don’t understand that punctuation is a big part of writing a good comment. Capitalization, spacing between sentences after a period, not forgetting to include words to finish a thought in a sentence… what, they don’t teach grammar anywhere anymore?

So it’s time to make a stand; actually, three stands.

One, if your comment is borderline and doesn’t help advance the topic, I won’t be responding to it. Most probably you don’t care if that’s the type of comment you’ve left, but I’m stating it for the world.

Two, from this point on, if I see that the image and name and email address somehow don’t fit, I’m either removing the comment or the link. If your name is “Sue” and your avatar is a pretty woman but your email name says “John”, that’s a red flag; not having it. For that matter, if I see a “John” but your email address says “Bob”, or something like that, I’m doing the same thing. That is, unless I know you or at some point you prove to me you’re real and have a reason for doing it (because I know a lot of folks in other countries will give you a different name than their own because of translation issues).

And three, if I see multiple messages from the same website under different names, all of them will be pulled from this point on. Not specifically picking on them, but there’s some site called travel.wisconsin.us that may or may not be legit that sometimes leaves multiple messages on different blog posts but each one has a different person’s name and a different person’s email address. Some comments look legit, some don’t, but often they come at the same time so I’m treating them as spam. They’re not the only one, only the most recent.

Of course, once I know you and we’ve established a rapport of sorts, I go more lenient. After all, I know that some posts don’t offer up a good opportunity for a great comment. But I think I give a lot here; not only a lot of pretty good information but everyone gets a dofollow link, and I don’t make anyone register so you get your 10 choices for CommentLuv.

I have time issues as well but I think it’s more important to work towards having a good community standard; am I wrong on this?
 

29 More Black Social Media Influencers

Yup, I’m back again with another list of black social media influencers. Of course, like last time, I have some things to say before I post this list of very qualified people.

Why 29? The first time I did this I wanted to find 50 people to create my list. However, once I got started I found that the search was more difficult than I had expected it to be, and thus I could only come up with 21. The search was difficult this time around as well, but mainly because I pumped the parameters up a bit.

Once again I had my set of rules, and this time I stuck with them. I used Klout to help me select people and the lowest Klout score I was allowing was 60. Also, every person had to have a blog, and I had a couple of decisions to make about that.

One, About.me isn’t a blog but more of a resume service, if you will, so I excluded those.

Two, I don’t consider Tumblr a blog either. I’ve never seen anyone use it as a blog, but as a place to put a lot of pictures and quick thoughts. Sorry, that’s not really blogging, per se, although a couple of blogs here that deal with fashion have lots of posts that are mainly photographs, but some of their posts are actual posts as well so there’s a differentiation. I also included blog platforms I don’t particularly like, which I did last time as well. However, sticking with my own rules about the types of blogs I won’t subscribe to for new folks, it means some of these folks I only follow on Twitter.

Three, as long as it took me to put this thing together, if I had to go off and research to find out who someone’s real name was or to find a blog, I just wasn’t doing it. This left some folks with really high scores off the list but so be it. I can’t figure out why people won’t put either their websites or blog links on their Twitter page. I did check out business pages looking for blogs if one was listed, but some folks linked to their LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter pages. I mean, what the heck, why are you linking to your Twitter page on Twitter? People are already there and see what your Twitter link is! 🙁

Four, no “real” celebrities. That sounds odd on the surface until you see one of the names I put on the list who’s kind of a celebrity and kind of not, at least at this juncture of his life; Hey, I got to make the call, right?

And five, I stuck with my rule about no group blogs. At least I don’t think any of these are group blogs. They can be business blogs, but the idea was to highlight individuals, just like last time.

I will say this. The previous post got a lot of response, and I was happy about that. It was great finally giving a group of people largely ignored some well deserved press. I hope it goes as well this time around but truthfully, I’m expecting it to drop off. That’s too bad, but history shows that the first “Dream Team” always outperforms the second Dream Team, even if the players are just as good. But who knows, since Ileane will probably help push this baby strongly; after all, many of the people on this list are on a list on Twitter she created and talked about in a comment on the previous post, Black Social Media Heroes.

So let’s get to it. Very short descriptions, much shorter than last time, and links to people’s blogs to make it easy for you to get there. And for those of you who know that I normally write my articles very fast, this post took me 4 hours including research. This will be the last time I do a list like this; I’ve hit 50, so now someone else can take up the cause. And, like last time, I’m not going out and telling any of these folks I put them on the list, so I hope some of y’all will let them know; I’m tired! lol

Rohan @365thingstododc 63
Writes about the happenings around Washington D.C.
http://district365.com/

Anise Smith @AniseSmith 73
Writes about online and offline technology
http://anisesmith.com/

Tami Highbaugh @AriesGDIM 70
Writes about graphic design, internet marketing and the internet in general
http://ariesgdim.com/

Baratunde @baratunde 74
He writes about politics and happenings around the world from a comedic point of view
http://www.baratunde.com/

Carolyn Edgar @carolynedgar 68
Writes about her life and opinions as a lawyer
http://carolynedgar.wordpress.com/

Rene Syler @ReneSyler 60
Writes about relationships and life in general
http://www.goodenoughmother.com/

Monique Neeley @InspiredMomma 68
Writes about social media
http://moniqueneeley.com/

Mark Anthony Neal @NewBlackMan 61
Writes about civil rights and diversity issues
http://newblackman.blogspot.com/

Mike Street @streetforce1 61
Writes about entertainment
http://http://greasyguide.com/

Adria Richards @adriarichards 69
Writes about the internet and technology
http://butyoureagirl.com/

Marshawn Evans @marshawnevans 62
Writes about media
http://marshawnevans.com/blog

Patrick Allmond @patrickallmond 68
Writes about search and social media
http://allaboutfocus.com/the-full-blog/#

Elon James White @elonjames 75
Writes about black issues from both a serious and funny angle; creator of videos “This Week In Blackness” on YouTube
http://bccostudios.com/blog/

Candice N. Mackel @CandiceNicolePR 63
Writes about fashion, entertainment, and public relations
http://www.candicenicolepr.com/

Danyelle L. @TheCubicleChick 70
Writes about relationships, pop culture and even HR issues
http://www.thecubiclechick.com/

Kris Cain @LittleTechGirl 67
Writes about technology and lots of cool stuff
http://littletechgirl.com/

Brent Leary @BrentLeary 63
Writes about business & CRM (customer relationship management; had to look that up)
http://crm2.typepad.com/

Kevin Powell @kevin_powell 69
Writes on social issues, and as a sidebar is one of the original Real World folks
http://www.kevinpowell.net/blog/

Sharnell Tull @therealSharnell 63
Writes about music, poetry and art
http://therealsharnell.com/

Charlie Gilkey @CharlieGilkey 64
Writes on business and being successful
http://www.productiveflourishing.com/blog/

Alicia Gibbs @LaFashionChica 64
Writes about fashion
http://www.chica-fashion.com/blog.html

Olivia Brown @OliviaBrown82 61
Writes about entertainment
http://oliviabrown82.blogspot.com/

Jose Vilson @TheJLV 70
Writes about politics, education and race
http://thejosevilson.com/

Kimberly C. Ellis, Ph.D @drgoddess 71
Writes about politics, media and entertainment
http://drgoddess.com/

Miranda Parker Dee @deegospel 62
Writes about literature
http://www.mirandaparker.com/blog/

Douglas Idugboe @douglasi 71
Writes about social media
http://www.smedio.com/

Denene Millner @MyBrownBaby 70
Writes on family issues and black parenting
http://mybrownbaby.com/

Stanford Smith @pushingsocial 63
Writes about blogging and social media
http://pushingsocial.com/

Rosetta Thurman @rosettathurman 68
Writes about nonprofits, leadership & motivation
http://www.rosettathurman.com/