What Top Social Media Folks Use For Comment Systems

A few days ago I read a post by our friend Kristi Hines on a site called Income Diary titled 20 Most Influential People In Social Media. Like I did when I created my two lists of influential blacks in social media, she came up with a measurable criteria to use to compile her list.

an old design 02
Hector Parayuelos via Compfight

Kristi did a very nice job with her list. There’s even 2 black people on the list and a nice mixture of men and women. It turns out that everyone on the list is from the United States, but the numbers are the numbers. And she didn’t add some fairly obvious choices either, although in retrospect she probably should have added Darren Rowse to give it an international flavor in some fashion.

Me being me, however, I decided I had to do something different. I decided to check out the blogs of all the people on the list, and I was looking for something in particular. I was curious who had 3rd party blog commenting systems and who had the traditional WordPress system. Turns out only 3 people on the list have the traditional way that I personally like. The others had a mixture of Disqus, Livefyre, and some other options.

You might not believe this, but I didn’t find it all that surprising. It seems that the way people who get tons of comments handle things is to go to a third party system. It reduces the number of comments they might get in total, although if one is popular one will still get lots of responses, and it reduces the amount of spam as well. They can afford to do it; most of the rest of us can’t, and in my case, won’t.

I’ve sometimes referred to 3rd party systems as systems of the elite; kind of like the Republican Party (sorry; I had a moment lol). Those that are already there use it because it helps them keep things under control. Those that aren’t there but want to feel as if they’re there use it and wonder why they don’t have a lot of comments because they’re doing what the top dogs are doing.

Of course what’s interesting is that if Darren Rowse, whose blog is ranked the highest out of any of the people on Kristi’s list as far as Alexa goes, was on the list he’s one of the people who uses the same comment system most of us uses.

As Forrest Gump says, “that’s all I have to say about that.”
 

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Bouncing Spam Email Is Pointless; Sigh…

Lately it seems I’ve been getting more and more spam email than I have in the past. The problem is that it’s all going through my business email account, and it’s been getting on my nerves.

Mailwasher gives you the option of bouncing emails back to where they came from, and you can segregate which email account you want to use. I decided I was going to do that for a short while, and set myself up to do it. And it works very easy as well; all I have to do is click on the tab that says “bounce” and before it deletes those emails it bounces them back to wherever they came from; problem solved.

Except the problem isn’t solved. Not only is the problem not solved, but it ends up creating its own problems as well. And I knew it; I just wanted a brief period of satisfaction, kind of like how I think I’d have felt if I’d been allowed to punch the guy I talked about here in the face… at least for 5 minutes before I realized I was going to sit in a jail cell for awhile and it was going to end up costing me more than what I was suing him for.

See, the problem is that most of the email addresses are false. And those that aren’t false often belong to someone else who doesn’t know their email address is being used for that purpose. I know this because it happened to me years ago, and sometimes it was strange receiving email from myself. Then that person’s legitimate email address ends up in a spam filter for many servers and it takes awhile for it to get cleared. Since this was my business account I knew I didn’t want to deal with that.

So I turned it off a couple of days ago, but I wasn’t done. I decided to allow the host’s spam filter to start intercepting more of this spam so I don’t see it. The thing is that with Mailwasher I see it, but it’s still on the server. But since I started getting business email on my smartphone most of it is spam, and I’ve decided I don’t want to see any of that garbage on my phone. Now, I know the spam filter on the host is pretty strong, but they’ll send me a daily email of all the accounts its intercepted so if there’s something in there that’s legit, I’ll just sign in and get it.

Unfortunately, sometimes we’re stuck going the long way to resolve some of our stupid issues. But I figure if I can bring that next level of peace to my mind then all is fine. However, I have to mention something else, now that I’m on the subject. You know that post I wrote about the Gasp/Akismet experiment? Well, it seems the live spammers must have read that post also because there was suddenly a major increase in that type of spam. So I’ve turned Akismet on just to see what would happen and more of that stuff is going to my spam filter. It seems that Akismet does a better job on live spam, probably because they have a better grasp of the IP addresses that some of this stuff is coming from. At least that’s how I’m seeing it so for the moment I’m back to running both of them; gotta do what ya gotta do.

Man, the things we do when we start getting popular. lol At least you know I’m not going to do any captcha’s or change my comment system, so rest assured your good comments are safe with me. 😉
 

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Beverly Mahone – Boomer Media Training Professional

I’ve known Beverly at least 6 years now. We met on Ryze when it meant something, although I’m not sure how well she remembered me. But I did recognize her immediately on Twitter years later and we connected. I’ve been on her Blog Talk Radio show many times, and was on her regular radio show once. Now she’s got a TV show as well. Who is she and how does she do what she does? Read below:

1. How did you first get into TV news, and was it your first stop in media?

My very first television job was in 1987 — when I was hired by one of the NBC Affiliates in North Carolina. I always wanted to do television but was convinced I didn’t have the right “look.” By that, I mean my skin color. During that time, any black anchors or reporters on TV looked like Jayne Kennedy so I figured that ruled me out. I didn’t have long hair nor was I tall. But I decided to take a chance anyway since I was in North Carolina and saw women who actually looked like me. I owe everything to my start in TV to my former News Director, Jim Bennett, who was willing to take a chance on me with no previous television news experience. I didn’t disappoint him I’m happy to say and I got promoted a few times while there.

My media career actually started in radio right out of college. I went to work for a radio station in Beckley, West Virginia and soon realized they hadn’t gotten the memo about affirmative action. When I started questioning the arrest of a black man on charges of murder when he had a stone cold alibi, the Sheriff kindly told me “my kind didn’t belong there and shouldn’t be sticking my nose in business where it didn’t belong.” When I told my boss what happened, I ended up being the one who got fired because he said I was disrespectful to a law enforcement official. I took my case to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for discrimination and WON! I got a severance package out of the deal, which helped me while searching for another job.

2. What’s it like doing a daily news program? Is it as glamorous as many people think it is, and does it pay well in local markets?

There’s so much that people don’t see when it comes to gathering the news. All they see is the end result where we come into your living room. They don’t see the daily grind of how to find news on a slow news day or how to track down credible sources for a big story. They don’t see the many phone calls made and people we have to talk to before we can put the story together. They don’t see the editing or the newsroom battles we have over why we choose to do one story over another. It can get pretty intense at times. The glamorous side is being recognized on the street by someone who treats you like a celebrity.

3. When you left TV, what made you decide to go into public relations?

I don’t really call what I do “public relations.” I am a Media Trainer and what I do is teach people how to self-promote to give themselves more visibility so they will be recognized by different media outlets. I know how challenging it can be to get exposure because I was once on the “other side” combing through press releases and listening to media pitches and I know what it takes to break through and catch a reporter or producer’s eye. I LOVE doing it and I’m good at it!

4. What drove you back to media, first with Blog Talk Radio, then your radio program and finally your new TV show?

I love being a “voice” with a message. I enjoy interviewing interesting people and sharing their stories with the world.

5. I listened to your interview with Jane Velez-Mitchell; how do you get big time guests to show up for your programs?

People are always looking for exposure. It doesn’t matter how big of a celebrity they are. If they are trying to promote a book or movie or whatever, they want the opportunity. I truly live by the scripture that says you receive not because you ask not. If they turn me down, I can always find someone else. I might also add being a part of the Radio and TV groups on LinkedIn helps because we’re always trading information and being a Radio Host at a traditional radio station also helps. It also helps to have gone to school with a few celebrities like Nancy Cartwright (voice of Bart Simpson). She’s been my guest a few times and we’ve stayed in touch since college.

6. You once got someone onto Oprah; how’d that happen?

Answer: It wasn’t Oprah — I WISH! It was the Today Show. I went to college with Matt Lauer and that’s all I’m saying 🙂

7. In January I reviewed your book Don’t Ask; tell people why you wrote it, how sales have been, and how it developed into a game and how that’s been going for you.

I wrote the book because of a lie I told my doctor that nearly cost me my life. I haven’t actively promoted it as much as I did the first two but sales for the card game have been tremendous!

The card game came about one evening when a few girlfriends and I were sitting around talking about the book. Each one shared their own story about what they would have done in some of my situations. From there I got the idea to create a card game. It is definitely a deck of dialogue. Rarely do people get through the entire deck because they’re so busy discussing their responses or recalling their own “Don’t Ask” stories. The game has far exceeded my expectations. I think the card game sells the book.

8. You gear a lot of your stuff towards baby boomers, which includes me. How do you see us overall taking to social media, what are we missing, and how can we be better?

I think the majority of us are doing a pretty good job in social media because we clearly understand who we’re talking to—each other. Our messages are clear and concise and we are easy to find, especially on Twitter.

For me personally, I still struggle with the technical side of it all and I think that may be a problem for other boomers. Instead of dealing with it, some just refuse to stay up-to-date. In social media, it’s hard NOT to because it’s changing all the time. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with others who know and understand more than you about different aspects of social media — even if they’re younger. Luckily I have you, Mitch along with Heidi Caswell to help me. 🙂

9. Tell people other stuff about you that I might not have covered here.

I’m married — just celebrating our five-year anniversary in June. He is my soulmate and I am so blessed to have been given a second chance at love after living 18 years in a nightmare. I have a five-year-old grandson and a daughter, who’s a rising senior in college. Want to know how I felt about having a teenage daughter get pregnant? Read about it in my book!

10. If you get Mariah Carey to appear on any of your shows, can I be there with you? 🙂

I’ll be sure to call you well in advance!

You can find Beverly at Real Talk With Beverly Mahone and Baby Boomer Talk. And if you want to check out shows I’ve been on with Bev here you go; some of these are MP3 files:

Passions Show 4/18/10

Passions Show 1/10/10

Men Have Issues Too

Reinventing Yourself

Passions Show 7/26/09

Passions Show 6/7/09
 

Figuring Out Trust Revisited

I’ve written about this concept of trust quite a few times on two of my blogs, which includes this one. The last couple of times I’ve specifically addressed the topic here here was when I wondered why we don’t trust sales people and then when I wrote about why it’s sometimes hard to trust people in general. Now I have another tale for you.


by Thomas Nes Myhre

For about six weeks my brakes had been squealing. I thought it was related to the brake job I’d had 3 weeks earlier at Midas (yes, I’m naming names). I waited 3 weeks, then took it back to them to take a look at the work they’d done. After 10 minutes the mechanic comes to me and takes me into the back to look at my back brakes, as I’d replaced the front brakes. He tells me that they’re metal on metal and that they’re in real bad shape. He also tells me that I need brand new tires. Then he gives me an estimated cost; I’m thinking “are you out of your mind?”

I decide not to do the work there, mainly because as I was sitting in the chair waiting for them to take a look, I started thinking that I’d just had my back brakes done last year, and remembered that I’d actually had them done at Goodyear. My thinking was that if it were the pads, I’d take it back to them and that should be that.

At the same time I started thinking about a few other things. I’d just had my car inspection in July and passed with flying colors. They had mentioned that at some point in the next year I should look at my tires, but there were no red flags. I wondered if my bad brakes were so bad why didn’t the inspection catch it, since that’s one of their checks. Then I wondered why these guys hadn’t said anything about my back brakes when I’d brought the car there weeks earlier. Frankly, things didn’t add up.

So I waited until one day this week and finally took it to Goodyear. Everything was still squeaking, but all I asked them to do was take a look at my brakes overall.

Less than 30 minutes later I got a call at home. The guy said they had taken a look at both my front and back brakes and that there were no problems with either of them. He said they weren’t sure why there was a squeak (more like a squeal), but that the brakes were fine. He then said I would need to replace some tires before winter and that there was a tire sale coming in October and that I should wait for that.

Wow, what to do? Who to trust? The Goodyear guy tells me my brakes are fine, but are they if they’re still squealing? I mean, since they’d have to replace the pads for free, are they pushing me back until something else goes wrong? And what about the Midas people? I’m still feeling insecure about them as well. At least I don’t owe any money.

Move the story ahead to yesterday. My wife’s brakes were also squealing, and she’d had her brakes done last year at Midas a week before I’d had mine done. She decided to take her car to Goodyear after hearing my story about Midas. I figured we’d see what they had to say about her car.

She calls them back after a couple of hours, as we’d gone out for awhile. They tell her they can’t find anything wrong with her brakes and aren’t sure what’s causing it. She’d also had her car inspected in July, and she had no red flags about anything, including her tires. So they didn’t charge her for taking a look and all is as it was.

Wow, talk about major differences. My trust level has gone way up with Goodyear and way down with Midas. I used to always go to Midas whenever I needed brakes, and that particular Midas for nearly 25 years. Of course it’s changed hands often, which means you never really know about the people running things after awhile. But there’s a major difference in $450 and zero, and zero twice against the possibility of close to a thousand dollars means a big deal to me. Guess who’s going to be taking care of my car from now on.

We don’t always get a chance to find out whether we’re being lied to or not. I got a major break this time around because I got to test the truthfulness and reliability of one company versus another company. I’m not going to say that all Midas stores are dishonest, but I’ve certainly just run into one that I don’t trust all that much.

With any business you provide, including your blog posts, are you always making sure you’re being as honest as possible? Have you visited blogs that make you feel like they’re lying to you, or being dishonest? Do you call out dishonesty when you see it? Would you have had the guts to write a post like this one? Go ahead, share your thoughts and your tales.
 

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4 Things You Can Do With Your WordPress Blog You Might Not Know Already

You know, every day it seems like I discover something new about WordPress. Some of these things I’m betting many of you know, but I’m also betting that the majority probably doesn’t know these things. So, I thought I’d share a few things to help everyone become more proficient with their WordPress blogs.

First, let’s talk about the Add New Post area. I’ve always used the HTML version instead of the WYSIWYG version, which means I code all my stuff. However, in this newer version it actually gives me some choices of things I can do that I don’t have to specifically write code for anymore. By just highlighting the text, I can then decide to bold, italicize, link, and do a host of other things I had never noticed before. That stuff hasn’t always been there, and like ads on many blogs, you just go blind to stuff. For me, the only ones I’ll probably use are bold, italicize, ul, ol and li. List posts will be much easier now; whew!

Second, while still here, y’all know about the Upload/Insert thing as it applies to adding pictures and the like, correct? You know that little box next to these words is if you want to add an image to your blog post, right? When you click on it, you can select an image from your computer and pop it into your post. You’re usually given four choices to select from if your image is large enough: thumbnail, medium, large and full size. Did you know that you can change the sizes of the first three?

What you do is go into your settings at the bottom left and select Media. Once you click on it you’ll see the 3 choices. I alter the size of medium to have a width of 235, which is just slightly less than half the width of my content area. I have the max height around 300. For the large, I changed the size to 480 because that’s the full width of my content area on this blog, and I made that the max height as well. I left thumbnail alone because making it smaller makes the image hard to see, and making it larger means it’s not quite a thumbnail anymore. If you like the images you’re putting into your blog to always be the same size, this works wonders.

Next, have you been getting more spam comments than normal lately? Do you look at the IP addresses and notice that many of them that come in on the same day come from the same IP addresses? If so you can have these particular IP addresses send these comments directly to your spam filter instead of having to do it manually.

You do that by highlighting and copying the number, then go to setting and Discussion. Go all the way down to where it says Comment Blacklist and paste the number in there. Save and you’re on your way. I also use that for some people that come by often to comment but their comments are a bit dodgy, as Sire might say.

This way it’s kind of a moderation for you to determine whether you want to allow that comment to show on your blog post or not. Some might say I’m now moderating comments, but these are people who have proven that they really aren’t participating in the process, including ever responding to questions you might ask them in a comment; trust me, I’ve tested this.

The last thing I’m going to talk about are screen options. Every page you go to in your admin area is also called a ‘screen’. If you look at the top right of each page you’ll see something called screen options. If you click on that, a menu drops down that shows you everything on that particular page except your menu to the left. You can now select stuff you want to see and stuff you don’t want to see.

For instance, on my posts page I keep things really simple because I don’t need to see all those tags and a lot of other stuff next to each post. I limit mine to title, categories, comments, date and Post Rank, which is a plugin I’ve talked about in the past. I know I’m the only author on this blog, so I don’t need to keep seeing my name.

As a by-the-way item, you can also move most things around on your screen to where you’d rather see them. Just put your mouse over the top of each window, hold down on your left mouse button, and drag the window to where you’d like it to be. Move it slowly and you’ll see impressions show up and drop your window where you’d like. Sometimes you might have to move in increments if you’re making a drastic move.

There you are, 4 things you may or may not have known. Of course, this might spark someone to write a post of their own on things they know that I didn’t know, but if you’re going to do that make sure you’ve looked at my post on 5 Areas You Should Know More About In Your WordPress Admin Area and then the followup, 5 More Things To Know About Your WordPress Admin Area.
 

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