Black Web Friday – 4/13/12

Now isn’t this interesting. We head into the 13th episode of Black Web Friday on Friday the 13th, and I’m out of town. As this posts, I’m sitting in what’s probably a really boring meeting in Washington D.C., hoping there’s at least something I’ll eat because, since I’ve driven down here, I will have my own drinks at the ready this year in case they mess that up. I might have to bring some of my own food as well; oh, the curse of being a picky eater!

Black Web Friday

Anyway, it should be a fun listing of folks today, but before I go any further let me just say that I hope some of you are sharing these lists in other places. Remember, I started this series because I got tired of people telling me, and others, that they had no idea there were any black bloggers around, or that they didn’t know any. I’ve highlighted at least 40 so far, with more to come; let’s spread the word.

T S Hombe writes a blog called Selling With Spirit, and the blog, and the website it’s connected to, talks about sales, period. Based on my series on real marketing it fits in with some of what I’m talking about and trying to learn at the same time. His blog is quite minimalistic and clean, with a traditional blog commenting system.

Angela Burgin Logan writes the blog Live and Learn, and it’s geared towards women’s health issues and other issues and events that women might like to talk about. It’s a very uniquely styled blog I must say, and I think it deserves a lot more love than Alexa seems to tell us it’s getting. I’ll admit that I wouldn’t get much out of an article on breast feeding, but some of you other ladies might. lol She’s also got a story to tell that some of you might find interesting and touching as well. It has a traditional blog commenting system also.

Carolyn Edgar’s eponymously named blog (I hope after 13 weeks the word “eponymous” is now in your vocabulary lol) says you’re reading the “notes of a lawyer, writer and single mom”. What I see it as it a blog giving the opinions of a black woman on black issues, women’s issues, entertainment, fashion,… pretty much like any other personal blog but longer posts and with a definitely educated feel. I loved her recent post titled Interview With The Vapid about online trolls; just great stuff. And it’s another traditional blog commenting platform; I’m loving this!

Sometimes you just need to read something that finds a way of making you feel good. Sibyl Chavis does that with her blog Possibility of Today, which is a motivational blog with lots of beautifully written posts that make you think and make you feel good. She’s another smart writer; Harvard Law School, just like President Obama! lol She’s got a lot to offer on her blog and her either site, and if you’re looking for a boost, it’s a great place to go.

There you go, another fun week over and out. I hope you’re not too superstitious on this day; I’m not, as it’s one of the few things I’m not scared of. Hey, Wilt Chamberlain wore #13, and look how well he did. Take care, and enjoy your weekend. I also hope your taxes are done. 😉

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5 Things I Do Well Online

I was over at Peggy Baron’s blog called Adventures In Internet Marketing where she wrote this interesting little post titled 5 Things I Do Well With Internet Marketing. I thought it was an interesting idea to pursue, only I’m not going totally on the internet marketing piece.

I figure that I’ve got a long online history and there’s some things I’ve gotten right in spite of lots of failure. Yeah, I know, I’m the guy who wrote a post saying that it’s never really failure, so I’ll modify it and say there’s a lot I haven’t done right for one reason or another. But I have had some successes and there are some things I do well, and thus I’m going to share these 5 things with you.

1. I have my business website listed on more than 10,000 sites and directories for the term “diversity”. Even though that term scares a lot of people in this country (it does!), it’s important enough for me to be listed all over the world for it because one never knows. The thing is, I can’t tell you how I did it, but if it got picked up it’s all good right?

2. I have a lot of articles on the internet. With my own 5 blogs, lots of other blogs I write for, some guest posting, interviews, and articles in many places, I’ve made sure to get my name out there. It’s still hard to overcome Jimi Hendrix drummer and this reporter for the Ft. Worth newspaper in some respects but it all builds up not only a following but a profile. And it gives me a lot of material to turn into something else, as I’m working on the editing of my next book, which is a compilation of some of my early newsletters and blog posts off my business blog.

3. I’ve got commenting on lots of blogs down to a science without realizing it. I have a large group of blogs that I visit regularly and yet just last night I commented on 4 or 5 new blogs I’d never seen before. I’m not sure I’d ever commented on Peggy’s blog before last night. I think it’s important because it means that every time I do that I have the possibility of reaching a new audience in some way.

4. I talk to a lot of people on Twitter, including some famous people. In my post yesterday about Twitter I mentioned a couple of ladies I think are spectacular from my past that I’m connected with. I’ve talked to other famous or well known people over the years as well, including having the opportunity to help Guy Kawasaki edit his book once. I’ve also helped other people edit their books and read some books that were sent to me to do reviews on here and there. I think that’s pretty neat; it shows that I’ve earned at least enough respect where people trust my opinion and, oddly enough, my perceived “clout”.

5. I respond to people who are “real”. I think that’s important, and it’s also an important distinction. Back in February I talked about bad blog comments being like spam and how if I didn’t think the comments were good comments but weren’t bad enough to send to spam that I wasn’t going to respond to them. In essence that means I respond to a lot of people, and they seem to appreciate it. I’ll often follow those people back based on what CommentLuv says they’ve written about and if I leave a comment, I’m sure they appreciate that as well. And I do that for all 5 of my blogs; that’s a lot of writing and following.

There you go; now, what can you say are your top 5 ‘whatever’ as it applies to being online?

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Real Marketing – Twitter

In the continuing series on what I’m calling “real marketing” I’m going to tackle Twitter, but first I’d like to alert you to another brief interview I did on Monique Neeley’s blog where she talks about “social style”, and I guess I have one so I hope you check that out.

I tell a lot of people that Twitter is my favorite social media platform. I like it because at any time of the day or night I can go there and talk and probably get someone to talk back to me. That doesn’t happen anywhere else, not even on Facebook with its nearly 900 million participants. It’s a lot of fun but can it really be used in a business marketing plan?

The kneejerk response is “yes”. When one puts a bit more thought into it the response modifies itself to “depends”. I tend to think that too many people have the wrong idea on how to use Twitter for business marketing purposes, and even though I don’t use it properly, I do know how to use it and which businesses would benefit most from it.

For instance, if you’re a business that sells products, you could probably do well on Twitter if people like your products. For instance, if you’re a local business that sells jewelry, and you have a following, you can easily market to those people by highlighting new jewelry, posting sales, and responding to comments anyone makes about your store or your products. If you worked in conjunction with Four Square you could probably increase your business by offering special deals to those people who have both that and Twitter.

What I tend to see more often than not, however, are folks that send out link after link after link, sometimes theirs, sometimes links from others, and never really talk to anyone. Sorry, but “thanx for the RT” isn’t communicating with others; it’s just a waste of time and adds to all the blather that many of us hate. Frankly, I don’t think that’s the best business model either, especially for small or independent businesses like mine.

To me, if one is going to market on Twitter, there has to be a mix of marketing and conversation. I think I fail in that I talk a lot, to almost anyone, but rarely is it about business. True, I’ve had some great connections, and I’m ecstatic to be connected to two of my favorite “old skool” babes, those being Mariel Hemingway and Kathy Ireland (both of whom started following me first and actually talk to me; gush!), I know that I’ll probably never do business with them.

Why is that? At a certain point, if you’re marketing on Twitter you have to aim towards a specific audience. My having only one Twitter account leaves a lot to be desired, and as I’ve said before, I’m not about to start splitting everything up now. If I were starting all over again I’d think seriously about it, and I probably would recommend it to people that offer more than one type of thing, which I do.

Also, I’m coming to believe that one might need to be willing to use more automation, something else I barely used, only using it to send out my first blog post for each of my blogs and that’s that. I’ve always felt like it would be disingenuous to post a link if I wasn’t actually online at the time to respond to someone and I’m starting to rethink that a little bit. I’m fairly available throughout the day, even late into the night, and I’m recognizing that maybe the way to maximize my messages is to get some automated help. One might need to get their own message out multiple times a day; how many is up to them.

One other way of trying to market on Twitter is to follow certain hashtags here and there. You might not find anything to comment on but every once in awhile you do, and sometimes you might even create one in your particular niche. I see so many people abusing hashtags with stupid stuff or things that aren’t within their realm; who wants to see that all day long? It’s rare that I retweet something and keep the hashtag in it; I learned a long time ago after reposting a political tweet that you never know who you’re inviting to contact you and potentially give you grief. Anyway, I temporarily follow hashtags like #healthcare, #seo, #socialmedia, see if there’s any action, and then get out.

There are many other things one can do, and things one shouldn’t do, but I think I got my main point across, which is that for some businesses Twitter would be a great way for them to market themselves, and for others some consideration needs to be taken as to just what they’re trying to do there.

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How Well Do We Know Ourselves?

Here’s how the conversation went:

@JustKissie When people tell you you’ve changed, it’s only because you stopped acting the way they want you to act. #BidTheeFarewell

@Mitch_M Or the way they got used to you acting; just sayin’… 🙂

@JustKissie Either way. They could be who they really are … but we never know the entirety of anyone … so how can we say they changed?

@Mitch_M I think if we know people well enough we know when it’s either them or us; have to really know people though.

@JustKissie Do I smell a blog post coming? Do we even know ourselves?

@Mitch_M Possibly; you writing it? 🙂

@JustKissie WE will write it. You know I write quarterly … if that.

Since I knew the “we” was me, I guess I’m writing it, and it’s this post. To start with, how many of you remember a post I wrote last year titled What Makes People Change? If you didn’t read it, you might want to check it out before going further with this one for some back story.

Anyway, Friday I went to visit my mother for Easter. Yeah, I know Easter was on Sunday, but we knew the crowds would be murder on Sunday so we always do our get together on the Friday before whenever possible.

While there, she’d called and asked the lady who lives across the street from her to come over because Mom had bought a gift for her little girl. So they came over, Mom gave her the gift, and the little girl loved the gift.

We sat and started talking about property values in the area and how they’d dropped since representatives had started trying to sell the house of the man who’d killed his wife, which was right next door to this woman. As we kept talking, we weaved through a history that each of us had with this man and it seems that my mother and I, for the most part, had a very different history and knowledge of this man than Mom’s neighbor did. The only thing I knew that was confirmed by this neighbor is that this man was doing cocaine; that was the easy part.

It seems this man actually had a very violent history, all while living across the street from Mom. He’d actually physically hurt all 4 of his wives (I only knew of 2, Mom knew of 3) and that one of his wives actually had to do one of those midnight special moves when he was out of town to get her and her daughter away from him and go into hiding; shocking stuff.

While it was shocking to see just how little my mother and I knew about some of the demons of this man, the conversation above with Miss Kissie made me start to think about just how little most of us know about ourselves, or are willing to accept about ourselves. Would we become different people if we were suddenly rich or poor? Would our behavior change drastically if suddenly we were famous or powerful? What about our behavior would change if one of our friends suddenly had some of these things and we weren’t as much a part of their lives anymore? Would we be jealous; would we be happy?

I guess overall I’m kind of lucky because I’ve spent a lot of time being introspective. I have no jealousy or envy of others, no matter what they do. I might want to emulate success, but I don’t begrudge anyone their good fortune, whether I believe they deserve it or not.

I almost never think anyone owes me anything unless I’m accused of not doing enough when I feel I’ve done all I’ve needed to do. If people never acknowledge that I’ve done something good for them, I’m okay with it, although it would be nice.

Could I kill? Well now, that’s the interesting question to respond to isn’t it? I have to answer it this way; I probably could depending on the circumstances. If I had to kill to save my life or the lives of those I love, yes. For any other reason I believe I can say no, but that’s after I learned to control some aspects of my younger behavior that I wasn’t overly proud of. Hopefully there are negative aspects of our childhood that we change as we get older. If those are the attributes that people look at and say we’ve changed, I think most of us would be happy with it.

One final thing, addressing my friend Kissie’s question as to whether we can say people have changed if we don’t know their entirety. My response would be of course we can. I knew a musician friend of mine had changed many years ago when he started doing cocaine, even though I only saw him every few weeks. I didn’t need to know his entirety to notice that.

I’ve known people I’ve worked with who were timid and quiet that, over time, became a lot more vocal and stood up for themselves. I don’t need to know their entirety, to know if that’s how they were in their real life to know they’ve changed at work.

It takes perception to notice changes in others. It takes bravery to notice changes in yourself. My longest friends will probably tell you that I’m the same as I was in my late teens. In some ways yes, but in some ways I’m not even close. I sometimes think we’re harder on ourselves than others are on us. Sometimes that’s not such a bad thing if it propels us to try for great things.

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An Epic Battle; There Will Be Songs…

Some of you know that I have a major aversion to bugs. I don’t care whether you want to call them insects, arachnids, pests, or anything else I hate them. I don’t care that they pollinate flowers or that they feed other nasty flying things that do whatever with the ecology, they can all just leave and get away from me. At the very least they can stay out of the house or other places, which leads us to this epic tale I tell on this Easter Sunday. Not being the religious type, I thought I’d regale you with a tale of glory and honor; be amused.

by Liz Henry via Flickr

Last Monday I was driving home from an evening out. The sun was setting and all seemed beautiful in the car. That is, until I heard the unmistakable sound of a loud buzzing to my left. Since to my left was my closed window, I knew this couldn’t be good. I have great peripheral vision so I expanded my field of vision and saw something large by my shoulder.

In my past I’ve driven off the road whenever I’ve encountered something in my car, or even if it might be outside of the car. I don’t even like looking at bugs, so my response has always been to jerk away first and ask questions later. But I’ve worked on that over the last few years, realizing that the last thing I need is to have a heart attack because of some stupid bug and having people laugh at me while I’m laying in a hospital bed.

In my brief yet controlled panic I pushed the button on the car door to lower the window. It slid down and I braced the steering wheel just to make sure I stayed on the road. Once the window was down I noticed that Mr. Bug, and I knew it was some kind of wasp, seemed to be hanging onto the rubber at the bottom of the window. Eventually though, it blew away, and all was right with the world as I raised my window. I applauded my bravery, then wondered if it had actually gone outside the window. The back window of my car doesn’t lower, otherwise I’d have lowered both. However, I heard nothing, and when I got home & took a quick look I saw nothing; all was right with the world.

That is, until Wednesday, when I’m driving home from a lunch outing. I hear that same familiar buzzing in the back, and looking into my rearview mirror I spot the monster beast on the back window.

Now I’m panicked because the back window doesn’t go down, I’m on a regular street instead of a highway with no place to pull over because I’m in the wrong lane, and I’m wondering if it remembers how I tried to get it to leave a couple of nights earlier.

Eventually I find my way to a parking lot, stop the car and jump out. I now have to look and indeed, the ugly beast is there on the window near the top. My first thought seems brilliant; open the back door and it’ll just fly away. I open the back window; nothing. It’s not leaving; what the hey? I thought bugs liked being outdoors; not this one.

Now I figure I have to find a way to get it to go. I start knocking on the window with my hand, which, for me, is still fairly brave even if it’s on the other side of the glass because I always imagine these things somehow have the powers of The Flash and can vibrate through solids. My hand knocking does nothing except make my knuckles hurt.

Time to find something else to help me. I decide to go to the trunk for my snow brush, something anyone living in the north has, and I have an extra long red metal one. I come back around and start knocking on the window with the brush; nothing doing. I realize I’m going to have to knock the sucker off the window, so steeling myself to what I know will be an attack of retaliation, I start swatting at the thing with the brush side. What it does is crawls up further into the rubber where I can’t reach it; oh come on!

Time for more desperate measures. I need spray. I go to the trunk and start looking around, only to discover I have no spray of any kind. What happened to my window cleaner? What happened to the can of compressed air I always kept for emergencies (remembered later I used it a couple of years ago; guess I’d best replace that). I don’t even have any bottled water to try to throw at it; what am I going to do.

The genius in me finally hits. I have a small can of car smell spray that I bought at Bath & Bodywords. Actually, I’m not sure if it’s for the car, but it’s what I use it for, every once in a while, spraying the rugs in the car; I love scents.

But this was war. I also knew the range wasn’t that great, so I might have to get closer, and without gloves and with shaky hands, this was going to be risky. I get my little can, go into the cave of the horror, and start spraying. The first few hits get all over the window; the fourth one hits the monstrosity, and for the first time it leaves its lair. I hit it a few more times; it doesn’t like the spray. Then suddenly it launches itself, and as I duck I see its bulk heading off somewhere away from me.

I quickly close the back door, jump into the car, close my door and raise my window, take a quick look to make sure it’s not going to try to follow me, and take off. I’m winding the car around in the parking lot to confuse it, then I drive home; isn’t that how you’re supposed to shake a tail?

I get home, close the garage door, listen for the sound of buzzing, and realize that I, a mere mortal man, faced off against a dangerous foe and came out the victor as it beat a hasty retreat. I thought about it for a brief moment, then realized that I could state the famous Klingon battle cry, “There will be songs forever sung of this day.”

I’m just waiting to see who’s going to write the song for me. 🙂

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