What Technology Do You Own To Access The Internet?

Today’s post is something a little different. Who am I kidding; all my posts are a little something different. 🙂

In this case I’m asking a question, which you’ve already seen above. I ask it because I’m not the guy who’s on the cutting edge of technology anymore. As time goes on and priorities shift, there’s just too much stuff that costs too much for me to keep up with.


Joel Bedford via Compfight

I wasn’t always like this; then again, I didn’t have to be. I used to know all the computer brands, how much RAM they had, the technical specs of monitors and all the accessories; I was the guy to come to.

Where am I now? I still know enough about regular computers to be dangerous, and I can compare specs on laptops. And that’s where most of what I know ends. And yet, there’s so many more things people have and can do in accessing the internet.

I have a smartphone, a HTC Thunderbolt that’s already out of style. It’s big and wonderful and yet they don’t even make batteries for them anymore; it’s just over 18 months old. Two months ago, when I went looking for a battery, I was told they stopped making them 6 months ago, which means I have to order them online; what the hey? Is technology supposed to pass us by that fast?

Last year I bought my wife a Nook Color, and luckily they still sell that, along with the Kindle Fire But there’s so many other things that are on the market that I know nothing about. I have seen an iPad, but only twice ever; what’s that about? Last night a friend of mine showed me, online, her new tablet, the Asus Transformer Pad Infinity. I didn’t even know who made these things besides Apple, Panasonic and Samsung; isn’t that a shame?

I know I’m only touching the surface, so I thought for once I’d ask you what you have, why you like it (or them), and whether you got what you wanted or what something else. I’m feeling like an old guy here; sigh…
 

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Blogging And Creativity

How neat; I did a Google Hangout on this very topic yesterday. Okay, I knew I was going to do that video, which is below, but I’m going to add something to the topic here that’s in the video, but the links aren’t on the video.

Mixed Media Painting by Dean Russo / Dumbo Arts Center: Art Under the Bridge Festival 2009 / 20090926.10D.54890.P1.L1.CC / SML
See-ming Lee via Compfight

This isn’t the first time I’ve talked about the subject of blogging and creativity. If you want to reach you can look at last week’s post talking about writing in general and think of it in the context of blogging. You can look at a kind of rant post I wrote titled When Blogging Advice Is A Waste Of Your Time or another post I wrote on the topic of getting backlinks, both of which lamented the same lame advice you get from a lot of other people who don’t take time to create anything new, or say something old in a new way. And there’s two much older articles I wrote on the topic, one titled No, Reading And Creativity Are Obsolete and Your Creativity Is Inside You.

You know what creativity does? It makes people want to revisit your blog or website to see what you have to say next. That’s why I like people like Marcus Sheridan of The Sales Lion and Holly Jahangiri of It’s All A Matter Of Perspective and Marie Forleo, someone I’ve just discovered along with Social Triggers by Derek Halpern. They’re all fascinating reads that get me to visit often.

Creativity allows you to talk about one subject, or multiple subjects, in lots of different ways. For instance, over the last two years I’ve talked about blogging with posts like 5 Ways Your Blog Might Be Irritating People, 5 Things Bloggers Can Learn From Poker, and 5 Blogging Lessons Learned From The Harry Potter Series, along with a long 2-part series on Better Blogging. I talked about writing with a post titled The Art Of Storytelling and gave quick tips with 10 Writing Tips In 2 Minutes. I talked about social media when I asked if You Are An Online Troll. And I’ve run two series here, one which was known as the Sunday Question, the other called Black Web Friday.

During the same two year period, I wrote what I consider as some interesting posts on my business blog, where I mainly talk about leadership and health care. Some of my more creative posts over there have included How Bad Of A Leader Was Charlie Brown, We Are Not The Borg, Are You As Good A Leader As Kermit The Frog, Would You Talk To A Mouse, and 10 Reasons Harry Potter Is A Great Leader. That last one, by the way, is about to be included in a magazine geared towards children in Malaysia; how’s that for publicity and creativity?

The point is that being just a little bit creative gives people a reason to want to read what you have to say. You don’t have to be overly prolific; just have a point of view, keep your eyes open and your mind clear so that you’ll see relationships in things that support your view, write about them and give people different perspectives on what they may encounter on a daily basis. As you’ll hear in the video, there’s agreement amongst my cohorts, as well as the voicing of a concern that doesn’t bother me, but might be something you think of from time to time. I hope the video gives a bit more perspective than I’ve given here. If nothing else, I’ve shared some posts with you that I hope you find intriguing.
 


 

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Finding Thanks On Thanksgiving

It’s been an interesting year for me; that goes without saying. It’s probably been an interesting year for everyone. All of us have these things we go through, both good and bad, but bad things are always easier to remember for some reason. I think that’s why the Star Wars movies are so popular, because there’s no gray area between the dark side and the force in those movies.

I made the short video below to talk about this, and I’m making this particular post short so those of you here in the states can get back to your Thanksgiving meal, your family, and all those other things that make the day special for you. For those of you in other countries… well, I hope you find things to be thankful for as well.

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5 Things About Writing That You Might Never Think Of

I’m Mitch Mitchell and I approve this ad. 🙂

Many people think I just started writing when I started writing my blogs back in 2005. Truth be told, I’m a long time writer of all sorts of things.

I started writing my own little journal of things at age 12 because I was feeling lonely here and there. At one point I actually wrote plays, as I had a friend who’d started writing them, and we’d write these plays, more like screen plays, based on Star Trek types of things. I branched out a couple of times into sports, but in general it was science fiction.

Then I wrote poetry for years, back to journaling when I started college, and moved into music and lyric composition. I started trying to write my first book when I was 22, eventually finished my first book when I was 42, and on and on and on.

I have written all sorts of things over my life, and in the last bunch of years I’ve written things for other people. I can honestly say that I’ve got more than 3,000 articles all over the internet, many in my name, many in other people’s names.

When you decide to do writing to help make a living, you have to get to the point where your mind says it’s okay to give up your rights to something you wrote and let someone else put their name on it. After all, we all know that John F. Kennedy didn’t really write Profiles in Courage on his own, right? 🙂

In my mind, this makes me as qualified to talk about the concept of writing as anyone. Over the years I’ve written 42 articles that include writing as a category. Some have been educational, some have been commentary, and some pure frivolity.

This one is a combination of educational and opinion; it’s intention is to make you think differently about the art of writing, if you will. Not necessarily structure; just things that you may or may not have ever really thought much about. And I’m talking only 5 things; otherwise, we could be here until Monday.

It’s possible that I might include something I’ve mentioned before, but I’m sure I’ll be addressing it in a different way. Are you ready for the journey? If so, let’s begin.

06-08-10 And With Heart Shaped Bruises And Late Night Kisses
Βethan via Compfight

1. There’s a major difference between writing for yourself and writing for others. In this instance I’m not talking about writing articles that other people are paying you for, I’m talking about writing things that please you that others might not quite get.

When I write on my blogs, even though every once in awhile (by the way, that can be either one word or two) I’ll toss in a sesquipedalian word that others might not know (big word, direct translation is ‘foot and a half long’ word), in general I want to be understood by the masses because I’m looking for broad appeal. I want visitors, and I want people to comment on what I’ve written. So I make sure that my content is understood; I’m writing for others while I’m also writing for myself.

But there are those who basically write for themselves. They don’t care if you don’t understand what they’re trying to say. They love the words, they love putting a twist into something and showing how creative they can be. Now, they might share it, then wonder why no one is commenting, but truth be told they know why already; they always know.

There’s nothing wrong with this by the way. That’s why we have different styles of music such as pop, rock, dance, rap and country. That’s why we can have people in the same genre, such as classical, and have differences in style between people such as Handel, Beethoven and Schoenberg. But it’s definitely something you have to consider depending on the audience you’re trying to reach, if you’re trying to reach an audience in the first place.

Dia™ via Compfight

2. It’s not writing that’s hard, it’s confidence. So many people say “I can’t write”. So many other people say “I can’t speak in front of others”.

When you think about it everyone writes, and everyone speaks in front of others. I don’t know a single person who made it through school, college or not, without writing something.

In college I knew people who said they weren’t writers that wrote 100 page papers; ouch! The longest paper I wrote in college was 25 pages, and I only did that once. Teachers didn’t care about the length of papers; they wanted to know if you could capture your subject accurately enough and that was that.

For instance, my junior year one of my classmates in music history decided she was going to write her paper on Gregorian Chant. Her paper ended up being 121 pages, and that was in the day when you had to type everything, thus if you made a mistake and didn’t have a correcting cartridge (like I did) you’d have to start a page over.

I wrote my paper on Beethoven’s 6th Symphony, had 14 different references, and it came in at 17 pages. And I got the obligatory “B” that I got on every paper except one in college. She got a B+ on her paper which crushed her, and I knew that was probably the best she could do because her subject was too big; there are tomes on Gregorian Chant, which means it’s something that couldn’t be captured in even a 121 page paper.

This is the problem I see with a lot of blog and article writers. They think they have to write about the moon when they could write a very nice article on Mare Orientale that would get the job done.

In other words, if your subject is really broad, break it into smaller chunks and aspects, for which you’ll probably have enough to write about that ends up being a relatively easy piece to read, and then do the same with other aspects of the same thing and you end up with lots of articles you can space out, thus creating lots of content.

Can you write? Of course you can.

Letter to Santa
Angela Vincent via Compfight

3. The concept of blog post length is overblown. I have written on this topic but not quite in this way.

It’s pretty much recognized that if you don’t have a blog post of at least 200 words your page will quite possibly be ignored by the search engines. This doesn’t mean you can’t do it; just that it might not do for you what you’re hoping it’ll do if you’re hoping to improve your blog’s SEO.

But some people only have images as a blog post with maybe one or two lines and they’re happy with it. That’s just how life goes, and it’s one of the things that people who love Tumblr enjoy, though I’m not necessarily a fan.

How many of you have ever seen the movie Amadeus? There’s a scene in it where Mozart has just finished debuting one of his pieces to his benefactor and is looking for his reaction to it. The man looks at him and says “There seems to be too many notes,” to which Mozart replies “There are only as many notes as I needed.”

Your blog posts are yours, and if you decide to write long posts, then write long posts. If you want to write short posts, then write short posts.

The way I write, I just start writing based on an original idea and when I’m done, I’m done. This is going to be a long article, but when I started, I had no idea if it was going to be a standard blog length post or not. That’s how my mind works; I write as many words as I need.

Some people won’t read it, some will. But if you want to know the truth, take a look at some of the highest ranked blogs and you’ll notice that many of them have relatively long posts. I’m just sayin’…

Rob the Rat came home with Calum... 309/365
Blue Square Thing via Compfight

4. I often say that blogs are for one of three purposes; inform, entertain, or educate. Words are a totally different matter though. Even though the first three are absolutes, words determine whether you’re doing those things in a positive or negative manner, intentional or not.

You know what the biggest lie is that kids are taught? “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.” We all know that’s a lie; of course names can hurt you. Words can hurt. People online don’t get bullied by sticks and stones; they get bullied by words and images, but mainly words.

Some people do it intentionally, such as Limbarf (no, I never say his name the real way) and Coulter (I don’t give her the respect of using a first name). Some do it accidentally, and probably all of us at one time or another have written something that someone else has taken wrong or badly.

Intention can be an interesting animal in and of itself. I’m presently listening to a book on tape that started out as a historical book on the history of Harlem. The author, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, told the story of his high school basketball coach, during one game where his team was winning but not playing as well as he felt they should be, uttered the meanest racial epithet at his best player in the huddle, with all the other players around him.

The team ended up beating the other team handily, and the coach had him come to his office after the game and said that he knew if he used that word that it would inspire him to play harder the rest of the game. The problem is that the coach’s intention wasn’t the same as the player’s interpretation, and there’s no way it could be, and it ruined the relationship forever.

This is an example of how one person’s intention can go very wrong, and why I always say that if you want to write in a controversial manner, you need to be ready for the consequences, which you can almost never fully know.

I recently dropped a guy I didn’t know all that well, but whose blog I found after he’d contacted me about something. He’d written a recent blog post that said, not a direct quote, that anyone who had voted for President Obama was obviously stupid and they deserved all bad things that were going to come from it. I wrote him and told him that obviously I was too stupid to work and interact with him and that was that.

There’s nothing wrong with having opinions and there’s nothing wrong with sharing opinions. But there are limits that people who take an opposite position will allow, and if you’re not cognizant of that, no matter what your intentions are it will come back at you. If you’re ready for it great; if not, then either be cautious with your words or don’t use those particular words at all. You know you know better.

5. True writing is a form of self expression. Unless you’re being paid for it, you shouldn’t feel overly self conscious about it, although you will. Sure, I’ve given warnings about being controversial and offending people, but you can’t be something you’re not.

I get bored when I visit blogs that have articles that someone else has written. I’m not talking about guest posts; I’m talking about articles that the author says they’re writing, yet you know you’ve heard those words and seen that same exact advice before; kind of like what I fussed about back in March when commenting on another horrible article I’d read that gave blogging advice.

It was a topic of one of my live Google Hangouts, where one of the participants said that it’s possible a new person is just getting into blogging and hasn’t seen that advice before, so it might be pertinent to them. My argument was that advice might be evergreen but writing the same exact thing someone else wrote, in almost the same exact words, helps no one in the long run; I’d rather link to something and move on, but that’s me.

Here’s some advice that you should definitely take. Just write, finish, and move on. Whether you’re writing a blog, paper, book or shopping list, at some point you have to start it and you have to finish it. You can always go back and add or subtract whatever you wish. Writing is about you and your needs.

If your need is to make money, writing is still about you but you just modify how you’re getting your message across. If your need is to try to promote your business, same thing. But if you just need to get it out of you… write, enjoy, live!

Done and out!
 

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The Trouble With Getting Your Friends, Family & Local People To View Your Blogs

A few days ago, myself and the rest of the Live Google Hangout Crew decided to discuss the topic of blogging for local folks and businesses and the issues we all seem to have in getting those people to even take a look at what we write. This isn’t a new topic for me actually, as I talked about it first in 2009 when I wrote a post leading with If You Can’t Get Your Family And Friends To Subscribe… and again in 2011 when I asked Why Aren’t You Well Known Where You Live?

This one is a little different and yet the overall theme is the same. I always make the recommendation to businesses that if they want to increase their SEO and the potential for doing more business online that having a blog can do wonders for each. Just being a player gives you a great boost in local search, which is a great thing, but do those people read your stuff, and if not why not?

I tend to want to look at my own sites, and I’m going to share statistics on two of them. And of course there’s the video at the end of this post where we talked about it all, and the other site I’m going to talk about is mentioned in the video.

For I’m Just Sharing, the last month’s stats show that there were 32 visits from what I’d call the local area, which includes Rochester, which is about 75 miles away. If I only include the Syracuse area I have to remove 11 visits. That’s pretty poor if you ask me. New York state is my highest volume state, and the majority of visitors come from New York City, but that’s not quite local. I consider this my flagship blog, even if it’s not my highest ranked blog anymore (that now goes to my finance blog; how about that?). Now, I have to admit that I’m not sure how many local people might be subscribing to the feed, and via the feed this is my most read blog, so it’s possible the number is much higher. But since I can’t confirm that I’ll stick with Google Analytics for now.

My other blog is called Syracuse Wiki, and it’s my local blog. It’s not a highly visited blog, but I don’t write a lot of posts on it because I only write when I do or see something where I can capture pictures regarding local events. In a way I can’t gripe all that much because the visitors on that blog are 54% local, but I have thought that blog would attract way more people because it talks about local topics. And I do market it on Twitter, but I have to admit not many other places.

This brings us back to the original issue and why it’s a problem. If you’re running a local business and you’re trying to get local people interested in what you do, what can you do to advertise yourself and get local business? On the video I offer suggestions to companies that sell products, which includes coupons and lots of pictures, and even advertising the blogs in their stores so people can keep up with new things they offer.

But what about those of us who offer services, who don’t have offices outside of our homes or even if we do, we don’t own the space and thus are more limited with some of our banner advertising, if you will? Is there a way we can target our blogs so that it attracts local traffic and thus local business?

And what about our friends and family members? One’s best advocates are always those close to us, but if we can’t get them engaged then can we legitimately hope to engage our community, no matter what we do?

I’d like to know what you think. I’d also like you to check out the video where Sheryl Lock of Fuzzy Wuzzy Anipals (yeah, that’s right! lol) offered a lot of good stuff last Sunday, and maybe it can help me and some of you. At the very least it’ll get you thinking; there’s never anything wrong with that.


 

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