All posts by Mitch Mitchell

I'm an independent consultant in many fields, so I have a lot to share.

The Last Post Of 2012 Is About…

Last year on December 31st I put out an article titled The Last Post Of 2011 Is About… and in that post I talked about comments and commenters and thanked them in general for commenting on this blog over the first four years. This time around I decided to figure out what the biggest topic of the year was that I wrote about, and it’s not going to be on blogging itself because, well, that’s what I already know I talk about most of the time. After some introspection and research it looks like the biggest thing to talk about is…

Flickr Meet #3 - Nottingham
Craig Marston via Compfight

Marketing and promoting on social media. I tied a lot of it in with blogging, but overall it was mainly about social media. Why was this such a big deal?

Because social media isn’t going away, never. There were some naysayers earlier in the year saying that social media was going to fail and that people should think more about traditional ways of marketing, to which I wrote this post saying that waiting for social media to fail was a stupid move. It might not look exactly like it does right now but it’s not going anywhere folks. We need to get comfortable talking about it and interacting with it.

At the same time, things are already changing. Facebook is getting in the way of what those who have liked our business pages are seeing, which led to a business comparison between Facebook and Google Plus. There’s no doubt that both of these are players, though for different reasons, and even LinkedIn will be an important piece of social media marketing with all the changes they’re started to make.

The reality is that many of the ideas that were very good just 2 years ago don’t seem to work as well now. There’s so much competition, so many options, and so little time. We also have less patience that we used to, and I’ll own up to that one. I work on 5 blogs and the top social media sites, and I also have a couple lesser known sites that I’m on, testing to see if they’ll give me anything to work with here and there and then talking about it, as I did with Social Buzz Club, which turned out to be a failure for me.

Just like most of you, I need to concentrate more on what will work for me as I move into 2013. This year was a better year for me than the last two, but not close to what I want or where I thought I’d be, both online and offline. After all, I have a dream to reach by September, and so far things are moving way too slowly in getting there.

Social media was the big conversation in 2012, and I think it will continue to be a big deal as we move into 2013. What do you think about it all? And are you ready to have a happy new year, regardless?
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Mitch Mitchell

12 Things “I’m Just Sharing” Addressed In 2012

A couple of weeks ago on 12/12/12 I wrote a post titled 12 Things For 12/12/12. That one was more a post about stuff I believed in, more of an opinion piece. This one is something quite different.

Grandfather and Me

I decided to do a post on things this blog addressed in 2012. This particular post is #199 on the year, and since we all know I’ll have at least 2 more posts, if not 3 more, by 12/31, it’s easy to say that I’ve written more than 200 posts this year, which is actually down for me and yet has made for a more comfortable blogging year, especially since I added 2 more blogs last year.

I talk about multiple topics in the video, and to get you to watch the video I’m not going to necessarily tell you what all those topics were. However, I did have these 12 titles and links that I briefly mentioned in some fashion, which is what the video was based on. So I’m going to give those links beneath the video. It’s about 20 minutes long; I was shooting for 10 minutes but there’s no timer! I did it using Google+ Live Hangout, which means anyone could have been watching, except I started it around 12:45 or so in the morning, so I doubt anyone saw it live, and that’s just fine. Hey, at least I know Brian will watch it, though I mentioned Sheryl, Ileane, and Holly. 🙂

 

 

And now, the links:
 
Our Reluctance To Market Ourselves

Post 1,300 And On Friday To Boot

Black Web Friday

5 More Lessons About Blogging Learned From A Poker Tournament

Social Media And Your Familial Obligations

11 Lessons Learned From 11 Years In Business

Blogging Tips – Will People Like Your Blog?

Dream It And It Will Come

100 Things About Me

Don’t Lie About Your Health

I’m Just Sharing 10 Things You Must Have For A Happy Life

Google Authorship – Pretty Cool
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012-2015 Mitch Mitchell

5 More Examples of Legitimate Looking Spam

Last February I wrote a post titled Bad Coments/Spam The Same where I highlighted six different types of comments that show up and I felt were spam of some type. After that, Adrienne Smith and I had further conversations about what we felt was spam related, and at the time I thought her beliefs were a little tough. Upon reflection, I think she’s got it spot on.

Spam wall
freezelight via Compfight

Here’s the deal. Sure, all of us want visitors and we want people to comment on our blogs. But we have to be ready to face the fact that not everyone who’s commenting on our blogs cares anything about what we’ve just written about. As a matter of fact, I’ve been a bit tougher on some comments lately, and I’ve noticed that only one person has complained about their post not showing up, and it was easy to address.

I figured it was time to address this topic once more because, well, spam just doesn’t go away, and yet there are so many blogs I’m visiting where I know it’s spam, but the blog owner doesn’t. This could be you or someone you know; let’s find out with these 5 looks:

1. Does the comment actually address the post in question? I wrote a recent post comparing Google+ to Facebook and got a few comments that told me what either G+ or Facebook were. Frankly, I already knew what they were, everyone else already knew what they were, thus this was spam. I know, it was someone paid to leave a comment on blogs obviously, but that’s just human spam; gone!

2. Is there any punctuation in the comment, or any real grammar. By this, I mean there’s no capitalization, no punctuation between obviously different sentences, and usually the comment is 2 or 3 sentences with no real start or end. Often this type of comment only addresses the first paragraph of a post so it looks legit, but it’s not because not all first paragraphs are what a post is about; you other writers know what I’m talking about.

3. Almost the exact same comment in the same style from different IP addresses, but the comments come in at the same time. Now, I’ve seen this type of thing often, and it’s problematic because every once in awhile the comments aren’t bad. But you have to call it out, as I did earlier this year when I wrote a guy who was doing that, linking to two different websites, but when I checked it out they were the same website with one being a redirect. He apologized for doing it and admitted he was paid to post comments on other blogs, but hadn’t paid much attention to where he was doing it obviously.

4. There is punctuation but no spacing. Come on, who really writes like that? What I did initially was visit the websites linking in to see if those websites were written in that style; they weren’t. That tells me that whomever is commenting could care less about what they’ve written on my blog because they didn’t give me the courtesy they probably expect in their own space. Once again, gone!

5. Too many people seem to keep missing this, which is right about the comment space:

“This blog doesn’t accept keyword names, and the comment will be deleted if a real first name isn’t put on first. Also, if your name has 3 words or more in it, the comment automatically goes to the spam filter; just so you know.”

Sometimes, if the comment isn’t all that strong, I just leave it in the spam filter and delete it. Now, some of you who keep ignoring it know who you are, and if you’ve seen your comments on the blog posts you know you’ve left something pretty good. Otherwise, the way I see it if the comment isn’t great, and the comment policy was ignored, then that was someone not even trying to add to the conversation so, sorry, it didn’t exist.

Okay, those are the 5 points I wanted to make. However, I mentioned something where I said one person complained. Actually, he wrote me because his comment didn’t show and he wondered what he might have been doing wrong. In a post I wrote in September talking about spam settings, I mentioned how if I got more than 3 spam comments from a particular IP address that I went into Settings/Discussion and reduced the filter to just the first 2 numbers rather than all 4. Well, my friend got caught up in that one, which told me his hosting company has a lot of spammers coming from there, but there’s nothing I can do about that. So I went in and altered that IP so that his comments would not be sent to spam any longer. First and only time that’s happened, but at least it worked.

There you go. How many of you will own up to seeing this on your blog and not thinking about it being spam? Will you remove it, or at least remove any further incidences of it, or do you see a comment as a comment?
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012-2017 Mitch Mitchell

In Love With Instagram!

Back in June I wrote a post introducing Instagram for Android, which had just come out after being available for iPhone for years. I talked about the technical aspects of it in that post, as well as giving a link to my own Instagram page, which was very new.

instagram shots

I have to say that at this juncture I’m absolutely in love with this program. I can’t believe I’ve only had it six months; I’m ecstatic. Why? What do I do with it?

The first thing is being able to share photos immediately after taking them. Sometimes I wait until I get home, but it was so much fun being able to share some pictures with people when I was in Florida at a convention in October. I don’t fancy myself a photographer, but I do try to find some things that I think would make a good shot to take pictures of. True, there are some limitations to a smartphone’s camera, and the iPhone’s camera is better than my own. Still, the pictures are good enough for most people and easy to get online whenever I’m in the mood.

The second thing is being able to pop in a location from time to time. Truthfully, most of the time I have location tracking turned off on my phone because, well, I just don’t feel like being tracked. And yet, there are places you go to where you don’t mind allowing the image to tell everyone exactly where you are. For instance, often when I’m at the casino I’ll turn it on so people can see which part of the casino I’m in when I’m sharing a picture. If I’m in Rochester visiting my mother sometimes I turn it on as well.

The third thing I like about it, especially when using the smartphone, is being able to see pictures that people I’m following are putting up. It’s amazing how many people have a great eye and what interests them. What I’m really amazed at is how females have totally figured out how to take great pictures of themselves; I haven’t gotten that one down yet. I always miss the button, and when I find the button I’ve moved the camera and look ridiculous. People keep telling me I look mad in pictures I eventually get of myself; that’s funny.

The last thing I love about it is when I can go into the random area and just see pictures like the one above. You usually get 18 pictures at a time, where you see 12 and you can scroll down to see the rest. If you see a picture you like you can give it some love, even if you’re not following that person. And if you decide to check into that person further and see more that you like, you can subscribe to that channel, which I recently did with Daily Puppy; love puppies. 🙂 I actually kill 10 minutes at a time looking at pictures at random times; it’s a great time killer and, strangely enough, I’ve just discovered that some of the pictures I end up liking show up on my Facebook page, where others can like then; freaky!

Frankly, the only thing that’s made me mad is this little battle between Instagram, nee Facebook, and Twitter, and oddly enough it’s not affecting me because the programs I use on both my computer and my smartphone still give me what I’m used to seeing. Right now, other than the sudoku program I downloaded, it’s what I’m using to kill a lot of my time when I Feel like getting away from the computer for awhile.

And then…

IMAG0265

This is why sometimes writing posts in advance can kick you in the behind, because something could happen that makes me have to edit them. A couple of days after I wrote this Instagram came out with a directive saying they had the right to sell and market your photos without your knowledge and without paying you; well, that stinks. It goes into effect on January 16th, and if you’re not down with that you can download your photos and delete your account and you’ll be totally free from it all.

And then… The co-founder of Instagram, Kevin Systrom, came out with his own statement saying there are no plans to sell your photos less than 24 hours after the other statement. He said it was a misinterpretation based on a horribly written policy change… yeah, right…

What’s my plan? At this juncture I still love it, but I will change what I upload to it slightly. There are few pictures there that I’m worried about, and if I can delete just those few then I’m good. In general I upload pictures of things I see when I’m out, and if I write about those things and use them in a blog post I’m using the original image anyway. So anything else… go for it. With the billions and billions of images that are on that site, I’m doubting that, other than family or me, I’d even know if anyone wanted to use a picture I took. And with the quality… they’d have to be desperate. 🙂

By the way, over there to the right is a badge that links to my Instagram account if you’d like to check it out.
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Mitch Mitchell

The Hobbit – A Review

Last Friday I decided to go to see the new movie The Hobbit. I had seen all 3 of the Lord of the Rings movies, enjoyed each of them, but truthfully had no idea what any of it was about. In my mind, I thought it was only about a guy called a hobbit who had to get a ring to a volcano to melt it; all that other stuff was confusing. And I had never read any of the books; I tried, but just wasn’t interested.

The_Hobbit

Also, this movie had gotten fairly maudlin reviews from many professional reviewers who griped about its length, griped about how it was shot (48 fps, or frames per second, versus the normal 24 fps for 3D), griped about what they said reminded them of Star Wars Phantom Menace… they didn’t like it. They liked Ian McKellen and Martin Freeman and nothing else.

The story of The Hobbit is how Bilbo Baggins, the uncle of LOTR’s hero Frodo, comes to discover and own the ring that ends up having to be destroyed later. It also talks about the adventure he goes on, along with 14 other individuals which includes Gandolf the Grey, who’s also in the LOTR movies, to help liberate the Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor that had been taken over by a dragon named Smaug. The second story arc is that the current exiled king of Erebor, Thorin Oakenshield, had thought he killed Azog, a top leader of Orcs, and it turns out that not only is he not dead but he wants revenge; who wouldn’t?

And the ring… it’s almost a subplot, to the extent that if you hadn’t seen any of the LOTR movies and were seeing this movie for the first time without knowing anything else you’d think it was just a plot point that was setting up the next movie, since this will be a 3 movie arc. That’s saved until the last 35 minutes of the movie, which is about 2 hours and 45 minutes long. We know how important it is, and it seems that Gandolf knows something’s different near the end, but the rest of us… if we didn’t have foresight into what was coming we’d miss it.

You know what? I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and knew exactly what was going on at every step along the way. Probably because this movie explains how they got to the LOTR movies and books, some things started to fall in place for me. The faster filming of frames made the movie lighter than traditional 3D, and that was nice. The one problem was that every once in awhile it looked like the background was moving when the action stopped; that was freaky.

The part some critics hated was the comedy part. There were a lot of funny parts in this movie that were interspersed with the serious and action parts. I loved that, especially early on when Bilbo is trying to figure out what’s going on. Frankly, I think all of us would react the same way to suddenly having lots of creatures in the house that aren’t like you and you don’t know why, and they’re eating your food and drinking your wine.

Even the scenes with Gollum were both intense and funny and, well, weirdly sick because I’d never gotten the real sense of just how dangerous he was and could be in the 3 LOTR movies, which might seem strange to some of you who saw those movies. It was well done here; frankly, I think this entire movie was well done.

Overall I had a great time. I didn’t notice how long the movie was while watching it. The critics said no action takes place until the last 40 minutes of the movie; I wonder what they were watching. There are great back stories here and lots of fun. Visually it’s stunning, and I’ll just say that it was fun seeing rock people fighting as opposed to Transformers, which I also enjoyed. This is a lot of fun, with no bad language and yet I’m still not sure that young kids should see this. But the teens will love it, the movie’s going to be successful, and I have no qualms about recommending it.

Go have fun!
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Mitch Mitchell