All posts by Mitch Mitchell

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

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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NationStates

Something a little different today. I’ll play a lot of games online, though I have a few that I do enjoy. One that I’ve actually been playing for six years now, but I’m surprised I’ve never written about or talked about before, is called NationStates. As far as I know it’s unlike anything else that’s out there, it’s fairly easy to play, and they can offer some interesting scenarios.

I’m not quite sure how to describe it in the general terms of gaming, but the basic premise behind the game is that you create a nation state, given the name, and then determine, based on a series of questions that you get on a daily basis, how your government is going to run and how it’s going to fit in with the rest of society. Every day that you go back to the game you get to see what kind of impact the choices you made have on your nation, and get the alter your stance as you so choose. Sometimes you find that the choices you make don’t result in the responses you expected, but I tend to believe that’s pretty much how it is with regular government.

The next step after creating your nation is to decide if you want to join a region or create your own region. You have to be somewhere, and early on I used to take my civilization around to different regions before deciding to create a region of my own. The region is called Fairness For All; that I decided to call the capital city Mitchellopolis might seem a bit narcissistic, but that’s one of things you get to do. Unfortunately right now I’m the only member of my region, as it would be fun to have other nations involved, but that’s okay because it allows me to have the deciding vote for my region when it comes to participating in the World Assembly.

The World Assembly is where your nation state gets to either vote for or against something along with all the other nation states that are out there, kind of like a United Nations. Sometimes you’re voting for things like whether there should be international laws created or repealed, and sometimes you’re voting for or against a nation state or a region that’s being blamed for bad behavior. I have no idea what happens to those nations that get condemned, and I haven’t really weren’t all that much about it.

They also have a forum where people can get together and participate in all kinds of things. I’ve only been to the form a few times overall these years, because truthfully I forget about it. But the few times I have gone has been interesting, and you usually will find out what new thing is going on with the game because the owners of it are always making some kind of change here and there.

The best thing I like about the game is that it doesn’t take all that long to play unless you really want to get into the forums. At this point, because I’ve been playing so long, my nation has a population of around 8.6 billion people. Try imagining a world where there were so many nations that had billions of people in them; yeah, that would be a freaky proposition, but this game allows for it.

Anyway, if you’re looking for a little bit of diversion and have a little bit of a Napoleon complex about you, at least take a look and decide if it’s something you wouldn’t mind doing. And if you do, I wouldn’t mind you joining my region for a while just to figure out how things are going for you, and one of the best things about the game is that you can always leave and join other nations without much trouble.
 

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5 Lessons Learned In The Last 36 Hours Of The Election Season

Yes I do normally write my posts way in advance, but sometimes I have something to say that’s more timely; this is one of those times. And I have a dichotomy of emotions as I’m writing this. Yes, this is going to be a controversial post so if you don’t want to deal with it, I’d stop now and go read one of my happier posts. lol

Suffice it to say, Barack Obama has won reelection and will be the president for the next 4 years. Yes, I’m happy about that, moreso because I’m happy the other party lost rather than his winning. I think there was a lot at stake and that overwhelmingly people ended up voting for the other candidate for the wrong reason. As a matter of fact, the polls showed that they voted for him for the very reason I wrote this post and accusations against me and my “ilk”, if you will.

In any case, like most things in life, there are lessons to learn that might not be the types of lessons others might see; or maybe they will see them. Let’s find out as I explore these 5 lessons learned in the last 36 hours of the election season:

1. People’s real feelings come out strongly as the death knell is approaching. Some of the things I was reading and seeing about President Obama in the last 24 hours before the results were due to start coming in riled me up so much that I lost my mind. So I got into it on Facebook and, for the most part, people left me alone. There comes a point where things aren’t political anymore, they’re personal, and I was tired of the Muslim, patriot, traitor, “we’re gonna impeach him” and all the other mess that people just kept saying. If you think the link I left above was off the mark, trust me it wasn’t.

2. It seems people can’t filter out truth from hyperbole when it comes to TV political ads. Learn this from me if you need to. When those ads come out saying that so-and-so voted this much of a percentage with other members of their party like it’s the worst thing in the world… folks, they’re supposed to! Most people tend to vote along with their party; that’s just how life is. Now, at the same time every once in awhile someone votes their conscience and goes against their party… well, they used to before the Tea Party folks got there (notice almost no one identified themselves as Tea Party folks this time around?). What’s more interesting is when the number isn’t 100%. That happened locally when one of our representatives backers kept saying the guy who lost in the last election voted with his party 94% of the time, while leaving out that she voted with her party 100% of the time.

Here’s the reality. Unless someone says something really stupid (Akin) or does something really stupid, almost all politicians are decent people. Ads are misleading and vicious; that’s why most of us turn them off. However, in the last hours leading up to the election not only were they more vicious but they just kept coming and coming and coming. And let’s not even talk about the robo-calls; oy!

3. Social media can be both a curse and a blessing. It certainly was for the candidates, but it was for us as well. Every website I went to, and every app I opened on my smartphone gave me an ad for someone who was running for office. On Facebook it started getting really heavy, even after I added the FB Purity add-on to Firefox (you don’t know about this one? Check out this post from our buddy Adrienne Smith; it’s a lifesaver even now, after the elections, for blocking stuff you don’t want to see in your stream). Even on Twitter, where I pretty much only connect with people of “like” values and such, assaulted me with all kinds of stuff. Remember the days when we only had newspapers and the TV news we had to avoid?

And yet, through social media a lot of people learned what was going on, and some people knew what was going to happen early on; not quite sure how they did that. I know I shared the news about the Karl Rove meltdown (it was classic; who knew live TV could be that entertaining?) everywhere. Faux News; never watched it before, was entertaining last night, will never watch it again.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

4. Competition never ends; never. As soon as it was announced that President Obama had been reelected, the politicking began. There was already a discussion on who would run for president four years from now. Both sides were saying they didn’t think anything would happen and each side said it was the other that had to bend; yeah, that’s going to happen. Some people were already trying to figure out how to shake things up. One guy was saying that maybe the Electoral College would change the outcome of the election for Romney (seems that happened once in history; that’s how John Quincy Adams won the presidency without winning the election). It’s like sports now, where immediately after a team wins a championship they immediately wonder if the team can win it again and if not who they believe will be the strongest team the next season. And sometimes it’s all for naught (isn’t it Senator McConnell?).

5. When all is said and done, things usually end with a whimper, grace and class. What makes this country great is ultimately how people accept their own defeat. Former Governor Romney was class last night, as has every person who’s ever run for president and then had to make a concession speech has done (can’t blame Gore since he didn’t learn he wouldn’t be president for about a month or so). This is something about politicians that confuses me and probably everyone else. We get riled up for or against someone, are ready to get into fistfights over all of it, and then these people can walk up to a podium after having lost and say “So-and-so ran a great campaign and I hope they do well” or some such nonsense like that. 🙂

You know what though? That’s kind of a lesson most of us need to learn, but probably won’t. A lot of rhetoric is just that; noise. Often people say things to get us irritated; that’s what trolls do. For me, I stayed out of it for 729 days, only to let myself totally go off the deep end in the last 24 hours. Even as I write this I haven’t gotten it totally out of my system (but I will soon; I promise). But the politicians who participated in the process have moved on and gotten over it, seeing it as business as usual. It’s a strange business but that’s what it ultimately is.

Lessons; I’ve learned a few. Let’s see what I can retain and what I can forget; what about you?
 

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Heat And Your Feet

A few of you are saying “is he talking about feet again”? Hey, I’ve only talked about feet once before, when I wrote this post in June talking about 5 Things You Should Know About Your Feet after visiting a podiatrist. This time around it’s a real life story; heck, who am I kidding, they’re always real life stories. So instead it’s a tale of caution; stay close.


Last Sunday I got an early morning text from my friend Scott about going to a hockey game, my first in more than 30 years. I’m not a major hockey fan, though I don’t mind watching the games, but the reason I stopped going was because my feet would always get really cold pretty quickly, no matter what I did, and then I couldn’t enjoy myself. He told me I shouldn’t have to worry about it since technology has changed and they had renovated the place where the game was being held from so many years ago.

I didn’t want to take any chances however. Two weeks earlier I had gone to one of those stores that has lots of hunting stuff and bought two things. One package was warmers for toes, the other package foot warmers. I had tried the toe warmers and they didn’t work out quite to well. They did keep my feet warm, but I did a test where I put the warmer on top of my left foot and on the bottom of my right foot, with socks on both. My left foot ended up getting burned slightly while my right foot handled things much better, but burning my left foot should have been a warning call of sorts.

This time I put on two pairs of socks, then slipped the warmers in them, thinking I had enough protection from both the cold and potential heat of the warmers. They picked me up, and we went to the game.

All seemed fine early on as we watched the warmup. We had to be there early because Scott was acting as official photographer for the game. Then the game got started and it was actually kind of cool to watch. However, midway through the first period both of my feet started to feel… uncomfortable. They didn’t feel like they were burning necessarily, but discomfort is never a good sign. I decided to err on the side of caution and remove both foot warmers. Turns out I really didn’t need them to keep my feet warm, although I have to admit that I used them every once in awhile to warm my legs, especially around both knees, and Scott’s wife used one of them to warm her hands at one point.

Here’s the thing. Ever since I got home last Sunday, the bottom of my feet have been tender. This is 8 days later, and it might be hard to see in the picture I’ve got above because, trust me, it’s hard taking a picture of the bottom of your feet, but my toes are still red. I didn’t blister or anything, thank goodness, but my feet are irritated even now.

The questions are thus: did I have problems because my feet are sensitive; did I have problems because I’m diabetic; did I have problems because of the extra pair of socks, which might have pushed the cushion down too far and thus generated more heat than normal; or do more people than what shows up during an online search have problems with this type of thing that I know about?

I don’t know, but I know this; I had problems. I found the brand online that I bought & tried to see if anyone had written any warnings about it but they haven’t so I’m not going to mention the company name. All I’m going to say is that you might need to consider how tender your feet are if you decide to test these or any of those number of homemade foot warmers that you put in to microwave, since I did find warnings about those. It seems that the best way to warm your feet safely is in warm water by soaking them, but of course that limits you to being at home. Sigh…
 

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Ode To Joy Day!

This is something different from me. Ode To Joy is actually a poem written by Friedrich Schiller in 1800, but most people know it as the 4th movement of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, the one he wrote when he was totally deaf. It has been performed in multiple ways throughout history, and it’s a piece I absolutely love.

It’s in that vein that I’m doing a video post of different ways the song has been performed. Some are goofy, some are eclectic, and some are outstanding; okay, in my mind they’re all outstanding. Yes folks, it’s the same song over and over, but something amazing with each one.

Let’s start with something funny, Beaker from the Muppets:
 


 
A flash mob performance:
 

 
How about hearing it via 10,000 voices?
 

 
A commercial with David Beckham
 

 
Pete Seegar’s folk music version with English lyrics; love this:
 

 
On a glass harp; amazing:
 

 
Piano variations:
 

 
A techno version; this is kind of extreme lol:
 

 
We started with Beaker, we end with Beaker:
 

 

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