All posts by Mitch Mitchell

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

I’m Black…

I just thought I’d get this out of the way: I’m black. I know you probably didn’t notice that from the picture over there on the right but yup, I am. At this point you’re probably wondering why I wrote that; you know I’m going to tell you.

photo of Mitch Mitchell I'm Just Sharing
See, black: photo courtesy
of Custom-Photogenics

Just about two weeks ago a young man named Christian, definitely an up-and-comer, wrote a post titled I’m gay. The fact that he typed “gay” with the small “g” was interesting and probably poignant in its own way. Frankly, I’m not typing anything in my titles with small letters, especially “black”.

Anyway, it was a very personal post, and by its tone I’m thinking that somewhere along the line he must have taken some heat from someone who probably made a comment based on his look, since I can’t figure out any other way they could have made the determination. I knew he was gay (don’t ask how) but my thought was “who cares”. That’s always my thought; if a person isn’t racist or hateful I could care less what they are.

Anyway, he put some of his feelings out there, basically stating his case that he is what he is, other things that he is, and that’s that; you either liked him or you didn’t, but that was that. I thought it was an interesting and powerful post, and it got lots of comments that, unfortunately, he didn’t respond to. Probably too close to him in a way.

So, what’s my explanation for my statement? Because it’s the political season, a presidential political season, and President Obama is going for a second term as president of these United States. And, well, those folks who didn’t vote for him are of two minds. One, he doesn’t really count as black, and two, black people only voted for him because he’s black.

I’ve heard it over 4 years, and it’s starting up again. I could make the argument that all things being equal Obama just might be way more qualified than Romney for the job, but it wouldn’t make much difference. Frankly, I hate getting into those types of political discussions because neither side is going to convince the other, and it won’t be long until either I’m being accused of voting one way “because” or I’m having to say their voting against “because”.

And then a friend of mine wrote something on Facebook Friday night that made me feel good. So of course I’m sharing it here:

For those of you who are proud of having Obama as the first African American president don’t allow people to make you feel bad about it. You have every right to your feelings. Stop letting folks make you feel like you are wrong for doing so. Stop letting folks pigeon hole you and try to attack your intelligence because you like Obama. Don’t allow folks to try and make you feel that you are incapable of making informed decisions because you like Obama. Especially don’t let anybody insult your intelligence by saying the only reason you voted for him is because you are black. Your intelligence and ability to make decisions runs much deeper than that.

We still live in a time where black folks are still having firsts after what over 400 years in this country. The first black president, the first black mayor in a town, the first black governor in a state, the first black legislator in a state and the list goes on. We are still having firsts. Having a love of your own does not mean you hate someone else. Be proud of who you are. Peace

Yes, that’s how I’ve been feeling since 2008. I wasn’t going to vote for Obama because he was black; I was a Hillary Clinton fan. But when all was said and done I wasn’t voting for McCain – Palin and that was that. But the accusations… I don’t back down from those kinds of fights in person but online, it’s an argument that makes no sense to have.

So it’s been stated, I fully agree and feel vindicated, and that’s that. If I don’t have to deal with any stupid mess from this point until the election I won’t be talking politics here. If I do, as I had to do late in October 2008, I’ll do it, but man, please let’s hope I don’t have to go there again.

Yeah, I’m black. With some Cherokee & some other southern tribe as well; none of us are totally one thing, right? đŸ™‚
 

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My Top 10 Twitter Social Recommendations

There are a lot of lists around that tell you who’s the top this or that. Most of the time you see the same names over and over with no real imagination or forethought on just what those things mean.

Day One Hundred Twenty Nine
Dustin Diaz via Compfight

Yes, I’m trying to get onto some lists; I’ll tell you that right now. I’ve said on more than one occasion that influence helps you get places, but if people are overlooking you, even if you’re doing well, then it’s interrupting your opportunity to play the real game of life.

It was with this in mind that I saw another top 50 list last week of people you should be following on Twitter. I knew many of the names but I checked out many others. Sure, they have high Twitter follower counts, but they don’t talk to anyone; what fun is that? With 5 blogs and a host of social media outlets I could be posting something different probably every hour of the day for close to a year without repeating myself. It might even boost my influence to a degree but would that make me a great social media or Twitter person to follow? Don’t you see Twitter as a place where it might be nice to talk to someone here and there and know that they’ll talk back to you?

That’s what I’m bringing you today. The 10 people on this list aren’t all the most loquacious folks in the world, but they talk to people, share conversations, and in their own way get involved. I’ll tell you up front that all of them aren’t for everyone, but all are intriguing in their own way and will talk to you. And yes, I’ve talked to all the people on this list, and some of the names will stun you but hey, today’s my day for name dropping. đŸ™‚

By the way, I’m not hyperlinking the Twitter links, but if you use Firefox did you know that you can highlight the link, right-click, then tell it to either open the link in another tab or window? The things you can learn from blogs!

In no particular order, along with their Twitter links:

Beverly Mahone http://www.twitter.com/bevmahone – I’ve written about Beverly often here and even did an interview with her here. She’s a marketing person who’s talked to some very famous names, including a name that’s on this list, and I’m in two of her books.

Frank Woodman Jr http://www.twitter.com/kstaxman – Frank is an accountant based in the Midwest, but he not only shares lots of links, he’ll talk to you, and real conversations. We’ve had some interesting conversations that have lasted hours.

TS Meyers http://www.twitter.com/warweasel82 – I’ve known this guy for almost 15 years; ouch! We met through Usenet and did email conversations, ICQ and other chat programs, and now talk all the time on Twitter. He works the overnight shift at a facility in Nebraska, and since I stay up late he’s almost always around. And he’s brilliant; you won’t put anything over on him.

Bev Thomas http://www.twitter.com/kaijuisme – I’ve known Bev since I got into the internet, also meeting her in a newsgroup back in 1996. She’s wonderful but very political, and very liberal. She pulls no punches so if you’re on the other side you won’t like it much. She’s also brilliant; lawyer, IT, accounting… multiple degrees, been on both sides of the country, karate… If I could only get her to eat more. lol

Kathy Ireland http://www.twitter.com/kathyireland – Yes, that Kathy Ireland! She followed me first, which was nice and uplifting, and I had to tell her I had her calendar and pictures from when she was a Sports Illustrated cover model. She’s really taken off and has made her money in brilliant ways as well. Very smart, and she’ll talk to you as well as promote causes on Twitter; just ask Beverly about it.

Jenn Pedde http://www.twitter.com/JPedde – Jenn is a local lady who now lives in NYC but I consider her more of one of us than them. She works as a community manager for 4 large universities on both sides of the country and is really into social media and has given me some interesting perspectives from a younger person on privacy and other things. She runs a weekly Twitter chat for community managers along with…

Kelly Lux http://www.twitter.com/KellyLux – Kelly, another local person who works for Syracuse University as the community manager for the iSchool, whatever that means. lol But she experiments with lots of things social media, travels across the country representing the university in its social media exploits, and what’s really cool is that she was at NASA Headquarters when Curiosity landed on Mars, as she tweeted the event.

Mariel Hemingway http://www.twitter.com/MarielHemingway – Yes, that Mariel Hemingway, and once again I had to tell her I’ve loved her career from way back when she was a little girl… I love Twitter! She also followed me first and has talked to me and a lot of other people and she has her causes as well.

Kelvin Ringold http://www.twitter.com/kelvinringold – Kelvin will be shocked if anyone tells him he’s on this list but he’s a real talker, especially to the ladies. lol He’s all about positivity and motivation, has a daily newsletter on positivity, and will talk to you if you reach out to him.

Randolph Harris http://www.twitter.com/RandolphHarris – I have to admit I don’t know Randolph all that well but he’s another young guy who will talk to you about almost anything. He’s in Cali which means he’s another late night guy I can talk to; I really need to learn how to go to bed earlier sometimes. lol

There you go. You can follow many other people who will never interact with you or you can talk to some people who will talk to you and you might actually learn something. “And that’s all I have to say about that” – Forrest Gump
 

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Spam Settings On My Blogs

Last week I talked about adding Akismet back on one of my blogs to help in my fight against spam and Brian Hawkins had a post on his blog about crazy things people do to control spam, impugning my wondrous reputation by griping about something I do (LOL) on this blog. Regardless, we all end up having to deal with spam in one fashion or another.

Agent [smith]
[martin] via Compfight

Some people do some crazy things, as Brian stated, but I find the majority of people don’t know what they can do to fight some of the spam at least. Therefore, I thought I’d share what I have set up on my blog under the Discussion settings area and then talk about my settings in the GASP plugin, since I’ve already talked about AkismetIf you don’t know about the Settings / Discussion area this is a good time to go there and follow along as I tell you why I’ve set up what I’ve done.

The first thing you see are the default article settings. I have all of mine checked, but if you use the GASP plugin and have unchecked the box saying to block all trackbacks, the middle choice makes no difference. If you don’t want comments on your blog you can uncheck the last box.

Next we have other comment settings. I have checked the first one, which should be standard for everyone.

I don’t want people logging into my blog so that’s unchecked. Actually, back a few years ago it was recommended that you don’t allow people to register on your blog because some folks knew how to then break into the rest of your blog once they had gained even a modicum of access. The new CommentLuv Premium gives owners the option of allowing it to have access to more posts, but I still wouldn’t recommend doing it.

I have the box checked talking about automatically closing comments on posts and I’ve added the number 720 in the final box, which is just under 2 years. Many spammers target old posts and I figure that people can read them but two years is long enough for someone to discover them and comment on them.

The next box I have checked and I’ve added 9 into the box, though many people only have it set at 4. I hope for extended conversation but I’ve never reached 9. By the way, this doesn’t work for all blog themes, so you might have to add a plugin to get it to work correctly. For this theme, which is older, I had to add the Threaded Comments plugin, but for all my other blogs this works fine.

I have the final box unchecked, which means that if I end up with more than 50 comments they’ll continue on the same page instead of turning it into more than one page. Frankly, it can be confusing going to a blog and seeing that there are a bunch of comments yet not seeing them. I think it messes up continuity, so I have it turned off.

I’m skipping the email me whenever and going to the next one, before a comment appears. I have both unchecked because frankly I hate moderation and thus I won’t do it to anyone else. Now, some folks are probably saying “hey, my comment ended up in moderation”; we’ll get to that.

Next up is comment moderation. I don’t have anything in the main box here and I’ll tell you why. To me, why would I want to add words or domain names or numbers to have things go into moderation, or the pending area? Anything that goes into moderation might as well go into the spam filter so I can review everything in there. Now, this used to be an easier decision when you could approve a comment directly out of the spam area but since WordPress took that option away and sends comments to the pending area instead (a stupid move people), you might decide to have some things go into pending instead, since now you have duplication of effort. Having said that, I do have a 1 in the box about links, so if you add a link it does head to moderation.

Soldier from 1 Yorks on Patrol in Afghanistan
UK Ministry of Defence via Compfight

The final thing I’m going to talk about here is the comment blacklist space. This is where you can list words or urls or IP addresses, which are those numbers under each comment you see in the Admin area of comments, and if the comments have any of these associated with them they’ll automatically go to the spam filter. What I’ve done is added a few specific words that I know are spam since I’d never write about any of that stuff here, and I’ve added lots of IP addresses.

This part bothers Brian a little bit because there’s a lot you’ll end up having to do, but there is a shortcut. For instance, there are some IPs that send you multiple comments but rotate the third and fourth set of numbers. I’ve taken care of that by logging just the first two numbers, and from that point anything that comes in with the first two sets of numbers automatically goes into spam. That’s ended up saving lots of time.

Okay, let’s talk about the GASP plugin settings briefly, since I know most people just go with the defaults. I left many defaults so I’m only going to talk about the things I’ve changed.

First, I’ve unchecked the box for trackbacks, which I mentioned earlier. Yeah, I know that it offers a way for others to let you know they’ve written about you but there’s no real SEO benefit to it and it’s how spammers can really bombard your blog. I unchecked it during a time period when I was averaging nearly 20 spam messages an hour that were all trackback spam; ugh!

The big one, the most controversial I suppose, is the next to last box, which says Maximum number of words allowed in name field. I’ve put 2 in there, which seems to be throwing a lot of commenters into the spam filter, and those are the folks who believe they’re being moderated. Sorry but that’s staying, and we’ll just have to hope that I pull your comments out of the spam box. The overwhelming number of spam that comes in is keyword spam, and most of those keywords are 3 or more words. Most people either go with one name or first and last name. A few of you have decided to add your initial; that’s on you. Also, some of you continue to add keywords to the end of your name because some people offer the Keyword plugin; I don’t. I used to take the time to remove all of that but now it’s rare I’ll remove it, especially if you’re a return commenter. At least now you know why I do it.

That’s that. I didn’t think it would turn out to be this long but there you are. If this is new stuff to you then it’s worth it. If it’s something you hadn’t thought about in awhile then it’s also worth it. And if you don’t like it… LOL!
 

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I Found A Dream; Now The Goals…

Back on August 12th I shared a post here talking about my friend Rasheed and his living his dream of driving around the country, meeting people he’s known for years. At that time I said that I didn’t have a dream, and that I needed to work on finding one.

Just about 3 weeks later I think I’ve come across a dream. No, I know I’ve decided on a dream, because it’s strong, it’s big and audacious, it’s crucial, and I know if I apply, work hard, accept opportunity and make myself more vulnerable than I’ve been in the past I can get it done.

Vulnerable, I hear you asking? Actually yes, and once again this came from Rasheed. During our in-person meeting, he started telling me about a woman he saw in person named BrenĂ© Brown, who gave a talk on the subject of vulnerability. He tried explaining it to me and I have to admit that I didn’t get it. I didn’t argue it with him all that much because he was having problems explaining it to me. But once I saw the video, which is about 20 minutes, I got it, and I had to agree that it’s probably one of the most important business worthy and personal worthy presentations I’ve ever seen, and needed to see. Here’s the video:

If you didn’t watch it, shame on you. I’ll give you this much of it though. In essence, the biggest problem most of us have is marketing and sales. BrenĂ© states that every person that’s succeeded at anything has had to make themselves vulnerable to the possibility of being hurt. That’s because no one succeeds on their own, but you have to view it in more ways than one.

If you work for yourself, like I do, it means you have to market in some way. You either sell yourself to potential customers or to those who know how to make contacts so you can work and get paid for it. Even if you create things you need to sell yourself to someone so that you can sell your products. And it’s not easy because we have to be willing to be vulnerable, to get our feelings hurt, and to try again. And it’s easier to do if you have a dream and a goal worth achieving.

So, back to the dream. I’m not going to tell you what the actual dream is, though I could. And strangely enough, it’s not because of a conversation I had with my buddy Mitch Allen, who believes that no one should tell anyone anything about their dreams because studies have shown that when people put their dreams out to the public they don’t come true. Truthfully, other studies have shown that people not afraid to share their dreams will succeed, so that’s null and void.

I’m not sharing the dream because that’s not what’s important. “When” I attain the dream in the time I’m allowing myself to reach the dream, it’ll be more satisfying talking about it then. I’m giving myself a year to reach this dream. It’s a big, audacious hairy dream. It’s a six-figure dream. And I know I can reach it, track record or not.

So why am I writing about the dream if I’m not going to tell you what it is?

Two reasons for now. One, because I want to share my thought process, things I’ve been putting together, things I feel must be considered as I work towards this dream. If you have thoughts about setting plans for attaining your dreams and goals, something like this could benefit you. Or you might look at it and say “man, that’s just too much”; at least you’ll have something to compare it to. Two, because it’s possible that you, the public, will end up helping me reach my dreams while I help you reach your dreams, and frankly, my thinking is that the more people willing to take some chances, becomes a bit more vulnerable, and go after their dreams and goals at the same time is inspiring enough.

And let’s get this out of the way. Even if I don’t hit my dream exactly the process and forward thinking towards the dream is still a good thing. Jack Canfield talks about his goal of making $100,000 the first year of marketing his Chicken Soup book and making $92,000 or so instead. He wasn’t disappointed in that because it was more money than he’d ever made in his life to that point. That’s what we’re after here; who’s with me?

Here’s the thinking process, things that need to be considered:


paul (dex) bica via Compfight

1. Defining why I want the dream and what it will mean to me long term.

2. Defining how much money I need to shoot for to accomplish the dream and still take care of my present bills. Break down how much has to be earned monthly, weekly, and daily, possibly hourly.

3. Define how I’ll physically take care of myself. I must remember to take my medication and I must workout.

4. Define when I’ll work and rest. This one’s important because I don’t take enough time out to rest or workout or even eat, and if I don’t take care of me, I won’t be able to take care of anything.

5. Define all the ways I can make money, prioritize them, plan the marketing and sales and to whom and how.

6. Define if I need an accountability team or partner. This one is a crapshoot because it would be nice to talk to people who decide to join in on coming up with a dream and then setting up a once a week video call on Skype or Hangout to work on encouraging each other. Support systems are always nice.

7. Define all the people I already know that I need to contact in some fashion and then figure out which other industries and people I need to be contacting.

8. Continue with the things I do now that help market myself and brings in some money, which includes blogging of course. No, I will not give up blogging. As a matter of fact, it’s my intention within the next year to suddenly be in the mix of names that people mention when they start talking about the most influential bloggers in the world. That, of course, will depend a lot of those of you who stop by and read and comment, and I thank those of you who do it now.

9. Define what I do now that doesn’t get me closer to the dream and determine if it’s worth continuing with it. That one’s going to be tough to figure out because it borders on thinking about what wastes time versus what brings me a little bit of mental comfort and joy even for a few minutes.

10. Define how I can help others that help me. Did I mention that this isn’t something one does alone? I’ve always put out the offer that I’m willing to help others. Anything long will require payment but truthfully, sometimes people won’t accept help they don’t pay for.

I’m going to get this done, or I’m going to work myself to the bone trying to get there. I already have a goal charting system to work with; I just have to define everything else, stay on point, maximize my time and get to it. Everything truthfully starts on Tuesday, as the holiday is Monday (Labor Day to those not in the country), but I’ve already put a few things together in preparation; never wait until the last minute where your dream is concerned.

That’s it. I wish me luck, and I wish you luck in reaching for your dreams and goals as well.
 

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Posting Times On Social Media?

I’ve always been someone who has given a lot of thought into when I should have my posts show up on Twitter and on other social media platforms. I really didn’t have anything to go on so I used my own judgment.

21-06-10 Cause I'd Rather Pretend I'll Still Be There At The End ~ Explored #1
Î’ethan via Compfight

For the last 2 years I’ve had the posts on my blog go live between 9 and 10AM Eastern Standard time. In my way of thinking, it would be the time that most people on the East Coast, where I live, would be alert, probably already at work or have started their working day and have some energy.

Then, later in the evening or early morning, I find myself reposting my links to Twitter, often between midnight and 1AM, trying to reach a second audience that I figure is either on the West Coast or in other countries that might just be coming alert or waking up.

Anyway, these were my preconceived notions. I never had any data. Now I do, as this post on Kissmetrics titled An In-Depth Look at the Science of Twitter Timing was kind of illuminating. In essence, the person who wrote the article found some statistics that pretty much blew my mind.

The article is mainly about Twitter but in my mind if it works on Twitter it probably works on other sites as well. The main thing it stated is that 80% of the American audience on Twitter is in Eastern and Central time zones; that’s just wild! It also stated that based on user patterns, the majority of people who are apt to read and retweet posts do it between noon and 6PM, but that 5PM is the best time of all.

Talk about something that freaked my mind out. I’ve never thought about posting in the afternoon as a strategy. My mind said that’s when people were looking to go home from work and thus would be otherwise engaged. But numbers don’t lie, do they?

What to do, what to do… Well, that’s the blessing of having multiple blogs, isn’t it? Since I have 4 blogs that are the most regular, I’m going to split the times up better so I can do my own testing. I’m not sure as I write this, which is about 2 weeks in advance, of which blogs will post when. I do know that this particular blog’s feed goes out around 7PM every time I write a post, so I’ll have to take that into consideration.

What do you think of some of these stats? And if you’re in other parts of the world, do you think they’ll hold true for you as well?
 

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