All posts by Mitch Mitchell

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

What Will You Do For More Followers?

Once again it’s video time. The premise is simple, but I’ll lay it out in words, then let the video take over from there.

Those of you who read this blog know that I’ve talked often about the concept of influence. In my mind, influence brings you so much more than when people have no idea who you are. Influence is money; influence can be power, or at least having enough pull to get things done positively or negatively. When people trust you and see you as an authority, there’s nothing that can stop you, not even those people who inevitably won’t like you just because of who you are.

With that in mind, I ask the question and talk about this concept of just what will you do for more followers. This ponies off a conversation I was having with someone who’d canceled another meeting with me, which led me to ask the question about priorities and people, and a response she gave me that I countered later on. That part’s not in the video, but something else is.

So enjoy the video, think about some things I say, then let me and everyone else know what your opinion is. Go ahead; don’t be shy. 🙂


 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Mitch Mitchell

Why You Need To Run Your Antivirus Programs More Often

Taking a break from the blogging posts because I have something serious to bring up. It’s on the topic of computer maintenance. It’s on the topic of running your antivirus programs. And it’s on the topic of trying to be careful with updates.


by Jeffrey Beall via Flickr

Some weeks ago I updated my main computer with what was at the time the most recent Adobe Flash update. Immediately my computer freaked out, and it took me 2 hours to finally figure out how to get rid of it. Actually it should have come to me much sooner, but I was frustrated. What I did was run a system restore, and I went back 2 months prior just to make sure I was going to cover everything. I hadn’t loaded any other programs that I could think of so I wasn’t worried about losing anything.

I ended up having to run it twice. The first time it didn’t take. The second time it said it didn’t take, but when I booted the computer up it said it had restored itself to a previous time, and I’ve had no problems ever since.

So, when a week later the laptop started acting goofy, I said to myself “well, I guess that Adobe flash update is just going to mess with everything.” This time I went to system restore immediately, it said it worked, and I believed everything was fine.

Only everything wasn’t fine. The update was gone but the laptop wasn’t working. Actually it would work for about a minute, then I couldn’t type anything, couldn’t open most programs, and many windows I tried to look at disappeared as soon as I moved my mouse. What was troubling is that when I booted up in safe mode to look around I encountered the same issue; what the hey?

I knew this had nothing to do with Adobe. I knew this was either virus or malware related. But I tried to figure out how it got on my system. I have antivirus software, AVG, and a firewall. I figured I had pretty good protection; what was the deal?

I downloaded Stinger and ran it on the laptop, remembering to load it in that free minute I had. It ran and found nothing; that meant it wasn’t a virus, but malware. I went to look at my AVG program after another reboot. It said that my computer wasn’t fully protected, and to click some box to fix it. I clicked the box and it did its thing then said “fixed”.

I then looked at it and saw that it hadn’t run a scan of the laptop in 5 months; oy! I thought about that because my main computer runs a scan once a week, and I realized the problem is that I always have my main computer on but my laptop I might run an hour a day, if that.

Also, I tend to take more chances on the laptop than I do on my main computer, doing more surfing because my main computer is used for most of my writing and emailing. Bad idea, especially when I didn’t have all my protections on.

This time, I didn’t have to reboot to run the virus scan. I put it on the strongest setting, told it to scan the entire computer, and it did its thing. Turns out I had 78 pieces of malware and tracking cookies on the laptop; ouch! AVG cleaned them all out. Then, just to make sure it was all good, I went online and ran an online virus scan of the laptop, just to see if it found anything; all good.

The next night I ran Spybot, since I was up until 3:15 in the morning trying to fix the laptop (I spent 4 hours on it; ouch), and it found nothing new. That means AVG did its thing, and it taught me a very important lesson, one I knew already for my main computer but one I hadn’t thought about for the laptop. Make sure to scan your system at least once a week if you use your laptop or computer even once. It’s just a smart thing to do.
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Mitch Mitchell

The State Of Blogging

Is blogging dying? It is if you read some posts by those people who consider themselves pundits. They say that people have so many other options these days that many people are dropping the concept of blogging in favor of all these other ways of connecting with their potential clients.

That’s convoluted thinking for two reasons.

One, even though a study from last year indicated that major companies have cut back on their blogging by around 45%, small and independent business blogging has actually grown 72% since 2004. And just how many more businesses do you believe there are that are small or individual businesses as compared to large businesses? There’s no valid figure but it’s estimated that for every large business with at least 500 employees there are 5,000 smaller businesses; at least a 10 to 1 ratio.

Two, if you’ve ever been on Twitter or Google+ or LinkedIn, what do you see being shared more often than anything else? Blog posts, that’s what, and usually not the blog posts of that person, which is a strange conundrum if you ask me. I do share links to other blog posts that I like, but I also make sure I’m putting my own links out there for people to see. I’d be an idiot if I didn’t take advantage of a little bit of self promotion here and there. Still, those who don’t blog, or even those who do, are sharing a lot of blog posts, moreso than news posts. Only on Facebook do you see sharing of a different sort as the norm.

My belief is that blogging is changing for some entities, which is where the belief that it’s dying is coming from. As more companies try to get into social media, where they feel they can present their marketing message better, the largest companies believe that blogging in their own space doesn’t help them as much. I don’t believe that’s true, but that part has certainly happened. It’s too bad since studies have shown that companies large and small that have the CEO or a top company representative with a regular blog are trusted by more customers and thus have a positive impact on the minds of those consumers.

Blogging is the best way to get your message out the way you want it to be. And if you have any kind of audience that respects what you have to say, that audience is probably sharing your message with someone. Blogging dying; in your dreams!
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Mitch Mitchell

The Images Issue And Getty Images

Last week was interesting for many reasons, but one was somewhat troubling.

One of my clients called me up saying she’d received a letter from Getty Images saying she owed them $800 for using one of their images. Since there were only 4 images on her site and two of them were of her and her business, I thought it was kind of a crank.

What it turned out to be was an image that was embedded in the free WordPress theme that I’d put on her site because the colors matched up with her site nicely. Most of the time I use this theme that I can customize, but this one seemed to do the trick.

Anyway, turns out that the image in the header was a copyrighted image. Whether the creator got permission to use it or not I have no idea, but supposedly even if that person had the right to use it, no one else has the right to use it, even though all of us downloaded the themes with the impression that all was right with the world.

In any case I called the guy at Getty, who was relatively nice but clueless. I gave him a website that showed the theme I downloaded, which is one of many. He said I should go after the people I downloaded the theme from; that was six months ago so that’s not happening since I can’t remember. I told him that it’s not everyone else’s fault if they downloaded a free theme, something that probably happens at least tens of thousands of times a day, and he said copyright is copyright.

We said a few other things to each other, which I’m going to leave alone for now, but I told him my client wasn’t paying and I wasn’t paying and if everyone he was now going to try to contact, since this site listed that 570 people had downloaded the image, got lawyers and decided to fight back that the company would find out soon enough that it wasn’t worth going after so many innocent people. That plus if they thought that one image was worth over $450,000 (just from this one site) they were out of their minds.

It does point out the issue of trying to make sure that images you use can be used on your sites or blogs. I usually go to Flickr if I don’t have an image of my own, and yet last week I also was contacted by someone whose image I used on one of my blogs. I gave attribution as I was supposed to, but this guy said I was supposed to link back to their website. I said there wasn’t anything showing that on his page and he said they were limited in space by Flickr. I said I’d followed the terms as listed on Flickr, but I was going to just remove the article because I wasn’t in the mood to link back to their site. And trust me, my site was easily ranked higher than theirs, so irking me did them no good.

What’s your thoughts on all of this? Meanwhile, my Hot Blog Tips Hangout crew explored this very issue, as well as the topic of free vs. paid themes, and here’s the video if you’re interested in checking out a bit of it:


 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Mitch Mitchell

10 Writing Tips In 2 Minutes

Three weeks ago I wrote a quick post here giving 10 blog tips that could be read in 2 minutes or less. Seems that was the 3rd most popular post written in the last 30 days; figures right? I figured that I write about more than blogging around here, and that I’d take a shot and see if I could do the same type of thing regarding writing. Embrace your writing like the kid in the picture has. lol Anyway, let’s see if it can be done (of course it can be done):

1. When the mood hits you, write as much as you can. You can always edit, and you might end up with more than one post or article.

2. Watch your nouns and adverbs. Some are okay, but go overboard and you risk the power of your message.

3. Spell check is your friend; use it.

4. Punctuation is your other friend; don’t forget about semicolons.

5. If you believe you can’t think of anything to write think about your last 6 waking hours. There’s always a tale somewhere in there.

6. Write in your own voice. If you try to sound too smart or too perfect your message will come across very stale.

7. When you’ve finished writing, if you need to read it out loud to yourself; mistakes tend to stand out better that way.

8. Long posts are fine but don’t keep repeating the same message over and over. If you said it once, leave it be and move on.

9. Never forget to give attribution to your inspiration, otherwise someone might think you’ve plagiarized them.

10. Don’t over-think. Write the best way you know how, feel your words, and others will feel them as well.
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Mitch Mitchell