All posts by Mitch Mitchell

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

Post #1,300, And On Friday To Boot

What a great way to end the weekend, with a monument post. This is #1,300, and it took me just over 5 months to get there. I had said I was going to slow down some, and based on what’s occurred I can’t see me writing 300 posts this year. Still, I’m on pace for 240 posts on the year, and that’s still saying something, though I’m not holding myself to that number. Whether it’ll end up higher or lower… well, we’ll see.

It’s been an odd last 5 months since we reached #1,200. It’s a period where my traffic dropped drastically because of Google; that’s just how it goes, and of course if you saw yesterday’s post you know how I feel about some of this. It’s a period where only two posts written in it made the top 10 viewed, those being the posts about the Smush-It issue (which was written just a month ago so that’s pretty good) and the one about my biggest issues with social media. It’s a period where I did what I said I was going to do, that being to write my Black Web Friday series and the prediction that traffic wouldn’t support it; man, I hate being correct about that.

It’s a period where I created a custom header for the site, which I like but just can’t seem to get it to want to stay in place. It was a period where most of the posts were on blogging and social media again, but I took some strides forward in talking about marketing, real marketing, which isn’t easy. And it was a period where I wrote some nice motivational posts, something I think we can never get enough of.

That’s what I’ve done. What’s coming? Truthfully, I have no idea. Strange as this sounds, as I write this I really don’t know what’s upcoming here or anywhere else. I’m close to reaching my 1,000th post on my business blog, I just passed #600 on my finance blog, and I’ve still yet to hit 100 posts on either of my other two blogs. Frankly, a part of me is thinking that I need to start concentrating on business as much as I’ve been concentrating on blogging.

This means I could slow down across the board or continue as I’m going and find a business focus that brings in more income so I can keep blogging as much as I want to. The one thing you don’t have to worry about is that I will stop blogging; I still have too much to say and too much to share.

Of course, there’s an intriguing change that’s come because of Google. They’re started ranking and penalizing sites with a couple of things known as Penguin and Panda. This is a landscape changing bit of work, so let’s briefly talk about it.

Penguin is going after sites that have a lot of unnatural links. It’s actually ironic because they’re the ones who created this culture, and most of us have had to deal with people trying to get us to trade links to their sites or write guest posts for us that, mostly, aren’t up to snuff. I know what’s coming; lots of people are going to be scrambling and asking us to remove links that they paid someone to leave; ugh! That’s going to be messy, and none of us really want to deal with that.

Panda is going after sites where it considers that a lot of the content isn’t all that useful. Initially that’s going to be scary because how does one analyze what’s useful? Are we expected to write longer posts or posts that are educational and well researched? Are we not allowed to offer our opinions anymore because, well, how would that be considered useful? Does it change the overall culture of blogging or web content? Finally, do we all acquiesce to the Big G and only write content that satisfies them?

Well… yes and no. What it’s going to take is an observation of rankings of some type. You might have to look more deeply at your traffic figures, like I mentioned above while talking about mine. I’ve gone from one of the highest ranking blogs in the United States to a place I don’t really recognize. I can only hope that I don’t end up having to go back through all 1,300 articles and having to either edit them or rewrite them; what a project that would be! lol

In any case, I hope you stick with me as I enter this next phase of exploration. I think this next 5 months is going to bring great strides; that is, if I can get beyond these Google updates and get some of my traffic back. Now there’s a subject I hope I don’t have to talk about again in the next 100 posts.
 

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Are We Right To Fear “Too Big”

In the last few weeks the names Facebook and Google have come up a lot in conversations around the world. To many it’s for different reasons; to me, it’s for the same exact reason. Yes, it’s time for a minor rant.


by Henri Bergius via Flickr

People have been talking about Facebook for two things; going public and having their stock price not meet expectations, and of course for the privacy issue. For Google, it’s been their Penguin and Panda updates and a changing of SEO rules that have been standard for many years, rules they actually gave to us to follow.

However, what it boils down to in the end is our distrust for entities that have gotten too big, so big that they affect our lives even if we’re not a part of them. For instance, it’s my belief that every person in the U.S. is on either Google or Facebook, whether they know it or not. Either they have voluntarily “outed” themselves to establish a presence online or someone else has outed them. My grandmother never looked at a computer in her life, yet before I mentioned her when she got sick I could look up her name and find at least cursory information on her.

Why do we fear “too big” and should we? I tend to believe we should. After all, “too big” is what’s responsible for us being in the financial mess we’ve been in for the last 6 years, and trust me it’s been 6 years. The mega-banks were responsible for the housing crisis, and those same banks, along with many mega-international banks, were responsible for so many countries having their countries credit ratings drop and have some of those countries go into default.

In some countries Microsoft and Google are considered a monopoly. In this country, AT&T was broken up decades ago because they pretty much monopolized telecommunications, and they’re slowly working their way back into that same position. And have you wondered why so few cable companies control more than 95% of our cable access? Is there anyone in the country that actually has more than one cable choice in their area?

When companies get too big, they tell us it’s in our benefit because they can offer us services to make our lives easier. What we find in reality is that we pay more money for things and that they decide how to control our lives. Without Google being such a big deal, do you really think our traffic would have fallen do drastically over the past year? After all, there are other search engines; does a Google change in algorithms change how they work? And has anyone else noticed that at the same time the initial changes went through that Google reduced the amount they pay on your Adsense account per click?

There has never been a single company that’s grown big that’s benefited anyone. The auto industry needs to have multiple car makers so prices stay relatively low. We need multiple gas stations to help keep gas prices low. We need multiple mobile phone operators to help keep those prices low and offer choices when it comes to the services we want to avail ourselves of. We need multiple airlines so that they’ll compete for our business, even if the government is doing what it can to make air travel unpalatable.

Think about this; why don’t we trust our government, the people we elect to represent us? Because they’re too big, to the point where the majority of people that get elected have no idea what most of us go through because they haven’t been “us” in years, if ever. That goes for all branches of government, even some local town governments, which in my mind we don’t really need because it just means there are more levels of government to deal with and everyone passing the buck when we have specific issues we need addressed.

Unfortunately, I’d have to agree that we do have to worry about “too big”. I’d also have to say that there’s not much we can do about it either. Big government stinks, but look at what the Tea Party has done to it as a small group of politicians. Big cable stinks but look at all the services they can offer as opposed to the other companies that can offer some comparable channels, but nothing like what the big boys can. There aren’t a lot of options when it comes to operating systems for either computers or cellphones, and usually only the one option in a community for landlines.

Ah, but we do have some online options don’t we? There are other search engines, and if we stop catering to Google as much they’ll come around and start treating us fairly. You don’t have to use Facebook, as there are new networking opportunities coming up every day. You don’t have to use Twitter and based on figures an overwhelming number of people who sign up aren’t using it. If there’s the one place all of us really have options, it’s online. Sure, the big boys offer things we can’t get anywhere else as far as completeness goes, but there are multiple companies that offer at least pieces of things we want.

In other words, there are always choices online, and when we start thinking that one company has too much leeway over us we can choose someone else and help them grow. or create something yourself and become the player you were always meant to be.

Just stay humble; otherwise, we’ll have to think about leaving you as well. 🙂
 

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Internet Protection Act

Most of you aren’t used to my writing shorter posts, but I think this one should qualify as that, even if the video adds another 4 1/2 minutes to your pleasure. lol

In New York, there’s something new that’s been introduced in Albany that’s going after anonymous trolls online. It was introduced by two downstate state senators and it’s purpose is to “remove any comments posted on his or her website by an anonymous poster unless such anonymous poster agrees to attach his or her name to the post.”

Serious stuff. What’s my take on it? See below:

Now, what’s your opinion on this?
 

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Social Media And Your Familial Obligations

Although I’ve asked, it’s rare that I actually have someone write me to ask me to give my opinion on something. So this is a special treat, and it comes from our friend Brian Hawkins who asked me to address the topic of whether people should be taking more consideration of their family members when it comes to social media.

It’s an interesting question in this day and age when most of us are at least talking about our worries about privacy, when in essence there’s very little privacy left. Of course, anything we do pretty much means we give away information freely, whether the entity that ends up with it was who we gave it to. But what about our family members?

In almost 1,300 posts (I’ll reach that this week), I’ve mentioned my wife’s name 4 times, and two of those times it was in highlighting her website Li’l Specs. I also only have 6 pictures that include her. I have some other pictures on the blog, few few though, of other family members that I’ve never identified, other than my dad, so in a way I’ve protected their privacy since I know none of them reads my blogs (do family members ever read our stuff?).

On Facebook I only have two pictures of my wife, and I have none on Google+. I do have pictures of my parents, though not many, but since my dad and grandmother are no longer with us I don’t think they’re so worried about their privacy. And I’ve put up some pictures of cousins and other family members, but haven’t come out and identified them as relatives until they did so themselves.

In essence, I’ve been relatively perspicacious in protecting the privacy of my family; what they do for themselves is another matter, but I’m not responsible for that.

I think it’s important to not only protect the privacy of one’s family, unless they okay it, but it’s also important to protect the dignity of one’s family through social media, whether they’re a part of it or not. Have you noticed that whenever someone gets outed on Facebook for doing something stupid or putting up something stupid that it embarrasses the family as much as the person? I was brought up to always protect the Mitchell name and to not embarrass the family, and I’ve worked hard to do just that very thing and still be an individual.

Whereas I don’t expect everyone to think as I do and do as I do, I always try to tell people that their bad behavior doesn’t only affect them. People who bully and are eventually outed impact the entire family. People who commit crimes puts the family at risk, often making them move for no reason other than the hate they now have to share for something their family members did willingly.

Of course there’s always the issue of very close family members and whether they should be connected with each other in social media circles. As much as I’d love my family members to read my blogs, I know quite a few people who write personal blogs that would be appalled if their family members knew they even had a blog. That’s a tough one to get beyond, though not for me.

I know of parents who want to connect with their kids social media accounts so they can see what it is they’re doing. I also know of parents who don’t want to connect with their adult children who do because they’re made to feel guilty if they don’t.

Personally, I’ve never had to deal with this, but it begs the question as to how I’d feel if my mother was connected to my account on Facebook. I can truthfully say this; I’d probably have to delete a bunch of stuff that other people post that shows up on my page because, as I’ve said a few times here, I’ve never seen a movie rated higher than PG with my mother, and never a movie I hadn’t seen beforehand. I’m often stunned at the language family members use with each other, and some of the things one will put up, either child or parent, knowing that the other is connected and will see it.

As I said earlier, I think it’s important to protect one’s family on social media because you never know what someone else might do with that information, no matter what it is. But it’s also a decision one has to make based on how their family handles such matters. Social media really is a great responsibility, as much as it’s a place to have fun and make a lot of connections. Just think about it, and be careful.
 

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Black Web Friday 5/25/12; The Last One

Greetings, and welcome to the last edition of Black Web Friday. I don’t have much to say except that I hope some of the folks I’ve linked to get some traffic, gets a few new commenters, and that it helps some of them to be seen as influential enough in some fashion to finally start making some “best of” lists. I know it’s probably a pipe dream since even most of the people I’ve featured haven’t found out about it, but I like dreaming. If you want to see what started the whole thing, check out the first one.

Black Web Friday

By the way, during this series I didn’t mention it often, but a lot of these people have their own independent businesses as well, so my hope is that if their blogs have been visited that people have taken some time to see what else they do. There’s a lot of unknown talent out there, and if I’ve helped even one person get work, I feel proud of what I’ve done here. Oh, and I hope you don’t mind if I take a brief moment for myself and point you to an interview I did on a site called Credit Card Assist, my first talking about my financial blog. Hey, I’m also a black blogger, right? 🙂

Here we go, and I’ll have more links than usual since it’s my last time.

Demetria Lucas is known as Belle, hence the name of her blog A Belle In Brooklyn. She’s a life coach, but she’s also been named one of the top black bloggers by both The Root and Black Enterprise Magazine, both of whom I’ve been shooting for; sigh… She writes a lot about entertainment and relationships, including answering questions that people send her, something I’ve been thinking about starting. Standard WordPress comment system.

Tami Highbaugh-Abdullah writes the blog Aries GDIM, which stands for Graphic Design & Internet Marketing. Her blog talks mainly about social media, internet marketing and technology, which figures since she’s one of the first people to get a degree in internet marketing. It’s great stuff; one of her latest posts was about Facebook lists, something I never even knew existed. Too bad it’s a Disqus blog, which has prevented me from commenting on it, but at least it’s fun to read from time to time.

Sharon Hurley Hall‘s eponymous blog (by now y’all know what that word means lol) is about writing and blogging, as she’s a professional writer. She doesn’t write a lot but when she does write it’s pretty good stuff. And it’s a standard WordPress comment system.

Regina Baker‘s blog is also named after her, and she writes mainly about marketing, both online and offline because that’s what she does as a consultant. Since I’m the world’s worst marketer, I need to check in on it from time to time to learn more lessons. Standard WordPress commenting system.

Marshawn Evans is hot; she looks good too. lol She’s an attorney who’s become quite the celebrity by showing up on a lot of news stations, magazines, and other media appearances. She writes about media and marketing, and I have to admit I’ve never seen anything that’s needed her legal skills on her blog. There’s a lot of motivational posts as well, geared more towards women but I’ve found that men can get a lot from those teaching women how to empower themselves. She has two ways to comment on her blog, one is Facebook, the other one I’m not sure how to identify, which means it’s not WordPress.

I know someone has to be asking “Hey, where’s the dudes?” Okay, the last one of the day is for Joey Pinkney, and his blog is something a bit different than the norm. Basically what he does is interview people, mainly black authors and writers, as well as doing book reviews. His goal is to help black authors be better known; it’s great to close with his blog since that was a similar quest I’ve had with this series. And it’s a standard WordPress commenting system, although he does have the dreaded captcha on it; oh well, no one’s perfect. 🙂

There you have it, the final edition of Black Web Friday. What will come now? Who knows? For awhile nothing specific, except to try to write as much as I can about things that people find interesting; at least what I hope people find interesting. Please visit these folks, give them some love, and tell them Mitch sent you; then watch them scramble around trying to figure out who Mitch is. lol
 

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