All posts by Mitch Mitchell

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

How Well Do We Know Ourselves?

Here’s how the conversation went:

@JustKissie When people tell you you’ve changed, it’s only because you stopped acting the way they want you to act. #BidTheeFarewell

@Mitch_M Or the way they got used to you acting; just sayin’… 🙂

@JustKissie Either way. They could be who they really are … but we never know the entirety of anyone … so how can we say they changed?

@Mitch_M I think if we know people well enough we know when it’s either them or us; have to really know people though.

@JustKissie Do I smell a blog post coming? Do we even know ourselves?

@Mitch_M Possibly; you writing it? 🙂

@JustKissie WE will write it. You know I write quarterly … if that.

Since I knew the “we” was me, I guess I’m writing it, and it’s this post. To start with, how many of you remember a post I wrote last year titled What Makes People Change? If you didn’t read it, you might want to check it out before going further with this one for some back story.

Anyway, Friday I went to visit my mother for Easter. Yeah, I know Easter was on Sunday, but we knew the crowds would be murder on Sunday so we always do our get together on the Friday before whenever possible.

While there, she’d called and asked the lady who lives across the street from her to come over because Mom had bought a gift for her little girl. So they came over, Mom gave her the gift, and the little girl loved the gift.

We sat and started talking about property values in the area and how they’d dropped since representatives had started trying to sell the house of the man who’d killed his wife, which was right next door to this woman. As we kept talking, we weaved through a history that each of us had with this man and it seems that my mother and I, for the most part, had a very different history and knowledge of this man than Mom’s neighbor did. The only thing I knew that was confirmed by this neighbor is that this man was doing cocaine; that was the easy part.

It seems this man actually had a very violent history, all while living across the street from Mom. He’d actually physically hurt all 4 of his wives (I only knew of 2, Mom knew of 3) and that one of his wives actually had to do one of those midnight special moves when he was out of town to get her and her daughter away from him and go into hiding; shocking stuff.

While it was shocking to see just how little my mother and I knew about some of the demons of this man, the conversation above with Miss Kissie made me start to think about just how little most of us know about ourselves, or are willing to accept about ourselves. Would we become different people if we were suddenly rich or poor? Would our behavior change drastically if suddenly we were famous or powerful? What about our behavior would change if one of our friends suddenly had some of these things and we weren’t as much a part of their lives anymore? Would we be jealous; would we be happy?

I guess overall I’m kind of lucky because I’ve spent a lot of time being introspective. I have no jealousy or envy of others, no matter what they do. I might want to emulate success, but I don’t begrudge anyone their good fortune, whether I believe they deserve it or not.

I almost never think anyone owes me anything unless I’m accused of not doing enough when I feel I’ve done all I’ve needed to do. If people never acknowledge that I’ve done something good for them, I’m okay with it, although it would be nice.

Could I kill? Well now, that’s the interesting question to respond to isn’t it? I have to answer it this way; I probably could depending on the circumstances. If I had to kill to save my life or the lives of those I love, yes. For any other reason I believe I can say no, but that’s after I learned to control some aspects of my younger behavior that I wasn’t overly proud of. Hopefully there are negative aspects of our childhood that we change as we get older. If those are the attributes that people look at and say we’ve changed, I think most of us would be happy with it.

One final thing, addressing my friend Kissie’s question as to whether we can say people have changed if we don’t know their entirety. My response would be of course we can. I knew a musician friend of mine had changed many years ago when he started doing cocaine, even though I only saw him every few weeks. I didn’t need to know his entirety to notice that.

I’ve known people I’ve worked with who were timid and quiet that, over time, became a lot more vocal and stood up for themselves. I don’t need to know their entirety, to know if that’s how they were in their real life to know they’ve changed at work.

It takes perception to notice changes in others. It takes bravery to notice changes in yourself. My longest friends will probably tell you that I’m the same as I was in my late teens. In some ways yes, but in some ways I’m not even close. I sometimes think we’re harder on ourselves than others are on us. Sometimes that’s not such a bad thing if it propels us to try for great things.
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Mitch Mitchell

An Epic Battle; There Will Be Songs…

Some of you know that I have a major aversion to bugs. I don’t care whether you want to call them insects, arachnids, pests, or anything else I hate them. I don’t care that they pollinate flowers or that they feed other nasty flying things that do whatever with the ecology, they can all just leave and get away from me. At the very least they can stay out of the house or other places, which leads us to this epic tale I tell on this Easter Sunday. Not being the religious type, I thought I’d regale you with a tale of glory and honor; be amused.


by Liz Henry via Flickr

Last Monday I was driving home from an evening out. The sun was setting and all seemed beautiful in the car. That is, until I heard the unmistakable sound of a loud buzzing to my left. Since to my left was my closed window, I knew this couldn’t be good. I have great peripheral vision so I expanded my field of vision and saw something large by my shoulder.

In my past I’ve driven off the road whenever I’ve encountered something in my car, or even if it might be outside of the car. I don’t even like looking at bugs, so my response has always been to jerk away first and ask questions later. But I’ve worked on that over the last few years, realizing that the last thing I need is to have a heart attack because of some stupid bug and having people laugh at me while I’m laying in a hospital bed.

In my brief yet controlled panic I pushed the button on the car door to lower the window. It slid down and I braced the steering wheel just to make sure I stayed on the road. Once the window was down I noticed that Mr. Bug, and I knew it was some kind of wasp, seemed to be hanging onto the rubber at the bottom of the window. Eventually though, it blew away, and all was right with the world as I raised my window. I applauded my bravery, then wondered if it had actually gone outside the window. The back window of my car doesn’t lower, otherwise I’d have lowered both. However, I heard nothing, and when I got home & took a quick look I saw nothing; all was right with the world.

That is, until Wednesday, when I’m driving home from a lunch outing. I hear that same familiar buzzing in the back, and looking into my rearview mirror I spot the monster beast on the back window.

Now I’m panicked because the back window doesn’t go down, I’m on a regular street instead of a highway with no place to pull over because I’m in the wrong lane, and I’m wondering if it remembers how I tried to get it to leave a couple of nights earlier.

Eventually I find my way to a parking lot, stop the car and jump out. I now have to look and indeed, the ugly beast is there on the window near the top. My first thought seems brilliant; open the back door and it’ll just fly away. I open the back window; nothing. It’s not leaving; what the hey? I thought bugs liked being outdoors; not this one.

Now I figure I have to find a way to get it to go. I start knocking on the window with my hand, which, for me, is still fairly brave even if it’s on the other side of the glass because I always imagine these things somehow have the powers of The Flash and can vibrate through solids. My hand knocking does nothing except make my knuckles hurt.

Time to find something else to help me. I decide to go to the trunk for my snow brush, something anyone living in the north has, and I have an extra long red metal one. I come back around and start knocking on the window with the brush; nothing doing. I realize I’m going to have to knock the sucker off the window, so steeling myself to what I know will be an attack of retaliation, I start swatting at the thing with the brush side. What it does is crawls up further into the rubber where I can’t reach it; oh come on!

Time for more desperate measures. I need spray. I go to the trunk and start looking around, only to discover I have no spray of any kind. What happened to my window cleaner? What happened to the can of compressed air I always kept for emergencies (remembered later I used it a couple of years ago; guess I’d best replace that). I don’t even have any bottled water to try to throw at it; what am I going to do.

The genius in me finally hits. I have a small can of car smell spray that I bought at Bath & Bodywords. Actually, I’m not sure if it’s for the car, but it’s what I use it for, every once in a while, spraying the rugs in the car; I love scents.

But this was war. I also knew the range wasn’t that great, so I might have to get closer, and without gloves and with shaky hands, this was going to be risky. I get my little can, go into the cave of the horror, and start spraying. The first few hits get all over the window; the fourth one hits the monstrosity, and for the first time it leaves its lair. I hit it a few more times; it doesn’t like the spray. Then suddenly it launches itself, and as I duck I see its bulk heading off somewhere away from me.

I quickly close the back door, jump into the car, close my door and raise my window, take a quick look to make sure it’s not going to try to follow me, and take off. I’m winding the car around in the parking lot to confuse it, then I drive home; isn’t that how you’re supposed to shake a tail?

I get home, close the garage door, listen for the sound of buzzing, and realize that I, a mere mortal man, faced off against a dangerous foe and came out the victor as it beat a hasty retreat. I thought about it for a brief moment, then realized that I could state the famous Klingon battle cry, “There will be songs forever sung of this day.”

I’m just waiting to see who’s going to write the song for me. 🙂
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Mitch Mitchell

Black Web Friday – 4/6/12

Yes, it’s the 12th week (thanks Carl) of Black Web Friday, and I think it’s going to be another great week of highlights. Since I wrote about Dr. King on Wednesday I don’t really have a lead in this week, so let’s get right to it.

Black Web Friday

Alexis Kenne’s website is named after him (I’ll use that “E” word later probably) and he talks about making money online; I’m trying to remember if I’ve featured anyone that specifically does that yet. He accepts guest posts, so if you’re looking for an opportunity to spread your fame his might be one of the places to go. I will say that he’s more of a facilitator on his blog than a content writer, since his last original post seems to be from December, but that doesn’t negate that there’s pretty good content there from others. As a matter of fact, one I know our buddy Beverly would like was on adding press releases to your marketing; I still need to work on that one. His blog offers both the traditional WordPress way of commenting and Facebook commenting.

I mess with her from time to time, but Evelyn Parham‘s eponymously named blog (see, told you I’d use it) talks a lot about eating healthier; actually, eating like a vegan, which we all know I’m not about to do. lol She was highlighted in my very first post on black bloggers in December 2010, and gets more love because she’s got a lot of content on this subject as well as staying healthy in general. She also deviates here and there and talks about internet stuff because, probably like me, it’s intriguing, and we just can’t stop ourselves sometimes. Of course I have to say I’m still not drinking any smoothies! It’s a traditional WordPress commenting blog.

Deeone Higgs writes a blog called Releasing Me Today and it’s a blog geared towards motivation and making you feel good; man, do I need a lot of motivation and good feelings these days. He calls himself a life apprentice and spirit encourager; can’t be mad at that. There’s a lot of nice content about life lessons and moving forward, and who couldn’t use more of that these days? Once again, traditional WordPress commenting system.

Kesha Brown writes the blog Confessions Of An Uncommon Chick and in a lot of ways reminds me of me and this blog. That’s because she writes about whatever she wants to write about and does very well in that vein. You might get a post on motivation or on movies or on internet stuff or even about her; nothing wrong with that. She states that her goal in life is to be happy; I’m feeling that. She uses a cool customized theme, but it’s a traditional WordPress blog commenting system; a 4-0 sweep this week!
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Mitch Mitchell

Dr. King Would Feel Better

Today marks the 44th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. It seems that I make this almost an annual thing on both this blog and my business blog, where today I wrote on the topic of 5 Things Dr. King Wouldn’t Be Happy About. Last year on this blog I wrote on what I saw was a different take on things concerning the date and how little things have changed.

I’m slightly modifying that this year. I’m modifying it because of what’s been going on the last couple of weeks, and how it signifies, in some way, just how things have changed.

I’m talking about the Trayvon Martin case in Florida and all that’s happened because of it. Unfortunately there’s still no real resolution of what’s gone on down that way. The guy who killed him is still out of jail, and police chief has temporarily stepped aside, and the police are trying to make out like this kid was the instigator of his own demise; police will be police I’m afraid.

There’s been a major movement in this country over this case, and what’s fascinating about it is that no one has been killed over it. There hasn’t been any riots. Cities across the country have held some kind of rally in support of this kid, even here in Syracuse. It’s talked about almost every night on the news, both national and local.

Back in 1968, Martin’s story wouldn’t have made the news anywhere. No one put anything about black people on the news unless it was something major. Back in 1968, after Dr. King was killed, people went on a rampage all over the country. The police and military went on alert. For days it was scary, even for us little kids. I lived in the suburbs so I was isolated, but from what I hear things were tense in the city, though I’m not sure if there were riots or not; that had happened years earlier.

People are actually talking this time around. The conversation is about racism in general. The conversation is about guns and the rights of gun owners. The conversation is about youth culture and profiling; come on now, hoodies? The conversation is about the difference between protecting oneself and stalking and provoking someone into action so you can feel justified in killing them. The conversation is about how the police sometimes cover things up. The conversation is about a search for truth, justice, and the American way; yes, I had to work a Superman quote in there.

This is how things should happen. We should all be able to talk about things we don’t like, talk about things that scare us, talk about change, talk about difficult topics in the open. True, it’s not happening everywhere. Goodness, I’m surprised to find so many people who, when I mention it, say “Who?” Now there’s a level of oblivion I’ll never understand.

And it’s in this spirit that I write my Black Web Friday series going right now. It offers the chance for people to get to know each other and open a conversation. It offers the chance for all of us to grow together.

The first link above talks about what Dr. King might not be happy about. I think he’d be happy that for once people are talking peacefully; that’s never a bad thing.
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Mitch Mitchell

My Twitter Strategy, Courtesy Of Adrienne

By the title, if you’re in the know you know that the inspiration for this post comes courtesy of our friend Adrienne Smith, who wrote a post that I commented on last week titled My Secret Twitter Strategy. I’m not going to reveal her specific strategy, since she took the time to create this neat little video about it, but I will say that there’s a bit of automation, if you will, taking place that helps her out.

In my case, I can’t quite say I have a lot of automation, but I have a brief bit. I do use technology, but it’s certainly not automated. Also, it takes a lot more time for what are results less than what she gets, but I think the important thing is having a strategy to begin with.

My first strategy is that every single blog post I write or have, if you will, goes to Twitter automatically. I thought about the question of whether to create separate accounts for each blog and decided my mind just can’t handle being 5 or 6 different people so it all goes out under the one name. In a way that matters because everything gets mixed together and my audience might get confused. In another way that’s what this particular blog is all about anyway, so having a lot more original content going through one name works for me right now.

The next thing I do is go through the list of local people that I’ve created using an older and better version of TweetDeck to see what’s specifically going on with them. I feel it’s important enough for me to make sure I take care of my local networking to keep my presence known by them. It’s a small group of around 45 people that I stick to because they’ll talk back to me. Others who never responded to anything I had to say I removed, figuring they could care less so why waste my time on them.

The final thing I do takes some time, and I’m not sure everyone could do it or want to do it but it’s my strategy, and it works because I have a smartphone. By using the application on my phone called TweetCaster, I can literally go through hundreds, possibly thousands, of tweets if I need to. Whereas on TweetDeck I tell it to only keep the last 250 messages, I don’t tell the phone to do any such thing.

It’s a good thing I speed read, that’s for sure. If I don’t stay on top of it I can find myself two days behind the curve on checking on tweets. The program will break it into time chunks so that you don’t have to look at everything unless you want to, but that still leaves a heck of a lot of messages.

What do I do? I do through the link of everyone that I’m following, which is just under 900 people, looking at topics that I think interest me, check the links out quickly, then retweet them. Sometimes I retweet with a comment, showing that I looked at the link, while other times I’ll save the link via Evernote so I can go back and leave a comment on it later when I’m back on the big machine and still retweet it.

This strategy does two things for me. One, people love seeing their items retweeted, and they’ll often thank me for it and might pop over to this blog, or any other blog if they notice a link to a blog post I’ve recently written. Two, by going back to their blogs later on and leaving a comment, it helps introduce me to them, or remind them that I’m around, and they’ll potentially pop over to one of my blogs to say something. Either way, it helps drive traffic to my sites.

How well does it work? Well, compared to Adriene, the direct traffic I get from Twitter is around 4% referral traffic for this blog, but it’s a whopping 20% of referral traffic for my business blog. I’m thinking that’s pretty neat. Twitter seems to be her top referrer doing it her way.

Anyway, that’s my strategy; what’s yours?
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Mitch Mitchell