All posts by Mitch Mitchell

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

Know Your Audience Part II

Back in September 2009 I wrote a post titled Be Sure You Know Your Audience Before You State Your Case. In that post, I talked about a guy that some people know quite well who went on kind of a wrong turn when commenting on something he should have known better about, then decided to write about it on his blog, seemingly with the thought that his readers would immediately take his side. Of course it didn’t happen because he’d forgotten an old adage; make yourself look like you’re superior to others in some fashion and they won’t like it.


by Jon Collier via Flickr

Round two comes with this brilliant post by a guy named Adam Justice on his eponymous named blog (kind of ironic based on the post) titled Viral Virus: Ocean Marketing Is Sunk. This is the tale of not one, but two people who seemed to have it all going on, ready to break through to big riches, only to sabotage themselves and their businesses because they had an inflated sense of self and deflated sense of fairness and common sense to others.

I hope you go read the article, but I’ll give you the quick down and dirty. On the first a guy wrote the company about something he didn’t receive to ask when it would show up and the owner of the company went off on him in an email, basically telling him he was nothing and that he was too important and knew too many other important people for this guy to be bothering him.

The guy goes to a tech reporter who does a follow up, the guy responds in kind and believes he’s in the right on how he responded, and all heck breaks loose, the company tumbles, and instead of acts of contrition he continues inserting foot in mouth.

On the second, a woman happens across a website that she realizes has been stealing her content, recipes. She contacts the woman to point it out, and says that she’s not upset but believes a donation to a college program would be a nice thing to do. The woman instead chews her out for bad writing, says everything on the internet is open for everyone to take as theirs, and says the woman should pay her for editing the content and making her recipes look better.

Of course that gets out, journalists and the like go after her, and her business folds within 2 weeks. Even with that she takes to the web and issues a condescending apology, opening herself up to more derision as well.

UCLA Bruins Women's Gymnastics - 1888
Parker Knight
via Compfight

Both of these instances prove that sometimes people get a false sense of how important they are. Just because you’ve finally made it, or are on the verge of making it, doesn’t mean you get the right to treat others badly, especially in today’s world of social media, where anything can go viral in an instant if the right person puts the word out. The first guy actually knew he was in trouble when he wrote to the tech writer and asked him to stop the flood, which of course was impossible once the word got out.

I’m a small guy when it comes to business and social media, yet last April I got my bit of mess on when I had a major league affiliate complaint against Finish Line, who basically decided not to pay me a commission then closed my account for low sales on the same day. I posted the email here, the guy threatened me, I dared him to do something about it, and got it to Twitter where it not only got retweeted often, but a different representative of Finish Line contacted me.

Of course it never got resolved because I’m not a big enough guy to warrant any courtesy, but if I’d touched a real nerve with more people who knows right? I thought about taking it to the media but decided it wasn’t worth it; maybe I was wrong, but that one’s on me.

Here’s the thing. All of us have the right to rant. We also have the right to have a bad customer service experience, even if someone else is the customer. What we don’t get to do is put someone else down while building ourselves up, especially when we’re in the wrong.

That these two people couldn’t see that they were wrong smacks of elitism, and sends the wrong message about perception, which I wrote about last week. I write often that I want to be big, but not so I can try to bully others when I’m wrong, or potentially wrong. That’s the wrong reason to want anything; doesn’t anyone remember the lessons of Lord of the Rings?

If you want to ruin your career and any chance of making real money in life, learn the wrong lessons from people like this. I hope you learn the right lesson and condemn folks like this instead.
 

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How Do You Want To Be Perceived?

Last year I wrote a post titled What Message Are You Trying To Project where I talked about things people do in public to try to get you to do something they want you to do and how those actions can be perceived in a negative light even if your intention is otherwise. It seems that I’m compelled to write on this subject again, this time concerning something I saw online. I’m not going to link to it because, well, you’ll see as I go on.

I came upon a post that someone shared on Twitter. The guy who wrote the post was complaining because Google Plus had removed the image he’d put up of himself. Their issue was that he had his middle finger sticking out in front of him and considered it objectionable based on the standards they’ve created for the site. His gripe was that he felt their standards were petty, that he had freedom of speech, and while he was at it he stated how much he hated that G+ forces people to use their real names.

I’d say it was an interesting rant, but for a different reason. What I can’t figure out is why someone would want to go to a site like G+ and put up an image of themselves that immediately projects themselves in a negative light. In my opinion, the picture makes the guy look like a jerk. The image I saw made me think this was a guy I’d never want to meet or talk to, and if he had a business of any sort I’d never even think about working with him or asking him to provide any services for me.

Of course my perception is probably incorrect but that’s not the point. The point is that my first impression of the guy is that he’s a jerk. You know the old saw that you only get one chance to make a first impression? And this guy happens to be fairly connected; he runs a venture capitalist company and writes for TechCrunch as well. This isn’t a dumb guy by any means.

How many times have I written about the topic of influence and consequences on this blog? I take those things seriously. If I decide to be controversial, I do so in a certain way because I know how I want to be perceived, even if I don’t always care if someone agrees with me at those moments. Being perceived as a radical or as a complainer because of a rant, I don’t mind. Deliberately putting up an image that’s antagonistic before anyone’s had an opportunity to know more about me… nope, not me.

Still, maybe the old ways aren’t always the best (no, I’m not really believing that in this instance) so maybe I’m not seeing it as someone else might in today’s world. What say you on something like this?
 

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My 5 Favorite Android Apps

This year I got my first smartphone, the HTC Thunderbolt. Within a couple of weeks I was in love with the phone, but still had no real idea how to use it more fully.

Enter apps. I’m still somewhat hesitant to download a bunch of them but there are a few that I have downloaded and stuck with that I like a lot, for different reasons. I thought I’d share mine here and then see if y’all come up with some I should try. These are Android apps, so if you don’t have an Android you might not be able to use all of these, though I think some of them are universal.

1. TweetCaster. This is what I use to access Twitter on the smartphone, and I have to admit that I love it. I first tried using TweetDeck, which I have on my computer, but it just didn’t work the same. However, Tweetcaster allows for some of the same type of customization that TweetDeck does on the computer, and I loved it so much that it became my first apps purchase for the pro version.

2. Evernote. This was recommended by a local friend of mine and was one of the first apps I downloaded. It allows me to keep track of information by typing it into a program on my computer or on the smartphone and having things sync between them. On the computer I use it to keep lists such as groceries and medications, and on the phone I use it to save links I come across while on Twitter that I can view later in a larger space on the computer. It has many other uses as well.

3. SPD – it stands for Super Private Conversation. I downloaded this one because I kept getting repeat messages and sales calls from people I didn’t know. This allows you to block someone the first time and you never have to deal with them again. With new legislation that’s being passed we’re all going to be getting more sales calls, so I see this coming in handy as time goes by.

4. Shortyz. Hey, we all get to have some fun, right? In this case it’s a crossword puzzle app that downloads digital crosswords from some of the top periodicals in the country like the NY Times and USA Today, as well as a host of others. You get to program which ones you want and whether you want it to automatically download them or wait for you to ask.

5. Comic Strips. Y’all know I’m a big kid at heart. I also don’t subscribe to a daily newspaper anymore and rarely buy the Sunday paper. The only thing I cared about anyway was the comics pages. This app allows you to select from a lot of different comic strips and it downloads them automatically every day. You can view them when you’re ready, as it retains, at least as far as I’ve seen, up to 3 or 4 months worth of each.

That’s all I have. I have tried some others but all have fallen somewhat short, including, of all things, the Firefox app. But I expect I’ll keep trying some of the free ones as time goes by.
 

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Five Things To Stop Doing – My Take

A recommendation I’ve made on this blog when it comes to finding things to write about from time to time is to write about an article you read somewhere else and give your take on it. In this case it works well for me because the blog in question has a comment system I don’t feel like dealing with and yet I have something to say.


Gonna be on fire in 2012!

The article is written by Dorie Clark on the Harvard Business Review site and it’s titled Five Things You Should Stop Doing in 2012. I loved the article for the most part, and because I think you should check it out I’m not going to repost everything she wrote. But I am going to post the specific topics and address them in my own words. Remember, these are things to stop doing:

  1. Responding Like a Trained Monkey. I’d have to say that this is the hardest thing for me. I trained myself years ago to stop answering the phone if I didn’t know who was calling, even for business calls, and that’s eased my mind a lot. However, I still find that I have certain online habits that I wish I could break, and other habits I need to create to make a healthier me, such as eating better, resting more, and coming to grips with the reality that I don’t have to try to produce something new every few minutes, or respond to chess moves or any of the few other games I play online, just because someone has made a move. Ridiculous thing to be addicted to; I need to go back to counting things. lol
  2. Mindless Traditions. I’ve been cutting back on Christmas and holiday cards over the years because I can connect with so many of my friends online these days. In the past it was a necessary evil because I might only talk to these folks once a year, that being during the Christmas holiday. As it pertains to traditions in general I’ve given some up that impede what I want to do with my life, while sticking to others because, well, I just have to do it. lol But I don’t find myself stressing over any of them, and that’s the major point here. My mother used to get sick at every holiday when I was a kid; her life is so much healthier now that she’s given that kind of thing up.
  3. Reading Annoying Things. In September 2010 I wrote a post talking about de-stressing my life by not commenting on some blogs and also not reading some things that I knew would irritate me and rile me up. Sometimes you just can’t help reading certain things because they draw you in like quicksand, but for the most part, I’ve been able to stop myself from reading things I knew would either depress or anger me. I don’t like to get into arguments just for the sake of it, but I also know I won’t back down and will offer my opinion when I feel strong enough about the topic. But I also know I don’t know how to let go, so it’s best most of the time to not even go there.
  4. Work That’s Not Worth It. Ten years ago I went into business for myself and celebrated my 10th anniversary in June. I’m not gonig to lie and say that everything has been easy. I will say that working for myself has been pretty satisfying in that I don’t have that daily pressure to perform so someone else can reap all the benefits. I don’t have anyone hanging the risk of being unemployed over my head. I don’t have to deal with making sure I get along with all the other people working at my company. I get to work with whoever I want to, turn down things as I see fit, and all the other benefits that are associated with being independent. Of course I also have to scramble for clients here and there but overall, it’s worth it to me because I get to do what I like.
  5. Making Things More Complicated Than They Should Be. Talk about timing being everything. I had just written an article on my business blog yesterday titled Simple Solutions where I talked about how we tend to look at problems as these major things and spend an inordinate amount of time trying to fix things when sometimes simple solutions are sitting right in front of us. This is one of those things I talk about all the time as it pertains to blogging. Sure, if you have a niche blog maybe things are slightly complicated, but look at how I just got an entire blog post from an idea someone else started. How hard was this?

Wow, that was interesting for me; what do you think? How would you respond to each of these? Hey, why not make this kind of a meme; give your answers on your own blog and invite people to check it out. Or just respond here; I’d love to know how you feel about it.
 

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Engagement Or…

A few days ago I came across a blog written by Robert Dempsey of Dempsey Marketing and read a post titled Is A Blog Really Meant For Engagement? His overall premise was that blogs indeed were for engagement and that social media offers many ways to help create that engagement and that it can be measured using Google Analytics through one of their new options titled, appropriately enough, Engagement.


No, we don’t mean this lol

As it figures, the first bit of irony I came across is that you have to log in to leave a comment on his blog, and that took me 3 or 4 minutes to find. So much for easy engagement, since y’all know I don’t log in to anything to leave an opinion.

First, you have to find it. It’s listed under Audience, then social, and it’s your first choice. What you’ll immediately notice is that it looks just like the overview page; what the hey? Well, that tells us nothing. Under mine for this blog there are two listings, one saying “not socially engaged” and the other saying “socially engaged”; that one has only 19 visits under it, while the other is well over 6,500.

That meant nothing to me so I clicked on the one that said socially engaged to see what that 19 represented. What came up is a listing of just what socially engaged meant, and it meant that 19 people either liked it or gave it a +1, as it’s associated with Google Plus. So, it’s not counting Twitter or Facebook or anyone else? Okay…

I went back and clicked on the not socially engaged link and nothing comes up. Actually that’s not quite true; it says it has no information to share with me. The actual words are “There is no data for this view.” Four years worth of data and it has nothing?

I went back to the socially engaged group because there are other stats you can glean from them. If you click on a tab that says “secondary dimension” it gives you choices of stuff you can find out about the folks you’re engaged with. Mine says these people average around 25 minutes on my site; oh yeah! And my bounce rate is only around 34%; not bad. Finally, those 19 people visit an average of 3.3 pages on every visit; not depressing.

But it’s skewed. For one, it’s including me somehow, even though I’ve never come to my own site via G+; just wouldn’t make sense. Then someone from Abuja (where?) came by, looked at 2 pages, and stayed for more than 2 hours. That kind of thing will really play with one’s numbers. And I couldn’t figure out what anyone had viewed; ugh.

So, let’s start with this. Engagement is pretty fancy for “look at how Google+ is helping you… or not.” That doesn’t quite help.

Next, let’s talk about the topic in general, that being engagement and whether it’s what we want. Of course it’s what we want; if not, I wouldn’t write all those posts about making it easy to comment on your blog! I wouldn’t talk about comment systems. I wouldn’t bust on Seth Godin so much if I didn’t believe in engagement. I wouldn’t have given love to so many people if I didn’t believe in engagement.

Is there anyone, other than Seth Godin (heck, I did it again), who doesn’t believe in engagement when it comes to blogging?
 

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