All posts by Mitch Mitchell

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

What Makes People Change?

I have a story to tell. Back in 1993, I heard that a big blizzard was coming to the area. Instead of staying in my apartment I decided to go out of town to my parents house to ride out the storm. I got there just as the snow started to pick up, and by the time it was done where they lived there were 34 inches of extra snow on the ground.

The problem is that where my parents live, as well as where I live, we already had at least 3 to 5 feet of snow on the ground. Since I was at my parents house, we had to deal with the fact that the driveway had totally filled up with snow about four feet high, which meant my car was totally covered. As a matter of fact the entire driveway was so high that there was no way we could have gotten out to the street if an emergency had happened. This was definitely problematic.

Still, Dad and I had to try. So we went out there with our shovels and we started digging. After three hours we actually made a path that allowed us to make it to the street, but it was so thin that it really couldn’t do us much good. We knew there was no way we were ever going to be able to dig out all that snow on our own. We also knew we didn’t have many options.

But something great happened. The guy across the street from my dad looked over, saw the problem we were having, and came over with one of those super heavy duty snowplows. It took him about an hour, but he was able to clear the entire driveway of snow except for around my car, which Dad and I took care of. We were very thankful that he did that for us, and that was the day we met Doug.

Doug and his family were very nice to us, and we tried to be nice to them. His daughter Mackenzie became a fan of my dad, and he would always talk to her when he saw her outside. Whenever I would visit Doug would pop over and say a few words to me, but I never really got to know him all that well. However, the day my dad passed away, as he was being driven to the hospital in the ambulance, Doug came over and put his arms around me as I cried for the first time since I was nine years old. The next day he said that he would always look out for my mother and make sure that she would be fine.

A couple years later Doug’s life changed. His mother passed away, he got divorced from his wife, and she and his daughter moved away and we’ve never seen them again. I noticed some changes in him as well even though I didn’t see them all that often. I don’t think one ever forgets what it looks like when someone may be doing certain types of drugs, and even though it’d been years since I’d seen it in someone, I knew it was there.

Then at some point some people moved into his house, and I would see these children sitting out on the front step or playing in the driveway. I didn’t get to meet any of them until the day we buried my grandmother, when I had to go over to their house to pick up some flowers that have been delivered to our house, but nobody had been home and they had been left at his house. On that day I met his new wife and one of her three children, and he seemed very happy.

Last Wednesday I went to visit my mother, and after I parked in the driveway something said to me that I should go over and talk to Doug. I still had a bad feeling about things and I wasn’t sure why. But I decided it wasn’t my place to intrude so I didn’t go. Sometimes you just can’t act on the Spidey senses if you know what I mean.

Friday night I got a call from my mother saying that there were a lot of police cars and a couple of ambulances across the street at Doug’s house. She didn’t have any idea what was going on, and she hadn’t seen anybody including the children, but it reminded her of when they took my grandmother to the emergency room.

My mother is not necessarily the nosy type, so she wasn’t about to go outside to find out what was going on. But the next day we found out. Based on the information we have, Doug’s new wife had been stabbed to death and he was charged with second-degree murder. I don’t know if the children saw anything, but at least the children were safe. When I saw his picture in the newspaper I was sad; how had things gone so wrong in this man’s life?

I wonder about the types of things that make people change so drastically. When I met him he seemed to have a very good life. His house was brand new just like my parents house. His daughter at the time was maybe two years old, and his wife was very attractive. He had a very good job as well; it was one of those jobs where if he hit his yearly quota early he could take the rest of the year off, and he had done that for a few years in a row. He seemed to be the nicest guy, always in control if a little crazy.

But strange as it seems, most of us change in some fashion as time goes on. We have certain life events that we end up taking new clues from and altering our perceptions in some way. I know that I’m more sensitive to things both personal and in the world since my dad passed away. I’ll also cry from time to time if something hits me a certain way, and for someone who went 34 years between crying that’s somewhat irksome.

But I’ve retained my integrity, and in some ways I’m less forgiving than I used to be when people violate my three principal mores of loyalty, honesty, and trustworthiness. I like to think that the changes I’ve allowed to be made in my life have not impeded the way I try to treat people. Unfortunately, even though there’s still a trial to come, I know I can’t say the same thing for Doug.

Sometimes relatively good people do bad things that are just unforgivable. In this instance there are three children who don’t have a mother and will have to find their way on their own in life. How do these things happen?
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell

Firefox Vs. Chrome – The Debate Continues

You know, back in July when I wrote the post talking about testing Chrome & coming back to Firefox I thought that all discussions about chrome would probably be over. Little did I know that discussion would open up again via a conversation I had with someone on Twitter.

I don’t remember what exactly started the conversation, that at one point in the conversation the young man and I started talking about browsers and he said regarding Firefox “Maybe it’s for old people? 😛 My visitors use IE, Chrome, Firefox, Safari. In that order.” When I commented on that, saying I had trouble believing it, he said “I manage 5 of my own, plus about two dozen for clients. Never seen anything but IE in first. You, sir, are an anomaly.”

First I have to address the “old” issue. I would doubt that age would have anything to do with what browser anybody decided to use except for possibly IE, and then only because it’s the default browser that comes with Windows. Whereas younger people might learn from their friends later on that there are better browsers, older participants might not hear that information, and thus will stick with what they know.

Old? Let’s look at old for a minute. I first got on the Internet December 1995. Back then, there weren’t a lot of choices when it came to browsers. The first one I remember using came with America Online, and everybody was using that because AOL was everywhere. Later I discovered IE, but learned that there were security issues with it. All the “cool kids” were using Netscape, and when I gave that a try I said “wow”. That was my browser of choice until it was bought by whomever (can’t remember right now but I’m sure it will come to me later) and Mozilla decided to go out on their own.

The first Firefox was wonderful. The only thing I lost in switching to it was the ability to code within the browser. But since I had another program for that I didn’t mind so much. The best thing about Firefox is always been customization. You can pretty much customize it to do whatever you want to do. For instance, I have a bunch of extensions that allow me to do things such as change what websites look like, change the functionality of my browser, give me information and immediately so that I don’t have to go elsewhere, and a host of other things I’d rather not get into right now. True, adding all those extensions will slow things down a bit, but since I added the extra RAM to my computer things have been running beautifully.

My friend believed that speed and clean browsing is more important than customization. I will agree with that to an extent. If my browser slow down the files I wanted to download I’d probably have a gripe. The browsers have nothing to do with that, IP’s do. If speed was the only thing my friend really cared about he wouldn’t be using Chrome at all, he would be using Opera, which even now is the fastest browser I’ve ever seen. Not only that but Chrome, which is a Google product, tracks pretty much everything you do online. Everybody knows it, but there is something about younger people who really don’t care that their tracks and really don’t care about their privacy as much as us “older” people, who had to deal with things such as the red scare, communism and all that other garbage that we’ve proven really was a flawed model.

That’s enough of the “old” talk. Let’s talk about the demographics of browser use when it comes to webpages. As you saw in his quote above, he stated that Chrome was the top browser being used by people who visited all of his websites. With the caveat being that there is no way I can determine the age of the people who visit all the websites that I have in the websites I manage, let me show you the numbers that I see for all of my websites based on Google Analytics; by the way, if you care, you can view this information under Visitors, then look at the bottom under “technical profile”:

I’m Just Sharing:

Firefox 37.55%
Chrome 25.97%
Internet Explorer 17.94%
Safari 11.36%

Mitch’s Blog:

Internet Explorer 32.48%
Firefox 28.57%
Chrome 18.86%
Safari 11.83%

Top Finance Blog:

Firefox 38.61%
Chrome 26.19%
Internet Explorer 22.92%
Safari 7.91%

Syracuse Wiki:

Firefox 30.57%
Internet Explorer 26.57%
Safari 17.43%
Chrome 13.71%

SEO Xcellence Blog:

Firefox 57.39%
Chrome 20.87%
Internet Explorer 7.83%
Safari 5.22%

SEO Xcellence:

Firefox 31.78%
Internet Explorer 31.01%
Chrome 26.36%
Safari 4.65%

T T Mitchell Consulting, Inc:

Internet Explorer 57.81%
Firefox 19.20%
Chrome 10.93%
Safari 6.44%

CNYHBA:

Firefox 45.59%
Internet Explorer 27.94%
Safari 13.24%
Chrome 8.82%

CNYHBA Blog:

Internet Explorer 51.25%
Firefox 23.75%
Safari 10.00%
Chrome 10.00%

Li’l Specs:

Internet Explorer 40.00%
Firefox 32.31%
Safari 10.77%
Chrome 9.23%

Medical Billing Answers:

Internet Explorer 79.13%
Firefox 9.88%
Chrome 5.62%
Safari 3.34%

Smoke Not So Much:

Internet Explorer 36.86%
Chrome 19.49%
Safari 17.37%
Firefox 16.95%

Services and Stuff:

Internet Explorer 53.95%
Firefox 21.31%
Safari 8.59%
Chrome 7.90%

Professional Consultant’s Association:

Internet Explorer 32.04%
Firefox 30.10%
Safari 15.53%
Chrome 13.59%

PCA Blog:

Internet Explorer 40.32%
Firefox 29.03%
Chrome 14.52%
Safari 8.06%

G Chapman Consulting:

Internet Explorer 54.21%
Firefox 17.37%
Safari 13.68%
Chrome 6.84%

Krueger Resource Recovery:

Internet Explorer 64.66%
Firefox 18.10%
Chrome 7.76%
Safari 4.74%

There’s a couple other websites I manage, but I didn’t want to bring those clients into the mix. However, their numbers are pretty much the same as all the others I’ve shown you above. Since the only one where Chrome actually beats Firefox for my sites is my anti-smoking site, I can probably conclude that only sites that addicts visit tend to use Chrome more often than Firefox, but that would be pretty silly.

Anyway, those are my numbers. I don’t necessarily expect that everybody who has a website will end up with numbers like mine, but I wanted to paint kind of a broad brush because I guess the “old” thing was something I felt I needed to address. But it would be interesting to hear from some of the rest of you what your analytics look like when it comes to browsers that visit your sites, especially those of you who are younger than 35, since I believe my young friend is actually younger than that. Seeing as how in 1995 I was 36 years old, that means that I was older than he is now, which could mean that in his eyes I’ve always been old. But that’s okay because I’m feeling pretty old myself these days; good thing I’ve got that Vegas trip coming up. 🙂
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell

What Top Social Media Folks Use For Comment Systems

A few days ago I read a post by our friend Kristi Hines on a site called Income Diary titled 20 Most Influential People In Social Media. Like I did when I created my two lists of influential blacks in social media, she came up with a measurable criteria to use to compile her list.

an old design 02
Hector Parayuelos via Compfight

Kristi did a very nice job with her list. There’s even 2 black people on the list and a nice mixture of men and women. It turns out that everyone on the list is from the United States, but the numbers are the numbers. And she didn’t add some fairly obvious choices either, although in retrospect she probably should have added Darren Rowse to give it an international flavor in some fashion.

Me being me, however, I decided I had to do something different. I decided to check out the blogs of all the people on the list, and I was looking for something in particular. I was curious who had 3rd party blog commenting systems and who had the traditional WordPress system. Turns out only 3 people on the list have the traditional way that I personally like. The others had a mixture of Disqus, Livefyre, and some other options.

You might not believe this, but I didn’t find it all that surprising. It seems that the way people who get tons of comments handle things is to go to a third party system. It reduces the number of comments they might get in total, although if one is popular one will still get lots of responses, and it reduces the amount of spam as well. They can afford to do it; most of the rest of us can’t, and in my case, won’t.

I’ve sometimes referred to 3rd party systems as systems of the elite; kind of like the Republican Party (sorry; I had a moment lol). Those that are already there use it because it helps them keep things under control. Those that aren’t there but want to feel as if they’re there use it and wonder why they don’t have a lot of comments because they’re doing what the top dogs are doing.

Of course what’s interesting is that if Darren Rowse, whose blog is ranked the highest out of any of the people on Kristi’s list as far as Alexa goes, was on the list he’s one of the people who uses the same comment system most of us uses.

As Forrest Gump says, “that’s all I have to say about that.”
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell

Bouncing Spam Email Is Pointless; Sigh…

Lately it seems I’ve been getting more and more spam email than I have in the past. The problem is that it’s all going through my business email account, and it’s been getting on my nerves.

Mailwasher gives you the option of bouncing emails back to where they came from, and you can segregate which email account you want to use. I decided I was going to do that for a short while, and set myself up to do it. And it works very easy as well; all I have to do is click on the tab that says “bounce” and before it deletes those emails it bounces them back to wherever they came from; problem solved.

Except the problem isn’t solved. Not only is the problem not solved, but it ends up creating its own problems as well. And I knew it; I just wanted a brief period of satisfaction, kind of like how I think I’d have felt if I’d been allowed to punch the guy I talked about here in the face… at least for 5 minutes before I realized I was going to sit in a jail cell for awhile and it was going to end up costing me more than what I was suing him for.

See, the problem is that most of the email addresses are false. And those that aren’t false often belong to someone else who doesn’t know their email address is being used for that purpose. I know this because it happened to me years ago, and sometimes it was strange receiving email from myself. Then that person’s legitimate email address ends up in a spam filter for many servers and it takes awhile for it to get cleared. Since this was my business account I knew I didn’t want to deal with that.

So I turned it off a couple of days ago, but I wasn’t done. I decided to allow the host’s spam filter to start intercepting more of this spam so I don’t see it. The thing is that with Mailwasher I see it, but it’s still on the server. But since I started getting business email on my smartphone most of it is spam, and I’ve decided I don’t want to see any of that garbage on my phone. Now, I know the spam filter on the host is pretty strong, but they’ll send me a daily email of all the accounts its intercepted so if there’s something in there that’s legit, I’ll just sign in and get it.

Unfortunately, sometimes we’re stuck going the long way to resolve some of our stupid issues. But I figure if I can bring that next level of peace to my mind then all is fine. However, I have to mention something else, now that I’m on the subject. You know that post I wrote about the Gasp/Akismet experiment? Well, it seems the live spammers must have read that post also because there was suddenly a major increase in that type of spam. So I’ve turned Akismet on just to see what would happen and more of that stuff is going to my spam filter. It seems that Akismet does a better job on live spam, probably because they have a better grasp of the IP addresses that some of this stuff is coming from. At least that’s how I’m seeing it so for the moment I’m back to running both of them; gotta do what ya gotta do.

Man, the things we do when we start getting popular. lol At least you know I’m not going to do any captcha’s or change my comment system, so rest assured your good comments are safe with me. 😉
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011-2015 Mitch Mitchell

Beverly Mahone – Boomer Media Training Professional

I’ve known Beverly at least 6 years now. We met on Ryze when it meant something, although I’m not sure how well she remembered me. But I did recognize her immediately on Twitter years later and we connected. I’ve been on her Blog Talk Radio show many times, and was on her regular radio show once. Now she’s got a TV show as well. Who is she and how does she do what she does? Read below:

1. How did you first get into TV news, and was it your first stop in media?

My very first television job was in 1987 — when I was hired by one of the NBC Affiliates in North Carolina. I always wanted to do television but was convinced I didn’t have the right “look.” By that, I mean my skin color. During that time, any black anchors or reporters on TV looked like Jayne Kennedy so I figured that ruled me out. I didn’t have long hair nor was I tall. But I decided to take a chance anyway since I was in North Carolina and saw women who actually looked like me. I owe everything to my start in TV to my former News Director, Jim Bennett, who was willing to take a chance on me with no previous television news experience. I didn’t disappoint him I’m happy to say and I got promoted a few times while there.

My media career actually started in radio right out of college. I went to work for a radio station in Beckley, West Virginia and soon realized they hadn’t gotten the memo about affirmative action. When I started questioning the arrest of a black man on charges of murder when he had a stone cold alibi, the Sheriff kindly told me “my kind didn’t belong there and shouldn’t be sticking my nose in business where it didn’t belong.” When I told my boss what happened, I ended up being the one who got fired because he said I was disrespectful to a law enforcement official. I took my case to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for discrimination and WON! I got a severance package out of the deal, which helped me while searching for another job.

2. What’s it like doing a daily news program? Is it as glamorous as many people think it is, and does it pay well in local markets?

There’s so much that people don’t see when it comes to gathering the news. All they see is the end result where we come into your living room. They don’t see the daily grind of how to find news on a slow news day or how to track down credible sources for a big story. They don’t see the many phone calls made and people we have to talk to before we can put the story together. They don’t see the editing or the newsroom battles we have over why we choose to do one story over another. It can get pretty intense at times. The glamorous side is being recognized on the street by someone who treats you like a celebrity.

3. When you left TV, what made you decide to go into public relations?

I don’t really call what I do “public relations.” I am a Media Trainer and what I do is teach people how to self-promote to give themselves more visibility so they will be recognized by different media outlets. I know how challenging it can be to get exposure because I was once on the “other side” combing through press releases and listening to media pitches and I know what it takes to break through and catch a reporter or producer’s eye. I LOVE doing it and I’m good at it!

4. What drove you back to media, first with Blog Talk Radio, then your radio program and finally your new TV show?

I love being a “voice” with a message. I enjoy interviewing interesting people and sharing their stories with the world.

5. I listened to your interview with Jane Velez-Mitchell; how do you get big time guests to show up for your programs?

People are always looking for exposure. It doesn’t matter how big of a celebrity they are. If they are trying to promote a book or movie or whatever, they want the opportunity. I truly live by the scripture that says you receive not because you ask not. If they turn me down, I can always find someone else. I might also add being a part of the Radio and TV groups on LinkedIn helps because we’re always trading information and being a Radio Host at a traditional radio station also helps. It also helps to have gone to school with a few celebrities like Nancy Cartwright (voice of Bart Simpson). She’s been my guest a few times and we’ve stayed in touch since college.

6. You once got someone onto Oprah; how’d that happen?

Answer: It wasn’t Oprah — I WISH! It was the Today Show. I went to college with Matt Lauer and that’s all I’m saying 🙂

7. In January I reviewed your book Don’t Ask; tell people why you wrote it, how sales have been, and how it developed into a game and how that’s been going for you.

I wrote the book because of a lie I told my doctor that nearly cost me my life. I haven’t actively promoted it as much as I did the first two but sales for the card game have been tremendous!

The card game came about one evening when a few girlfriends and I were sitting around talking about the book. Each one shared their own story about what they would have done in some of my situations. From there I got the idea to create a card game. It is definitely a deck of dialogue. Rarely do people get through the entire deck because they’re so busy discussing their responses or recalling their own “Don’t Ask” stories. The game has far exceeded my expectations. I think the card game sells the book.

8. You gear a lot of your stuff towards baby boomers, which includes me. How do you see us overall taking to social media, what are we missing, and how can we be better?

I think the majority of us are doing a pretty good job in social media because we clearly understand who we’re talking to—each other. Our messages are clear and concise and we are easy to find, especially on Twitter.

For me personally, I still struggle with the technical side of it all and I think that may be a problem for other boomers. Instead of dealing with it, some just refuse to stay up-to-date. In social media, it’s hard NOT to because it’s changing all the time. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with others who know and understand more than you about different aspects of social media — even if they’re younger. Luckily I have you, Mitch along with Heidi Caswell to help me. 🙂

9. Tell people other stuff about you that I might not have covered here.

I’m married — just celebrating our five-year anniversary in June. He is my soulmate and I am so blessed to have been given a second chance at love after living 18 years in a nightmare. I have a five-year-old grandson and a daughter, who’s a rising senior in college. Want to know how I felt about having a teenage daughter get pregnant? Read about it in my book!

10. If you get Mariah Carey to appear on any of your shows, can I be there with you? 🙂

I’ll be sure to call you well in advance!

You can find Beverly at Real Talk With Beverly Mahone and Baby Boomer Talk. And if you want to check out shows I’ve been on with Bev here you go; some of these are MP3 files:

Passions Show 4/18/10

Passions Show 1/10/10

Men Have Issues Too

Reinventing Yourself

Passions Show 7/26/09

Passions Show 6/7/09