All posts by Mitch Mitchell

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

An Important Blog Page If You’re Looking To Do Business

There’s an old joke that goes like this:

A woman is down on her luck and has been for a long time. She’s very religious and has always gone to church every Sunday of her life. One day she decides that she’s never asked for anything, and decides to pray to God to ask for a favor.

“Please God, let me win the lottery so that my life will improve.”


not a service I’m providing

She makes this request every day for a week, a couple of times more than once. Finally, the following Sunday, she gets down to pray but says “Please God, why won’t you answer my prayers. I’ve always been a loyal follower, and now you’re my last hope. Won’t you allow me to win the lottery?”

Out of the blue comes a voice that says “Lady, you have to meet me halfway; go buy a ticket.”

Trust me, it’s funnier when said out loud. lol

Anyway, I lead with that joke because I was talking to someone about this blog. I’ve always said that I had never really expected to make money off this blog, but that it wouldn’t depress me. I said that I’d written more than 1,100 posts on many different topics, many addressing things I could do for others, but I’d gotten very few responses. I said I wasn’t sure what else there was I could do other than continue to write every once in awhile about things I could do for people.

My friend listened and then asked “Do you have a services page on your blog telling people what you do?”

Out of the mouth of the uninitiated, I realized it was something I’d never added to this page. Sure, I talked about my business to a degree, but I had never thought about creating a Services page to go at the top of this blog along with all those other pages.

Goodness folks, it has to be one of the goofiest things in the world to forget, but the easiest and one of the most important pages to create. I know I’ve been to other people’s blogs, and some of them have this page. Why I had a mental block about it is beyond me. Anyway, I now have one; it’s fairly simple right now, but as time goes on I’m sure I’ll flesh it out more. After all, it’s mainly to serve a function, not to be overly conversational.

Just something to think about if you’re ever hoping someone will like what you have to say on your blog and then start thinking about maybe hiring you for something.
 

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I’m Not Registering, And Other Missives

Y’all know I love social media. I love getting to meet people through all the different platforms. I use it for business as well, probably not as good as others but I get by. I’ve written a lot of posts about trying to find ways to encourage people to participate in the processes, retweeting, sharing your information with Facebook and LinkedIn, and commenting on blogs.


by Tom Magliery via Flickr

Well, it seems things are starting to move in a different direction, and I’m not all that crazy about it. Seems that there’s going to be less effort in trying to convince people that maybe you have something worth sharing and more coercion to get them to participate. And I’m not playing the game; nope, just not doing it.

I’m not going to blame this on Andy Bailey, who I think is brilliant. I love CommentLuv, and I’ve been one of its biggest supporters. I know he made no money off that plugin, and probably makes nothing to very little off the GASP Anti-Spambot plugin as well. I know he’s only delivering to the masses what they want. I’m just not going along with it.

Andy is about to release a new version of CommentLuv, a premium paid version that’s going to have a lot of features to it, as well as allow people to eliminate a bunch of plugins because it will contain what those plugins handle now. It’s purpose is to help those who buy it encourage others to share their information with other people to be allowed access to the best parts of CommentLuv on those particular blogs. I don’t have a problem with the first half of this; I do have a problem with the second part.

When the most drastic changes to CommentLuv came around, users had the ability to limit the number of previous posts someone had access to select from if they left comments on one’s blog. They could just up and select a number or do something like ask people to register so they had access to more posts to select from. I decided I was going to leave things alone; after all, I’ve always been open for access without people having to jump through hoops on this blog. I also remember back 4 years ago when it was recommended NOT to let people register on your blog because some of those people had the skills to actually break into your admin panel and cause you all kinds of grief. I guess that hole’s been plugged, though I’ve never heard a retraction of that statement.

Now those who buy the plugin will be able to hold you hostage (yeah, kind of strong) by making you share their content with one of the major social media sites. They can select one, or they can give you the option of selecting which site you want their post to go to. If you do that first, then you have access to your last 10 posts to choose from.

Trust me, I get it. All of us want our content out there as much as possible. All of us want our blogs and websites to grow. But I’m not one of those people that takes kindly to coercion. Y’all know I’m rebellious about participating on blogs that have Disqus, Livefyre, Intense Debate, or any of those other things. You know I’ve stopped participating with Typepad blogs. You know I’m not leaving comments if the comment system is Facebook only. In other words, if I have to go through an extra step just to leave a comment, I’m not doing it.

So, where does that leave me? It leaves me with only having my last post as the selection, and frankly, that’s good enough for me. What you, the blog owner, will lose is the possibility that maybe I’ve written something in my last 10 posts that’s pertinent to your topic on the day I visit your post. You and your readers will just have to deal with whatever I decided to say on my most recent post; that might be good enough for you.

Oh yeah, in this instance I will still comment on your blogs. I’m not dropping anyone I already like. Goodness, I comment on lots of blogs that don’t have CommentLuv. I don’t comment for the link; I comment because I like commenting. You know, one of those guys who’ll share an opinion or statement if I’m encouraged to do so. If the commenting system is still the one I like, I’m sticking around.

But I’m not registering, I’m not retweeting through any of these means that’ll open up my last 10 posts, and I’m not playing the game. I might still retweet, but I’ll do it my way. Yeah, I know most people aren’t going to agree with me on this one. I know the explanations are coming as to why this is good rather than bad.

But, as Wanda Sykes says, “I’m a be me.”
 

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The GASP/Akismet Experiment

It’s not often I do an experiment based on a post I read on another blog but I decided it was time to give one a shot. In this case it was based on a post that our friend Ileane wrote (yes, she actually does sometimes write posts on here blog lol) titled 5 Popular WordPress Plugins You Need to Ditch Now! One of the plugins she talked about ditching was Akismet, which I’ve always kind of had a love affair with, and thus I had to confront her, nicely of course, about the recommendation.

Has the NSA spying gone too far?
greg lilly via Compfight

(Growmap Anti-Spybot Plugin) would get the whole job done without Akismet help. It was developed by Andy Bailey of CommentLuv fame who, interestingly enough, said in an interview I did with him in 2009 that most plugin developers shouldn’t start off by trying to go after Akismet, and years later that’s exactly what he did. šŸ™‚ I wasn’t really sure about it, but I told her I was going to experiment and write about it; this is that post.

A brief bit of history for the uninitiated. There have been a lot of people that have complained that Akismet does two negative things. It can put people on a negative list and thus always have every post of theirs showing up in spam or even being deleted before it ever reaches the spam filter. I’ve always said I had never noticed it and thus it didn’t impact me, but then Gail Gardner of Growmap did an extensive test last year on it and found that some of these issues might be true.

I still dismissed it because Akismet has always done a premium job for me, so it seemed. But I was compelled to do this experiment, and here’s what I’ve kind of come up with.

First, this week I’ve had less spam showing up in my spam filter than ever before. That’s both a good and bad thing mentally because often I had legitimate comments showing up in the spam filter, and over the past week I’ve only had one show up. I don’t know if this means it’s deleting legitimate people who it thinks is a spambot or if this week most of the people that comment have gotten it right.

Second, once I started the experiment I checked the box to allow trackbacks because I wanted to see how it handled them. I did get a lot of those in two days showing up in the spam filter, but not a single legitimate trackback so I turned it back off quickly enough. No trackbacks since.

Third, let me mention the spam filter. I wasn’t sure what would happen if I turned off Akismet and spam came in, but bad messages will still go to the spam filter, so that’s a good thing.

Fourth, if you saw my post about my comments problem you’ll see that I emptied a large folder through PhpMyAdmin that was holding all these statistics from my Count Per Day plugin, which I’ve also inactivated. When I went back I noticed my second largest file was something called wp_commentmeta, and it turns out that’s the file of everything that Akismet collects on comments it’s passed through and denied. Supposedly the WordPress program is supposed to empty that sucker here and there, but mine had never emptied over the years. Since I’d inactivated the plugin I was also able to empty that folder, and now I have so much capacity I feel like I need to start writing more. lol Yes, you can empty that folder safely, even if you’re still using it. And it seems there’s no files being created or filled up by GASP (which I’m still trying to figure out how I got ranked #1 on Google for ‘GASP anti-spybot’).

In my opinion, the GASP plugin has provided some peace overall to this blog, and that’s not a bad thing. I think I’m going to keep things as they are until I see there’s a reason to activate Akismet again, which I’m kind of doubting. And I’m going to do it on my other blogs as well. See, I can learn something from others. lol
 

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Taking Twitter Unfollows Too Personally

Some of you know that I don’t often read blogs I won’t comment on because of their comment systems, most specifically things like Disqus. Still, every once in awhile I get intrigued by a topic, and like almost anyone else I just have to check it out to see what the hubbub is.


by Martin Cathrae via Flickr

It’s in this vein that I read a post by Chris Brogan titled The Great Twitter Unfollow Experiment of 2011. He talks about making the decision to stop following all the people on his list, which was around 131,000, and how people literally freaked when he first made the announcement, then did it. Some people thought he hated them; others thought he was mad at them. Many decided to tell him he they were dropping him because he was dropping them. Frankly, it was kind of pathetic.

Why he announced it to begin with is interesting. I don’t know that I’d have felt I had to announce that I was unfollowing everyone. Truth be told, if he had just done it without announcing it probably less than 2% of the people who he was following would have noticed immediately, as some people have notification systems that tell them when someone drops them, and others would have just thought Twitter was messing with them when he followed certain people back because it’s been known by some people that every once in a while there are random drops of people.

Also, did you see where I mentioned that he was following 131,000 people? Folks, I have problems following the around 970 people I’m connected with on that level, so what the heck was he supposed to be expected to do with 131,000 people? I mean, that’s pretty ridiculous when you think about it, and he probably did what I did for the first month I was on Twitter, just followed everyone, until he got smart. But by that time the dye was cast; wow, 131,000 people?

I unfollow people on Twitter all the time. I run both Twit Cleaner and Friend or Follow. One tells me who’s not following me, which is a short list at this juncture since I unfollow most people who aren’t following me because almost all of them reached out to me first. The other one tells me if people engage others and the types of tweets they send out. Y’all know me; if there’s no possibility that someone I’m connected to will ever talk to me I’m outta there.

See, I don’t take people unfollowing me personally. I expect some people to unfollow me for one reason or another. Unless someone announces it on their way out I could care less. That may sound cold and direct but I talk about so many different things, and I do have my own political bent, that I know some folks who follow me won’t stick with me if their positions are different than mine. I do the same thing after all.

I miss people more on my blogs than I ever would on Twitter. It’s why I was so frantic days ago when the comments wouldn’t work on my blog. I know people came and I also see how comments have slowed up; some folks may not have gotten the message that things had messed up here. Still, I’ll write for whomever decides to stop by and say hello, offer a comment, or watch a stupid video I might put up. And since I haven’t put up a stupid video in a long time, I’m wondering how many of you have heard of Keenan Cahill, this 16-year-old YouTube sensation with a disease called Maroteaux-Lamy Syndrome who not only lip syncs to the videos of famous people, but actually gets the famous people to appear in his videos as well. Don’t believe me? Check this one out with him & 50 Cent; now that’s props!


 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell

September 11, 2011; Ten Years Later

Today is the 10th anniversary of the most vicious act of terrorism ever on American soil. Four airplanes caused a lot of people to lose their lives; three of those airplanes caused mass destruction as well. And the world hasn’t been the same since.

A couple of days ago a friend of mine asked me why we couldn’t just move on, not necessarily forget but ease on the pain and move on. I said that this is a country that honors those who were killed mercilessly, who were caught up in the madness of someone else. That’s why there’s tribute for Oklahoma City; that’s why there’s tribute for the Lockerbie airplane bombing; that’s why there’s tribute to Pearl Harbor. And that’s why there’s tribute to those killed on 9/11/01. The pain may ease, should ease, but we’ll never forget; just not in our nature.

The video you’re about to watch, if you do, are my thoughts on what happened that day and what’s happened to the world since that day. It’s a much different place than it was 10 years ago. And I also honor and give tribute to some people, and have always been thankful, though it might be selfish, that I didn’t know anyone who lost their life on that day.

You might be surprised by one thing I say in the video after you see the links, if you visit any of these links that I post. First the video, then the links, from this blog and my business blog.

Are We Ready For The 9/11 Anniversary?

September 11, 2007 ā€“ Six Years Later

8:46AM ā€“ 9/11/01

September 11, 2001 ā€“ Iā€™m Still Mad

http://www.imjustsharing.com/sunday-question-your-thoughts-about-91110/

9/11/01 9 Years Later; Never Forget
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell