All posts by Mitch Mitchell

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

Responding To Comments… Sigh…

Sometimes it seems like I spend a lot of time writing about the importance of two things regarding blogs; writing good comments and responding to comments. Sometimes it seems like a great cause; sometimes it seems like a lost cause.

Good comments help everyone. They help the writer because the writer knows you understood their words. It helps other people who see your comments because it gives them something to think about as well, and encourages them to comment. And it helps you, the commenter, because you not only show people you have something to say, but of course there’s that all important link back to your site.

Responding to comments helps as well. It shows you’re engaged in the process with others. It shows you honor what they have to say. It shows that you didn’t just pop something up and move on to the next story. And it helps to show that you also know what you’re talking about, in case someone thinks you had another person writing your content; not that there’s anything wrong with that. 😉

Sadly, it seems the lessons aren’t taking very well. It seems that myself and Sire are beating our heads against the wall. I mean, even on posts where we talk about the importance of leaving good comments we get horrible comments. That’s just a shame.

Every once in awhile you have an epiphany, of sorts. I’ve got one now; actually, I’ve been thinking about it for a couple of days. I’ve decided that I’m not responding to every comment anymore. I have a comment policy that I thought would handle everything; seems that was a wishful panacea.

Maybe the problem is just that some people really don’t understand the concept of what a good or bad comment is. Maybe they don’t understand that punctuation is a big part of writing a good comment. Capitalization, spacing between sentences after a period, not forgetting to include words to finish a thought in a sentence… what, they don’t teach grammar anywhere anymore?

So it’s time to make a stand; actually, three stands.

One, if your comment is borderline and doesn’t help advance the topic, I won’t be responding to it. Most probably you don’t care if that’s the type of comment you’ve left, but I’m stating it for the world.

Two, from this point on, if I see that the image and name and email address somehow don’t fit, I’m either removing the comment or the link. If your name is “Sue” and your avatar is a pretty woman but your email name says “John”, that’s a red flag; not having it. For that matter, if I see a “John” but your email address says “Bob”, or something like that, I’m doing the same thing. That is, unless I know you or at some point you prove to me you’re real and have a reason for doing it (because I know a lot of folks in other countries will give you a different name than their own because of translation issues).

And three, if I see multiple messages from the same website under different names, all of them will be pulled from this point on. Not specifically picking on them, but there’s some site called travel.wisconsin.us that may or may not be legit that sometimes leaves multiple messages on different blog posts but each one has a different person’s name and a different person’s email address. Some comments look legit, some don’t, but often they come at the same time so I’m treating them as spam. They’re not the only one, only the most recent.

Of course, once I know you and we’ve established a rapport of sorts, I go more lenient. After all, I know that some posts don’t offer up a good opportunity for a great comment. But I think I give a lot here; not only a lot of pretty good information but everyone gets a dofollow link, and I don’t make anyone register so you get your 10 choices for CommentLuv.

I have time issues as well but I think it’s more important to work towards having a good community standard; am I wrong on this?
 

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29 More Black Social Media Influencers

Yup, I’m back again with another list of black social media influencers. Of course, like last time, I have some things to say before I post this list of very qualified people.

Why 29? The first time I did this I wanted to find 50 people to create my list. However, once I got started I found that the search was more difficult than I had expected it to be, and thus I could only come up with 21. The search was difficult this time around as well, but mainly because I pumped the parameters up a bit.

Once again I had my set of rules, and this time I stuck with them. I used Klout to help me select people and the lowest Klout score I was allowing was 60. Also, every person had to have a blog, and I had a couple of decisions to make about that.

One, About.me isn’t a blog but more of a resume service, if you will, so I excluded those.

Two, I don’t consider Tumblr a blog either. I’ve never seen anyone use it as a blog, but as a place to put a lot of pictures and quick thoughts. Sorry, that’s not really blogging, per se, although a couple of blogs here that deal with fashion have lots of posts that are mainly photographs, but some of their posts are actual posts as well so there’s a differentiation. I also included blog platforms I don’t particularly like, which I did last time as well. However, sticking with my own rules about the types of blogs I won’t subscribe to for new folks, it means some of these folks I only follow on Twitter.

Three, as long as it took me to put this thing together, if I had to go off and research to find out who someone’s real name was or to find a blog, I just wasn’t doing it. This left some folks with really high scores off the list but so be it. I can’t figure out why people won’t put either their websites or blog links on their Twitter page. I did check out business pages looking for blogs if one was listed, but some folks linked to their LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter pages. I mean, what the heck, why are you linking to your Twitter page on Twitter? People are already there and see what your Twitter link is! 🙁

Four, no “real” celebrities. That sounds odd on the surface until you see one of the names I put on the list who’s kind of a celebrity and kind of not, at least at this juncture of his life; Hey, I got to make the call, right?

And five, I stuck with my rule about no group blogs. At least I don’t think any of these are group blogs. They can be business blogs, but the idea was to highlight individuals, just like last time.

I will say this. The previous post got a lot of response, and I was happy about that. It was great finally giving a group of people largely ignored some well deserved press. I hope it goes as well this time around but truthfully, I’m expecting it to drop off. That’s too bad, but history shows that the first “Dream Team” always outperforms the second Dream Team, even if the players are just as good. But who knows, since Ileane will probably help push this baby strongly; after all, many of the people on this list are on a list on Twitter she created and talked about in a comment on the previous post, Black Social Media Heroes.

So let’s get to it. Very short descriptions, much shorter than last time, and links to people’s blogs to make it easy for you to get there. And for those of you who know that I normally write my articles very fast, this post took me 4 hours including research. This will be the last time I do a list like this; I’ve hit 50, so now someone else can take up the cause. And, like last time, I’m not going out and telling any of these folks I put them on the list, so I hope some of y’all will let them know; I’m tired! lol

Rohan @365thingstododc 63
Writes about the happenings around Washington D.C.
http://district365.com/

Anise Smith @AniseSmith 73
Writes about online and offline technology
http://anisesmith.com/

Tami Highbaugh @AriesGDIM 70
Writes about graphic design, internet marketing and the internet in general
http://ariesgdim.com/

Baratunde @baratunde 74
He writes about politics and happenings around the world from a comedic point of view
http://www.baratunde.com/

Carolyn Edgar @carolynedgar 68
Writes about her life and opinions as a lawyer
http://carolynedgar.wordpress.com/

Rene Syler @ReneSyler 60
Writes about relationships and life in general
http://www.goodenoughmother.com/

Monique Neeley @InspiredMomma 68
Writes about social media
http://moniqueneeley.com/

Mark Anthony Neal @NewBlackMan 61
Writes about civil rights and diversity issues
http://newblackman.blogspot.com/

Mike Street @streetforce1 61
Writes about entertainment
http://http://greasyguide.com/

Adria Richards @adriarichards 69
Writes about the internet and technology
http://butyoureagirl.com/

Marshawn Evans @marshawnevans 62
Writes about media
http://marshawnevans.com/blog

Patrick Allmond @patrickallmond 68
Writes about search and social media
http://allaboutfocus.com/the-full-blog/#

Elon James White @elonjames 75
Writes about black issues from both a serious and funny angle; creator of videos “This Week In Blackness” on YouTube
http://bccostudios.com/blog/

Candice N. Mackel @CandiceNicolePR 63
Writes about fashion, entertainment, and public relations
http://www.candicenicolepr.com/

Danyelle L. @TheCubicleChick 70
Writes about relationships, pop culture and even HR issues
http://www.thecubiclechick.com/

Kris Cain @LittleTechGirl 67
Writes about technology and lots of cool stuff
http://littletechgirl.com/

Brent Leary @BrentLeary 63
Writes about business & CRM (customer relationship management; had to look that up)
http://crm2.typepad.com/

Kevin Powell @kevin_powell 69
Writes on social issues, and as a sidebar is one of the original Real World folks
http://www.kevinpowell.net/blog/

Sharnell Tull @therealSharnell 63
Writes about music, poetry and art
http://therealsharnell.com/

Charlie Gilkey @CharlieGilkey 64
Writes on business and being successful
http://www.productiveflourishing.com/blog/

Alicia Gibbs @LaFashionChica 64
Writes about fashion
http://www.chica-fashion.com/blog.html

Olivia Brown @OliviaBrown82 61
Writes about entertainment
http://oliviabrown82.blogspot.com/

Jose Vilson @TheJLV 70
Writes about politics, education and race
http://thejosevilson.com/

Kimberly C. Ellis, Ph.D @drgoddess 71
Writes about politics, media and entertainment
http://drgoddess.com/

Miranda Parker Dee @deegospel 62
Writes about literature
http://www.mirandaparker.com/blog/

Douglas Idugboe @douglasi 71
Writes about social media
http://www.smedio.com/

Denene Millner @MyBrownBaby 70
Writes on family issues and black parenting
http://mybrownbaby.com/

Stanford Smith @pushingsocial 63
Writes about blogging and social media
http://pushingsocial.com/

Rosetta Thurman @rosettathurman 68
Writes about nonprofits, leadership & motivation
http://www.rosettathurman.com/
 

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Blogs Or Articles?

I’ve been in the business of business website consulting for 4 1/2 years at this juncture. Most of the concepts have stayed the same; great SEO, continuous new content, balance, etc. There are two things that have changed the landscape a bit in that time. The first is social media and how companies can use it in some form or another for their advantage. The second… the conversation about blogs or articles.

Back in the day it seemed a fairly easy conversation. Having articles on a website makes a lot of sense to a degree. If done properly they help enhance the authority of a website. They’re fairly easy to optimize and, when done well, end up with their own page rank and many more opportunities for websites to be found fairly high for their search terms.

Nowadays a couple of things have changed. One, search engines value new content more than static content; even a page ranked fairly high will only maintain itself for so long. Two, more website owners and businesses want the ability do certain things for themselves, which means they need an easy process; not everyone knows how to write code to add new pages to their website or links within the website.

This means blogging becomes a more viable option for some people. In some ways, blogging it easier. You can write multiple short posts and keep your website relevant. You can write long posts and keep your site relevant. You can easily add video or sound to a blog. Blogging is easy because you don’t have to know how to code anything. You should for maximum effect but you don’t have to.

So we come to this conundrum of whether a website should have a blog or articles. Actually, for me, it’s not a conundrum at all. I tend to believe websites need both. And I’m prepared to say why.

Websites should have articles that pertain directly to what they say they do. I’m going to use the example of my business website to highlight this. My business website says I basically do two things; leadership/management training and health care finance consulting. Within the health care finance consulting, there’s one thing I do specifically that’s more specialized, that being something called charge master consulting. Not all consultants do this, so it’s my edge, if you will.

Now, I could just write about this every once in awhile in my blog, but that’s really not strong enough for me. Since this is a core business issue it needed that specific link that I shared. However, if you follow that link to the page, which talks about the service I provide, you’ll see I have 3 other links on that page. All of those links are articles I’ve written that are related to what I do. That helps the search engines really zone in on what I do for business. My main search terms are all in the top 10, most in the top 5, for providing this service. I used to be number one for all of them but you just can’t always keep the big dogs down I’m afraid. 🙂

I have a similar page talking about leadership and management, and I link to some articles from that page as well. But there are many more people that provide these same types of services. Therefore, even with the articles I have, I need more of a boost when it comes to that topic. Hence, my blog talks more about leadership issues there than anything else. Doing that helps keep my site in the SERPS, although I still battle for recognition. My checking it last night when I was putting this together has me at 143 on Google, 103 on Yahoo and 136 on Bing. In a crowded field that’s not bad, but it can be better.

So, this is my argument for having both articles and a blog on a website. How do you see it?

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Evernote For Android

Y’all know I haven’t had my smartphone for a very long time, but I have learned about a couple of things here and there that are helpful, for whatever reason, to both the phone and my home PC. One of those programs is an app and program called Evernote.

Evernote is basically a connection between your computer and your smartphone. What it allows you do to is capture something on either end and by doing a sync having it show up on the other platform so you can use it. For instance, something I use it for because my short term memory is going (hey, I’m over 50!) is for a grocery list. I created what’s called a “note” that I titled “grocery list”. Then I just pop in what I need to remember to buy from the grocery store and, because I always have my phone on me, when I’m in the store and have totally forgotten why I’m there I can grab the phone, run the sync, and what I put in it at home will be there.

Something else you can do from the other end is take a picture and save it in a note and then run the sync when you get home. This means you can easily save images you took elsewhere to your computer for use elsewhere; I use them in some blogs posts here and there. Also, when I’m away from home something I tend to often do it come upon a website that I’d like to see again at home, most of the time blogs I want to comment on but don’t have time then and there. All I have to do is highlight the link, go to the phone’s menu and select save, and then pick the Evernote program and it creates a new note with that link.

You can also do all these things in reverse but there are some differences. No matter what you do, you can’t copy an image to your smartphone from Evernote. And sometimes if the link doesn’t come through as a link from your computer you can’t look that up either. At least I haven’t yet figured out how to copy and paste anything on the smartphone; if anyone has any ideas on that one please let me know.

You can create categories called “notebooks” so you can have multiple types of messages. You can also tag these things so if you’re unsure where they are you can search for them. I haven’t gotten to that point yet but if I ever become a power user I might. You’re allowed up to 2GB of data that you can have for free on Evernote; that’s not bad at all.

Oh yeah, but that tells you that the app and program are free; can’t beat that. It was recommended to me and now I’ll recommend it to you; enjoy!

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You Don’t Have To Accept Bad Criticism

Some time ago I’d written a post about something local on this blog. I shared it with some local people just to spread the word. None of them commented on it, which is the norm it seems. However, one wrote me back on Twitter and his comment was “Man, that’s an ugly webpage.”

What the heck was that? Where did that come from? This is a guy who 1) doesn’t have a webpage; 2) has a Blogger blog in green and brown that he’s never tried to sculpt; 3) basically writes one post a year on that blog, usually when he’s mad; 4) couldn’t say a thing when I asked him why he said it and then; 5) never responded once again when I said it’s a blog, not a webpage, but it suits my purpose.

All of us are going to be criticized in some fashion at some point in our lives; some of us hear it daily. There’s nothing wrong with people who are giving you advice that might help you as long as you’re ready to hear it; I’m one of those people who doesn’t want it unless I’m asked unless it’s something really egregious like a misspelled word or a phrase someone doesn’t understand. And, for a blog, there’s nothing wrong with giving our opinions in public, especially once an article it out there, as long as you don’t get personal and keep things confined to the article in question.

However, there’s a lot of bad criticism out there, things that people say with no intention except to cut other down. They’re not trying to help; they’re not trying to be constructive. They’re only trying to build themselves up by whatever means necessary, and if they can take it out on you at a moment’s notice, so be it.

I remember years ago when I shared a portion of my book early on with someone I was playing email chess again. His response back to me was “have you ever read a book”? That was it; nothing else. It hurt; I won’t lie. I stopped writing… for about an hour. Then I was back into my writing mode because my mind realized his criticism meant nothing. One, nothing constructive; two, he’d never written anything himself. And three, of course I’d read books; how did that help push anything positive through?

If you put yourself out there and ask others for opinions on something, you obviously open yourself to someone busting on you for something. Sometimes what you get back makes sense; sometimes what you get back in invective. You don’t have to take that; no one has to take bad criticism.

For the record, bad criticism means there’s no attempt to give a person an opportunity to improve in any way. Bad criticism is “I hate your webpage”. Good criticism is “Having light green against a pink background is hard to read and might be hard for other people to see easily”. Bad criticism is “I hate what you wrote here; your opinion stinks”. Good criticism is “I disagree with your point because….”

Back in September I had kind of a row with someone on this blog when I wrote a post questioning modesty of today’s kids and blaming it on parents. Parents tend to get defensive because they say it’s hard controlling their kids; I don’t tend to let them off the hook. Yet, parents also take things like this personal even when it’s not against them specifically. Bad criticism is “you don’t know what it’s like being a parent”; phooey. Good criticism… well, in this case I’m not sure what good criticism is. It’s a post where people either agree or disagree, but I’m not sure it’s a post where anyone can support the argument for what some might deem salacious outfits by young girls and not being able to control what they wear. That’s what parenting is supposed to be, folks.

The general point is that no one should allow the potential of bad criticism stop them from doing or saying what they feel is necessary, as long as they’re prepared to accept the consequences of those actions or feelings. And if there are consequences and you feel you’re in the right, then go ahead and keep doing it; unless someone else is paying you, you really don’t have to acquiesce to bad criticism. Most people who criticize you have nothing to offer other than the criticism.

Anyone want to criticize that? lol

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