All posts by Mitch Mitchell

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

Does Your Profile Or Niche Turn Some People Away?

I have to admit that it was tough coming up with a title for this post. Writing posts are never a problem for me; titles… well, I wrote a long time ago about trying to come up with a title for my book. So, it’s not my strong point, yet it does convey the point I want to address today.

Are there certain describes niches that turn you off from even taking a look at the blog or website? Are there certain things a person will put into their profile on Twitter that will keep you from adding them? And are the perceptions you have for those things fair, legitimate, or at least honest?

Y’all know that I’m always going to be honest about what I talk about on this blog; after all, I’m sure my post last week on decluttering my online life will affect some people who might have thought about visiting this blog in the future, but it was truthful. So here’s some more honesty.

I won’t visit blogs that mention that they’re WAHM, or “work at home mom” blogs. The connotation with that is that those are blogs for other mothers only, certainly nothing for someone like me, and thus I just avoid them. Sometimes you don’t know, but when I do know I won’t visit them.

Now am I wrong? Well, it’s not 100%, but overall it seems that I’ve been correct in what I’d be interested in reading on those blogs. I gave it a shot early on, but found that I just wasn’t interested. It’s not that it’s such a bad thing though, not having me stop by. I also won’t read blogs on cars, shopping, shoes, religion, serious politics, et al. They’re things that I know I’m not interested in reading or talking about, and thus I avoid them.

I mentioned “religion” in that last paragraph. On Twitter, if someone found it was important enough for them to list their religion in their profile I’m not following them. I don’t believe in any religion, and I’ve found that those who really feel they’re serious about it aren’t reluctant to throw in a religious statement in the middle of any conversation. Frankly that irks me. A person wins a tournament and says “I want to thank God for allowing me to win”; did that mean God meant for the other person to lose? Should that person be thankful for losing?

Now am I wrong? No, I don’t think so. I’ve seen it happen more often than not from those people who put it on their Twitter profile, where they start quoting scripture and adding the chapter and verse of where they got it from. That type of thing prompts me to do something that’s somewhat catty and immature, and I don’t like that type of thing coming from me. I don’t mind people having their religion overall. I tend to think religion is responsible for both a lot of good and a lot of bad. I’d rather not be a party to it, and following my post talking about destressing my life, I just feel it’s best not to go there. Some of you know this line well: “Don’t start none, won’t be none.”

Still, it leads us to think about how we convey things up front that might affect whether someone wants to even give us a shot or not. For instance, Beverly has a site called Boomer Diva Nation, which targets baby boomer women 50 or older. Does it mean that there won’t be anything for people younger, or for males? Nope. Does it mean, however, that a lot of men probably aren’t going to check it out? Yup. I’ll admit that the only reason I ever checked it out was because we were talking on Twitter and I was curious. Any other time, I probably wouldn’t have given it a second thought.

Does that mean Beverly should change her focus? Not in the least. Does it mean she’s probably accepted that not every one will visit that site or look at those articles? I don’t really know; Bev will probably stop by to answer that one for herself.

But all of us end up doing the same thing with our blogs and websites. I write a blog on financial issues; do I really think everyone will stop by to take a look, especially if they’re not interested in the topic? Nope. Will I change its focus or its title just to attract visitors? Nope.

It was something I had to come to grips with with my business site on the bio page. There aren’t a lot of black people who do what I do in health care, and I thought that having my picture on my site would drive people away. Actually I still think it does, because I get way more visitors than I get people contacting me. But my dad said it was who I was, and I certainly couldn’t hide it forever, and wouldn’t it be better if people knew up front so that neither of us were shocked if we ever met in person? And thus my picture is on my business page; a shame that even in the 21st century that has to be a concern. And, oddly enough, I don’t have it on my SEO site About page; I’ll have to think about that.

I’m comfortable with the folks who visit my websites and my blogs, and I hope they’re comfortable as well. I hope everyone is comfortable with their websites and blogs and their presence online in general. However, it’s definitely something to think about, how you’re being perceived by your presentation and whether it’s what you hope to project. Are you comfortable? What would Yoda say?

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Social Media Isn’t For Everyone

Last week I was having an interesting conversation with someone who’d been sent my way to talk about social media. She was trying to learn new ways of promoting her business and she wanted to do it via social media. When I asked her why she stated “my friend said I have to be on social media to actually get any business.”


The Social Butterfly
by Ric Nagualero

Strangely enough, this isn’t the first time I’ve had someone say this to me. I keep talking to people who I could potentially be making some money from asking me to help them spread the word through social media circles. Many of them know the names of the outlets, yet have no real idea why they should be on them, let alone how to use them.

Back to the conversation the other day. I asked this person what she was already on. She said she was on all of them, but hadn’t done anything with any of them other than create an account. She hadn’t filled out any of her business information on LinkedIn; she had never sent a single tweet; she had created a Facebook page but set it up as a private site, with no one linked to it yet; and she’d had her Blogspot blog turned into a website, yet all her posts weren’t hers, thereby linking everyone away from her site.

In other words, kind of a mess of sorts, I hate to say. Yet she wanted, needed, to be in social media. I asked her why again. She said because she wanted to have an outlet where she could advertise her services, or talk about seminars and webinars she was going to put in through her company. In essence, for advertising purposes; nothing wrong with that.

I asked her what kind of time she had to devote to any of it, and she said almost none. I asked her what kind of money she was willing to spend towards it and she said very little because she was just getting her business up off the ground. She said that’s why she wanted me to help her, but to offer her ideas that wouldn’t cost her a lot of money because she had to get it done.

Here’s the thing. Social media is obviously the wave of the future, but it’s still not for everyone. Or at the very least, all of it isn’t for everyone. It’s kind of like Mitchell Allen’s post You Suck At Marketing, when he talks about people who buy all these books and programs that purport to teach them how to market online, yet either don’t put anything into practice or don’t even take the time to read them. Just knowing some big time names won’t make you a dime; putting something into action will. And not everything you read from everyone; you have to try something first, then if it doesn’t work move on. Even then, you have to be willing to give things time to develop or not without changing them too much.

Two weeks ago I wrote a post on work/life balance. Well, there also has to be a work/work balance. No one gets anything without a little effort. If you don’t have the time to devote even 5 minutes a day to a social media pursuit, it’s not for you. If you don’t have 30 minutes a week to devote to writing posts for your own blog, it’s not for you. That is, unless you can pay someone to do it all for you, and even with that, you’re still going to have to contribute in some fashion.

If it’s not for you, don’t feel left out. The fact that you at least know about it puts you ahead of a lot of people. Your time may come; don’t push it too much for now if you’re not ready for it.

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Content Of One’s Character; Major Fail

One of the beauties of writing most of one’s blog posts ahead of schedule is that when something really strikes you all you have to do is change the posting dates around so you can tackle something new. This one’s going to be kind of a rant post, so if you’re not up for that then wait until tomorrow.

Last week there was a post on the Problogger blog that kind of irked me a little bit. I don’t even remember the person’s name who wrote it, as it was a guest post, and frankly I’m not going to go back and look it up. However, the topic was 40 blogs to watch in 2011 or something like that.

The first comment the post got was wondering where all the people of color were. That comment didn’t get a lot of positive responses; actually it got none. Someone else alerted me to the post, and me being me, as someone who talks about diversity issues, I popped over to check things out. The list was nice enough, but from what I could see, there was one Asian lady and that was pretty much it. Someone wrote that one of the other people on the list was Indian; I couldn’t tell based on what I saw.

Frankly, I didn’t have a problem with the list itself. After all, everyone has the right to list whomever they want to list and follow whomever they want to follow. But some of the comments irked me greatly. So I decided to pop my own voice into the mix in support of the first person who commented, saying that there weren’t any black people on the list from the United States, and thus it wasn’t an overly inclusive list.

That didn’t go over well, which I still didn’t care about. One lady actually wrote that if she had tried to be inclusive that it would have been a racist post; what the heck? Inclusion is now racist? That comment didn’t sit well with me either, so I pretty much said that, along with some other stuff. Then some kid, and it had to be a kid, wrote a response to me that ended with “bitter old man”.

Well, there it was. I had a lot of responses that I thought about writing back, but I decided not to. After all, it was already proven that there wasn’t going to be any kind of discourse on the subject. It was going to be accusations back and forth; frankly, I don’t have to go somewhere else for that; I can get it right here, or on my business blog.

I really don’t talk about race all that often on this blog. According to my categories, I’ve only talked about it specifically 6 times in more than 900 (almost 950) posts. I didn’t even consider it as a category when a month ago I wrote a post on 8 Top Black Individual Blogs because in my mind it wasn’t as much about race as about acknowledging some folks that many others might not know all that well.

The truth is that there are a lot of black bloggers out there, a lot of Asian bloggers, a lot of… well, you get my drift, minority bloggers. The other truth is that when it comes to mainstream mentions of bloggers, black bloggers are almost never mentioned. Asian bloggers are; well, it’s nice to see that one group has broken through anyway.

Most people will usually find themselves gravitating towards others who share something with them. In general I’m a lot like everyone else; in general, that is. I don’t find myself hanging with a beer drinking, cussing, smoking dart throwing crowd that listens to country music. Actually, I don’t have a crowd. I have individual friends with whom I share some things with. Most of the time they don’t interact with each other; that’s somewhat strange in principle, but that’s how my life has always gone outside of sports when I was younger.

Overall, I’m about inclusion. I follow a lot of people with a lot of different background. I have lots of interests so I’m all over the place. Except for that one list of black bloggers, most of the time when I’ve listed folks there’s been a mix of some kind, not conscious, just because it is. Not always, but then again, if I’m writing about 5 people it’s probably a more finite list than writing about 40.

Goodness, even Chris Brogan, someone I’ve enjoyed reading over the past couple of months, had a post near the end of 2008 where he highlighted 17 bloggers to follow in a post of his (titled 8, but he mentioned 9 others) and not one of them was a person of color. Like I said, people can highlight who they want to highlight, but really, there’s not a place for anyone of color on any top lists? Do we really go back to what Al Campanis said about the dearth of black executives in baseball, back in 1987, which began with “It’s just that they may not have some of the necessities…”

Why am I talking about all of this stuff today? In the United States it’s the Martin Luther King, Jr holiday, and back in 1963, at a march on Washington D.C., in his famous ‘I Have A Dream’ speech, he stated these words: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

Overall, we still haven’t reached this point. Sure, we have Barack Obama, we have athletes and musicians, and of course I thank y’all for checking me out from time to time. But we’re the anomalies; we’re not the norm. What’s the norm? I’m not really sure. I will say this, though. When I see more Mitchell Allen’s, more Kissie’s, more Vernessa’s, more Evelyn’s, more Beverly’s, more Johanna’s, more Rummuser’s, more Marelisa’s, and more Ching Ya’s, I’ll really think we’ve achieved at least a semblance of balance and inclusion.

Trust me, those aren’t the words of a bitter old man, just someone who’s asking to see more of what Dr. King was asking for, which he ended up giving his life for. Is it really too much to hope for?
 

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10 Hours A Day Experiment

Some of you know I write many of my blog posts in advance. This one is real time for a reason. I’ve been doing an experiment this week, one that either has changed my life or made me realize I need to figure out another way or one that reminds me why I’ve been doing things the way I’ve been doing them and I’m going back to it.

Following up on that work/life discussion from a couple of weeks ago, I made a decision that for this week I was going to limit myself to 10 hours a day on the computer, which obviously also means 10 hours a day online, or way less. See, other than brief moments away from the computer, I tend to spend upwards of 16 to 20 hours sitting here at my desk doing something; at least I thought I did. I acknowledge it’s not always productive, although I also do accomplish a lot of things. And some people have been shocked that I could spend that kind of time at the computer.

Most people don’t work that many hours on their job or in their work. Eight hours is the norm, sometimes a couple of hours here and there. Then they go home and have the evenings to do whatever they want, which might mean they sign onto the computer and do stuff. For me, there is no separation between my regular life and business life except when I go to the casino. After all, my business life is my computer, and by extension most of my social and fun life is on the computer as well. That’s kind of a shame, but many times I feel I need all that time. So, this was an experiment to see what I’d do with that time, and whether I really did need it or not.

I decided to start on a Sunday, which for me is either a day I rest a lot or a day where I work almost nonstop. This past Sunday I actually rested, and since it’s now the playoffs I had a rooting interest in a couple of games. So I napped and watched some football unencumbered by being at the computer. And I never made it to 10 hours of computer time; as a matter of fact, I didn’t even make 8 hours. The first day made me think that maybe this was going to be an experiment that was going to have a totally different outcome than I expected.

Monday came and, knowing I was on this timed program, I worked some, took it easy some, and basically had a pretty good day, which is rare for me on a Monday. I also had some business calls, which I didn’t count since I didn’t take them at the computer. Once again, I didn’t reach even 10 hours on the computer. I took a long nap, I watched some TV programs, and went to the gym for almost 90 minutes with my wife in the evening. But I did reach 9 hours; things were getting interesting.

Tuesday was an interesting one. I planned the day but I felt horrible all day physically. Seems I might have worked out too long Monday night. So I was sore and lethargic. But I had a full day of work planned on the computer, as well as a meeting in the afternoon which was going to take me away. I also took another nap before the meeting; I was starting to enjoy this experiment. However, Tuesday night at around 2AM I finally hit that 10 hours, when my alarm went off. I was feeling like I was in a great work rhythm, so I was irked, but I had my rules and thus I went to bed.

Wednesday was the day things started to change some. I woke early, like 7:15, which was disappointing because I didn’t turn the TV off until 3AM. I came straight to the computer for about 30 minutes, then went outside to shovel show; we’re in our “snowbelt” daily snow routine now, so while everyone else gets hit with storms coming up the coast, we’re getting 2 to 6 inches daily. Wednesday we got a little over six inches for the day officially. That meant I had to shovel in the morning and in the early evening. It also meant I didn’t go anywhere except a brief outing for lunch. I was on the computer for the rest of my time, including being on the computer during the Syracuse University basketball game (they won again; 17 straight wins). I looked at my time; at 9PM I only had 33 minutes left to go for my computer time. What the hey? What was I going to do for the rest of the evening?

I got off the computer at 9:30 with 3 minutes remaining. Now I was stuck. I usually don’t go to bed until between 2 and 3 in the morning; I had 4 to 5 hours to kill. I took a book into the other room, but ended up turning on the TV for awhile. Eventually I gravitated towards a DVD or two. And I stayed up until just past 2AM. So I wasted time instead of used the extra time for something else; then again, I had no idea what else I wanted to use it for, but my body, after shoveling twice, said “let’s do nothing”, and that’s what I did.

Thursday morning I was again up at 7:15 and this time decided to go to the health club for a short bit. I came back an hour later, got onto the computer, and went to work. I took time out to cook something for lunch, which took about 30 minutes, but I came back to the desk to eat at the computer and work some more. I was also very active on Twitter and the blog during the day; lost a lot of time doing that stuff. I had a networking meeting at 5:30, which means I pulled away to shower, get dressed, and head into the city. I barely stayed an hour; wasn’t feeling it and I didn’t know anyone. Came home, and got right on the computer again.

This time, the alarm went off right at 10:30; ugh! I knew it was coming, so I quickly tried to finish up a few things in that last half hour. I almost thought about getting off and saving some of that time for later on, but that didn’t seem to make much sense. I got off, and decided to watch a couple of DVDs before finally shutting everything down just past 12:15, since I had an early morning meeting anyway.

So the experiment is over, and it becomes evaluation time. And to me, what I learned is pretty simple.

One, if I decide I don’t want to deal with 16 hour days, I just won’t do it. That was proved by Sunday, though that type of thing will be rare.

Two, right now anyway, if I have more time all I want to do is, well, nothing. Watching TV and DVDs is classified as nothing to me. That and sleep; true, maybe I need more rest, but if it’s all I have to look forward to with my down time then I’d rather not. That is, unless I can get a lot of massages to help me rest; that might not be so depressing long term, eh? 😉

Three, it’s easy now to see how I can slip into being on the computer for so many hours. I mean, look at Wednesday; I could have easily been on the computer 5 more hours, because I remembered that on Wednesday I took myself out to lunch, which was about an hour away. Add to that a trip to the bank and the store, and there you go.

Four, I probably need more DVDs, because I watched DVDs that by now are probably starting to wonder if I like anything else. Hey, I only buy things I could watch over and over; nothing wrong with that.

And five; there’s absolutely nothing wrong if I decide to take time away to relax or do something else if I think about it. I got all my projects done by Thursday, and with a little concentration I could have finished them by Tuesday and had all the other time for other stuff. This might bode well as far as planning for future projects.

Of course it might all mean nothing in the long run as well; I’m not really sure. I’ll admit that it’s hard to evaluate myself on this one. I haven’t really decided if I’m going to try to change or even if I really need to. If I went on the “happiness” scale, I’d have to say that I ended the experiment no happier or sadder than when I went into it. I wasn’t happy with how Wednesday and Thursday night ended so early mentally, but physically my body was probably happier.

Another experiment is over; whew! And it’s Friday, which means all bets are off since I finished my paid work. Hmmm, what other trouble can I get into?

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Acknowledging A Nice Thing

Well how about this? Most people probably don’t pay attention here because I have the ads so low, but over there to the left a bit lower I have my book Embrace The Lead and my cd set Keys To Leadership.

If you’ve noticed those there before you’re probably seeing something different than you have in the past. I have new logos for each, courtesy of a reader and friend named Vernessa Taylor of CoachNotes Blog. As part of her “just being nice” process for the end of the year she contacted me and asked if I would mind if she created some logo images for me for those two items. Understanding that my creative mind doesn’t work that way, I immediately accepted, and these were some of the designs she came up with, which I’m running with.

Of course I loved them all, including the image I’ve put onto this post, but the thing I really love about the one I’m keeping permanently on the left for the book is that shadow reflecting thing; man, I couldn’t have done anything like that in a million years.

This is my way of thanking Vernessa and bringing her to your attention. It also shows that there are a lot of nice people online. If you like reading some of the things I talk about here you’ll love reading her blog as well, as she talks about some of the same things. Thanks Vernessa; the best to you!

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