All posts by Mitch Mitchell

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

A Networking Meme

I’m giving up my normal Sunday Question once again to be a small, outside of something that I think could end up being kind of cool; or not, as my wife sometimes thinks my sense of cool is skewed.


Meme by Michael Boston

Back in late November, our friend Kissie wrote a post talking about having what she was calling a Community Networking Meme. She wanted to set something up that was kind of formal for bloggers to answer some questions about themselves, ask other people to participate as well, and visit the blogs of those people who were participating in the process and comment on those blogs.

I love the idea; but I’m not someone big on formality, as you know. Still, I wanted to play in my own way, so I’ve decided that I’m going to play with answering the 10 questions and inviting other people to write about the same thing on their blog, and if you’d like to link back to this blog and Kissie’s blog so we can come visit you to see what you’ve written. Or not; you can comment on what I write here and leave it at that, or you can answer your questions here, or you can just read and leave; that’s what freedom of expression is all about.

She did have one rule that I might end up breaking. She said that one should answer the questions with something that’s different than an answer you might have already given if you’ve addressed these questions in some fashion previously. Well, I have about 900 posts on this blog, and I have no idea what I’ve responded to before or how, so I’m not making any promises along those lines. That plus I’m writing this post two weeks in advance, so who knows where my mind will be by the time this is posted.

Okay, enough of that; let’s get to the questions, and please don’t forget to “like” this one and of course retweet!

1. If you could interview anyone on your blog (alive or dead) who would you choose and why?

Sure, let’s start off with the hardest question. I was going to cheat and list my top 5, but I’m going to play fair. But how does one do it? Do you pick a hero, someone important to history, or a family member who you’d love to glean information from? I decided to go with history and I’d pick Thomas Jefferson, the writer of the Declaration of Independence, the 3rd president of the United States, the guy who really could have abolished slavery and didn’t, the guy who pushed through the Louisiana Purchase, and probably one of the smartest guys to ever be president of this country.

2. What do you feel is your strength as a blogger?

I have a vivid imagination, and the only thing that stops me from writing more is time.

3. Can you share a little bit about yourself that you have not already mentioned on your blog?

I’m trying to think of what I’ve never revealed about myself on this blog that I’d even think of sharing with someone else, and it’s a hard one. I guess I’ll just say that I have a very finite set of principles that I believe many people would equate with what they believed those who believed in any religious principle might want to live by, yet I don’t have a religion, don’t believe in an entity of that sort, and I’m hoping I can figure out a way through all the science books I also read to stay alive forever. I think that’s going to be a losing proposition, however.

4. If you were forced to change the name of your blog, what would you change it to? Why?

Silly as this sounds, I’d change the name of the blog to I’m Just Saying, since that’s actually the expression I use all the time. lol

5. What do you think is the most fulfilling part of being a blogger?

The people who stop by for a brief chat and meeting new people by visiting their blogs as well.

6. What would you do with your last day if you found you had only one more day to live?

I’m gonna get a fly girl, gonna get some spank and drive off in a def OJ for a quick stop at a Chinese restaurant, then to a chocolate shop where I’m only going to eat chocolate and chocolate covered stuff while listening to Jackson Five and Michael Jackson music and writing that final blog post until it’s time to go.

7. You’ve been doing medical research for decades and have finally found a cure. What was it that you found a cure for and why did you choose this particular ailment?

I chose cancer. Yes, there are a host of things out there that can get you, but cancer is the only one that can strike everyone no matter whether they’ve lived a healthy life or not. No one is really sure where some of the cancers come from nor how they get them, and my dad had lung cancer as well, so it’s the one that gets my initial attention.

8. What is your most guilty pleasure?

Are you kidding me? Chocolate, and I don’t feel guilty about it one bit! lol

9. Answer only one. What is your favorite book, movie or TV show?

Star Trek, all of them.

10. What do you think is the very best smell in the world? The one smell that can take you back to a time and place of a very vivid memory in your past?

Chocolate; hmmm, seems I said that already. 🙂

Winter Wonderland Imagekind
Winter Wonderland
by Ginette FineArt

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8 Of The Top Black Individual Blogs

Last week our friend Kristi had a post on her blog titled 125 Fearless Female Bloggers. I thought it was a pretty neat list, and I decided I wanted to do something like that for black bloggers.

Of course, because I was doing it, the thing wasn’t going to be easy. I had to decide on my criteria. I came up with these rules for myself:

* had to be an individual blog

* had to be a self hosted blog

* couldn’t be an entertainment blog

* must have lots of newer content

* had to be ranked under 200,000 on Alexa

That last one almost proved to be my undoing. Turns out there aren’t a lot of black blogs out there under 200,000 that fit the criteria. Most of the blogs that do are entertainment blogs. I excluded them because most of the content on those blogs isn’t original content. That doesn’t make them bad, but it just didn’t work for what I wanted to do. And I will acknowledge that some blogs are high because they’re attached to a person’s website; that’s not a disqualifier in my book, just a smart business move.

I know most of the blogs I’m going to talk about, but I have to admit that I then had to go do some research. And I have to admit that I’m somewhat at a loss on how other folks ranked blogs when they did similar posts. One guy had to stop because he was going off Technorati for years, then they changed their algorithm. I’m not really trusting Technorati right now because this blog’s been growing in numbers in many ways, yet Technorati has dropped my rank to around 125 from 494 earlier in the year, and raised my business blog to around 425 with way fewer visitors.

Some other ranking blogs decided to rate people based on… well, there you go; I’m not quite sure. Maybe it was feeds, maybe it was how “black” they were on their blogs… I just have no clue. So I had to determine a standard, and there you go; no matter what people think about Alexa, it still is a more viable tool than many others I’ve found.

Why was I compelled to do something like this? Because when it comes to numbers, there really aren’t a lot of black bloggers comparatively. And there certainly aren’t a lot with clout. Sure, some have influence, but probably one of the famous names in the group is Marc Lamont Hill, who some people might know because he’s been on TV a lot, and his blog only comes in around 250,000; not bad, but outside my criteria.

And there’s the preamble; now on to the list, which is 8 only because I couldn’t find two more in about 2 hours worth of research; that’s a shame.

8. Attraction Marketing Online – 141,107 – Mavis Nong writes this blog, and it’s pretty much along the lines of the types of things I sometimes write about here. It’s mainly about marketing, but she also talks about plugins and blogging and the like.

7. How To Split An Atom – 123,399 – Steve Spalding is the creator of this blog, and he talks about all sorts of things like blogging, politics and social commentary.

6. Evelyn Parham – 113,692 – Evelyn talks about health issues, healthy living, natural products and vegan stuff; I like it, but I never going to be a vegan! 🙂

5. Afrobella – 112,099 – her real name is Patrice Yursik, and she talks about black hair care and beauty products for the most part. I doubt most of you would benefit from this, but a few of you might enjoy some of what she writes about.

4. Oliver Willis – 84,301 – Oliver’s blog is definitely political, and he has multiple posts a day on the topic. Some are very short, links to other posts, some are videos, and some is commentary; my man is definitely passionate!

3. Biz Chick Blogs – 79,341 – Tia Peterson’s blog is one of my new favorites because she covers mainly topics about blogging and writing. She’s also a go-getter, writing on a couple other networks.

2. Basic Blog Tips – 55,483 – I don’t know her last name, but I see Ileane everywhere. She’s well respected and well liked, and man does she offer lots of tips on blogging, which makes sense based on the name of the blog.

1. 2 Create A Website – 6,477 – I have to admit this is a new one for me. Lisa Irby is a webmaster for many sites who writes on blogging, websites, traffic… basically internet stuff and ideas. And even though most of the time I think it’s kind of a joke, hers is the only blog on this list with a PR of 5 (heck, Ms. Ileane’s blog is a PR 0 like mine; come on now!).

And there you have it. Please visit these blogs, and if you see something you like make a comment and let them know I sent you.
 

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Post #900; Blogging Baby!

Wow, I’ve made it this far! This is post #900, and at least this time I didn’t miss it by two days as I did #800. I usually wait until the post after the monumental day, but decided to change it up this time in preparation for #1,000 at some point in the spring.

This post is two days before the anniversary of the first post on this blog, which was December 12, 2007. At that time I didn’t know what I was really going to write about in this space. Now I have no idea every time I write what I’m going to write about, but I at least have a format that works for me.

For those of you who are new, let me explain the process I go through. For every 100 posts, I like to go back and take a look at the topics I wrote on and the posts that seemed to be the most popular for one of two reasons, which I’ll mention as I go along. I do it to help me chronicle what types of posts work better than others, but I also think it highlights for people just what kind of writing I tend to do on this blog, if anyone is predisposed to visit and then take a look back at things. And of course it’s another way for me to have backlinks to previous posts, in case you want to check them out. 😉

Time to get to the numbers. I always start with an accounting of my top 5 categories for the month. This month they were:

Blogging – 28

Sunday Question – 13 1/2

Personal – 9

Product – 7

Social Media & Entertainment – 6

That’s the first time that the majority of topics weren’t in double figures; freaky! The products was a fluke, since 6 of those posts were me highlighting the products I have for sale that I created, something I’d never done before.

Next, I like to show the posts that supposedly were the most popular per Google Analytics. This one is always weird because these are almost never any of the posts that were written during the 100 post period, but older posts that, for whatever reason, continue to always dominate the numbers time and time again. There is a new contender on this list this time; first, let’s see the list:

Cleavage – Yes I’m Going There – 4,335

Getting Google To Index Thunderbird – 497

Should Sexting Be Illegal – 415

Webshots – 309

Images Used By Permission – Copyright Laws – 178

The last post was a guest post by my friend Scott, and it was written on August 12th, which is outside the last 100 days, but is still a relatively new post. Regarding those others, I’m really surprised people are still having difficulties with Google Desktop, especially since I’m assuming more people are on a newer operating system and the product now comes in 64-bit. As for that cleavage post… well, no wonder Google Adsense went away on this blog. 🙂

Finally, let’s look at the blogs that got the most comments. As always, the disclaimer is that I commented on them as well:

Sunday Question – What Happened To Modesty – 57

How Can You Get Noticed On Other Blogs – 40

Four Reasons To Put A URL In When Commenting On Blogs – 38

W3 Total Cache – 38

I’m Supposed To Ask You To… – 37

I did write a lot of posts about blogging, but I think the responses were fairly eclectic so that means I really don’t have one style that grabs everyone, other than the one salacious post that I didn’t think was all that salacious. I thought about trying to find a way to only show posts within the 100 with the highest views for the second category, but that wouldn’t be quite fair to later posts, plus that would be way more work. But for your edification, the post with the most views that was within the 100 days was the one on modesty with 107 views.

And that’s that. Thanks for going down memory lane with me. I don’t have any platitudes on what I’m going to write about over the next 100 posts; let’s see where the mood takes me.

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Will Paying The Price Get It Done?

Last week I read an interesting post on a blog written by a lady named Jacqueline Gates titled The Price Is Right ~ But Will You Pay It? First, that’s the first time I’ve ever typed a squiggly line, and I didn’t even know I had that key until I went looking for it. Second, it’s an interesting article that also has an interesting, if long, video complimenting it.


by TheTruthAbout

If you don’t go check it out, the basic premise is that everything is attainable if you’re willing to pay the price for it. She talks about weight loss, being monetarily successful and something else that’s slipping my mind. In her view, we all have the capability to do and be these things if we’re willing to do what it takes to get there. The question now is twofold; one, do we believe it and is it really true?

Y’all know me; I’m of two minds. One, I believe that anyone can achieve anything if they can get beyond circumstances, whatever those circumstances are. Two, I believe there are some things that are unattainable, not because one doesn’t work hard enough for them but because, well, they’re just unattainable. In my comment on her post I mentioned that no matter how hard I work, even if I do the same thing 24/7, at this point in my life I won’t ever be the starting guard for the Los Angeles Lakers. But in my past… okay, let me have that pipe dream for a moment. 🙂

Based on my beliefs, question number one has limits to it. I used to be a pretty good piano player but I haven’t played in years now. If I started to practice every day for at least 20 hours, I might be able to get back to where I was. However, I couldn’t reach the level of Rubenstein even when I was playing between 6 – 8 hours a day in the past; would that really be attainable now, no matter how much I practiced? Sorry Charlie (who remembers old tuna commercials?), but it’s just not going to happen. But can I be pretty good, maybe even better than I was before? Sure.

So, not only are there limits, but there are modifications we might have to deal with. Can we all be rich? Absolutely. Can we all be Oprah rich; ain’t gonna happen. Do we need to be Oprah rich to be happy and content? Nope. Is it still a nice goal to shoot for, as long as we’re still realistic about our overall dreams? Yes.

Okay, on to question two, and I think I’ve already answered it. If it’s not always attainable, and thus not believable, then it’s obviously not true. At least not across the board. Let’s look at blogging, my favorite subject here, and talk about it a little bit.

Can any one of us be really successful at blogging? Since there’s lots of criteria, sure. But let’s look at two criteria in particular. One, can we all make money with our blogs; two, can we all get our blogs ranking high wherever we want them to rank high? Let’s take these in order.

We can all make money with our blogs. I’ve made money with this blog and my other two blogs as well. Have I made “big” money; that’s a much different question. I don’t think I’ve made $100 total with my blogs in the full existence I’ve had them, and one of my blogs is more than 5 years old. Actually, let me take that back; I haven’t made $200, since I did make some money when I accepted text ads early in 2009. I haven’t made any thing significant, though. Could I? Truthfully I don’t know. Since there are a few folks who’ve made it I could say “yes”, but since that number is less than the number of millionaires in the United States (which is actually a much higher number than you’d believe), I’d have to say probably not. Doesn’t mean I won’t try, but it’s highly unlikely.

So, number one says “no”. What about number two? This is one where I believe Ms. Gates rule on “price” is spot on. With this one I really do believe everyone can be really successful if they’re ready to pay the price. Ah, but what is that price?

Two weeks ago my blog finally cracked the magical 100,000 number on Alexa. I believe it cracked that figure because of the sweat equity I was putting into it. I’ve written a post a day for about a month; I even had two posts a day two weeks ago, though that second post was more about marketing. Tomorrow’s post will be my 900th post in just under 3 years. And I’ve visited lots of blogs and commented, shared, retweeted their posts and my posts, and really worked the community. In essence, I’ve been willing to pay the price to get to this number, and all without page rank (y’all don’t really want me to go there again, right?).

However, I know everyone can’t afford to do this. I work from home, so I have more freedom to diversify my work and my blogging. Not everyone can do this, so I have a small advantage. But this is where paying the price differs. I give up vacation time and time to just sit and watch a lot of TV or play video games for this. I might be missing something, but I don’t know. But y’all do, and if you enjoy doing what you do, then you’re not missing a thing. You’re paying the price in a different way; that’s okay.

In conclusion, we all pay the price for whatever we have. We can decide to pay the price for other things or continue paying the price and getting what we have. But paying the price for something else doesn’t necessarily equate into ultimate success. Yes, you’ll be more than you were, and that’s great. But trying to be more than what’s possible will leave you depressed. Do the best you can, achieve the best you can, and be happy with that. Now, get in there and blog!


Mailwasher Pro
Mailwasher Pro

 

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Do What You Do And What You Know No Matter What

Last week I was listening to an online review of Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows. There were 4 people talking about the movie. Three of the people absolutely loved it; one guy hated it. The guy who hated it owned up to the fact that he’d never read any of the books, nor had he seen the other movies. So, he was lost, looking for action, and hoping the movie would entertain him even if he didn’t know anything about the series.

I remember when the first X-Files movie came out there were a lot of people who were saying the same exact thing. No matter that the movie did have excitement (heck, it had explosions within the first 5 minutes) and even aliens (man, a movie with aliens that also makes sense is my kind of movie), but people were upset because they didn’t know the history behind the show or the characters, felt left out, and thus rated the movie lower than it deserved.

Sometimes I think people just don’t get it. Everything in the world isn’t for everyone; that’s just life. I remember a review of a John Denver concert years ago where the woman who did the review stated up front that she hated John Denver and left the concert feeling the same way. In my opinion, how could she even think of writing a fair review if she went in already knowing she didn’t like it? Was she expecting him to do something special so she’d say “wow, I was wrong all these years” if she hated it?

I’m bringing this up because of the subject of influence and being “liked”. In yesterday’s post on Twitter Chats, I talked about how some people didn’t like others using Twitter in that fashion and the resulting dustups that end up with some people losing followers and others gaining some. Just as the concept of Twitter chats isn’t for everyone, neither is every blog for every person.

Well, maybe that’s a bit much. I like to think this blog is for everyone, but I know that every post isn’t for everyone. If I write about sports and you don’t like sports, I don’t expect you to stick around long. I know I can write about cleavage (especially if I add an image) and Sire‘s going to be there, but if I write about string theory, chaos theory and the calculations of quantum physics that says they’re possible (ugly stuff to be sure, but kind of fun in a way) it might not grab his attention as much, but there might be someone out there intrigued enough to read it all.

I know there are times when I talk tech and some folks stay away in droves because they don’t get it. i also know I go to blogs that talk about cars or other things that my mind can’t always figure out either. I certainly don’t always understand “mom” blogs, being neither a mom or a parent.

When there are things that don’t appeal to my sensibilities, I don’t sit down and gripe about them at that moment; I leave. Whether or not I come back is irrelevant. It’s obvious at that moment that a particular thing wasn’t written for me or to me, and thus I don’t have to try to force it into what I want it to be. There are plenty of other outlets, plenty of other people who’d appreciate my time, and those people who are doing something I’m not interested in are going to appreciate that I didn’t stop by and rake them through the coals because they weren’t my cup of tea at that moment either.

Don’t beat yourself up if you’re in a niche that not everyone can get behind. Those that do get behind it will be loyal to a fault, especially if you return that loyalty. And don’t beat yourself up if someone comes to your blog and leaves comments, yet you visit their blog and find yourself kind of lost. I think anyone who’s expecting me to stop by a punk rock blog just because they stopped by here and posted a comment is kidding themselves, just as I know I’d be kidding myself if I thought everyone should be watching and listening to every opera video I posted.

If you’re creating something, whether it’s a blog or website or book or music, create what you want, then find your particular audience, or they’ll find you. Don’t cater to someone who hasn’t invested time to learn what it is you have to offer. Sure, there are times when you might have to take a step back and give some background before moving forward. But like Harry Potter, X-Files and John Denver, if your stuff has been out there for awhile and a newcomer stops by and slams you for their ignorance, don’t bite; just go on with your bad selves. And if you’re wondering where that comes from, check out a clip from one of my favorites, the Muppets:

 

A Charlie Brown Christmas



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