All posts by Mitch Mitchell

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

How Some Bloggers View Commenters

Wednesday I participated in something that’s called Community Manager Chat. The moderators of the chat, which occurs on Twitter every Wednesday at 2PM Eastern Standard time with the hashtag #cmgrchat, always have a general topic, and 4 questions during the hour, and those who want to participate can and do so, while other just read what’s going on.


by Andrew Feinberg

The topic on Wednesday was blogging, which y’all know I feel I know fairly well, and thus I got to participate a lot. At one point the question came up as to whether people who wrote blogs responded to comments on those blog. I wrote that I respond to almost every comment, especially for first time visitors, and I found that wasn’t quite the norm from many people, even those whose blogs don’t get many comments at all.

Some people were fascinated that I respond to almost everything. Some people felt that most comments were just some form of “I agree”, and thus didn’t deserve responses. Are you kidding me? Who here remembers my post about feeling ignored?

Here’s my position. I believe that every person who visits the blog and leaves at least a little bit of substance deserves a response. I also believe if someone’s way off topic then it’s probably spam and it’s getting deleted; that’s why I have a comment policy. Now, there are times when I don’t respond to a post that I wrote more than 6 months ago, but that’s pretty rare. And I might not respond to a one line post from someone I know; I never leave one line comments on anyone’s blog unless we’re having a bit of a banter back and forth. Will that potentially change if any of my blogs ever got to the point where they were averaging 200 comments a day? Hey, let’s find out! lol

I expect y’all know I appreciate you, even when we disagree. Civility really does have a place in this world. You visit my crib, I’m going to offer you something. Maybe not my chocolate cake, but something. 🙂 You can always count on that. So think about it; how are you treating the people who visit your blog?

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The Know-It-All Discussion

There was a post on the blog Search Engine Journal titled Get Rid Of Villains In Social Media Infographic that had this really large image based on an article written by another guy named Todd Helm, of the same blog, titled 8 Villains Of Social Media. It was an interesting take on the type of people who basically irritate most of us because they’re not really trying to be social, but trying to get on our nerves. What he did was identify types, then write his suggestions for how to handle these folks.

I don’t want to list all 8 types, because I think you might enjoy reading the article, and there’s some humor there as well, but I did want to take on one of the types because, oddly enough, I wrote about the type in my book on management and leadership, Embrace The Lead, which you see over there to the left.

That one type is called the know-it-all, and Helm states this:

The Know-it-all rarely comments unless it’s to disagree with or correct the content producer or another user’s comment. They’re generally great fact checkers and revel in correcting a specific fact, but would rather argue about opinions. They also love to point out grammatical errors.”

In my book, I wrote this:

…this person, unfortunately, is usually one of your worst nightmares rather than your biggest helper. If they don’t really know it all, it doesn’t stop them from telling you that they fully understand when they don’t. They’re also the first ones to try to help someone else understand how to do something, and invariably it’s incorrect because they didn’t fully understand it themselves. Of course there’s the know-it-all who really does know a large bit of it, and they want to take every opportunity to show people that they indeed know it all, to the point that they end up taking over and intimidating other employees. Know-it-all’s also are always interrupting you; they can destroy the flow of a meeting if not handled properly.”

So, we have a minor disagreements in how know-it-all’s act, because I’ve never known a know-it-all who isn’t always sharing an opinion or trying to correct someone, even if they’re wrong. As a matter of fact, I have someone in mind right now that I did a consulting assignment with, who would throw out all these “facts” that often I had to counter, and when I’d counter them he’d change up and say something like “oh, I was talking about _____, but you’re right, in that instance you’d do what you said to do.” Please! lol

Then Helm gave this thought to beating a know-it-all:

Strong (yet modest) arguments. It’s nearly impossible to change the mind of the Know-it-all. Your best bet is to respond to them with rational arguments that present a strong case in a modest tone. Let their arrogance and opinionated argument work against them making you look like the rational, impartial one to everyone else.”

That’s not bad, but as a point of comparison I wrote this:

There are a few ways to deal with this type of individual, but the best is to let them have their say, regardless of the situation; at least initially. If they’re the type that’s always wrong, your employees will see this person for what they are and recognize that they’re not as smart as they feel they are. At some point they won’t waste their time going to this person for assistance. Also, this gives you a great opportunity to correct them in a group setting in such a manner that they won’t see it as your trying to show them up, unless you intend to do that, and people will generally benefit because some of them had probably thought along the same lines themselves, but were going to stay silent.”

I actually wrote a lot more than that, but this is enough for comparison’s sake. In this case, we kind of agree on the strategy of letting them hang themselves in spouting information that’s incorrect and then telling everyone what the truth really is. Sure, they might come back for a second round, but most people are rational enough to see when a know-it-all is scrambling to save some of their self respect.

Of course, I do acknowledge that Helm and I are writing for different audiences here, since he’s writing to blogging folks and I’m writing to managers, but the concept is still the same overall. I’m not going to lie; I’d love being a know-it-all. I just know that I don’t know it all, and sometimes these days I feel like I’ve forgotten more than I used to know; scary. But the one thing I hope separates me from a true know-it-all is that, except for this blog, I don’t have the yearn to show it off all the time. Sure, there are times when I’ve gotten what my wife says is a little bit mean spirited and crushed someone who irked me, but in general I like to think that, unless it’s an egregious error, I’ll let stuff slide (of course, Sire’s going to come back and say I’m always pointing out errors on his blog, but he does it for me as well).

What are your thoughts on know-it-all’s in general? And please, make sure you check out both the infographic and Helm’s post as well.

Trivial Pursuit Bet You Know It Edition

Trivial Pursuit – Bet You Know It Edition


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5 More Things To Know About Your WordPress Admin Area

About 3 weeks ago I wrote a post titled 5 Areas You Should Know More About In Your WordPress Admin Area. Some folks who commented said they’d love to know more. I don’t always do an “ask and you shall receive” type of post, but in this case I’m making an exception, so here’s 5 more things to talk to you about.

1. Screen Options. At the top right of every admin page, there’s something that’s called Screen Options. If you click on it, every box you see on that particular page will have a check mark in it. There might be some unchecked you want, and you might see some that you decide you don’t need to see anymore. This is another way to help customize everything, and if you’re someone using All In One SEO and you’ve done the latest upgrade you’ve probably noticed how it’s added some columns to your Posts admin page, and thus things are looking screwy. Going into Screen Options allows you to get rid of some of those things you probably don’t care about.

2. Permalinks. Unless you’re pretty savvy, you probably have the date contained within your link right now. That’s not a drastic problem, but it’s killing your SEO and making your link sometimes 8 characters longer than it has to be. If you look at it, you’ll see 5 options for changing how your link will look. I suggest going to the last option which has nothing there, then typing this in (or just copy it from this post): /%postname%/. What this does is puts your title in the link all by itself, with each word separated by a dash. Take a look at my link and you’ll see it there. Now, this won’t go back and fix any of your previous posts, but if you want to do that I suggest a plugin called Permalinks Migration Plugin. It works great, but then you’ll have to remember to go back through all your posts and in any of them where you linked internally you’ll have to manually change those links, otherwise they won’t work for your visitors.

3. Widgets. Almost anything you see in your sidebar that you didn’t actually go in and create is probably a widget. You have the ability to add, remove, or move these widgets around so that you can customize the look of your blog.

To get there, first click on Appearance, then click on Widgets. Once there, look to the far right. You’ll either have one sidebar option or more than one, depending on how many columns your blog has and how old it is. Click on the arrow next to the sidebar and you’ll see a list, if you have any widgets, of what’s in there. To the left you’ll see a bunch of other widgets that you can add to your sidebar. At the bottom you may or may not see some widgets. Anything not already in play can be pulled back in; all you have to do is click on the top bar, hold it with your mouse, and move it wherever you want it to go.

The Text widgets all need some kind of customization, because they’re empty. This is where you’d pop in code for things you might want to see, such as affiliate banners or books like I have or other such fun things like images. For all the other widgets, there might be some minor customization you can do before saving the widget. For instance, if you add the Archives widget, you’re given 2 options and a chance to rename it.

4. Categories. If you’re writing on a general topic but there are different issues involved, you wouldn’t hurt yourself to add categories to your posts. Oftentimes your blog will start ranking well on search engines because you end up having a lot of posts in certain specific categories that you’ve defined up front, and it gives you something easy to do internal links to from time to time. You can do it one of two ways. You can add a different category every time you create a new post, or you can go to Categories and put some in there ahead of time. This is also where you can delete categories if you’d like.

To get to Categories, click on Posts, then Categories. You’ll see on the left is where you create a category, and on the right is a list of categories. If you’ve never created any thing all you’ll have is probably Uncategorized; that’s terrible for your SEO, so I hope no one has kept that. Put in your category name in the first spot. Where it says “slug”, just ignore that. I have no idea how that could help anyone unless you have a very long category and want to shorten it, but that wouldn’t help your SEO all that much most of the time so just leave it be. The next thing is Parent, and I leave that alone, but you don’t have to. For instance, if you were writing about Roses you might decide to then add categories such as red roses, pink roses, blue roses, planting roses, growing roses, etc. Or you could just always select the general category of roses, which is what I do. That is, on something else, not roses. lol Hit Add Category and it will show up on the right.

5. Media. I’m not sure why they didn’t just call it Images, since all you’ll see in there are images. Media is every image you’ve ever put into a blog post. The only thing you might ever really want to use this for is if you want to change the written information about the image, or delete an image without having to go back to the post. If you click on Edit you’ll see the choices of information you can modify, including the title of the image. All of these choices are the same as if you were adding images by using the little box above the area where you write your content.

And there you go. If these 10 things don’t help make you more knowledgeable about your admin area, I don’t know what will. Happy reading!


Everything for the Fan

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4 Reasons To Have A Gravatar

Two years ago I wrote on this blog about how to get a gravatar. Now I’m going to give you 4 reasons why you should have a gravatar. But before I do, quickly let me tell you what a gravatar is. A gravatar is that image that you see next to some people’s comments or posts. That’s it; nothing overly difficult. And now, the why’s:

1. A gravatar lets people know who you are in some fashion. Whether you write posts on your own blog or post comments on other blogs, a gravatar will be associated with your email address, which is required for any blog you comment on, and of course when you set up your blog you probably set it up with a specific email address as well. The gravatar is set up with the email address, and thus people know it’s you. Yeah, at times it can be faked, but it’s rare.

2. You can use either a picture of yourself, your business logo, or anything else. Overall no one really cares, but of course there are reasons why you might want to select one thing or another. For instance, I use my image because I’m an independent consultant, and thus my face is kind of my brand as opposed to either logo I have on my two main business websites. Some people like to use logos for themselves instead, like Dennis, and I assume it’s because he’s trying to brand his internet businesses (that plus I keep assuming he’s funny looking; yeah, I’m ashamed of myself! lol). Others select something they like, such as animals or flowers or some other such thing, mainly because they’re not worried about doing anything in a business fashion online.

3. You can set up a different gravatar for every email you have if you’d like. I have 3 different blogs, so I have 3 different gravatars. If I advertised my businesses more often when I commented on blogs I’d probably have more gravatars. This could help folks decide if they want one gravatar for their business and one for their personal use.

4. You just seem more legitimate than you do without one. Remember what I was saying about URL’s? When people see your gravatar, and they’re used to you, they’re more comfortable with you and they know you’re legit and trustworthy. Having said that, Sire and I have learned that some scammers have learned how to scrape your identity, but it’s easy enough to know when you see something from someone you’re used to that just doesn’t look right. It definitely helps if you have a common name to separate you from someone else.

And there you are. You folks who don’t have one, think about getting one, whether you do a lot of online stuff or not. Ultimately it gives you a lot of credibility.

Slide and Negative Scanner







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First Day At My Conference

I’m not at home right now. I’m in Fort Lauderdale, FL, at the Annual National Institute of the American Association of Healthcare Administrative Management. It’s a national organization for basically the people who bring money into either hospitals or physicians groups, or any other type of medical entity there is that has its own billing people. That’s a job I did for many years until going into business on my own, and I still consult in that field, of course. I’m also the local chapter’s president once more, so I’m down here at a conference in an official capacity, which earns me free passage to the conference other than paying to get here the hotel room.

I came in Tuesday, and actually it’s not the first day of the conference for everyone. I came in because there was board business to get to, and thus we had to be here a day earlier than everyone else. Still, it was an adventure on the day, so I’m going to talk about it.

The morning started at 4:25 with the alarm going off. My plane was leaving at 6AM, but it’s never crowded in the lines at the airport, so I figured I’d take a little bit more time than I normally would. I had also stayed up late trying to watch the football game, but I finally decided I needed at least 4 hours of sleep and took my silly self to sleep.

Got up, showered, put the last bits of things I wanted to bring with me together, and my wife and I finally leave for the airport, which is just over 10 minutes away; that’s pretty lucky. I check in easily enough, and then the first little snag hits; the bar that comes up on my suitcase so I can pull it around doesn’t want to go back down. So I’m standing there with the guy who’s waiting to xray the bag slamming down on this thing, and you know the last thing you want to do with any of these guys is have your bag look like there’s something wrong with it. I finally do get it down, though, and he just laughs; I hope it’s because he’s seen that before.

I go up the escalator to go to the gate and run into surprise number two; the line is long! Whoa; total miscalculation on my part! Now I start worrying a little bit; it’s 5:15, my plane leaves at 6, which means they’ll start boarding in about 20 minutes; ugh! But there’s nothing I can do so I just stand in line, and luckily someone comes in and opens a second line, and things start moving better. I’m carrying two things, my laptop and my CPAP for the first time; guess what they want to examine? Nothing I could do about that either, so I make it through the scanner without anything going off and take my time putting all my stuff back together until he brings my CPAP back to me, fine and dandy. I get to the gate just as they’re boarding the plane, and since they now load in zones I breathe a sign of relief that they haven’t gotten to my zone yet.

The first trip from Syracuse to Washington D. C. was fairly nondescript. I got to share my little row of seats with a very attractive young lady, but who’s in the mood to talk that early in the morning, right? I put on my headphones and listen to a book on my MP# while she falls asleep. The first trip took about 50 minutes, and then we had to wait outside the gate about 15 minutes because the plane arrived a bit ahead of schedule, and another plane was at our terminal. Once we finally get in I realize I have 50 minutes before the next flight; time to get something to eat.

Now, y’all know I’ve been on an eating plan (actually maybe you don’t), but it’s now a trip, and the doctor said if I went off my plan during my time away not to worry about it, just do what I can do. So what’s the first thing I see? Cinnabon! Yup, popped over there and got a cinnamon bun; yum! But I knew I needed some real food as well. There was a place called Five Guys, and they were serving egg sandwiches, and you could add a hamburger with it; do that bad boy! I ate my sandwich, then my cinnamon buns, and walked to my next gate, where five minutes later we loaded for the next flight, this one to Florida.

This time around I have an older gentleman next to me and I assume his wife, though I could be off on that one. It might have been his daughter; now that’s kind of scary. And his breath; oy! But there’s nothing one can do about that. Now, one thing I noticed on the first flight, and then again on this one, is how easily I can fit into the seats. Exercise and losing some inches is really working!

Get into Ft. Lauderdale and what hits me immediately is the humidity; it’s supposed to rain my entire time here off and on, and with the heat and the ocean it’s not the best combination for me. I go to baggage claim and my bag is the 4th one off the carousel; that’s never happened before. I want outside and ask for a cab and it’s there; wow, two for two. I just might make that noon meeting after all.

I get to my hotel, check in, and see I have 5 minutes to make it to the meeting. Man, I’m hungry, as it’s not 4 1/2 hours since I last ate. Nothing I can do about that, so I rush to the other hotel, since I’m not staying in the same hotel as the convention (why not? My hotel is costing me $79 a night; the other hotel would cost me $250 a night). I get there and can’t find anyone; turns out the thing doesn’t start until 1PM. Ah, time to find food.

I come back to my hotel, then realize their restaurant is gone; under renovations and won’t open until spring. This young lady tells me there’s a grill in the other building that serves lunch. I head over there, and the woman there tells me that because of the weather lunch is being served at the bar that I just walked past in the other building. I go back and the guy says they won’t start serving lunch until 1PM; what the hey? Nothing I can do but go to the other hotel to see what I can find there to eat.

Other hotel, a Marriott, has one thing open for lunch. Most of the food on the menu looked, well, yucky except for one thing; a hamburger. And that hamburger… $15! Talk about being a captive audience! I’m stuck, so I go in, order my hamburger, and then greet someone I know, who invites me to her table. I go there, finally get my burger, ask for mayo and the woman brings me two packets; I’m paying $15 for a burger and I get packets?

Finally I’m feeling good, and we head to the meeting. I find that they’ve put me on the legislative committee, which means we discuss which policy initiatives we’d like to present to government officials that can help us with medical billing issues throughout the country. My committee, led by someone else, debated this thing for more than 2 hours. I’m going along with the recommendation, even though I tend to think it won’t really solve our issues, but I’m not going to say what it is since it’s official business and not just my business.

Finally get out of that and the rest of the day is ours. I come to the hotel, hook up internet ($9.95 a day), turn on the TV and I’m watching Voyager while trying to do some things online. I learn there’s a Ruth Chris Steakhouse about 10 minutes away, so I call another friend down here and off we go in a cab for dinner. Man, I ate a lot, but it was worth it, since the nearest Ruth Chris to me at home is in NYC, 6 hours away.

I come back to the hotel feeling sluggish, and I decide I need to hit the treadmill. I do 40 minutes on the treadmill, sweating up a storm, come back to the room to watch poker, and the night is done.

I’m going to be here through Saturday, and I may not recount everything else like I did here. I did want to get a post in, though, so you know where I am if I skip another day. I want to relax some, work some, and finally try to see what this place is all about. I hope y’all are having a great week wherever you are.

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