Category Archives: Blogging

Decluttering My Online Life

I haven’t talked all that much on this blog about decluttering things, but I have talked about it on my business blog. Every once in awhile we should all take some time to clear our “space” of things that aren’t working for us anymore.


by Karl Sinfield

The first time, in 2006, I said it was time to take the clutter out of my life. At that time I cleaned out a lot of material from my office, then decided it was time to go through all the emails I had accumulated up to that point, which was about 11 years worth, and eliminate any that weren’t beneficial anymore. I also went through about 4 years of business cards then as well; I’d kept every business card I’d ever been given, and that can really accumulate a lot.

The second time, in 2008, I wrote about addressing your clutter, but in that case it was concerning the fact that you know you have to do something because it’s not working, and instead you just let it keep going on and on until you find out you have a major mess on your hands. At this point you might just have to kill everything and start all over again; what a waste of time that is.

This time around, since I write about blogging here more than anything else, I’m talking about blogging declutter. Last year around this time I wrote about clearing away irritations and I figure it’s time to do that sort of thing again. Most of you haven’t been treated to this pdf file I’m linking to that’s called 1001 Tolerations, so I’m sharing it with you. No, some aspects of blogging aren’t on the list, but I think they might be if it were written today. I love blogging; I love visiting other blogs, and I love commenting. I know many of you do as well. But we put up with stuff that impedes our joy and wastes our time. Hey, early in the new year is as good a time as any to set something up so I’m not being irked anymore; who’s with me on this one?

So here we go, my short list (well, short for me) of things I’m going to do and not going to put up with anymore unless I really like you already; you’ll know who you are later on, obviously.

1. I will not subscribe to anymore Blogspot blogs. I might not even look at any more new blogs from that site. Even those where the only account I have with them will be missing me. As I wrote in another post, my business email isn’t appropriate as my only venue for leaving comments on those blogs, so why go there and find out and then have to leave, right?

2. I will not subscribe to anymore WordPress.com blogs. This ties in with my post on why I might not comment on your blog. Almost every one of them sends you an email asking if you want to subscribe to comments; I already checked the box so that should be obvious. Why put myself through that decision anymore.

3. If your blog has something that pops up while I’m either trying to read or write a comment asking me if I want to subscribe to your newsletter or whatever else, I’m gone and not coming back. I don’t care if it comes up immediately or 30 seconds later. I don’t care if it’s been said to increase subscribers to newsletters for those of you who are doing marketing. I’m done; it’s irking me, and really came to light two weeks ago when I was trying to write a comment and in the middle of it that stupid box came up and wouldn’t let me continue until I clicked it off. Nope, I’m done.

4. If I’m trying to visit your blog and suddenly I’m redirected to something telling me I have to turn off my adblocking software to view your comments, I’m done permanently. That tells me you’re more interested in making money than in engaging with people, and frankly, I go to the store when I want to buy something. I will not be forced into it. This seems to be a new thing, by the way, and I’m not having it.


by Kenneth MacLeod

5. I’m not subscribing to anymore Disqus, Intense Debate, or other blogs of that sort. I had actually continued subscribing to those blogs because some of them have pretty good content, but I like commenting, and I’m not signing up, and I don’t want to get those stupid emails; done.

6. I’m not subscribing to any more blogs that won’t show my gravatar because I haven’t signed up for their service. This seems to be the way with many Typepad blogs, and frankly, though this is minor, I can live with it. I went through the time to add my image through Gravatar, and by golly if you don’t care then I don’t care to visit again (I know, I said it, “by golly”).

7. If I notice you’ve never responded to a single comment I’ve made, I’m dropping your blog from my reader and moving on. That probably means you’re not looking at comments anyway, so you won’t miss me, and I won’t miss your blog either.

8. I’m not subscribing to any more blogs that moderate comments. I’m sorry you’re worried about too much spam because you don’t have the time to run your blog properly, but I’m not the one. What happens is that you never know if your post was seen or commented on until suddenly you’re deluged all at once with tons of comments that are just now being approved by the blog writer. Nope, don’t need that in my stream; I like real time comments and the like. It might be minor, but it’s irritating me, and I need to keep my irritation level down.

9. Of course if you don’t accept comments I’m not coming back. Having said that, I’ve been to some blogs where a person wants to write something really personal or controversial, and doesn’t want comments on that post. I’m not overly crazy about that idea, but I actually understand it and kind of respect it at the same time so that doesn’t count. But some folks don’t accept comments at all; that’s not interaction, that’s sitting through a lecture.

10. If you don’t always agree with me and love me and tell me how great I am, I’m never visiting your blog. Okay, this one’s a lie to see if you’re paying attention, and to satisfy my little OCD bit because I just had to have a 10th point to write, and I couldn’t think of anything else bothering me. Actually, the number 9 is one of my favorite numbers, but for a list post it just wasn’t going to work for my mental state. Sorry about that. 🙂

Now, does this mean I may not pop in from time to time? No, I wouldn’t say that. After all, I mentioned in yesterday’s post talking about CommentLuv that I like scanning through comments on other blogs that have it to see if there are topics that match things I’m interested in. So I might end up there, but whether or not I leave a comment is my prerogative. However, I probably won’t; if I like it enough, I would probably just write a blog post and link back to it. So, you’ll get a trackback that you can come here to see what I had to say.

Yeah, that’s a whole lot of fussing, which is why I threw in another image to break things up. What are you tolerating, other than long posts every once in awhile from someone like me, that you need to declutter from?

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013-2018 Mitch Mitchell

Using CommentLuv Effectively

I don’t have to say this, but I will; I love CommentLuv, and I’m glad Andy created it. It was probably one of the first plugins I ever added to this blog, when I really had no idea what a plugin was, and it’s served my purposes well.

CommentLuv

The thing is, I’m betting that my reasons for using CommentLuv are somewhat different than yours. Not all of you, of course, but an overwhelming majority of you. If you’re not using this plugin to increase your visibility in the community then you don’t know anything about networking. If you are, you might still be going after low hanging fruit rather than getting into the meat of it all (now there’s an oxymoron, talking about the meat of fruit). Let’s find out, shall we.

First, having CommentLuv is a must if you can. I know some blog types can’t use this plugin, and that’s a shame. On the surface it encourages people to visit your blog and leave a comment, knowing they’re potentially going to get traffic back. This is the reason most people use it.

Second, looking at comments both on your own blog and other blogs you comment on is crucial to expanding your network. I’ll admit that I don’t always read all the comments on other blogs, but I do read the ones on mine. However, what I will do is scan through all the comments and look at the blog posts that people are highlighting at the end of their comments. This gives me a lot of blogs to check out based on being interested in a topic that they’re highlighting; I think that’s pretty neat.

Of course, if you sign up on their CommentLuv site, when you comment on someone else’s post you get to choose which of your last 10 posts you wish to highlight, which is a benefit to your commenting as well. If your last post was kind of a throwaway or one time post, you might not necessarily want or need to keep highlighting it, so having the ability to choose between multiple posts is definitely a good thing. It also helps if you happen to comment on a post more than once, as it allows you to select a different post each time.

Also, did you know that if you hover over the heart after someone’s CommentLuv link that it will give you a little bit of information about that person? Nothing intrusive, just whether that person is registered at the main site, how many times their link on that particular blog has been clicked on, other blog links this person has commented on, and at least a few other posts that someone has written on their own blog. Pretty cool stuff if you ask me.

Of course, some of the bit time bloggers would say you’re encouraging people to leave your blog and thus messing up your effectiveness. After all, the links through CommentLuv don’t allow to add code to them so people won’t leave your site. But I think it’s a legitimate risk to take because it pays in spades in the long run (no, that’s another phrase I don’t really know, but I know how to use).

So, what’s stopping you from using it? Disqus? Intense Debate? Blogspot? Drop them; go this route! 😉

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2015 Mitch Mitchell

The Term “Influence” Does Mean A Lot

Last week I was reading a post by Chris Brogan titled Improve Your Influence. The most interesting thing I found in the post was actually the first line, where he stated “The term “influence” doesn’t mean a lot, and yet, it seems to be the holy grail for online social media people“. The reason it was so interesting is that the rest of his post indicated that he pretty much understands how influential he is, whether he was trying to get there or not, and some of the name dropping, which I’m going to do some day (smile), shows that he knows and has talked to some fairly influential people.

social circles of influence
Social Circles of Influence
by Anne Adrian

Being more influential in 2011 is one of my goals for the year, and I figure this blog is probably the one that’s going to help me get there. It was actually because of a comment made by Chris on one articles that prompted my post asking how I could be useful to some of you, and I thank those of you who responded. It pretty much gave me permission to be, well, more of me this coming year, which in turn helps some of y’all be more of you. In a way, it made me think of two lines from the movie Happy Feet, both of which most of us should have in our repertoire of favorite lines, even if we keep them to ourselves; to whit:

I hear the world wanting something… Me!!!

Thank you; I’ll take a moment for myself.

So far I’ve followed some bits of advice in working on that influence thing. I wrote a post where I pretty much showed every link I knew of that talked about me in some fashion.

I’ve given thoughts to the messages I’m trying to project with this blog an realized that me talking about, well, pretty much everything, seems to work for me here, as long as I don’t deviate too much from the norm too often; no promises on that one, but it does prove to be a good thing that I have that other blog to keep me grounded somewhat.

I’ve set up ways for people to like me on Facebook or retweet posts they like. And I’m still figuring out new ways to use social media to work on that influence thing.

In the end, I’ve come to the conclusion that a big part of our becoming more influential with our blogs or social media actually coincides with three of our favorite characters from the Wizard of Oz. Let me explain; stay with me on this one.

The Scarecrow said he needed a brain. The Wizard gave him a diploma. If you check your thesaurus, another word that can be used for diploma is “credentials”. Those of us who write about things that we have the credentials for and can prove it on a consistent basis have a great opportunity to increase our influence as we go along.

The Tin Man said he needed a heart. The Wizard gave him a testimonial, which meant that he honored the Tin Man in a way that others could see the type of person he was. When we acknowledge others at times, like I did in my 5 Top 10’s post, he not only help boost them but we boost ourselves because we show that we know it’s not only about us. Very few people succeed on their own; that’s a hard lesson to learn. Touting others helps your influence because it will come back to you in spades (I wonder what that phrase actually means).

The Cowardly Lion said he lacked courage. The Wizard gave him a medal and called him a hero. I tend to believe that every person that writes a blog and continues writing, even when it seems somewhat fruitless, is a hero, and eventually heroes are noted by someone for their contributions. Heroes also help other solve problems, or gain perspective about things, and that’s also a big part of blogging. Become a hero and your influence will definitely grow.

I don’t try to make my bones by disagreeing with someone whose words I’ve come to enjoy reading (but rarely comment on his blog because it’s a Disqus blog, and you know how I feel about that. In this case, I really don’t think I’m disagreeing with him overall, except for the perspective of the first line of that particular post. It just seems so obvious that whether one wishes to be influential or not, if they provide what he’s said and what I’ve written here, how can anyone not end up being influential? And if that’s occurring, then the “term” does mean a lot, as well as the actions that get us there.

Your thoughts on all of this?

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell

5 Things Bloggers Can Learn From Poker

It seems that every year around this time I write a post that talks about poker and blogging in some fashion. In January 2009 I wrote a post called the Psychology of Gambling. In January 2010 I wrote a post titled 5 Ways Poker Is Like Blogging. And in February 2010 I wrote a post titled Pot Odds In Internet Marketing.

Poker Chips, Poker ‘n Stuff

Why poker? Many of you know that I love playing poker. I fancy myself a pretty good player but not a great player. However, I’ve studied great players and I can see what I lack that they have. I don’t see me getting a lot of it at this juncture of my life, but one never knows, right?

Like almost anything else, one can learn some interesting ideas on how to do something from another place, or from something that has nothing to do with what you’re doing. In reality, most things are interconnected in some fashion, and if you have the time to consider it, you’ll see the connections, or the potential connections, and hopefully learn something from it.

In this case, I figure the lessons bloggers can learn from poker are something that leads us well into the next year, which begins tomorrow, and thus the timing of this article is pretty good. Of course, you could read this and think I’m just nuts; let’s find out.

1. Poker is about analyzing what’s going on at that moment. If I have an ace and a jack in my hand and the flop comes up king, jack and seven, and the other player bets ahead of me, I have to analyze a lot of things at once. Does he have an ace in his hand? How has he played previous hands? How have I played other hands in this situation? Is the amount he’s betting trying to scare me away, or is he trying to trap me? Can I get a tell from the expression on his face? Has he read my face and figured something out?

In blogging, we often start writing for ourselves, but once people start coming we need to be ready to analyze ourselves from time to time. What types of posts do people seem to like? Is my post too short or too long? Is my language easy to understand or am I talking above people’s heads? Are my visuals okay or am I off-putting some people? Just who is your blog for? The decisions can be just as immediate, and in some cases more valuable than a poker bet.

2. Poker is about paying attention to what’s going on around you in some fashion. Even those people who play wearing headphones and listening to music are paying attention to what’s going on around them. They know if one guy always raises when he’s in the big blind. They know if someone is actually thinking about whether their hand is good or whether they’re trying to trick you into doing something stupid. They watch your hands to see if you change up when you have good hands or bad. They look at your eyes, even if you’re wearing sunglasses, to see what they do. When I’m truly in the zone, I know how every player I can see plays the game, and thus I play really well when I’m paying attention.

With blogging, it’s almost the same type of thing. I notice that when I write a post that’s actually a training tip of some sort it gets a lot of attention from people who don’t normally come to this blog. I know who’s going to visit and comment when I write personal posts. I know that if I’m writing a post about a potential money making venture, whether I made money off it or not, that post is going to do well. And I know which posts probably aren’t going to do all that well either. I have to weigh all that, though, for my own personal balance. All of it helps me grow, and there ends up being something for everyone.

3. If you stay at a table long enough, suddenly there’s a great sense of camaraderie and sharing. It’s funny; you sit down at a table with 8 strangers almost every time you go. There’s a feeling out process and you get to feeling like you know people. They get to thinking they know you. Your guard gets let down, to a degree, and suddenly you find yourself sharing stories and telling jokes and finding out what other people do. You learn that some people have come a long way to play while others are there every day. And, if you’re lucky, every once in awhile you’ll go back to play and actually run into someone you played with before, and it’s kind of a welcoming feeling, which is always nice.

I often say on this blog that if you’re lucky you’ll end up being a part of a blogging community, where there are a group of people you’ll be able to count on for a comment or for support or to write something on their blog that you can participate on. The strange thing about a blogging community is that you have to also realize that very few people who are commenting on your blog now will be there 4 to 6 months later. And it may not have anything to do with you; it just is what it is. But for that moment, those people give you love, you give some back, and it all feels good.

4. Real poker players don’t view chips as money, which is a scary proposition because, unless it’s a tournament, it really is money. It’s that feeling, though, that lets them do things you and I would never consider. For instance, there’s the story of a poker pro named Daniel Negreanu, who won a poker tournament and $1.5 million one day, only to lose all the money the next day playing a cash game. Most of us would have lost our minds but he just saw it as a bad day, and went back the day after and won some of it back.

Many of us view our blogs as an opportunity to make money, which isn’t a bad thing, but blogs aren’t really money. We read this advice saying we must do this or that in order to make money blogging. It’s possible you can make money in those ways, but you might not. Niche blogging might or might not make more money than just writing in general, but if you’re writing for the money instead of for the love it’s not going to come across right to potential readers, and you’ll be wasting your time. Having mailing lists and setting up newsletters you don’t really want to write doesn’t benefit anyone and can be more work than it should be. If you view your blog as only a potential money maker, you’re going to fail; that’s just how it goes.

5. Poker playing, no matter what level you play at, means you have to be willing to risk something. When I play poker I head into it knowing that there’s a possibility I’m going to come home out between $200 and $300. Sometimes I come home way ahead, slightly ahead, or break even. What’s rare is sitting down at a table and winning the first hand, or first few hands. Most of the time you’re going to be down, even if it’s only 2 or 3 dollars, based on ante’s whether you play a hand or not. Like all games, there’s always the risk of losing.

With blogging, losing is kind of a strange way of looking at things. Instead, let’s say things might not go as planned all the time. If you write it people won’t necessarily come unless you work in getting them to come. If you don’t answer comments or make commenting hard people will be reluctant to come, and thus reluctant to read. If you’re writing a niche blog that you define too finitely you might run out of things to say. If you don’t write enough posts people might lose interest.

You have to be willing to take risks every once in awhile. You might have to court controversy to get an opinion out every once in awhile. You might have to rely on spell-check more often to help correct spelling. You might have to re-read your posts on occasion if you realize you make a lot of mistakes. You might have to deal with trolls or spam here and there or loss of a portion of your privacy. And you might have to actually attempt to show people you have some knowledge about something, or are funny, or are entertaining, and that scares a lot of people. You might even have to risk being wrong; gasp!

There was a story on a blog post I was reading a few days ago on Problogger where a guy had started blogging and, though becoming somewhat popular, figured out that he was doing things the wrong way. I’ll never say there’s a wrong way in blogging, but it always depends on what it is you really hope to do later on. What he was doing went against what he later determined was his ultimate goal, so he had to stop, then wait awhile and start over so he could hit his goals. My point is that he took a risk, got part of what he wanted and part of what he didn’t want, and he knew he could always start anew.

There you are; 5 things you can learn from poker as you continue blogging into the next year. All I’m going to ask you to do is be safe tonight as you celebrate heading into the new year, and then head into the new years with guts and glory and success on your mind. Happy New Year y’all!

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011-2018 Mitch Mitchell

Five Top 10’s For 2010

The year 2010 was an interesting year for me. I had some successes and some down times, but mainly it was a good year. As I look back on the year I had some things occur that have never happened before, and in some ways I grew a lot.

As I head into the fourth year of writing this blog, I thought it would be interesting to document some things in a top 10 fashion. I’m going to highlight some posts and some people that I felt either made an impact or was something I liked for whatever reason. This isn’t anything overly new. I’ve done something similar to this in the past, and of course every news outlet in the country is doing the same thing. I figure it’s my turn; there will be some surprises and some happy people; let’s see where this takes us. By the way, this one’s going to be long; you’ve been warned.

First, I’m going to start by thanking 10 people who made a big impact on my life in some fashion this year. Some of them have websites, and I’ll link to them if they do. Others don’t, and, well, obviously I won’t be linking to them. Most probably most of these people will never know I thanked them; nothing I can do about that. My top 10 people to thank, in mo particular order, are:

1. My wife, who helped me in more way than anyone could possibly imagine. I guess that makes sense, being married to me. lol And she does have a website, which I wrote about some weeks ago, called Li’l Specs.

2. Mom, who also has helped me out in more ways than I can name this past year. I’m really glad she stayed healthy all year long, and I hope she stays this way for a long time.

3. Beverly Mahone. I don’t even know how many times I was on her Blog Talk Radio program this year, and I was also on her regular radio program as well. Last December her organization named me as one of the Top Baby Boomer Men of 2010, and I got included in her most recent book, Don’t Ask, and I Won’t Have To Lie.

4. Scott Thomas. One of my best friends, definitely my longest. We shared dinner and pizza, movies, and of course you saw that lava lamp a couple of days ago. He comments on this blog as well, and has supported me for years, as I try to support him. He’s got a few websites as well, but I’m going to highlight his photography blog, Views Infinitum.

5. Peter Pellica, aka Sire of Wassup Blog and many other blogs as well. Sire’s been the longest blog friend I’ve had, and we play a lot of chess also. We support each other online, and that’s a great thing indeed.

6. Renée Scherer. Her site is called Presentations Plus, and many of you know that we put on some presentations together this year. She also worked on getting me to networking events, and I probably went to more of them than I might have otherwise.

7. Keith Siddel. Keith was responsible for the majority of my income this past year, and for that I definitely owe him thanks. His company website is HRM, and if you decide to check it out and go to his partners page you’ll see my business listed on it.

8. Jayson Gibson. I did more writing for Jayson this year than for anyone else, and it’s been a pleasure doing it. I can’t link to where I write for him, but maybe he’ll stop by on one of his trips and see it.

9. John… I don’t know his last name, which is a shame because he’s my next door neighbor. What did he do? Earlier this year we awoke to more than 11 inches of snow in the driveway, and it was wet and heavy. My back couldn’t handle it, and my wife couldn’t handle it either. We barely made a dent in it over the course of 30 minutes. He saw our distress and came over with his snow blower and took care of it for us. Then two weeks ago, after going out to shovel, what, 6 days in a row, I awoke to another day of at least 4 or 5 inches in the driveway, and once again my back had started giving up on me. I decided to wait an hour, and in that hour he actually came over and did it again, without my asking. You just don’t always get neighbors like that.

10. Josh Shear, with his blog of the same name. What’s his contribution? Without him I’d have never gone to a tweetup, and not met many of the people that are joining my local sphere of influence.

Next, I’m going to tackle the top 10 posts as far as visitors that were written in 2010. This one took awhile to research because many of my most visited posts are older, but the one at the top, which overwhelmingly blasted all the rest, is quite familiar to all of you at this juncture:

Cleavage – Yes, I’m Going There – 10,247

Webshots – 663

Should Sexting Be Illegal – 541

My Top 19 Favorite Classical Pieces – 365

Are You Obsessed With Numbers? – 242

Images Used By Permission – Copyright Laws – 225

My Hot Tub Adventures – 204

PDF My URL – 204

My Top 10 Fictional Characters – 171

Setting Up Twitter Tools (discontinued 10/12) -155

Next, another switch. Time to thank my top 10 commenters of the year. Some of you will be surprised by the figures, but this is how it’s played out for the entire year, and I thank y’all for visiting:

1. Sire (368)
2. Dennis Edell (154)
3. Carl (multiple websites) (123)
4. Carolee (120)
5. Patricia (109)
6. Val (109)
7. Charles Gulotta (105)
8. Rummuser (67)
9. Kissie (56)
10. John Dilbeck (55)

Next, something slightly different. There’s a plugin you can use that will tell you which of your posts were most popular via social media. It’s called PostRank, and it gives each of your posts a rank based on a number of criteria such as how many times it was retweeted, how many times it was posted on one of the other outlets such as StumbleUpon, Digg, Delicious, et al, how many times it was commented upon, and some other factors. The higher the ranking, which is based on a 10 point system, the more buzz that post generated. It doesn’t count page views, so for once the Cleavage post and some others won’t be on this list. Here’s that top ten, with rank:

First Page SEO Basics – 8.6

Would You Be Missed? – 7.8

Sunday Question – What Happened To Modesty? – 7.7

Sunday Question – What Do You Hope To Accomplish In The Last 3rd Of The Year? – 7.6

Twitter Plugin Changes Coming – 7.5

Why I May Not Comment On Your Blog – 7.4

Sunday Question – What Do You Really Think About Blogging? – 7.3

A Networking Meme – 7.1

Don’t “Stink”; Not Quite A Rebuttal – 6.9

And finally, something for myself. I took a look at more than 300 posts of mine and selected what I considered were my top 10 posts of the year, whether they got much attention or not. Here are those posts:

The Ethics of Your Writing

Are You A Lurker Or Participant in Life?

It Takes Guts To Have An Opinion

Expert, Specialist, Professional or Hack?

10 Things That Lead To A Happier, Healthier You

The Business of Blogging

The Myth of Link Building

Does Your Content Stink – Kind of a Rebuttal

Using Social Media To Grow Your Influence (with a picture of me as a kid lol)

SEO Is A Practice Like Medicine, Not A Science

That’s it; yeah, many of you might not care, but hey, it never hurts to take a look back at the past to see what one has done before, and then formulate where we’re going towards the future.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011-2018 Mitch Mitchell