Category Archives: Blogging

Are You A Lurker Or Participant In Life?

A few days ago I went in what I consider a minor rant about Ning and how it didn’t seem to be all that active or engaging. Dennis wrote a comment asking if I was disappointed in Ning or its “lousy” (yeah, he used a different word) members.


Lurker
Lurker

It got me to thinking more about things I’ve mentioned here and read elsewhere as it regards Facebook and Ryze and Twitter and LinkedIn and even blogs. The common thread with all of these things and with things in general is that there are a lot more people hanging out around the fringe, aka lurking, than there are participating.

It’s an interesting phenomena that deserves to be looked at in a few different ways. Let’s start with this question; why? I personally think it’s been indoctrinated into most people throughout history; it’s almost our instinct to kind of watch and take things in rather than to actually get into things. This doesn’t mean if you’re not forced or encouraged to participate you won’t; in the rough and tumble caveman days, it took a group of hunters to bring down prey sometimes. What it means is that you might not have been a participant in making the plans. These groups usually had one or two members who did the planning and lead the assault, and everyone else just came along to help out; after all, they wanted to eat also.

That happened in history, and it happens now. Most meetings you go to will have a few people who do most of the talking, while everyone else is pretty much just there. Unless something is talked about that specifically draws them out, most people will stay silent, barely paying attention, until the meeting is over so they can go back to their normal jobs and feel like they participated in some fashion. But it’s not participation just being somewhere; it’s lurking.

There’s nothing wrong with lurking, and if you’re a lurker on this blog I appreciate having you here. However, I have to ask if there’s much productivity going on if you’re lurking without participating? Last week I talked about going to a goal setting retreat. There were 5 of us that participated; I probably talked at least 35% of the time. I didn’t go out to be a dominant person in the room. What I did want to make sure of is that I got my money’s worth, even though it was free. In other words, if I was going to commit 4 hours of my time to something when I could have been using that time doing something else, I was going to make sure I wasn’t just sitting there not trying to become a better person. After all, I do have goals to reach, and not a really clear direction on how to get to all of them sometimes, and any assistance I can get I’ll take.

I’m also the kind of person who doesn’t really like sitting back and letting someone else kind of control what I’m going to be doing or how I might participate in something. I don’t belong to a lot of groups in the “real” world, but I do belong to some. I’m on the board of an organization called Arise, which works with disabled people to help bring them a better quality of life as well as give them equal opportunities to do what everyone else does. But I’m not just on the board; I’m the head of the finance committee, heading into year 3. And, when the entire board gets together, I always make sure I get my opinion out, waiting my turn of course, because I want people to know where I stand. Shrinking violet; not me!

I’m also on the board of an organization called the Professional Consultant’s Association of Central New York, a group geared towards addressing the issues that independent consultant’s face. I run their website and write the monthly newsletter and help put the meetings together. I believe that I’ve been instrumental in helping to change the focus of many of our meetings to get closer to what our stated mission is, making sure I give my opinion on things once again.

And finally, I’m the president of an organization called Mid York Medical Accounts Management, though I just took back the presidency. I’ve been on the board for 12 years or so, and this will be my 3rd go round as president. I also created the template page (I’ll be gifting them their own website one of these days), and I’ve written the newsletter for those same 12 years as well. As president, I either get the speakers for our meetings or help get them, and try to make sure that all aspects of the organization are taken care of in some fashion.

Lurker? Me? No way! At least most of the time. For instance, I’m a member of the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, as I live in a town called Liverpool. It has a lot of members, and I’m not on the board, nor have I ever tried. Because of this, I find that there are a lot of events I don’t go to because they don’t interest me. I’m not happy with their website; it should have been revamped 3 years ago, and they’re going through a revamp right now that’s taken almost a year, and little change has been made so far. I’m not crazy about the format of the newsletter. In other words, I have gripes, but because I’m not an active member of the board, basically I’m at the whim of those people who are on the board. In essence, I’m kind of a lurker with this group, and thus I don’t really enjoy it as much as I probably should; I certainly need to be working harder on using it for my own local business purposes.



Lurker

When I’m a lurker, I’m not a happy guy. I need to participate in something in some fashion, otherwise I might end up going away. That’s why I participate by writing this blog and looking for other blogs to participate on. That’s why I hate things that get in the way of my participating on blogs, such as Disqus and Intense Debate and Blogger and any other blogs that want me to sign up to play the game (and there’s starting to be more of these things). I’d rather drop most of them and get on with participating in places that engage me and welcome me in better.

Why do I vote? Because I believe if one doesn’t vote then they have no right to complain about anything. It’s also a bit more personal for me; people died so I would have the right to vote, and I’m going to honor what they gave up, whether anyone else cares or not. I’m not a total participant when it comes to politics, but I’m not a lurker either. I at least know what’s going on, and make informed voting choices when I can (although some of these local elections for small office; how the heck are we supposed to know who these people are most of the time when even the newspapers don’t tell us who they are? A different rant for another time).

Okay, time to close; this is turning into War and Peace. I ask you this question; why do you believe more people lurk rather than participate? What makes you participate if that’s what you do? And how do you see whichever action is the norm for you making your life either better or worse? Inquiring minds want to know.

Bulova Diamonds Gold Ladies Watch

Price – $149.99


Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013 Mitch Mitchell

Are You Obsessed With Numbers?

Let me tell you a truth. I am one of those people who sometimes is obsessed with numbers. There are some numbers that I notice all the time, and some other numbers I don’t pay much attention to. I’m probably like a lot of other people, but I’m owning up to it.

I do come by this honestly, though. As a kid around eight years old, I started counting the number of letters in sentences that either I would say or sentences that sounded pretty interesting. I’m obsessed with the number three, so after counting how many letters there are in a sentence, and then start dividing that number by three to make sure that everything comes out as being divisible by three. If it’s not, in my mind I start finding interesting little rules for eliminating letters or adding more letters. I always thought I would grow out of it, but obviously more than 40 years later I’m still doing it.

Anyway back to being obsessed with numbers. The two numbers on most obsessed with these days, as it applies to being online, is my Feedburner subscriber count and my Alexa number. Obviously, since I don’t have any page rank on this blog, I’ll pay any attention to it. I don’t pay any attention to it on any of my other websites, except for my anti-smoking website, which I’m trying to make more prominent so that, hopefully, and start making some of that great Adsense cash. Yeah, I know that page rank doesn’t mean the site will make any more money, but I’m always obsessing about that site wondering if I’d done enough to interlink it so that it’s SEO friendly.

Back to the site. On Monday, Feedburner, over there to the right, said that I had 121 subscribers. That was slightly down from the 125 that I’ve been hanging around, I wasn’t overly worried about it. Today it’s showing the number 85; what’s up with that? I mean really went to check out Google Analytics to see if traffic is dropped. It turns out the traffic is holding steady. Now I’m really confused; what could have caused the number job so far? At this point, I figure it is what it is, or it could be a glitch in Feedburner. Either way, there’s not really anything I can do about it. So I’m telling my mind to calm down and move on. I hope that works, because I don’t like lying to myself about things that I know are bothering me. It’s just strange; is anyone else noticing any fluctuating numbers in their FeedBurner accounts?

Now onto Alexa. Now I’ve been taking on Sire as regards his growth in Alexa over the past couple of weeks. Controversy sells, and he did a great job of starting a couple of posts that really got things going for him. He’s been on a roll over their ever since, and is Alexa number has been steadily looking better. One of my goals for this year has been to get my Alexa ranking under 100,000 also. But it’d been sitting around 135,000 at least a few months, and I figured well maybe that’s just where it’s going to be. So imagine my surprise when I looked at it today and see that it is down around 128,000. How interesting is it that my Alexa rank is getting better and my FeedBurner is going down? Aren’t numbers the strangest thing?

Of course, the numbers I should be obsessing about are the income numbers. And I’ve just about income just as much as anyone else does, but I haven’t obsessed as much about it on this blog. I am starting to get to that point where I think it would be a nice thing for me to start monetizing this blog a bit better. Actually, I think the blog is monetized well enough, but I probably need to kick it up a gear to at least generate a sale here and there every once in a while. After all, how my going to achieve my “problogger” status if I don’t? 🙂 I’ll try not to obsess over that penny I’ve made today on this blog through Adsense; I wonder where that came from?

Okay y’all be truthful, is anyone else obsessing over numbers that they know they shouldn’t be obsessing over? Let’s talk about it, kind of a group therapy session. Maybe we’ll all feel cleansed when it’s over. 😉

Southwest Cooking 2010 Wall Calendar

Price – $10.99






Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011-2016 Mitch Mitchell

5 Ways Poker Is Like Blogging

Many of you know that I love playing poker. I’ve talked about it a few times here. I talked about it when I was in Reno last year around this time. I talked about it when I talked about the psychology of gambling. I talked about it when I wrote about my first big poker tournament this summer. And I talked about it when I talked about joining the affiliate program for Pokerstars.

I think about poker often. I don’t go to the casino as often as I have in the past, mainly because my income is a little lower than it was, so I have to pick and choose when I can go. I’ve also learned a couple of things about my game, which is odd and strange, and in a way, can relate to blogging. I’d like to share 5 things that seem to tie poker and blogging together, at least for me.

1. When I’m tired, I don’t play poker or blog all that well. I think that when I blog when I’m very tired, my articles aren’t all that good. Some might think they are, but I don’t feel much for them. Only when I’m tired does blogging feel like a chore. The same actually goes for poker. When I’m tired I really don’t want to be there, but sometimes I stay because it’s late in the evening and I also don’t feel like having to get up from the table if I don’t have to. I lose money when I play tired, and I’ve often wondered if I lose readers when I blog tired.

2. I actually have times when I blog and play poker very well. Most of you know that, unless I’m doing a research post, I write my blog posts fairly quickly. My mind is clear in what I want to say, and I can produce some pretty good posts, if I say so myself. The same goes for poker. Oddly enough, if I tell myself that I’m going to the casino during the day and I’m only staying 3 hours, I almost always come home ahead. There’s something about being focused on a goal that works really well, no matter what it is. The same also goes for chess, which Sire and I play through email. When I’m focused, I see the board 5 moves ahead in my mind and I play very well; I just need to write down those moves when I’m in the zone. 🙂

3. I love poker and blogging because of the camaraderie. When I play poker, I’m not only there to try to win. I love talking to people, and many times, I’m sitting at a table with all new people, which seems strange for as many times as I’ve gone over the years. Every table has a different vibe, but there’s always someone who wants to talk. and when I do get to play with people I know, it enhances the day even more. Knowing the dealers brings at least some stability to the process.

When I blog, I know most of the people who are coming to make a comment. When new people come, I know it’s a new opportunity to make a connection with a new friend. Every post brings a new perspective from someone, whether I know them or not. I have a great time with it, and it’s one of the reasons why I love blogging.

4. I understand poker, and I also understand blogging very well. I may not always make money when I play poker, but I really understand all the nuances of the game. I know when to bluff and I know when to go all in. I know how to stick around and wait for a good hand. I know how to pace myself based on the time limit I’ve set for myself. And I know when I’ve devoted too much time to it, even if I don’t always listen to myself.

The same goes for blogging. I really do understand blogging a lot. I know how to craft posts. I actually do know the process for putting together posts that have a lot of keywords and linkbait associated with them; I just choose not to do it. I could blog all day; I write for other people’s blogs here and there, and if my entire life was just writing blogs and I could make a full time living from it, life would be sweet. I like to think I know how to engage people. Sure, I might not make a lot of money at it, at least right now, which is like not winning all the time at poker, but I know some things, and I’m going to hopefully apply many of them over this next year.

5. I have fun playing poker, just like I have fun blogging. Fun is what it’s all about after all. Poker is my favorite offline activity; blogging is my favorite online activity. With each, I meet new people all the time that are engaging. I get to hear and read other people’s stories and words. I get to participate in the process. I sometimes make money, which is never a bad thing. If I didn’t have both poker and blogging, I don’t know that my life would have much enjoyment in it. Well, okay, my wife and I have a lot of fun, but you know what I mean. 🙂

Both of these things really are passions of mine. I don’t have a lot of passions, but these two are enough for me. What are your passions, things that you enjoy, that you know very well, that you could probably do better at but don’t because that’s not the most important thing to you? And, do you really enjoy blogging as much as I do? I’d love to hear about it.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Mitch Mitchell

Yes We Can Be A-List Success Stories

The other day, I read a post on a blog called WordPress Theme Customizations written by a guy named Costa on the topic Are You Still Dreaming To Be Famous Blogger. His point is that people will read what these A-list bloggers have to say, buy what they put out, and often you’re not only left with a product that didn’t really tell you anything you could use to try to get where they are, and not only are they not really even blogging anymore as much as managing, but you will never reach the level these guys got to, and that maybe it’s time for you to just be who you are.

He makes some interesting points, and I hope you click over and read what he had to say. I, being me, do take some exception to some of what he had to say, but not because of the reasons he chose. Here’s my take on it all.

Any one of us can be an A-list blogger. What that means, however, is that at some point you’re going to need one of two things. One, you’re going to need a major break of some kind. Two, you’ve got to be set up to capitalize on that big break when it comes.

This post isn’t about any of that, however. What it is about is not giving up on a dream, no matter how big, no matter how small (yup, now I’m channeling Horton the elephant). Anthony Robbins once said “if you have nothing to live for, you die.” If you’re not trying to accomplish something with your blog, why bother with it at all? If you’re willing to be less than your potential, why bother?

True, based on reality, everyone can’t be an A-list blogger. Does that mean you can’t be? Not at all. You could be a famous blogger without being an A-list blogger. You could make a lot of money without being an A-list blogger. You are whatever you are, and you can potentially be whatever you strive to be. Even if you never made it to the A-list, you will always feel secure that you have gone all out to be the best, and you can never take anything but pride in that. And there’s a lot to blogging; just check out these stats from The Future Buzz.

I do agree with Costa on one point that says a lot of what you purchase doesn’t end up giving you exactly what you want. For instance, that Beyond Blogging book on the side there isn’t a book that’s going to give you step by step instructions on being a better blogger. It’s tales of how some bloggers who have made a lot of money did it. It’s motivational; nothing wrong with that.

It’s like networking, for those of you who work for yourself; it is what you make of it, and if you leave a networking event without meeting at least one person, most of the time it’s your fault. Some people join organizations thinking those organizations are going to help them make business contacts that are going to bring money into their pocket. But that’s not what most groups are about, so it’s their fault for thinking that.

Now, if you want some free ebooks that may or may not help you, you can check out this post of mine offering some ebooks on affiliate marketing, and then this other post with more ebooks on affiliate marketing. These are free; go for it.

Back to my premise. I’m shooting for great success in 2010. After all, I’ve just been named one of the Top Baby Boomer Men of 2010, thank you very much. 🙂 After that other post of mine on publicity, this is a nice start to the new year. But I don’t have to be the only one shooting for the stars. The world is big enough for all of us to try to be as big as we want to be, whether it’s A-list blogger, famous movie star, or just rich person without any notoriety whatsoever.

Just don’t give up on your dreams because it seems like a hopeless cause. Now let’s get out there and conquer the world!
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013-2016 Mitch Mitchell

Clearing Away Irritations In 2010

Back in September on my business blog, titled Mitch’s Blog, I wrote a second post on the topic of tolerations. The original post on that topic was only about a paragraph long, so I wanted to boost it up some more. On that post there’s a link to a pdf file called 1001 Tolerations, which pretty much means things we put up with instead of getting them out of our lives and making us feel better about things.

Well, this is a new year, and I think it’s time for me to clear some things out of my life that have been irritating me in some fashion. Actually, most of us should think about doing that from time to time because we all tend to allow certain things to drag us down, even if it’s only occasionally. For instance, you have someone who you call a friend, yet you avoid them because they bring you down whenever you talk to them. All they talk about is themselves and their problems; they never ask you how you feel or even listen when you try to talk; it’s all about them.

I don’t have anything like that in my life, but I do have some things that I will be eliminating. One is going through my email address books and eliminating anyone who hasn’t responded to anything I’ve sent in at least a year. I think that’s not a bad place to start, but I might even go back further than that; I’m not sure yet. I go through my email all the time, and I see these email addresses of people I send stuff to that never write back. I tolerate that, but no more; they’re gone. Well, kind of gone; I’ll save the email addresses in a file, but at least I won’t be seeing them anymore.

Two, remember my post against Disqus? Well, I’m now resolving that any blogs I’m following that has Disqus on them, or any other blogs I go to that send me a message saying I have to subscribe to find out if someone has commented back to something I’ve commented on, I’m deleting from my blog reader and moving on. Any new blogs I come to that has Disqus I’m not even reading. Now, I know some of you have it on your blogs, and if I like you, I may not delete the blog, like our friend Peter; we go back a long way after all. But Peter, sorry, I’m not commenting anymore because I hate getting that email every time asking me to subscribe.

Three, I’m going through all the blogs in my reader and I’m going to make sure I’m following people who are talking about stuff I really care about. Also, I’m going to drop anyone who hasn’t written a post in 3 months. And, while I’m doing that, I’m going to find the time to get to Twitter and release people who I started following a long time ago, who either aren’t talking anymore or aren’t talking about anything I care about. I follow nearly 1,400 people, and I’m not going to say that’s too many, but I am going to say that I do listen to a lot of folks, rather follow a lot of folks, who aren’t really talking to anyone, but instead are always selling. Twitter isn’t supposed to be a one way conversation, just like blogging isn’t supposed to be a one way conversation either.

You know what? At a certain point, we all deserve to have more positivity in our lives. And sometimes, heck, all the time, it’s up to us to make our own happiness and get rid of those things that help to make us unhappy. It’s time for me to do that; what about you?

Colors Address Book

Price – $10.10


Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013-2021 Mitch Mitchell