Tag Archives: Blog

Evolution Of A Blogger

Have you noticed what seems to the traditional evolution of a blogger? If there is such a tradition in such a relatively new area. I have noticed it, and the following seems to be what I have found most commonly.

  1. Free Blog Hosting: Starting out, many sign up for Blogger, WordPress or some other “free” hosted blog. This gives them a great URL such as http://southplatte.wordpress.org that they can blog on and test the blogging waters out with. There is very little knowledge needed to do this, no hosting to figure out and pay for, no domain name to register or anything else. It also isn’t the best way to brand or build a phenomenal and popular blog, though it can be done.
  2. Commercial Hosted Blog: This is the next step for many bloggers. Registering a domain name, buying a blogger or basic hosting packing from a hosting company. Many times the domain is less than $10USD and the hosting as low as $5USD. Usually a host is found that is blogger friendly – meaning they will have a control panel with a one click installation of WordPress or some other blogging software. Many time they will have a selection of themes to go with the blog package so users can get a good looking blog without any coding, graphic design or layout knowledge. This works great and there are many blogs that are popular that do just this. Many times in this area users will scour the web finding free themes for their blog – installing many, selecting a few and hoping that the design looks good and works for visitors. They hope and pray that 10,000 other blogs haven’t chosen the same theme, since after all they are trying to set themselves apart, right?
  3. The Custom Blogger: This blogger knows that to stand out they need it all. They need a custom domain name, custom hosting package and a custom design or theme. This blogger sees the value in being who they are, how they are. They also understand they should not have a blog that looks like 10,000 other blogs on the planet if they want to make a name for themselves. This is the blogger that is in it for the long haul, constantly writing, improving and trying new things.

Agree or disagree – leave a comment and discuss it and let’s see what others have to say!

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Do You Comment Just To Comment?

Blog Comment Form

Blog Comment Form

One of the nice things about blogs is the ability on most of them to allow user interaction in the form of leaving comments on posts. I have done this, as I am sure most anyone who reads this has done as well. The question I pose today is this: Do you comment, just to comment?

The great thing about comments is, you can get a link back to your site. However, is that the only reason you leave a comment? If so, maybe you should re-think your strategy. Simply commenting for the sake of it, or the sake of a link is not only going to hurt you long run, but often times hinder the communication that is attempting to take place on the blog.

Just now I was reading a favorite blog, and had posted a comment earlier. So there I was reading other comments, and getting some brain-food from them, and I started clicking on the comment poster links. I visited probably about 10 different sites, one of which was a student who is currently doing freelance web design while going to school. Hmm….that sounds kind of where I started out at too!

That interaction found me retracing some steps I have taken, thinking of what success and failures I have had and reflecting on how to build into the future. All that from a comment on a blog post? You bet, because I took the time to read the post, comment something of positive value, and read those other positive value comments, and then actually visit the site to get “a look at” the comment poster.

Maybe you will just find another favorite blog to follow, maybe you will have a revelation, maybe you will see nothing of positive value. But if you aren’t truly interacting, following some of the comment poster links, and are just hoping everyone else sees yours, seems like a waste of effort since you aren’t giving any thing of positive value back to the blog poster or comment posters.

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Beginning Social Media – Part 5

We’ve covered quite a bit on social media, but this post is going to talk about being genuine, being yourself and how that can help, and sometimes hurt you in social media.

Let’s face it, we all have a personality, we all have quirks and we all have that which is desirable and that which is not….showing that to the world via social media and networks can either shoot you to the top, or bury you in the mud. While reading and finding out more about social media and networks, I found a great post on how to socially network if you’ve been laid off over on Scobelizer.com. The unfortunate truth is, I left a job in September, found a temporary gig in November and was laid off from that temporary gig in December, it didn’t last quit as long as I wanted, but that’s a different story all together.

The article details ideas on what to do and what not to do when using social media to enhance job seeking. Mainly, there are a lot of things people have on the web about themselves that really is not professional: drinking photos, slams towards others, slams against companies, child-like behavior, rude, crude and you name it. Unfortunately landing a job, wherein HR managers and other execs are getting more “social media savvy” this can spell doom. But what about if you are not looking for employment? What impact does anything have then? One word could be used to solve both situations and scenarios: Genuine.

We have all seen the “Only use XYZ components and accessories with your XYZ Gidget” from product manufacturers. But when we talk about being genuine, being yourself, that’s different to a whole new degree. The one thing I have noticed is too many people have an “online alter-ego” that is different than they are in person. Why? Anonymity? Privacy concerns? Who knows…. When we are in social gatherings in the real-world, how many times to people (either ourselves, or people we meet) put on a front, or become someone for the setting? You look at some of the people I have mentioned during this series of articles, and you will find out from reading their blogs, watching their videos, seeing their tweets etc that they remain pretty consistent and constant across the board, no matter what the social setting online is. I would venture to say they are the same in person, and if they were not their peers would probably have well pointed that out to the world now, because that is what people do.

The important point here is: WHO ARE YOU?

Figure that out, and then stick to it. If, as pointed out in the article on Scobelizer.com, you are a programmer, blog about programming, tweet about it, setup your LinkedIn to be that. Be who you are. Better, Say who you are and Be who you are. Above all, stick to it, no matter the medium: online, offline, on the phone, in email, on Twitter. Why? Because people can see when you are not who you say or claim to be. Example: I am a web developer, I blog some about web design, web development, PHP programming, Images and graphics and social media because it all ties to web development. The occasional post, such as this one about getting my first Harley seems okay because it lets people, such as future employers, know that yes I am a rounded person and do have hobbies outside of sitting in front of a screen. But much of the truly personal stuff is kept elsewhere separate, and much of that is highly moderated as to what is actually in the “wild” for the web to see.

So in keeping with being Genuine, I have started to make a more concerted effort in keeping all my social interactions, blogs, comments, tweets, and so on, centered around who I am, what I do and why. Is that so difficult for people to do? I think sometimes it is, because in any social setting it is easy to let those who know us least think we are better, stronger, faster or whatever than we really are. Unfortunately in social media, this is found out fast and furious and it can kill any chance of successfully taking advantage of all the promise new media holds. You may say something at a small party to gain attention of another person, you might try the same in social media online. Either way, you are bound to be found and bashed later for it. It’s the simple fact that social media can move this finding and bashing to a speed at which you will shudder next time you feel to “exaggerate” a little or smudge a “little white lie”.

The next article in this series is going to do a wrap-up by presenting a nice list of things social media can do for us as individuals, and maybe a bit on what it can do for businesses. Then comes the wrap-up of ideas discussed throughout the series, kind of a check-list if you will.

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Beginning Social Media – Part 3

Value Defined

Dictionary.com defines value as: relative worth, merit, or importance

Social Media Value

One thing I have noticed in social media is that there are two general trends. The “look at me” trend a.k.a. “it’s all about me, what I am doing, what I can do, what I have done” syndrome. The second is the “what are YOU doing” trend a.k.a. “what have you done for your friends, followers, what can you do for them, what help do you have”. Don’t believe me? Pay attention to your networks, to those who you follow or are friends with. How many of them simply broadcast their latest and greatest? Probably too many, and you are probably just as guilty as they are. Oh, did that hurt? Hey, I have been there, done that and still do it at times so I am not just calling you on your game, I am calling myself on my game as well.

I take a look at some of the more popular blogs about making money, gaining success via social media and I keep finding some common trends, and I am going to focus on one common trend started last post – value.

Chris Brogan blogs very well about value, and I believe he provides value through social media. I have been following him on Twitter for some time now, though I have not truly interacted with him yet. Many of his blog posts speak for themselves so you can head over and read them. Four posts I would like to bring to light, and what, at least from my perspective, they try to accomplish in the social media field, considering each one was tweeted and I am sure brought out through other social media outlets.

Small Town Superheroes – Chris highlights a small business owner, local and known to him. Why do this? First, Chris has obvious good traffic and good rapport with the shop owner both. So by noting this small business owner, effectively Chris is helping spotlight and maybe drive some traffic through the door of the business. Chris also links to some articles he wrote before, such as Three Goals for 2009 maybe gaining more readers of that post. But it is what is at the end of the post about the small shop owner that most people just skip right past, and unfortunately miss: “And you? Have you written about the stars in your town?” Here Chris challenges his readers to provide value to those in their local town, city etc. By blogging, tweeting, or using other social media, can you make a difference in the life of someone? I get the feeling that Chris Brogan thinks it’s possible.

Another thing Chris does is have a links page called Rockstars. Basically he allows people to add a link to their site here. Why? Why not do it…it is empowering people, making them feel like they do matter to him, plus it helps gain them exposure. The list is long, and I am sure it gets pruned now and again, but hey why not. Calling it Rockstars gives a warm and fuzzy feeling, even though we all know we are not rock stars, but that is not the important thing here, the fact that he tries to grant exposure for others says something about who Chris may be.

Darren Rowse has several blogs and each one is merely about doing a task better. Whether it is digital photography, blogging or using Twitter. He shares this value, gets value back from the comments and creates a nice atmosphere to share in. That’s value, in addition the value extends from the blog to other social media.

The main point here is, and yes I know I used Chris Brogan, Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett quite a bit in this series, is they all seem to focus and hover around creating value for those around you, helping those around you and sharing enough to help others. That is value to most people, since value doesn’t have to always mean something monetary.

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Beginning Social Media – Part 2

Soon after becoming unemployed, and Tweeting about it I began to realize that Social Media could have the effect to change lives, to change people and to change a story. I began to finally search out those who have been using it that are finding opportunities in it for personal and professional growth, finding ways to exploit it for business purposes, finding ways to monetize and earn from it, finding ways to change peoples lives with it and telling others their views on what works best.

It started by interacting with people such as John Reese, Chris Garrett and Darren Rowse on Twitter and other places. First, I mentioned that I was thinking of starting a business again, and John Reese stated it was a great time to do so. Then with Chris Garrett we discussed saving the weekend and doing other activities offline. That led into some discussion about guitar playing with him….Darren and I have emailed a few times, and I even was able to write a guest post on his TwitTip blog and am very thankful for that opportunity.

That leads me into this idea from Chris Garrett – he had tweeted to make one think, “Thought for the day – Before un-following a bunch of people, ask yourself if your own tweets have been good value lately” to which my reply was, “good though – of course my tweets are rarely of good value.” Chris’s response to that (along with to a few others), “That’s partly my point – you have attention, what DO you provide to make people want to listen?”

At this point, something started to click. I had been merely broadcasting on Twitter, and not very much, didn’t have many followers (still don’t, and I am okay with that) and really was not being “social” nor caring if what I was writing had any “value”. Value…….

At any point in our lives, we are interacting with people since most of us have family, friends, associates, colleagues and what not. So the interaction with social media takes place online, that’s about the only difference. In the real world, do we keep friends that are of little to no value in our lives? For how long? Do we continue to interact with the associate or colleague that does nothing but whine, promote how awesome they were on the last project or try to destroy other colleagues out of jealousy, envy or plain meanness? Not really, most people I know don’t anyway. Do we stay in contact with those who are always trying to get us to try something new, say AmWay, Quixtar or some other “latest, greatest make money” pyramid? Not usually, not unless they add “value” in some other form or area of our life.

And so it goes with social media, Twitter in particular being the one focused on here. Blogs, and other media will be discussed later. But that simple comment by Chris Garrett made me think – what value to I provide to the people following me on Twitter? Up until that point, I can say I probably didn’t provide much value at all….in fact Chris Garrett is not following me, though others in the industry are. Hmmm…you see I follow Chris and reply when I the following occurs A) his tweet hit a nerve in me B) I fell I can provide value in a reply to him C) to simply interact to learn from him. I don’t care that he doesn’t follow me, nor should you care about who follows you, but you should care about WHY they follow you, and WHY you follow someone else. You should also care WHY people don’t follow you, simply because if you are not getting followers as you would like, you are probably not providing any value to potential followers.

One great article I read this past week by Ben Bleikamp, was How and Why I Use Twitter to Build Relationships. He starts the article by talking about what Seth Godin says about networking – that it basically comes down to helping people achieve their goals. He then talks about why he follows a smaller number, and that unfollowing on Twitter should and can be done. Why keep following someone if they do not provide value to you, or as it was put, help you achieve your goals? It is mud in your lane on the road of life, and nothing more at that point, and will do nothing but slow you down.

Twitter is just one tool, albeit probably one of the more popular tools at this time, for social interaction on the web. How can you harness it to expand opportunities? I have been able to write a guest post, have that post tweeted to many thousands of followers, which then has lead to more traffic to this here little blog I attempt to operate. I have interacted with several of the top people associated with social media, even though I am a little person, a nobody. The fact that several of the “big dogs” have interacted with a little dog is amazing, yet is it really? That topic is coming next – a look at social media value networks – what is value as we talked about in this post, and how to you create value, and how do you find value? I have several resources lined up for the next in this series about value, and what it really means – and helping people achieve their goals without giving away all your secrets, something I have recently learned I am far too guilty of doing.

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