Time--2017 A to Z Theme

My theme for the 2017 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is "Time". The posts will be more philosophical, contemplative, and even autobiographical than instructional. No time management tips planned, but you never know with A to Z.

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Are You Paranoid About Halloween?

Devil
Devil (Photo credit: elycefeliz)

       Now the time is here for youngsters donning costumes to spread fear from door to door in neighborhoods wherever the tradition of trick or treat is celebrated.  I mean, have you seen the price of candy lately?   Or even worse, parents should be concerned about the cost of dental care.  It's a scary world of Halloween that awaits us.  Are you sometimes at least a wee bit afraid of this creepy yearly event?

       After having made a living in the Halloween industry for nearly twenty years you'd think I'd be a bit more receptive of Halloween.  And as I've mentioned on this blog in the past, Tossing It Out started out as a Halloween blog.   Can you believe it?   My first more than 30 posts referred to Halloween in one way or another.  Eventually I became paranoid that I couldn't sustain the Halloween spirit throughout the year.  More than that I became bored with the topic and wanted to write about other things.

       Halloween is much creepier now than when I was a kid.  Costumes are more realistic and elaborate for one thing.    Some of those kids' costumes are way too adult.  Do you ever fear that a certain innocence is being stolen from the little kids with some of the thematic adult content of certain costumes?

       Then there's the gore and horror.  Vengeance from the grave seems like it's taking over the neighborhood on Halloween night.   That creepy fellow over there.  Is he alive or dead?  Oh, it's just another zombie.  Zombies have been the rage for years now so it's only natural that the zombie should be a popular character choice for the dress-up fans.  Still there is a very sinister frightening factor if you think deeply into the concept.

     Why should we even care?  It's all in fun right?   Yet sometimes there seems to be an obsession with the supernatural, the forces from beyond, and the darker sides of humanity, not just during Halloween, but throughout the year.  The fascination for the dark has always been of interest to humans, but doesn't there seem to be an increase as time goes on?   Do you ever wonder why?  Does the dark side make you paranoid in the least bit?

Battle of the Bands on Friday!


    My posts of today and Monday have been leading up to my Friday installment of the Battle of the Bands--two versions of one song mano a mano with you readers deciding which is the favorite.   I've got a doozy of a competition set up for Friday.  You may not believe your ears.   You may even get annoyed with me.  But you won't know unless you're here on Friday.

    What song have I picked?  I won't tell you until Friday's post but I've provided some fairly obvious hints in today's post and on Monday's as well.  There were a couple of good guesses on Monday, but I'm not saying if anyone guessed correctly yet.  Can you guess the song?   Let us know in the comments.

Other participants joining in with their own battles will be:

           Faraway Series
              Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends
             Your Daily Dose
             DiscConnected

and returning to join us:

Alex J. Cavanaugh

       Do you have kids that you take trick or treating?   What are  you going to do for Halloween?   Which costumes do you think will be most popular this year?   Why do you think supernatural and horror genres are more popular that ever?     


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Monday, October 28, 2013

My Brain Is a Blog

      This post contains several clues.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, read through the post keeping in mind that there are clues and I will explain more near the end of this post.
Think
Think (Photo credits: www.mysafetysign.com)

My Brain is a Blog

        Maybe I should be afraid.  Things have changed for me over the past four years in the way my mind works.  It might not be a totally bad thing.  You might call it a form of mental organization.  Or perhaps I merely have a different sort of perception than I used to have.  Then again it might be a cause of concern.  But I will explain and you can give me your opinions.

       I think in terms of blogs.   Everywhere I look, everything I read, hear, or see becomes a blog post in my head.   My mental life is a series of blog posts.   Ideas for new blog posts assault me from all sides.  Not only on my desk, but in other places throughout my house I have newspaper clippings, magazine issues, scribbled notes, and books that contain ideas for things I want to blog about.

        At times when I'm at my computer and think up a new idea for a post, I'll go to one of my blogs and add another outline for a future blog post to the line-up of  other blog posts waiting to be written or others waiting to be posted.  Yes, I said one of my blogs.  I have more than one in case you haven't noticed.

         You see, a couple years back I decided to scale back from seven days to only three days.  That's right--when I started blogging I was posting daily.  I even had blog posts going up on the Sabbath.  I decided I was blogging too much.

         Yet the ideas kept flooding my head so I came to the conclusion that six days on four blogs might make things better.  In a way my blogging life became less hectic--or so it seemed.  I suppose it was an illusion.  I wasn't necessarily blogging less, but I was dividing my blogs into separate compartments of my brain.  More ideas flooding my head.  More new blog posts to come up with.

        Have I lost my mind?

         Or am I stretching my blog brain capacity to accommodate more thinking?   If you are talking to me I am wondering how I can turn our conversation into a blog post.  I derive blog posts from the comments you leave on my site and the comments I might leave on some of your sites.  I'm building brain power, that's what I'm doing.

        In some ways I'm like a superhero with two identities. There is the blogging me and there's the guy you might meet and never suspect that I am blogging you up and down.   I don't hide these identities for the most part, but I'm incognito if I'm not on my blog or not talking about my blogging.  I've been doing my best to avoid talking about my blogs, but I can't help it.  Blogging has become of passion of mine.  Some people might tolerate my blog talk while others adeptly maneuver our encounters away from the subject of blogging.

       I do believe there is something darker here.  There is a prevailing atmosphere of computer takeover of the world.  The future of a machine ruled world as predicted in the Terminator film series is coming.  The stark reality is that computers are already taking over.  One day we'll have computers implanted into us.  This may be the fate for the future of mankind.

        Before that happens, I want to become the ultimate blog superhero--BlogMan.   I will be able to suck thoughts out of your head in order to turn them into blog posts to transport psychopathically onto my blog.  My bloggy power will compose posts on your blog site without your knowing it.   As BlogMan I will rule the world of blogging and whip out viral blog posts whenever I want.  The President of the United States and all the leaders of the world will turn to me for my great blog knowledge.

         My brain is a blog.  I am BlogMan!

And Now for Something Somewhat Different

         Sorry for the silly rant but I couldn't help myself.  It somewhat annoys me whenever I read a post about writer's block or someone saying they don't know what to write about on their blogs.  Ideas are everywhere.  How can anyone say they don't know what to write about?   I've got an idea--not original by any means--but next time you think you have writer's block why not just admit you don't feel like writing.  You can always take a break to do something else until you get your writing energy back.

         Stuck for some blog ideas?  You can always join in for the Battle of the Bands which happens on the 1st and 15th of each month.    This is the blog event where each of the participants pits two versions of one song against each other and readers vote on their favorite version.  And even if you don't post your own battle I hope you will join me for mine this coming Friday.  If you do plan on participating then let me know in the comments and I'll add your name to the list that I put on my site on Friday.

          This is not a Blogfest and there's no Linky list.  Battle of the Bands is an event that was started by the bloggers at Far Away Series and Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends.  A few others have been joining in as well. And so can you!

           My last Battle of the Bands song was "Respect" and that post yielded two weeks worth of posts on my blog based on that song post.   I don't know if I can manage that for the next battle's song, but today's post contains several clues to what song I'll be using.   Can you guess the song?

           Do you find yourself thinking in blog format?   Are you starting to use "Blogspeak" when you communicate?   Are the machines taking over?



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Friday, October 25, 2013

What Can Happen If a Blog Post Goes Viral?.... ...... .. ... ... a few words from someone who's been there



     
How Do I Define a Viral Blog Post?

      Some of you may be thinking that I've really gotten off on a far off tangent with my series of posts about blogger respect and blog statistics.  This series started with the premise that we as bloggers rarely get much attention or respect from those outside our blogging communities.  In order to reach a broader audience and expand our brand recognition we should think about content that will appeal to those readers who do not blog or are not within the limited scope of our usual blogging community.

      One suggestion of how this can be achieved is by having a blog post go viral.  By viral I mean a post which is boosted by media acknowledgement--television, radio, and print media.  This is additionally supplemented by attention from news web sites and other blogs.  In other words the blog post is the water cooler topic that people all over are talking about and the post becomes a springboard for other conversations on the same topic.  The source material gets exposure to a very large audience and the blogger gains some degree of fame and name recognition. 

A Voice of Experience

       Thousands of comments?  Millions of hits?  Media buzz?   Would you want it to happen to you?  Would it make a difference to you as a blogger, an author, or purveyor of a product or whatever you are trying to market?   Today we have someone who experienced the viral blog post. 

        Liza Long, whom I mentioned on my Are You Respected as a Blogger? post, came into the public spotlight last December in the aftermath of the tragic Newtown school shooting after she published her blog post Thinking the Unthinkable (I Am Adam Lanza's Mom).  I first heard about the post on the radio, then they were talking about it on television and writing about it in the print media.  The story was plastered all over the web.  Liza Long had attained a sort of celebrity status as a result of her blog post.


Image: Liza Long
NBC News
Liza Long, the Idaho mom who wrote a compelling essay about her concerns regarding her mentally ill son in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, has signed a book deal to write about raising her son and navigating the mental health-care system

         If you do a web search for Liza Long you'll find a lot of information about the blog post and the ensuing buzz that followed.  You'll also find several mentions of things she's had going on over the course of 2013--interviews, events, and her upcoming book.   Book?   Yes, a book.

According to the Today Books website:


Liza Long, who wrote the essay “I am Adam Lanza’s mother,” is writing a book titled, “I Am Michael’s Mother,’’ a spokesperson for publisher Hudson Street Press confirmed to TODAY.com...  The book will be about the poor state of the mental health-care system and Long’s struggles with it while raising a bright but mentally ill child as a single mother.
 Let's Meet Liza Long 

       After I started my series about blog numbers and viral blog posts, I decided to contact Ms. Long to see if she could tell us about her experience with a viral post and how that post affected her.  She graciously offered to answer a few questions and I think you may find her answers enlightening.



What positive things have happened as a result of your “viral essay”?

1. I feel that I was partly responsible for starting a vital national conversation about mental illness, and that this conversation can benefit millions of families and children. After my TedX San Antonio speech about stigma last weekend, one person commented, "I could actually feel the world shift as you spoke."

2. A medical expert contacted me and correctly diagnosed my son. We have had no violent episodes at all since he started a new treatment regimen last May.

3. My son and I jointly accepted a Federation of Families award for family advocacy--we're pretty proud of it!

What were the biggest negatives?

My family learned about stigma firsthand, in a terrible way. What happened to us was so bad that I actually don't talk about it, for fear of discouraging other families from sharing their stories and getting help.

I'm also saddened by the ongoing Mommy Wars that my essay reignited. Several journalists, all female, contacted me with threats to expose me as a phony. My story is incredibly fact-checkable (and has been checked by all major news outlets). But I overcame the initial desire to defend myself in the blogosphere and just focused on my message: stop stigma. It really wasn't easy. But in hindsight, I know it was the right thing to do. The message is what matters.


 Did you see any notable sales uptick in your already published books after the appearance of your "viral post"?

 I'm embarrassed to admit this but I have no idea. Little White Dress was done through Mill Park Publishing--interesting story there because it started with an Anarchist Soccer Mom blog post in 2011 about thrift store wedding dresses. Elaine Ambrose (Mill Park owner) and I put together a Here Comes the Book Event (basically, a Tupperware party for book writing). We invited 25 authors to participate and produced the content in three hours. I drew the cover on my iPad and did the book design myself (I have some graphic design experience). We donated a portion of the proceeds to Dress for Success, an organization that helps women prepare for the workforce. Elaine and I have plans to follow up with Little Black Dress when we have time. (We had previously collaborated on a fun little book of naughty, flirty poems called Daily Erotica: 366 Poems of Passion in 2009).

Product DetailsProduct DetailsProduct Details

My other book, Business Professionalism, was essentially a ghostwriting project for Bruce Strom, my former faculty advisor. Bruce was so pleased with the book that he gave me cover author credit.



Do you plan to continue posting at Anarchist Soccer Mom?

Of course. But I'm a lazy blogger, and I miss the anonymity. Thinking of starting a new anonymous blog and calling it "The Conformist Football Dad."



When will your book “I am Michael’s Mother” be released?

Book title is The Price of Silence: How the Stigma of Mental Illness Steals our Children's Futures (though I assume they will change it). Hudson Street Press [part of the Penguin Group], September 2014. Note: it is NOT a memoir. I'm not that interesting :). The book enabled me to use my skills as a medical writer and my strong background in education to explore the challenges parents face in navigating institutions that are unfriendly at best and antagonistic at worst toward children with mental disorders. 

I will tell you that the popular wisdom (that your blog is an audition for book publishers) is entirely true. My advice to bloggers would be to focus on writing meaningful content and to write it well.



Do you feel that your viral essay helped or hindered you as a writer?   Did the event create more respect for you as writer/blogger from the media and the public?

Hmm. Here's the thing. I'm very confident in my writing, because I have worked hard at it my entire life. I just wrote an 80,000 word book for Penguin in eight weeks. I've published two books previously and write for local magazines. So my viral essay had no effect on "me as a writer." I still write. A lot. The viral essay had a lot more effect on me as a nascent advocate. I honestly cannot believe the extent to which I have found my voice!

As for the second part of your question, I blogged anonymously, and my audience was not the world, or the media, or the public. My audience was me. I started the blog in 2008 because I'm a single mother of four children whose options for "fun" were fairly limited. I was not looking for respect from the media and the public. I did not expect what happened to happen. I guess people have said I'm a good writer, and that's nice, but again, it's not why I write. People have also said I was brave, but I wasn't. I was helpless and vulnerable, and I shared that vulnerability with the world. I've had to learn to be brave since.

I cannot tell you how to make your blog go viral. But I can tell you this: Tell your truth. Tell it well. And accept the consequences.

     Thank you Liza Long for this helpful information.  We wish you great success with The Price of Silence.  

      Be sure to visit Liza at her blog The Anarchist Soccer Mom for more information about the topic discussed in the above interview.  Liza will be discussing a bit more about viral blogging and in what other ways her viral blog post had an affect on her.  She also provides tips on dealing with the media. You can also find out more information about the other books mentioned in this interview that Liza has previously been involved in publishing by going to her entry at Goodreads where you can find the purchase links.

To read my "Respect" series start with Do You Feel Respected as a Blogger? and then continue with the successive posts.  Your comments are still appreciated on any of those posts.

Please be sure to share today's post with others!

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Respect by the Numbers: Do Pageviews Matter?

back side of High Roller roller coaster ride a...
back side of High Roller roller coaster ride at Cedar Fair's Valleyfair! amusement park in Shakopee, Minnesota, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
What's Going on with my Blog?

          An interesting thing happened on this blog over the past couple of weeks:  The Tossing It Out posts have been decreasing in page view numbers.  Through an analysis of the situation I have determined the reason.   I can blame it on President  Barack Obama, the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), and the disastrous HealthCare.gov website and I have the evidence to back up my claim.   In this post I will explain what has happened.

          Yes, this post is about the dreaded topic of blog stats.  You may be thinking of leaving right now, but I say wait and let me present my case to see if I can influence your thinking on this.  I'll try to keep it as interesting as one can do when it comes to talking about numbers.  Trust me--I truly believe there is an interesting and very helpful story to be told in the blog stats.  If you will go along with me and then give me your thoughts in the comment section I think we can learn something that may be of use to all of us.  And there is a payoff at the end of the post that will tell you about the wrap-up of this series coming in my next post.

Can Blog Stats Be Trusted?

        Many weighed in with the opinion that blog stats are essentially unreliable.  Numbers of many thousands of pageviews, thousands of comments, and thousands of followers were cited by some of you.  All I can say about that is show me the numbers.  I don't have much to say about those instances without seeing for myself so I can make my own analysis.  If you want to offer some links for me to follow, then do so in the comments.  And even then what we see is not always the true story.

       For example, Alex J Cavanaugh mentioned a blog he saw with over 58,000 followers and 5000 comments per post, but as Alex pointed out "it wasn’t someone famous, and the posts weren’t anything out of the ordinary".  What else do we know about this blog to tell us why those numbers are there, if they are accurate, or if the blogger is reliable?  The real numbers from real stats don't lie, but people do.  And people can falsify the stats to come up with false number readings that can lead outside observers to come to the wrong conclusions.

       In his follow up post Alex said, "Overall, most of you thought blogging was about community and comments more important than pageviews."  I think this is a correct statement.  But I don't think that it follows that pageviews are not important.  I strongly believe that certain bloggers who have certain goals in mind should be thinking about their pageviews.  

       Blogging is about community and friends in part. There is a community of bloggers who focus on community and friends, but there is also a world (blogosphere) of bloggers who focus on many different things  and the building community bloggers are a portion of that world.  Like I said in my previous post, much of the debate (disagreement) arose from the fact that there were different sides talking about different subjects.  

Forget About the Content, Let's Stick with the Numbers

      Denise Covey left the comment on Alex's post "What Constitutes Quality Blog Content?  that seeemed to be the most common concern expressed by those commenting concerning stat numbers when she said, "I read Arlee's post and I'm with you on page views. They mean little and just frustrate you if you see you've had 700 pageviews and only 50 commented."   

       My question to anyone who is thinking in this way is are you extrapolating relevant observations and reasonable conclusions from the data you have available?  The numbers by themselves can deceive and discourage if they are not put into context.  If you don't have any idea why the numbers are what they are it can be easy to avoid them or assume they are unreliable or untrue.

 Now Back to my Own Diminishing Numbers       
       
       Regarding blog stats I can only speak based on my direct experience and observations and come to conclusions based on those things.  With this in mind, I'm giving you the stats from the previous six posts at Tossing It Out and explain my interpretation of what happen.  The stat page is as it appeared at about midday on Tuesday October 22, 2013.  The order below has the most recent post (Oct 21) at the top and descends  to the last post on the list which the earliest (Oct. 11).   Here are the numbers:

Oct 21   Do You Respect Yourself            33 comment count
                                                                  41 view count

Oct 18   Defining Respect as a Blogger       41 comments
                                                                  63 page view

Oct 16  Respecting the Reader           +6     37 comments
                                                                  152 View count

Oct  15 Battle of the Bands                +2    34 comments
                                                                  58 view count

Oct 14  Do You Feel Respected?      +13    97 comments
                                                                  303 page views

Oct 11 Tossing Out. Another....            +1   23 comments
                                                                 1792 page views















10/11/13
         This is very easy to analyze so I'm glad that the numbers are relatively simple for this string of posts. Here is the analysis starting from bottom and going upwards:

Oct 11:   At first I was puzzled as to why my counter was showing 1792 views for a post that had relatively few comments.  I was sure that the counter was daffy and in error.  But then I realized what I had done and the numbers made complete sense.  In this post that I intended to be a flippant filler with rather light content, I mentioned the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, and CGI Group which were all over the news on that day.  Some of the hits may have come from search engines, but I'm more inclined to believe that many entities (government watchers, Obama staffers, journalists, and others with an interest) were set up to get notifications of mentions of these terms on the web and my post was among those.  When these entities went to look at my post they saw that it was regurgitated material from other sources that was of no interest to them and moved one.  I'm pretty sure that is the explanation for that post.

Oct 14:  This was a post intended for  a very specific audience in my normal readership.  No buzzwords or terms that would attract attention.  However this post did contain a plea to share and the readers kindly responded which resulted in many more hits.  Visitors were also very compliant in leaving comments as I had requested.   Two days after the post Alex J Cavanaugh mentioned it on his site and the post had another significant spike.  Thanks Alex!  And thanks to all of you who spread the word about the post.   I also did a fair amount of networking concerning this post.

Oct 15:  This shows a big drop because it is a Battle of the Bands post and these are not my most popular postings.  But they are among my favorites and I enjoy doing these BOTB posts.  The comments and views are higher than previous BOTB postings but probably because of the tie-in to the "Respect" series.

Oct 16:  This was a guest post and probably shows a spike for that reason.

Oct 18:  Since this is another very specialized post that is part of the "Respect" series the target audience is very specific and has dropped from the initial post on Monday.  It's somewhat deep post material that does not attract many readers.  However where Monday's post had about a 33% ratio of comments to visits, the Friday post now has closer to 66% of visits generating comments (intense very good comments) which shows that these readers are more invested in the series.

Oct 21:  We see another drop to some of the lowest stat figures I've seen on my blog in a long time.  However the comment ratio increases again with high value comments, showing less general reader interest in the series, but more investment by my niche audience for the topic.

      The point is that though we are dealing with very small numbers, the stat recording system seems highly accurate and variances are easy for me to find an explanation for.  Of course there are not overly high numbers to try to understand, but if there were I think I could find a logical explanation.  If I could not then I might believe that stats are inaccurate.

       There are many variables in stats as well.  Are you counting your own hits to your site?   If so there is a setting to change that.   Is there something on a page that people are hitting multiple times like a Linky List?  Are there highly searchable terms that may draw viewers from outside the community like Brandon and Bryan at A Beer for the Shower experience on their post about Amanda Bynes.  And just who is Amanda Bynes anyway?

        If there is anything in your numbers that seems to be inaccurate, there is probably an explanation to show that the numbers are not as off as they seem.

Enough Rambling and Back to the Point

        Do pageviews matter?  Ah yes, that was the original question.  

        If the content is right when the viewers get there I think the pageviews can matter in a very important way if you are looking for new readers who will keep returning.  Once you've got your community loyal to you it's important to keep them interested, but if you want an even broader audience then the content has to capture the interests of both new readers and established readers.  Maybe not such an easy task!

        It's the same principle of the Blogfest or other audience outreach events.  You want to attract more readers.  Then once you have gotten the readers there you have to entice them to come back.

       Here's an experiment for anyone daring enough to try it.  If you regularly get a lot of comments, try going for a month without commenting on anyone elses blog or doing any social media notifications.  Watch to see if anything different happens to your comments and pageviews.  I've somewhat done this and seen the numbers drop.  I'm not foolhardy enough to do it completely because I don't want to hurt my standing in the blogging community that I've been a part of, though my blog has seen the effects of some of my cutting back.

Blogging Is Marketing        

      We can consider that all aspects of blogging is marketing to some degree even if you are trying to sell your personality and wit to get more online friends.   Yourself, your beliefs, your books, or your business or whatever other reason you are blogging, you are also marketing in some sense of the word.  Marketing is sales (not always literally selling a product for money).  Successful selling comes with numbers.   I realize I'm losing some of you now who I didn't lose early on in this post.  But that's essentially the way I see things

      Community is great.  Friendships are valuable.  And I respect every reader out there.  I imagine I could have made this post more clear, but my brain is roiling with ideas.  This post--this series could go on and on if I let it.

        Instead of going any further with my thoughts, I will end my portion here today.  There is still one more installment to this series which essentially started with the concept of creating that exceptional post that goes viral with consequence and possibly big benefit to the blogger who created that post.  So next we will touch upon the concept of the viral blog post.

        On Friday I will have a very special guest interview with a blogger who did go viral in a very big way.  She has an interesting story to tell and some thoughts about viral blogging that may make you give the concept a bit more consideration.    Please be here on Friday for this very special blogger interview.

         Do you have any stats you'd like to share?   Have you determined why some of your posts have gotten very large numbers of page views without the comments to seemingly justify it?   Do you purposely add key words and phrases that you think will score high on search engines?   Do you keep track of things like Alexis Rankings, Klout, and other blog evaluation sites?    If you actively promote your posts other than commenting on other blogs, what methods do you think work best?








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Monday, October 21, 2013

Do You Respect Yourself?

Respect
Respect (Photo credits: www.mysecuritysign.com)
 
      My posts of the past week (here and here) generated some excellent debate on the topics of respect for bloggers and the importance of page views, comments, and community.  In order to further clarify my position I will continue with these topics this week.  Short posts work best for the attention span of the typical blog reader so I think breaking the topic down is less apt to lead to confusion.  Even my attempt at simplification in my posts last week seemed to lead to complications in the feedback and debate that appeared in my comment section as well as in the comments Alex J. Cavanaugh received in his posts (here and here).

        Part of the problem is that there were several points of view clashing in an arena of debate.   I don't think we are all talking about the same things.   My points were in reference to marketplace potential for one's product (in the case of most of you that is probably books) and building platform.   I'm envisioning platform to be like an oil rig platform that is full of activity with many workers contributing to the final production as opposed to the platform upon which stands a statue where pigeons come to roost and strollers through the park stop to admire the artwork.  I hope this metaphor does not offend anyone.   To put what I'm saying in less metaphorical terms I'm thinking in terms of big versus smaller.

       If a writing or product platform is to be most effective then it must service a wide field while serving multiple functions.  Community is an essential and possibly the most important part of the platform, but should not be the sole element in ones platform.  Community is wonderful and reassuring and I would never want to let go of the security I have in being a part of a community.  But I know there is a bigger world out there and I should try to tap into that world as well.

        Andrew Leon put it bluntly:  "Many people who say they want to be "big time" do not actually act like it."  This is a small part of one of the excellent comments he left on the post "Defining Respect".  If you missed his comments on that post or any of the insightful comments left by others on that post, by all means read through them.  There are some excellent observations made in many of these comments.

       If we as writers are composing a blog post and we are thinking in terms of using blogging as part of a platform, then we should firstly direct our posts to our community whom we hope is listening, but always keep in mind that there is a broader base who could potentially be listening (including agents, publishers, future readers, and media representatives).  Even if that audience is not there I think it is important to respect yourself and your product enough to believe that you are important enough to address that audience just in case any of them do happen upon your blog.

      Your blog is a reflection of you and the work you do.  If you are expecting to sell your books then the blog writer should appear to be professional and worthy enough to be read.  If you aren't respecting yourself and your platform enough to believe that you can extend beyond your community and reach thousands or even millions of people then you have placed limitations on your own potential.   You can think big even when you are small.   If you are not doing that then you are apt to stay within the confined area that you have set for yourself.

      I do understand that this post may not apply to all of you reading it.  If this does not apply to you then go ahead and take yourself out of the equation, but please feel free to add your thoughts.  You have important things to tell the rest of us.  Some of you may be intentionally blogging for a small niche or even for yourself.  That's just fine.  Most of you doing that do it very well and I'm glad you are there. You are good blogging friends and I respect you.  However, still give the concepts I've laid out here some deeper consideration in order to evaluate yourself honestly.  You may be limiting yourself with your own doubt, fear, or insecurity.

     There is a lot of talent in the realm of our blogging community and I think the world needs to know about it!

       Do you respect yourself as a writer (or insert other vocation)?   Do you limit yourself?   Would you be resigned to sell 10,000 books if you could sell a million?   Do you let yourself dream big while understanding the parameters of reality?    What kind of book makes it to the big best seller lists?



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Battle of the Bands Results 
for October 15, 2013



           My Battle of the Bands entry for last week consisted of two versions of the song "Respect".

           I'm a big fan of Otis Redding, but I'm a bigger fan of Rotary Connection.   Psychedelic music is one of my favorite genres and I enjoy intricate arrangements that have big production values.  As is so often the case I'm going against the grain and casting my vote for Rotary Connection.   But even with my vote cast, Otis Redding gets the most respect and most votes from you who joined in the fun for this round of BOTB.

Otis Redding --21 votes!

Rotary Connection-- 5 votes...

       Another round of Battle of the Bands will come up Friday November 1st.   Be here to see the amazingly strange match-up I have in store.


         

 
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