Incredulous Bombastic River

Mr. Bombastic by UMANBN

OK. So I have to admit that I am at times at least a touch bombastic.   Although unlike my friends Holly and Hajra I don’t think that bloggers have mostly gone all vampire and zombie.   Though I certainly admire anyone who can use a ten dollar word,  where a ten cent word would have done.   I can’t in fact say that I am incredulous that Holly has entered yet another contest over on Blog Engage.   She seems to be kind of addicted to contesting  and I remain frankly in awe of all of the publicity and conversation she manages to kick up.   And her friend Hajra shows every sign of delightedly following in Holly’s footsteps.

Hajra and Holly both keep active blogs where they cover eclectic topics– Holly claims to be the queen of the “No-Niche niche”.   To me that sees like an almost too clever way of not saying simply that one is a personal blogger who writes about whatever is on their mind.   Holly does tend to post a lot more product reviews and contest entries.   Hajra is a bit more like me in being heavy on the personal introspection,  though as I mentioned she seems to be entering contests right and left,   just like dear Holly.

If I were Mark Twain,  I would have a third paragraph which explains how blogging is really like a river and the key is to understand the currents.    I’m not actually sure that that is true, though.   To me it seems that blogging is more an ocean.   There is just so much of it and you can meet and chat with so many people.    Only to realize that you have barely scratched the surface of what is there.   A river flows to its delta and then disperses.    Blogs,  like the tides seem to just go on and on forever.    In the end,  I suppose that the ocean is as tortured a metaphor as is a river for the inexplicable aspects of blogging.   But surely these metaphors,  weak though they are,  are superior to something pulled from a 1950’s  horror movie.

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How To Explode Your Twitter Following

My friends who have come to know me almost certainly will not be surprised that this article really doesn’t tell you how to to what the title suggests.   My experienced blogger buddies of course will recognize the title  as a clever come on.   And my real friends on Twitter will be either amused or enlightened by what I want to share with you today.  (If they’re annoyed and #unfollow me,  they were never my friends.  No great loss.)

The other day when I visited my friend Hajra’s guest post  I couldn’t help but notice that it was on a blog that I would call too slick for it’s own good.    While it is not true that every blog out there that has the latest hot theme,  all the latest widgets and a slick design that screams  ME TOO! is filled with crappy writing that is not worth reading,   the fact is that the Slick Me Too is more often than not a sure sign there is no good writing on the site.   I’m a little embarrassed to admit this,  but by and large if I happen upon a site that looks Slick Me Too,  I may not even glance at the posts and give them a chance.    Bloggers need to realize that they often have only seconds to make a good impression and draw the reader in.     You may notice that I have a very spare theme on this blog.      I don’t have anything that flashes,  and this theme has been optimized to display well on mobile devices.

And finally today,  since I don’t want anyone to be too sore at me for drawing them here with promises of exploding Twitter tips,  I will make three suggestions for growing your Twitter following:

1.  Remember that Twitter is a conversation.    Don’t follow as many people as you can get away with.   Follow a few people and tweet to them.   Lather, rinse and repeat every day and you’ll be getting #FollowFriday ‘d in no time.

2.  Participate in hashtag chats.    No matter what your interests there is probably one and likely many hashtag chats held at scheduled times throughout the week that you could participate in.   Click the link and explore the listings.   Find a few chats that sound interesting to you and attend.   Chat with the other participants,  and follow any who interest you.   Chances are as you follow people,  some of them will follow back.

3.  If you want me to follow you,   play #definethis.      The link will take you to my Tumblr where I post the word of the day and concise instructions every day.

I do feel just the slightest bit guilty for having drawn you in here with a very slick headline,   only to warn you against too slick design and provide just a smidgen of advice that may be helpful.   And yet this combination of slick appeal,  pointed observation and common sense help really can be the essence of a successful blog.

PS– I know I was supposed to continue with the saga of Mr. Everything today,  but I’ve gotten just a bit side-tracked.    I can’t promise when I will talk more about Mr. E.    But I do promise that if you tune in again tomorrow at this time,   I will have a new post up about Something.

A Professional Blogger….With No Blogs

Sometimes, it seems to me,  the overwhelming stench of truly copious fecal matter sends me into a swoon as I walk down Empire Avenue.    The first two sentences of the man’s biography indicated he is a “professional blogger”.   And he does not have a single blog connected to his account.     What’s wrong with this picture?

I’m well aware of the rock star aura that some bloggers work so hard to project.   Indeed,  when I first started as a blogger I actually thought that my blog would make me a comfortable living.   (In the dot com heyday,  lots of companies with clever names, interesting ideas and cool logos raised tons of cash without ever attending to such pesky details as a business plan or figuring out how to make any money;  in retrospect it was clearly naive to think that becoming a good blogger would make me rich,  though I was hardly alone in my euphoric day dreaming.)

Anyone who has ever struggled to figure out the right keywords to draw search engine traffic to their posts,  experimented with contextual advertising or plastered a blog with Adsense  or indeed anyone who has ever struggled (as I sometimes still do) to write a good post and get it published by a deadline very well knows that creating a successful blog is neither an easy thing to do nor a quick way to make money.   Yet the aura of blogger as rock star persists and continues to draw new suckers to the field every day.   As I remarked to Hajra the other day,  I don’t want to be a blogging tips blogger,  not because I don’t know more than enough about blogging to pull it off, but because I can’t imagine anything more dull than talking about blogging stuff all the time to a continuously rotating band of newbies with stars in their eyes.    If you are a writer,  a photographer or an artist blogging can certainly be a platform for you to show your stuff and build an audience.   But if anyone tells you that it’s easy or a quick way to earn money,  they’re lying to you through their teeth.

Button Dancing With The (Blog) Stars

Sometimes I really do wish that I were the one who came up with the expressions that go viral.    I first heard the expression “button dancing”  on my friend Holly’s  blog.   She quotes Hajra Khatoon  with coining the phrase “button dance”  for the act of clicking all the like and share buttons on a blog post–the high speed intersection of blogging and social networking.   It is an apt expression,  and more and more of us are doing it every day it seems.    Sometimes I do it because a friend sent me a request or offered a few eaves in an Empire Avenue mission.  Other times just because I found myself  impressed with someone’s comments or content.

It seems to me that button dancing is just one part of what I am coming to recognize as an entire global economy in social recognition.     I’ve written before that reciprocity is really what makes most things  go around online.    In Walking Down The Avenue, I mention the “speed dating”  that used to be frequently practiced in the #SocialEmpire Facebook group.  Not nearly as naughty as it sounds,  speed dating merely involves creating a thread or an event.  Each user who signs in to the event visits the Facebook profile or page of every other participant and Likes everything on the page and leaves a comment or two.   Sometimes you find interesting information or discover cool things on your friends’ pages.   And sometimes real conversations  (and sometimes great and or hilarious conversations) take place on Facebook pages.   I often find myself shooting the breeze with Randi, Jake and Sharon among many other friends I talk to on Facebook.

Empire Avenue missions fit neatly into the social recognition economy.  They allow bloggers and social networkers to give their friends an incentive to do the button dance or to perform any number of other   actions that make the recognition economy go around.   I’ve used missions to revive the #definethis  daily word game on Twitter.    I’m having a great deal of fun with my friends who enjoy obscure and unusual words.   And I’ve found that the more I succeed in my goal of having fun with my friends online,  the more my Empire Avenue scores, dividends and share price go up.    What about you?  Do you do the button dance?  Have you ever like bombed a friend’s Facebook page?