Should You Blog For Comments?

avast maties  the black pearl is in port Should You Blog For Comments?
The Dread Pirate Robert is in search of Comments.

An interviewer asked me to share my dream job with them and I said I wanted to be The Dread Pirate Roberts. They laughed and told me it was inconceivable and I said I do not think that word means what they think it means and we laughed some more.

It gave me that warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you feel like you have established a rapport with someone and I figured it would provide some sort of bonus or extra credit for getting the job, or so I hoped.

As it turned out I didn’t get the position but I didn’t worry much about it because there are a million jobs out there and a million different paths to success.

Not long after I sat in a different interview and when I got the same question I provided the same response except the interviewer had never seen The Princess Bride so they just gave me a dead eye stare.

I didn’t want their to be an awkward silence so I provided the reference and we moved onto other questions including what is the most important metric for measuring success in blogging.

The interviewer listened to my response, thanked me for my time and extended her hand. When I asked why she was cutting it short she told me it was because I didn’t understand that comments were the most important part of blogging and she saw it as a fundamental flaw.

Should You Blog For Comments?

I politely expressed my disagreement and refrained from telling her a blog is the whole and the posts are the parts and went about my way.

The 17 long time readers can provide you with references to prior posts in which we discussed why comments are not as solid a metric as some people want them to be.

Comments that don’t advance the conversation, demonstrate interest or provide substance aren’t evidence people like what you are writing or that they actually read it. They are just proof someone posted a remark and sometimes it is not someone, but something that did so.

But like so many other good things in life the answer to whether you should blog for comments isn’t always yes nor is it always no.

We touched upon it briefly in a recent post and in this particular context I do see some value.

“Comments are down throughout the blogosphere adding to the loneliness a writer sometimes feels.”

Most of the time I don’t worry about getting comments because writing is an involuntary exercise like breathing. If I don’t write I won’t die but on the Steiner scale of crazy I move from a 5 up to a 3 or so I guess.

I’d tell you to ask my dear Shmata Queen but she starts at 3 so she wouldn’t notice the difference. Just kidding dear. icon smile Should You Blog For Comments?

Anyhoo, I cannot say I don’t want comments or never think of them but writing can be lonely and it is very hard to maintain perspective about our own work.

I can’t ask people if they remember where they came from and talk about comments and writing in general because it is tied together for me. If you go back to the dawn of time when the Shmata Queen and I were both blogging she is the one who tipped me off to comments and statcounters.

It is kind of funny because she never liked that kind of stuff and I did. She is the one who initially pushed me to really begin focusing on writing again so if you love my words you can thank her and if you don’t you can blame her.

See how neatly I tried to avoid responsibility. icon wink Should You Blog For Comments?

The Reason Blog For Comments

The reason if such a thing really exists is comments provide a writer with feedback about his/her writing. It helps you understand if what you are publishing is crap that people hate or crap that people love.

There is merit in feedback and sometimes it can be both helpful and useful. Except when it isn’t.

Yeah, that is a contradiction but blogging/writing is filled with such things. I received  feedback about You Shouldn’t Blog About Sex On Halloween and a A Partial Tale of Two Liars that lends itself to this discussion.

Several people said they really enjoyed these posts and a couple asked me to expand the two liars story. A couple others told me they thought the Halloween post was a waste of their time and that I should look for a new profession.

It makes me think of a Tolkien quote.

“There are no safe paths in this part of the world. Remember you are over the Edge of the Wild now, and in for all sorts of fun wherever you go.”― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Once you put your words on a public page you are inviting commentary and since writing is subjective you should plan on receiving colorful comments.

And those comments don’t always show up on current posts, you’ll find people reach back into stuff like The Jerry Seinfeld Blog Post and complain that it didn’t read the way they expected or wanted it to.

Sometimes I make a point to send those people an invoice for their complaint and a note that there is a cancellation fee that you must pay if you choose to stop reading.

But what do I know about any of this anyhow. I am just a guy who thinks Blogging Doesn’t Need To Have A Point.

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Apple’s You Moan While iWatch Is Exceptional

e550 with telescope finder Apples You Moan While iWatch Is Exceptional
The new Apple iWatch while you moan is destined to be one of their best selling products. Call me what you will but I have a hard time believing I am the only person who hears iWatch and thinks of a different sort of product than the one Apple is selling.

Don’t know about you but when I hear people gush about the iWatch and Apple products in general it reminds me of how people go crazy about bacon. I like bacon but I am not one of those people who wants to populate my home with a plethora of products that smell or taste like bacon.

That is the sort of thing that makes me want to start selling Bacon Products That Don’t Taste Like Bacon. If you know me well you know I am the guy who thinks about How To Use 5000 Pounds of Bananas To Terrorize Noisy Neighbors.

Or maybe I am just the guy who loves to write and has fun coming up with all sorts of different headlines and topics like A Dad Blogger Teaches You To Cook the Perfect Steak- A Post People Will Read.

Yeah, I have been pumping out posts that are populated with links to older posts quite a bit lately, but that is because these posts are like my kids and I don’t play favorites. The older guys need a chance to catch some fresh air and be read again, wouldn’t be fair to just keep them buried now would it.

Brands, Businesses and They Stories they/we Tell

I spend a ton of time thinking about storytelling. I think about the stories brands/businesses tell as well as the ones we as people share. Good stories fascinate me which is probably part of why I spend so much time thinking about what stories to share here.

Some of them are pure fiction  and some are filled with more truth than is comfortable to think about.

Most days my favorite way to write is with a set of headphones on and music that moves me accompanying the pounding of the keys. Today Toby Keith is playing Bullets in The Gun and the words are flying from my fingertips.

I like Toby because most of his songs tell a story and his videos do too. Reminds me of being a kid and the days when we were supposed to shout I Want My MTV!

*****

Been through a half dozen interviews the past few days. Spent ample time being asked to analyze campaigns, offer thoughtful criticism and or commentary about the ways people do business and done my best to dance in the fire and not fall in the flames.

That is my way of acknowledging that although I am unfiltered in my personal life I am filtered in my professional. That is because I don’t have enough cash in the bank to retire. Can’t waltz through the office without any regard for the consequences of my actions and that is something I think about more often than I used to.

Probably because I spend so much time writing copy and or helping out with social media efforts. We live during a time when people actively hope brands will make a mistake. They look for the misguided tweet, the Facebook flop and or Google gaffe.

It doesn’t take much for the villagers to grab their torches and pitchforks and storm the castles. I sometimes wonder how much rage is real and how much is manufactured.

We live during unforgiving times. It is part of why I caution my children to be careful about what they do and how they do it online.

It is not just because of the digital footprints they may leave for discovery for later but because we have to be prepared for what happens today.

Ask the PR professionals about the crisis communication plans they have created just in case the CEO or another company representative says/does something offensive and or stupid.

*****

I look at my stats and see some of the people I have spoken with have come to the blog to visit. Some of them are actively poking around to see what is here and I can’t help but wonder what they think.

Have they found golden nuggets of goodness that make them think I am a creative force for good that must be part of their team or do they see signs of decay. Do they read posts and wonder what the hell is going on with this guy?

Ultimately I shrug my shoulders. I am not here to be all things to all people. No one can do that and I am not interested in it. I am at my best when I am partly reserved and not conflicted about what I can or cannot do.

It is exciting this moment in time. There is an electrical charge running through me and I feel energized, changes are coming.

Should make for some good stories, time will tell.

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5 Posts & 5 Songs

blacksmith at work  colonial williamsburg 5 Posts & 5 Songs
If I had been born in a different time and or place I think I might have been a Blacksmith. There is something about it that attracts me, metal, fire, will and hard work all melding together to make something special and useful out of disparate parts.

Writing reminds me of it.

It is a puzzle composed of letters, words and pictures. We work hard to do more than just place the pieces. Each moment is part of an effort to do as Coach Lombardi pushed for, to chase perfection and hope to achieve excellence.

This afternoon I present you with 5 songs and 5 posts:

  1. Those Three Words
  2. Where The Streets Have No Name
  3. The Right Words Written Right Write Their Own Tales
  4. Goodbye Grandma
  5. Grandpa

And now 5 Songs:

  1. Reflections of My Life- Marmalade
  2. Livin’ Thing- Electric Light Orchestra
  3. Reelin’ In the Years- Steely Dan
  4. Out Among the Stars- Johnny Cash
  5. Wasn’t Born To Follow- The Byrds

See you in the comments or around cyberspace.

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Writers Need Pinterest

butterfly on fire Writers Need Pinterest

Sometimes The Shmata Queen tries to pick on me for using Pinterest but I always remind her that a good writer finds Pinterest to be exceptionally useful.

That is because my boards are filled with bits and pieces of things that interest and inspire me. The opening quote I used in  This Post Is Not About Sex Or Blogging is one that I filed away there.

Pinterest is a cyberspace filing cabinet for putting together ideas for posts. It is not just the flotsam and jetsam of a mind or the silly ranting of a man who has a fire in his belly that never burns out.

It is a series of parts and puzzle pieces and collections of ideas about things that I can write about now and stuff I haven’t come up with yet.

A Giant Puzzle

I rarely use outlines to help me write my blog posts. I prefer to compose at the computer on the fly. I do it because the blog isn’t supposed to be so polished it is devoid of feeling.

These are supposed to be raw chunks of emotion.

If Pinterest won’t work as a proper tool for saving a puzzle piece I’ll drop words into a separate blog and make a post a placeholder.

I have an idea. I have a sense of it but I don’t really know.

Where is my place? Where do I belong? What is best for me?

These are questions I am asking now and things that I couldn’t have addressed before because I hadn’t had enough life experience to know the answers to them.

Writing a post/story/essay reminds me of a giant puzzle, it just a matter of figuring out where to put the pieces so that you have your beginning, middle and end.

Writers Need Pinterest

I rarely struggle with writer’s block. More often than not I don’t have enough time to write about all the ideas that are floating around inside my head but that doesn’t mean I don’t try to prepare for the times when it is harder to come up with something.

Writers need something  to serve as the repository of ideas and inspiration. I figure there is no reason to work harder when there is something like Pinterest.

What do you think? How do you come up with ideas?

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Stop Worrying About Whether Anyone Reads Your Blog

shareasimage 4 Stop Worrying About Whether Anyone Reads Your Blog
I often write about the 17 long time readers but I know I have more than that. If I looked up the stats for everyone who follows via RSS, Jetpack subscriptions and or other methods I would come up with a much larger number and then I would ask myself if it really matters.

Once upon a time the Shmata Queen suggested I was addicted to my stats and to an extent she was right. I was on the hamster wheel where every day I would check them and wonder why there weren’t more people reading my wonderful words.

Eventually I reached a place where I stopped obsessing about why the numbers weren’t what I wanted and when I checked in it was to see if my wacky queen had come by to visit or it was when a brand was vetting my blog to determine if I might be among the lucky chosen few to represent them online.

You see I blog because I am compelled to do so. I have so much inside my head that if I don’t share these stories my head will explode. And I write because writers write. It is what we do and I am obsessed with improving.

Stop Worrying About Whether Anyone Reads Your Blog

I am not going to lie and say I never think about it. Not going to lie and say I never wonder why some inferior writers get more attention and more traffic. It could be because they are better marketers, networkers, luckier or better at kissing ass.

None of that really matters to me.

It would be nice to have more of everything. It would be nice to have more readers. It would be nice to have more subscribers, brands working with me and opportunities but I don’t know if it would be as much fun or as easy to rant.

And believe me, it is fun to rant about the number of people who don’t blog as I wish they would, who ignore the ancient art of blogging and defile it.

I like ranting about how bad and or basic some of the advice from experts is. Every month there is another post about bad pitches and how brands don’t understand how to engage with bloggers. Every month there is a post about how bloggers don’t understand how to engage with brands and why they shouldn’t be so goddamn self important.

You can take that admonition to stop worrying about whether anyone reads your blog to be me talking to myself as much as anything else.

You can call it a printed reminder to focus on becoming a better writer and communicator.

What Is The Ultimate Goal

Social media is fun. I have made friends, gotten jobs and gained a lot from it. Been around the block enough times to know all the buzzwords and to have my own bit about how to define influence/power in social media.

But that doesn’t necessarily sync with my goal.

The most important thing I can do here is become a better writer/communicator. That goal is a big part of why I write daily and don’t focus on any one topic.

It is because I want to be able to produce compelling content. I want to be able to write about any topic and be entertaining and informative.

If you really lucky you are graced by god with the kind of talent that makes golden words flow like honey from your fingertips.

Or you have a knack for constructing sentences that tell stories that make people laugh but most of us don’t get that sort of gift.

Most of us figure it out by grinding away at the keyboard and by reading hundreds of books.

You have to be willing to write dangerously and share the stories about the things, people and places that scarred you. I have done quite a bit of it but not enough of it lately.

When you worry about readers you start to forget about the importance of telling stories about stains that don’t wash away, stairways to heaven, relationship ads, Donut Shops, Detours or burying dear friends.

A Few Final Comments

There are some technical issues here that need to be attended to. Duplicate comments, SEO issues and broken links. I am working on them because I hate the clutter and chaos they cause but the bottom line doesn’t change. My focus is on the words and on becoming a better storyteller.

You are welcome to join me on the journey if you would like.