Archives for March 2014

Twitter Is Broken & Blogs Are Dead

Travel Time

Someone tell that guy he is not in cleveland, drive on the right side. 😉

Twitter is broken and blogs are dead is not the sort of comment I expect to overhear when I am out wandering among the people.

No food in the house, spring cold still kicking my ass so I head to the deli to grab some Matzah ball soup and make a stop at the local coffee shop.

Never been to this one before, it is not a chain so I poke my head in and find myself in the middle of college students. Snooty hipster barista rolls my eyes when I tell him I want something that will put hair on my chest and kill this cold.

Somewhere just behind me I hear Twitter Is Broken & Blogs Are Dead.

Should I Care Who Said It?

My ears perk up and I wait to hear an explanation but that doesn’t come because someone else is talking far too loudly about where they want to go on Spring Break. Does it matter? Do I care who said it and why?

Chances are I won’t because it is not profound, insightful, novel, useful or unique.

He is not Chris Brogan, Guy Kawasaki or Seth Godin or any of the other 12 Internet names people sometimes know outside of the blogosphere.

But even if he/she was I wouldn’t react to that kind of line, hell I would be disappointed.

Disappointed because all that has been said, is being said and will keep being said by people who are unable, unwilling and or incapable of independent thought.

Besides, I am a cranky curmudgeon and I don’t believe any of that.

Twitter isn’t broken and blogs aren’t dead.

Copyblogger is making a mistake by turning off comments.

Why?

Ask people about how Twitter used to be and they’ll tell you about the great conversations they used to have and how it has turned into a broadcast channel.

Some of that is true but it doesn’t really give you the full picture. Twitter has been used for years as a broadcast channel. Triberr haters sometimes claim that Triberr broke Twitter but it is not true.

Triberr is a tool and so is Twitter. Your usage and utility depends on how effectively you know how to use the tool. Conversations still happen daily on Twitter but you have to make an effort now. You have to work a bit harder but those conversations happen.

If I were a real Jedi I wouldn’t have to load my dishwasher by hand, I would just use The Force and it would happen. But Master Yoda hasn’t appeared on my doorstep so my proficiency with The Force is limited so I have to do it all by hand.

But my hands are pretty good, ask The Shmata Queen who gives a better massage.

The point is sometimes you have to do the work to see results.

Road Trippin’ and Blogging

Amtrak has an opportunity for bloggers now that I wish I could take advantage of. It really does break my heart not to be able to apply for this right now because if you want to provide yourself with some exceptional blog fodder you need to go on a road trip.

I haven’t even shared an tenth of what I could from my travels between Los Angeles and Dallas. Haven’t come close to painting a picture of what and who I saw but I have stories and they need to be told.

Traffic on my blogs continues to increase but comments are down a bit. If you look at time spent on page you’d see people are spending chunks of time here but that is not just my blog, it is happening across the blogosphere.

That is because people still like to read for all of the same reasons they always have.

Copyblogger’s move hurts community building.

You don’t build community through silence. Some discussions in the comments section are where you learn the most about a topic and where you discover that JohnnyB is an expert in a field you have interest in.

It is where you see samples of writing and realize that Stacey would make a great guest blogger but that is less likely to happen without a comment section.

Comments aren’t currency and they don’t always advance the conversation, but when they do they are golden.

Twitter Isn’t Broken & Blogs Aren’t Dead

If you were trapped on an island and all you had were a hammer and screwdriver would you stare at them and wonder what you can do with a tool that bangs nails and one that twist screws or would you start to think of other ways to use them too.

I know what I would do and it wouldn’t be limited to just one way to use each.

Women Who Say They Don’t Care About Size Are Lying

Angry Man! / Spew Love

My friend Carolyn pointed out I didn’t answer the question I posed in What Is The Most Dishonest Post You Have Ever Written?

That is true, I didn’t but it wasn’t because I am trying to dodge the question but because I haven’t figured out which one I want to point out. Give me some time and I’ll come up with the naked truth.

In the interim I am using this silly link bait title for no reason other than because I feel like it and because when you love to write and hosting issues hamstring you it is hard not to charge back into the fray.

Angry Man With Sign

One of these days you’ll find me in a picture like the one above, yeah I’ll be the angry man with the sign. Hell maybe the Shmata Queen and I will go protest something together.

Wouldn’t be the first time, won’t be the last time. Have I ever mentioned how neither one of us are particularly good at hiding our feelings.

Don’t piss that woman off, she’ll have your hide. Actually she is kind of cute when she is irritated but don’t tell her I said that and definitely don’t tell her to relax or compliment her on being the epitome of irrational, illogical and hysterical.

Actually, you probably don’t want to say any of those things to most women unless you are trying to start a fight which reminds me, I am not really saying the queen is any of those things.

Life Is Too Short

My kids have heard me mutter life is too short more than a few times, generally it is a reminder to myself to take a deep breath and relax because most of the things that aggravate me are pretty minor.

That is the kind of motto/perspective I am trying to imbue them with as well as myself. It is part of why I made a list of accomplishments and to remind me of how far I have come.

If you look back at the last five years and see where I was and where I am now it is hard not to smile. It is also a reminder not to stand in my way because I am pretty good at using my size 12 boot on your butt and if that doesn’t work I have no problem using the meat paws to push/pull/toss/throw you out of the way.

Blame Archimedes and his lever and my love for reading.

Women Who Say They Don’t Care About Size Are Lying

One of the joys of being a parent in the Internet age is knowing my kids can look everything and anything up. Thus far we haven’t had too many interesting search results but they are coming.

Coming because the middle school boys are sending the young master home with a broader vocabulary than he once had.  One of the other parents remarked to me that they would like to control some of the search results by owning the pages the search results turn up.

It occurred to me if I got enough links to this page about women and size I could make that happen–on a very small level. Might be kind of funny to have the page lead to a shot of some clergy member with a disapproving look on their face.

Speaking of funny the young master and I had a funny conversation about the difference between being a big dick and having a big dick.

Because I am unfiltered I told him it is possible for both to be true and then I caught myself and redirected the conversation.

Content Marketing and Porn

Later that night I lay in bed and thought about the say and wondered if the porn companies have people who try to become expert content marketers and figured they did.

Since I wasn’t real tired my thoughts wandered back to my children and I wondered what they would be when they grew up and decided I hoped they wouldn’t be professional porn content marketers. I am not prude, but I’d rather they go into different industries than porn.’

Hell, I would rather they don’t get tattooed or multiple piercings either.

I imagine that my parents and grandparents probably would have said the same thing about me. I am confident they never worried or thought about me being a porn content marketer either.

But I can guarantee they wondered if one day I would be a writer or some kind of storyteller. That is because my preschool teacher said I had a very active imagination.

I still do.

I like it. Imagination can take you anywhere and everywhere.

Where shall we go today?

What Is The Most Dishonest Post You Have Ever Written?

moonlight quote

Copyblogger is turning off comments but you won’t find me supporting their move. They have built a large enough presence you’ll find more than a few posts about their new policy but this really isn’t one of them.

Don’t take the headline above as a swipe at Copyblogger or any of the other blogs linked within this post because it is not my intent and if you are willing to walk with me you’ll see that. Fact is I inserted those two links here to provide some background for those who are not familiar with Copyblogger and/or what they have done.

Stop Telling Me What To Think

Around 30 years or so ago I had a screaming match with my father, one of many in which I told him to stop telling me what to think.

Thanks the joy of time passing and life experience I can look back now and see I wasn’t indoctrinated exactly the way I thought I had been but I have never been one to just accept what I am fed/told so I go my own way and then figure out if I need to adjust.

The biggest difference between now and then is I have a much easier time admitting when I am wrong and saying I am sorry. And I have less of an issue about going my own way then I did because my fear of failure is very different than it once was.

That is what happens when you have success and then you fall off of a cliff and bounce all the way down the hill. You realize that though you are battered and bruised you survived the climb up and the fall down.

Call it a longer winded way of my saying I never have accepted or believed that our success as writers/marketers/parents/people is limited by short attention spans, what other people think and all that other rot we hear about.

What Is The Most Dishonest Post You Have Ever Written?

I am trying to hold myself to the same standard I ask of you so I am trying to come up with an answer. I am not sure what to list because my finger is pointed at the people who write blogs that suggest they have all the answers and have never failed. Maybe that is a mistake, maybe I am missing the forest for the trees.

Maybe I should come up with a different headline but I don’t really feel like it. Yeah I know the blogosphere is noisy and that if we don’t work hard we won’t get readers so we have to come up with clever headlines.

I heard it and I play with it. Remember I am the who uses sexual innuendo to pull people in but that doesn’t always work as well for me as you might think.

Why?

Because I prefer to be more direct. I would rather write something like “5 Ways To Give Better Head” or “Women Who Say They Don’t Care About Size Are Lying.”

Hmm…I might use that second one because the multiple meanings guarantee I’ll get traffic.

Maybe the most dishonest thing I have ever written is that I don’t care about traffic because I do but I am not lying when I say I will write regardless of comments or not.

Why Do You Do What You Do?

When I was a kid I got into trouble more than once for doing the wrong thing. Sometimes the folks would ask me why I did what I did and I would shrug my shoulders because I just did it, without thinking.

It wasn’t a good explanation and it is not one I like hearing from my kids but sometimes they do it too.

Confession: sometimes it is valuable to just do things, to follow your gut and let instinct guide you. Out on the basketball court I never shoot more accurately than when I let the ball fly without worrying about what happens if I miss.

Here in the blogosphere I never write better or more honestly than when I just write without fear, concern or jealousy.

It is easy to over think it all and let our fear of success kill our ability to connect with our words. I am trying hard not to kill that in my kids.

What do you think?

The Long & Winding Road of Web Hosting

Walking Into The Gates of Hell.

Walking Into The Gates of Hell.

Almost midnight on Saturday night and I am finally updating TheJackB for the first time in almost a week. I can’t begin to tell you how frustrating this experience has been nor will reading the last post truly highlight it.

You don’t need a play by play of what happened but it wouldn’t hurt to give you a quick summary so I’ll try to give it to you here:

  1. Old hosting company breaks up with me for undisclosed technical issues.
  2. New company tells me my account has a tech issue but they can’t understand why. Since I haven’t moved my site over and they tell me it will take 24 hours to solve I cancel my account and ask for a refund.
  3. A friend refers me to another company. I call and am told to leave a message because there is no one who can help me. It takes more than 24 hours to call me back, needless to say I didn’t hire them.
  4. I sign up with another company and pay another to handle migrating the site over. It takes a couple of days longer than expected. Not clear to me how much of that was just because and how much was shit happens but I held on tight and here we are.

24 Hour Response Time

I am still shocked it took the one company a full day to respond to my inquiry. It wasn’t unusual or different but in my mind they dropped the ball, albeit not as badly as the one who opened my account by creating a technical issue.

How does that happen?

Scratch that, I understand sometimes weird things happen but if you are supposed to be hosting my blog I have a hard time beginning my relationship with you by being told there is a problem and it will take 24 hours to solve because you don’t have enough resources to do it sooner.

I may not be your biggest customer but I should never be made to feel like I am your least important one either.

True Grit and Cremation

I am listening to Johnny Cash sing I’m Movin’ On (with Waylon Jennings) and staring at the wall. Got a spring cold that is kicking my behind and my head is spinning.

Some of it is due to the technical difficulties I mentioned above, some to the cold and some is tied into a conversation I had a short while ago with my son.

We watched the original version of True Grit. He humored me when I told him grandpa and I used to love watching John Wayne movies together, “hey look it is Dennis Hopper and look there is Robert Duvall, I need a consigliere son. Want to be mine?”

End of the movie comes and Rooster and Mattie (John Wayne and Kim Darby) are standing over a family plot and my son screws up his face and I realize he doesn’t understand so I pause the movie and ask him what is going on.

We have a short conversation about where people are buried and he is horrified because during the conversation he discovers some relatives plan on being cremated.

I understand his feelings because it is not my thing either. I can give you a bunch of different reasons but one of the big ones is that Hitler threw my people into ovens and I won’t help him but by having my dead carcass tossed into one.

Do yourself a favor and don’t try to argue with me about whether that is logical or rational because I can go through your life and pick apart all the things you do that are irrational.

Really, if you look at your life you’ll find lots of things that don’t make sense. Human beings like to think we act based on logic and reason but that happens far less frequently than we like to think.

The Long & Winding Road of Web Hosting

The process of moving the blog to a new host was far more complicated than I would have liked. Can’t say how much of it was because of the proverbial shit happens and how much was due to other factors.

It is a bit like the conversation I had with my son about cremation. We don’t have to like the choices that other people make but sometimes we have to accept them because our ability to influence them only goes so far.

So pick what is important and focus on that.

The important part of hosting for me is simple. Give me reliable hosting that provides great support and a solid framework so that I can focus on content and not spend so much time fighting technical issues I am less familiar with.

I did my best to make this part go smoothly but it didn’t work the way I wanted to so I tried to follow Churchill’s advice.

“Sometimes doing your best is not good enough. Sometimes you must do what is required.”

What Happens When You Have Bad Web Hosting?

Winston Churchill in Downing Street giving his...

Winston Churchill in Downing Street giving his famous ‘V’ sign. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you want to know what moves and motivates me, the codes I live by and the credos I keep you can read the words of Winston Churchill that I quoted below.

  • “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
  • “We sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us.”
  • “Before you can inspire with emotion, you must be swamped with it yourself. Before you can move their tears, your own must flow. To convince them, you must yourself, believe.”
  • “If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time – a tremendous whack.”
  • “It is a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time.”
  • “Sometimes doing your best is not good enough. Sometimes you must do what is required.”

― Winston Churchill

What Happens When You Have Bad Web Hosting?

A ‘gator declared war upon the mighty ship, TheJackB. The first salvo was fired months ago and the war has ebbed and flow for quite some time and in spite of the armistice shots were fired last week.

Those of you who know me recognize I DESPISE not being given straight answers by customer service professionals and sales people. I am very tolerant of being told “I don’t know.”

It is a reasonable answer.

We don’t always know the answer to a question so it is often smarter to tell the customer you don’t know the answer and then reassure them by promising to get it or at least put them in contact with someone who can help them.

Well, that damn gator chose to lie, obfuscate and attack so we have been in an all out struggle for days now. Days of downtime interspersed with a note saying the site was down for maintenance.

And that my friends is unacceptable to me so I have changed hosts and moved to Synthesis and  with some luck within the next couple of days we will see a smooth migration and you will have a much nicer experience here.

Bad Hosting Experiences Are Unpleasant

Sometimes we forget about how many moving pieces are involved in blogging and how they all affect our overall experience. One of the many reasons why I am making this move is I am hopeful the new team will not only be more professional but more helpful in helping me fix the back end so that things load more quickly and move more smoothly.

It has been a good teaching moment for my children. They have seen me go to battle to fix things and watched my eyes bug out and heard the maniacal laughter that comes with it.

But they have also watched and learned.

Watched and listened to me talk about how we don’t give up, we take a deep breath, figure out what is broken and then find a solution. Sometimes we fix it ourselves and some times we find someone to help us.

But we don’t give up because help is out there and if the web is good for one thing it is information.

See You On The Other Side

This will probably be the last post before the migration so I don’t know if you will see any updates for a few days but if you are in dire need of a Jack Steiner fix you can find more material at my other blogs:

Words Left Unwritten

Random Thoughts

Random Thoughts- Do They Have Meaning?

See you on this side or the next.