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Friday, August 26, 2016

Blogging it ain't for everyone, Yes it is.

I read an article recently that talked about starting a blog. The premise was it was ok to be a little cautious, but don't be afraid. It brought powerful memories of the first timid steps into the world of blogging. Post, shut down the internet and not look for a couple of days. Honestly, I was terrified. Nobody even noticed though. All that sweat and fear for nothing. Blogging is a "victimless crime."

Sometimes you will get lucky and somebody will notice, and sometimes you will get very lucky and somebody will react. Maybe a share, maybe a thumbs up, possibly even a comment. Most times it is only for the thrill of writing something that can be seen around the world, though.

In the article it suggested starting with your Linked In page. It is free and requires no formatting, plus it has a built in audience. I have a Linked In page, but hardly ever visit it. I may try to write something and post it there, if I can find the right tab.

But, the main point is, if you have something to say, this is your chance, your soapbox, your pedestal, your mountain top. Stand tall, stand proud, and say what you have to say. Maybe somebody will listen, maybe not. For me, though, it is too much fun to stop.

You will "meet" some amazing people and you will learn a little something occasionally. There is no good reason not to start a blog, and so many good reasons to start a blog that I lost count. So, I will see you around, right.


Friday, June 17, 2016

Blogging, for everybody.

I started blogging about 5 years ago. The exact date is lost in dusty memories, and faded dreams of glory. It would be easy to find. But, it doesn't really matter. I know it was almost 5 years ago because that is when I quit smoking. Smoking takes a lot of time. With all that free time there were two choices, drive everybody I know mad with my witty, sparkling personality, and probably be murdered by a friend or family member, or find an outlet. I chose the latter.

At first it was a random thing. Post something, close the internet, and hide in shame. A couple of days later I would look and see if anything bad had happened. Nope, still safe. Repeat the cycle.

Then one day, while writing a post I laughed at the undeniable humor, my own humor, right there on the page. I killed me! I was sure sooner or later, it was only a matter of time, somebody would come along and throw money at me, just to do something I was enjoying so much. Huge piles of money. Obscene money.

But, it never happened. And you know what, I am still blogging. And I am still having a gas doing it. And if you think that isn't funny here is something that isn't even funnier. I have been introduced to a whole new way of thinking. Not just about blogging, but life.

There are blogs about almost everything. And reading them is one of life's true pleasures. Peeking into the lives and thoughts of bloggers around the world is revolutionary. People are people everywhere! Who knew?

Bloggers everywhere, talking about their lives. Talking about the things they find important. Or (like me) just writing stuff to stay out of trouble. Together we are much greater than the sum of our parts.

So, don't dismiss the blogger, they have the power to change the world, In fact, you should join in. Start a blog. You won't get rich (if you do tell me how you did it, please) but you will get smarter, and that is cool.

Thank you, for reading.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Blogging, can it change the world, no, but it might change you.

To me blogging is the ultimate act of futile revolution.  It has no real benefit, no reward, no chance to really make much of a difference, but it is the chance to have a voice, to say what I feel needs to be said.

Blogging is where I tilt against today's windmills.

Do I expect to make a difference? Not at all. One thing has become abundantly clear over the course of a long life, Paul Simon, was spot on when he sang, "a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest." People are not going to read my blog, and think "war is stupid we should stop." But, it makes me feel better saying it.

Blogging is a place to expand ideas.

For years I have had an idea for a book bouncing around inside the empty cavern of my head. But, I barely know how to make a sentence. So, I use my blog to try out ideas. See what looks good on "paper" so to speak.  I have found I need to make a chart of characters and their idiosyncrasies for the sake of consistency. It is turning into a cast of thousands, or at least dozens, and they are a strange bunch.

Blogging is a great forum for sharing the things you enjoy.

We all think "man, I have the greatest taste in almost everything." But, try convincing your co-worker that Bob Dylan is the ultimate singer song writer and they should listen to "Love and Theft" because it will alter their life, and you will spread a lot of irritation, trust me, I know. But, blogging provides a way to sing the praises of practically anything you enjoy. Sure, you might get some snide comments, but at least it was read.

So, blogging is cool, and crazy. Join the fun, you won't be sorry. In fact, you might be happy, I am.+



Wednesday, April 20, 2016

How Now Brown Cow


I think it's pretty safe to say that Google has abandoned G+ and/or Blogger, for something newer and better. What that is I haven't a clue, but the fact that G+ is pretty broken, whether it be the interface, the feed, the +s or whatever it is this time, the tech support isn't there in the least. This effects Blogger for the most part, since the overall blogger who uses BlogSpot depends on the integration of the two, and that is quite broken. I have found a pattern of how and when the +s work these days, but it is rather skewed, especially considering that it is irrelevant to the system as it was set up. Your blog will retain a + for every reply that is placed on your blog. This doesn't count if someone simply reposts the share on G+. Wonderful!

I've taken to trying to think up what Google has it's attention directed to now, that is going to be it's next great scheme, and that is a little mired in reality too. They redid the Blogger system lately so that anyone with a private domain (blog.thewhacko.com for example) instead of a generic BlogSpot domain can now take advantage of an encrypted connection. This used to be called Secure Socket Layer (SSL) but is more commonly referred to as Transport Security Protocol. Some assume that this is what has broken the system because what it does is makes it so that any connection between your blog and whoever is reading it is "secured" making it so prying eyes aren't reading along. Of course to most of us we just don't care how many people are reading along with our recipes, clothing suggestions, health tips or whatever we happen to be blogging about, but I am thinking Google wants to get it's hands on those that actually do. Those that would use their blogs to "sell" information instead of to just freely distribute it.

In the end it really does put a strain on all of the people that have been using Blogger for X amount of years because we were already working within the model that they had, with no intention of branching out into the model they want. Theoretically I would assume that those who would be interested in the model they want have either already found it, or have no intention of getting Google involved. Now we are left with something that is broken, and again I don't get any impression that Google is doing anything to fix it, or will at any time soon if at all. This is frustrating to say the least and let me assure you that I completely understand as all of my blogs depended on the popularity that they maintained thanks to the G+ to Blogger integration, and now it has completely evaporated.

I am not here to bury any sort of blogging dreams, but perhaps to bolster them. To do this I must reveal a few observations that I have noticed over the last few weeks using analytics and ad revenue. This may not be what you are seeing, but it is what I am seeing and it should give some people hope. Without the popularity ranking of a couple of hundred +s every day I am still getting a lot of traffic. As a matter of fact I appear to be getting a lot more traffic and I think that perhaps my blogs and more importantly the articles within them are better represented in the search engines. To that end I can also say that my advertising revenue has jumped a lot over the last month. Does this mean I am getting rich? Hell no, but going from about $20 a month to somewhere in the ballpark of $50 a month feels pretty good.

Why am I telling everyone who is reading this about these things? Well it is simply a method of explaining how the things I have been saying all year are keys to actual goals. By building content (themed blogs) which bolster my brand (me) I have created thousands of pages of useful and timeless things that search engines are getting their feelers on and sending people to go look at. Many of these people are coming back, and apparently most of them are clicking into the ads that I have on my blog. Have you been building up your brand, and bolstering your content? Have you given up because you aren't getting the obvious attention (+1s) that you used to get before? There's an old saying that I would like to throw out there for anyone that is really frustrated with all of this right now, "Don't quit before the miracle happens" and trust me when I say it happens.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Another step in the journey.

A while ago, maybe 35 years, I decided to become a writer. But, that is not the kind of thing that a person should just jump into. It requires planning, and dedication. My plan involved getting stuck in a series of dead end jobs, doomed relationships, and suicidal addictions to gather the proper experience. It was a smashing success, too. Experience piled up all around me.

Then something odd happened, I met the person who would become my wife, and she made me happy. Next, I got a good job at a place that gives me plenty of room to be myself, and that made pretty happy. And in the words of the Boss, Bruce Springsteen "now a life of leisure and a pirate's treasure don't make much for tragedy." But, I can live with that.

And about four years ago, I started a blog. Which is writing, so I can cross off that goal. And it made me feel pretty good about myself. It was not at all what I had planned, it was more happy, less angry, more hope and promise, less doom and gloom, and I can live with that.

It taught me a lot about life, and a lot about myself. It allowed a certain amount of self examination, and introspection. It was much easier to understand how I felt as the words flowed onto the screen. I want people to be happy, and I want things to work out for everybody, and that surprised me. I always thought I was much more callous, and indifferent.

So, the next step in this long journey to self delusion is a self published novel. I am about 10 chapters into it, and it is great, I love it. This may just have been the next addiction in a long line of habits. And as far as books go it may stink but, it is me, and I can live with that. And I owe it to the bloggers I met here, the support they offered, and the help they provided. So thank you all.

If you do not write a blog, and are thinking about it, jump right in. You will learn some things that may amaze you, and you will be surprised at how easy it really is, if you just try. Their are things inside that want to see the light of day, the fame of the blogosphere, and you should let them.