Guest Post – Five Mistakes I Made as a New Blogger


I’m still relatively new out here but I was your poster blogger for clueless newbies a year ago. I wasn’t familiar with blogs; it was a friend who introduced me to WordPress. Once he sat me in my dash and taught me how to pilot the thing, I just wrote like I was drunk. Well, writing is one thing but getting it out there another. These are some things I wish I’d known in the cyberworld fresh off the ship from Earth.

1. Don’t wait last-minute to come up with a good title. After putting in all that thought and time into the post, I would scrounge for a good title just before publishing. There were times I didn’t do justice to the text just because I hadn’t prepared. I’ve since learned: good title, good views. It’s our first – and possibly last – shot at inviting a reader in. It should be catchy or intriguing and while it pegs the topic, you don’t want it giving everything away. Though a finished post will often suggest its own title, I now sometimes mull it over before or during the writing. Point is, I don’t want to be grasping at straws at the eleventh hour.

2. Deleting a category will create 404 “Page not found” links. WordPress Support said, “all the category links assigned to the posts will become broken links in search engine results. Every time a person anywhere online clicks that deleted category link they will be presented with a 404. The exact error message they see will vary from theme to theme.” So especially if you’re starting out in blogosphere, give good thought to the categories you create. I don’t think you want detailed technical advice from me. I might break your blog. Ask Support if you’d like more information.

3. Don’t tag out the wazoo. WordPress will accept up to 15 tags and categories combined on a post. Exceed the limit, and your tags will not appear in the Reader. You are way ahead of me. I didn’t even know what tags were those first few months!

4. But everyone’s doing it. I wrestled at first with the notion that I had to step out on social media to build my blog, though I had no idea where I’d find the time. Then I came to see some bloggers are able to harness media platforms more effectively than others and I don’t need to spread myself thin trying. I don’t need to anything. It helps that I love my WordPress community of readers.

5. Good luck Ostrich Blogging. I did not know the heart of blogging is relationships. I told you: I knew nothing about blogging but that I could write my art out. I didn’t know to read other blogs or to introduce myself out here. Naturally, my readership took its time growing in the beginning. I hope your head’s not in the sand. Make friends and support others, and you’ll attract like-minded readers. Hope you do better than I did.

Wayfarer on A Holistic Journey

My Twitter Purge


I just completed my first Twitter purge. I never understood how someone can have 10,000 followers and only follow 200 people back. Are those people that interesting? I wasn’t aware anyone could be that exciting in under 140 characters. Well you aren’t that interesting to me! I have decided it is annoying to see such an offset number and will probably do this regularly. To those following me @SmokeNdust I appreciate it.

-OM

Disabling comments is Weak


I don’t understand bloggers that write highly charged articles and then disable the comments section. Are you that weak in the backbone that you won’t allow anyone to make a comment that might not agree with you? How sad must your world be where you only wish to spout your views and not allow anyone to disagree. I am as stubborn as they come and don’t “change my views” just because people or society tells me to, but I still allow people to call me an idiot in my comment section. It doesn’t faze me because I hold onto my beliefs. I need no help from moderation to do that.

If you feel so scared that you need to disable your comment section you should probably stop writing on social media. In fact I would suggest buying a notebook instead. You are obviously not cut out for this.

Yes, this rant is because I tried to comment on someone’s article and there was no option to. So freaking lame. And YES I do read blog posts daily…

-OM

You Need “Thicker Skin”


We hear this often when we enter into social media, but the reality of it doesn’t always register for most. That is because most people don’t encounter that much abuse online. Oh sure, you will get the occasional troll or “outrageous” comment directed to you on your blog or in the comment section of a website. These encounters though are usually mild or “as dramatic as you wish them to be.” Some people actually like drama.

In 32 years I have never had this amount of attention focused on me or my writing. It can be exciting, daunting, frustrating, and an adventure all rolled into one. I have found that I sympathize with celebrities and public personalities more and more. I place no lofty airs around my persona, but I have also read more hateful words directed towards me in 15 months than most of the previous years of my life. This is not a complaint, simply a reflection of fact, but it shows why I can understand how celebrities get fed up easily. I brought that attention on myself when I decided to write my thoughts in an unfiltered manner.

You need “thicker skin” if you wish to truly place yourself out on social media. When I mean “yourself” I really mean all of you, documenting your life and thoughts on issues is not something to take lightly. The world looks for the next person to persecute and who better for any angry mob to pick than one that actually speaks their mind freely? That is the REAL danger of social media and why people must be careful about what they say or at the very least they should have the balls to back it up. If you aren’t prepared to defend your view don’t put it out on the internet.

-OM

My Social Media Platforms


There are a lot of “Opinionated Men” names being created. I ONLY blog here. I have been added as an “author” on a few websites as well… I ONLY blog here…

My social media links are the following and I welcome any connection. All other websites are not affiliated with me. It sucks I have to clarify this, but there you have it.

Twitter @SmokeNdust

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Harsh-Reality-A-Good-Blog-is-Hard-to-Find/1445387155680950

LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/pub/jason-cushman/79/262/627

I also own, but do not currently update http://shatteredsmoke.com/

-OM

Self-Made “A Daily Gamble”


Most of us, at least those reading this post, are self-made bloggers. Meaning that our work is backed by our own sweat, tears, blood, and motivation. We are not corporate bloggers, we have no advisors or backers, and daily we decide on our own what to put out on the internet. It is a gamble and just because you are “self-made” or “self-published” doesn’t mean you have any less to lose. Recently I read some forum comments attacking Christina Grimmie, a contestant on The Voice, because she is a self-made Youtube.com artist. Suddenly her hard work, her countless hours of self-motivated labor were considered “cheap” in the eyes of ignorant critics who think she has an unfair advantage. Why are these critics ignorant? They, like so many others, do not understand the work that people like Christina put into their profession.

When do you get to call yourself a professional? Is there a dollar mark, hours spent doing something, or some other standard that is set before a person can consider their “passion or hobby” their profession? Just because I work 40 hours a week at a day job, does that mean I can never obtain the title of “professional writer” myself? Is the benchmark of such an occupation these days only publication of some sort? There are other factors people don’t consider that I do. Factors that people like Christina Grimme and all the other talented artists and writers I see and read each day know. We gamble with what we can lose and we can lose our audience any minute. That is a sad truth that those of us that love social media realize. Everyone is a hair breath away from going viral AND being forgotten.

The people bashing Christina on The Voice are morons because they don’t understand the courage it took for her to even go on the show in the first place. Before entering as a contestant she had over 2 million Youtube.com subscribers. That is a very good following on any platform, I can only dream of such numbers. She put that ALL on the line when she decided to go on TV and even if that “following” helped her voting numbers it still could have gone very badly for her had the judges said she “could not sing.” When you leave the comfort of your platform and more importantly the safety of your own channels and websites, you open yourself to criticism you may or may not have heard before. Published authors that go on to create a blog generally already have a “readership” and the feedback they receive is usually expected. It is a much different scenario for a person that began their profession by first gathering an interested audience, rather than putting something of “note” out first.

What is the price of fame and what is it worth? I suppose for every peak of accomplishment for one, that peak simply presents another level for a different person. Some of us want it all and we see an unconquered land in social media. We put all our chips on the table because each day we are playing till we bust. That is the struggle and gamble of a self-made artist, writer, singer, actor, or anyone that represents themselves solely. Consider this before you assume someone has leverage in anything. Often they are putting much more on the line than you are aware.

-OM

HarsH ReaLiTy Facebook & Opinionated Man Twitter


See the right sidebar for my Twitter and Facebook accounts or the below links. If you use these to follow me that is fine as well. I don’t talk on Facebook though. Thanks to anyone that follows and likes!

https://twitter.com/SmokeNdust

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Harsh-Reality-A-Good-Blog-is-Hard-to-Find/1445387155680950

-OM

A “White, Privileged American?” Make that a “Pissed Off, White, Privileged American.”


Opinionated Man:

Ouch, another reason I don’t use Facebook for personal usage. You handled it well and thanks for sharing the post! That looks like an awesome trip! -OM
Note: Comments disabled here, please comment on their post.

Originally posted on Writer. Dreamer. World Traveler.:

So, this morning, I woke up to a pleasant screenshot from one of my friends of a new cover photo that a boy from my high school put up on his Facebook. To my surprise, I was the cover photo!

It was me in the Masai Mara Reserve of Kenya with some of the Masai Tribe soldiers as they did the traditional welcome dance, including me in the jumping, dancing, hand-holding, and happiness:

photomasai

You’d think this is an experience that would be seen in a positive light, but shockingly, the caption that went along with his new cover photo of me was as follows:

Screen shot 2014-05-28 at 3.31.06 PM

I’ve cropped out his name and the comments that followed for the courtesy of keeping names off of the internet (despite his publication of my personal photo) but the caption reads:
“Why am I babysitting this white privileged American?” along with a YouTube link to a…

View original 573 more words

Matching Platforms – Social Media


What social media platform holds the greatest influence? People use different programs to share their views and to make their voices heard. Do you consider one social media platform, such as FaceBook or Twitter, to be more “powerful” in reach than all the others? Does it matter the median you are using such as art, photography, or writing a blog?

My goal with this blog was to reach 100,000 subscribers in two years using WordPress only as the platform. I am about 7 months away from failing, but I also recognize now why this blog will take longer to get to that size. I will reach my goal, but it may take another year and a half. For me, blogging is all about the numbers. My writing is totally separate.

One random fact which some people might find interesting. I have mentioned my alexa ranking is pretty high, but this past few months my Google ranking has really gone up as well. While I do not depend on outside sources for my views (I only depend on WordPress views for my traffic) it is nice to get those third party hits. If you ever want your website to go viral it will most likely come from one of those referral website visits or searches. Unless you get HarsHly Pressed of course… that was a joke.

-OM

LinkedIn Jason Cushman


Apparently I just accidently “added” or “attempted to add” a bunch of people on LinkedIn when I connected my email. Oops…

If you get an invite from Jason Cushman… that would be me.

Feel free and add me http://www.linkedin.com/pub/jason-cushman/79/262/627

-OM

I love it…


Bring your anger and your conviction. Pile it high and set it on fire as you dance in ritual homage to your beliefs. Look up fool and take note of the bonfires around you. Your candle of reverence is joined by a billion other lights and the most amusing part is that no one else gives a damn about your flame but you.

Shout in my face and cause your veins to bulge. Portray for me your feelings in aggressive fashion and inspire me to respond in turn.

You have passion? I can match it.

You have facts? I have my own.

You feel your cause is just? I in turn feel you are wrong.

-OM

Facebook Likes???


I have to ask this because I don’t use Facebook often. Do people actually go back and “unlike” a page if they change their mind about liking someone? Or is this perhaps when people defriend me that the like disappears? My Facebook page, which I use to mirror my posts, keeps going up and down in likes. I find it rather amusing, but it begs the question who actually goes back and “unlikes” a Facebook page? Isn’t that time consuming? Do any of you?

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Harsh-Reality-A-Good-Blog-is-Hard-to-Find/1445387155680950

-OM

Beware of Spokeo.com


Have you all heard of this website? Those of you that live in the United States may want to look into it. Apparently this website gathers information about people and posts it as an open directory. I Google myself a lot, old habits, and I found this website a couple months ago. You have to email them to get your information removed and even then I am not sure they actually delete it. It is simply not shown anymore. This website will post your name, address, a google image of your home, your age, email, phone number, AND will attempt to link you to your family members. If you are in any way concerned over your identity and the safety of your credit it might be a good idea to write this website if you are on it.

This makes you wonder how much of your information is being shared without your knowledge. Think about it people.

-Opinionated Man

Facebook Phobia: Rehab


I sat down with a dear friend in her backyard one morning last year. The kids were starting their fun and we settled to catch up. Before I knew what was happening, my tech-savvy, happily tech-dependent friend laid out how easy it was going to be to GET ME ON FACEBOOK that moment. It was not the first time Tera had encouraged this recluse to join civilization. Nor had she been the only one. But this time my death grip on the comfort of simpler, slower times let up despite itself as she reasoned how quick it’ll be to snap a photo of me and jump-start my profile. She sounded so disarming. I warned her I take few solo shots and when I do, run 20 to delete 19. A blur of sixty shots later, we had done it. Indeed it was effortless and it was torture. I clutched my heart over a deep prick of pain. Tera chuckled. She cheerfully, so patiently picked out with me The One photo I okayed with hesitation.

My reluctance to Facebook was not just about the hermit in me. Yes, I’ve blogged some things personal. But I wrote largely in the quiet of my solitude. I didn’t know if I was ready for the noise of a pajama cocktail party. There was also the fear, a simple matter of keeping up with the times. Which, according to today’s M.O. means learning technology beyond the level of email. Yes, email is so 90s (and wonderfully so). Glancing at my husband’s Facebook page made me dizzy. Just so many…buttons. Things going on at once.

I watched in awe as Tera’s fingers flew over her phone. She went on to crop my photo – a whole art studio and tool shed in that device of hers. So many icons on the screen, shapes, a feast of choices as we uploaded my picture.

I recoiled. I was overwhelmed. Facebook was unfamiliar terrain. What technical functions did I have to learn?

Fingers tap danced briefly, and there I was. My smile greeting the masses. We hung the mask that had hid the recluse from the parade of life. In just a handful of clicks, I leapt out of the dark ages of my perceived security into a Brave New World. I was aware that the possibilities for online amity could only make swapping stories more enjoyable. But to put it plainly, change is hard.

Congratulate me: a naturalized citizen of social media and of postmodern humanity.

Holistic Wayfarer
holisticwayfarer.com

The Day I Turned Down Huffington Post


I have a confession to make. Around the middle of last year I was approached by an editor of Huffington Post to be included in an article on fathers with opinions. I was at first flattered, but then after a couple back and forth emails I decided to decline. The issue was they wanted full disclosure of who I was… and I did not feel it was worth it. Many might call that a stupid move and 7 months later I am not sure if they aren’t right.

I do know that I still “think” I made the right decision and I won’t “sell” myself for a spot on a website or article no matter what company name it is. I just won’t.

-OM

This Website is Pure WordPress


This site will no longer be connected to any other websites. No Facebook, Twitter, Instawhatever, or LinkedIn will be used. If you wish to follow this website I appreciate it. My email is posted but I would ask that you only use that for emergency reasons. Thank you to those that followed me on Twitter, I actually will miss my drunken 140 character rants…

-OM