On November 11th, something paramountly amazing gripped the hearts and minds of the entire world’s population. They marched to important meeting places and landmarks to share the moment together. Smiling. Anticipating. As the crowds grew, a collective hush pervaded. When every last man, woman and child had come together, they turned as one to face the mecca that is Washington, D.C.. What did they see?
Can it be described it words?
Will history remember?
It was just the fifth anniversary of this A Random Journey blog. Nothing to get excited about. I tried telling all those people not to gather and mill about. Nobody listens to me.
Few things can be said to matter less.
Yet, (there’s always a ‘yet’) once again I have employed the shadowy Kuma Consulting firm to cherry pick numbers and stats that will illuminate just what I’ve been doing all these years. It won’t be pretty. It won’t be interesting. It won’t stop. Fair warning.
An odd thing happened at work. Someone thought my advice and experience in blogging was useful and should be shared with others. I, of course, was mortified.
Has anybody actually read my blog? I thought not.
It felt like when you wave to someone who’s calling out to you, only to realize too late they are talking to the person behind you. Embarrassing to say the least. So when I got the Skype message on my laptop with the request, I immediately looked behind me. Yet, no one was lurking, ready to be a real blogger.
Oh no. It’s me they want.
I immediately booked a flight to Timbuktu, Mali and chucked all my electronic devices. If they want me to say something, anything, they’re going to have to find me first!
Going incognito in Mali has its fashion drawbacks. Plus the camels are surly and it scorches to 118 Fahrenheit on a good day! (At least so in 2007 when I first went).
Who needs that. So I stayed.
Eventually I could not resist the technology temptation, so I dusted off the iPhone and placed the laptop back in its precarious position on my desk. After checking email and Facebook and Twitter and Yammer, I was out of excuses so I perused the Skype chats. The question remained.
‘Would I chat about my experience in blogging and give any tips to potential bloggers?’
I could just imagine all the real social media and blogging gurus tweeting and posting in consternation at the preposterous nature of such an undertaking!
That’s really what inspired me. Defying expectations. Taking the path less trodden.
So I deemed the request worthy of a ‘yes’. Woe to those standing in my path.
Sarcasm aside (never), here is a summary. Not likely to be that new or exciting. Use it. Abuse it. Muse it.
Tips for blogging
…know the reason you are writing.
…know who is likely to read it.
…define what you mean by ‘success’. This can change over time.
…have a schedule. Keep it.
…be interesting. Or funny. Or provocative. If you are bored…so are we.
Keep your goal in mind. (Did you achieve it? Can it change?)
Give encouragement to others. (One ounce of feedback is motivating.)
Sense of accomplishment. (From crafting something useful or interesting or funny.)
But no one reads my blog! No one leaves comments! I quit! (You can’t build a pyramid with only five stones or a blog with only three blog posts.)
Where do you draw the line on what to share?
Remember the audience.
Not everything that happens (in your life) is interesting. (Your Mom isn’t the only one reading this. Hi Mom!)
Will it get you in trouble? Stir up some controversy? (If it is work related, does it match your corporate philosophy?)
Some pointed Q&A
Why are blogs important internal communication tools?
You can have a quicker production schedule (outside the formal communication channels currently available).
You can involve more people with minimal effort. One person can post and edit on behalf of many contributors or a team of people can post individually on topics in their area of expertise.
You can set the ‘tone’. Other formal communication pieces (like newsletters or an intranet news site) have their own editors and style.
What makes a good post?
It’s about something you care about.
It’s about something your readers care about.
It elicits a reaction and people share it. It’s provocative. It’s humorous. It’s poignant.
How can you get leaders to regularly post or contribute to a blog? Especially if they say no one reads it.
If a leader started a blog and no one reads it, has it had a chance to find interested readers? Has it been promoted or made known to those people? If yes, and still no one reads it, maybe it’s time to reconsider the purpose. Maybe they need to find a different way to communicate. Blogging is not the solution for everyone.
To get leaders to maintain or contribute to a blog, first you need someone who is already motivated to do it. If they are on the fence or regularly don’t have time, it will hard to maintain and they will give up quicker.
Second, give them a reasonable schedule. Like once a month. Maybe you could have one blog from multiple leaders, each providing a post once a month, but the net result is new posts coming weekly or more frequently.
Third, make it easier for them. For example, make their sole task to write a 300 word treatise on widgets. Then you do all the work of editing, adding photos or graphics, posting and promoting.
I have a confession to make. My last post was pure plagiarism. At best I added a word here or there but otherwise I copied it word for word from the comments of hardworking spambots trying to get ahead in this world. I stole their hard work and made it my own, reaping almost $0 and two extra clicks to my blog. Spambots everywhere have already expressed their outrage to millions of innocent bloggers. Servers have already begun to crash in the Republic of Elbonia.
From a moral standpoint, I’m not sure I can be forgiven. But that’s neither here nor there. The Arbiters of Plagiarism, Rights, Information and Libel* and the Fellows for Online Orthodoxy and Legitimacy** have found me out and are putting in place the initial steps to close A Random Journey down. Forever.
This may be my last post, depending on how cooperative I am in the process.
To my six readers: thank you for your clicks and your seventeen seconds of attention each year. You will be missed.
It’s been random. Be well.
Editor, A Random Journey
P.S. I won’t go quietly.
* The Arbiters of Plagiarism, Rights, Information and Libel (APRIL) are a non-profit pyramid scheme.
** The Fellows for Online Orthodoxy and Legitimacy (FOOL) are currently accepting applications.
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The crack Kuma Consulting firm is hard at work again. To crank out relevant facts and knowledge nuggets about me and position them into random and potentially meaningless statistics. Designed to give me a 1.4 second endorphin rush to the brain as a reward for reaching a certain age.
Statistic #1: My age has improved over time, and has now reached the 40 digit mark as of March 18.
Statistic #2: That equals 14,600 days, 350,400 hours, 21,024,000 minutes and a Shamrock Shake.
Statistic #3: 14 of those years were as a Russian spy hiding in your midst. It seems strange to reveal that here, but I haven’t been paid (in vodka) in years, so it’s kind of their fault.
Statistic #4: 32 of those minutes were Googled for Stats #2 and #3. 31 of those were lingered on other famous Russian spies (Maria Sharapova and Catherine the Great, to name but a few).
Statistic #5: 3,607 of those days were enjoyed with a specific wiener dog jumping on my lap or licking my face.
Statistic #6: 511 of those days were traveled in random countries (that are not the USA).
Statistic #7: 38,000 (roughly) of those hours were worked for the man.
Statistic #8: 47,127 emails exist in my work account.
Statistic #9: 116,800 (roughly) of those hours were slept.
Statistic #10: 29 of those years were lived in Washington State. 9 in Washington, D.C.. 2 in California.
Statistic #11: 3 of those minutes since I last checked Facebook.
Statistic #12: 6 of those years were blogged about.
Statistic #13: 88 people have stooped to following my antics on Twitter. 49 have followed this blog on WordPress.*
Statistic #14: 44 of those minutes were wasted trying to get Kuma Consulting to crunch numbers faster to write this post.
Merry Christmas! Chug plenty of eggnog and find a sprig of mistletoe to wait under. Give and be joyous. Enjoy family and friends. Be at peace.
With the pleasantries over, I have been remiss. Remiss in finishing what I started.
Throughout 2012, I have started to write numerous blog posts on many topics. I just never finished them. My list of ‘draft posts’ is overpowering my ‘published posts’.
I was too busy. They are too big in scope. I have too much to say. I need to organize the photos. I wasn’t in the mood. I didn’t have the right inspiration in the last third of the post. I was traveling. I don’t like what I wrote. I was under the influence of eggnog and other adult beverages.
I can give any number of excuses, but what’s done is done.
I have two weeks of vacation and a mood. So in addition to my normal ‘highlights of the year’ posts (on such diverse topics as Sports, Music, Books and Movies), I hope to finish many of these incomplete works. And, yes, post them.