Tag Archives: blogger

You Are Never Alone as a Blogger

I had a discussion last night with a long-time prominent blogger. During our conversation, we naturally strayed towards writing and community building, topics with which we are both very familiar. This is someone who puts out extremely high-quality content on a daily basis. He is constantly pushing the limits, drawing in new people with his wisdom, humor and beautiful style. I couldn’t help but ask how the heck he manages to maintain his blog with such consistency year after year. I was quite relieved with the answers given.

I’m not the only person out there in blogger-land who sometimes wonders what the heck I’m doing this for. It’s not only me who feels that it’s insanely difficult to make your voice heard above the crowd, nor am I the first person to think that I must be nuts to keep going. My friend not only experiences these same thoughts and feelings, he pointed to many other well-known writers who are in the same boat. We’re all rowing as hard as we can to reach shore. I’m starting to think, though, that that shoreline shouldn’t be our goal.

Reaching the shore means the end of a journey. I don’t know about you, but I think my trip is still in its early stages. There is so much out there I want to see, do and conquer online, both personally and professionally. Why am I trying so hard to get my feet back on solid ground? I’m not adrift or lost at sea… I’m merely checking out previously uncharted territories to figure out where all I may fit.

Burnout is a common theme amongst us all. Fear of never “making it” haunts each of us on a daily basis. We’re pushing ourselves every day to try and write more, be more creative and stand out. We pretend to be friends with those who we “compete” against instead of creating actual connections and relationships. That needs to end. We are alienating each other instead of developing bonds which will in turn make us stronger.

We shouldn’t be competing with anyone other than ourselves. Blogger A and Writer B can both be wildly successful – even if they write about the exact same thing. There are billions of people online and I’m pretty sure they each visit more than one website. Having real friendships with other writers allows you to stretch your mind in different directions. It can and will open up new possibilities for your writing style and rang of topics. Debating current issues with your peers – whether you’re discussing politics or tech – can strengthen the influence you have with your own readers.

One of the biggest keys to maintaining the level of output we expect of ourselves is to remember that we are not alone.

Are Journalists Biased?

Everyone who is anyone in the blogosphere has read the stories about Mike Arrington and his investment policy update. We’ve read hundreds of offshoot posts and Tweets, all of which point fingers and take sides. You’ve seen the articles proclaiming that the author would never, EVER! allow themselves to be compromised or biased in any way. They are journalists, after all! Real journalists remember not to allow anything to enter their head while they compose beyond their subject matter. Nothing. Ever. Right?

The problem is that no one knows anymore what – exactly – the definition of journalism is. Dave Winer reminds us that it doesn’t actually matter:

“All the people participating in the “journalist or not” debate are insiders. Insiders get access to execs for interviews and background info. Leaks and gossip. Vendor sports. Early versions of products. Embargoed news. Extra oomph on social networks. Favors that will be curtailed or withdrawn if you get too close to telling truths they don’t want told.”

In his telling of this hot story, Tim Carmody points to Dave’s words. At the end of his narrative, Tim asks: “Are you in, with the compromised? Or are you out, with the truthtellers and true believers?” Those two questions jumped off the page at me. They brought me out of my self-avowed silence on this entire situation. I had chosen to stay silent for a reason: it’s not my place to judge any person other than myself. I certainly have no right to say what is “okay” for Arrington to do – or anyone else involved in this chronicle.

Tim’s questions aren’t actually fair. I truly believe there is not one single writer/journalist/blogger out there who is NOT compromised in some way. We all have a bias or two, whether we admit it or not. We are influenced every moment of every day – by our belief system, by the people we surround ourselves with and by life’s experiences. We may try our best to never allow these things determine the way in which we write, but it happens. Does this make us bad people? Hell no. Do our individual biases cause us to be less trustworthy as writers? Not always, no.

There is a HUGE difference between someone intentionally writing a story in favor of a company if they’re receiving kickbacks from said business and the person who softens their words when writing about the startup their significant other works at. The latter is still telling the truth – they simply choose to do so in a nicer/different way. This doesn’t make their piece inauthentic. It makes it warm and fuzzy. The former, however, is likely selling you a pile of utter crap. I know it’s difficult to tell the difference sometimes, and this is where transparency comes in. The people who tell you that they may have some type of bias are usually the ones you can count on. The ones who hide their partiality are the ones you likely need to read with a grain of salt.

Anyone who tells you that every word they write is 100% never influenced/biased/compromised by something is lying to themselves. I don’t care if you’re “in” or “out,” you need to be honest with yourselves – and your readers. Let’s remember that we’re all human, we’re all imperfect and we’re all biased. I still refuse to choose some “side” in this entire debate. For me, there’s nothing to choose other than to do my best to continue being forthright and making sure my community knows that I believe every word I write.

At the end of the day, that’s all any of us should ask for. Hold yourself accountable, and others will naturally follow suit.

Rick Calvert from Blog World Discusses Blogging


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Rick Calvert, CEO and Co-founder of Blog World and New Media Expo, was on hand at CES 2011 talking about blogging with me in the Reese’s booth.

We briefly talk about the history of blogging, discuss the nuances of naming within the blogging community and social media trends. We both shared experiences about navigating the dynamics of online community when you aren’t doing what the community expects.

Have you ever attended Blog World? What was your experience like?

Best Free Blogging Platform


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Someone asked recently which free blogging platform is the “best” one to get started with. This question is pretty impossible to answer. There are many decent free blog providers out there. As with anything, you have to research what they offer and see how well it fits your needs.

Blogger is a good choice for beginners. It’s the one I used way back in the day – before it was owned by Google. You can also use WordPress. They have a free blogging area, in addition to the ability to download the software for use on your own domain.

I happen to own a site for Geeks, which has free blogging available. Any good content posted there automatically gets featured in my daily newsletters, so it’s a great way for you to be “discovered” by people looking for blogs to read. Doing something like this can help you gain a dedicated group of followers, who would then read what you’re doing on your own site someday.

We do have free blogs on Lockergnome, but we only accept people there who have excellent writing abilities. If you feel you can write far better than an average person, we’d love to have you. Keep in mind, though, that being able to write well is not something that everyone can master.

There are also services such as Posterous and Tumblr.

Figure out what it is YOU need in a blogging service, and then match that against what each of the providers can give you.

What free blogging service do you recommend – and why?

How To Get Famous on YouTube


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This isn’t a joke. If you’re a geek who can handle yourself well on camera, and you don’t need a ton of hand-holding to get things done quickly, we should definitely talk.

I’ve helped boost the standing of a few YouTubers – driving more traffic and attention to their respective channels. If you’re a geek who has good stuff to share – become a part of the Lockergnome universe!

Remember that you have to stand out, and do something differently. You have to be YOU – don’t try to emulate someone else. Look beyond your world. Do what you do best… without giving up yourself.

One of the reasons that I have worked so hard to build up my YouTube channel is to help all of YOU. If you are good at reviewing technology or discussing anything tech or social-media related… let’s talk. You could become a regular featured reviewer like Lamarr.

Additionally, we are looking for more blog writers on Lockergnome. You have to be a good writer with fresh content – remember your PUGS! You don’t have to be a “tech” writer for Lockergnome. Write about whatever it is you know and love.

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Bloggers are Getting Younger Every Day

The newest member of our Lockergnome blog community happens to be young Froyoca. This site is invite-only, and it’s more than awesome to see someone so young have the skills needed to write as well as he does.

You can check out his blog weekly to find his thoughts on the latest news in technology and trends. He also plans to post weekly tips about Diabetes, since he lives with that every day of his life.

If you’re interested in blogging with us and receiving a 50/50 split in revenue, you can apply with the site and we’ll be happy to discuss it with you.

Social Media SEO

During my time in Texas at OpenCa.mp this past weekend, I reconnected with an old friend. Lee Odden used to write about Marketing on Lockergnome back in the day, and it’s great to see all of the things he has accomplished since that time. Not only did both of us go skydiving with the Army Golden Knights, we were both honored to speak at the event.

Lee and I took a few moments out of our hectic schedules to discuss SEO specifically as it applies to social media.

The things I do are SEO-like in nature… but I’m not an SEO person per se. Everything I do is organic. I create solid content and make sure to use keywords that people may be looking for. The funny thing about social media is that some of us have been doing it since before it was even a term. It has allowed us to really get to know the type of person that someone is. That tends to cause us to be taken advantage of at times, sure. The tools are in place for all of us to use. But it’s easy to see who is gaming the system. Those are the types of the people I won’t follow. This is what I mean by taking advantage of things and people.

Someone who takes an anti-transparent approach is someone I don’t want to associate with. I strive to be as transparent as humanly possible with my business and my life. When a person has to work at NOT being transparent, you have to wonder what the hell is wrong with them – and their business.

Yes, you should use certain tools to help you. But there are a handful of them floating around which are just bad – almost as though you’re cheating the system. Don’t fall victim to get rich fast schemes. Don’t let yourself be swayed by a fast-talker who claims they can turn your site into the most-visited place online. These things will do nothing but set you back several steps, causing you to lose site of your original goal.

You cannot just exist in one place online. It doesn’t matter how people find you. It just matters that they DO find you.

The biggest tip I have for you when you’re starting out on your own blogging journey is that you should not spend any money. There are numerous platforms and design tools available that will not cost you a single penny. You will find plenty of things to help you achieve your dreams without spending a bucket full of money.

Write a WHAT?!

I spend probably 80% of my working time writing things. I communicate with people across social networks. I compose missives to be sent to various people. I occasionally author books and articles. I draft items to send to potential sponsors. I dash off the quick email or hundred. The one thing I do not do is write a letter. Who needs to do such a thing in this day and age of 140 characters or less?

I’m having a great dinner with some seriously good people tonight at the May Dragon Chinese Restaurant. I’m hanging with the @gkarmy gang and @CaliLewis. We’re telling war stories about our jumps today.

I open my fortune cookie, only to be told to write something that I normally would not. Shit. Who am I to argue with a fortune cookie? I don’t want to screw with my destiny, or any other such stuff. Keep an eye on your mailbox in the coming days, Mom.

Fortune Cookie

Posterous Takes Aim at WordPress

With Twitter taking over so much of our time these days, many of us pay less attention to our “traditional” blogs. They’re cumbersome, take more work to manage – not to mention more time. Posterous recognizes this, and is working hard to make things easier. They want you to blog – and they’re willing to help you move away from your current WordPress setup. There are a lot of “features” in the backend of WP that most of us never use. Those items have been stripped away from the new Posterous platform.

The new WordPress blog importer is scheduled to launch tomorrow. It will grab blog posts, comments and tags, and stuff them into a Posterous account. For those of us with a LOT of content, this process will likely take quite awhile. However, it’s not something you have to stare at as it does its thing. Just start it and go grab some dinner with friends. It will work quietly in the background, grabbing your life from one platform and seamlessly moving it over to another.

In return, you’ll find yourself faced with a streamlined backend, free of all of the features you never once used. There will be no more spam – Posterous is free of that (for now, at least). You’ll also be surprised to find how simple it is to email in your posts – even from your phone. If you can email something, you can blog it from your phone. This includes photos, videos, text documents and even spreadsheets!

Prolific blogger Phil Campbell has already made the switch. Will you be joining him?

Create Your Own WordPress Themes


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If you have a blog, you have a theme. Chances are, you downloaded a theme off the web somewhere. It’s okay that you don’t know how to code your own customized theme from scratch! Very few people are capable of doing this. You want your blog to say “YOU”, but you don’t want to pay a designer a ton of money to accomplish this. It’s a good thing Artisteer now makes it simple for you to create and customize your own WordPress theme with just a few clicks of the mouse.

Everything and anything you can think of that you might want to tweak in your layout can be done easily with Artisteer in just a few seconds. You don’t have to try to learn HTML or even CSS. All you have to be able to do is click your mouse buttons, and decide what look is right for you.

Move your gadgets to a different side. Change up your text with different colors and fonts. Heck, change the header or background image while you’re at it. Don’t like what you’re seeing? Psh! Just click a button and start completely over. It really is that easy.

Best of all, Artisteer doesn’t only work on WordPress. Create designs for web pages, Blogger Blogs, or make professional Joomla! and Drupal templates.

Artisteer is probably my favorite new discovery in a long time. I’m having so much fun that I’ve now created probably 30 different themes, just by playing around. The only limitation to this program is your own imagination. So… get creative!

[awsbullet:wordpress theme]

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