The First 500 are the Hardest

The First 500 are the Hardest

I had a litte moan about 200 followers ago about the fact that after the big 2-oh-0h that WordPress didn’t give you any sort of fanfare for the 300 or the 400 follower mark. Little did I know that they wait until the 500 mark to say a big, “Well done!”

I cannot say that it got here all too quickly, because that would be a lie. It seemed to take no time at all to get to the 200 point and then?

It felt like time stood still for  awhile. But it didn’t, not really.

It was just that things had changed, the way I wrote changed, the amount I wrote changed…my  life changed.

I won’t go through everything that has changed in my life, I did that in my previous post. But I will say this, I cannot begin to express how grateful I am about everything.

But first I have to thank two very, very special people (Actually it’s three, but who’s counting?)

I have to do a huge shout out to Marilyn over at Serendipity she and her other half, Garry, have been enormously supportive ever since I first made their acquaintance on WordPress. She has a wonderful blog and if you haven’t strolled over there yet, just take a second to click on the above link and have a look. You’ll be impressed, I promise you. Then, if you’ve a mind to, hit that follow button. You won’t regret it.

The second person I have to give a singular shout out to is Natasha over at Films and Things. Natasha is a media student, writer, director and producer all rolled into one person. She has given me, perhaps the greatest gift ever, she has cast me in the lead role in her first professional short film, Once Bitten, Twice Shy. As those of you who have been following me for awhile, I’ve written about my love of acting and my frustration at having to turn my back on it, several times. Now I have a chance to get back in front of the camera after a long absence. Thanks Tasha!

I also, have to thank Natasha for putting me up for an award, a loooong time ago, and I still haven’t responded to it! Sorry Tasha, it means loads that you thought of me when it came time for dishing that one out, I will make it up to you, I promise…

But I also need to thank all the other folks who have stuck with me since I started on WordPress. If I thanked all of you separately, I wouldn’t get anything done as the Deputy Managing Editor for The Guardian Express. If you haven’t had a look at our great site, have a look now by clicking on the link. I’ve already been linking articles that I write that have a special place in my heart, either because of content or just because I think I’ve written something particularly well. But I don’t link them all, as we have a lot of writers who all bring something special to the table.

I’m not going to get back on the “apology train” again, but I will get back to something that resembles “normality” on here pretty soon. I’m running around like a headless chicken at the moment, trying to develop a schedule that allows me to donate a little time to everything. I’m getting closer to that goal and you will soon see more “daily” postings of articles.

Until then, I want to say thank you to all my new followers! I haven’t had time to thank you all personally yet, but I will! I’m not so far up my own nether-regions that I don’t think I need to. I’ve just not had the time.

It takes a lot of hard work to do a daily blog. You all know that, I don’t want you to think I am “teaching you how to suck eggs,” but I did want to mention it.   I was doing up to three, if not four, posts a day, now I don’t have the time. But I will get back to at least one per day.

So, in essence, I started writing this about how it really feels like getting the first 500 followers is the hardest part about blogging and, like my life at the moment, it has evolved into something different than what  I had planned.

Thanks to my very special two bloggers (friends) and thanks to the folks that are too numerous to personally shout out. But you guys know who you are, until recently, I always tried to talk to you folks daily if possible. I’ll get back to that soon as well, I promise.

So until I can get on here again, may all you very special folks have the best of today and an even better tomorrow.  I mean that, because you’ve all got a very special place in my heart.

Ciao

Cheers!
Cheers!

Blogging Part 5: Viewing

Screen Shot 2013-04-24 at 11.09.59

As I sit here watching my WordPress follower number steadily approach the big four-oh-oh, I’m thinking of things that I’ve done and can’t help but wonder if others do it too.

One of my lazy habits for a long time was to go to the Readers menu and go through all my followers blog posts. If I was feeling guilty, I’d quickly go down the list and hit “Like” on the ones with the titles that impressed me most. (or thumbnails)

Now besides showing a sort of “kack-handed” support, it also showed just how lazy I could get. It also doesn’t show up on the bloggers view count. Now I did not realise this, back when I was doing it. It only became apparent when I paid a bit more attention to the “stats” for my site.

I would get a notification that “so-and-so” and good old (fill in site name here) had “Liked” my latest post.

But…

My views had not increased. It took a little concentration on my part, but, I eventually made the connection. In a moment of serendipitous epiphany-age, I put two and two together and, besides getting four, I realised they’d hit the “Like” button without actually reading the post.

Now, I’ve always had a “thing” about my view counts. I had it on my first blog at Blogger.com and I had it on my second blog on Tumblr.com and I still have it. I’m attached to my view counts and will (throughout the day) keep checking them to see if they’ve gone up. I am, almost, OCD in my feeling about my view counts.

I then made another connection. I was doing that myself! I felt a little bit ashamed. I mean, I read incredibly fast (always have) and it seemed worse than cheating for me to ignore the actual content of the bloggers I was following to not at least look at the damned post!

So I have stopped that heinous habit and started really liking the post versus, liking the idea or the notification of the post. I would like to point out that I didn’t do that all the time, just occasionally when I “felt” strapped for time. Something that, now-a-days, I’m not but old imagined stresses are hard to break.

I’m sure I’m not alone in this preoccupation with viewing figures.

So how about you?

So you have anything that you obsess over? Do you compulsively check your follower numbers or views? Do you even bother to look at your stats at all? Do you succumb to this “lazy liking” and not read posts at all?

Let me know.

My obsession.
My obsession.

The BIG THREE-OH-OH or 300 (for Purists)

Screen Shot 2013-04-08 at 04.15.42

So I lay my head down to take a nap (I’ve been very busy lately and damned if it’s not tiring) and when I wake up, all fuzzy headed and wondering where the hell am I and what just happened. I pass the 300 follower point on my blog!

(How’s that for one long-assed opening sentence? Well I’ve got plenty more where that came from.)

Seriously though, I am pleased, excited, happy, (You like me, you really like me! Sorry Sally Field, I couldn’t resist.) and surprised. When I started blogging seriously back in 2011 I never dreamed that it would become such a huge part of my life.

Mind you I never knew that I was going to have two heath issues in one year (one of which was kind of critical) and have all that extra time to write. I did pretty good while I was working full-time at a real job, but my “not-real” job is a lot more fun and the lunch breaks are better.

You will all be happy to know that this is a short post. It will not be one of my 1000 word plus Margaret Mitchell length rants or reviews.

No, this is a quick 0410 in the morning shout of “Hurrah!” and thanks. Thanks to all you great folks out there who have made the ultimate show of interest and followed little old me.

I am eternally grateful and pleased to make your acquaintance.

Now go out and get your friends to follow.

Now.

Just kidding! I love you all for reading, following, commenting, and “liking” my stuff. Gee, it seems like I’ve said that before. The only fly in this honeyed ointment is that WordPress obviously do not give an award for the big 300!

So… what? Is 300 not as amazing as 200 was?

Still complaining aside, I’ll leave you all with one thought; this is how a blog post from moi looks when written at 0400 hours in the morning…after a nap!

Thanks guys! I raise my coffee cup in toast and say, “You’re the best!”

Cheers!
Cheers!

 

The Dragon’s Loyalty Award: Mouthwash Not Required

Awarded from Marilyn from Serendipity!
Awarded from Marilyn over at Serendipity!

When I first saw that Marilyn over at Serendipity had graced me with this award, my first thought was, “Dragon’s breath?” But, no, it turns out that this “new” award is an amalgamation of the  Versatile Blogger Award  and the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.

Katrina Perkins came up with this wonderful idea and hence it is she who is ultimately responsible for this new and pretty cool looking award! I have left the links on the names of the site and the lady who started and passed this auspicious award along. Please feel free to click on these links and check these incredible and erudite sites out.

Now!

Just kidding…

But check em out…okay?

And just for information purposes, Katrina was the one who designed the logo for this cool new award. So giving credit to where it is due, I’ve made sure I mentioned it.

Now like every other “award” out there that we bloggers like to bestow willy-nilly to our fellow bloggers in an attempt to show our appreciation to those who follow, inspire, and other-wise move us; there are rules. I know, I know, no-one likes the rules bit, but really; what did you expect? Freebies?

So, on to the rules:

  1. Display the Award Certificate on your website
  2. Announce your win with a post and link to whoever presented your award
  3. Present 15 awards to deserving bloggers
  4. Drop them a comment to tip them off after you’ve linked them in the post
  5. Post 7 interesting things about yourself.

I’ve displayed the Certificate, announced my win (via this post) and linked to the presenter.

Now I just have to present the award 15 times to “deserving” bloggers. I honestly, really, hate this part. I have tried pulling names randomly, picking the last (insert number here) followers, and picking those who comment or like the most on my posts. I think I’ll try a combination of the above and do my usual cry of, “If I missed you out, I’m sorry!”

All the nominees are folks that I follow and appreciate what they bring to the blogging world:

  1. http://vinnieh.wordpress.com
  2. http://lastroadreviews.wordpress.com
  3. http://claratsi.wordpress.com
  4. http://natashaharmeryr1.wordpress.com
  5. http://robbinsrealm.wordpress.com
  6. http://foxxiecinnamon.wordpress.com
  7. http://Www.hagiographic.com
  8. http://table9mutant.wordpress.com
  9. http://imalazyboy.wordpress.com
  10. http://terry1954.wordpress.com
  11. http://jackieeatworld.wordpress.com
  12. http://ckckred.wordpress.com
  13. http://www.filmhipster.com
  14. http://hardtickettohomevideo.com
  15. http://jmountswritteninblood.com

All the above listed folks have great blogs and they interact with the blogging community on a regular basis, check em out. You’ll be glad you did! I will be informing them as soon as I’ve posted this blog.

Now for the last part. I’ve been disclosing X amount of personal facts for quite some time now and I think I’m running out of things to disclose (at least things that won’t get me in trouble) so I’m going to borrow a page from Marilyn’s blog and share some pictures instead. It’s actually been on my blogger’s list of things to try for some time now and her post that nominated me and a slew of other blogger’s just jiggled my old memory box.

So here we go, just think of this as a Little Photo History of Mike:

My first Easter with my Dad!
My first Easter with my Dad!
Christmas 1965 me and my new brother. The one I took to show-and-tell a year or so later.
Christmas 1965 me and my new brother. The one I took to show-and-tell a year or so later.
Another Christmas, year unknown, smoking an Avon pipe dispenser of aftershave.
Another Christmas, year unknown, smoking an Avon pipe dispenser of aftershave.
My dad's horse, a part Tennessee Walker and huge! Great temperament.
My dad’s horse, a part Tennessee Walker and huge! Great temperament.
The 1975 Fayetteville High School Talent Show, I got honourable mention.
The 1975 Fayetteville High School Talent Show, I got honourable mention.
The 1976 Ice Cream Social I was the villain and wrote my own lines...we all did. Great show and great experience.
The 1976 Ice Cream Social I was the villain and wrote my own lines…we all did. Great show and great experience.
My first cowboy hat that went mysteriously missing a year later. I loved that hat! Circa 1975.
My first cowboy hat that went mysteriously missing a year later. I loved that hat! Circa 1975.
One of my John Robert Powers pictures - 1979.
One of my John Robert Powers pictures – 1979.

So there you have it. A very tiny pictorial history of me. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed digging through the old stack of pictures that I have scattered here and there. I do apologise for the rather random way that the photo’s have been arranged, I’m not really very of-ay with the picture side of these blogs!

Thanks Marilyn for thinking of me for this neat new award!!

Blogging Part 3: Comment Etiquette

Image courtesy of dab-oracle.com
Image courtesy of dab-oracle.com

I find myself hopping back on my soapbox this morning so I can pontificate about blogging and comments. Well, specifically about comments left on blogs and a sort of code of etiquette. A long time ago, in a land far away, I had another blogging site (I actually still do, as apparently you can be inactive on the site for a millennium and still keep the account) and I had a blog I followed quite religiously.

I got in the habit of leaving “semi” long comments. The lovely lady who owned the blog I was commenting on sent me a “sharp” rebuke for being too wordy. My response at receiving this email of displeasure was two-fold.

I was upset that I was breaking some sort of comment etiquette and irritated that she did not want my input after inviting people to comment on her blog. After a bit of thoughtful deliberation and a conference with my daughter (who’d been blogging much longer than I had) I stopped following the lady’s blog and dropped her from my email contact list.

A short while later, I got an email from her (in my spam bin) saying that she was sorry. She told me she was wrong about my comments being too long and she missed my feedback. By then, unfortunately, I’d moved house and was living in another blogging site, WordPress. I never bothered following her blog again, as I don’t ever visit that particular blogging site since my move.

But as time has gone by and my experience grows on blogging and the interaction it requires, I can see her point. I also read a great blog post from Marilyn over at Serendipity a while back where she posted about inconsiderate commenters. By the way, if you have not had the extreme pleasure of reading this fascinating lady’s Blog just click HERE. You will not regret stopping by.

I decided that as a “not-so-regular” commenter on other people’s blogs (I have a hard time fitting in reading and liking them) and the fact that I have a lot of folks who  do leave comments on mine, that perhaps a short list of don’ts might not hurt. It might save you that cringe worthy moment when the blog owner that feels like you are “taking the Mickey” with your comment and  upbraids you on it. *Taking the Mickey is an English phrase for making fun of or being tacky towards someone or taking liberties.*

Comment Etiquette:

1) Don’t leave an entire page worth of  comment. Most blogger don’t appreciate your version of a comment that resembles Gone with the Wind. Keep it short, but if you want to engage more fully, send an email to their contact email address.

2) Don’t link back to your blog site. Nothing is more offensive to a blogger than if you use the comment section to advertise your blog post. Social media is for self promotion, not someone else’s blog comment section.

3) Don’t argue with other commenters on the post. It’s cool to interact (that’s why we blog) but do not get into a protracted war over an issue. I once had two people carry out a full paged campaign on a blog post I’d written. Don’t do it.

4) Play nice. This really could be an addendum to 3). If you disagree with someone, just say so and try to make your point as succinctly as possible. Don’t get tacky. It’s not appreciated and can result in getting you blocked.

5) Don’t NAG. This, along with the GWTW type comments are my pet peeve. If you don’t know what constitutes nagging, here’s a clue. If you leave repeated messages (comments) talking about the same things? It is NAGGING. Stop it.

6) Don’t be negative. Constructive criticism is always appreciated.

7) – This is the last one, I promise – DO feel free to express yourself and commit to your comment. Remember, other people are reading what you have left on someone else’s blog post, if you do it “right” they will follow you back to your blog. It is a great way to self-advertise without being offensive.

So that’s it. The MikesFilmTalk’s Comment Etiquette Guide. I would like to point out that this post is not “aimed” at anyone in particular. I had the idea for this post while pondering a response that someone left on another blog site. It made me think of my cringe worthy moment over two years ago, when I got diarrhoea of the keyboard.

We all love to interact with each other in the blogging world, let’s just try to do it politely and positively.

So how about you? What sort of comments can you do without or make you see red? Do you have any commenting etiquette that you think should be followed?

Let me know, but to paraphrase Captain Spaulding in The House of a 1000 Corpses, “Don’t go all Margaret Mitchell on my ass.”

Cover of "Gone with the Wind"
Cover of Gone with the Wind