Did your family ever have their milk delivered to the house?
Did the milk come in glass bottles?
Did you have a silver milk box in which you left your order and your money
(the milk man came before we were up)?
If so, you are likely a Baby Boomer. And you will also remember that the milk was not processed as it is today, and that there was always cream on the top. No worries about cholesterol and fat in those days. Little did we know. It just tasted good. Still does. As does anything chocolate, to most people. Have you ever met someone who doesn’t eat chocolate because they don’t care for it?
I have an experiment in the oven (as I write). I used a muffin recipe and added a few teaspoons of dark cocoa. Just have a hankering for chocolate, but not with white sugar. I’m trying to stop eating (again) white sugar. The muffin, which is in a pie plate, is all in one piece since I don’t own a muffin tin. I used half as much brown sugar in place of the white. I’ll let you know how it goes. The batter was pretty tasty…
This whole blogging thing is a seemingly endless experiment to me. I’m thinking the cream is not on the top, so to speak. I’m still looking for it. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to complain. I’m just going to tell you what I’m thinking (there is a difference) and what I’ve learned.
After posting on Monday, I read a blog post by someone who volunteers with WordPress help forums. A Baby Boomer. She doesn’t own a smart phone because she doesn’t want one. She’s an ‘old school’ blogger, if there is such a thing. She was talking about some of the same things I mentioned. That was shocking to me in the first place, because I think I’m way behind in all of this, struggling to catch up, and here I am on the same page, posting the same frustrations on the same day as someone in the ‘know’, who is equally frustrated.
The fact that WordPress has recently allowed LIKES to be used on Comments was one topic. I won’t get into that. The other one, the one I had mentioned, is that readers can now Comment and Like in the Reader (WordPress.com) without entering the blog, or even in some cases reading the post. Before I go on, here’s the link to the post. She goes by ‘time thief’ and her blog is onecoolsitebloggingtips.com on WordPress. The discussion in the comments is informative.
Here’s what I think. My first reaction is to be discouraged. However, I have read enough of the ‘new school’ of bloggers to know that we need a new box if we are going to fly at all (of find any cream). You tell me what you think, I am prepared to walk alone in this.
After spending three to four months learning what I can about blogging and social media and blogging for money, I am of the opinion that this is all business, and one must learn to use marketing strategies if one wishes to be seen or heard or earn a living at it. There just isn’t any other way it will work. That includes aspiring writers who wish to be published. Authors now must market themselves.
Now I’m not saying to be cutthroat and go at it any way you can. I’m saying we have to draw our line as to what is honest, what your definition of spam is, what is ‘playing by the rules’ of the platform you are using, and keeping up with the rules as they change frequently. Basic rule of thumb regarding spam is to always be a real person, not have someone else or a machine doing your work, and being social with your followers. Be Genuine. If you’re not being you, you are not being honest. If you are hiring someone else to represent you, and not disclosing who they are and that they are working for you, that is spam. If you do not communicate with your followers by replying to them or initiating with them on social media platforms, and reciprocating with them, and reading what they write, and viewing their brand, be it product or person or book, then what you are doing is spam.
What does this mean for me? It means I will continue to build up my Twitter following, establish friendships and professional relationships with other Tweeters, who may or may not visit my blog. And I will do the same with Pinterest, and when I have those two well in hand I will learn another platform, and I will succumb to using Google+ (that will be my last holdout) and Facebook if that’s where people are. It is all about the ‘reader’, not the blogger. I need to do whatever will benefit the ‘reader’. I put quotes around reader because I don’t believe there is much actual reading going on. We have become enamored with photos and captions and magazine format with brief articles, or we only read the synopsis and don’t bother with the article. I am guilty of doing this too.
The main thing I will do is concentrate on the writing. Getting the thinking out. Finding out what I think. Finding out what you the reader thinks. And giving you a place to interact in community, to contribute, to learn, to grow. That will be the cream, when there is community who contributes to one another. That may not happen on the blog per se. It may happen on social media platforms. It is my task to draw them together, to make opportunities available.
The muffin is good. Not too chocolatey, but just a hint. Would you care for a piece? I’m happy to share.