Top Ten Things You Need To Know About Top 10 Lists
All the way from the home office in Boring, Oregon, comes tonight’s top ten list. You clicked here. You deserve this shit.
Beware anyone who comes at you with a Top 10 list. They are out to get you.
Top Ten Things You Need To Know About Top 10 Lists
10. If they build it you will come. The assumption is being made that when your brain sees “Top 10” you’ll click the link faster than a monkey pounding a button for a banana. Because, mmm, banana!
9. Fast acting. They know you have the attention span of a gnat on Heisenberg’s Blue Sky meth. Wait. What?
8. Unefficiency. Forcing content into a rigid format isn’t necessarily the best way to communicate information and ideas. It’s one of those “square peg – round hole” kind of dealios.
Continue reading →
Twitter on the creep
With this tweet, I boldly forayed into the world of Twitter. Since then, I’ve done the 140 thing 3,836 times. I did the math and that works out to an average of 7.24 tweets per day. Yeah, that sounds about right.
In my travels I’ve learned one thing and I’ve learned it well. If a thought pops into my head I’d better record it fast, or it will die a quick death and never see the light of day ever again. That’s where Twitter comes in. At home, work, or with my little handheld device, if I have a thought that I like, I jam it into the Twitter. Now it’s safe!
It has been one year, five months and 15 days since I started my “timeline.” (Wow. That almost makes it sound like I wasn’t living before Twitter.) During that time I have followed 145 people. Twitter tells me that 112 people are currently following me, and I estimate less than half the number are real people. The rest are some kind of bot and/or people who just follow lots in the hopes of gaining reciprocal follows. To them, Twitter is a numbers game and the one with the most followers wins. Just an FYI: You can’t take your followers with you when you die.
Me? I’m a bit more choosey. On average I’d followed someone only once every 4.9 days. I don’t like my timeline going all apeshit and overloading me with incoming tweets so I really have to find someone interesting before I’ll make that level of commitment. Twitter tells me that the first person I ever followed was Catherine Sherman (@cathsherman) who was one of my very first friends on WordPress and still a good friend today!
I have never followed anyone in the hopes that they’ll return the favor. Nor have I ever unfollowed anyone because they won’t follow me. The law of mandatory reciprocity does not apply. It’s nice when the level of interest is two way, but I’m not going to unfollow someone just because they have good taste! (Heh.)
I have unfollowed people before, but it is rare. Usually it is because I feel overwhelmed by the volume of their tweets. Some people tweet 100 times a day or more! Even I don’t have that many thoughts in a single day, a much fewer that are of any interest. (Even then there may be debate about the ones I let through!)
What sparked all of the Twitter contemplation was someone I interacted with recently. He has only been on Twitter for three days. He has tweeted 18 times. (That’s very close to my average.) And he follows a whopping 775 people! That’s over 250 follows per day.
Meanwhile, he has 207 followers (which blows me out of the water) and has already been “listed” four times. Apparently those lists are automated because they say, “A self-updating list showing who recently followed me (made using @formulists).”
The success of someone on Twitter only three days who doubles me in followers can be discouraging. However, I am resisting the urge to do anything differently. I prefer sending and receiving quality, and that’s how I’m going to continue. I can’t imagine much worse than reading a bunch of crap from people where I have absolutely no interest.
If I follow you, that’s generally a good sign. You can take it as a compliment!
A Twitter Tip
Lastly, I’d like to close with a tip. What to do about people I want to follow even when they overly tweet their asses off?
I think there are two kinds of people I follow. Those that I’m very interested in and those I’m sort of interested in. The former group I try to read everything they say. With the later group, though, I don’t care if I miss a few every now and again.
How do I handle this?
I installed TweetDeck and use the Twitter feature of “lists” to separate those groups. For the A-Listers, I created a group called “Inner Circle.” Everyone else gets placed in a group called, strangely enough, “Everyone else.”
Both groups are private since they are for my own internal use only.
I’ll admit it is a bit of a hassle sorting people into these groups, but it is a one-time only activity.
Once that is done, create a “column” in Tweet Deck for each group. My first column is dedicated to the “Inner Circle” and the next column is for “Everyone Else.” I try to keep up on the first column. The other columns in Tweet Deck I read as time permits.
I hope you’ll find this tip useful.
10 blog writing tips to ignore
I recently had a brutality visit me regarding my blog.
While signing up for podcast hosting, I was asked to categorize my blog. This is when I realized, “Gee. I must be weird.” When something is that hard to define, you just might have a problem on your hands.
Politics? No, even though I occasionally tackle that topic.
Education? Maybe to some small degree. Guru advice on negativity and the gerbil studies institute (G.R.I.P.E.) might count. (Admittedly that’s quite a stretch.)
Philosophy? Science? Religion? Recipes? Babies? Cats? It seems I’ve dabbled all over the place. Am I just scatterbrained?
Turning to my “tag cloud” for inspiration I realized my #1 all-time tag is “poop.” But I didn’t see a category for that. How could anyone leave “poop” off a list of blog categories? Unconscionable!
Since my blog hops around more than a Mexican jumping bean, this left me in a quicksand of quandary. That simple question about “categorization” had forced me to come face to face some some grim demons.
Bottom line? I had to go with a branch of “Entertainment.” More specifically, “Comedy.” If I’m brutally honest with myself that’s really the only thing that fits, all things considered.
So yeah, when it comes to my blog, I’m an … entertainer. Note: That is decidedly not that same as saying anyone who ever reads this blog is “entertained.” Those are two wildly different things!
So I selected “Comedy” from the drop down list and saved my entry.
But that’s not all. Then I came across one of those “list” posts. You know the type? Where they garishly entice you in with the sparkly promise of “top ten” of this or the “six ways” to improve that?
Blah blah blah.
Lists are popular. Lists attract readers. Magazines and newsstands know this. Next time you see some magazines look for this phenomenon. See anything like this? “The top 10 ways Bennifer conspired with TomKat behind Brangelina’s back.”
Yes, don’t overlook the fact I’m doing the very same thing in this post. Meh. Don’t be angry at me. You’re the one who fell for it!
Anywho, the list I came across was something like “Top Blogging Tips” and as I read those tips, a familiar sinking feeling began to engulf me.
Me and my blog violated all of them.
Wow. That’s some talent! Without further ado here are some of the promised 10 ways I suck:
- “Cultivate Good Writing.” Ha! Nuff said. Let’s move on.
- “Don’t write about yourself.” Ooops!
- “Try not to whine or complain too much.” Actually, here I think I do okay. I can’t stand complaining. That’s probably the one area of my life where I show the most restraint, don’t ya think?
The other seven examples were cut by my editor prior to publication. Unfortunately our headline writer was not informed.
So, I don’t know. Personally I think wallowing in filth, despair and self-pity makes for compelling blogging, but that’s just me. I’m open-minded enough to realize not everyone may agree.