Weekend Coffee Share: Goodbye and Good Riddance to an Awful Month

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I’ve not been this glad to see the end of a month in years. It’s been absolutely brutal, both financially and emotionally. I’ll not give you the list of horrors; suffice it to say that June started off bad and got progressively worse as the month wore on.

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I fell completely off the internet for a good two weeks. I lost my blogging momentum, things began to pile up, and before I knew it I was so wracked with anxiety I could barely open the computer in the little bit of free time I had. At one point, I allowed Sourcerer to go two weekdays in a row without a post, and that almost never happens.

The anxiety has mostly subsided and I am back in the rhythm. We have plenty of posts scheduled at Sourcerer for the next month or so and I am thinking about where to go with my blogging from here. I’m thankful to have such awesome and supportive friends in the blogosphere.

The month was not without its bright spots, though. The house is great, though we’ve not made as much progress getting it setup and ironing out the minor annoyances that come with any new place as I’d like. My grandson is loving it — he’s much more active than he was a month ago, and he’s better-behaved, too. And somehow in all the madness of moving chaos, acute anxiety, and several problems I haven’t mentioned, I produced 25 pages of fiction.

Those of you who have been following for a long time will recall that I have a fantasy worldbuilding & fiction project which I’ve been working on in fits and starts for most of my life. The last significant progress I made on it was in the spring and summer of 2013 — the months before Diana and I started blogging together. I put it on hold to get our blogs off the ground and study the social media, which has taken longer than I’d hoped. I’ve been planning for awhile to get back to the fiction this fall, so I’m ahead of schedule on that, and it’s encouraging.coffee

If we were having coffee, I’d also tell you that I am thinking about where to go with this blog. My traffic here is abysmal. Even on days when I post, and the post is good, I see fewer total views than Sourcerer gets just from search engines. It doesn’t make good sense to spend much time publishing here. The problem is that the things I post here are necessary, and they don’t fit at Sourcerer.

I need a place to archive project links, to serve as my personal website, and to publish #WeekendCoffeeShare posts. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a wordpress.com site, though. I get a lot of pleasure out of blogging, and I’m a firm believer in keeping it fun. I also value the friendships I’ve formed through blogging and clowning around on the social media. I’ll just say this anyway: I want a website with better analytics, and I want to monetize it.

I’ve never talked about this part of my Grand Internet Plan in public, and I’ve only ever shared it with a few people. I don’t see myself ever getting wealthy off the Internet. But I would like to have a website that generates enough revenue to pay for its own overhead and give me a little money for marketing and apps. Even $20 a month would be helpful.

I went with the free WordPress blog because when I started, I didn’t even know if I’d be blogging beyond the first year and I knew very little about online marketing. WordPress.com offers advantages to people who don’t know much about building audience and who are starting from zero. I’m wondering if I’m better off having my personal website elsewhere, though, and since Diana’s mentioned moving Part Time Monster to a self-hosted site a couple of times on her front page now, I don’t see any reason I shouldn’t talk about this.

Getty stock image.

Getty stock image.

Lots of reasons it would be a bad idea for Sourcerer to go self-hosted. Here’s a quick list of a few of them.

  • Not a well-constructed brand for anything other than a non-commercial, just-for-fun blog. Just go and google Sourcerer, and you’ll see why.
  • Too much work to clean up the archives, which would have to be done before ads could be placed. Just based on the amount of time it took to re-vamp the categories during the last redesign, this would take weeks, if not months. Sourcerer will have 1,000 published posts in its archive by mid-July.
  • It was built by WordPress.com bloggers for WordPress.com. It thrives on contributions and thread chatter. It aspires to becoming a community. Severing it from the WordPress.com reader and asking contributors to use a different interface would damage it so badly, we’d be just as well off to start over from square one.
  • I love WordPress.com and don’t want to leave it entirely — I’ve had more success with Sourcerer than with any other online thing I’ve ever tried.

So, since I can’t move Sourcerer and wouldn’t want to if I could, that leaves this blog. I’m not even concerned about moving the archives. I’m thinking that at some point during the late fall, I might just build a better blog, make it a free-standing website with proper policies, and start all over with my personal site.

I could rebuild the traffic here if I wanted to — all it would require is for me to post more frequently and think about what sorts of headlines and articles I could get into Google searches. But since I have one permanently non-commercial blog already, and it’s a much better blog than this one, I am not sure I see the point.

Have an awesome weekend, and keep blogging. Don’t forget to add your coffee post to the linky at Part Time Monster, and share it with #WeekendCoffeeShare on Twitter.

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If We Were Having Coffee . . . (Facebook Edition)

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I had a fairly punishing week at work, but got through it. It hasn’t been an entirely bad week, though. My grandson made me proud again. The other day, he let it be known that he can tell when I am fibbing “because of the little smile.” It makes me very happy that this six-year-old boy is that observant. He’s riding in his first Christmas parade today. And I finally figured out how to use Facebook to promote bloggers, I think.

Getty stock image.

Getty stock image.

I’d tell you the whole story of how that came about. I would mention that I am allowing “Everyone” to send me friend requests, but it helps if I know you from the blogs, or if we have mutual friends.

I didn’t have a Facebook account until a year ago. I only set one up because I needed some social media to get the blogs rolling. Diana’s Facebook account is the only real social media we started with, and she uses her Facebook like most other people – to keep up with friends and family, share memes and photos, post and comment on newsy stuff, etc. So I set it up and started friending our mutual friends. Lots of family and people who know me but I don’t really talk to also friended me.

I accepted almost every friend request. I didn’t understand Facebook (and didn’t particularly like it), but I didn’t want to offend anyone. And really. Had to get a few blog readers from somewhere to get things rolling. I eventually set up pages for my blogs and invited people to like them because I knew I was in for a year of everyday posting, and I didn’t want to be that guy who’s just sharing his blog posts all the time.

What I ended up with was a bunch of friends who aren’t all that connected, and they’re all sharing what people share on Facebook.

  • Photos of their kids.
  • Funny memes.
  • What’s in the news, often with an opinionated statement.
  • What they did today.
  • Photos of their pets.

fblikeThat’s fine. I am a believer in people doing what they want with their own social media, but I don’t like or share much of that stuff. Aside from REALLY good memes, what a very close friend did today, or things that get me so stirred up I can’t help myself, I just don’t care about that stuff on Facebook.  I realized at some point that 90 percent of my Facebook friends view my blogs the the same way I view the news articles and photos they are sharing. I don’t take that personally.

But here’s the problem. Since very few of the friends I started with care about blogging, and since many of them also have irreconcilable differences on most social issues from me, that means Facebook has been useless to me up to this point. I have nothing to talk about with those people on Facebook, even though they are all lovely people.

In the meantime, I’ve made Facebook friends with about 15 or so WordPress bloggers that I’ve talked to long enough here and on Twitter to feel like they’re just as much my friends as my offline friends. They all care about blogging, and they don’t all agree with me on the social issues, but they’re the sort of people I can at least have productive conversations with when they do decide to chime in. Some of us have been PMing and chatting in secret groups for months, but not a lot of timeline interaction.

So I joined a couple of blogging groups. Then I flagged three quarters of my Facebook friends as acquaintances, restricted most of them from seeing what I like and share, and unfriended some of them. Now I have four levels of communication for my timeline.

Arrr, Mateys!

Arrr, Mateys!

1. Public (because everyone’s welcome to enjoy my original photos, and that is all the public interaction I’m ever doing on Facebook again).

2. Friends (because now and then I like to post something just to let them all know I am alive).

3. Friends Except Restricted and Acquaintances. These are people I can trust to not be annoyed by my constant blog chatter, to maybe even like a blog post if they see it in their feeds, and to observe proper manners if they choose to comment. It includes bloggers I am Facebook friends with but don’t know very well yet. I share blogs I like with this group.

4. Friendly Bloggers. These are people I have known long enough to consider friends in the fullest sense of the word, people who have supported me in some way over the last year, and people who I am sure are following my progress. These people get chances to chat about blogging tips or to discuss things I have questions about, and advance notice when I’m publishing things like yesterday’s Friendly Blogging post.

I have a new rule for Facebook. Any behavior that would get a person banned from one of my blogs will get them unfriended and possibly blocked if they do it on my timeline. I’m easygoing and can tolerate almost any disagreement as long as everyone is nice about it. I don’t trash many comments or ban very many people, but it happens. Usually when it happens, it’s because someone’s being bigoted or mean. I have to enforce that rule on Facebook if I want to keep making progress with this thing I am doing here. Otherwise, bloggers aren’t going to want to be friends with me.

And I am not depriving anyone from the enjoyment of my blog content, even on Facebook. Because I have public pages for my blogs, and I don’t share many of my own links on my timeline, anyway.

coffeeNow, I am in the process of unfollowing the big media and celebrities I followed when I started my account to make room for more bloggers in my news feed.

I am open to being friends with bloggers on Facebook, and trying to make my personal timeline over there a friendly, valuable, interesting, sometimes entertaining stream of content. Because that, my friends, is how you get blog links into Facebook news feeds without paying money to do it. I am interested to see whether it works, or whether I just need to find another network to spend my time on.

And I would apologize for going on and on about my Facebook today, but it’s kind of a big deal to me. I’m closing a circle here.

[Edited on 12/08 to remove a link to my Facebook profile, but I am not that hard to find over there 😉 and I am very approachable. This post got some serious retweet juice from #SundayBlogShare, so the link could bounce around for weeks, and I don’t want post with a direct link bouncing around on Twitter for weeks].

Weekend Music, and Another Networking Note.

Video

I’ve blogged this music before, but never the video. The animation is to die for, lol. Lots of themes interacting in complex ways there, and the best part is the end. The assassins kill the footsoldiers because that is the way to win the battle. Once they win, they turn their backs and leave the commanding officer to the mob. Maybe it’s right. Maybe it’s wrong. Decide for yourself. Either way, it’s a cool video. Society requires rigid rules, but culture thrives on ambiguity. Society and culture are not the same thing.

Facebook is my big social media project for this year. It’s decided, and I have a post at Sourcerer today in which I explain what I am doing and offer you the opportunity to join me.

I had a lot more to say about it today, but decided against it because It’s not a good idea to ask you to read a big post here and then click a link. I’d rather you just click it, and pay attention to the bloggers I’ve included at the end of the post.