Aaaargh! I’m overwhelmed with terrible written English and it’s all the internet’s fault. The greatest democratic vehicle in the history of historical things has enabled language to be messed up.
I’m all in favour of misappropriating the written word for comedic effect. Puns and other plays on words are funny: fact. However, when terrible written English becomes the norm (or any other language but I’m afraid I only speak English. Sorry. Unless ordering two beers or typing ‘thanks and regards’ in emails to my European colleagues counts), it makes me more than a little sad. Irritated, too.
In support of correct language.
I’d like to be able to clearly differentiate between language murdered for laughs, and language murdered by ignorance. The lack of habitual correction of errors that the light-speed publication and dissemination of information brings about should be slowed down, just so we have time to tap people on the shoulder and remind them:
Correct grammar is the difference between knowing your shit and knowing you’re shit.
I’ve been taking my photography a little more seriously recently and part of that has been to put the photos I’m proud of onto a couple of sharing sites. The sites I use are specifically for photography – Flickr and 500px.
Of the two, I think I prefer 500px. This is mainly down to the way it’s designed. The link is more simple, for a start. No random numbers and characters in the url. Usability just seems a bit better in 500px. It’s also easy to allow people to buy your work in 500px and whilst I think it’s very unlikely that anyone would buy my photos, seeing the amazing quality of other people’s stuff on there, the option to set this up easily is one I like.
What do you think?
Anyway, I’ve embedded a couple of images below so please do have a look and tell me what you think of them.
Seriously? Phill’s Giving Social Media Success Advice?
If you know me, you’ll know that I don’t take myself too seriously. I don’t take you too seriously either.
Get over it. I have. 🙂
So, How Do You Engage People In Social Media Conversations?
I’ve spent a few years growing up with social media. Facebook (shouty), Twitter (likened to a pub full of people, mostly interesting, some bonkers, some fake and you can easily drift around between conversations or just stand and watch), Google Plus (my favourite) and I’ve dabbled with a few of the others.
My experience, gained through the last few years of targeted, not-so-targeted and utterly random sharing of ideas, tells me what engages people more than anything else… so I’m going to give you the benefit of my experience. If you want to truly generate meaningful exchanges of invaluable information, maybe you’d better try another channel. If, however, you simply want to get people to respond to your thoughts, here’s what’s generated the best conversations for me:
Every time. Mention that you’re having a biscuit. Better still. Take a photo of it. BOOM! Responses. I’m telling you. Every time. Meaningful? Arguably not. Insightful? Not unless you’re a biscuit preference researcher. Fun? Yeah man.
Mmmmm Jammy Teacake
Apparently a jammy teacake is 3 WeightWatchers points. Yes? And?
I’m not into tattoos. Saying this online almost always starts a discussion. Go figure. No, YOU go figure. I don’t care. But sometimes the discussions are pretty interesting.
3. Draw a picture of someone falling over / off a bike.
No really. I did this because I was having a sandwich, it was raining and I really needed a break from just looking at a computer screen. Then of course I posted it to a couple of social media sites. People LOVED it! Well, a bit.
I’ve Got This!
I’m probably going to actually get a T-Shirt of my drawing made. Then I’ll post a picture of the T-Shirt to a couple of social media sites. Madness.
4. Take photos of bees having sex.
Not mine. But I saw it work for someone else. Apparently they don’t actually have sex, only the Queens procreate in the hive, but I bet they do it for fun and what the Queen doesn’t know won’t hurt her, am I right? I mean, who wants to collect pollen all day every day? Jees. Lighten up, bees. Live a little.
What Can You Do With This Amazing New Knowledge?
If you’re an entrepreneur looking for the silver bullet of social media success, you’ve come to the wrong place. I guess the main benefit you could draw from this article is the news that most people I connect with seem to use social media to provoke an interest in things which are a bit odd.
Scanning for news and views is great, but if you’re looking for responses, post something unusual which will make people stop and think, or else provoke a reaction with an opinion. Don’t forget though: people will dump you if you’re an idiot. I know I will. If you want to be liked, be likable.
A couple of weeks ago, I launched a new website which isn’t quite so personal. It’s aimed at giving Mountain Bike riders what they want, when & where they want it.
The site will be filled with things like:
MTB Gear Reviews
Mountain Biking News
… whereas this site will always be my personal indulgence, with a wider remit to waffle on about more random stuff.
Which is where this post comes in.
I wrote a post on MountainBikingResources.com which was about a ride we went on yesterday, the Rivington Ramble. But, thanks to the riders all being people I know from the internets, perhaps it should have been shared on here.
So… Go and read it on the other site. If you get a subscription popup, you can fill it in or you can just hit “refresh” (best option on phones cos of the popup size) or close it and it’ll go away and not come back for at least a few days. If you do fill it, you’ll receive carefully written updates from me, right into your inbox. I promise they won’t be crap, and I also promise that if you want to stop getting them, there’ll be a wee “unsubscribe” option on every one. I’m nice like that.
Mountain Biking Resources.com
So Now What Happens To This Blog?
If you were wondering what’d happen to Phill’s Irregular Cycles, then the answer is… Nothing.
This blog will still be here and I’ll still be waffling on about stuff, as I do. You’ll be treated to my usual brand of self-indulgent writing and I’ll be treated, in turn, to your comments and confusion.
As the year draws to a close, I thought I’d have a look at my analytics over the last 12 months to work out what people liked to read in 2011. It’s easily possible to spend too long thinking about stuff like this but a broad-brush gander at analytics stats can’t do any harm, can it?
What Did I Find?
Well, I’ve read a few blogs about blogging, especially when I was new to this lark and I had a few haughty-taughty ideas about actually treating the whole experience seriously. That was before I adopted my current policy, which I’ll tell you about in a minute.
Anyway, the blogs about blogging taught me that reviews are popular on blogs. This is because people decide that they might want to buy something, then they look over their shoulder at work to establish that the boss isn’t looking, then they fire up google and type “(Thing They Want To Buy) Reviews“, or “Thing They Want To Buy” on its own. Then they scour the search results for: (a) the costs of the Thing They Want To Buy and (b) reviews of the Thing They Want To Buy.
I do it myself, to reassure myself that the Thing I want To Buy isn’t actually an overpriced piece of useless tat. Although I do it in my lunch break or at home, of course 😉
My own findings back this up. The little pie chart below sums up what people have been looking at over the last 12 months. In fact, two particular reviews of bike gear scored about half of all the review hits, to be honest.
Analytics Findings 2011
So, if you’re thinking of taking blogging seriously, think about building a review site. But, bear in mind that lots of people have gone before you, and might be putting a lot more time in than you can. But it’s a good way to gain new visitors: then all you have to do is give them reasons to come back, and possibly milk the affiliate & ad networks for all the income you can!
What’s My Blog Writing Policy?
I said I’d tell you about this, didn’t I? To quote Mr. Krabbs (ask your kids), I like money. But, to stop quoting Mr. Krabbs, I don’t like money so much that I’ll put it above engaging and having fun. What I love most about blogging is the act of writing, the photography that I enjoy before the writing ideas come to me, the riding of bikes which inspires most of my ramblings (and reviews) and I love the engagement of the circle of friends that blogging, social media and cycling has brought me.
When I’m ready to stop having fun, I’ll go to work. The value of blogging, to me, isn’t the income, and that’s a bloody good job. Income-earning blogs are springing up all over the place, and most of them show a marked reduction in the quality of writing, in favour of remarketing other people’s ideas. If I ever write a book (and I wish I would, one day) then I’m going to be quite uncomfortable about hawking around the internets, I think.
So balls to your analytics. It’s interesting and it helps get new visitors, but you’ll come back to my blog again if you find the writing or the pictures interesting. If you don’t, you won’t come back. Simple.
Finally For 2011
Enjoy your Christmas break (or your chosen seasonal feast linked to your chosen deity, pagan festival or coincidental time of winter happiness), enjoy riding your bike if you’ve got one, and enjoy this wonderfully engaging world that the internets have brought into our lives.