Blogging 101 | Post 2 – A Name, A Tagline, and Some Mellencamp

Blogging 101 LogoAs I said in my last post, I am woefully behind in the daily assignments for Blogging 101. I am trying very hard to get caught up this weekend, but again I am failing miserably. I intended to spend most of today writing posts and taking photos for Photo 101, which I am also participating in. I say participating, but what I really mean is I may have signed up for the course and I may have had every intention to publish photos daily and I may have taken some pictures, BUT they still languish in their digital solitude waiting for me to do something with them. But, I am getting off track here – this article isn’t about the photos I’ve taken and not published – it’s about writing and blogging; specifically this Blogging 101 course.

In this post, I am supposed to choose a name and tagline for my blog. Well, that is already done. As I explained in yesterday’s post, this blog is over two years old, so it is already well established. Given that, I am not interested in changing the name or tagline. They might not be the best in the WordPress World, but there is already name recognition for them. Just as important, though, they are already indexed in the search engines. So, I’ll leave my current blog name and tag line alone.

Since I covered the basics of this assignment I’m going to take a minute here to talk about something else – rock music – specifically John Mellencamp’s music. I have been a huge fan of his music since his earliest “John Cougar” days. Over the last thirty plus years, his songs have just gotten better and better. He grew as an artist and songwriter from the hard rocking days of “Uh Huh!” to his most recent “Plain Spoken” which once again solidifies his place as the “poet” of my generation. He has written so many songs that touch every nerve and emotion in this tired old body of mine. I thought the Beatles were and would always be the greatest musicians of my time. I was wrong – very wrong. In my humble opinion, Mellencamp and his body of work surpass the “Fab Four” by leaps and bounds. He writes songs that reach inside me and strip every fiber of my being – he makes me feel good and bad and guilty and happy and blessed to be a human being.

Thanks to Spotify, I am now an hour and a half into a twenty-eight hour Mellencamp marathon. I doubt seriously that I will make it the full twenty-eight hours, but I’m gonna give it my best shot.

Wish me well!

“My whole life I’ve done what I’m supposed to do. Now I’d like to maybe do something for myself, And just as soon as I figure out what that is
You can bet your life I’m gonna give it hell”~From “The Real Life”. Written by John Mellencamp. From the album “The Lonesome Jubilee”

Blogging 101 | Post 1 – Introducing “Rich”

Pompous, self-aggrandizing introduction starts here

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, mice and men; dignitaries, luminaries, and adversaries; extraterrestrials, Dewey decimals, and infinitesimals; philanderers, malingerers, or pan-handlers; if you will and if I may, please allow me the honor, privilege and prerogative – the disadvantage, disservice and discomfort of introducing to you that esteemed personage of some renown and ill repute; a man amongst men – slayer of dragons, soldier of fortune, lover of women, protector of children, drinker of beer, and fabricator of great and lofty exaggerations of fact. He is famous in one country, wanted in four states, and banned in at least one province, although it is not clear whether it be in Canada, Cambodia, or China. As if you have not guessed already, as if you are lost in transmission, as if your facts are not fiction and your ficts are not faction, allow me to present to you the sometimes right and occasionally honorable “Rich” – which is me.

OK, now that I got that out of my system, I can write serious stuff for serious people who read serious blogs on this serious platform which is WordPress. The rather not so serious rubbish I wrote in the preceding paragraph reflects the rather serious nature of this article. I lost my direction for a while, but I faced south and I believe I found it. I lost my voice to laziness and depression, drank a beer, skinned my knee, now I’m wondering around it. It’s a problem don’t you see; it’s serious, confound it all, but you and I, we can’t muck around it. I gotta write, and write some more; good or bad, rich or poor, in the street or on the floor; rhyme a word, maybe two, write them down, I guess I’m through.

So I lied and didn’t write serious stuff. I’ll try again here; to tell you who I am and why I am here. Having said that:

The “Serious” stuff starts here

If I can actually write seriously for a minute, I will try to inform and entertain you with a few appropriate words that actually satisfy the requirements of this challenge.

First and foremost, know that this is my second attempt to complete this Blogging University course. I started late last time and failed to keep up just as I am starting late this time and again failing miserably to keep up. Let’s face it, the course started nearly two weeks ago and I am just now trying get the first day’s post written and published.

I have been blogging here for over two years – beginning on February 2, 2012. I wrote regularly for a while, quit for a while, wrote and quit again, and now I am trying again to revive my routine of regular writing. In some ways, I still feel like a newcomer and I believe this challenge will help me master some of the areas of WP and blogging where I am weak.

The second reason is my blog needs a make-over. The theme I am currently using has worked well for me, but with more and more people using their phones and tablets to access the web, I need to upgrade to a responsive theme. Doing so will require some pretty significant re-work. Participating in this challenge seems like the perfect time to make the change.

The third reason for my participation in this course is I am ready to take this blog to a new level. I am also participating in the Photo 101 course, and yes I am also behind with it, but I believe two things about WordPress. First, we are visual people and a great photo in your post increases it’s chances of being read exponentially. Second, participating and completing these two courses is great preparation for the advanced courses that WP offers.

That’s why I am here, so if you are truly interested in learning a little about me, take a look at my About page and some of my previous posts. You will probably learn more about me than you really want to know.

Since I am somewhat experienced, I hope I can help some of you that are really new to WordPress.

The real reason I’m here

Oh yeah. The real reason I’m here is I don’t want to be a Zero – I want to be a Freshly Pressed Hero.

Blog Followers: Good and Bad

Four months ago, when I wrote regularly, I apparently wrote pieces that were informative or entertaining enough for readers to like them and want to see more. This may or may not have been the reason they decided to follow this blog. Regardless of the reason, I somehow managed to attract 165 followers: 131 following the blog and 34 following on Facebook.

So what is a follower? It seems to me that a follower is simply a reader that makes a conscious decision to follow and continue to read another person’s blog. As a follower, they can visit the blog as they see fit, or they can receive electronic notifications that the blog(s) they follow have been updated. It’s then their decision to actually read the blog or not.

Based on my experience as a blog follower and as a blogger with followers, I think many of us use the number of followers we have as a yardstick of how popular our blog is. In one respect, I think this is fine. It’s nice to have several hundred or several thousand followers of your blog. On the other hand, I believe the number is a bit misleading. Anyone can choose to follow a blog, but never read it again. So, without another way to measure readership, I think the number of followers a blog has is not a truly accurate representation of how popular a blog is.

Are their good followers and bad followers? I think there must be. According to everything I’ve read on WordPress, a good blog is one that attracts and builds a community – a community that gets readers and writers involved. They may be readers that just follow a blog because they share common interests, or they may engage by commenting on blog entries they find interesting, informative, or entertaining. According to WordPress, “A blog is just a diary unless there’s a community — start building yours.” So, I think that is what makes a good blog follower, one that actively engages the author and the readership by becoming involved in the blog with comments or by using an article as inspiration for their own article – by working to build a community.

To this point, I have done a so-so job of being a good follower. I have commented on a few, and at one point I was reading blogs I followed regularly. I’ve failed miserably to do either in the last few months, but I am committing myself now to do better. Whether you follow this blog or not, make the same commitment to be a good follower yourself.