Archive for April, 2009

Yesterday was rough. Three hours spent figuring out how to put the little “digg!” badge, as well as “reddit” and “AddThis,” at the bottom of my blog post. By the way, I’d like to thank the programmers (and WordPress) for making sure that the process for each one is a little different.

Since I generally fear change, and like the way things were instead of the way things are, you may be wondering why I am bothering to learn this here new fancy-schmancy Social Bookmarking (it has something to do with computers, right?)

Like a lot of the new stuff I try, I am trying to get a grasp before a client asks me to do it for pay–which happened last week.  Along with SEO articles, I am getting more blogging business.  Suddenly it makes sense…a business person may just barely have time to blog, but none would have the 3 hours I burned trying to figure how to import a damn digg widget!

So, what is social bookmarking? It’s fascinating. But not fascinating enough for me to bother composing an explanation on my own. So, let’s go to America’s most trusted news source: Wikipedia.  Emphasis added to make it look like I understand parts of it.

Social bookmarking is a way for Internet users to store, organize, search, and manage bookmarks of web pages on the Internet with the help of metadata, typically in the form of tags.

(as) a high-quality search engine, social bookmarking has  advantages over automated software, such as search engine spiders. All tag-based classification of web sites is done by human beings, who understand the content of the resource, as opposed to software, which algorithmically attempts to determine the meaning of a resource. Also, people can find and bookmark web pages that have not yet been noticed or indexed by web spiders.[15]

Due to its popularity, some users have started considering it as a tool to use along with search engine optimization to make their website more visible. The more often a web page is submitted and tagged, the better chance it has of being found.

The bottom line is…the bottom line, where you will now see the buttons you are now seeing. So, do Uncle Stupid a solid and click those buttons every time you visit. Apparently that means something.

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I don’t sweat my modest number of hits. As I have said countless times, this little blog has more than done its share of the heavy Google lifting for “copywriter+charleston+sc.” But the number of actual human eyeballs seeing this thing is pretty low…and as you biology majors know, you have to divide the number of eyeballs by 2 to equal “people.”

In the past week, however, the hits have been thru the roof. I am attributing the spike to three topics: one new, one recycled and one that is kind of old. Ready for some minutia? Here we go!

New: The Death of Nostalgia. It was either “death” in the title, or the highly introspective subject matter. But I got loads of pings, or dings or schwings from a bunch of lame-o pop psychology sites.

Recycled: Administrative Professionals Day oh-nine. Not a repeat, but a revisiting (that’s value, kids!) I think I actually got twice the hits because my two posts (this year and last) were titled differently. Note: This holiday bugs my mind. It’s the only holiday I know where fully half of the people you are trying to celebrate resent that you consider them to be in the category being celebrated.

Curiously old, but still bringing the hits: Putting the Grrr! in Facebook. Seems like ragging on Facebook is almost as popular as Facebook itself! Interesting: TIME online just did an article reiterating my list of grievances. Check it out!

The danger here is that you figure out what brings the hits, and you start changing your style and subject matter to fit that taste.

So, starting Monday, it’s celebrity nip-slips, all the time! Or, more boring freelance Charleston copywriter stuff. We’ll see how it goes.

* UPDATE: To prove my point, I have already received random hits for “celebrity nip-slips.”

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A timeless LivelyExchange classic written for one specific day of the year. So, really, it isn’t timeless whatsoever and, at one year of age, I would hardly call it classic.  However, you can’t deny that it was written. So, there’s that.

*     *     *

This is a touchy subject. If you wish someone a Happy Administrative Professionals Day, they will either A) thank you, or B) take offense that you consider them a “secretary.” Regardless, it’s a risk I am willing to take..but you can bet I try to be cool about it! As a freelance writer, when I deal with the big corporate client, I am likely to spend most of myface time…or ear time… with an Admin. She routes my calls, sets up the phone conferences and, most critically, tracks down those invoices!

If you have this kind of corporate relationship, and you don’t treat this lady like she is your best friend on the inside, then you just don’t get it! So take a moment to send her an email, or one of those dumb animated greeting cards! (I did…mine showed a centipede using all her arms to answer phones, make copies, etc. SUBTLE!)

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Do you see your career as a series of opportunities taken, or opportunities missed? That’s the question of the day. For me, however, it has been the question of my entire career.

I am just back from a working vacation to Cincinnati, where a bunch of personal and professional illumination occurred. Believe me, I am still trying to process it all.  But the professional stuff is easier and, uh, less personal… so indulge me, won’t you?

It may be hard to believe, but Cincinnati had been the target of all my aspirations when I was growing up. After college I moved there, started my career, and there were some very good times. And then, a whole bunch of bad stuff happened… much of it personal (and much of it my own fault) but with significant professional impact.  So I bailed out and, ever since, the place has been the object of profound regret.

As those times receded into memory,  I somehow managed to squeeze the anticipation and the regret – the before and after – closer together until there was no there there. And for years, I have been nostalgic for the career that once seemed to be on my horizon, and for what might have been.

If I had only gotten better grades. If I had worked that overtime. If I had really pursued that promotion. If I had the courage to move to (insert awesome city here.)  Things might be different now. This line of thinking is a powerful drug because it happens to be true.  If you had done anything differently the outcome, by definition, would be different.

But would that outcome be any more right? I don’t think so. Lately I have come to believe that A) things are as they should be; B) the story isn’t over yet and, ultimately, C) the ending is not up to me.

I assume there are people out there who graduated college and were issued a lifetime supply of career satisfaction… though I don’t know any. If they are out there, I hope they appreciate it and that they realize where that contentment originates.

I am not confident of that last bit. Too many of us think that our success results entirely from our own initiative.  Others (ahem! me) blamed our perceived failures on our own laziness or general state of ‘not good enough-itude.’ For the most part we celebrate our genius or curse our stupidity as if every one of these events were ours to control.

Yes, we do everything we can here at ground level. But I also happen to believe there is a Creator that wishes the best for us in every aspect of our lives, personal and professional. In the course of His outreach, it often seems like He is playing by His own set of rules. But it’s not a stretch (I mean, if you’re with me up to this point!) to assume He sees a larger picture. His outreach may appear as an obvious, immediate blessing…or a veiled, gradually revealed one…or a seemingly insurmountable challenge…or a shattering professional heartbreak.  I think each of these is an opportunity  to make a connection, either to express our gratitude in the good times, or to seek comfort in the bad.

So now, instead of all the regret and disappointment and bitterness and professional jealousy and…well, you get the picture, I think I have gained some perspective. I think this is another gift.  He has a way of not only healing you from this point forward, but also re-framing the picture of past times, of providing perspective to explain things in ways you couldn’t previously understand. For me, this understanding means the long-overdue death of nostalgia.

So, this one goes out to the hiring managers who hired me, and the ones who didn’t. To the supervisors who inspired and the ones who frustrated. To the co-workers who worked toward greater things and the ones couldn’t be bothered to. To the jobs that enriched and the ones that demeaned.  To the things that were meant to be, those that were not, and those meant to last only a season.

Sure, things could have been different.  Now, instead of being there doing something, I am here doing something else. Ultimately, everything is as it was meant to be. As the saying goes, “In the end, it will all be OK. If it’s not OK, it’s not the end yet.”

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cakeycake LivelyExchange turns one year old today, and officially graduates to big boy underpants.

I promise not to get too philosophical about it. I like to think one of the charms of this blog is its willingness to recognize that there are tons of people who have done it a lot longer, who have a lot more to say, and who say it to vastly larger audiences.

As I have stated any number of times, I started this strictly for the Google hits. And it has performed handsomely. Then it became a convenient, ever-expanding online portfolio of my work. Of course, to appreciate that convenience you must be old enough to remember mailing 3/4″ videotapes to production managers, standing on line at the urine-soaked hellhole post office listening to your life ticking away. That, or if you have ever visited the Goose Creek branch.

The “having something…anything…anything at all to say” part came later.  It was a drag, having to crank out something every day when I began. But hey, I had the time. Did I ever. Today, the drag is that I can’t do it enough. Irony! (I think.)

Anyway, as long as you keep showing up I will continue crafting commentary with all the finesse and delicacy you’ve come to expect from a  Craftsman wood chipper. That’s the LivelyExchange guarantee!*

*store credit only

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Yes, eight hands ought to do it.

Yes, eight hands ought to do it.

In the next seven of your Earth-days, this ink-stained wretch must complete the following:

  • Two 1200-word, region-specific articles on data loss prevention
  • Final fixes on that long-gestating Biotech website
  • An SEO article on Real Estate
  • Three web marketing press releases, and
  • A transcription of a 1-hour SaaS Application interview (courtesy the 2-finger typing method.)

Oh, and by the way, my healthcare clients in German-Catholic Indiana have Good Friday off.  Therefore, the intranet newsletter deadline has been pushed up by one day. Ein prosit! (German for ‘Get me a beer, Edith!’)

As I keep saying, one must be working to be overworked. In these times, that is something to be Thankful for.  So, to maintain some perspective, I am using this time to figure out how in hell to get organized, and to manage my time better. Truly, I have never been this busy, so this is a lesson that I never had to learn.

In the end, it will all work out. The lesson will be learned, the deadlines met, and my heart will grow three times that day.

And so, I sign off from the Whoville bureau of LivelyExchange. Tune in Friday for a significant milestone (intriguing!)  Until then, commence radio silence!

*As 30 Rock’s Tracy Jordan would say, “WORDPLAY!!”

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april-foolIn the short life of the internet, April 1st has quickly become the most tiresome day of the year.  So much so that a picture of me in Las Vegas,  passing out crappy chocolate coins to a room full of drunk nurses, actually represents a step up from the usual April Fool’s fare.  And yes, those are beads…and you know what happens with those. With this crowd, however, I tossed them two strings if they kept their tops on.

Anyway, sorry I couldn’t pull it together in time…can I make it up to you with a delicious, totally not stale and melted chocolate coin?

Real post tomorrow, I swear.

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