How To Increase Your Blog’s Traffic/Likes/Money/Power/Bloodlust

I have been receiving likes recently from a number of different sources:

a. People who wish to read what I write.

b. People who wish that I would like what they write.

c. People who wish I would send them money to read about how to get money from other people.

d. People who have impossible names but dwell in a place called outlook.com.

I am pleased and flattered to receive communications from the first group. Their praise, even if it is only a click on the computer keyboard, is a kindly act and I thank them for it. Their joy is one of the reasons I write these columns daily.

The second group is also welcome – because many of them write about interesting things and some of them write well. The ones who combine those two features are on my little reading list. I’m afraid I do not do all that well with poetry and certainly don’t pursue political blogs very far, but I do give everyone a read at least once to see if I will enjoy going back.

The third group really flag themselves as soon as you see their summaries on the ‘ like ‘ email. If the answer to getting more money was to ask people to send you more money…well I could do that unbidden. I don’t do so for a number of reasons – some of them practical and some of them moral.

It may help this group to know that I write for the pleasure of exercising memory and developing thought. A well-crafted essay launched is instant reward, whether or not it is subsequently praised by others.

The fourth set of people are not people as such – they are probably a robotic scam program that is manipulating statistics for some purpose. I delete them from the emails and dismiss them from my mind. Presumably the WordPress people will get on top of this flood of nonsense eventually and it will dry up.

I should welcome more people reading my essays. I refuse to do circus tricks to try to produce this result. Though I wouldn’t mind a pair of clown shoes or a some spangled tights…

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The New Club – Part Four

Should one seek membership of new clubs and societies? Should one associate with like minds or preserve an independence? How many experiences and associations are enough and how many are too many?

Tough questions, and some treat of philosophy as much as they do of the Associations Act. You may never ask them of yourself, but if you do, you may be able to order your social experience a bit better. Try these ideas on for size:

a. Should you seek new clubs? Well, if you are comfortable seeking new experiences of any sort, the answer is probably yes. If you are replete, or so nervous of other people as to make any contact unbearable – no.

New clubs need not be new to the world – just to you. If you are courageous, select something that is entirely different from any thing you have done before. Nearly all societies have a novice or low-level entry that eases new members into the activity. Don’t despise this – even if it is simplistic, do it. What you’ll learn others have learned before you.

b. Should you seek clubs that do not seek you? Well, this is soggier ground.

Think in terms of an English gentleman’s club in the Victorian era. Many of them shut their doors to outsiders who were not of the upper classes. Many of them had racial, religious, and gender rules to keep out the masses. They wanted no-one who wanted them. Some of them are still going today upon the same basis…and some of them are going in Perth right now.

Apply yourself to joining them at your emotional peril. Whatever good you hope they might do you could be counteracted by the harm of refusal…or the horror of acceptance…

Should you seek clubs that have complicated rules, standards of dress, rites and rituals, and all the paraphernalia of secret societies? I recommend that you watch the ” Simpsons ” episode where Homer tries to join the secret society. Note that many of these societies do not accept applicants – they send out invitations. I’ll let you decide whether it is better to be a chosen person or not – that phrase has been used in a religious context before and you have no idea of some of things that we get chosen for…

c. Is there a club for everything? Unfortunately, yes. That’ll sound odd, but no matter what activity or interest the human mind or body can desire is catered for somewhere as a club. And I mean good and bad.

Use your personal common sense – don’t join a society dedicated to doing good hoping to be badass. Likewise don’t join a nexus of evil hoping to be a reforming angel. No-one will be  happy on either side.

d. How much of your life should you devote to club activities? This is a decision that should rest with you…it’s a danger signal if others keep trying to pressure you into doing more or less than you are comfortable with. Look at your life and apportion time to the club or clubs that would otherwise be wasted…but do not give away all your earning, learning, or family time to the organisations. You might expect a return in love and respect, but you’ll rarely get it.

e. How much money should you devote to a club?

Well, if you seem to have joined a club that deals with selling detergents to other franchisees, I suggest that you may have joined a scam. Drop everything that is in your hand, run for the door, and do not look back.

If it is a regular club, and there are annual dues, pay them if you can. If they rise so high as to be onerous, take this a sign from either Heaven or your bank manager that the club is not for you. If other club members seek to obtain money from you on a regular basis you can also take this as a sign.

Your hobby expenditure is your own business. If you can manage your affairs so that you have all you need without necessarily having all you desire, you are on the way to happiness. Recognise this and rein in your purse long before you need to sell your necessaries.

f. When should you leave a club?

When it has given you all it decently can, and you have given it all you decently can…when you’ve had as much innocent fun as is likely…and before ennui sets in…it is time to conclude your membership. Make friends and keep them. Make memories and keep them.

Bad Review – Good Review

I’ve just read a post on Facebook that deals with the consequences of posting scathing reviews on social media. The writer, an expert on law, points out that people who feel themselves to have been defamed by those reviews can pursue redress in the courts – redress that may be attended with stiff legal penalties.

It is a clear warning never to say anything to anyone anywhere on the net. Even if you are currently having your stomach pumped, undergoing skin grafts, or receiving psychiatric counselling as a result of whatever happened, you are not allowed to express distress or warn others. You must leave them to discover the horrible truth themselves.

This seems somewhat at odds with the signs on public transport and the net that urge us to speak out at every opportunity. Perhaps bad food, bad service, bad goods, or bad pricing are just a little secret that we all know about but are bound to keep hidden. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more…

It seems to be even worse when you get to someone’s artistic performance – the article points out how sensitive artists are and how the scathing review may be responsible for lost income and opportunities. This again is somewhat at odds with the old adage that any publicity is good publicity. Call me cynical, but I reckon as many people can be drawn to see an artistic train wreck as may be enticed to view a masterpiece.

Anyway, I’ve taken it to heart – I canned a review of an art exhibition in Melbourne that I attended recently and will replace the raspberries I blew with oohs and ahhs. The fact that they will be for the works of a different artist in the next gallery over is neither here nor there. If you go to the place you can make your own decision – as it is all free there is little to regret anyway.

These are the ones I liked. The dogs are the work of Northern Territory artists – they are rather good, aren’t they?

The Fountain Pen – Dear Sir…

Dear Sir,

Enclosed please find my cheque for $ 89.43 in payment of your invoice number 567 dated the 5th of January, 2018. Please return the receipt to the above address.

Yours faithfully,

And another piece of business is done. Provided the cheque has the correct date, payee, amount and numbers, and has been signed correctly…and provided that there is money in the account to cover it…the invoice should be paid for and the debt discharged. Well done.

The business of business is rarely taught in the historical style these days – and so much of the flow of money and words is done electronically that the young may pass into their legal majority ignorant of the correct forms of address and attention that business requires. While it is true to say that business comes down to demand and supply, and these can be done with barely civil forms of communication, there is social judgement inherent in even the simplest exchanges. In short, if you write like berk, you will be treated like a berk.

Let me de-berk you.

If you write to demand a payment, write clearly who you are, and where you are. Give the date when the demand is made and detail the reason for which it is made. ie the invoice number. If there are governmental numbers such as an ABN number or other taxation details, list them and tell the person that it is a tax invoice. This is law.

Being polite is also law, though only upon a social basis. If you are polite initially you will have no reason to apologise if further demands become stiffer. Also remember that an invoice, statement, or demand for payment passes through many hands and they will all judge you. You are not obliged to please or flatter, but you must not offend.

If you write to tender a payment, say what it is for in clear detail. Many offices have a great deal of business in hand and appreciate a quick route to the correct spot in their records. Help them to find it, and they’ll help you to get your receipt faster. You’ll also be marked down mentally as a reliable person with whom to do business – a valuable thing.

Note that it is also good manners to proffer a note of payment even if your transfer of money occurs via Direct Debit. Oh, they’ll see that you paid in the bank statements, but seeing it also as a letter is good communications.

And good communications make for a continuance of good business.

 

The Fountain Pen – Another Page

I wrote last year about getting a Visconti fountain pen upon retirement  – you can see it an other writing sticks in my desk drawer if you dial back to the second of August, 2017. It is going strong and I am on to my second bottle of ink.

It might seem a little strange in these days of cheap telephone plans, emails, and texts to persist in using this archaic form of communication. Worse still – it seems to be exorbitant; the cost of envelopes, paper, ink, and postage is superadded to that of the pen. Postage these days is $ 1.00 for a standard letter within Australia and a $ Zillion outside of the country. Delivery times can range from 3-4 days to two weeks as postal services are pinched.

Why write at all?

a. People need to hear from you. They need to hear from you alone – not a captured message that goes out over a social media site. That’s like general radio broadcast to the troops – it can only ever be couched in the most diffuse terms. When you write a personal letter to a personal person…they get an impact of communication that far outweighs any text on a screen.

b. Writing shows committment. It might be good committment or bad committment but it is real and demonstrable. For the period of time that was required to write it and the period required to read it, attention is focused upon the persons involved.

c. Handwriting as opposed to keyboard writing shows the most commitment of all. It can also be the most time-consuming, and this is a very good thing.

Say what? How could something that takes up valuable time be better?

If you are carefully writing – shaping your letters and keeping to a style – you are taking time to actually think what goes down on the paper. Your thoughts will go faster than your fingers and in most cases the best phrasing will come to you before the ink hits. I won’t say that you have less chance of making a goose of yourself, but at least it will be a complete and rounded goose.

The effort of writing can also trim down the amount you express – fulsome compliments and fatuous statements tire out the writer as much as the reader and eventually they will be discarded. You’ll get down the meat of the thing. If it is roasted goose, that is another matter…

You can pause in writing far more easily than with a telephone conversation – you can do other things in a rest interval and if you have better thoughts than you first wrote, you can throw away a page and replace them – can’t do that with a phone call. Once something is said it is out there, for good or ill.

I do not favour expensive papers or overblown envelopes – the standard copy paper and DL envelope is fine. Anything more is theatre and can detract from the actual writing. Do test out your combination of ink and paper first, though as some are so absorbent as to empty the pen too quickly and some too slick – they smudge.

Final advice: You do not need to invent an artistic signature. Use you own free hand and make it legible. Do something that you can do again.

” Stop Writing Your Blog “

” Just stop it. Get out and do something useful. ”

This is the orders from a well-known English advertising writer who has published a book on creativity. He is able to insist on this because we have paid $ 18 to buy the tiny little yellow book that he wrote and he is not there for us to argue with.

Mind you, the first four pages of this $ 18…errr…I mean this book…have been devoted to telling us that there are no rules. So we’d better obey. I don’t know if there is an or-else to go with it, but at $ 18 you sort of expect one.

Get this in perspective – I also bought a book the same day written by Guy de Maupassant for $ 4.95 and I suspect it might have been better written…

Okay, heavy humour aside, I think our English hack is way off the beam in his judgement of the humble online page. Call it a blog, weblog, column, essay, or what you will, it is a real thing that can do real good or real harm. It may do it for free, or it may garner a little money. It won’t get the advertising agency fee that would feed an $ 18 author but it might just provide an even more valuable thing; an opportunity for someone to write, photograph, draw, and think…and opportunity that they may never have had in the world before.

There are enough vaporous weblogs to fill a zeppelin hangar – enough poetic ones to gag a unicorn. Enough recipe columns to keep us at the stove until Doomsday. There are enough movie reviews, literary sniping matches, and commercial plugs to fill all the rest of our time. And the wonderful thing is that we need not read them all – but we can if we wish. We need not write them all – but if it is late and we’ve got a good idea…

Not all creativity has to be billed at an hourly rate – not every writer has to be the next coming genius in the agency. Some of us use the weblog column as memory, speech, connection, and release. To be frank, we know that most of what we write is only read by ourselves, but the very act of writing it – writing it well, if we can manage that – is enough to make it real.

Oddly enough, we are doing something useful…

Create Instantly Without Writing

Yes, you read that correctly. Slowly, perhaps, but you did read it, and doesn’t that say volumes for your third-grade teacher. Bravo.

The idea of creating an e-book ( Whut dat? ) without writing a word, and in just seconds…has come via that goldmine of culture – the Facebook side panel. I am dying to press the link and be taken away on a magical mystery tour but long experience has shown me that it will only lead to pain later.

The pain will be the extra suggested posts that the algorithms dredge up and plaster on my regular section of the feed. I am generally appalled and horrified by what my regular human acquaintances will attach as shares or likes…how much worse is it going to be when it is just commercial robots?

So I will not touch it – at least not on my own computer. If I can get someone else’s iPad while they are in the toot, I will whizz over and investigate. I may even send off for the free pamphlets outlining how I can become a millionaire in just three easy steps. Or sign up for a year’s free supply of Russian brides. It all depends on how long it will take for the owner of the iPad to vote for Obama in there. If we’ve run out of paper again it could take ages.

Note: Fraudulent schemes are all very well, and I would be the first to support international trade, but there is something functionally wrong in selling horse shit on a $1000 tablet. If people have enough money to buy the iPad in the first place, surely the crooks can think of a better way to separate them from it.