Category Archives: Blogging

Don’t Call Me Blogger

Look, I’ve been doing this for a long time.

There’s something about being called “blogger” that rubs me the wrong way. Maybe it’s the face people make when they say it — or that they put it in quotes, as seen in the previous sentence. In polite society, the title blogger seems to fall somewhere between panhandler and pornographer, so it’s time for a change.

From now on, my title here on the blog is Social Media Strategist and Interactive Audience Manager. I think that befits my years of experience in doing this and better describes my role here at Keyboard Krumbs.

Maybe I can’t give myself a raise, but who needs money when you have a fancy title?

So, You Want to Rent a Cat?

Here’s something that turned up in my inbox:

I saw your post online about renting one of your cats?  Is this actually a reality.  My roommates and I would love to rent a cat for the spring.  If the offer is no longer on the table do you have any idea where we could get a cat for 2 months but then give it back.

It’s been four years since I wrote a tongue-in-cheek post about renting my cats out as rodent control contractors, yet I still get occasional comments and emails from people who are interested in the make-believe service.

It’s hard to tell if people are just pulling my leg. Seriously, I don’t know how much stupider I could have made the blog post. For example: “Maeve can be baited to make her more attractive to mice by rubbing cheese or peanut butter on her head. Rodents find these scents irresistible and will walk right into her clutches.”

I find that people sometimes don’t know when I’m kidding. Do you ever get that dead eyed stare at a meeting when you say something you think is funny and it doesn’t seem to register? It could just be people don’t have a sense of humor. Or they think you’re an idiot. Or maybe a little of both.

It’s hard not to think that there may have been something to the cat rental concept. Maybe if I were just a bit more ambitious I could have been the cat rental king, providing a service the public needs, making a nice living and putting some cats to work doing something useful.

Attack of the Food Bloggers

Bloggers get no love. Consider this headline from the Times Union:

Ex-blogger Arrested on Child Porn Charges

I like how they give blogger equal billing with child porn. “Child porn? That figures! Filthy blogger!”

So, when somebody treats local bloggers special, believe me, it’s a pretty big deal — like this week when Price Chopper invited a bunch of local food bloggers to the opening of their new Market Bistro store in Latham.

Price Chopper has smart PR people, so they know that if you schmooze a bunch of bloggers and feed them you’ll get results — like seven blog posts the next day. There may be more out there; these are just the ones I found in a two-minute search:

Tablehopping
The Angel Forever
Albany Eats
All Over Albany
Eat Local
Jon in Albany
CR Foodies

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s terrific that blogs are considered an important part of a media campaign — and it does seem to work. Now, if I can only get myself invited somewhere they have free food. I promise to write a blog post about it.

Poll Position

Quicky web polls are everywhere these days — particularly on blogs. You know the ones I’m talking about, and I’m sure you’ve taken them. They ask some topical question and seem to have no actionable purpose.

So why all the polls? Because it’s cheap, mindless content? Writers have run out of things to say? It gives the appearance of being interactive with your audience? All of the above?

I think it may be because somebody read that they’re popular with readers; since I have no research to back that up, I offer you this quicky online poll:

 

Channel Hopping

It sucks being sick, but it’s really wonderful to sit around and do absolutely nothing and not feel the least bit guilty about it. And the perfect tool for doing nothing is your TV.

Cruising through the channel guide I found something intriguing: Dog With a Blog. Ha! This I have to see! I love dogs — and well, blogs, hey, that’s something that interests me, so how could I not watch Dog With a Blog?

It was the typical Disney channel kid sitcom, except with a talking dog. A dog who has has a blog. According to Wikipedia, “The children learn of Stan’s talking ability in the first episode and agree to keep it a secret from their parents, fearing that if the world finds out that Stan can talk, he will be taken away and experimented on.” That’s sinister.

So, basically, this is Alf, except with a dog — and a first cousin to the famous Mr. Ed, of course, which was begat by Francis the Talking Mule. One could also argue that it’s loosely related to My Mother the Car, I suppose.

Dog was predictably bad, but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the most popular Disney Channel programs, and a regular fixture among the top 25 shows on cable. Kids have absolutely no taste.

By the way, Disney hosts a page that’s supposed to be the dog’s actual blog, but it’s terrible, even worse than most of what passes for blogging. If my dogs wrote a blog, it would at least be interesting.

Anyway, enough of this talk about bad TV. If I’m not mistaken, there’s a Doomsday Preppers marathon starting soon, so I gotta go.

Ancient History

I appreciate that Albany Eye was called “influential” in Mark McGuire’s blog post about anonymity on the web, but I don’t think I agree.

At the time of its implosion in 2006, Albany Eye had about 1000 readers a day. That’s very, very (very!) small in a market of this size. So where does this idea of influence come from? That’s easy. The blog had a big following among those who work in local media, so it’s easy for them to assume Albany Eye was widely read by the general public. It was not.

It was created to be about the local media and read by the local media, and the truth is that it barely spread beyond that original mission. I have met few people who did not work in TV, radio, newspapers, or advertising that ever heard of Albany Eye. No, mostly the readership was made up of media insiders and a tiny contingent of local webizens who were more tuned in to the blog scene than normal people.

What’s that, like being the area’s most influential CB radio operator?

If there was one place that Albany Eye was influential, it was inside the Times Union newsroom. They helped Albany Eye breakout from unheard of to obscure with mentions in the paper by none other than Mark McGuire and editor Rex Smith. If it weren’t for them the audience would have remained even smaller than it was. Sorry if I never thanked you.

Not complaining, though! I love that people took the time to read Albany Eye, but just between you and me, it didn’t change anyone’s viewing/listening/reading habits, never swayed an advertiser’s media spending, and had no impact on the local news or entertainment product. But other than that? It was deeply influential.

Silence Dogood, Ben Franklin, and Sophia Walker

Does it surprise me that the NY Post thought that outing Sophia Walker was front page news on Monday? No — I mean really, are you surprised by anything the NY Post does?

Spreading across the blogosphere, Twitter, and Facebook, the Sophia Walker franchise is a mix of pop culture, sci-fi, style, and politics. It is often hilariously profane, but always very well done with a very distinctive voice and personality. On Monday, the Post revealed that Sophia Walker is not a person but a persona created by Sheldon Silver staffer Bill Eggler.

But Sophia Walker’s mistep — as is so often the case with people who write anonymously — was letting things sway too close to work, in this case commenting on blogs in defense of Sheldon Silver. One thing leads to another and the gig is up.

The Post seems to relish the she/he aspect of this story, making cheeky wink-wink-nudge-nudge references about Eggler, to which I say, “Benjamin Franklin.” Not only did Franklin regulary write under pseudonyms, he adopted numerous female personas to do so, most famously that of Silence Dogood. Ben Franklin would have loved the internet.

So annywho, bravo to Mr. Eggler. If this is the death of Sophia Walker, she will be mourned.

Doesn’t Share Well

Times Union Lifestyle BlogsI was mentioned as one of the “Men Who are Former TU Lifestyle Bloggers” in a Times Union blog post this week. It was sort of suggested that as men we were out of our element. Michael Huber, the paper’s “Interactive Audience Manager,” wrote:

By its definition, the Lifestyle category calls for bloggers to riff on whatever they wish, and, no news here, I think it’s easier for women to have that sort of freeform discussion with readers than it is for most men. When you think about it, a ‘lifestyle’ blog is essentially about sharing, and not just sharing news topics or opinions, but thoughts and feelings.

Wow, now I feel like an idiot.

Hey, I’m really sorry if I haven’t shared enough with you people. In the future I swear that I will bare my soul to you, all of my friends and family, and write of my deepest thoughts and feelings, not just about news topics and my opinions.

That is my promise.

The Flow of Information

What’s down there, anyway? I’m guessing it’s the blogs.