JaniceHeck

My Time to Write, but The Cats have The Last Meow!

Archive for the category “Social Media”

Hello, Dear Readers. Who Are You?

BlogEverday[1]Blog Every Day in May Challenge Prompt 27

Write a Letter to Your Readers

Dear Readers,

Almost every writing expert tells us writers that we should know our audience when we write.

But because of Internet and its vast network, our writing reaches farther than we could have ever imagined, so that basic writing suggestion simply doesn’t work.

We bloggers write not knowing who our readers are. We know we have readers because WordPress counts them and gives us fascinating statistical reports.

My favorite report shows a colored map and tells me how many readers/views I have, and from which countries they have viewed my blog.

Wordpress stats

I am not surprised that I have views* in the English speaking countries:  United States (7,198 views), Canada (761), United Kingdom (650), and Australia (390). All four together represent my largest audience. But it is amazing to me that I have had readers in Egypt (38), Saudi Arabia (8), Qatar (8), Brunei Darussalem (3), Occupied Palestine (1),  Azerbaijan (1) Latvia (1), and so many more. (*WordPress counts each view of a post separately. If one reader reads three posts, then views= 3).

Why are you reading my blog? Are you learning English? Are you an expat? Are you an old friend?

I can look at sections of the map and think about specific people who might be reading my blog: Is that you, blogger friend Ellen V. Gregory in Australia, reading my post? In Alaska, maybe its Jim, Linda, Joan, Tina, Sherry, or other people I knew when I lived there. Maybe it’s Gary or Mary Jane in Korea; or Kent, Mary, Tammy, Jenny, Leslie in Hong Kong, my friends from Hong Kong International School. In Germany, it might be my nephew, Bill. In India, it might be my friend, Abraham, or one of his family or church members. Maybe it’s my blogger friend Julie Ferrar in France. I don’t know. It boggles my mind.

Equally interesting are the white spaces on the map: Greenland;  Paraguay, Suriname, and French Guiana, three countries in South America; all the Middle Eastern Countries; many countries in Africa; and Papua New Guinea in the Far East. It makes me wonder. Is Internet available in these areas? Is Internet available but restricted? What interest would they have in my blog anyway?

So dear readers, I am curious about you. My world geography is getting better because of your interest in my blog. Seeing your country colored in on the map reminds of visits that I have made to many of your countries, and I have many more countries on my bucket list for visits, enough to last a lifetime.

But regardless of who you are or where you live, I do appreciate your taking the time to read my blog. I know you have many blogs to choose from (does that sound like the arrival speech from the flight attendants on your favorite airline?), and I appreciate your interest. If you keep reading, I’ll keep writing! To you, my heartiest thanks for visiting.

And if you have a minute, let me know who you are and the name of your country. I look forward to getting to know you better.

The Last Meow.

What about us kitties?  Look at our map. We have fans all over the world. How about that!

INternational cat day map.

Meow for now. =(^;^)=

Blogger Friends, Blogger Awards, and Childhood Pictures

Blogging brings new friends. We read about each other’s worlds in posts and connect.

Bloggers encourage each other. Getting over the hurdles of setting up a blog and then posting regularly is time consuming and more than occasionally frustrating. Bloggers know how discouraging it can be when photos don’t fall into place the way you want them to, widgets fight with you over their placement, links don’t link, picture captions disappear, or sneaky typos infiltrate your newly pressed post.

If you have a problem, you only need to ask another blogger for help. Some bloggers get special notice for their techie skills, and Laird Sapir, blogger-techie-advisor-friend, is one of those bloggers who’s always willing to help a newbie.

Bloggers know the way it is, and they support each other with comments… and…*tah dah*…*drum roll*… awards.

My blogger friend, Jacqui Talbot, recently passed on the Very Inspiring Blooger Award to me.  Thanks, Jacqui. Your posts inspire me, too.

Jacqui, a teller of tales of the Choctaw Nation, is a gifted story weaver.

Jacqui also passed on the rules for this award:

  1. Link back to the blogger who nominated you. Here’s the link to Jacqui Talbot’s blog. Go read it. Not only does she retell Choctaw Tales, she writes about things she has learned the hard way. She has lessons for all of us.
  2. Post the blog award on your page. Done. It’s posted on my blog page (after a tussle with the widget control master, but hahaha, I won!)
  3. Tell 7 facts about yourself, nominate 15 other blogs for the award, and let the nominees know they have been chosen.

Okay, here goes. Seven Facts…. I thought I would share some (undated) childhood photos.

1. This is the only baby picture of me that I have.  William Asbury Cooper, son of Rev. Edward Cooper of West Baptist Church of Vineland, NJ, holds me when I am only a few months old. I don’t know the backstory on this picture since our family attended the Presbyterian Church for as long as I can remember.

2. My nickname as a child was “Nan,” although I never knew how I got this name. My brothers teased me by calling me Nannygoat. I hated that, but I got even with at least one member of the family. I called my brother Bill, “Billygoat.” Here’s a picture of Billygoat and his ukelele.

Christmas, circa 1950 (?)

3. I loved playing with dollies when I was little. Here is my newest dolly at Christmas, 1950 (?)

Bill, Bobby, Janice (front)
Judie, Charles (back)

4. Here is a picture of me with Thomas-soo-lo, the family cat, when I was a little tyke. Thomas-soo-lo loved napping on Daddy’s lap as he read the newspaper after dinner. He condescended to cuddle up on other laps when Daddy was not around, and he tolerated me carrying him around the house and yard. Other times, Thomas-soo-lo wandered the farm looking for tasty, four-legged tidbits to snack on.

  • Thomas-soo-lo, the family cat, with Janice

    5. I went to Spring Road School, a two-room schoolhouse, through the fourth grade.

    Spring Road School, Vineland, NJ

    Our classroom desks looked like those below. Mom snagged a desk when Spring Road School finally closed down, and all of us country farm kids had to ride the bus to bigger schools in town.

    Photo: Share the Memories. Old classroom in Milwaukee with desks similar to those at Spring Road School. These students are practicing an air raid drill.

    6. As a girl scout, I wore my hand-me-down scout uniform, while all the other girls had the newer style. Poor me. Being the youngest female sibling of six, hand-me-downs made up the bulk of my wardrobe.

    Here are the six Kroey girls. (L to R, back row: Joyce, Joanne, Shirley. L to R front row: Beverley, Judie, Janice) See that littlest one with the knobby knees? That’s me.

7. The first car I could claim was an old black Chevy. It was passed down through the sibling ranks over the years, and it was as old as the hills. It even has a song written about it. I have been blamed for writing that song, but I’ll never tell. You may soon read about this family relic car  in an upcoming post.

So there it is. My childhood. Did it bring back any memories for you?

The last requirement for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award is a bit tricky. I read so many good blogs that it is hard to narrow the list down. But I’ll give it a shot. (Note: taglines written as bloggers show them. Some prefer capital letters; some do not.)

1. Shannon Messenger: books, ramblings, and plenty of shenanigans

2. Rhonda Hopkins: Where Reality and Fiction Collide

3. Barbara Forte Abate: Scribbling Outside the Lines

4. Sara Walpert Foster: Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition

5. Myndi Shafer: Blogging Barefoot. one stray sock away from insanity

6. Cora Ramos: Drinking the eclectric cool-aid

7. Ellen Gregory: to beyond and back

8. Fabio Bueno: Diamonds and Rust

9. Elizabeth Fais: Where the awesome begins. . .

10. Shay Fabbro: Fun, Family, and Time Travel Accessories

11.Karen Pullen: Cubicle Escapee

12. Siri Paulson: everyday enchantments

13. Rabia Gale: writers at play

14. Nikki McCormack: Dancing on the Treetops in the Forest of My Mind

15. Susi M. Nonnemacher: Barefoot Bliss

And here’s one bonus blog!

16. Laird Sapir: Shabby Chic Sarcasm

I hope you enjoy these blogs as much as I do.

They Laughed When I Sat Down to Twitter

Years ago (1926), when novice advertiser John Caples (1900-1990) sat down to write ads, he wrote “They Laughed When I Sat Down at the Piano…But When I Started to Play!”–
In his ad, Caples described the local bar-crowd having fun at the expense of one attention-craving buffoon. But one day things changed.  After a dramatic entrance, this socially inept guy strode to a grand piano in the bar, shook out his silk hanky with a flourish, dramatically dusted the piano keys, then flawlessly played Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata–much to the amazement of those who had earlier egged him on.

In just a few minutes, the jokesters in the crowd went from mocking their favorite taunt-target to singing his praises.

Caples’ ad quickly became a model for highly successful direct-mail advertising campaigns.

Some of us, as Twitter newbies, can identify with Caples’ ad character.  As we started to tweet, we more or less bumbled along until we figured out what this form of social media was all about.

A few friends tried Twitter, too, but they just didn’t get it. After three or four tweets to a friend or two, they decided that telephoning and texting were far more efficient. And didn’t they laugh at us when we announced we were “tweeting”?

“What? You? Tweeting on Twitter? What on earth for?

Hold on. Consider these six reasons why we find value in posting mini-messages on Twitter.

1. We make lots of new friends. It’s slow at first, but then it becomes addictive. We connect with a few like-minded people, then snag some of their friends. Then we learn about #hashtags, those seemingly magnetized key words that connect people with common interests. And we join funny-numbered groups like #WANA112, #WANA711, and #WANA1011, led by social media guru Kristen Lamb. (See Kristen’s blog at www.warriorwriters.wordpress.com, read her book We Are Not Alone: The Writer’s Guide to Social Media, and find her on Twitter @KristenLambTX.)

Kristen has a heart for newbie tweeters and bloggers. She puts us in a group and spoon feeds us info on how to be successful in our social media endeavors. She constantly reminds us that “We Are Not Alone” (WANA). And she teaches that encouraging others is more important than becoming important ourselves. What can be better than that?
 2. We become better writers. It’s tricky to write a 140 character message on Twitter—12 to 15 words, one or two sentences. How can you say something meaningful in that bit of space? Write more than that, and Twitter tweets back: “You have to be more clever.” And with a chuckle,  we reword the tweet; choose better, shorter words; abbreviate; or just delete irrelevant words. In short, we become tighty writees.
 3. We stretch our imaginations. Writer challenges flourish on Twitter as writers encourage each other. Can you write your bio in 140 characters? Can you write a story in exactly 100 words? Can you write a novel in six words or six sentences?  Can you write a novel in 30 days (NaNoWriMo)? Can you write a nonfiction book or article in 30 days (WNFIN-write nonfiction in November)? Poets join the fun in April (NaPoWriMo). These challenges not only provide mutual support, they test and develop our writing ability.
 4. We learn to proofread better. Snarky typos sneak into our writing without so much as polite notice or fake apology. We type, check, and check again. We post a tweet, and there, glaring in its naked arrogance, is a typo, an error in grammar, a misused word. We think faster than we type, and our eyes fail to catch the typos before we hit send. It only takes a few embarrassing errors to prod us into proofing better. Good lesson to learn before we finish that novel or nonfiction book!
 5. We make commitments to our new writer friends to take our writing more seriously. A number of brave writers join #ROW80 and commit writing goals not only to paper but to the others ROWers. With promises to report each week on progress, these writers keep on writing despite the many time-consuming obstacles that crop up in our lives and steal our writing time.

 6. We build our personal brand. Many newbie tweeters and bloggers join Kristin Lamb’s WANA tribe. Not only do we make instant friends, we can ask dumb questions without embarrassment. “Blogging babies” (as Kristen calls us) further along the blogging trail help us with their own new-found expertise. These friends become our first readers, our first commentators, our first subscribers. And they become plain good friends.

Jeff Bullas (www.JeffBullas.com) suggests other business-related reasons for tweeting in his blog post, “10 Reasons Why You Should be Using Twitter….” His reasons relate primarily to business and focus on Twitter as a major marketing tool. But we newbies are happy just to be writing, making new friends, and having fun in the process. Maybe later we’ll worry about making some money.

We mastered Twitter, and now we’re starting to blog. Don’t laugh. We can do this!

Here’s someone else who was teased by his friends. George Formby (1904-1961), British singer, songwriter, actor, comedian played his banjolele and sang “They Laughed When I Started to Play.” I thought you might get a chuckle out of this video clip.

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YOUR TURN: How did your friends and family react when you started to tweet and blog?

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