Monthly Archives: July 2011

An SEO Guide for Google

This won’t be an extensive post, after all, are there rules on how long a post should be?

Is there a minimum?

Already I’m past 20 words and counting … how many more before it’s a legitimate post?

This wasn’t started as a ramble … but has become one. In fact a short post by me apparently is impossible.

Oh, Get to the Point!

The whole reason for this post was a small dig at the optimisation team at Google. In fact, I’m wondering whether to offer them my services to enable the to improve on their results?

After all … if you are Google what would you expect to rank well for?

Umm, how about “Search Engine”?

Keyword: Search Engine

So I’ve typed in “search engine” and sure enough … position 1 … is

  • Dogpile
  • Wikipedia
  • BING!!!!
  • Google

I’m thinking maybe Google need to consider their SEO skills, maybe they should try and create a backlinking strategy? I wonder if they are short on content?

Maybe I should set them up a directory listing!

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Icebreaker or Conversation Killer

Insert your convesation herePicture this image, you meet a stranger and start a discussion – in fact it becomes a long one. What do you discuss?

Yesterday I met a tourist promoting a charity, hoping to sign me up as a sponsor. We struck up a conversation. I saw an opportunity to recruit a part time copywriter and chatted about dLook.

At no point did I feel I was confronting, nor did I feel I was out of line. In fact I had a great opportunity to help her earn a few extra dollars.

Similarly, if I meet the owner of a business, I’m quick to launch into promoting online advertising, again I believe in the product, I know that for most businesses dLook offers a great product and it’s a great offer.

When I’m chatting with friends I feel no issue talking about a recent movie or expressing an opinion even if different to their own. If I’ve come across a good restaurant, a cool YouTube video or website I’ve stumbled upon – sure, I’ll chat about it.

Even people I don’t know well, casual acquaintances, I can be embroiled in debate over carbon tax, welfare, the environment.

At no time during these conversations do I feel I’ve stepped on someone’s toes, or been too polarizing in my views.

But if I talk about my faith, my Christian beliefs, mention the word Jesus or the bible, then I may see a different reaction. Why?

I believe in my faith, I feel I can share a great opportunity (like dLook there is a need to recruit people), I absolutely believe in the “product” or message. In terms of promoting a great story or life changing “carpe diem” moment what’s more important than eternal life? Yet, this subject is off limits, it’s taboo! For many, even the inclusion in this blog post is confronting, or maybe I’m tagged a bible basher. But why?

I can ask you to like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, I can promote my blog, though if I promote my Christian beliefs then I’m stepping on toes. I’d really like to understand why we can try to help someone improve their career, we can even help with “life coaching” but death coaching … different story.

How about you? What do you discuss? Fill in the conversation bubble – are you an ice breaker or a conversation killer? And if I were to approach you about my faith what’s the right way? How would you like me to broach the subject?

Feeling a bit sheepish

Sometimes I feel like the urge to baa!

Is it only me or can others see that our lives are so often lived like we are part of a flock of sheep?

Shepherding SheepWe go through the daily motions and routines – work, chores, travel, even hobbies. We live in circles of friends that become our flock. Oh and if that gets muddled we become like chickens yelling the sky is falling!

I had to explain to my daughter about social norms, the acceptable bounds of society. As long as you remain within these boundaries, the “socially acceptable” then life can be plain sailing – analogous to feeding on pasture.

Pushing the Social Norms

I love the show Shaun the Sheep, a children’s cartoon. The sheep, at least one of them, bucks the system, changes the rules and doesn’t conform to the status quo. If you haven’t seen it do yourself a favour and check it out on YouTube: Shaun the Sheep – “off the baa“.

Pushing Social Norms

Life tends to be much more normal than Shaun’s! Though I find it remarkable that even those that do live outside the social norms tend to surround themselves in enclaves of like minded people. Hey nothing wrong with that – it’s only natural. But seems amusing that while trying to live on the edge you find the place to fit it

Who’s the shepherd?

Dan Perez posted a blog on Captain Smack and the Blogging Matrix. It captured the moulds we tend to fit into – the rules set by market leaders who shepherd our way through the blogging matrix.

But who is setting the rules? Who are the market leaders? Who’s the shepherd?

What type of blogger are you?

All these rules, societal expectations have got me thinking about the importance of blogging, its merits, the platforms we are taking and, in my humble opinion, I came up with three types of bloggers:

  • Those who shift the paradigm
  • Those who comment on the paradigm
  • Those that are promoting the paradigm

We’re all here for some sort of profit, whether to influence our social circles, to observe and share our views or for financial gain.

So which are you? Are you an influencer? Or being influenced? Are you shaping thoughts or being led? And if so, who is it that is leading you? Where are they leading?

The Final Word

T D Jakes always finishes his video casts with “The Final Word” – which seems apt, for part of what spawned all this thinking was who is leading me? What am I allowing to lead my life? My thoughts and actions?

There’s a passage in John 10:11-13 which addresses this. Through it you can truly assess whether what or who you are following is worth your attention.

Is it Ok for a Man to Cry?

Can you cry? Will you allow yourself to cry? Or do you feel that suppressing emotion is more manly? When is it ok for men to cry?

OK to cry

A response to Jermaine Donaldson’s post When Can A Man Cry. Jermaine explores when it’s ok for a man to cry. He uses the example of Michael Jordan on winning the Larry O’Brien trophy – tick. Sporting hero crying, yep that’s ok.

A Man Can Cry if

The image above from the trenches in the Korean war? Hey that must be a tick. Again, war hero – right?

How about crying at a funeral for a loved one? Achieving your own sporting highlight? Are they ok?

Sure most will give ticks to these … what about the birth of your child? On your wedding day? A baptism? Are we still on safe ground?

Let’s move where it’s a little more shaky – is it ok to cry during a movie? Like the Field of Dreams? We’re still in the sports realm at least. Braveheart? War. How about Dead Poet’s Society? Sorry, but I’m shedding a tear or two!

I commented on Jermaine’s post that I cry regularly, which it’s probably more apt to say I don’t try to stop the tears when they come. I started to think what events or things have made me shed tears recently?

Top Tear Jerkers

Brisbane VolunteersFirst up I remembered the devastation in Australia earlier this year, where Brisbane was hit by the worst flood in 40 years. On January 15 I remember being glued to my TV with streams of tears as I watched the clean up effort get underway. Dubbed Salvation Saturday, 22,000 Australians both locals and interstate travelers converged on Brisbane and surrounding cities to lend a hand. It was an amazing response to a natural disaster and seeing people bond together regardless of race, beliefs, gender, status was overwhelming.

The other vivid memory for me where I literally wept was watching The Passion. I challenge anyone to watch that and not be moved. I sat alone in front of the DVD and pressed play. I remember starting it again as I didn’t expect it to kick off where it did. The next 127 minutes were nothing short of gut wrenching. For those afraid to cry watch that movie. For if you believe to be a man you don’t cry then check out what Jesus went through and then look at John 11:35.

Should A Man Cry?

I don’t know about the rest of you, but for me I have learnt that bottling my emotions until they explode hasn’t helped. I believe to have the courage to shed a tear when you are moved takes more strength than keeping up appearances.

So am I just a big wimp? Too tapped into my feminine side? Or proudly masculine whether displaying all types of emotion? How about you? Can you cry? Will you allow yourself to cry? Or do you feel that suppressing this emotion is more manly?

The Lunchtime Battleground

Warning: Smoking causes Irritable Bloggers.

Do Non Smokers Have Rights

Where to smoke?As a non smoker – OK you dragged it out of me – a reformed smoker! I have become frustrated giving up only to inhale the fumes without the filter.

Yes, it’s a rave. Yes, I know there is nowhere else to smoke. Yes, smokers have a right to smoke (currently). But why is it I have to share?

Reclaiming the Corners

There are only a handful of spots in the city, within a reasonable proximity, that would be a nice place to sit down and eat lunch. Yet I never ordered smoked sandwiches!

What is it about the die hard smokers today? When I was a smoker I was considerate of others – even I didn’t like to eat lunch with cigarette smoke being blown all over me.

For the third time in the past couple of weeks my lunch has been overwhelmed by the inundation of smokers.

Come on, give a guy a break – can’t I occupy a small corner of the city without being encapsulated by a cocoon of smoke?

The Sounds of Battle

As Sydney continues its stroll through the winter months, a patch of sun is proving the battleground for lunchtime activities.

But how do I compete? The chomping on a sandwich does not seem to phase my neighbouring smoker. As they exhale a waft of fumes the best I can do is eat with my mouth open! Maybe a loud belch would do it? Flatulence?

Give me land, lots of land …

I do empathise with the narrowing scope of designated smoking areas. Even the pubs are off limit.

Sure smokers have the right to smoke. Sure the outdoors is the last bastion.

But how about our non smoking rights? How about the decency to wait for me to at least finish my mouthful?

Is it too much to ask for a small sanctuary of scenic land in the city where I can breathe the fresh air of car exhaust, air conditioner outlets and all the other inner city fumes without the addition of cigarette smoke?

There must be others. There must be supporters who are sick of cowering behind their desk silently eating their vegemite sandwiches staring aimlessly at the swirly screensaver.

It’s time to make a stand! It’s time to step up! It’s time to take back our city streets, our doorways and the virtually extinct city bench!

Arise You Lunchtime Warriors

But how are we to reclaim our corners? Compete for the sacred place? Two words … Whoopie cushions.

We may not be able to flatulate in public but mock flatulence may work. Next time you are invaded by a throng of smokers let loose the whoopie cushion!

Disclaimer: Public flatulence is ill advised

No More Big Banana

Big Banana Coffs HarbourAustralia is home to the Big Banana, it’s the staple of every shopping trolley and features in lunch packs of children throughout the nation. In fact Australians love their bananas so much they compete with Coca Cola for the number 1 product sold by supermarkets week in week out.

Well that was the case until flaming bananas skyrocketed to $14.00 plus per kg. For the American audience that’s around US$30 per pound.

Prices per banana, one single banana, now range upwards of $2.00 each – well that settles the daily lunches. Better start enjoying a good red delicious apple at $2.49 per kilo!

Going Bananas

I know this is a bit of a rant, but food prices are absolutely going through the roof. It’s not just bananas, it’s the overall food bill – to eat fresh produce is incredibly expensive.

For the same $2 it costs to get a banana I can purchase the Double Beef ‘n’ Cheese hamburger at McDonalds. Surely this is a much more preferred option for our children’s lunch boxes!

Ridiculous statement I know, but you get the point. Total fat in a banana – a whopping 1 gram, in the McDonalds Double Beef n Cheese hamburger – a modest 23.4 grams. But it’s 5 cents cheaper than the average banana!

While bananas get smaller we’re getting bigger.

The Case of the Missing Bananas

Quite obviously the plight of Australian bananas has been subject to Cyclone Yasi: the crops were wiped out, limited supply – same demand – increased price. Simple economics

Yet who is the recipient of these huge margins, the bananas that are left certainly didn’t cost more to produce, they didn’t cost more to transport, nor to pack or store. So where is the additional $9 – 11 per kilo going?

Oh to be altruistic and suggest the additional costs are going back into the rural communities that were destroyed. That cockey’s are getting together to rebuild their farms on the back of the generosity of the major supermarkets. That the Country Women’s Association are receiving sizable grants in support.

Call me skeptical, call me naive, but I’m guessing there hasn’t been much of a boost in the donations to CWA.

Well they say it only takes a few weeks to form a habit. How long can these prices sustain? I can only imaging the wastage that’s occurring – very few people are putting bananas in their trolley now.

Some Banana Facts

So farewell to our bananas, the love of our nation, the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour, the wonderful herb growing plants that produce this golden, sometimes purple fruit!

Did you know …

  • Banana plants are the largest plants on Earth without a woody stem. Belong to the same family as orchids and lillies.
  • India is the largest producer of Bananas in the world
  • There are over 500 varieties of bananas including purple ones
  • They grow bananas in Iceland … seriously, Google it!
  • Fidel Castro’s dad was a banana plantation owner.

All in all I’m not going bananas anymore! I’m moving onto oranges, at least in Australia they are now in season.

Bar Coded

Here’s my branding,
What’s your standing?
It’s a no no –
To have no logo.
Here’s your class,
What’s your category?
Sit over there …
That’s where you fit.

I’m a generalisation,
I’m the typical one.
Sit between 20 and 41.
Just a part of a culture,
My beliefs are the same.
Choices are all just
a societal pain.

Part of a category,
Target market.
Just one of many,
Not one of few.
Potential consumer,
A passing number –
Ask the TV what
I’m meant to do

Telephone canvass,
Customer poll,
Marketing blitz –
Taking its toll.
Just another consumer,
Target market,
Someone please tell me
What I’m meant to do.

Another early poem, from somewhere a decade or so ago 🙂

I had to post this quickly … as when it was written didn’t expect I’d have to worry about passing 41!