Weighing What’s Next in 2019

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Photographer: sasint

This month I reached two hundred followers with my WordPress blog.  I am satisfied with the achievement, and I am grateful to the people following this blog for spending the time they do.

Publishous is a newsletter reaching several thousand subscribers and counting.  I began reading it in December.

The writing’s pretty good, I agree, articles published on Medium.  Medium introduces newcomers to a few free writing selections each month.  Then, you either need to wait for the next month or to move up to a paid membership.

Soon I noticed the newsletter delivered writing prompts.

Writing for prompts feels like a shared experience.  I miss the Daily Prompts organized by WordPress.  I had thought Publishous could be a great new opportunity for quality blogging.

An example of the style of blog post I write can be found at the following link:

https://findingenvirons1.blog/2017/08

Since the last time I wrote, I received two more editions of Publishous.  I enjoy them, but I have not seen another writing prompt.  The newsletter exploded by 1500 subscribers in only several days.  Did they abandoned their prompts?  Or the prompts are not weekly, contrary to an assumption I made.

I feel like I’m getting behind.

In 2019 there are a lot of posts being written, I’ve long known.  Expert and YouTuber Neil Patel suggests quality over quantity.  He pitches one post a week or once a month.  

Neil Patel is a gentleman with an ad agency, but I don’t want to wait the span of a month between posts.

#NeilPatel #ContentMarketing #Blogging

I’ve never tried tips such as Patel’s, but they could help.  I try to think how I could deliver a better post.

If I’m fortunate, Publishous will again include a writing prompt.  I will handle it as though I am alongside great people.

I’m ending with a question, one of Patel’s tips.  Do you blog?

You’re welcome to “like” this post and/or subscribe.

15 Ways the Most Youthful Adherent to Video Research is Totally Overrated. Part III

Cats at play
Kittens
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Photographer:
Redd Angelo
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Photographer:
Greg Rakozy

This post is intended as the conclusion to two earlier posts, written and published recently.

Not to say that video doesn’t have many, many uses, sometimes even critical, I have thought of some observations debunking video.  Information learned from video research can be useful, particularly if it is assembled in a blog shared on Facebook.

I feel, historically, video research does not hold up given its artifice as evidence.  With good editing, that difficulty is somewhat rectified.  Here are five more ways that video research is overrated.  These are ways that video does not provide any more substantive information than where is otherwise available.

 

  1. Twitter’s Vine, now Periscope launched people with a genius for shooting six-second long videos, usually intended to be funny, meaning that if you were a creator with a knack for coming up with hilarious six-second videos.  On Vine, you could build a reputation and attract an audience.  The problem is that Vine came to an abrupt end because behind the scenes Twitter was continually working on becoming profitable and Vine didn’t enter the equation.
    Therefore the six-second video format of Vine left the Internet.  This is an example how video did not work in a specialized format that was “cool,” new and stimulating.
  2. Another way that video has failed the mainstream is the interesting but absurd idea that you can video-record phenomena, like Bigfoot, or UFOs.  An idea of going on an expedition to get a video recording of Bigfoot in his natural habitat, or UFOs in the night sky, often gets debunked by skeptics as “hoax.”  True experiences with phenomena of this kind go with a lot of excitement and potentially lasts only briefly.
    Videos of this kind are often derided, despite, of course, the additional risk that goes with trying to capture evidence of what’s alien and supernatural.  Also, there is the problem of informing on mysteries which government authorities commonly downplay.  If you want specifics about extraterrestrial astronauts, I think you will have a hard time procuring verifiable video recordings.
    It is not video research you can easily manage, despite popularity on television and on the internet.  “NASA Astronauts Discuss Extraterrestrial Life” https://binged.it/2Ga1mXi Extraterrestrial Laboratory
  3. Celebrity video recordings are not a reliable example of a video that can be examined for research purposes.  A celebrity sells a brand.  Observations made by the celebrity have an end goal in mind, not a general desire to be casually revealed.
    Researching the brand might be an approach, however, to video research that you could apply, but I think finding both a starting point and an endpoint could be difficult.  It might even take researching techniques for analyzing a brand if you’ve never studied that.  I doubt that you will find in a video the best information about analyzing a brand.
    That being said, I have no doubt you can earn the skill-set to analyze a brand as it’s represented in a video.  I think the evidence for the success of the brand would be better extrapolated by looking at the brand in the market apart from its appearance in a video context.  To be fresh, I think you would have to apply some expert touches.
  4. Coaching lessons in packages of a student-ready video may turn out to be somewhat dull in comparison to more novel approaches to learning.  A year ago I enjoyed completing a great WordPress course.  I took photos over the course of a couple of weeks, learning a little about photography with each and making something out of each lesson.
    I liked learning like that.  https://findingenvirons1.blog/2018/01/01/doggedly-capturing-developing-your-eye-themes-to-ring-in-the-new-year/
    If you have an opportunity to do some organized learning, I tend to think it is more fun if you can find applications you can apply in real life.  Try referencing research sources, perhaps some interactive, other than just video lessons, and I am thinking in addition about getting around the price of the video information, if it is part of a curriculum, belying how useful the information is.
    For example, a life coach offering videos to elevate your self-esteem could prove fruitless if you can’t make the lessons work, or if your intention falters and you no longer are acting in the manner required by the video curriculum.  This is important to note.  You can apply change only as much as you are mentally prepared to.
  5. I want to wrap this up with the suggestion that video research could have you preoccupied and unfocused what with possibilities opening for you that are more and more seductive and complicated.  You should remember your focus; you are not going to benefit by wasting time.
    Too much video and you are not getting done anything that’s worthwhile.  I feel if you are a consumer of video from a small number of creators who have focused themselves on something relatable, the focus that puts you amid them is what will keep you thinking consistently.  By that, I mean thinking in a way that organic learning, by a process of discovery, rather than by merely looking aimlessly, will be of some benefit to you.
    Your critical thinking may engage if you proceed this way.  I would put it to you to learn in this fashion.

 

This has been a three-part post about video research and how video research is over-rated.  If you enjoyed it, you’re welcome to like this post.  You can follow and subscribe as well.  Thank you again for reading me.

15 Ways the Most Youthful Adherent to Video Research is Totally Overrated. Part I

November 22, 2018

By video research, I mean watching video content to gain information about a topic.  To render the inscrutable meaningful, I am trying to re-envision specific ideas I have about video research.  To try to make this fun, I am re-envisioning 15 ways that the progress I try to make utilizing video research actually makes an impact (for me).

This will include examples of why it is I am conjecturing the phrase video research isn’t dropped onto the page constantly.

  1. The first thing that I am focusing on is when I actively became aware of the possibility of video research.  You might say the stars aligned (nearly) and I think it was when I was compelled by my younger friend B. pointing out that I could listen to youths crying out with the Internet.  This is so sensitive.
    In my defense, I both saw I could get into hard-to-tackle specifics with a computer, and also I discarded the idea to pursue B.’s style of research, which is a misnomer, as it wasn’t video being researched, it was more like gamer hack-and-slash.  In B.’s defense, he became a teacher for a living.
    [I hope he is still doing that.  He dropped off Facebook a long time ago (without an explanation).]
  2. With an awareness like that, it has to be tempered with the recognition that humans require respect.  Interesting uses of Internet video express things which are unfathomable and also perhaps too sensitive to extrapolate.  The very most interesting experiences with the Internet, I think, and when outside elements of the world beyond the Internet enter and, I suppose, reflect the viewer experiencing the video, which is hard to concisely explain.
    If there is a simple explanation for this, perhaps from lecture halls or elsewhere, and you know of such a thing, forgive me.  Leave me a comment if you like.  On the simplest level, people can leave user comments for a creator who responds.
    I am pretty sure I have a few variations of that straightforward element of the Internet.
  3. I think in 2018 WordPress turned 15 years old, didn’t it?  A technique for growing your blog readership, if you’re on WordPress, is to leave user comments on other bloggers’ work.  The point is that if you do this respectfully and consistently, eventually sympathetic or otherwise interested bloggers who you have contacted will reciprocate by interacting with you.
    Now you may ask me, and I am prepared for this in the eventuality it happens, “How do you know that?  You don’t seem to have much readership of note.”
    “Yes,” I will reply, not impudently, “but I simply have not devoted the focus to constantly read blogs and interact with them.  My blog, as yet, is an amateur effort.”  At that point, I hope you do not disappear abruptly, although if this is the case, that is fine, as I hope to better strategize in 2019 than I have in the past.
  4. I hope to pursue this as long as it is a possibility.  What I’ve observed is that WordPress techniques are not the same as those on a more characteristically “social” platform.  I would argue that during what I’ve learned, I’ve enjoyed the process.
    I am tempted to leave this point there and then, but even with confirmation bias indicating that if I am predisposed to a set of beliefs that highly values an “art for art’s sake” attitude, the argument I want to make is that this specific confirmation bias is perfectly fine and I want to run with it in 2019.
    How then, what can you, you might ask, do to make your blog more readable?  Well, you can take it on Facebook and ask people you’ve met to read it.  That’s a tactic that can help you start a blog and potentially get results that are interesting for you.
  5. We’re beginning to talk about video research, but the first thing I think of trying to approach something that’s sensitive is some obvious problems coming up right away.  These fifteen points are geared to getting your attention away from what you should do with the video you watch, and what you are already doing with your blog, or how it is you could start a blog.  The conclusion that can be drawn, and it’s not science, but a method, is that you can draw on video research to formulate something that you’d like people to read and you can put it on WordPress.

    I had quite a bit to say just to introduce this, so I am ending this post shortly below and picking up in the next blog post.

This first part of the 15 ways has been about a few generalities that have worked for me and a few tips that could apply to what you are doing.

These first five points are trying to get to the point, saying you can take video, turn it into blog content, get a running start with your blog, and go from there.  I am going to return with what shall be two more posts, aiming to illustrate ten more ways that you can do something more with video than just watch it.

Thanks for reading.

When I last asked my niece to let me have a photo, she was in high gear to play a frivolous game of Candy Land.  She suggested I show her in the midst of unpacking the enduring board game.  My niece is in the third grade.

10 Reasons Radical Success is the Weakest Link Part II

The White Album puzzle

Updated November 9, 2018

December 2017 my brother and his wife and kids gave me an unusual gift for Christmas, a puzzle game celebrating The Beatles’ music The White AlbumIt is unusual mainly for the fact that the cover of The White Album is entirely the color white, which makes the puzzle an exercise in assembling puzzle pieces all the color white.  It is as if the wrong end of a game of chess game came down on you.

September 24, 2018, the Stereogum music history website posted to Facebook about the fiftieth-anniversary release of The White Album.  The Beatles Announce 50th Anniversary “White Album” Reissue With Previously Unreleased Tracks

The White Album puzzle
The Beatles

I think of The Beatles being a radical success in music history, given the enormity of their popularity, even decades later.  However, how does that view of The Beatles relate to contemporary ideas about success, and how it is won?

I have ten reasons I’m suggesting that success like what The Beatles enjoyed is actually a weak link in terms of what it means for the individual to pursue preconceived notions of success and how it is misleading.  The first four were presented in a previous blog post.  The remaining six are presented here.

Streaming services

  1. Netflix is the leader of the pack, I believer, for video streaming.  They devote an enormous budget to original content and their selection of existing content is good.
    That being said, Disney is entering the streaming video service market soon, as is AT&T, I understand.  Netflix in my region is compatible with my TiVo, as is another video streaming service, the free video streaming site Tubi.  The selection on Tubi is big, but they don’t offer original video.
    Both Netflix and Tubi are compatible with my TiVo, but the selection of videos on Netflix is good and for Tubi, not so much.  I want to step out of the chain of logic to ask if that implies that Tubi is a weak link.  Netflix is a completely enjoyable experience if you watch video and Tubi is an extra addition to the TiVo I watch TV with.
    It isn’t too hard to say which could be better assessed to be a radical success in the future.  That being said, while Netflix needs to make a lot of important decisions before the day is done to remain ahead of the curve, Tubi is probably under far less pressure.
    Does Tubi’s relative weak link status mean that it isn’t a success?  It is free.

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  2. Going forward with the theory that radical success means enormous difficulty, consider the contender that could grab much of Netflix’ market share, Disney.  Disney is certain, given its weight as an entertainment brand, to include great films and shows, being known for its films, television, toys and theme parks.

Which of the two, Netflix or Disney, will be more of the radical success–that a good streaming service can be?  Or will they both amount to great success?  Disney has built in family-appeal given its products for both adults and kids alike; Netflix has been building that kind of appeal from scratch.  Will either Netflix or Disney be a weak link?  It seems important to me that entertainment be good when it is accessed or experienced.

It would be a shame, I think, for the bottom to fall out of Netflix if it were to become a weak link given competition.  Netflix has a reputation for spending extravagant amounts of money on shows and films while not necessarily having a concrete plan in place to recoup its expenditures.  As I said, Disney already has an enormous built-in capacity for success in the future, in addition to plans for its new streaming service

I would ask if streaming video is right for Disney, given all they’ve done to pack movie houses with so many great family films.  Will Netflix Ever Actually Make Any Money?

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Photographer: Jakob Owens

3. I started this post by saying there is a fiftieth-anniversary release of The White Album coming 11/9.  From what I understand about music streaming services, Spotify has a great conversion rate bringing customers from free use of Spotify to the premium version.  I would ask if taken to task whether Spotify will be a “weak link.”

From what I can tell, the selection of music with Spotify is wonderful.  I’ve never actually searched for The Beatles, but I am sure they are there.  The selection is good.  I have fewer specifics on hand, but I wouldn’t appreciate seeing Spotify become relegated to “weak link” status, as it seems to be an awesome service.

It is understood that The Beatles essentially recorded The White Album live to 8-track tape, and for everything they’d done in the name of their music they were in fact recording music that would be a bit of a farewell to their fans.  If less scrutiny was being given to the music emerging on The White Album, would The Beatles have lasted longer and recorded songs for longer than they did?  I think it is possible, for when something is intended to be “perfect,” it is often a departure the way a pinnacle climbed must then be descended.

US Politics 

4. If you are following this argument, you can guess that the weak link I’m referring to is the President of the United States.  I don’t like to posit criticism of the United States or its politics, but an example of someone about who there is much to decry that could be a weak link is the President.

As he is someone who was a TV star, I think it is worth mentioning here the radical success that he is known for enjoying and how at the same time the President has mounting problems that he is both a radical success, being wealthy and commanding power, but also a “weak link” in that he could bring down the whole show if he is not effective.  President Trump has a knack for appearing with ferocious emphasis again and again in the news, and yet he faces so much criticism and real-life repercussions and consequences that I think he makes a great example of a “weak link” who is at the same time a radical success.

The President brings to mind so many components and elements of radical success gone wrong that it is becoming clearer all the time that the President of the United States is an extremely divisive man. Donald Trump Says China Remix

 

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Motivated to Entrepreneurship

5. The ninth reason I want to assert that a weak link can be very much undermining is the idea that if you begin to succeed as an entrepreneur you can find yourself under more pressure than you ever anticipated facing.  Making money is many people’s idea of success, but you have to put in years of work to make dreams come true.  And in this scenario, ironically, you yourself could be the weakest link if you don’t meet obstacles well.


Unless you keep improving, day in and day out, you could end up being the weak link in your organization simply owing to the fact that your luck could change.  If you have found a strategy that makes you King Midas, turning everything you touch to gold, if all of a sudden your luck changes, you may now be suddenly in a seat of weakness.  The Secret to Self-Motivation | Gary Vaynerchuk’s GREATEST Motivational Speech Ever! 

Photographer: Rawpixel.com
Aerial view of computer laptop on wooden table

You need to keep improving and being good.  Everything that took you somewhere is behind you; you have to continue to make great decisions.  I suspect you’ll see for yourself if you falter.

6. The final reason I want to take back to Geeks + Gamers.  If you have someone, like Jeremy, who has more than one channel on YouTube, who is comfortable discussing games, films, and sports, a very articulate individual, who sees success coming from YouTube, from a Facebook group, from Twitch I suppose, who challenges who is at the top, as with The Last Jedi remaining a highly successful film, however vocal its detractors, I think it is a philosophical note to say that if you are at that pinnacle I referenced above, there is any number of reasons your descent will be hastened by those who come after you.  You have to reach that pinnacle in excellent form; and you have to leave it in such a way that it endures, that there could be a fifty-anniversary, that there could be another billion-dollar blockbuster, that there could be a second term.  This is all vital, from a philosophical standpoint, what must be done if radical success, like the kind that spreads all around the globe, is to be achieved and then preserved. CLICKBAIT : A YOUTUBE STORY

I was amused by the Christmas gift last year of The White Album puzzle game I got from my brother and his family.  If you have read this, please feel free to “like,” “follow,” and/or comment.

Asking if Secularisation of a Society is Bad

Leonardo da Vinci

Just the other day, I saw a WordPress blogger asking for debate if secularisation is good or bad.  She defined it, and I take it she means the decline of the influence of religion, like, for example, the power of the Catholic Church, on society around the world.

 

https://lovableliterature.wordpress.com/2018/07/30/debate-is-the-secularisation-of-modern-society-a-bad-thing/

 

This year I made time to read Cormac McCarthy’s book The Road, a novel about a man and his son trying to survive some time from now in the future when society no longer exists as it did previous to the events in the novel.  I think of church attendance preventing circumstances in our world like that in this Cormac McCarthy book.

 

If strong leaders utilize the unitary values of religious institutions in a way that helps people lead lives of better prosperity, it would be likely, I think, that people will make better progress in the world, decreasingly supernatural as it is.

 

Reading The Road, I didn’t think much supernatural dread happened to the characters, probably in part because to create their own resources they were too hard pressed to deal with the spiritual implications of society being at an end.

 

If I think about secularisation as it could relate to the plot of the novel, I think that the leaders of the world which existed before the events of the book have failed in their ability to keep the structure of its society intact.  Maybe this owes to an overall weakness in the story’s idea of religious institutions, but I can’t that except by thinking it is a possibility, judging that religious symbols seem to exist in the book.  The man on the road is a little like Jesus, set apart from others by his singularity.

Leonardo da Vinci
Imitation of The Last Supper

There isn’t an explanation for readers of The Road why society ended–it is a question only that it is gone, and how a much harder reality supplants it, the “road” of the title.

 

Isolation is the new struggle to overcome adversity, instead of questions like how did the world’s institutions fail and what can be done now, in their absence.

 

The novel’s interesting because society as a whole is over and done and there is no solution available.  It is a story of apocalypse.

 

The man traveling in isolation with his son seems unconcerned if there were religious institutions before society fell to pieces.  I don’t see why there wouldn’t have been institutions–in every other detail I can think of in The Road it matches the world as it’s known today, which leads me to think that parts of the world in the book weren’t secularised, as our world in real life remains only in part secularised today.

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I tend to think that order would fragment in the event of too much secularisation because people need to feel that there is something supernatural about their lives, that they owe something to God.

 

I am optimistic about trusting religious authorities because I see a sphere of religious influence making a more positive outcome for our world.

 

I am glad to have had an opportunity to write a few thoughts on how thinking back to reading The Road helped me articulate an opinion on secularisation.

 

I was likewise glad that I took time this year to read the book by Cormac McCarthy, as well as having read Bethany’s post asking about secularisation.  The Road is the only title of McCarthy I am familiar with, but the cover of the paperback copy I read advertised that it had sold well.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’re welcome to “like,” “follow,” and/or “subscribe.”

A New Challenge: Blogging Photos and Miscellanea

Friday‎, ‎June‎ ‎08‎, ‎2018

Between 2011 and 2018, WordPress organized weekly photo challenges. These essays provided inspiration for bloggers to publish photos in their posts. The final photo challenge was the thirtieth of May this year, but after the surprise came that the challenges were finished, I think I will continue to blog with photos I’ve taken.

If and when other ideas come to mind, I will introduce them into the same blog, but I feel I should continue with similar enthusiasm to what I had when I was reading the photo challenges, over the last two or three years.

To get the answer what to do next, after the photo challenges ended, I turned to Quora, the site where users can pose questions and provide answers for others with a question – https://www.quora.com/

A couple of my old friends use Quora. A wonderful answer was provided by Ms. Jennifer Marshburn. What I could do next, she elegantly wrote, drawing on both her own experiences as a blogger and what she learned from similar circumstances.

You can find her answers on Quora here – https://www.quora.com/profile/Jennifer-Marshburn

The photo I took yesterday morning is of trees, in the city, sheltering a schoolhouse underneath a fabulous blue sky. I want to feature it as it is the first time I have decided for myself to be challenged to take a photo and say a few words. At the moment I took it, I was relieved I finally had an idea.

Friday‎, ‎June‎ ‎08‎, ‎2018
Above the Schoolhouse

WordPress has been nothing but great fun. In my case, it’s been an addition to the work I do as part of a not-for-profit cemetery in its junior operations. You can find us on the Internet here – http://www.maplelawncemetery.org/

There are a couple of other sources I would like to mention that provide additional inspiration.

Sources

How To Use Internet Images Responsibly For Blogs
Blog design mistakes you are probably making – and how to fix them

May 2 Weekly Photo Challenge: Unlikely

Small town plaza

Today is Friday, May 4, 2018–May the Fourth is the day of the year celebrating the Star Wars canon of sci-fi. I’m not a filmmaker, although people involved in that kind of thing are certainly important 🙂 It is very nice to enjoy Star Wars on one of its most special days each year and to remember how much thought and calculation is why the original Star Wars film is so great.

On May 2, WordPress outlined a photo challenge for photography demonstrating a sense of the unexpected. To be honest, I don’t enjoy a wealth of the unexpected, but it happens from time to time that something is out of place and therefore notable.

The Monday of this week I was walking home from a jaunt when I sauntered by a little plaza here that caught me off-guard. I was on the other side of the street.

It is in the middle of expansion and redesign.

I thought at first it was being dismantled, oddly enough, but when I returned yesterday, having read the challenge the day before, I saw what was going on–money is going in.

I had reflected on this event because it was unexpected to me, that sign of development and growth when I tend to take a narrow view of progress these days. What do I know?

For me, it represented something unexpected. I was amused.

I took a couple of photos despite the overcast conditions of the afternoon. You can see the half-empty laundromat sign, the in-progress storefront, the cars signifying the value of the cozy little plaza to the town.

Small town plaza
Thursday, May 3, 2018

That laundromat interviewed me for a job position ten or so years ago, before I was part of the not-for-profit I help operate with my dad. My job would have been to provide assistance with the washers and dryers, to take out the trash, and to make myself available a little for visitors to enjoy the Internet. This was easily an honest decade ago.

I nearly had the job. Like it or not, a neighbor I had at the time, an older friend named Doug discouraged me from starting over with the work I was lining up at the laundromat. He said I didn’t need it.

Local plaza
Thursday, May 3, 2018

That neighbor filled the role of brother to me, at a time when I was cordial but distant to my own brother, and I decided to abandon my plan to seek the entry work.

You know, you make a choice like that, and it is clearly significant, but it reflects how little work I actually accomplished doing until my dad retired and brought me on at the cemetery.

I had other concerns.

I remember, of the couple who ran the place, when I showed an interest in how the laundromat helped the street get online, the fellow told me to my face I seemed like Internet Terminus.

I wouldn’t trade the appropriated cool of time online for much else, however.

Ten years ago, common Internet platforms of today were a lot newer, such as Twitter and YouTube. I think Netflix was a service for DVD delivery.

I hate checking my facts. Try writing that bluntly and see how it feels. As a blogger, I am interested in being honest, and there is always that propensity to lie, to seem bigger or better than I am.

That’s quite a common phenomenon, I think.

Terminus is also the title of a sci-fi film available on Netflix. It’s the one about rejuvenation.

May the Fourth Be With You.

Wednesday, May 2’s WordPress photo challenge is an essay by Michelle Weber.