To Powerblog or not to Powerblog…that is the question!

Message to the Blog Owner:
I’m writing this post because like you, I care about the productivity of my blog and its basic upkeep. My purpose may be different than yours, but we have each decided to be part of a public online community. If you don’t care about reaching out to people, don’t build a blog, buy a diary. But…I digress…

 

I don’t have a long blogume. That’s a completely made up word for blogging resume. In the past I’ve held a total of four blogs including this one. The first one was with blogspot and it was real amateur. Amateur because I don’t have any other way to describe how whack it was (I don’t even remember the name). Then I held down a position with The Aftermath Blog, created after I published my first novel, The Aftermath. It did a lot better than the first one. I was able to reach out and connect to readers and receive useful feedback. I was even able to hustle a few reviews out the mix. I believe that had I held on a bit longer it may have still been here, but I pretty much got bored with it. Then there was ahouseofpoetry and ThePBSblog. I don’t consider myself an expert on these matters and I’m not someone who researched this in a book and can give a sophisticated analysis (whatever that is), but I do have an opinion to share on power blogging based simply on observation.

 

I assume the definition of “PowerBlogging” is to blog at least once a day or more, I could be wrong, but I have my own definition anyway.

I think “Blogging” should consist of updating your blog at least once a day, only missing a day or so in-between if need be. PowerBlogging, it seems, should be defined as updating a blog more than once a day, and can range anywhere from 2-3 posts a day, to a stream of posts that come in pretty much all day. The difference is pretty much based on common sense. A blog is a social networking forum to which people can interact with an online community based on various themes (my definition). Someone may create a blog because they feel like it. Someone else may want to air their dirty laundry in public so it becomes a public diary (don’t care, that’s your business). Some may actually have an agenda they’re pushing. Others may want to just promote a book, or showcase their writing in general. Whatever the reason, blogs are different than regular websites because they are interactive. Though bloggers can acquire domain names, the title “blog” I think, sets it apart from a regular website that you would actually purchase product from or that is used as advertisement for whatever business. Businesses can surely have blogs, but I think a blog differs in that it allows people to interact, follow, like, and comment. For this reason blogs are social media outlets, it just gives you more room to write, and possess much more flexibility than Facebook. But because blogs are what they are, it only makes sense to stay engaged.

 

I’m not going to define blog success. I don’t think it is restricted to any particular definition. Based on your reasoning for building a blog, that should define how you look at its success, period. I don’t believe any big brains can come along and tell me how successful or unsuccessful my blog is. I do believe however, that the individual blog owner is responsible for making sure there is fresh content for the reader. True enough, every follower is not going to be attracted to every post. True enough, every follower is not going to agree with every post. And true enough, every follower is not going to like or comment on every post. Every post may not even gain you any additional followers (that’s a different topic because then we’re getting into the whole work aspect). But if you work hard at something eventually you’ll begin to see the results of that labor. Already I see that the difference between ThePBSblog and my other blogs is the time I’ve dedicated to it, and it has already made it much more successful (on one level), than the others. Every post is written for a reason, to which not all of them are verbally acknowledged by readers. I’ve read many poems and posts on blogs that I have never made the owner aware of that inspired me (I will…eventually). Yet, inspiring me is a reaction even if you don’t know it. To make a very long story short, you never know how many people you reach who are just observing. There is a reader out there for everyone and someone who will understand your message.

 

People have a number of reasons for following your blog (that’s another reason I don’t think one person can give a general definition of what makes for a successful blogger. Follower count can be deceiving, but so can dashboard data). Some people are glued to your content, but some would just like to see your posts pop up in their e-mails or readers just in case there’s something tasty they wanna try. Some just liked one thing you said and decided your worth adding to the guest list. Others may have followed you simply because they like the way you designed your site. They may not agree with the words on the wall, but they love the interior design, which can be of help to a blogger looking to redecorate (I speak from experience. I once followed someone’s blog because their design included some of my favorite colors. They have long redecorated, but I ended up really enjoying their content. So see, you never know 🙂 ). No matter the reason, everyone has a different reason for following someone. Not everyone just wanna add someone to the reader, not everyone just wanna get post emails, and not everyone just enjoy staring at the pictures, but some people actually look forward to your posts. For this reason, I think it’s only logical to try and stay as updated and engaged as possible. For me personally, if I follow you it means something. And while a bombardment of email alerts from your blog can be annoying, at the same time it lets me know that you’re alive. Otherwise it’s easy for me to forget that you exist. Even if I don’t click on your post, at least I’ll see your name pop up every now and again as a reminder.

 

Blogging is not everything, at least not to me. I’m a woman of balance so Blogging is not my life (I have other things to do) but it is an important piece of the puzzle that I have allowed to occupy space here. It is a part of my day that I have allowed to withhold some of my time, because I think the purpose (to spread truth and inspiration through innovation and creativity) is worth putting my energy into. It is not my whole world, but it is a small piece of the world that I have allowed to exist around me. When I feel like I have accomplished what I set out to accomplish, I will retire this portion of my life. That said, I think Powerblogging can be successful if you are willing to look at is as a job. It doesn’t have to be your primary job, and it doesn’t even have to be a big part of your day, but if you can look at it as a form of employment, then you’ll see how important it is to stay engaged on one level or another.

 

So, to Powerblog or not to Powerblog?

 
Based on my definition, I think bloggers should at least blog; keep the content as fresh as possible.

 
I don’t think Powerblogging to the extreme of out staying my welcome on your readers and emails is a route I wanna take, but I do believe staying as closely updated as possible is necessary to build a strong online community.

Guest Feature: Waiting for Someone – Lamar Jorden

“Somewhere
In the Northwest region of Seattle Washington
There’s a homeless man, armed with a beer can
Trying to drink away war memories
Waiting for someone
Self-less enough to lend him an ear
He sits on the side of a Pizzeria on the corner of Queen Ann and Mercer
In a chair, they probably kick him out of after business hours
His skin
Has grown all too fond of the concrete beds that he rest his shell-shocked head on
His braggadocios body
rocks back and forth showing off to the world the only gifts war veterans ever receive
He addresses me, “Ey lil Bra, you got a dollar?”
Without even checkin my pockets I tell him, “I aint got it”.
Having anticipated this appointment he responds with,
“That’s fine, cause I really wanted a 20.”
Amazed, not that he still knows what humor is,

but that is one of the few possessions that the war actually let him keep, I laugh
Before digging into my coat pocket filled with a ton of change I’ll probably never use
He lets me know that more than a 20, what he really wanted was a conversation
And takes my 75 cent donation as an invitation to start one
Without offering much space for me to converse,

he lets me know how in this country,
war veterans are rarely anything more
Than patriotic flies on a wall
And that for all these people to ignore his request
Is just as second nature as swatting at a pest
I guess
None of them realize that here lie their tax dollars at work
His body jerks
To the percussion of his bones
Dancing to the song of post-traumatic stress syndrome
How wrong
Is it of humans to lack humanity
Demanding he keep his lips locked but
Possess the audacity to ask where he got his army cap on
To think it’s a trigger you can purchase at a gift shop he tells me
That they’ve labeled him as crazy and they say

he has to take medicine called percadine but the one time he took it
It made him high so why would he continue when it makes his mind worse with time
It seems like the perfect crime
Having people fight for a country that won’t fight for them
The goal
Was for one of those countries to take his life from him
And the opposing country failed when he
Returned to civilization but
The home country would succeed by stripping him of his home
How long
Will this be the standard in this country?
Where if war doesn’t kill you
They distill you
Sending you back home just to rot and mildew
the phrase
“War is good for absolutely nothing”, is still true
Before he lets me go,
he tells me
that he wants to die.
And I see the tear-shaped white flag surrender from his eye
I give him a pound
Before digging back into my coat pockets surrendering

the rest of the change I found.
I tell him I have to go
Cause there’s a white man, screaming at me through traffic
Waiting for me to end this conversation
There’s a young lady at a bar and grill across the street
Waiting for me to join her for dinner
And there’s a poem
Scratching at the insides of my soul
Waiting for me
To tell this story.”

Copyright Lamar Jorden

 

Let’s Make Music

Retro microphone on stage in restaurant. Blurred background

I wanna make music
tonight
I wanna sing
for you
Don’t ask me to metaphor into bunny rabbits
cause I ain’t up here to do tricks for you
I am up here to sing
for you
I am here
to make music
to make
melody
you ask me
why I don’t show my face
why my performance can’t be seen by yo physical eyes
but this here aint no show
I got no tricks of the trade to show you
these words aint cropped to fit your opinion
they aint photo shopped to enhance your feelings
but I know how visual you people are
how you wonder about signs and wonders
so you wonder
why I won’t baptize my poetry
behind the lens of your cameras
have I fallen from the horse of couplets and closed forms?
maybe
I’ve just C-sectioned my Spoken Word to reveal my insides
besides
I’ve got to have some kind of gut
to stand up here and strip for you
just let me be real for you
let me calm you
let these words heal you
and let’s make music
a cleft
a time signature
a note
a rest
a song
a stepping stone
to play just the right scripture
to guide us back to the music sheet
just let me stand here
let me be here
and
just let me sing
for you

The Relationship – My Love Affair with Poetry

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Smitten.

You know the feeling

that refreshing taste of newness

the aching agony that occurs merely from having to wait

until you can see him again

the love sick hurricane in your stomach

just to hear him say your name

the sweat that hides itself beneath your fingertips

when he’s around

the sudden sense of laughter

upon seeing his face

because you know like he does

the secret that lets its guard down

upon the blinking of your eyelids

the pace of a heartbeat

when a word of kindness escapes his lips

you know it

the feeling of fresh love

like the aroma of gourmet coffee

like when the caffeine simply invites you

like the pupils of his eyes when they mentally undress you

because the kindness pouring forth from these thoughts

is strangely exhilarating

the feeling that reminds you

why you were ever single,

the masculinity of a voice

strong, and incredibly calm

whatever I could do to convince poetry that it was necessary that we speak

was a chance to breathe,

for he was a ventilator

and I just needed air.

so I rushed home just to grab a book

or pry open my diary

and hold his thoughts in my hand until my paper

bled its first period.

Deeper.

Over time, we got closer and I became more open

I grew out of childhood

and demanded more attention from my lover

I became jealous and obsessive with my need to be seen with him

in the classroom, in the library, and late into Open mic nights

I ate up words with the speed of speech

and wrapped alliterations

around alphabets

like it was oxygen.

Smoking lyric

and sipping on rhythm slow

like the stride

of a black man

Commitment.

It was no longer convenient to lock me away,

cover me under the flap of notebooks and journals,

it was time to come out of the closet.

I tried to stay focused really,

but paper had proved to be too cluttered

and too slow for us,

too polluted to allow the thing we’d attempted through privacy

to ever grow into what I needed

How could I allow our particular version of intimacy

to be buried by the commas and blue lines

and falling parenthesis that make up the creative world?

After all, we were in love and as such it was time for marriage

and the introduction of this relationship

into the mainstream

The way these words were so finely crafted

almost as if they wrapped themselves around my lips

and took trips inside my memories

Euphoria

any feeling this good has got to be a sin…isn’t it?

No,

What I’d stumbled upon was a gift and no,

this was not a transgression of law

this

was

love.