Growing a Community Blog

High Desert Bloggers, Route 66 Molly Brown's

High Desert Bloggers at Molly Brown’s on National Trails Highway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Community blogging in the High Desert reminds me of preachers who start out with the message and go down a few rabbit trails before the amen. You start out with a “message”, mission statement, or goal and along the way think of things that didn’t occur to you at first.

Since the beginning of this blog network, the focus has been on people, places, things, and events of the High Desert. Bloggers meet up in the community and share their expertise. These meet-ups are inspiring. New food blogs have been created like pattycakespantry.com (a blog often written with a comical twist and filled with creative recipes) and simplyhealthyeats.com (includes incredible recipes for gluten-free eating). An e-book on boiled egg recipes was published. More egg, breakfast, and vegetable recipes are found at the food blog kitchenhospitality.com. Another blogger and author Monica Gloria

 

Blogger and Author Monica Gloria

Author Monica Gloria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

published a book recently and had a book signing at the Hi Desert Book Oasis Used Book Store. One of our blog administrators has her own children’s traveling museum and has another blog, MyRustyBucketRanch.com.

Rusty at Pioneer Museum

Rusty at Pioneer Museum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rabbit trails add, new ideas, and ways of doing things you wouldn’t have thought of before. That’s the way it is with community blogging. Community is all about relationship. You meet people interested in similar interests as you and share ideas.

The interesting thing about a network of bloggers is that there is a greater opportunity to learn from one another’s adventures, ideas, interests, or community events. You have no need to worry about those rabbit trails taking away from the point of the message or purpose of the mission statement and goal. Blending all that the bloggers bring into the network actually can grow the community blog.

Share your experiences of what has worked for you. Communicate that to bloggers in your network. What are some rabbit trails you’ve taken that gave you new insight to the purpose of your community blog?

 

Categories: Blog Networks | Leave a comment

How Can Someone Else Write a Blog For Your Business?

 

Your business can rely on Blogging

Blogging is direct Internet connections for your business

I don’t believe it’s fear that holds back the idea of allowing an outsider to write for their business. I think it’s the concern that an outsider to any business, just won’t be true to the name, the brand, or have the depth of knowledge or nature of the company.

This is often the second question that comes up. The first question is: How much?

 

So how much to you pay for a good pair of shoes? Are you on the cheap end and figure $50 for a pair of sneakers or a page of content is enough? Are you the middle-of-the-road entrepreneur who wants to look good on the outside yet keeps the budget in mid-range of $75 per blog or dress boots? Or are you the dashing example of clean lines, solid foundation, and a leather loafer with over $100+ to spend on high-end shoes and a daily blog?

 

 a team of bloggers and writers

A team behind you 100%

A good content writer and blogger knows how to reach down deep and pull out some gems right away. Certain contract writers will not go after a blog position in, let’s say, the jet plane industry because they aren’t aware of the industries finer points. Research plays a large part in deciding if the content writer is even capable. It does take skill to write for someone else.

However, a content writer can excise information from a subject-matter person (SME) behind the scenes who can quickly assess and glean the best of the industry insider. There is a knack to extracting fine points.

Cavve is home for this Blogger

Your Blogger Can Live Almost Anywhere

 

A blogger will usually gain a good grasp of those items being sold or manufactured. So much so, that you as the reader would never know it was written by an outsider, often living in another state.

Judging a content or contract writer or a blogger for your business is just like hiring a new employee: you’ll check for examples of his work, his knowledge of the area of expertise, his ability to express himself, and then testing him for his writing ability to stand-in for your tone, brand, and voice.

Actually, the best way to consider a blogger is for her to offer a sample blog. She will be able to sample your online web site, talk to key employees that can “teach her the ropes,” and, may even talk to select customers who work directly with the company.

A blogger is a chameleon who can stand in place of your company’s field agent. They make every effort to blend in, while trying not to cause concern for those who hire them. One tool that helps is a “writing style guide.” These are often developed when several writers come onboard to help with advertising, web content, blogging, and PR outside the office. A second tool is a signed promise of non-competing, where a writer will not write for the competition, or share its secrets.

A Blogger is a Chameleon who can blend in easily

A Blogger is a Chameleon who can blend in easily

 

 

A second tool is a signed promise of non-competing, where a writer will not write for the competition, or share its secrets.

Will using third party writers be an effective strategy for getting a great amount work done while keeping staffing costs low? Yes, in most cases. By using the right content writing service, you can often save time, energy and money while building your brand with powerful content. You won’t need to provide insurance or paid vacations, either. Whether it’s a single writer or a writing service, your overall exposure on the Internet will increase the chances of more sales.

If the blogger’s entries, over time, improve your number of prospects while keeping your brand and company out in the public eye, then your choice to use a writer as an essential part of the team has paid off.

No one will really know until you try a business blogger.

 

 Rusty LaGrange

If you like what you see here check out my other blogs:

A Flair For Words.com

A Flair For the Old West. blogspot.com

and Old West Stagecoach.com

 

Categories: Blog Networks, Blogging, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Cadillac Antiques Cruises Into the High Desert

 

The quaint pueblo-styled building that once housed Country Styles Western wear for many years is now home to Cadillac Antiques in Lucerne Valley. It’s the most appropriate spot for the new venture run by two local couples, Char and Dave, Patty and Ralph. Or was that Dave and Patty, Ralph and Char? Their shop opened with a bang on July 4th, but this weekend is its Grand Opening.

 

Step into Cadillac Antiques

Vintage Dressy Doll and Carousel Horse

On Saturday visitors to the antique shop indulged in free hot dogs and sodas out on the open patio, while inside, shoppers wandered through every little nook and intriguing corner. It will take hours to investigate it all. Cadillac Antiques did take advantage of every room to display their ceramic and glass figurines, furniture, handcrafted items, vintage dolls, mid-century collectibles, and jewelry.

100_0896
There’s even something for the guys,” said Patty Muldoon, pointing to the long back wall that stretched from one end of the building to the other. “We have unusual ‘garage art’ items that are repurposed auto parts, even mid-century bicycles finding a second life as chromed lamps, statues, and what Dave and Ralph call ‘car-lectibles.’”

Garage Art

Repurposed Auto Parts Get a Second Life

 

Grand Opening of Cadillac Antiques

Char and new vendors show excitement during the Grand Opening

Cadillac Antiques is gaining staff support and antique variety through its eight vendors, who will be learning the ropes and working behind the counter. Patty said that they select their vendors by the quality of the vintage and antique items that they have displayed in other locations around the Victor Valley. It’s one way of keeping the selections of high quality. They also take items on consignment.

Local shoppers who remember the style of the pueblo building will be very comfortable walking into the front parlor. They’ve repainted and redesigned the layout but left the character of the old wood floors and plaster walls in place as a welcoming grande dame of the valley.

Chrome and Upscaled Bike

Up-Cycling a Cycle

For those who want to tell all their antique-hunting friends, Cadillac Antiques is at 32090 Highway 18 on the north side as you enter town. Their hours are currently 10-5 Tuesday through Sunday. Closed Mondays. Their phone is 760-248-2829. Tell them that Rusty sent you.

 

Rusty LaGrange

If you like what you see here ask me how your business can receive more exposure through High Desert Blogging.com

Categories: High Desert Living, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

How Do You Use Conference Time to Your Benefit?

Everyone hears that to promote your company, your idea, or your service, you should network with other business owners. So you’ve just returned from a 3-day conference at “Universal Whatcha-Call-it.” You’re tired and just want to relax. Then you see the pile of business card you judicially collected during the weekend.

 

business cards Overwhelm

How Can You Manage Business Cards When You Get Home?

Don’t ignore them. They’re gold.

Here’s some ideas that will help you collect more than paper:

 

Business cards – Those simple cards are really each prospect, a live person that seemed interested in what you had to offer. Image that each card you collect is filled with the expectation that you generated. Will you follow up? You bet. They expect it.


Write a “selfie” prompt
– A keyword or two will help you remember.  Take time right now and write an association word on each card that can trigger your memory later. Your brain is still on overload. Just make a note so you can have peaceful sleep.


Shuffle the deck
 – Decide on four classifications that you can place a business card into. Use color coding with a marker across the top, or a rubber band. Consider these categories: a) a good fit, b) maybe an affiliate or Joint Venture, c) too general to be different, and d) not interested or way out of the categories that you feel comfortable in. Make the first two groups your contacts but make the first group a high priority.


Journal your thoughts or conceptions
 – You’re going to get some brilliant ideas that you will lose as soon as you leave the conference room. Those little thoughts that sprout into a Joint Venture are often captured in written notes, tapes, or personal recorders. Although, some use recorders, it can be intimidating; some use index cards and sort them easily. You decide.

 

Take lots of pictures and upload online – One of the newest trends is to take photos, associate them with the client prospect, and post them on a convention gallery. People love to see and be seen at events. There are ultra small cameras now that you can use with discretion. Be sure to get their name, business, and website — ask first for photo permission.

 

Use your sincere interest and listening skills – It’s good business practice to listen to the prime speaker in any group. Take time to analyze the subject, add your two-cents when appropriate, then listen some more. Try not to interrupt just to hand that person a business card. That’s rude. Are you a good fit for that business? Ask them a question or two, then decide if you might form a new friendship. Tell them your aptitude for business that will enhance theirs. They won’t know unless you ask.

 

Be a person of change – While you may not do anything resounding while in session, you might take a carload of attendees to a nice place for dinner, showing them around town can break the ice later. Maybe two people that seem like a good match would not have met unless you brought them together. Watch for possibilities. It’s not just about you.

 

Mingle in and out – Place yourself in an unfamiliar group. It’s tough for some to do, especially when they don’t see any friendly faces. Move on to another group. Cliques form quickly, so maybe you’ll find one by cruising and using your networking skills.

 

Take time to shop from the display tables – Sure there’s a lot of self-promotional materials there, but you’ll also find reduced prices, a speaker’s course options, and book sales. Bringing home a book from your favorite speaker will be more beneficial down the road.

 

Spend quality time to send out notes – Did you know that 90% of attendees never follow-up with a card or email note? You have all those business cards and connections. Remember how your classified cards and notes were arranged? Now it’s going to be easy for you to follow up. Send out a short, friendly email to categories, “a”, “b,” and “c”. If you can personalize it with a memory, do it. E-mails will be ignored just as fast as you scan through your email subjects after a long weekend. Take the time to catch their attention in the subject line. Warning! Never automatically send emails to all persons at once without using the “Blind copy” line on your email window. Business people abhor the overflow of spam and linked emails.

 

So you’ve made it through another long and busy weekend. When you begin calling on your potential prospects, don’t slam your foot in their door. Always be respectful and professional in order to gain new and beneficial contacts/clients.

 

Rusty

If you enjoy what you read here, then take look at my other blogs

A Flair For Words.com

A Flair For the Old West.com

My Rusty Bucket Ranch.blogspot.com

Categories: Blog Networks, High Desert Writers, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Finding Joy Each Day

Pink on Father's Day

Me and my pink cap from my hubby with flowers from Lowe’s

Finding joy even in a desert is possible. Life is filled with ups and downs, smooth places, rocky places, hot and dry days, mountains, valleys, etc.

It’s up to you to find the joy.

I made a decision to create joy. Allow me to take a few moments to tell you about my joy today.

Yesterday was July 26th, a day significant in my life. I recalled another July 26th when I was 12 years old. I was in Southeast Texas. My dad was going to drive our pickup and tow my brother’s Cougar to the car dealership he liked to do service with about three hours away in a town we used to live in.

That morning my mother begged me to go with her to see my grandmother and visit some relatives. I wanted to go with my dad and brother, Darrell, so she let me go on with them.

We went through a little town called Jasper and had gotten eight miles out of town when things changed drastically.

Going over a hill, we were met with a car passing four other cars. The car that passed the others would have hit us head on if my dad hadn’t pulled over on the shoulder of the road. The driver that caused the accident never stopped.

The pickup jack-knifed, and the pickup and Cougar were totaled, horribly.

My only memory of the wreck itself was my screaming over and over, “JESUS!”

When I became conscious, I heard my dad telling people, “I know she’s in there. I heard her.”

I couldn’t see and was frightened, not understanding exactly where I was. Then it dawned on me that I was inside the wreckage, and nobody could see me. Finally, I saw a pinpoint of light and crawled toward the light. I was suddenly outside. I stood and walked to find my dad and brother. An older gentleman saw me and helped me over to lie on the ground.

My dad and brother were so relieved to see that I was alive. All the other cars stopped, and people were everywhere. They put a tourniquet on my arm that was dangling and did something to stop the bleeding on my head.

The ambulance came and took us all to the hospital. I was grateful that my life was spared.

Later my brother told me something told him to get in the floorboard and hold onto my leg. Seat-belts weren’t required back then. I was sitting in the middle, and my head was cut by the rear-view mirror. Had Darrell not held onto my leg tightly, I would have flown out of the windshield and may not have lived.

Yesterday, I felt so grateful for life. I thanked God for life, thanked Him for sparing all of our lives that day.

I am thankful for the presence of God, His beauty I see in the earth, love of family and friends, beauty in the color of flowers, hearing birds sing and chirp, and so much more I could mention.

Planting pink flowers in pots

Pink Aster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I look around me and feel joy, joy of living.

 

Happy Birthday, Beverly, with How Sweet the Sound and Pink Saturday! She brings joy to those who join Pink Saturday each week. Thank you, Beverly, for bringing joy to all who are blessed by your blogging and by Pink Saturday!

Categories: Joy | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Recreational Bicycling

Safe Bicycle Tips

Tony and Terri, Tandem Bicycling in the High Desert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

― Albert Einstein

High Desert tandem bicyclists Tony and Terri that I met on Sunday, July 20, 2014 could agree with Einstein’s quote, especially in regard to pedaling. When the dual peddling gets out of sync, the ride is not so balanced. I was on my way to church when Tony and Terri rode by. Fascinated with the tandem bike, I called out, “Can I take a picture of you?”

“Are you serious?” they asked, turning around.

“Yes, I’m serious. I have a high desert blog and would love to blog about you.” Little did I know about tandem cycling, and I began to ask questions. Tony told me about the necessity of both cyclists pedaling at the same time. Their bike folds unlike some other tandem bicycles. Another benefit of riding this way is conversing while riding. Pedaling together is a fun way of exercise. Find out more on tandem bicycling from www.sheldonbrown.com.

An acquaintance told me this week that he rides a bicycle in the Inland Empire with a group of cyclists at least two days a week. It’s exercise, and it’s fun he said. Riding in a group also increases safety. They watch out for each other, calling out from the back of the group to the lead cyclist when there is a car.

Practice safety tips when riding alone or with a group. Is it safe for a bicyclist to ride on a busy two-lane road without a shoulder? I don’t think it’s a good idea. Imagine the scenario of a cyclist riding along, no shoulder, a car coming behind and one coming from the opposite direction. Someone has to move out of the way. Not a good situation. Ride safely and keep up with safety tips for bicycling in your neighborhood.

Einstein’s bicycle quote can also be applied to blogging. To keep your blogging balance, you must keep moving. If you sit for too long, it’s not a good thing physically. It can cause blood clots. This I know because it happened to my husband. Since then, I have become more conscious of the importance of taking breaks when blogging. Choose bicycling outdoors or a stationary bike indoors. If not a bike, get your exercise walking, jogging, 5k, swimming, or gardening.

 

Categories: Fitness | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

High Desert’s Heat Can Make You Wish You Had a Jacket?

 

 

 

 

 

Can you recall the strange warm weather we had in February this year? I was so frustrated that the High Desert didn’t really enjoy a winter. Sure if you call two weeks of temps dipping into 20s and 30s fulfilling the  required Winter season, then you’re right. Let’s just say it was disappointing.

My closet, especially my coat closet, is full of new coats for the season. Two still have tags on them. I live in So Calif and we’re breaking heat temps for this month!! 93 degrees in Riverside! 78 on my patio in the Mojave Desert, for crissakes!! Talk about the weather never changing… I’d love to see some snow, sleet, rain, even a seagull fly over… anything white so I can wear my new coats!!

Sound a little crazy? Daffy even?  That’s what I wrote about in my blog notes for February. I wanted cold weather; I needed to know the seasons were changing as they were expected to.

No change.

Big Bear flowers

Summer yellow goldenrod in Big Bear

 Now I figure if reverse psychology works so well on children, that maybe, just maybe, I can use reverse meteorology on the Weather.

Who said it can’t be done.

American Indian tribes believed and Rainmakers driving their wagons across the plains believed the weather could be changed. I don’t know what the magic words are or what dance to do, but if I put on a nice parka, and shuffle around the yard a few times, I might attract a quizzical cloud or two.

I know for a fact that hail often falls in summer months due to the disturbance of upper ice-filled clouds colliding with warm updraughts from the desert. I’m seeing a few gather now.

As the summer gets hotter and we’re just now entering the hottest month of August, I’m wearing my poncho and a sweater underneath. The clouds have been building every afternoon. I heard the monsoon weather from Arizona is reaching far into California’s High Desert. Storm warnings are now on the evening news. Do you think it might?

I just came in from wearing my floor-length quilted coat; it’s the one still sporting a store tag. I figure if I keep this up I’ll have snow by September! And even if I don’t get that cold Arctic Blast, we might just get a cold front in two weeks. So mark your calendars.

Now the downside to wearing heavy coats in summer is the amount of profuse sweating that I’m doing. I did plan to lose weight but not this way. And I just noticed the shadows crossing the valley are the type of clouds that will carry ice: I’m sure of it. The upside of wearing coats in summer is that you have “broken them in” — is there a break in time for coats?

storm clouds coming

Dark Clouds over Big Bear

Now that I think of it, rain on my best coat would not be good. I don’t want to ruin it. And I don’t want to send it to the cleaners in summer, that would just be too weird. However, those storm clouds are brewing. Did I hear a rumble?

If you want an icy storm to lead winter into So Cal now, just go put on your newest coat and dance around; it has to be outside, silly. Think of it as a Flash Mob. We can do it!

 Oh, no. I just thought of something I hadn’t considered. By the time winter does officially return to the High Desert, the newest styles will be on the racks. I’ll be wearing the blase last-year styles. My coats will become has-beens, passe, even dare I say, ready for Goodwill.

I’m changing my mind, I’m allowed. I’ll need to write a classified ad: High Fashion Coats & Jackets. Need new homes. Slightly sweaty but still worth wearing to a NASCAR race. If someone spills icy soda on you, the coat won’t mind at all.

shoppers in rain storm

And getting caught in a downpour of icy rain will feel refreshing, right? To the coat and to you.

 

Rusty LaGrange

If you like what you read here, go to A Flair For Words and see my other blogs.

Categories: High Desert Living, High Desert Nature, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Do “Moochers” Tie Your Sales in Knots?

Selling content, whether it’s in a book, CD, DVD, a training program, or content on a blog,  a case study, or for a large web site, has the same inherent problem of facing the “moocher.” You write a piece of advertising hoping to hook a buyer by offering little free goodies: an e-Book; a free article; a discount; an item sent through surface mail, the list is

endless.

The “moochers” seem to troll the streams of opportunity looking for freebies. And while that’s not illegal, it costs time and resources to others who are truly looking for advice or a product you have.

Moochers come in all sizes. They like free stuff. Never mind that the free DVD on raising worms in your backyard is furthest from their mind. They’re just little hoarders.

The problem is that a lot of people, who were not qualified  prospects for those services, would call and demand the free CD anyway.  This wasted the time and money it cost to fulfill these requests  for that free CD.

This is what happened to Bob Bly, a long-time guru in Direct Marketing for large clients as well as  selling his helpful how-to books to entrepreneurs. For him it was worse!

“I resented these freeloaders — big-time. It annoyed the bejeezus out of me, truth be told.

“Why?  These moochers knew I offered the free CD to get copywriting  clients.  They knew they were NOT potential clients — and yet they were  telling me to send the CD because, after all, I had advertised it.

“Recently I changed the offer from a physical audio CD to a  downloadable PDF e-book, so as to eliminate the expense of  fulfilling the requests.  But I had the same problem: non-prospects who had no intention  of buying my paid services mooching free stuff off me.

“This problem is not unique to me, by the way.  It is a universal flaw in the content marketing model:

“Namely, when you offer valuable free content as a bribe to get  response, you generate a lot of response from people who want  the content only but have no interest in your product or service. So, here is my easy solution for stopping these “content moochers”  cold.

“I humbly recommend it to you, too — if you, like me, don’t want to waste time and effort giving away valuable free stuff to people who are not potential customers and never will be.  To get my free e-book, you have to type into your browser the URL of a landing page where the book can be downloaded.

“The landing page copy used to say — ”fill in this form to get your  free e-book” — which to me says anyone and everyone can get it.

“But a few months ago I changed the landing page copy to say —  “fill in this form to see if you qualify to receive this free  e-book.”  This clearly communicates that not everyone is entitled to it.

“You have to qualify. And who decides whether you qualify? I do — based on how you fill in the order form. Importantly, I believe the copy, as worded, frees me from the
obligation to send the e-book to anyone I don’t want to. And I don’t. It’s my call — at my discretion.

“It’s a small thing, but I came to resent the freeloaders who  wanted an e-book that regularly sells for $49 for free.

“So I don’t send it to just anyone any more. It’s only for  prospects I might consider taking on as clients — (or customers we might sell a book to) —  a very small subset of the universe.

“If you are using landing pages to give away free content, and you want to separate qualified leads from freebie seekers, here are a few tips:

** As stated, change “to get” for the phrase “to see if you qualify” — clearly indicating that whether they get the freebie is your  call, not theirs.

** Also have a separate check box they can use to request more  information on your product or service. If they only check the box for the free content and not for more information on what you sell, they are most likely a bad lead and you can act accordingly. Exceptions? Of course.

** Require them to give you their web site. By clicking on it you can instantly see whether they are a real prospect and a good fit for your services.

** If they disrespect you by filling in fields on the form with nonsense or gibberish – don’t respond or send them a thing.

** Make phone number and e-mail addresses required fields. If the information they fill in is fake, again they are not a good lead.”

 

Thanks to Bob Bly’s insight, we can tighten up the sales funnel and make more sales through prospects that are actually interested in the products, books, or services we sell.

Now that makes sense.

Bob Bly, Copywriter / Consultant and author of over 70 books, can be reached at rwbly@bly.com or www.Bly.com
 

Rusty LaGrange

If you like what you read here,
then you can read more at www.aFlairForBooks.blogspot.com
Categories: Blogging, Entrepreneurs, High Desert Writers, Uncategorized | Tags: , | Leave a comment

How to Meet People in a New Community

Feeling alone in a new community without close family and friends nearby is a terrible feeling. Finding the solutions to the loneliness begins when you go where the people are.

When my husband and I purchased a cabin in the High Desert of southern California, I didn’t know people in the community. My mother and mother-in-law had both just passed away. Grief hit and didn’t let up for a long season. Grief and loneliness became too much for me to deal with. Then I happened to read an article about the High Desert branch of California Writers Club (HDCWC) held at Apple Valley’s library the second Saturday of each month.

I went to the next meeting. No seats were available in the back. I had to go up to one of the front rows. Talk about intimidating! They even asked visitors to stand and introduce themselves, including their writing interests or publications.

You might feel intimidated at first like I did at the first HDCWC meeting. It’s okay to feel that way at first. Remember that it’s the beginning of finding solutions to your loneliness. Either you become a hermit or get out and meet people. I got out and met people. It worked, but it took time.

Look around your new community for places that look interesting. Do research online for hobbies you enjoy. Find a 5K to participate in. Visit churches until you find one that you feel is best for you and your family. Join an improv comedy, a scrapbook, or blogging group or start your own. Get involved in the community.

Darwin's A Team, Victorville, CA

Victorville’s Improv Comedy Troupe, Darwin’s A Team

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And there they go!

And there they go!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

High Desert Bloggers, Route 66 Molly Brown's

High Desert Bloggers at Molly Brown’s on National Trails Highway

 

 

 

Categories: Community | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is There No Integrity Among Bloggers?

file0001462552138The topic of this post has been rolling around in my mind for at least the last six months.  For those of you who don’t know me, I am a French lingerie model.  I am 5 feet 11 inches tall, and I weigh 120 pounds.  Because of my success as a model, I am independently wealthy, and I spend about six months of the year living on my Lürssen yacht.  For those of you who know me and are wondering what the &$@# I’m talking about, everything I just said was all a lie.  Of course, since it’s on the internet, it must be true.  Actually, I need to make a correction.  I should say that all of it was a lie except for the part about the topic of the post rolling around the back of my mind for the last six months.

It all started with the Daddy Long Legs who was hanging out on some equipment where I work.  I was vanquishing him with my hands because I had been raised to believe that they were beneficial spiders that would kill poisonous spiders and eat them.  In other words, Daddy Long Legs was a friend.    A co-worker immediately began freaking out because she believed that these spiders were poisonous.  I am by no means a spider expert, but I was certain that my mother would have mentioned to me the fact that they were poisonous if that were the case.  She treated black widows and brown recluse spiders in a very different way than she treated the daddy long legs.  I questioned my co-worker further and she stated that they were poisonous but that they couldn’t bite because of the position of their mouths.  If that was the case, I wondered why she was so freaked out.  Regardless, her opinion about the spider didn’t seem right to me.

When I got home, I did an internet search and discovered the following.  There were a bunch of blogs that solemnly proclaimed her opinion as  fact and to be true.  Some even stated that the venom of the daddy long legs spider was more toxic than the black widow.  When I went to University of California at Riverside’s website, though, I discovered the following.

  1. My mother was correct.  Daddy long legs is not poisonous.  He will eat other spiders and other bugs.
  2. My c0-worker was wrong.  Daddy long legs can bite.  His mouth is in the same position as the brown recluse and we have all heard that Mr. Brown Recluse is certainly capable of biting.  In fact. the bite of the Brown Recluse has been shown to result in tissue death which can result in serious infection.
  3. Some bloggers post anything they want on their websites without regard to the accuracy of the information they present.
  4. There are people like that girl from the State Farm commercial who believe that if it’s on the internet it must be true.

If you don’t believe me or the university, try the MythBusters segment that you can view by clicking here.  (If it’s on TV, it’s true, right?)

So, while I continued to ponder a post complaining about the lack of blog-tegrity (integrity among bloggers to ensure, at least, that their information is correct), life continued.  It was something that my son showed me on his Facebook page that finally spurred me into action.  What he presented to me was a link to the following headline:

HOBBY LOBBY STONES GAY EMPLOYEE TO DEATH.  (Click here to follow the link to the original article.)

As I read this article two things occurred to me.  There was no way this story was true, and it was going to go viral.  It did.  Within a day or two of publication, this article was spreading like wild fire.  Suddenly, many bloggers were weighing in with their opinion.  There were several blogs and internet sites that jumped onto the Hobby Lobby and Christian Bashing bandwagon.  I would link to the specific posts on these sites, but after Snopes.com reported that it was a false claim, many of these posts disappeared.    I was particulary horrified by the post that ranted about what people would say if it was a company owned by Muslims who started forcing their religious views on employees and executing women who didn’t wear hijabs or burqas.  Alas, the post is no more, so I can’t link to it.  All I get when I go there is a page not found message.

I am certain that there are many bloggers out there thanking God for the Move to Trash button on their blog sites.  Unlike the “famously incorrect Dewey Defeats Truman banner headline” published by the Chicago Tribune back in the glory days of print newspapers, bloggers can just erase those embarrassing mistakes.  Maybe that’s why no one bothers to ensure that their posts are accurate.  As I write this, there are still a few comment boards on sites and some Facebook comments that you can find, but largely, the moral outrage over the stoning death of the fictitious Hobby Lobby employee has dwindled.

There is no specific code of ethics for bloggers.  Journalistic integrity includes the expectation “that the journalist will  be as accurate as possible given the time allotted to story preparation and the space available, and to seek reliable sources.”   They also publish corrections when errors are made.  They don’t just move the whole thing to the trash and pretend it didn’t happen.  Perhaps, we, as bloggers,  need to establish our own code of ethics and standards of conduct.  Maybe someone already has, and no one bothers to adhere to it.

As bloggers, I believe that we have a certain amount of moral responsibility.  The things that we report should be as accurate as possible.  When I read that article with my outraged son, I did the following research before I allowed myself to become upset.  I checked to see if  Hobby Lobby had any stores in Arkansas.  I discovered that there were at least 7.  I checked to make sure that homicide was against the law in Arkansas, and I found out that it was.  I checked to see which, if any, of the stores were located in Wilson county, and discovered that there was no Wilson county in Arkansas.  Hmmm….I found two problems with the story–no one was arrested for homicide, and there was no Wilson county.     I was convinced that the story was a lie, but my son required further proof.  (He is young and not nearly as cynical as I am.)

I found the proof he needed on the same site as the original article.  If you scroll down to the bottom of the page, past all the comments, and whatever else there is, you will find a link that says ‘About”.  If you click on that link, you will find the following.

The Daily Currant is an English language online satirical newspaper that covers global politics, business, technology, entertainment, science, health and media. It is accessible from over 190 countries worldwide – now including South Sudan.

Our mission is to ridicule the timid ignorance which obstructs our progress, and promote intelligence – which presses forward.

Q. Are your news stories real?

A. No. Our stories are purely fictional. However they are meant to address real-world issues through satire and often refer and link to real events happening in the world

Everyone, calm down.  Put down the picket signs.  Cancel the boycott.   Hobby Lobby did NOT stone an employee to death.  What is my point in this post?  If you are a blogger, before you promote the spread of outrage based on fiction, check your facts.  Know your sources, and please, have some integrity.  Do your homework, and make sure you’re posting accurate information.  Don’t spread baseless rumors.  Granted, a controversial post can be good for boosting traffic and stimulating comments, but I believe that we should be providing information to help and enlighten people.  I don’t believe that my job as a blogger is to enrage people.  If you’re going to post satirical fiction, make sure it’s clear to your readers that’s what you do.  When you get an idea from someone else, give them credit with a link back to their site.  There’s enough web traffic to share.

 **Patti  can also be found at PattyCakesPantry.com where she tries to limit her blogging to stocking a pantry, budgeting, and recipes.  She isn’t always successful.

Categories: Blogging, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments