Trends in Writing, The Arts, Regional Events, and High Desert Living

Posts in category Blogging

Vintage Gypsies Join “Autumn Basket Give-away”

 

A stunning Oriental Cabinet displays shop's odds & ends

A stunning Oriental Cabinet displays shop’s odds & ends

 

Gypsies now carry their own line of handmade soaps and scented lotions

Gypsies now carry their own line of handmade soaps and scented lotions

Historically, gypsies have been known to travel, so when Vintage Gypsies moved into Old Town district of Apple Valley, the move was well worth it. Reopening last month, Vintage Gypsies displays antiques and collectibles, outdoor décor, and their own line of scented lotions and handmade soaps. Antiques above all else, shoppers stop and gaze up, around, and down to take it all in. “We really do like the extra attention we’re getting. Old Town location is great,” said Becky, during the Grand Opening. She and her partners, Kathy and Kevin, all seem so

 

much happier with their new digs.   Their shop is now in a row of antique shop storefronts facing across from Mollie’s Country Kitchen, on Happy Trails Highway, Hwy 18, Apple Valley at the east end of town. The shop hours are 10-5 Wednesday through Saturday, with Sunday through Tuesday closed. Find them on Facebook, too. Those extra days off  will help them buy, repair, and refresh their inventory of eclectic goodies each week.

Gypsies with basket give-away Dec. 6th    Gypsies with basket give-away Dec. 6th

We’re proud to announce that Vintage Gypsies is also sponsoring our High Desert Blogging’s, first-ever, “Autumn Basket Give-away.” Their basket is full of useable and collectible items, coffee gift card and mug, and samples of their house brand of scented soap and lotion — too many to list here. Stop by when you shop and sign-in to win. No purchase necessary. No tickets to buy. Overall, three baskets will be given-away Nov. 15th and two more on Dec. 6th.

And why is all this happening? Because High Desert Blogging.com and their network of guest bloggers, have grown and helped advance the word of blogging into our local High Desert communities for the past three years. We’re giving back to the communities that supported our efforts.

Just sign up at any of the five vintage businesses listed below, and you could win one of five baskets brimming with antiques and collectibles, comfort foods, and office supplies, and other personal lotions and potions from  many donors.

See Vintage Gypsies listed below, or call (760) 552-5851 or contact them on Facebook.

High Desert Blogging  “Autumn Basket Give-away” Victor Valley area sponsored shops:

  1.  Vintage Gypsies, 21880 Hwy. 18 (across from Molly’s Country Kitchen in Old Town), Apple Valley, CA
  2.  Linda Marie’s Enchanted Treasures, 19222 National Trails Hwy., Oro Grande, CA
  3. Salvaged & Tattered, 19248 National Trails Hwy., Oro Grande, CA
  4. Find Your Ps and Qs Antiques, 15080 7th Street, Suite 11, (near Gridiron Pizza) Victorville, CA
  5. The Desert Cottage, 15451 Bear Valley Road, Hesperia, CA

 Our first three baskets will be given away this Saturday, Nov. 15th between 10:30 and noon at stores #2, 3 & 5. Winners do not need to be present to win.

 Rusty

More news to come…

 

Find Your Ps and Qs Antiques Latest Shop on 7th Street

At Find Your Ps and Qs Antiques Kelli, daughter of owners, admires the Green Room

At Find Your Ps and Qs Antiques Kelli, daughter of owners, admires the Green Room

Scott and Daughter Kelli greet shoppers on the weekends

Scott and daughter Kelli greet shoppers on the weekends

One of the newest antique and vintage shops is Find Your Ps and Qs Antiques. The odd name and the eclectic collections draw in curious vintage shoppers. There’s no disappointment at all. As you wander throughout, individual consignment rooms are filled by the whimsy of the booth renter, the collections become like night and day, antique and repurposed, tattered and loved, collectible and curious. 

 

Scott and Debra Pavone, and their daughters Kelli and Brandi, just hosted their Grand Opening of Find Your Ps and Qs Antiques to a crowd of eager shoppers last month. The owners’ daughters jumped right into the “up cycling” trend and crafts venture of their own, making personalized and themed coffee mugs and tile coasters.

 

Find Your Ps and Qs is also sponsoring our High Desert Blogging’s, first-ever, “Autumn Basket Give-away.” Their basket is full of useable and collectible items. Too many to list here. Stop by when you shop and sign-in to win. No purchase necessary. No tickets to buy. Three baskets will be given-away Nov. 15th and two more on Dec. 6th.

 

And why is all this happening? Because High Desert Blogging.com and their network of guest bloggers, have grown and helped advance the word of blogging into the communities for the past three years. We’re giving back to the communities that supported our efforts.Love pink? Step into the room that honors it.

Love pink? Step into the room that honors it.

 

Just sign up at any of the five vintage businesses listed below, and you could win one of five baskets brimming with antiques and collectibles, comfort foods and office supplies, and other personal lotions and potions from  many donors.

Scott and Debra’s shop is easy to find on downtown 7th street at the renovated Metropolitan Plaza in Victorville. Look for Gridiron Pizza, Find Your Ps and Qs Antiques is to the far right. The shop was formerly a doctor’s or dentist’s office many years ago, and now houses a variety of collections in small rooms and quaint alcoves managed by consignment booth renters or by the owners. Their shop is open 10-5 daily, except for Sundays, call (760) 951-2262 for more info or email FindYourPsandQsAntiques@gmail.com.

High Desert Blogging  “Autumn Basket Give-away” Victor Valley area sponsored shops:

1.      Vintage Gypsies, 21880 Hwy. 18 (across from Molly’s Country Kitchen in Old Town), Apple Valley, CA

2.      Linda Marie’s Enchanted Treasures, 19222 National Trails Hwy., Oro Grande,

3.      Salvaged & Tattered, 19248 National Trails Hwy., Oro Grande, CA

4.      Find Your Ps and Qs Antiques, 15080 7th Street, Suite 11, (near Gridiron Pizza) Victorville, CA

5.      The Desert Cottage, 15451 Bear Valley Road, Hesperia, CA

 

 More news coming…

Rusty

 

Women’s Escape to Catalina Writers’ Retreat

file0001149784476Several others have already weighed in with their opinion of the first women writers’ retreat.  What many of you may not know is the story of how this all came to fruition.  It started with a conversation between two members of the High Desert Branch of the California Writer’s Club.  They were discussing how other responsibilities often kept them from pursuing their true passion, writing.

“Wouldn’t it be great if we could go away to an island where we could write without all of the distractions?” one of the women mused.

Apparently, one of them realized that it is possible to go away to an island, and the Escape to Catalina was conceived.

This women-only weekend was a truly unique experience because it was planned for each of the participants to also be one of the presenters.  There were five women, and this translated to 5 sessions that ran from 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours long.  Each presenter was allowed to choose her own subject which, in retrospect, could have been a recipe for disaster with no one overseeing the overall plan.  Instead of a disaster, the instructional sessions, which included lots of writing, fit together nicely.  It came together so well, one would have thought much more time went into the overall organization.

The first evening was spent learning about the anatomy of a story and all of the components that need to be present in order for a story to come to life.  The second day’s first presentation was about character development and what was required to truly bring them to life on the page.  The instruction in creative non-fiction which followed helped us all realize that non-fiction writing didn’t have to be boring and technical as we learned how to write a recipe as creative non-fiction from the example of a grilled cheese sandwich recipe that was embedded in the description of the first time a future chef climbed onto a chair in her mother’s kitchen to make a sandwich.  A subsequent session spent on voice and style was time well spent because as writers, we need to find our own voice so that we will stand apart from other writers.  The conference closed with Blogging 101, which included excellent instruction about building and maketing your blog.

Between all of these sessions there was time to explore and/or write.    It’s been nearly a month since the return from our weekend retreat, and I am still carrying around the notebook full of notes and ideas that came together from that weekend.  In fact, I began the outline of my NaNoWriMo project during that weekend.  Perhaps it was the presence of  my local area’s NaNoWriMo coordinator that helped to propel me toward that goal.

I am very glad that I was able to escape with my fellow female writers to Santa Catalina Island.  It was time well spent, and I returned feeling refeshed and with my muse reawakened.  The real challenge will be to prevent it from slipping back into a coma now that we have returned to the demands and distractions of daily life.

**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.

Autumn Basket Giveaway by High Desert Bloggers

Autumn Basket Giveaway by High Desert Bloggers

Pumpkins and more for Autumn Basket Giveaway in November

Autumn is an exciting time – cooler weather, pumpkins, candy corn, holidays, pumpkin pie, pecan pie! That’s not all. It’s nearing NaNoWriMo time. High Desert Therese Moore is encouraging all who want to write a book in 30 days to join her for the November writing event.

There’s more. Bloggers at www.highdesertblogging.com and www.meetup.com/high-desert-bloggers are inviting people in the High Desert to enter their Autumn Basket Giveaway(s). The number of baskets to be given away depends on the amount of donations by bloggers and businesses. The more the donations, the more the baskets, the more the winners. Grab this chance to get your business blogged about FREE of charge. Entries can be made at hdblogging@gmail.com by including your name and email address into the subject line of your email. Winners will be chosen by the email addresses sent in. Winners will be announced on Saturday, November 15th.

Items related to NaNoWriMo, Autumn, bloggers’ blog interests, and businesses participating in the giveaway(s) will be added to the baskets. Imagine the fun of winning one of these seasonal gift baskets.

Nina Amir’s book How to Blog a Book will be among the basket items. Nina lists eleven ways to use your blog to become an expert on her website. She offers coaching and training as well.

Now, before you leave this website, go to our email address, hdblogging@gmail.com, and sign up for this fun fall giveaway. Be sure to insert your name and email address into the subject line.

 

High Desert Viewpoint: The Fear of Writing

After cruising the Internet for a few writing resources, I believe I’ve found the major stumbling blocks and their remedies for the dreaded and brain-draining fear of writing. I’ve heard directly from friends who wish to write only to sling up a brick-and-mortar defensive wall with reasons not to write. Is your dream to write caught in a cloud over your head?

 

What fears we face, we face first in our minds.

What fears we face, we face first in our minds.

It might be that English was never a great subject of yours. Or a teacher hammered in the grammar and distilled the frills until you felt your writing had less appeal than an accounting ledger. Just so many rules to remember, and so many hours to invest in a finished product that might receive a weak C+. It happened to me in sixth grade, too. Until Mrs. Gifford pulled me out of the ooze of English muddle and sent me on a better course. I wanted to write from my mind not the English III hardbound textbooks that we lugged around like that albatross.

Fear is lifted to new heights

Fear is lifted to new heights

 

As a professional writer, you may feel that you have a gift, a calling, having never faced a teacher of English or Composition who marked you as a drudgery of their daily life. Only, they hoped you would make it through class, and you hoped for a fire drill.

 

So step forward, 40 or 50 years, past the letter writing, the book reports, the attempt at polishing the resume, and a short stint at prosy poetry — Your reason for writing is clear. It’s because you want to. Some little germ of an idea has been festering for years. It could be that book. It was stepped on and ground into your brain like the creative juice it started from.

Fear is a strong emotion needing stronger conviction

Fear is a strong emotion needing stronger conviction

 

So why now? Because the kids are gone to their new homes, time is running out, time is running too slow? No need for judgment now. Just pick up your favorite … well, any writing instrument or computer screen will do … just write.

 

Sure, that’s easy for me to say. Here’s a few gems gleaned from the Internet and writing gurus across the blogosphere:

 

1) Take on the writer in you with effervescent yet smaller steps. Allow yourself to mull over an idea from all sides. Write it down. Write several pages then stop and see what you’ve done. Not bad. Reward yourself. The process of writing has many facets: an idea, the fleshing out, writing it down, scratching lines out, rewriting what we’ve written from a different angle. It’s all the things you’ll need to do — and do often.

 

Everything is fear until you face it

Everything is fear until you face it

2) Avoid fixing things as you write. Sort of like baking a cake; don’t peek or it will fall. Most new writers are timid in sharing what they write. They want everything perfect first. How can you be perfect before you finish the draft, or even the first chapter? These little tricks you play on yourself will only fall into the hands of the Muse who taunts you. Constantly fixing things will bog down your creativity, slow your writing, and degrade the excitement of why you are finally writing.

 

Outside of the box is outside your comfort zone

Outside of the box is outside your comfort zone

 

3) Use tools like the professionals do. Some like to outline to keep in step to a targeted end. Some like to “mindmap.” Some feel that this method works so much better than outlining and it will give you a more relaxed access to your inner thoughts. You are trying to extract the ideas and place them in a way that leads you on.  You can Google mindmapping for more details but what you do is take one or two key words or ideas, present them on blank paper, then allow your mind to free-flow with thoughts that are linked to these words. Write them down and circle them. Connect lines to a similar thought that grew from the main one. Soon you’ll have a sheet of circled words connected to thoughts that move you on to your next chapter.

 You can create fictional characters in this way, too. By starting with a name, then linking all is attributes that define him. Include the other characters who are related to him. Soon you’ll have a collection of Cast Cards. You can refer to them to refresh your thoughts. I prefer to use index cards. I can write scenes on them, characters on them, and link ideas with them.

 Free Write Friday poster

 

4) Emulate your favorites. Print out a few pages of your favorite blogger, or rewrite several pages from a favorite book. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery so write daily for 30 to 60 minutes each day. Test your brain muscle. Put it through some paces that challenge it. The copy concept is easy: write regularly, practice from others but never claim others’ work as your own. Practice will make the brain see the inner workings of sentence structure, use of adverbs, and strength of phrases connected by verbs. We all have trained prior to doing … anything worth doing. You will see a difference in your own writing that no English III book can cram into your brain. And face it, your brain wasn’t ready back then; now it is.

 

I think that blogging has taken a boost in quality writing due to the short form of it, and the need to be read. Only the better bloggers have a larger following based on quality and specific, focused interest. Usually under 1,000 words, bloggers retain their readers because they offer what a reader wants — high quality, fast read. Finding that target audience is the tough part.

Face it head on and begin writing

Face it head on and begin writing

 

5) Write a lot. There’s not much to this. Just write. I admit that I’m wired to write. I started with poetry in fifth grade, then wrote short stories about my favorite TV characters. Then on to college and writing obits for a local newspaper, then news articles flowed right into journalism. It was all practice, and I don’t feel foolish having gone through those phases. You may not feel “writerly,” as one author said, but you will feel more fulfilled knowing that that novel churning in your head spilled all over the floor and now you have an excuse to pick it up, wring it out, and proceed to write. Come on! Be a writer.

Don't let emotions rule your life

Don’t let emotions rule your life

 Rusty LaGrange

A 3-Hour Ride to Julian’s Cool Forest & Apple Capital

At our ranch we often tire of the summer heat and take a quick ride to Big Bear, one of our favorite day trips from the High Desert.  We say we’re getting our “Fill of green.” Then we’re satisfied and head back to the High Desert and hotter temps.

A quaint an historical Country Inn

A cozy and quaint historical country inn

When the seasons change in the mountains they often cool down much faster than the High Desert. September is the transition month when Julian’s apple production is at its highest. With that come the tourists who love everything about apples. So this time we decided a longer break into the forest just prior to the seasonal change, would be just the thing.

We headed a week before Labor Day, to Julian in San Diego’s high country, Apple Kingdom of the World, or something like that. It’s an historical area known for its apples and goldmines. Say, what?Yup. Julian’s fame is its outstanding core revenue. (excuse the pun) Everything is about apples. All the old storefronts have been kept to appear like the turn of the century, that’s 1900s. Many of the shops and Bed and Breakfast buildings are original to the area. It’s beautiful, friendly, and full of things to do.

Whether you walk the boardwalks of Main Street or drive around to enjoy the narrow streets to view lovely two-story homes planted on the hillsides, Julian is a step back in time. It boasts a large number of restaurants, all with apples on the menu — pies, tarts, cakes, cookies, shakes, ciders, and candies. Many eateries have open patios, pit BBQs, and music on the weekends.

Since we chose to come during the last week of a hot summer, our country inn rates were lower — it was a treat because we usually camp in our trailer. We chose Julian Country Inn, a quaint two-level with six hosted rooms, some with balconies, all with décor of the mining district it catered to years earlier. We felt right at home.

Setting abound with collections from the old mining days

Setting abound with collections from the old mining days

The reason I’m mentioning this is that for a short 3-hour ride, you and your family can take a break and not have to “break the bank.” Rates are nominal for that time of year. Everyone is gearing up for the Apple Season ahead. From mid-September through late November, the town of Julian goes crazy with parades, special programs, apple tasting, and more. If you love that kind of festive activity, go for it now before all the rates go up.

Remember I said gold? While you’re steeped in its history take one of the mining tours. Several gold mines are open for either an ore-cart or train trip, or walking tours.

We chose the Eagle Mine and since it was late afternoon, our group was comprised of only three others. I love tours with so few people because its more tailored to your interests and you can ask more questions. Believe me, I asked a lot. I’m not new to caving or mine tours, but I was intrigued by the family that lived their whole lives dedicated to the mine. Craig was our guide and he was very entertaining as he walked us through. It was fun to hear his stories of playing in the mines when he was growing up. His grandfather owned the property. Craig is just part of mining and he loves telling everyone about it. The gift shop will blow your mind.

For only $10 per adult, and $5 for children up to 13, the mining camp  appears like it must have in the 1920s. To get there, you’ll climb out of Julian for just a few miles. Take 3rd Street and follow the signs.  Call ahead to be sure an Eagle Mine tour is scheduled: (760) 765-0036. The tour is about 50 minutes and the mine is fairly flat with a dirt floor. The old  narrow ore cart rails are still in the ground so you will need to walk between them. Not recommended for folks with limited walking ability or wheelchairs. In many places the mine ceilings are low. Eagle Mine is as true to itself as the Julian folks who live and work there.

I’m always amazed at the tenacity of mining folks and those who commit their lives to surviving in remote  or rural settings. We often think they might be “crazy” but after you’ve

Julian Country Inn

Julian Country Inn offers the solitude of the mountains 

 

been there, it’s true. They have to be crazy!

We finished our visit with a scrumptious Italian dinner at Romano’s back in town, a quiet night at the Inn before preparing to head down to Anza-Borrego’s desert the next morning. It was a great end-of-summer outing and a cool adventure.

Rusty LaGrange

If you like what you see here

check out my other blog posts at:

www.MyRustyBucketRanch.BlogSpot.com

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

 

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

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.

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