Posts Tagged 'Blogging'

Self-Hosted and all in one piece

Last night The Broad Brush moved to self-hosting mode.  It is now hosted at Dreamhost and running WordPress 2.5.1.  There were minimal issues moving to the new platform but all of the posts, pages and comments made it.

I’m looking forward to enjoying the site more as the blog publisher and hopefully you’ll enjoy it more too.  The feed has been shifted here, no need to change a thing if you subscribe via Feedburner.   For everyone else, the blog is now at

Let the party begin!


What I learned about blogging while shopping at American Greetings

     It’s Mother’s Day weekend, so of course that finds me buying a card on the busiest day for it.  My wife was off to buy some clothes while I shopped for her card.  At her suggestion, I chose the American Greetings store.

     Right away I spotted the perfect extra to go with the card, long stemmed crafted flowers.  Picking those up, I also quickly found the perfect card.  One of my best shopping experiences at a card store. This particular store, though small, is well used by us, so I wasn’t surprised at this. What surprised me was the counter experience.

     The young lady behind the counter took the flowers and the card and began ringing them up.  Still things are fine at this point, but then a 2nd counter person takes her place, and she ran off to the back of the store for something urgent.  I’m still good though, as the new clerk finishes ringing me up, and mentions a discount.

     I told her thank you and then went to use the credit card machine. It was hung up. It showed a total but not the one matching what she’d just said, and the credit/debit click spots weren’t working.  We agreed I’d just let her scan the card behind the counter, and I handed it over.  She decided to check the total first.  That’s when it suddenly went down hill.

     The manager showed and um, how should I say this, ‘took over.’  She took my credit card from the other lady and chastised her, and rudely took over at the register.  The manager proclaimed she’d have to re-ring the whole thing and in a loud voice, declared to the clerk, “..if he’s going to argue about it, let’s do it over.”

     Talk about an oh my gosh experience. To watch her treat this other employee rudely was embarrassing for me and the employee, but to be spoken of in the third person and have it stated I was arguing, was almost too much.  Had they not had my intended purchase behind the counter, I’d have walked out immediately.

     I then mentioned to the manager that things were fine and that I had not argued with the clerk.  She uttered something about having re-ring and had the clerk help her ring the items.  The manager then explained to me how she was going ring the flowers and proceeded to do so.  To wrap up the effort, she grabs a stray sticker off the counter, and was about to ring it up for me too.  She then asked if it was mine. It took me a moment to realize what she’d done and was asking, and to add to the confusion, she asked me a few times repeatedly if this was mine.

     Once I realized what it was, I told her no. She completed ringing it out and read me the total.  It was the same as the previous total.  Again the card reader was hung. I showed her the reader.  Her response? A quick lecture about how they couldn’t reboot the reader until there were no more customers, and appeared to shrug and sigh at that, before asking me for my card again.

     I took my receipt from her, signed the slip and left.  And so here we are.  To the lessons learned during my visit to American Greetings.

  • Don’t treat us impersonally or talk about us, we will remember it
  • Don’t treat others rudely, we are empathetic and will feel like you did it to us
  • Your image isn’t what you sell, it’s how you sell it
  • If things don’t work right, it isn’t our fault, and don’t make us feel like it is
  • Overall the experience we have should be one that welcomes us back again

     Though not profound, these are key to how you run a blog or a business.  I find I forget about the overall experience at times.  If I want readers back, they need to feel welcome to be here.

     What have your shopping experiences taught you about blogging or running your own business? How would this experience have affected you? Would you shop there again with other choices?  Share with us.

((* the image is by merfam, and is licensed through Creative Commons))

Bloggers Assemble!

Bloggers Assembled

     It was a rainy Chicago afternoon and evening, on a Spring day in May.  They’d come from all over the United States and the World.  Views and opinions as diverse as their points of origin.  Powers of observation and writing never before brought together were no in one place, on one busy block.

     Who were they?  Superheroes? Power brokers? Yes! They were Bloggers! And they came to take Chicago!  Well, not actually that last part, but it sounds better yes?

     SOBCon08 had drawn bloggers of all types.  Bloggers of politics mixed with technology bloggers as well as mommy bloggers.  Each brought with them not just a desire to learn and be engaged for the weekend, but they came to share, to support, and to blog.  They came to take blogging up a notch.

     Liz Strauss and Terry Starbucker assembled a crew of presenters for a human scale event and it was powerful.  Chris Brogan, Anita Bruzzese,  Chris Garret, David Bullock, Terry Starbucker, Brian Clark, Lorelle VanFossen, and Wendy Piersall talked and presented on blogging and business throughout the weekend.  More than that, they shared deeply about blogging and themselves.  Each poured out tips, tricks and heart during their presentations and off-stage as well.

     The SOBCon08 weekend was jam packed with business and blogging information, but also with fun and friends making.  Shashi Bellamkonda and I have been online friends for most of year but had never met.  Leave it to a blogging conference to us together.  Rick Mahn and I had also been online only contacts for quite a while, this weekend allowed us to share a great experience and become real friends. There was the boat ride, where I took this skyline shot, and enjoyed the music of Christine Kane, and the wonderful dinners with my blogger friends.

     Did I take anything away beyond that? More than I can absorb.  On the mental and supportive side, I realized I’m not alone out there, and these other bloggers, even the most successful ones, are only an email away.  I realized others, yes those big name ones too, struggle at times with their blogs and their businesses.  The support and encouragement doesn’t end with the weekend.  Becky McCray has organized some of us into a biz and blog support and mentoring circle.

     As part of the take away from the SOBCon08 conference, I’ll be changing up things on the blog.  It’ll be slow at first, but hopefully the improvements will be noticeable both to readers and to me.  Also, I’ll be formulating some business plans, goals and more.  Don’t think either that I’ll try to work in solitude.  You, the readers, and you, my fellow bloggers and biz folks, will be on the spot.  I’ll be asking you for guidance, reassurance, and support because of the respect and appreciation I have for you all.

     In summary, the weekend brought me more than I expected, and I can’t express enough in blog posts even how much so. While I make some attempts here though, I’d love to hear from you.

     How did SOBCon08 impact you, your blogging and your business? What will you change?  Or have you been to another conference recently that made a significant impact on your life?  Tell me about it!  I want you to share here, on your blog, or drop me a line.  Don’t blog? I’ll be happy to post your story here.

     Come, tell us about your experience.

SOBCon08 – Where I found more than a blogger

Shashi - geek, blogger, friend
Let me tell you about one of my favorite takeaways from SOBCon08. Shashi and I started out as on the edges of common technologies, now I feel like I’ve gained a friend for life.

It was a pleasure to meet and spend time with him this weekend. What better way to know a man than to share things together.

We shared – learning, laughter, fresh air, excitement, joy, a hug, the skyline of Chicago, we broke bread together, and shared a beer. What better ways to know a man.

What did you share at SOBCon08? What did you take away?

SOBCon Spotlight – Todd Jordan

Hey, that’s me!

     In these days before SOBCon, the team over there is shining the spotlight on some of the attendees.  Today is my luck day. Myself, along with a couple of others, have been given a bit of blog love there.

     Why not stop by the SOBCon blog and check out all of the great folks mentioned there.  Some of them you may already know, and if not, you’re in for a treat. Some of the best bloggers around are attending this one of a kind blogging conference.

   Thanks Liz Strauss and Terry Starbucker.  Can’t wait to see you there.

Should Bandwith Be A Commodity or is it already?

     Melody, at the St. Louis Bloggers Guild, challenges us with the idea that bandwidth may soon become a commodity. The position is reflective of the growing battle between ISPs and big business and the none business user.  The much wrote about Comcast fiasco is but the most notable.

     The article contends that unless laws protecting net neutrality are put in place, many, including bloggers, may have more to think about than content alone.  Bandwidth may become a business expense.  I’d like to contend that for most full time bloggers, it already is.

     Many bloggers today aren’t just posting text.  The age of video blogging and podcasts is upon us.  Sure many of those files don’t have to be stored locally, but if not, and reliable hosting is required, the blogger ends up paying.  The question is not will it become a commodity, but when will tiered bandwidth come into play.

     Telcos already have on and off peak hours for phone calls, and it would appear their current bandwidth strategy would take them along the same path.  Why not charge more for high use during peak hours and a cheaper rate for off peak hours.  Why not charge more for based on domestic versus international traffic.  What’s to say that Comcast isn’t the only one already throttling bandwidth, and not just targeting file sharing.  Melody is right, bloggers might be next, but I’m willing to bet for some ISPs, that sort of traffic guidance is already in play.  If not at the ISP level, I’m willing to bet it’s already happening at many site hosting shops.  Not just cap on total use, but speed based on what your sites content is.

     Is there a law that says you have to advertise all of your products? What’s to keep Dreamhost or other hosts from putting silent caps in place for blogs, and not for businesses?

    Okay, maybe I smell dark shadows type stuff here, but mark my words, it’s already happening on a larger scale than we know.

Your ranting blogger… 

Do go read the original article on the St. Louis Bloggers Guild.

St. Louis Bloggers Guild – A Step Forward

Blog much? Well then you need to hear about this. St. Louis bloggers are joining together to form a first of it’s kind guild.  Writers have a guild, directors have guilds, so why not bloggers?

St. Louis Bloggers Guild is already drawing attention, with write ups in the local media, as well as a swarm of bloggers looking to join.  Why a guild? What’s it got to offer over something like a blog carnival or an online only blogging community?

The St. Louis bloggers Guild is not just about posting all on the same topic, or giving each other a pat on the back, though it can do that too.  It’s about informing, promoting, protecting, and yes, connecting.  Sound interesting yet?

The guild isn’t just about putting fingers to keys, and putting up the posts, it’s about forming a real community.  Not just faceless nicknames anymore, but folks you get to know in a real way.  There will be parties, conferences, blogging fests and more.  Yes even beer on occassion.  I mean heck, we are St. Louis, home of Budweieser!

St. Louis bloggers won’t be hemmed in either.  This isn’t about corralling folks and making them get in line.  It’s about a community hub, and it will take all types.  There’ll be blogs about St. Louis involved, and blogs about parenting, blogs about tech, and blogs about camping, even blogs about cupcakes.

So what’s stopping you from signing up today?  Hey, you can go visit the main page here, or go right to joining up here.

Want just a bit more incentive? How about joining several of us for a little mixer this Saturday night?  Yep, come meet some of us face to face and share a drink or an appetizer.  It’s a party at Atomic Cowboy in St. Louis.  The short story is be there at 6:30 PM. We’ll be the ones chatting it up and acting like bloggers.

Please come out and show your support or if you can’t make it, do drop by the guild website and visit.

See you around the net!

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