Tag Archives: blogs

Meeka’s Mind is 8!

Blogs are strange beasts. Sometimes they start with a bang and fade away to nothing, and sometimes they start with one, lonely voice and grow into a home.

Meeka’s Mind has been my home for the past eight years, and I’d like to thank everyone who’s ever popped in to say hello, or simply came looking for information and left a ‘like’. You guys are the reason this blog is still going strong.

You are the reason I still love blogging. All the very best for 2020!

-massive hugs-

Meeks


How can you not like what I like?

At an intellectual level I’ve always known that being an individual entails being different to others, at least in some respects. And yet…despite age, and enough life experience to sink a ship, I keep expecting others to like what I like. In other words, I keep expecting them to be like me.

Every time I write about a book I’ve loved, or a glorious vista, or a piece of music that moved my soul, I expect that you will feel the same way. And I’m rarely wrong. The individuals who gravitate to this blog and become friends are, by and large, like me. Thanks to the power of social media, you are my kindred spirits. 🙂

By definition, a kindred spirit is someone like oneself, and on social media it happens when people are drawn to each other via shared interests. Think iron filings to a magnet. The degree to which we ‘stick’ depends upon the number of interests we share.

This filtering process happens in the real world too, but at a much slower rate because we can only physically interact with a small number of people at a time – family, friends, neighbours, colleagues at work etc. Plus there is no guarantee that the people we do meet will be sympatico.

And right there is one of the most wonderful and dangerous aspects of social media – the ability to consistently give us what we want.

Why? Because most of us want to belong. We want to be with people who make us feel warm and fuzzy and good about ourselves.

This is how social media bubbles form. But feeling good about ourselves involves a value judgement about what ‘good’ actually means. Even if you never consciously question your own likes and dislikes, you recognize them in others and automatically judge them to be ‘good’.

And I’m no different. I believe I’m a good person, so I can’t help believing that people who share my values are good people too.

But if we are the good people, what of the others? What of those who don’t share our values? Are they the bad people?

My head says “Of course not!” My heart says “Maybe”.

Every time I log in to Twitter and read a comment distorting some fact or praising something I consider to be ‘evil’, the anger says “Bad person, bad, bad!”

And then the shame sets in because I know that person isn’t bad. I know that if I got to know them through some other area of life, I’d probably think they were okay.

How do I know that? Because I’ve lived it. Many years ago when I lived in a shared student house, there was a girl there with a very abrasive personality. I didn’t like her one little bit. Then one day, to my shame, I discovered that the abrasiveness was just a facade to protect the sad person underneath.

More recently, I’ve discovered that many of the right wing panelists on The Drum [see footnote 1 at the end of this article] aren’t right wing about all topics. In fact, I’ve often caught myself marvelling that someone with those political affiliations could be so open to, for example, action on climate change, or same sex marriage or some other supposedly left wing issue.

I’m a left wing progressive, but I don’t intend to turn this post into some kind of pseudo political rant. Instead, I want to hammer home the fact that expectations based on social media bubbles are dangerous.

We humans are hardwired to generalise. It’s a powerful mental shortcut that allows us to make snap decisions based on just a few facts. This ability would have been a real survival mechanism back in the days of the woolly mammoth. These days? Not so much because thinking in generalities often substitutes for thinking, period.

Sadly, social media bubbles reinforce those generalities just when we should be questioning everything, starting with our own assumptions. We need facts, and we need to call out untruths, but we need to do so with courtesy because that ‘other’ person is more like us than not.

In years to come, people will look back on this era of social media and shake their heads at how bad the ‘wild wild west’ really was before it was tamed. In that yet-to-be-realised future, individual privacy will be protected by law, anonymity will not be allowed, and social media companies will face the full force of the law if they’re found to have manipulated their users.

But we’re not there yet.

cheers

Meeks

Footnote 1 : The Drum is a current affairs show on Australian TV. It’s part of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation [ABC] and funded by taxpayers. As such, its charter requires that it be unbiased. That’s why the panelists on The Drum are chosen to be inclusive, and represent as many interest groups as possible, including people of both the left and right political persuasion.


Indie Book Month — Promote Your Books

I met a lot of my closest online friends via books. I’ve also read a lot of wonderful books through my friends. Here’s hoping that Charles French’s generous initiative helps us all find new books, and new friends. 🙂

 

via Indie Book Month — Promote Your Books


Blog vs newsletter

One of the Ten Commandments of marketing is ‘thou shalt have a newsletter’.

The idea behind it is that people who subscribe to a newsletter automatically care about you, your product or the service you provide, so the newsletter helps you communicate with these dedicated people.

But I’ve always wondered why you would bother if you already had a blog?

The people who come to my blog do so of their own free will, and there is no obligation on their part to Like, Comment or Follow. Yet many of them do, so I’m already communicating with them. How is this any different to a newsletter?

In the interests of fair play, I have to admit that:

  1. I rarely read the newsletters to which I am subscribed [but I do visit blogs that I follow].
  2. I abhor the lack of privacy and the assumption of entitlement to data that is practised by the companies that provide free newsletter functionality [the owner of the newsletter may not abuse subscriber data but the companies do].
  3. And I’m lazy, meaning that I can’t imagine where I’d get the time and energy to create yet more worthwhile content for a newsletter.

For all of those reasons, I don’t have a newsletter, but I do still feel guilty about not having one, especially when I read articles by successful writers who swear by them… 😦 Then again, those same successful writers also have the money to spend on advertising of one sort or another, so I’m not sure the efficacy of newsletters is that black and white.

Anyway, my questions to you are:

Do you have a blog alone, and is it a successful form of marketing for you?

Do you have a newsletter alone, and is it a successful form of marketing for you?

Do you have both a blog and a newsletter, and have they been more successful together than either one alone?

I won’t ask about advertising because I don’t want to sound as if I’m asking people how much money they have to spend. I’m old fashioned like that. But if you have any other insights, on anything at all, I’d love for you to share.

cheers

Meeks

 

 

 


Amazon #LookInside – how to install it

Part 2 of my Amazon LookInside article is now live on Indies Unlimited:

Amazon’s New ‘Look Inside’ Feature for Blogs and Websites [Part Two]

The LookInside feature allows you to turn static images of your books [or anyone else’s books] into portals that allow visitors to read the LookInside excerpt that goes with the book.

Part 2 is a step-by-step guide to installing the feature onto WordPress.com blogs.

cheers

Meeks


For the blogger who has everything – the Liebster award. :)

candy's liebster awardI haven’t done an award post for a very long time because I sort of ran out of things to say. Then along comes Candy’s Monsters with some interesting new questions, and I’m drooling to get started. Who am I to ignore my inner me? lol

So thank you for nominating me Candy! This Liebster is for those blogs with under 1000 followers. I know a lot of us qualify there, so if I nominate you and you choose to pass on the love, please pass it to blogs that aren’t blogging mega stars already.

Okay, here are Candy’s eleven questions, and my slightly irreverent answers. 🙂

1: Do you dance?

Frequently…around the kitchen. I did learn classical ballet as a kid, but apart from still knowing how to suck my stomach in, on occasion, I couldn’t pirouette to save my life.

2: If you could go back in time and talk to yourself, when would you “drop by” and give sage advice?

This one really made me think. My first thought was that I have no regrets, so what would I whisper sage advice about? And then it hit me! Sage advice comes in many flavours, and not all are medicinal. If I could go back and whisper something to my younger self it would be “Don’t rush through this glorious moment.  Savour it. Treasure it. Remember it!”

3: What book do you remember from your childhood?

Just the one? That’s impossible. I remember Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books, and another one she wrote called, I think, The Wishing Chair. I remember Peter Pan and Swiss Family Robinson and Grimm’s Fairytales and Greek myths and Dot and the Kangaroo and The Once and Future King and Mary Poppins…. Books are like chocolate, you can’t just stop at one. 😦

4: With an unlimited budget and a month to spend on a vacation, where would you go?

This one is easy – Japan! I’ve wanted to visit Japan since I was about ten and fell in love with The Samurai on TV.

5: What was your dream job when you were eight?

I didn’t have one. 😦 Boy, kids grow up early these days. When I was eight, the next term of school was eternity…

6: Captain Kirk or Captain Picard?

Hah! Mr Spock of course.

7: What’s your preferred fiction genre?

Another easy one – science fiction. 🙂

8: What was the best birthday present you ever received?

Strangely enough, this was an easy one as well. For my 40th birthday, dear, dear friends organized [and paid] for me to be chauffered to the restaurant where we would be having lunch. In a Porsche Carrera. My husband knew about the big present but I didn’t, so he sent me out into the driveway, ostensibly to see if our friends had arrived yet. They hadn’t, but this glorious Porsche convertible had. The driver was leaning against the car. He looked up at me, and I knew. And I cried. You see everyone who knows me knows that I’ve had an unrequited love affair with Porsche cars since my early 20s. Unrequited because up until my 40th birthday I had never even sat in one. Nothing beats my memory of that hour long drive. 🙂

9: What is your most memorable Halloween costume?

Nada. Zip. Nothing. 😦 Australia is only just starting to catch on to Halloween fun.

10: What’s your favorite city?

Paris. Just thinking about it makes me smile.

11: Are you an adventurous eater?

Hmmm… I’ve eaten frog’s legs and snail [French style, not straight from the garden], kangaroo and crocodile, but I don’t think I could stomach crispy fried locusts, or haggis, so maybe not that adventurous.

Now it’s my turn to nominate some lovely blogs.

Allergic to my life battle
Anelephantcant
Anne Lawson
AV Carden’s Blog
A spoon full of sugar

The more observant amongst you may notice that all my nominees begin with ‘A’… Well no, that was not laziness on my part. I’m following so many great blogs. How do I choose just a few? Next time I’ll nominate the ‘B’s. X, Y and Z may be tricky but I will persevere!

[Note to self : don’t forget to inform the nominees that they have been nominated]

And now to my questions to the nominees! Mwahahaha… -cough-

1. Which is the movie you have hated most in your entire life? [If you can’t think of a movie you may substitute a TV show]

2. Which is your least favourite colour?

3. How superstitious are you?

4. If you could change yourself into one fictional character, who would it be? [You can gender swap or even choose an animal – e.g. Lassie]

5. Which animal would you NEVER have as a pet?

6. You are abducted by aliens and you’re told to choose one plant to save out of all the possible plants on earth. Would you choose wheat, rice, sugar cane, or the cocoa plant?

7. Which is the worst make of car you have ever owned? [If you don’t drive you can nominate some form of public transport]

8. If you had to choose between a Da Vinci painting, or one by Picasso, or Van Gogh, which would you choose?

9. Would you rather play chess against a computer, or Solitaire?

10. Red wine, white wine, beer or spirits?

11. If the zombie apocalypse hit tomorrow, what would you take with you into your bunker – a tablet full of music or a kindle full of books?

A lot of those questions are tongue in cheek, but I am interested in the answers so please feel free to give your answers in comments – whether you were nominated or not!

Okay, the last thing I’m supposed to do is tell you all some little known facts about myself. To be honest I can’t really think of anything that would be very interesting. I mean, do you really care that I hate brussel sprouts with a passion? Or that oysters in any form make me gag?

Thought not. So how about telling me some little known fact about yourselves instead? Let’s have some fun!

cheers

Meeks


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