The best of Keeping It Real week one

If you’ve been following along, you know I’m working on a 30 Day Challenge. And I’m behind but that’s what it is; I’m not going to shove paying work to one side while trying to push out some form of a blog post every day. Today’s post is directly from the Challenge and I’m interested in seeing what sort of response I get from this format; a couple of days ago, I did a personal Weekly Wrap Up. Here is a ‘best of’ post to recap the posts from the same time period.

The week started at after I’d just freaking had it with all the ways and places I had to touch in order to update my Apple ID. I still haven’t fixed the iPad’s iCloud account… Never ever change your Apple ID. It’s hard.

I fixed my jeans was a fun little post about accountability. And, I suppose, about fiber. I wrote it AFTER My Three Words but because I’d actually started the draft before, my blogging app posted it in that order.

I love the way the header picture behaves on My Three Words. When the page first loads, the word MY is all you see. Scroll a bit and the woman’s skyward eyes show up. And yes, this was an important post about my intent at exploring concepts and practices of ‘confidently,’ ‘fiber,’ ‘ and ‘accountable’ during 2016. You should read it if you missed it before this.

My Editorial Calendar came in to being with So that’s how this works.

I started a ritual of doing a personal weekly roundup post from this website. Added it to my calendar, too. And the more I look at the title, the more I see weed killer…

And finally, on January 5, I feel a coldness coming on warned you of my cold (KEEP AWAY!) and my busy day on Wednesday. Which it was.

And that was the week’s posts! I’m pleased with the start I have made. If you would like to get this recap as an email in your inbox, sign up below. But I have to warn you, I’m not necessarily going to be creating one of these on a regular basis for this website. So by signing up below, you are also agreeing to receive similar emails from Rochester Fiber, my website about local Southeast Minnesota fiber people, farms, shops and events. That is where I want to return my attention and energy.


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I feel a coldness coming on

I’m sure it was just a matter of time before I came down with the sniffles – I’m surrounded by people who are getting through and over the winter cold. It’s almost nine at night and I’ve been pretty much on task all day (other than meals. I read during meals which is wonderfully recharging for me).  So this is NOT going to be a very long nor very good post for the day.wpid-wp-1424797314478.jpg

It’s OK for this website. This is my vanity blog, my website for whining and crowing and just sharing things. Like this picture of my cat. Meet Boo-Bear, my old man cat that is just a grump with the other cats, and a grump about getting his way, and a grump about me sleeping on my own bed when he thinks it’s past time for me to get up so he can claim that space. He curls up most days right where I sleep, snoring softly. At this moment he’s staring at me; it must be past time to feed him.

I’m not sure this sort of chatty post is going to go well on my professional website unless it’s on topic. I’ve selected the specific keyword phrases for that website now, and yeah…if I have a chatty post about a fiber event or a dyeing experiment, I think that will be fine. It can’t be all I offer. There needs to be meat to go with this salad, right? What do you think? Do you have a professional or business website, and if so, do you allow yourself to be conversational? Sure, no cats UNLESS they are cutely involved in the yarn in some way. Like this one!cats and string

Tomorrow is a pretty long day too. It starts with a WordPress meetup at 7 am and ends at the library at 7:30 pm. And that’s OK, too.



Let it snow!

This is my post about the December 28, 2015 Snowstorm in Minnesota. Others will also write posts (and there will be weather broadcasts and tweets and Facebook posts) but this one is mine.* I’m sitting at my desk at the end of a mostly inefficient day, rather bummed at myself for not having more billable hours and for not keeping a better track of what I’ve been doing so I can see where my time is going.

Meh. So…I slept until 8. Drank coffee and messed around with Facebook until 9:12 when I realized what I was doing and got up for a piece of toast and the dishes. Came back and finished a contract and got that in the mail. Wrote a letter and emailed it. Wrote up a grocery list for Van. Did yoga, showered and had lunch….(there are social media interludes in and around all of this, btw. And the 10-15 minutes add up!) Came back, found something I did not like on a website and fixed it, touching several programs including Photoshop on my Mac. Downloaded Photoshop on my PC while fixing soup and doing the dishes again. Fussed about the weather on Facebook cause the snow was starting to fall. Filled out some paperwork in a program I’m taking part in -this took 45 minutes or two Pomodoros. Hammed up the soup again. And that’s not really enough.

Time just rushes by and I try to be structured but it’s certainly not easy to stay on task.

So….The soup was an improvement pot of the soup I made two days ago – a traditionally crafted ham and bean soup from a recipe followed to the letter. It was bland. I put it all back in the pot, added more ham bone and boiled it to make the beans mush and it was lovely. I’ve since added more ham, two more cans of beans, some carrots and onions, and have again brought it all to a bean-mushing boil. House is warm from the humidity and the smell is wonderful. Something about a snowfall makes me want to start an everlasting soup pot that gets all the goodies from each meal, gets rounded out every so often by an infusion of mushrooms and onions. Tonight is steak and potatoes and those leftovers will add some serious depth to my soup pot.

Van is the one broiling the steak outside! He moved the grill to a covered area so at least he’s not fighting snow coming on top of the steak. I’ll do the potatoes.


I have to say in my defense that posting takes time. I needed some images, for example, and nothing really drew me in on Adobe Stock. That meant boots and coat and finding the camera. Stepping on the cat trying to get outside. Stomping around and wondering if grilling was such a hot idea after all. (he’s heading out right now, though) Pulling all the images off the camera and deciding on the ones I want; I’m not going to try to edit the chosen two. Then there is editing text and rewriting. I believe this short post took me about an hour.

Still I’ve calculated what I need to do to make a go of my business. Now that the holidays are over, I really need to buckle down, shovel *snow* out of the way and do those things.


How to build social communities that drive meaningful traffic…

Am also sitting next to Michelle Davies, who contributes to NEPA Blogs…here we go!

Second session! Building organic communities that work! By Adam Dince, who is human (he just said so!). Graduate of St. Kate’s MBA.

Vanity metrics, such as likes, are just ‘high fives’ and don’t mean it caused a person to do something. And there is a lot of noise out there.

In 2014, Adam discovered TwitterChats. Hash-tagged scheduled conversations.

How to cut through the clutter:

  1. get a twitter account.
  2. Set up a twitter chat – look up #SpoofChat. Adam told us a great story about his group, which has gone viral, and has been asked to AppleBees just to run their twitter chat at the restaurant. Brands come to them and ask to do corporate sponsorships, media interviews, inclusion in influencer network, and most important gives back and lets them help people. Fantastic resume builder. New business leads specific to your work.
  3. 20151114_104636
  4. Slowly move from twitter to other social networks and offline.
  5. Be a good citizen.
  6. Act as a CommunitySource content leader

What are your professional goals? write them down before you open your TwitterChat. And try to be authentic.

Once you find a twitter chat hashtag, copywrite it or otherwise protect it. ( missed what he called that….) Storify = transcripts of your chat conversation for your website.

Response to FaceBook Zero is to repost (share) a FB Page on your personal page.

I’m posting this now – so I can listen. Good speaker.




7 trends that impact every blogger in this room

Ok, so I want to capture my notes here on this website. This is my second attendance of this conference, and has been fun so far. I found Guy and are meeting some interesting people.

Arik Hansen is the first speaker for me –

#1 Content shock means there is an infinite amount of content out there and we’ve only got so much attention/ability to focus. Time to get away from the List Posts, the “21 ways…” the “7 vital things….” So instead, zag while everyone else is zigging. Blog about your perspective, your unique take on whatever it is you are involved in doing.


#2 Tech RSS is dead. Email Newsletters are alive and thriving. Twitter is destroying RSS, btw. And newsletters are ‘the holy grail of communication’ and an opportunity to start and nurture relationships. Send out once a week.

#3 Strategy. Content syndication = new readers! So send things to other content sites, such as LinkedIn. Syndicate my posts via LinkedIn Publish, for example. What are the others? I need to research this. Medium is another place. Ragan’s PR Daily. Twitter….? (Arik didn’t pull all of these syndication places out, I’m also brainstorming). Things to think about – Ravelry?

#4 Design. The Rise of the DIY Visual Tools, like Canva. Create a style guide for your website and stick to it. Hire it out if you need to; don’t waste time running in circles.

#5 Social Sharing isn’t what it used to be. Even the top bloggers are are getting tons of views and very few shares; sharing via Dark Social (sharing options we can’t track) is masking the shares. Snapchat and FaceBook shares. Email sharing. Behavior is shifting. So readjust expectations (era is done), maybe remove the Share icons on your site (and get that page space back), and forget ‘success theatre.’

#6 Brand. Blogs are starting to look less like blogs and more like the simplified web. Jungles in Paris has a huge splash image and a ‘hamburger’ menu. (what? hamburger?). Check it out and consider resigning my own websites.

#7 Tech. Social commenting may be dead. Look for the article on Copy Blogger. Behavior changes as people move more to FB and Twitter and LinkedIn and other dark social. And that makes me laugh, thinking of FaceBook as Dark Social.

Tomorrow is Minnesota Bloggers Conference!


I’m going to this thing tomorrow at St. Catherine’s University. There’s guilt, cause I’ve been a bad blogger and haven’t made the time to write. And yeah, I *could* blame FaceBook and the wonderful people I talk to there, but frankly that’s a crock and a cop-out.

But whatever. I can change!

Hundreds of bloggers will be gathered for the 6th Annual Minnesota Bloggers Conference tomorrow and I’m going to be my charming self and tell people about me and about my business. I’m going to try to connect with people who will inspire me to be authentic and to write more consistently. And yes, I’m going to live-blog parts of it, maybe the entire thing. Why not? I got the tools and I bet if I tell people what I’m doing, they will let me take their picture and we can put links in to their sites.

It will be fun!

This conference has a lot of sessions about talking to clients and companies, organizing content and the content creation process, legal issues, and more but I can’t get to everything. I’ve looked over the schedule and those are the topics I’m going to concentrate on getting to this year. And the day starts early; Van suggests I plan to leave at 7 to get there by 8:30. It will be a long wonderful day.