Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category

There are a few sites which I follow so I thought I’d give a brief explanation as to why any readers of this site might be interested in checking them out.

For anyone who doesn’t know, Ken Segall was the marketing guy behind the phrase ‘Think Different’ for Apple back in the Steve Jobs days. His blog can be found here.

To be fair I know very little about marketing, I come across it in my day-to-day work, but it’s always marketing on the cheap. Its pushing a product at a seasonal time and usually very localised. Nothing like the world that Ken moves in. So what’s it got to do with me and being middle-aged?

Firstly, its genuinely interesting and if you believe one should always be on the look out for new interests then this is well worth picking up on. Read his ‘Insanely Simple’ book too, it’s a fascinating insight into Apple at the time he was working with them. There has been so much written about Apple and Steve Jobs, this one at least has the kudos of someone who was there at the time and was involved in the process.

Secondly, I just can’t help it – I’m a bit of an Apple fanboy (well fan-middle-aged-guy I guess). I find their products and strategies absorbing. Granted, its more from a consumer’s point of view but that doesn’t lessen my interest. I try (with varying degrees of success) to keep up to date with consumer tech of interest to me and Apple make that easy for me. iPod, iPad, iPhone, iTunes – yep guilty on all counts.

Thirdly, its given me an appreciation of marketing which I didn’t have previously. He has a fair number of posts about Apple ads and Samsung ads and to hear how a top-level marketing exec explains them has opened my eyes. Not least to my own employer’s rather limited marketing and how the guys working there are asked to work miracles with a budget of buttons.

His recent post has been a comparison between Apple and Samsung’s holiday period adverts. The Apple one is a bit emotive, pulls at the heart-strings but I still like it. The Samsung one is shocking in so many ways. I just cringed all the way through it. It’s quite astounding that a company this size with so much revenue at their disposal for advertising manages to shoot themselves in the foot with a truly awful advert for their new smart watch. My immediate reaction to the advert is to never buy any of their products again or at least think twice before I do. Ken also manages to articulate all the things that spring to mind so well.

It’s well worth a follow for anyone interested in marketing and/or Apple. Updates tend to be every couple of weeks or so, but they are always well written and researched.

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I guess there are many different reasons why people blog. But a significant one has to be ‘I want others to read my output’ – otherwise we’d just keep a notebook instead. Gaining followers and getting posts ‘liked’ isn’t the be all and end all, but I have to admit I was quite pleased when I got my first ‘like’ and my first ‘follower’.

However it’s when I look a bit closer at who these people are I start to question whether they have genuine interest in anything I might write or not:

storiesformuslimkids is now following Avoiding the Crisis – by the Mid-Life Male

Vincent Egoro liked your post on Avoiding the Crisis – by the Mid-Life Male

The post referred to was my last one featuring an image saying being fat wasn’t genetic – its down to being lazy. Yes, there was humour but it wasn’t exactly inspiring to the religious.

Neither of the above blogs have any interest in what I write, they ‘follow’ or ‘like’ me in the hope I’ll visit their site and do the right thing. You ‘followed’ me, so I’ll ‘follow’ you. Well, bollocks to that. If your site is about pushing religious rubbish served with a large dollop of morality then it doesn’t matter how often you ‘follow’ me or ‘like’ my posts I’m going to have nothing to do with promoting your site. “But Mr Male,” you may say, “by even mentioning these sites you are in fact promoting them, you have succumbed to their devious underhand marketing. You have fallen for their technique – you’re a sucker!” Up to a point I’d have to agree. But my defence will be examining these two sites and offering a critique of them (which bearing in mind how much they like me already, they will no doubt consider invaluable) will let me redress the balance a little. And after I’ve dealt with these two I won’t bother to mention any others. So onto exhibit A…

Storiesformuslimkids – Well, you have to hand it to them they don’t exactly try to hide what they are about. The title does tell the whole story. They have 1515 followers (as of now anyway – and I’m definitely not one of them). Simply put this is a site focussing on the nicer side of being a Muslim. Don’t judge others, be considerate etc. But mostly its down to ensuring the youth of today follow blindly the religious doctrine of the previous centuries. The site has bright colours, jokes (none of which are funny) and favourite religious quotes. I think my least favourite part was the motivational offering entitled ‘Dear Sister’ which depicts a girl being told how ‘we’ appreciate the difficulties of wearing a hijab and why we are so proud of her choice to do this and why its good and how Allah is proud of you and you’ll get your reward in the afterlife etc etc. Just cheap manipulation, nothing about why you have to wear it and why only women have to cover up etc. I searched for the Dear Brother equivalent where he can wear whatever he wants but couldn’t find it, wonder why. Pat on the back from your betters and don’t ask any questions. That’s a good girl. Perpetuate the myth that sexism is a good thing, move along nothing else to see. It’s just doctrine, nothing else and with no value to any one capable of thinking for themselves. Don’t waste your time on this site.

Vincent Egoro. Vincent hails from Nigeria and is offering the benefit of his wisdom in such key areas as Personal development, relationships and Motivation through Christ. A quick perusal of his site tells me Vincent is a pretty serious guy. He just loves offering advice and has a handy biblical reference or quote for any situation. If you were ever at a party Vincent is the last guy in the world you’d want to end up being stuck with. He advises us to count our blessings (sorry, I’d rather watch Fast & Furious 6 if you don’t mind), how we should make Xmas a habit (Sorry Vincent, that much turkey any more often than once a year would kill my waistline) and how we shouldn’t worry about anything as God will take care of it. I have to suggest to Vincent that when the roof needs repaired or the credit card bill arrives then God is somewhat MIA and instead its back to how the Lord helps those that help themselves. I’m sure Vincent means well, but having checked out his blog once its never going to get another look from me.

So no ‘likes’ and no ‘follows’ from me unless I actually like what you write and would be interested in reading your other opinions. If all you are trying to do is boost your own traffic by ‘liking’ something I have written in the hope that I will do the same for you, don’t bother – I won’t. Lets just agree to finish with, if you don’t waste my time I won’t waste yours.

Oh and one last thing, what I would give for a ‘dislike’ feature, that would be way more fun.

Being 47 years of age it was quite straightforward to wake up one morning and think ‘I’m going to write a blog about my version of middle age’. OK, not really. For some time I’ve liked the idea of blogging. A couple of attempts include a World of Warcraft site and a site about trying to get fitter. I lost interest in WoW and my views on fitness changed a lot over the months I wrote about fitness and I ended up being miles away from what I originally thought so I called it quits on those.

As anyone reading this will already have worked out I have very limited skills as a writer and I certainly have enough in my life already to stop it ever becoming anything more than a pastime. I have been looking around for sites about middle age for guys and found little I could relate to. Most seemed to be from a female perspective. The few male ones I did find were about people with far different outlooks to me and the rest were offering to sell me ‘help’ getting through it. But here’s the thing, I’m pretty happy where I am. Sure life can always be better, but I’m looking to enrich my life not lament over times gone by. Could I find any sites like that – not a single one. Hell, I’ll write my own. Who knows, perhaps some one else may be interested in it, kindred spirit perhaps? I can’t be the only guy out there that thinks yeah I’m in my 40’s and pretty cool with it.

I have some experience of this mid-life thing. So I think I have all the qualifications necessary on that score. Next, just writing and laying my thoughts out in this way is a chance to reflect and decide what I want to focus on and what the next goals should be. It should keep me mentally active too. Keep moving or stagnate, and that’s not just a physical thing, it applies mentally too.

Why now? We’re coming to the end of 2013 and I always end the year thinking about how its gone, what’s worked out well and what could have gone better. I also start thinking about the coming year, what do I want to do and one of things that is high up the list is coming up with a reasonable blog. Definition of ‘reasonable’ in my book is something I am happy with, even if no one else notices it as long as I’m happy with it that will do me just fine.

I’m also starting to find technology more daunting than in the past. I think that’s inevitable. I can remember my parents trying to program the VCR (yeah kids, go Google VCR or look in your local museum) with stark terror in their eyes. I’m not quite at that point (yet, gulp!) but writing a blog will give me chance to play around with software I’m not too familiar with and hopefully get better with.

So going into a new year with some new goals seems a good time to start. Crisis, what crisis?