A Possibility of Possibilities

The Writers’ Block meetup in Gatlinburg was a blur to me in many ways. One look at this photograph and you’ll see what I mean.

Muxxy and me – Living In The Blur (Image mine)


If you’re ever going to Gatlinburg, you might want to learn the back way in. We arrived late, expecting no traffic and were greeted by a literal throng of touristas milling their way through the main street. Not what we’d hoped for after a four-hour drive that turned into seven and a half hours (thank you NCDOT). Honestly, while we inched our way along the main drag there I admitted to myself that this trip was cursed. We finally grabbed a sub at Geno’s and gratefully hit the sack.

Saturday was a rush. Got to meet folks I felt I’d known all my life.  We had a constructive meeting with @instructor2121, followed by a bit of socializing before most of us headed off to find the bears.

@trishlarimer and I are old and weak and we both felt like we needed a nap. We headed back to our room and took a nap before returning to the cabin that afternoon. The main group was still bear-hunting so we sat around the cabin with @instructor2121. Good guy, that one. I can’t wait for this new project to become public. You folks are gonna love it.

Later on, everyone gathered together and unbeknownst to some of us, @jayna ( @jayna-minime ) prepared an awesome chicken dinner. It was better than Sunday at Grandma’s house.

This was the best trip I’ve taken in more than a decade. I’m kinda sickly these past eleven years. I don’t travel well, so I don’t travel at all. I seldom leave my little town here that is one mile by three miles roughly, so a trip of a couple hundred miles was daunting for me. Frankly: it scared me.

But I was motivated. I wanted to meet @RhondaK. I wanted to meet @GMuxx. I wanted to meet @SirCork. I wanted to meet @Anarcho-Andrei. I wanted to meet @jayna. I didn’t know @enginewitty would be there but I am sure glad I got to meet him. And the others who were there as well. (I know I always seem to leave folks out. I’m sorry–it’s age. I shoulda took notes.)

The point is, I was motivated to be there. Because these people are some of the very best of what humanity has to offer the universe right now. Because at my age, it’d be so easy to become that angry old man screaming at everyone to leave him alone. ***Get off my lawn!*** I don’t want to be that guy. Ever.

Living with chronic illness it’s easy for me to forget that there could be a future worth my while. Then I see these people–these *steemians*–and my heart is lifted. My disposition mediated. My outlook brightened. My future, once more a possibility of possibilities.

 @sk43, @rhondak, @instructor2121, @anarcho-andrei, @ladymaharet, @jayna, @gmuxx, and @catherine813 (photo stolen from Gmuxx without permission)

@enginewitty and @instructor2121 (Image mine)

And for them, and for what they’ve meant to my life so far, I am forever grateful. Thank you all.

Building and Managing a Web Presence


Building and managing a web presence is all about managing your reputation. Now, and in the future even more, the first face your new fans are going to see is a search result. Or a tweet, or whatever crazy name some kid in California comes up with in the next generation of the web.

It doesn’t matter what the tool is called, it’s going to be a web tool. And that means you need to be there. Not just with a digital home, but with a real human presence. Today, anyones can hire a tech-junkie to automate a web presence with fake robot tweets, scraped (stolen) blog posts and spammy comments on websites. And any real human can see right through it.

A properly managed web presence is built on four pillars, which form a framework for activity that allows for staying current and relevant.

1. Monitor current trending topics and participate in those conversations that are relevant to you.

Use several web technologies separately and together to monitor any activity on the web for a given topic. On any given day expect to receive alerts from twitter, linkedin groups, and the web in general, including both news sources and industry blogs.

2. Establish reputation for rational well-thought and well-written commentary on current topics.

Using recent alerts and activity as a guide, visit influential websites around the web and join the conversation. The goal here is always to offer relevant commentary and whenever possible, offer some genuine, real-world help to solve a problem.

3. Identify emerging trends early to become identified with the beginnings of those trends – establish thought leadership.

Over time try to identify which emerging trends will most likely become mainstream. By joining the conversation near its beginning, it’s possible to become associated with the conversation and looked to as a leader of the conversation.

4. Identify important future trends and create conversations around those trends.

It is important to cultivate a genuine leadership position once it has been attained. By nature, social leaders are the ones who recognize and act early. It will be up to you to keep a thoughtful eye on the future, so you’ll know which conversations to start.

The Bottom Line

Reputation is an elusive thing – building a good one takes sustained effort over time. In the end though, it’s as simple as what folks think and feel about you. That is who you are, to them. If they have no real presence to base their opinions on, they will probably still form an opinion.

A properly managed web presence helps to ensure the reputation you want, positioning yourself as a de facto leader in your chosen field and establishing a real rapport with both current and potential contacts. While true that successful management comes with a high price tag, the benefits are worth far more than the cost.