My Favorite Facebook Trend of 2010: Getting People to “Like” Your Fan Page

Getting “liked” on facebook is always authentic, right?  I guess I should just ask all 800 of my authentic facebook “friends”.

One of the popular online trends of 2010 has been to try to convince/bribe people on facebook to “like” your fan page.  I hope it’s okay to think that concept is hilarious, because it cracks me up every time.  Sure, having thousands of people “like” Conan O’Brien’s fan page on facebook had to have helped him, but the difference with him was that he nor his crew had anything to do with it.  True fans began and empowered the Coco movement on their own.  But I know that all entertainment and business entrepreneurs are being told by the experts to get people to “like” them on facebook and think up clever sayings for Twitter because this is the age of networking and doing those things helps ensure prosperity or at least survival.  And they’re probably right.

But still, it reminds me of being in the 1st grade and some kid you barely know asks for your slice of pizza during lunch and attaches this promise to his request: “I’ll be your best friend…”  As a young child, even then I always knew there was no authenticity there.  But then again, we are all well aware that at least a quarter of our facebook friends are not actually our friends- in fact, I have no clue who a quarter of them even are, and I bet they would say the same thing about me.

I’m currently (and slowly) reading a book called Microtrends, which explains the power of 1 percent of the population liking anything.  In the introduction of the book, author Mark J. Penn explains, “By the time a trend hits 1 percent, it is ready to spawn a hit movie, best-selling book, or new political movement.” According to the book, that 1 percent of the American population he is referring to literally means 300,000 people; not even a third of a million people.  In essence, the idea behind being “liked” on facebook is an effort to show the marketing executives that one’s cause has a following close to or reaching 300,000 people.

I’m all about other people being successful and even helping them to get there in big meaningful ways, but being asked to be “like” anything ultimately just reminds me of the fact that if everyone was rich, that no one would actually be rich- in the same way, only a limited amount of people can be famous.  And if you try to manipulate the true Invisible Hand of Coolness and Popularity in a room full of thousands of other people also metaphorically yelling to each other, “Hey, look at me!”, the noise just cancels out most of the room, while the actual trend leaders are in a different room down the hall.

I would rather know that a person authentically “likes” me, not by creating my own fan page and asking people to publicly acknowledge my awesomeness in a predictable facebook gesture.  But then again, I’m not cool enough to think up clever Twitter posts either.  I’m so out of touch- I’m such a bitter, old, stubborn man.  Now get off my property!

Being Active in the Blogging World Yet Hanging Out in the Background: My First 50,000 Hits on WordPress

Thanks for 50,000 hits.

Maybe it makes perfectly good sense or maybe it’s just a quirk of mine, but the word “blog” repulses me.  For me, it’s a four letter word.  When I hear the word “blog” I think of a sweaty and bloated 25 year-old guy with a faux-hawk and hairy arms, sleeves rolled up, sipping down his third cup of Starbucks coffee, much too eager to turn what he perceives as a clever Tweet into a post (like “Note to self: Never again combine cold leftover pizza and a PB&J sandwich for lunch.  Ugh, will my stomach ever forgive me?”, hoping for no less than 12 people to click “likes this” on his facebook wall).

And that’s what brought about #5 of The Code:  Avoid referring to the website as a “blog”. Blogs are for people still using MySpace who are stuck in 2006 or that are obsessed with facebook status updates.  I write.  I put up new posts.  I even write articles.  But I don’t have a blog.

Technically, I am camped out on the edge of the outer circle of the blogging world, since I do write regularly on a website that facilitates my hobby/passion of creative (and ideally not too egocentric) writing consisting of whatever random thing I think of that day.  So how do I differ from a full-on blogger?

1)     I am completely aware that I have no celebrity status whatsoever and that what I write is not a substitute for some vain reality TV show that I secretly want to be a part of.

2)     I do not write in a careless and casual tone, like I’m sending a mass email to everyone in my contacts.

3)     I mock facebook and Twitter culture in my writing; despite the fact my posts are automatically linked to both of those websites.

Being that I’m now nearing a thousand hits a day, I’ll be refraining from writing another post in my “10,000 Clicks” series (the title always starts with “being” and ends with “ground” and I usually feature one of the nine parts of The Code) until I reach a hundred thousand clicks, otherwise I’d be writing them too frequently at this point.  The reason I write this series is to document the growth of Scenic Route Snapshots.  When I reach a million a hits, I want to be able to look back and see how exactly I got there, not just simply based on fuzzy memories.

Other posts of this “10,000 Hits” series:

Being Down to Earth, Yet Never Really Touching the Ground (posted April 11, 2010)

Being Original, Yet Never Really Breaking New Ground (posted May 18, 2010)

Being Engaging, Yet Never Really Standing on Dangerous Ground (posted on June 10, 2010)

Being Excessive and Eventually Finding Common Ground (posted on June 24, 2010)

Being Original, Yet Never Really Breaking New Ground: My First 20,000 Hits on WordPress

Thanks for 20,000 hits.

It seems like only six weeks ago that I was thanking my readers for this site getting its 10,000th hit in Being Down to Earth, Yet Never Really Touching the GroundWait, wait a minute… It was.

That was on April 11th.    How did that happen?  Why did it take seven months to get the first 10,000 hits (September 2009 to April 2010) but only five and a half weeks to get 10,000 more (April 2010 to May 2010)?

Here is a reflection/tutorial for anyone wanting to know more about how to obtain and build a readership and following by using a WordPress website, based on what it took for me to get my first 20,000 hits.

Just like the first million dollars are the most difficult for a multimillionaire to make, so is the case with getting any new form of art off the ground and flying.  It’s the snowball effect.  I have now posted over 250 of my writings on this site alone.

Each month that passes, that’s another 20 to 40 new posts to add to the library to be recycled.  On any given day during any given hour, there are more people reading my older stuff than my new stuff.  Then the new stuff becomes the old stuff and is read by newcomers.

Something almost magical happened back in February.  Suddenly, people started subscribing (getting all my new posts through e-mail); on top of that, the number of hits that month quadrupled from the month before and have been steadily increasing since then.  So really, after that fifth month of this site’s active existence, things exploded.

On December 30, 2009, I went to www.godaddy.com and paid 10 bucks for the domain name www.scenicroutesnapshots.com.  Yes, it’s too long of a name.  And when I tell people audibly, they often don’t understand what I’m saying.  But it’s a name I believe in because it best represents what I write about (Dr. Deja Vu: The Scenic Route).  And really, once a person goes to the site once, they can easily go back to it again.  Besides, people don’t end up on my site because I told someone about my site, they go to my site because of Google searches, facebook links, and cough-cough-Twitter-cough cough.

Another huge part of it is this- I accidently found a niche.  I half-heartedly decided to start doing a recap of The Bachelor when the Jake Pavelka season premiered in January, not realizing that people actually cared about it.  But they do.  Very much so!  Much of the quadruple increase from January to February has to do with my Bachelor recaps.

So aside from the snowball effect, and aside from finding an unlikely niche, what else has helped readership growth?  I want to know, not just for myself, but also to help other fellow writer friends.

I believe in something I call “learned talent.”  Which may be a phrase I just made up.  Basically, I learn from other people’s talent mixed with my own trial and error.  It’s the writer’s initiative to become better through regular practice and a willingness to cater to readers while still staying true to self.  And that concept is something that is often given as advice from the judges on American Idol to the contestants as they make it past the Top 10. Be you, but also stick with what you know works and what other people will like.

Particularly in writing, “learned talent” has a lot to do with the writer’s “voice”.  The tone, the choice of words, the subject matter, the level of professional distance.  I am not as talented as any legendary writer I could name in this sentence.  But just like an actor can change their accent or demeanor for a role, so can a writer “tweak” their own writer’s voice.

Because I believe, like a Rubik’s Cube, (The Truth and Irony about Solving a Rubik’s Cube) it’s all about figuring out the formula and acting on it, I am under the educated impression that what I lack in talent, I can make up for in simply learning how to write in a voice that leads with confidence and optimism and what I call “business-casual professionalism”.

A lot of this comes down to Rule #7 of my Writing Code:

“Write about weird stuff but make it seem normal. Or write about normal stuff and make it seem weird.”

My current literary role model is Michael Chabon, whom through his series in Details magazine, I learned better how to get in touch with my nostalgic side and hopefully make it seem interesting; not too technical or too abstract.  A happy medium that invites the reader to connect to the same train of thought.  In one of his newer books that I recently began reading, called Maps and Legends, he reiterates my #7 Rule:

“Let’s cultivate an unflagging reading as storytellers to retell the same stories with endless embellishment… The key, as in baroque music, is repetition with variation.”

Retell the same stories with endless embellishment:  Be original yet never really break new ground.  The familiar with the fresh.

Repetition with variation:  Take a subconsciously familiar thought and then put a new spin of originality on it.  So that readers feel a sense of comfort (the old familiar thought) along with newness (the author’s personality and his or her unique perspective).

And really, isn’t that really what’s for sale here anyway?  The writer’s personality?

Facts are only so important.  So is a plot.  But ultimately a story or an article is only as entertaining as the person telling it.  And a lot of the reasons we think a writer is “good” is because we relate to them, in some uncertain invisible ways.

Whether that writer reminds us of our own self and the way we naturally think, or they remind us of one of our friends, or ultimately our alter-ego, Tyler Durden (the man who the nameless protagonist of Fight Club imagines himself to be friends with), there is some reason we feel connected.

Of course, just like doctors and lawyers refer to their work as their practice, I too recognize that this site is and always will be a work in progress.  This is me paying my dues.  Learning as I go.  With an end in sight.  Or maybe I should say a new beginning in sight…

Below are the reader stats for this site.  This shows hits per month.  September 2009 is when I exclusively began writing for this site.

Months and Years

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Total
2009 5 21 2 76 550 552 465 532 2,203
2010 628 2,508 3,357 6,072

America’s Got Talent But That Doesn’t Mean They All Have Fans: Why Getting Rich and Famous Like Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber is Just So Darn Tough!

The first thing I randomly thought of when I woke up this morning was who else shares my birthday with me.  There’s Adolph Hitler (b. April 20, 1889).  And Joey Lawrence (b. April 20, 1976).  And then I (b. April 20, 1981) realized that Joey Lawrence is one of those washed out actors I keep forgetting about.  I’m sure if he had the chance, he would love to be back acting in the spotlight.  But the best he could do was to sign up for Dancing with the Stars a few years ago.

Because despite his ability to act and his good looks, America isn’t buying his product anymore.  Like Pauly Shore and Alyssa Milano, they will always have a place in our hearts.  The place labeled “early 1990’s”.

To a degree, almost everyone can sing decently, at least.  But having an amazing voice like Adam Lambert or Taylor Hicks means nothing if people don’t actually buy their music.  Or even buzz about their music on Twitter.

And that is the Survival of the Fittest of the entertainment industry:

“You can sing?  You can dance?  So can I.  So can everybody.  So what?”

 

Without that personal connection with fans, without that “Gotta Have It” trait an entertainer needs, their talent is as forgettable as any failed TV show that Christian Slater or Jerry O’Connell or Jay Mohr has tried to pull off.  Likeable guys, just not enough of that connection with the audience.  What they don’t have, wondergirl Lady Gaga is full of.

Some people are born with it, others are not.  Will Smith has it.  He can pull off being an action star by fighting aliens in Independence Day and he can play a cool, charming gentlemen in the romantic comedy Hitch.

Why do so many people feel they can connect with Will Smith and Lady Gaga?  I don’t know.  And if I did, or if anyone did, that secret would be utilized by everyone struggled to be noticed.

Heck, even Paris Hilton has talent and knows how to use it.  Though it’s easy to say she can’t act, or they she’s fake, there’s no denying that she knows how to play one part very well: the part of a rich American heiress.

She knows how to look like a movie star, speak like she’s from Connecticut, and at the same time she knows how to foolishly party like any young “in the moment” actress in Hollywood.  And as long as people say they are annoyed by Paris Hilton, she’s doing a good job.  The day she is taken seriously is the day her career is over.

 

Of course, sports stars are a little bit of a different story.  Arizona Cardinals running back Tim Hightower’s athletic career isn’t based on his ability to connect with fans.  It’s based on his physical ability to perform.

But even then, there is that professional golfer whom I’m way tired of hearing about.  And his disconnection with his fans definitely caused a distraction in his career.

But when an actor or singer does the same thing, if anything, it may even help their career.  It’s not uncommon for them for have multiple failed marriages.  It’s almost expected.

Funny how we hold different people to different standards like that.  I’m so glad I’m not famous.


The Perfect Haircut for a Guy: A Modern Day James Dean Hairstyle

For a guy to talk about his own hairstyle is equally as taboo as one man telling another man how much he liked watching The Notebook.  But here’s the problem.  There are a lot of guys with awful hairstyles out there.  Combed-back, fluffy domes.  Chicken butt-heads.  Preacher-do’s.  The Weatherman.

But now finally, I’m willing to put my manhood on the line to present a simple, easy, and quick-to-fix hairstyle that most men can pull off.  Even for men with receding hairlines, this works.

I have been a man of many hairstyles in my 28.9 years.  From buzz cut, to faux hawk, to “the Ashton Kutcher”, to “the Sawyer from LOST”.  Maybe it’s because I’m so black-and-white of a person that since I couldn’t find the exact perimeters of a “perfect haircut”, my hairstyle was ever-evolving.  Always roaming, like the Incredible Hulk (TV version).

But it’s been a few months now, and I find myself getting the same haircut every 6 weeks.  That’s a new concept for me.  With easy to follow instructions, and pictures featuring yours truly, in shades (which plays down the “look at me/I’m on Twitter” persona that I try to avoid with a passion) I will help you obtain the perfect haircut you’ve always been looking for.

Getting the Haircut:

If possible, go to a barber.  (It’s not a real barber shop unless it has one of those red and white barber shop poles out front.)  A barber is more likely to do a cleaner job.  And I can’t explain it, but it’s somehow less awkward.  It’s just the classic way to do it.

Tell the barber you want a “2 guard on the sides and back” and “leave it one inch long on top”.  The barber will know automatically to “blend” the differences in length between the sides and the top.

For your sideburns, they should come down to the bottom of your “ear hole”.  Having sideburns (of the appropriate length) is a way of saying “I’ve got an edge, but not an obvious one”.  If your sideburns come down lower than the bottom of your ear lobes, you risk saying, “I wish I was in a rock band.”

The barber may automatically “texturize” your hair.  That means they are slightly making the length on top a little inconsistent to give it a bit of a messy look.  Don’t ask for the barber to texturize your hair.  That shows you know too much.  If the barber doesn’t automatically do it or ask you your preference, don’t worry about it.  It’s not that big of a deal.

On a side note, here’s the deal with shaving your face.  Don’t worry about shaving everyday.  Having a “barely there beard” is expected of the modern American man.  The formula is this:  Shave your face every 5 to 7 days, but shave your neck every 2 to 3 days.

Fixing Your Hair:

After getting out of the shower, carelessly dry your hair with a towel.  Mess it up as your dry it.  Do this until you hair is no longer wet.  I mean it.  You’re not going for “the wet look”.  That’s for douchebags, Italians on reality TV shows, and guys stuck in 1993.

There is only one product on the market that I currently fully recommend.  It’s American Crew (Matte).  Costs around $13.  It’s not sticky and it smells manly.  Like a cedar tree.

Dip your middle or pointer finger in the stuff, only getting enough to match the same size as a nickel.  Rub in the pomade (that American Crew stuff) all throughout your hair.  Make sure you don’t concentrate it into any particular area of your hair.  This should take less than 5 seconds.

Next, using your right hand, run your fingers back across the top of your head, while keeping your fingers close enough together that it causes your hair to stand straight up, but not straight back.

Now, run your hands down the sides of your head and down the back.  You don’t want the side or back to stick straight out, causing your hair to form a diamond shape.  That’s a bad thing.

Almost there.

Reach back to the top of your head, and make sure that it’s not stick straight out.  You don’t want a chicken butt.

Last step.  Barely dip your finger back in the pomade.  Touch up the very front.  This part needs to be going straight up, not straight out.

Success.  You now have modern/classic hair that doesn’t move.  An updated James Dean.  Or a pre faux hawk.

While at first, this process may appear to be time consuming, I easily do it in less than a minute every morning.  You’ll master this thing within a week.

Most importantly, don’t tell anyone I told you this.  Men do not talk about their hairstyles.  I’m only doing this to help you.  Be cool.

Just walk away, like we weren’t even talking.  “Hey, what’s that over there?”  You get the idea.

The Standard


Manspeak Table of Contents 

Volume -1: Boyspeak: http://wp.me/pxqBU-9d
Volume 0: Introduction http://wp.me/pxqBU-8G
Volume 1: Humor http://wp.me/pxqBU-1i
Volume 2: Heroism http://wp.me/pxqBU-1m
Volume 3: Filtration http://wp.me/pxqBU-1p
Volume 4: Stance http://wp.me/pxqBU-1s
Volume 5: Movement http://wp.me/pxqBU-1v
Volume 6: Law http://wp.me/pxqBU-3h
Volume 7: Bromance http://wp.me/pxqBU-3W
Volume 8: Relaxation http://wp.me/pxqBU-6a
Volume 9: Appearance http://wp.me/pxqBU-6f
Volume 10: Exploration http://wp.me/pxqBU-6O
Volume 11: Responsibility http://wp.me/pxqBU-8v
Volume 12: Transparency http://wp.me/pxqBU-8J
Volume 13: Composure http://wp.me/pxqBU-8N
Special Episode: The Bachelor Party http://wp.me/pxqBU-uY
Special Episode: The Perfect Haircut http://wp.me/pxqBU-xN