Monday, August 2, 2010

Authentic Blogger's Monthly Featured Blog Author

 Authentic Blogger (FB group page), in conjunction with our sister blog, The Authentic Blogger is proud to announce this month's recipient of our Monthly Featured Blog Author Award!

**As of late 2010, we decided to take a break from the monthly award process. We will resume this award process in the near future.**

Congratulations to...

**Go to the Authentic Blogger Discussion Board to access the criteria for being chosen as the next recipient of this award.
See our Blog Award Roll below to read the weekly updated list of past recipients:

Duane Scott & Dawn S.
Co-Creators, Authentic Blogger FB group
Duane Scott, Author, Duane Scott blog
Dawn S., Author, Healing Morning blog

Weekly Featured Blog Author

Blog Author                          Award Date               Featured Blog
Mitzi Rice                               8-02-10                     Daily Reflection
Savira Gupta                           7-01-10                     Living Laughing Breathing
Chip Etier                               6-01-2010                 Etier Photography
Mansi Bhatia                           5-01-2010                 First Impressions
Anahid Boghosian                   4-01-2010                 Fireside Moments
Lisa Brandel                            3-02-2010                The Widow Lady
David Roy                              2-07-2010                 Dave's Buttoned-Up Mind
Sharon Cohen                         1-30-2010                 By These Fruits
Marie Blackstock Rhoades      1-23-2010                 Sally the Sea
Jenn Boyer                              1-15-2010                Heart, Mind and Soul
Bill Bruner                               1-08-2010                Journey to Joy

If you have been chosen as an Authentic Blogger Monthly Featured Blog Author, please grab the button below to post on your blog!  Congratulations again!

Authentic Blogger

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Twitter for Bloggers

For those of you who know me, you know how much I hated Twitter. It felt like such a pointless thing. Did I really care what my friends were up to 24/7?
"Bob: I just woke up."
"Bob: I'm eating breakfast."
"Bob: Off to work."
"Bob: The weather is so nice!"

Although the company started out as a way for people to let their friends know what they were up to, Twitter users have taken it into a whole different direction (in a good way of course). You still have those users who think it's important to let everyone know what they're doing all the time, like our friend Bob up there. Then there are other users who use Twitter to relay information (i.e. breaking news stories, marketing, etc.). Being a blogger, I'm going to be focusing on the usefulness of Twitter in the blogging world.

What is Twitter?
The simplest way I can describe Twitter to you is this: Think of it as the status update portion of Facebook. If the only thing you were allowed to do on Facebook was to update your status, and nothing else, you would have Twitter. It is also a means to share and receive information with millions of people across the globe, at the same time. It's a place to connect with people, celebrities, sports players, businesses, and more!

I have NetworkedBlogs, Facebook, RSS Feeds, etc. Do I really need Twitter too?
YES! The number one thing any Blogger needs is an audience. The more platforms of exposure you have for your blog, the better. Twitter is a great way to let people know whenever you have new posts. Your readers can follow you (subscribe) on Twitter and can even choose to get your tweets on their mobile phone. They can also "retweet" your post and share it with their followers, giving you an even bigger audience.

"Retweet" my posts? You lost me there!
Anytime you tweet (post) something, anyone who sees your tweet can retweet (repost) what you said. Basically they can share your post with their friends/followers by reposting it. There are two ways to retweet a post: copying and pasting what the person said and putting "RT" before the tweet; or using the retweet button provided by Twitter. I will give an example of the manual (copy/paste) retweeting because the latter is done automatically by Twitter.

Original post: Bob: check out my new blog post on friendship
Retweeted post: Bill: RT @Bob: check out my new blog post on friendship

In the above example, Bob shared with his followers that he has a new blog post and he provided the link. Bill, who is following Bob, liked the post so he retweeted what Bob said. Now Bill's followers will see Bob's blog post and if they like it, they in turn will retweet it as well. Do you see the picture here? If you are a blogger and don't have a Twitter account yet, I suggest you take a moment to open up a new browser tab and sign up.

Why am I seeing tweets with the # symbol?
The # symbol, or better known as hashtags, is a way to tag your tweets. Think of it as Labels (if you use Blogger), or Categories (if you use Word Press). It's a way for people to easily find tweets related to a certain topic or a major event that's going on around the world. One of the most common ones you will see every Friday is #FF or #FollowFriday. This is a great thing that started on Twitter where each Friday Twitter users will mention various people they follow and put one of the two follow friday hashtags in their tweet. It can provide exposure to your account and can increase your follower base.

Another great use of hashtags is labeling your posts. Let's take our example from earlier:

Bob: check out my new blog post on friendship

If Bob wanted to increase exposure, he could add a hashtag to his post which would allow others, who might be searching for that particular topic, come across his tweet. Bob could change his tweet to the following:

Bob: check out my new blog post on friendship #friendship
Bob: check out my new blog post on #friendship

Now anyone who searches on twitter for #friendship, will come across his tweet. Of course all of this applies to public tweets. There are also specific hashtags, like the follow friday ones, that are used during particular events. For example, during the Presidential Inauguration if your tweet was about the event, the hashtag to use was #inaug09. During the Iranian elections, people were using the hashtag #iranelection. For Authentic Blogger, a wonderful group of bloggers I belong to, we have decided to use the hashtag #ABauthor with our tweets. Be sure to search for the #ABauthor hashtag on Twitter to be kept up to date with new blog posts by Authentic Blogger members.

Public Tweets?
Although Twitter allows users to make their accounts private, I think it should be done away with. All of the above that I said doesn't apply to you if your account is private. By protecting your tweets, especially as a Blogger, you are limiting your audience, and as I mentioned earlier the number one thing we want is exposure. No one will mention your profile on Follow Friday because people aren't going to be able to easily follow you. In fact, most people tend to stay away from private accounts. It become more difficult to retweet your posts because you made your account private. Your followers don't know if it's okay to retweet what you said, even if it's a link to your new blog post, putting them in an awkward place.

When you use hashtags in your tweets, they won't show up when people search because your tweets are private. Twitter is not like Facebook where you want to know who people are before you approve them. You share far more on Facebook than you do on Twitter, so naturally most people make their Facebook accounts private. There's nothing to hide on Twitter, it's just your updates. There are no photo albums, wall posts, etc. It is the most public forum you will ever come across and it's best to make your account public. If you are afraid of spammers following you, it's not that big of a deal. You just look over the list of people following you and when you come across a spammer, just report the account as spam and it will remove and block that person from your profile.

Final Thoughts:
For those of you who are part of the tweeting world, keep on tweeting and sharing your new posts. For those of you who aren't too fond of Twitter, and might even hate it like I once did, I hope this helped to change your perspective by seeing the usefulness of it for your blog. Remember that a blog needs an audience like peanut butter needs jelly!

Anahid Boghosian
Author, Fireside Moments blog
Follow Anahid on Twitter

Monday, February 1, 2010

Blog Award Positivity, Part II

Hey, we're getting some very cool attention from fellow bloggers!  Recently, perhaps in the past three weeks or so, there has been a flurry of fun Blog Awards circulating out in the blog-o-sphere.  A few of these nice awards have been bestowed upon Authentic Blogger to recognize our efforts at creating a welcoming, friendly community for all things bloggish.  These Blog Awards usually come equipped with a "pay if forward" list of instructions, requesting that the recipient list their Top 5-10 favorite blogs along with the reasons these are their favorites, and then go on to list a Top 10 list of some interesting personal content.

Marty and I are very appreciative and flattered that Authentic Blogger and our sister blog here, The Authentic Blogger are both garnering attention in the blogging world.  We do feel, however, that as Authentic Blogger exists to support all bloggers, it wouldn't be fair, or professionally correct for us to single out our Top 10 favorite blogs.  Heck, come to think of it, that would be an exercise in torture, because we have hundreds of AB authors in our community - it would be impossible to narrow a list down to a Top 10.

So, here's what we've decided to do:  we're going to offer a heartfelt Thank You to everyone who very kindly gave us a nod of recognition with these fun awards.  We are then going to embrace the latter of the instructions above and throw out our own fun list of "stuff".  Since there are two of us, it's going to be a respective Top 5.  Keep reading to see what each of us come up with, because they may be on completely opposite ends of the spectrum!

Dawn's Top Five....Non-Blog Related Things That You Might Not Know

1. I am an Olympics fanatic, it is true.  Those who know me well are quite aware of this trait.  The Winter Olympics begin on February 12th and last for two weeks.  During these two weeks, everyone knows to not invite me to dinner, or call me on the phone in the evenings - I will be occupied watching the Olympics each night.  Yes, I'm serious.  I'm more patriotic than most, and the Olympics are a special, bright moment for the world.  Expect to see an upcoming blog on this topic, no joke!

2.  I have an absolute horror of certain non-words and firmly believe that when written or uttered aloud, the person perpetrating this horror and the ones they're communicating with cease to exist for a nanosecond.  It forms a Black Void. 

3.  Similarly, I believe there is some truth to the belief that our car keys, socks in the laundry, cell phones, etc., disappear randomly because there are troops of Elfs that live in our homes.  Think about it, peeps, it makes sense!  Where DO those missing socks go, and who took them, if not the Sock Elfs?  Car Key and Cell Phone Elfs are merely a sub-union - same local Union Hall.

4.  Paging through seed catalogs in preparation for spring container planting on my apartment patio is a simple joy.  Tomatoes of several varieties, cucumbers and possibly some small melons are on my list this year.

5.  It bugs my artistic eye when people wear two shades of black that clash.  Yes, it is possible for black to exist in differing shades.  Good example was a friend at lunch the other day (whom shall remain nameless) who was wearing a pair of black slacks that had an underlying purple tint to the black, while their sweater was a shade of black w/ green undertones.  Of course, I've walked out of the house wearing socks of two different shades - like green and dark brown (not a morning person, so it happens) - so who am I to criticize?!

Marty's Top 5...Non-Blog Related Things That You Might Not Know

1. Haha. This is going to be fun. Some of the things I won't write on my personal blog, I'll write here. Why? Because my family isn't reading. I collect trolls. You know the ones with the long, different colors of hair that are buck-naked? They still make me smile, they are so happy to go commando.

2. I am entirely hopelessly lost without my phone. I use it for my alarm clock, email, FB, Twitter, GPS, Blogging on the go, Throttlecopter game, Bible, Dictionary... well, you name it, I have it. Check it out here! And yes, I have this stand for beside my bed.

3. I dislike Walmart. I only use it when I'm depressed about myself and my situation. I go there and look at the flustergasted parents with screaming kids, the couples that are trying to decide which cheap, flat bed pillows to buy, or the poor people buying that fall-apart furniture.  I immediately feel better about my life.

4. I clip my toenails only when they start poking holes in my socks. I'm perfectly clean and manicured otherwise. I know, it's awful, but I'm always running late after I take a shower and toenails can be hidden by socks. :)

5. I can hardly ever remember which cables go where when jump-starting a car. I'm so embarrassed to admit this, but at one point, I googled it.... on my phone.

Dawn S.
Author, Healing Morning blog
Marty D.
Author, Coffee with Marty blog 
Co-creators, Authentic Blogger Facebook Group
Co-authors, The Authentic Blogger Blog

Thursday, January 28, 2010

News Clippings

News Clippings

We (Marty & Dawn) are very happy to report that our Authentic Blogger Facebook group page, and our sister blog here, The Authentic Blogger, have now reached enough of a level of saturation in the blogging world that we are beginning to get some very kind mentions in other blogs, various blog sites and groups. 

Because we're thrilled to know our efforts are appreciated, and also because we want to mark those important milestones in our history, we have created this new Header on the AB blog page, called News Clippings.  We will, with the consent of the authors of any blogs mentioning us, post links here to share when we are mentioned in blogs, articles or anything else in the blogging world.

If you happen to run across anything of this nature, please contact us at and let us know!  We'll make sure to investigate and post a link!  This will garner attention and publicity for us, sure, but also for the authors of the blog posts/articles. 

Lastly, a very warm thank you to all of the people who have written about us, and a thank you in advance to those who may do so in the future.  We both work very hard to make this community the best one out there in the blogging world, and appreciate that our efforts are garnering some attention. 

Marty & Dawn
Co-creators, Authentic Blogger FB group, The Authentic Blogger
An Amazing Discovery  Calming Reflections blog, author, Bernadine Barela

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Swampige is the topic

What the heck is swampige?!  You're asking that right this instant, aren't you?  Well, my friends, "swampige" is a handy term that my partner, Marty D. (Coffee with Marty) coined for all the endless buttons, links, gadgets, widgets...and...swampige that clutter up people's blog pages!  We were discussing the whole phenomenon several weeks ago and he ended up posting a comment on a discussion board thread with the word swampige being the crowning effective end to the statement.  I thought it was a perfect slang term for this visual overload that exists rampantly in blog page format.

I'm sure you know of which I speak - you've probably clicked to pull up someone's blog page for the first time and found yourself visually assaulted by the equivalent of screaming neon signs in gadget/widget/button format.  I know I've experienced it.  As with my opinion about posting blog articles every single day, I'm also not a fan of cramming buttons, widgets....SWAMPIGE....into every last little available square inch of your blog page.  The fact is, I'm not there to bounce elsewhere continually on a widget induced frenzy - I'm there to read your blog content.  Yes, peeps, I do read content, and if I like said content, I will probably want to follow your blog.  UNLESS there's so much swampige in the way that I can't find the follow option!

Case in point, earlier today I read a blog that I sincerely enjoyed, so much so that I wanted to follow that blog immediately.  This particular blog is in Word Press format, and I have to say that I find swampige to be more prevalent in WP blogs.  This is just an observation, not a written in stone fact.  At any rate, this blog had so much swampige cluttering the whole danged page that after scrolling up, down and sideways all over the page four different times, I still couldn't find the follow option.  Needless to say, after that much energy wasted, I gave up the ghost and moved on to other things. I am the first to admit that I'm not the strongest IT literate blogger out there, but seriously, if the swampige gets in the way that much, you have a problem!  It was like the proverbial Town Crier was on the church steps, screeching his lungs out about everything but the blog content and following option. This is my personal dislike for swampige - it just gets in my way of accomplishing what I visited the page to do.

I also prefer for the design of my personal blog, Healing Morning, to reflect the overall personality of my content.  It doesn't make sense for me to have a lot of visual distraction going on all over the sidebars when my focus is on communicating and discussing topics regarding peace, healing, spirituality and holistic issues.  Your blog may be about technical content, computer-related issues, or something that does suit the visual presence of every bit of flashy, snazzy swampige you can wrangle onto your page.  The good old Theory of Relativity kicks in and rules the day on this topic.  It is an individual choice.

I am not saying that I think gadgets, widgets and buttons should cease to exist.  To the contrary, there are many of them that serve a valuable service.  I will also say that as I learn more about the useful little creatures, I grow in my appreciation of them.  I do, however, think quite seriously about which ones to incorporate into my blog format.  I do not want a blog page that is so visually chaotic to the viewer that they cannot concentrate on the actual blog posts.  I am willing to bet that people who do embrace the "more is better" principle with this find that they have slower traffic to their blog page, and much shorter time spent per visit.  Think about it - if you're being bombarded by endless bells, whistles, buttons....swampige...on a given blog page, is it easy for you to concentrate on the blog content? 

I could be wrong on this - maybe I'm one of the few who does experience sensory overload and who finds it difficult to concentrate on the task at hand...reading content....if the page is crammed with swampige.  You may feel just the opposite and find all that visual activity enlivens your blog page, gives it movement, personality and excitement.  My personal taste runs to the calmer, more quiet, visually clean type of marketing.  There's a reason why my personal blog title is Healing Morning, after all!

So, weigh in on this topic!  Post a comment and tell us what you think and feel about the reality of swampige.  It is a phenomenon that is here to stay, I can say this with absolute certainty.  How do you choose to design your blog page format - with a select few judiciously placed buttons and widgets?  Or do you like the busy feel of visual activity created by swampige?  As always, there are no right or wrong answers.  I just thought it was the next logical progression of conversation on the heels of Blog Frequency.  I look forward to hearing your thoughts on swampige!

Dawn S.
Author, The Authentic Blogger blog
Author, Healing Morning blog
Co-Creator, Authentic Blogger FB group page

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Gain Readers for your Blog: Blogging Communities

Blogging is a conversation. It's all about people publishing their ideas, and other people interacting with those ideas. But what happens when no one reads what you're publishing? Well... nothing. Nothing happens. You continue to project your ideas, and you have a one-sided conversation with the air. No one wants that. But so many of us are just broadcasting our blog feeds out into the internet, hoping that people will find them.

How do we find people who want to read and interact with our ideas? One good way is to join some blogging communities.

Four Reasons to Join Blogging Communities
  1. Free publicity. On most blogging communities, your content can be featured on your own profile and on your connections' dashboards, allowing people to see your stuff as you publish it. Some blogging communities will even feature good content on their home pages, allowing even people you haven't met yet to find your blog.
  2. Free organic traffic. Some blogging communities have databases in which all their members' blogs are organized by type or by category. This is very useful for people who are looking for blogs with specific content within a specific community. Who wouldn't want to cash in on that potential traffic?
  3. Ease of subscription. Not everyone chooses to follow blogs in the same way. Some choose to follow through their blogging community's feed reader. By having your blog registered on your readers' blogging communities of choice, you make it easier for more people to follow you. The last thing anyone wants is to lose a subscriber simply because they didn't have a blogging profile on the right community.
  4. Statistical probability. The more links to your blog that exist on the internet, the higher the likelihood that someone will click on one of them. It's a lame reason, but it's a reason.
A Better Reason to Join Blogging Communities: Building Relationships

Blogging is a conversation, and conversations happen most easily when we have a relationship with someone. There really are people out there who want to read your content; you just need to find them, and you need to befriend them. Blogging communities can help with that.

Blogging communities allow us to easily connect with people we've never met before. It takes a lot of diligence and patience to begin and maintain relationships through these communities, but in the end it's worth it. You won't become fast friends with everyone you meet on a blogging community, and that's perfectly okay. But I think you'll be surprised to find that there are some quality people out there who are looking for the same thing you are: a supportive friendship and a loyal reader. Some of the people with whom I converse the most are bloggers - people I've never met in person, but with whom I have strong relationships.

Participating and contributing to a blogging community can be a very rewarding experience. If people there see that you are a quality person, they will notice you, befriend you, and recognize you for it. Last week, for instance, I received my very first blogging award from the Authentic Blogger community because I participate in the community's discussions and because I publish quality content there. Since receiving that award, the number of daily page views on Heart, Soul, and Mind has doubled! This is just one example of how blogging communities can help you find both friends and readers.

Some Blogging Communities You Might Like

These are some communities that I have joined, in order of personal preference, and I think you might like them too. Please feel free to send me a friend request on any of them.

Jenn B.
Author, Learning How blog
Author, Heart, Soul, and Mind blog
Creator, Learning How Facebook Fan Page

Authentic Blogger Note:  From time to time, we (Marty & Dawn) may invite a fellow blogger to contribute blog articles that we feel suit the personality of our format.  Jenn Boyer's Learning How post is a wonderful blog to give helpful tips on the community aspect of the blogging world.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Blog Frequency

That title up there could mean several things - it could mean the "tone" or "voice" of your blog.  It could also intimate the "frequency" or "energy" of the overall personality of your blog.  That's the wonderful thing about words and writing...a word, a title, a statement can all be read and interpreted differently by different people.
The application here is using the word, frequency, per Webster's definition: 1. the fact or condition of occurring frequently.
My focus here today is actually to talk about frequency of posts, as in, how often do you post?  What is too much, too little, are there rules, and should there really BE a definitive school of thought regarding this topic?

I have my own blog, Healing Morning, and I tend to write and post less often than most.  I have weeks where I may write and post blogs several days in a row, but that is a bit unusual - the "norm" for me is to post, roughly, about once a week.  I also am a co-author for this blog, The Authentic Blogger, and a co-creator of its sister FB group page, Authentic Blogger.  Outside of all of that, I am a freelance technical writer with clients and meetings and writing that demand a big chunk of my attention.  So, my whole world, professional and personal, is focused a great deal of the day, on writing.  Because of that, I prefer to write blogs for Healing Morning when something strongly grabs my heart, or makes me pause and ponder deeply.  That might not happen every single day, and I am not a fan of posting an "empty" blog daily just for the sake of being able to say I post daily.  I'd much rather hear that people look forward to my posts, than hear they feel overwhelmed by too many posts to give their attention to on a regular basis.

There are several opinions on this topic.  Type in "getting started with blogging" into your search window and you'll get thousands of hits, ranging in advice, rules and examples.  Many websites, blogs and How To's will suggest blogging daily, sometimes multiple times daily, in order to get yourself established in the blogging world.  Much of your personal decision on this practice will hinge on the personality and purpose of your specific blog.  Are you writing a blog for yourself, or are you writing for a business?  If your blog is your own, are you writing it to monetize it, i.e., to make money?  Blogs that are focused on promoting a business will obviously require more frequent blog posts. 

Blogs that are of a more personal, non-monetized nature will be open to personal preference regarding how often to write and post.  My personal preference is to write and post less often.  My blog posts on Healing Morning are a bit longer than a promotional/business blog post, and as such, I feel that it fits my overall concept better to post 1-2 times a week rather than daily.  I write on topics of a spiritual, healing, holistic, thoughtful nature that require the reader to ponder along with me (if they choose).  I like to give myself, and my readers, time to absorb the most recent post, think about it for a few days, take time to post comments, reply to the resulting discussion thread and then move forward to the next post.  This works for me. My AB group partner, Marty D., posts more frequently on his Coffee with Marty blog and that works for him.

I will also say that because I am so heavily involved in the blogging world for both work and personal application, I am not a fan of the posting daily concept.  Those that post daily, I admit that I don't always have time to read every single daily post.  I might have time to pull up one post weekly on the blogs and authors that I follow.  For me, too much posting tends to lessen the impact of that author's writing for me. It becomes a surfeit of riches, so to speak, and I become less enthused when I am barraged with daily posts. Again, this is personal preference - I recognize that I'm probably in the minority on this.  I'm positive that many of you reading this are of the opposite school of thought and truly enjoy writing and posting daily, as well as enjoy reading other authors' daily posts.  There are no hard and fast rules, as far as I'm concerned, on any of this.  Individuality reigns in the world of blogdom, and that's something to celebrate!

Bottom line on this one is, each blog author will have to experiment with their posting activity and discover what works best for them.  If you're writing blogs for a client, that client will state clearly to you the frequency of posts they expect, along with providing guidelines for length and content of blog posts.  Those are the easy ones!  The more challenging ones are your personal blogs. Try different things.  Do some research online, talk with fellow bloggers, find online blogging groups such as Authentic Blogger that will give you a community forum to ask questions and engage in discussions.  It's a continual learning process, and one that gives us as blog authors the freedom to grow, learn new skills and try new methods as often as we choose.  Growing, learning and embracing all these possibilities are some of the most entertaining parts of blogging!

As always, feedback and discussion in the Comments section are welcome. What are your thoughts and suggestions on this topic?  Comment away!

Dawn S.
Author, The Authentic Blogger blog
Author, Healing Morning blog
Co-Creator, Authentic Blogger FB group page

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Authentic Blogger's Weekly Featured Blog Author

From the beginning of the Authentic Blogger (AB) Group Page concept, Marty and I agreed that our main focus would be to promote fellow bloggers, provide a community forum for this wonderful writing genre and also encourage bloggers worldwide to keep growing, dreaming and learning about the blogging process.

To that end, we will be choosing a Weekly Featured Blog Author from our AB members. We have a short list of criteria that we will use to choose each new Featured Blogger. They are as follows:

1. Be an active member of the Authentic Blogger Facebook Group Page.

2. Be actively posting Blog post links on Authentic Blogger wall.

3. Be actively interacting with fellow AB members, and taking enough interest in other blog posts to post comments on a regular basis.

4. Be a respectful member of the AB community.

We will post an announcement of each week's Featured Blog Author on the AB wall, along with posting that person's name and blog link in the Admin Box on the sidebar of the AB wall beneath the AB logo image.

We will also have a running list on The Authentic Blogger blog page of every Featured Blog Author that is chosen, with their name and blog link listed. We hope you will all perceive this as the honor we intend it to be; we will take the process of awarding each weekly recipient just as seriously.


Dawn S. & Marty D. ~ Co-Creators, Authentic Blogger FB group page
Co-Authors, The Authentic Blogger blog
Dawn S., Author, Healing Morning blog
Marty D. Author, Coffee with Marty blog

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Blogging Tips 101: Blogger Comment Problems

This is going to be short and sweet. We all love blogger. That said, we all have had issues with the comments disappearing. I know in the past, I have written the longest comments, only to hit that submit button and everything disappear. Also, people tried comment on my blog, but their comments also poofed into blogosphere somewhere. Ouch. After many forum discussions, this seems to be the general helpful tip out there to prevent this from happening.

1. In blogger, click settings.
2. Click on comments.
3. Scroll down to Comment Form Placement.
4. Select Pop-up Window.
5. Scroll to bottom of page and save.

This seems to be the best method to ensure the safety of those special comments we all love receiving. To see an example of how this new comment box will look, try leaving a comment on this post! :)

Marty Duane

Embracing criticism & change

Does that title up there make you grimace or shudder in distaste?  I'd say very few of us relish the idea of listening to criticism, particulary when it comes to something as personal as our writing on our blogs.  The plain truth is that constructive criticism, offered with a kind heart and good intentions, should be something we all welcome with equal good will.  Constructive is the key word here, my friends!  Criticism, just by nature of definition, can get easily out of hand and quickly can shift from helpful advice into a monster of epic proportions.  Obviously no one is going to embrace that type of verbal attack, nor should they.

The point I am making here is that none of us are perfect.  We can all benefit from change, but it is a common occurrence for all of us that we get so caught up in life that we lose sight of the fact that we might be stagnating in some fashion.  If we're fortunate, there are people around us...friends...colleagues...who care enough to offer helpful, constructive criticism.  How we choose to accept those comments is that which defines who we are as people.

If you're like me, perhaps you ventured into the blogging world with very little idea of the sheer enormity of the concept.  I truly had no idea what I was getting myself into when I began my blog in September of 2009.  Healing Morning began as a desire for me to learn about the blogging process and add another skill to my resume'.  To my surprise, it very quickly morphed into something I never expected and I admit that I'm still adjusting and scrambling a bit to keep the tip of my nose above the blogging waters.

Through the blogging world, I met my Authentic Blogger (AB) partner, Marty (Coffee with Marty).  Not too long ago, we were discussing some point about the AB group that I can't remember and Marty told me, rather bluntly, that I needed to think about revamping my blog page.  It wasn't a rude comment - it was just blunt.  I admit that I was very resistant and kind of brushed his suggestions to the side, saying that I would give it some thought.  I LIKED my blog design, after all, and I had put effort into creating a presence that I felt portrayed who I am and what I wanted Healing Morning to convey to readers.

I did give it thought as I had promised, but felt for a good while that I didn't need to make big changes.  Then we created the Authentic Blogger group page on Facebook and both of us were dumped right slap into the middle of this vast ocean of new experiences.  We were exposed to a whole slew of fascinating blogs and we both were forced to engage in a lot of research.  Slowly, because I rarely embrace change quickly or enthusiastically, I began to see that, yes, perhaps Marty's comments were valid.  My Healing Morning blog is in need of a facelift.

I'll begin that process in the next few weeks, in between all the other projects that are surrounding me.  Through the AB community, I'm being exposed to really sharp marketing and design concepts for blog pages, so I'm ruminating on the style and format that will best suit my needs and will accurately represent my vision of Healing Morning.  I am quite confident that by the end of this revamping process, I'll be very pleased with the new version of my blog.  I am also willing to predict with a fair amount of certainty that by being open to this constructive criticism, and embracing change, my "new and improved" blog will most likely capture more attention and garner more followers, more quickly than the old design.  I won't know this for sure until the new design is finished and goes live, but I just have a feeling it will increase traffic.

While I might not have jumped instantly to accept Marty's comments, I did slowly come around, in my own fashion and see the veracity of his words.  Change, and criticism, although at face value they may sound like the voices of doom, are both tools that are meant to sharpen our skills, hone our abilities and, I daresay, refine our character.  We are simply not capable of perfection in this world, but if we are open to listening to the insightful opinions of those we trust the most, we can achieve a much better, brighter version of any given facet of ourselves than we might have accomplished all alone.  It's simply my thought for the day.  You may feel differently and that's entirely acceptable.  We all choose different methods and approaches. 

For this moment in my life, I'm tossing my ego aside and sliding my arms into a new coat of that shows my willingness to entertain some new concepts and experiences.  Stay tuned for the sparkling new version of Healing Morning, coming to you in an AB wall post soon!!

Dawn S.
Author, The Authentic Blogger blog
Author, Healing Morning blog
Co-Creator, Authentic Blogger FB group page

Friday, January 1, 2010

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