Saturday, May 7, 2011

Image courtesy of
Authentic Blogger
Did you know that moving ranks in the Top 3 most stressful events that can hit an individual's life? The other two are death and marriage. I, for one, am not a fan of moving. I know many people enjoy it, see it as an adventure and embrace all the nuances of change that come along with the experience. I accept that type of change grudgingly, although with age and time, I have found a way to cope better than I used to.

So, with that being said, imagine a dramatic drumroll as I announce with a flourish (because there simply must be a flourish) that Authentic Blogger has moved its presence on Facebook from the original group format to a new Page format.

Why have we chosen to make this move? Good question. The answer is that Facebook, in its infinite wisdom, recently made the arbitrary decision to do away with the original Facebook group format. They created a new and improved group format a couple months ago and apparently have decided that the common response to that new format has been sufficient to put a kill on the old group format. Those of us who "own" groups in the old format have been advised to either upgrade to the new group format, or allow our group page to eventually be archived by Facebook. We gave it some thought - by "we", I mean that I and the wonderful people who help me at Authentic Blogger, Dave Roy and Anahid Boghosian - and decided to not upgrade to the new group format. We decided, instead, to switch to a Facebook Page format and we published that page to live status on Facebook today. Although many of our members like the new group format, we felt that changing over to a Page format will best serve the goals we have in place for the future of the Authentic Blogger concept.

So, a few things are important to impart. The most important one is that Authentic Blogger hasn't changed in any way except for our "physical" address on Facebook. We are still the same blogging concept that all our members have grown to know and love.

  • We still advocate authentic interaction with fellow bloggers, suggesting that you take time to truly read content of blogs you follow, and take time to leave thoughtful comments on those posts.
  • We strongly do NOT encourage the "if you follow me, I'll follow you" mentality that is rampant in the blogging world.
  • We embrace building relationships with fellow bloggers.
  • We pledge to continue to provide a community and forum to mentor, support and encourage all bloggers on a worldwide platform.
Being the creature of habit that I am, I resisted this Facebook change for as long as possible. In fact, had Facebook not pushed the issue, I probably would still have happily kept the original group format in place for Authentic Blogger. Change, while perhaps not always comfortable, is obviously a good thing. It forces us out of complacent behavior and bad habits. It opens up new avenues, creates new relationships and experiences and provides fresh, new energy. With that in mind, I should be welcoming this new experience for Authentic Blogger with open arms. Well, don't get me wrong - I do see the value in this new chapter for us. That doesn't mean I'm all happy and chirpy about it.

I'm nervous as all get out, if I'm honest. We founded Authentic Blogger in December of 2009, with big dreams and little idea of what we were doing. To our surprise and delight, the concept caught on and was embraced immediately, and our presence in the blogging world began to grow. We set goals for membership and continued to be thrilled when those goals were not only met, but exceeded regularly. We've gone through many growing pains and changes in the past two years, and we continue to learn as we grow. I recognize that we'll grow in a positive manner from this change also. My own biggest concern is that we don't backslide. At our highest point of membership, our original group page had grown to 793 members. Now we're back to starting from zero with membership of this new page, and that's the part I can't help but focus on. Yes, there's an element of ego involved, I admit this freely. I am justifiably proud of what we have achieved with the Authentic Blogger concept, and it is important to me that we continue to stay at that high level of success.

Should I predicate our success on a membership number? No, I shouldn't. Do I? Yes, to a degree. I can't deny that I loved, and still love, watching our membership increase. The thought of losing all that momentum with membership during this move was not something I was happy about. I can report that as of approximately 8pm, EST, May 7, 2011 when we published the new Authentic Blogger FB Page, our membership has been busily zipping along and increasing at a rapid pace. That response is wonderful to see, and I'm happy to recognize many familiar faces of fellow bloggers hitting our new Page wall. In the coming days, I'm sure we'll continue to grow. I hope we'll be back to, or close to, our middle 700 membership in a couple of weeks. I realize that if we're not, I shouldn't internalize that or take it personally, and I'll do my best to heed my own advice. We've already received a ton of encouragement from the Facebook blogging community at large and that's just heartwarming! I have always looked at all the other Facebook blogging groups as a collaborative effort. There are a few who choose to be exclusionary, but the majority of them are driven by other wonderful bloggers who embrace the concept of helping one another.

For those who are members of our original Facebook group page for Authentic Blogger, you will find when you visit that page in the coming weeks that you can no longer post links on our wall. We disabled that feature and have posted the new link to direct you to our new Facebook Page for Authentic Blogger. We plan to leave the old group page up and running for a couple more weeks so that people who may have missed all the alerts and posts about the move will be able to find us. We also sent out an email to all original Authentic Blogger group members with all the details, explanations and the new Page link to find us. We hope that this move will cause a minimum of fuss and confusion and that all our friends and followers will be able to easily find us, Like our Page and get back to the regular business of posting their links on our wall and interacting with fellow members of our community.

In closing, we hope this minor change will not be a hindrance to the growth of the Authentic Blogger community. We value each and every blogger who has joined us, as you are the people who have helped us continue to grow, learn and succeed. We hope everyone will help us to get the word out about our new Page location on Facebook by sharing the link on your Twitter and Facebook walls. To make that easier for you, our unique username on Facebook is Feel free to grab the link and share with your blogging friends! In the immortal words of Dorothy and Glenda, the Good Witch,

Photo - Bing images

"...there's no place like home....there's no place like home..."

We look forward to welcoming you back to the new home of Authentic Blogger on Facebook. See you there!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Spotlight monthly series!

Photo courtesy of
Bing images
When I first began blogging back in 2009, I was literally overwhelmed with all that I had to learn about the blogging process. I dove in and did quite a bit of floundering, but along the way, I connected with a core group of bloggers who have since become dear friends. (The Blogging Class of 2009, Healing Morning, 12/13/2010).

There are many firsts that you experience with your blog. One of them is blogging awards. These are fun, informal awards that different bloggers create, along with an award icon and a set of criteria for each award recipient to follow. I clearly remember the first time I was given one of these awards - I was very happy to learn that other bloggers were reading my work and enjoying it enough to offer a symbol of recognition. The downside of these blog awards is that they become viral in a very short period of time, with many people sending you the same award and overloading your page. I have given this concept a lot of thought over the past two years, and I believe I've come up with my own version that works for me.

Blogging itself is cyclical. You'll find yourself interacting and connecting with your own core group of blogging friends. These are the people who you'll turn to for advice on programming the newest gadgets/widgets and applications on your blog. They're also the ones that you'll trust to give you honest, sincere critiques when you make changes to your formatting. So, obviously, it is very important to build that core group for yourself.

It is equally important to continue to broaden your horizons in the blogging world. Keeping your content fresh and new becomes a bit more challenging the longer that you write. So, you'll want to explore new ways of attracting readership. With that in mind, what I decided to do is take that blogging award concept and spiff it up a bit.

I am going to do a monthly "column" here at Healing Morning where I shine a spotlight on five blogs that I enjoy. They may be blogs that I've followed for a while, or they may be blogs I've just discovered. My rules for this are going to be simple. In order for me to pick your blog for this Spotlight On monthly column, I will have the following criteria:

1. Be a member of Authentic Blogger Facebook Group & have the Authentic Blogger button posted on your blog page. You will find our button & the code on the home page, on our right hand sidebar, just below the FB and Twitter share buttons.

2. If you are interested in your blog being posted in an upcoming Spotlight On blog post, shoot me an email with your blog link, make sure you have the Authentic Blogger button posted on your blog page, and I'll add you to my list of prospective blogs.

3. Be an actively involved member of the blogging community. By this, I mean that I will have noticed you writing thoughtful comments on various blogs in the AB community. I really do pay attention to what's going on out there among our group!

4. Upon learning that your blog has been chosen for Spotlight On, take a moment to post the link for this blog on your FB wall, and/or your blog page, if you like. Linking back to Healing Morning will ensure that everyone involved receives that much more traffic to their respective blogs.

5. Visit Healing Morning, follow my blog & leave comments occasionally. This is how I find a lot of really wonderful blogs to follow in return, so it's not as self-serving as it sounds at first glance. If you follow me and comment on my work, that keeps you current in my mind, and I'm more likely to visit your blog in return.

That's it! Short and sweet criteria that's easily met. I hope that everyone that I spotlight in this column will enjoy the attention and gain followers for their blog. I was encouraged and helped by many wonderful bloggers when I first ventured into the world of blogging. This is my way of saying Thank You to everyone who spends time at Healing Morning and at Authentic Blogger.

I will post this monthly column at both Healing Morning blog and at the Authentic Blogger sister blog, as well as several other blogging forums. The spotlighted blogs will benefit from this publicity and reach a much wider audience as a result.

So, for the inaugural Spotlight On post, these are the five blogs I have chosen:

Derek's Home and Business Blog, author Derek Jones. Derek and I connected perhaps a month ago, and I have been extremely impressed with his informative content. If you're looking for a blog that gives you the newest updates on blogging tips, SEO and SEM as well as IT information, look no further. Derek is one that you'll want to follow. I subscribe to his email feedburner option so that I receive every new blog that he posts directly to my Inbox.

Living with Food Allergies and Celiac Disease, author Mary Hudak Collins. Mary is a Mom with two children, one of which suffers from food allergies and Celiac disease. I find her content to be very well written and calm in approach. She offers realistic, logical solutions and tips in her blog posts. She's also very good about reciprocating with fellow bloggers, and I enjoy her thoughtful comments that she offers on my own work.

Anna of Alaska, author Anna L. Walls. Anna was one of the first group of members to join Authentic Blogger back in 2010, and she's been a strong member ever since. Anna is a published author as well as writing two successful blogs. She has a quirky, delightful sense of humor and offers a fascinating window into what life is like living in Alaska.

The Widow Lady, author Lisa Brandel. Lisa was also one of our earliest members at Authentic Blogger. Her blog is a valuable resource and forum for people who are dealing with loss of a loved one, or who are dealing with being a caretaker of a loved one. It might sound as though visiting her blog would be a sad experience, but the exact opposite is true. Lisa writes about all manner of topics that are grief related, and they range from funny, to dramatic, to educational, to downright absurd, and they address those topics that many shy away from. Lisa also invites many of her followers to do guest posts on The Widow Lady.

Fireside Moments, author Anahid Boghosian. Anahid is one of our wonderful admins over at Authentic Blogger & was also a very early member of our group. Her blog covers a wide range of topics, from ruminations on current events, to helpful posts that cover a lot of blogging IT tips, to very funny content. Anahid is one of my favorite people in the blogging world & I always enjoy reading her perspective.

I hope you'll all take time to visit these five blogs, read their content, and if you enjoy what you find, follow them. These five blog author fit what I consider to be the epitome of Authentic Bloggers and I am proud to call each of them blogging friends.

~ Dawn
Author, Healing Morning blog
Co-founder, Authentic Blogger FB Group