Category Archives: Blog Business (snore)

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Cue Panic Attack In 5, 4, 3, 2…

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So! I’m going to this local Blogger event tonight and I’m panicking because we all know I’m the Queen of all of the Social Awkward Parties. There are even two other things going on tonight that I’m missing that I totally wanted to use as an excuse but then I remembered: Me + Social Gatherings Surrounded By Strangers = Comedic Facebook Statuses!

And I’m nothing if not dedicated to documenting my foolish behavior on social networks.

(I just spilled some beans on my dress. Perfect timing!)

(Why am I wearing a dress?)

Anyway – I have to leave in like, 15 minutes, and it just occurred to me that if anyone meets me tonight and decides to visit my blog…THE MOST BORING ENTRY IN THE WORLD is the first thing they’ll see. So! I thought that – while I eat my dinner (and spill it on my dress) – I would add a better entry as the first one. And by “better” I mean – “An entry where I talk about spilling beans on my dress.”

(WHY AM I WEARING A DRESS?)

So! A note to anyone I might meet tonight…

Dear Nice Person I Met At The Rocket City Bloggers Connect Event,

First things first: I’m really sorry I said that really stupid thing. I am a mess in social situations and often compensate by trying to be funny and I always fail miserably and say really stupid things.

Secondly: Thank you for not mentioning the bean stain on my dress. I have no idea why I wore a dress.

Thirdly: This is my blog. I’ve been writing here for over 10 years. This page will tell you more about me. I used to write about my kids more but now they’re old enough to yell at me for that, I write a lot about health and running and exercise. You can read more about my journey from couch potato to runner here. I also write a lot about bullet journals, here’s a good entry here. And sometimes I write about how I like to eat my feelings, hence the entire category here.

In general, this blog is my therapist + my diary + my baby book + my evidence for insanity if anyone ever tries to have me committed. It’s a hodgepodge of miscellany and I depend on it to keep me sane. I hope I didn’t embarrass myself too bad tonight.

Thanks for stopping by,
Kim Zoot.

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Bringing Back The Blogroll (Maybe)

photoI was included in a list of Huntsville Bloggers/Instagrammers! Full Disclosure: the author asked in a local blogging group if any bloggers had instagram accounts, and then she put us in a list. I don’t want you to think someone was THAT impressed with the pictures of my cats sleeping and the beer I’m drinking. But still! I’m on a list!

I don’t see them that much anymore, but there used to be these regular lists of AWESOME MOMMY BLOGGERS YOU SHOULD READ! put out by any number of online parenting-type groups or magazines. It was alway funny because you could predict the varied responses:

  1. Gratitude – Of course! If you’re on a list you should be grateful! Once Babble asked some of their “Top Bloggers” to recommend a blogger that no one knows about and one of my favorite bloggers mentioned me. I WAS HUGELY GRATEFUL! And I thinK I wrote 15 entries about how grateful I was because I thought it was that cool.
  2. Discussion Of The Word Mommybloggers – Man. Many Parents Who Blog HATE that word. HATES IT. Because it just makes what we do sound so trite. The problem is, it’s a concise way to put Parents Who Blog into groups. I don’t like the word “Mommy” personally, so I will use “Mom Blogger” if I need to, but you always get a handful of “QUIT CALLING US MOMMYBLOGGERS!” entries, followed by the predictable, “I LIKE THE WORD MOMMYBLOGGER!” entries.
  3. Irritation With Repeat List Appearances – Everytime these lists were put out? You’d find a lot of the same names on them. And of course people like me who never made a list would roll their eyes like, “Well…guess I won’t be on it if Amalah is always there.” But – then, of course, I would immediately remember: AMALAH IS AWESOME. She SHOULD be on every list. So, you know, you can only get so irritated with that. I would end up simply wishing there were more “Bloggers you’ve never heard of!” lists.

The thing is, no one sits down and “checks blogs” anymore. I think it’s because of the demise of Google Reader which I will complain about every day forever until the day I die. I started auto-posting my links to my Facebook page for my blog, but that doesn’t show up in people’s feeds unless they interact with that page. And since I don’t do ANYTHING else on it, there’s nothing to interact with. I personally tried Feedly and Bloglovin but just found myself totally irritated that neither of them were like Google Reader.

But I totally miss sitting down and reading blogs.

Leah wrote about blogging/storytelling recently. I met Leah back in the “good ole days” around BlogHer 2006. She’s currently rounding up bloggers that still consider themselves storytellers. I’m not sure if I’m a storyteller or not. I don’t tell stories as much as I vomit up experience. Sometimes there are stories involved but mostly it’s: This is what’s happening to me right now.

This blog sounds EXCITING.

BUT ANYWAY – She mentioned Blogrolls on the Sidebar. I used to have one of those! People started getting rid of them when we were all using feed readers. Also, people started getting their feelings hurt not being on them, but I’m not going to stress about that right now. Mine was actually still built into WordPress. Unfortunately, it’s like 4 years old and almost all of the blogs that USED to be on it are dead or haven’t been updated in 4 years. SO! I did quick inventory and deleted all of the blogs I’m pretty sure haven’t updated, and left the ones that I think have. But haven’t necessarily checked in awhile because GOOGLE READER IS DEAD.

I’m hoping to just use my own sidebar – LIKE I USED TO – to keep up with blogs again. See if that works. Maybe it will help me keep up wit my favorite blogs better? I don’t know. I may remove it again after a few weeks if I check it as regularly as I checked Feedly or Bloglovin once I set those up. Currently, the most common cause for me to visit a blog? Is someone tweeting a link or posting it to their PERSONAL Facebook page. But I have no idea how to make everyone do that at the same time every day so I can be sure to see it.

The MAIN problem with using the sidebar is that you don’t know if they’ve updated until you click. That’s why RSS readers are nice. You just open up ONE thing and you can see if they’ve updated easily. Unfortunately, I haven’t found an RSS reader I like as much as I used to like Google Reader. DAMN YOU GOOGLE!

How do you keep up with your favorite blogs? How do you find new ones?

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Using Social Media to ENGAGE, not just PROMOTE.

I don’t know if you remember the tutu fiasco that took over the world of runners a few weeks ago, but our local running group on Facebook decided to show our #tutusolidarity at a local 5K this week. The PR team of the 5K really helped get into via Twitter.

And then! The local Huntsville Visitor’s Center mascot go into it…letting us make him a tutu!

And it reminded me how much FUN social media can be. I mean, we organized with Facebook and we documented with Twitter and Instagram. This is what happens if businesses/organizations really use the tools before them. It’s not just about posting a copy of your flyer on Instagram, it’s about ENGAGING your community. HudsonAlpha didn’t have to even acknowledge that a bunch of runners were going to show up in tutus at their race, but they did and it made it all that much more fun. Buzz (our mascot) didn’t have to show up, but he did, and he donned the tutu we made him.

Using social media is NOT just about promoting your events or your products, you must engage your community. You must read their replies or tags and figure out some way to get them active. I’ll be honest, I was not on board with a Tuesday night 5K. I like to go to bed early which means eating dinner early, so racing at 5:30pm was not on my list of things to do. Wes had a t-ball game that I didn’t want to miss. But then, this TutuSolidarity thing just kinda snowballed and HudsonAlpha got involved and I couldn’t miss a chance to hang with one of our city’s mascots! And suddenly I’m covered in glitter (the glitter tulle LOOKS great but you will never get the glitter out of your surroundings…EVER…), wearing a tutu and crazy socks, and PR’ing a 5K!

All because I was ENGAGED by the social media accounts of both HudsonAlpha and Buzz (which is an offshoot of the Huntsville Visitor’s Center). If they focused on just promoting their events? I would have been eating dinner at 5pm, been in bed by 7pm, and never even looked at tulle. But because they engaged me, they made that event feel personal and I was excited to be there and I promoted it on my own social media feeds.

ENGAGE. Not just PROMOTE.

You’re welcome.

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Commenting On Comments

(I stole that from the corporate entity known as Daily Grace. Not from the human Grace Helbig who you should subscribe to here.)

So, there was a Twitter conversation started yesterday about commenting on blogs. Well, first it we me irritated with the continuing statements I see about how “No one blogs anymore.” That irritates me because I still read TONS of blogs. Some of the old staples and a-listers may not blog the way they used to (if at all) but many still do, and BILLIONS of new ones have popped up.

ANYWAY – the conversation THEN moved to whether blogging has stopped, or whether comments have just stopped. And that part I agree with, there has DEFINITELY been a decrease in comments. Now, doesn’t phase me much because I NEVER COMMENT ON ANYTHING.

I am the worst about opening the comments box, typing out a comment I agonized over for 10 minutes, and then deleting it.

I seem to have incredible stage fright about leaving my words on other people’s sites. On my own? I barely proof them. But in the comment section of another blog? I over analyze and panic and change my mind 100 times because THAT COMMENT IS SO STUPID. WHY ARE YOU TYPING IT?

Anyway…so that’s why I don’t comment. A lot of people said they don’t comment because it’s hard on phones to leave comments. I think my site is mobile-friendly (I considered that in the redesign) but I’m sure not all are. So I can see that being huge.

I would love to know why you don’t comment. But I don’t want you to COMMENT to tell me because that seems silly. HEY! YOU KNOW THAT THING YOU DON’T LIKE TO DO? DO IT! AND TELL ME WHY YOU DON’T LIKE TO DO IT!

So…feel free NOT to comment. BUT! If your reason for NOT commenting is one you can get past in this one small moment…tell me why you don’t comment, and ALSO? Tell me one blog you love that no one else knows about. I’m going to post all of those links in the next entry because it drives me CRAZY that people act like no one is blogging anymore.

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4999 Posts. 100K+ Comments. Ten Years.

I started my blog some time in January of 2004 on Typepad. The specifics are unclear, but I know I immediately connected with Amy and we formed a small little tribe of bloggers early on that did weirdo projects to get traffic to our blogs. Although I’m not sure that was the point of the projects…but it was a side effect. During those first few months, because of those projects, I actually became quite addicted to blogging with a decent level of traffic for a beginner. Around April of that year I gave up on Typepad and moved here…to misszoot.com…and my own self-hosted blog. The problem was that I was smart enough to set up my own blog, but too dumb to understand I could import entries from the Typepad one. I copied and pasted some of my favorite entries and the rest went the way of the virtual dump.

So, for ALMOST ten years I’ve been at misszoot.com, but I don’t like to discount that first 4 months so I always celebrate my blogiversary in January. And tomorrow it will be TEN DAMN YEARS. I will write my 5,000th post tomorrow on the beginning of my second decade of blogging. AND THIS BLOWS MY MIND.

Those early blogging friendships really helped solidify this blog because – simply – they gave me enough traffic to make me feel like it was worth the effort. I also started writing a lot about my reproductive issues which gave me the years of my highest traffic. It’s weird how blogging about miscarriages increases the pageviews. I like it because it means people are finding their communities, but it feels weird to think, Oh…I don’t get as much traffic as I did when I used to write about pregnancy loss.

I also used to open this blog up for guest posting, and I thought that was the majority of the reason why I had hit 5000 entries in 10 years, because some days I’d have 30 posts in one day. However, when I went to look up authorships it’s all just me. So, either those posts are gone and I wrote all of these 5000 entries, or there a couple hundred entries with my authorship that I didn’t write. So if you ever stumble upon a post that doesn’t seem like it was written by me? Let me know.

Either way – today is 4,999. That’s a hell of a lot of posting.

I really do love this place. It’s so weird to imagine life without blogging. I’ve seen bloggers come and go. I’ve seen people retire and return. I’ve seen people blog for pay successfully and not-so-successfully. I’ve seen people fade away, with a 3-year-old entry still hanging out on their front page.

And while my topics have changed a lot over the years, I’ve not really ever changed my rhythm. When I had tons of traffic I would not post another entry until the last entry had at least 10 comments, but that’s a rule from long past. I don’t think about that any more. I actually don’t even look at my traffic anymore. I keep the social tools up so I can catch something if it goes viral which has only happened ONCE, but otherwise I just ignore it because – in 10 years – I’ve learned that it’s harder to write when I’m thinking about stats. And I’ve written pretty consistently, obviously, over the 10 years. My typical rhythm is one post ever weekday, but obviously I’ve done more than that to hit this number in 10 years. But still – that’s the basic rhythm I’ve kept over 10 years and I’m quite proud of that consistency. I can promise you that if I started thinking about page views or advertising that would drop substantially, which is why I’ve avoided that like the plague.

I just can’t believe all of the wonderful things this little place on the web has given me in life. Friends, community, adventures, and confidence. But mainly? This place is my safe place. I only self-censor in the way I want to self-censor. I don’t ever want to hurt anyone with my words, no matter what form they take, but other than that? This place is all me. And sometimes I come in here and I just hide and I feel safe buried under a decade of words…of my words. And I’ve never been disappointed when I unload here, there are always voices to raise me up even just to say, “Me too.”

So, thank you. If this is the first thing you’ve ever read…or if you’ve been here since I was pregnant with Nikki (that’s when most people found me)…or if you’re Amy and remember the days of the Typepad haikus – I’m just so grateful for everyone. Every voice I’ve met along the way. Whether a comment on a blog post, or a feed in my feed reader. Whether an email of support or a Tweet of sympathy. All of the voices have given me such joy and I really can’t imagine any other option but to keep going for another 10 years. This is my morning coffee. My therapy. My support group. My life would be a lot more out of control without it.

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