winning of the mind, persuasion

Exit, Pursued by a Bear

Dear Internet,

I came up with another project last week1 which prompted me to do cursory research for a couple of days to see if what I came up with was:

  • Needed
  • Desired
  • Doable

And I am happy to report, for my own edification at least, this project could be sustaining. The downside is with the other stuff I’ve got going on, it’s going to take at least 3 – 6 months to get it off the ground. It could be sooner but I want to give myself ample room.

I digress.

A theme I kept coming across as I searched and read was many of these websites / blogs were also businesses. Many of them sold ecourses on how to monetize your blog (among other things) and how to gain readers while tempting you with free ebooks if you just joined their list. I, of course, signed up for a few free ebooks and free web courses to see what they could teach me about jump starting my blog to gain new readership. Most of it was stuff I’ve picked up over the years and kind of went “eh” on implementing it since I was and still am not interested in monetizing, doing product reviews, lifestyle, or something along that ilk with EPbaB. That wasn’t EPbaB’s purpose. The purpose was to use it as a personal, albeit online, diary and to connect with other people.

You know. A personal blog.

But even with that very simple purpose in mind, finding like minded souls has been harder than necessary and I want to fix that.


Five years ago (!), I wrote about an identity crisis I was having, at the point, about EPbaB. I had been very open about my life from the start until around 2006 when TheEx and I started dating but writing about my life then didn’t have as much hold over me because I was out having a life! The break-up in 2008 was messy and the reason to not write as I was having a life morphed into I was too consumed with library school and work to have time to write about woe is me stuff. The need to write, however, started appearing again and I decided to concentrate on library school instead as talking about school was a much safer bet then anything else.

Upon graduation in 2010, I found myself at a loss on what to do with the site other than a few updates here and there. I was also at a loss what to call it since I had held on to The Lisa Chronicles since the site’s inception but I knew I needed a change.

For about a year I bounced around ideas with friends and the internet on the new site’s name. I was still writing, albeit haphazardly, but I was still a bit adrift in the internet wind for a name and a purpose. Things had changed considerably since 1997. If you have a “personal blog” now, you are also hawking printables, DIY, jewelry, or life coaching. Everything was a business and nothing I read felt genuine anymore.

In 2012 I went to England and as I was walking through the gift shop at The Globe Theatre, I ran across a badge that had a bear with the words, “Exit, Pursued by a Bear” encircling said bear. I knew the saying was an odd stage direction from A Winter’s Tale but as I stood there with badge in hand, the more I rolled over the name in my head, the more it sounded like the perfect name for a site. It’s absurd, which I often am, and literary, ditto, and it sounded fun to imagine and say.

Which brings us up to today.


In the early days of the internet, traffic on my site wasn’t bad. It was, in fact, much better then the traffic driving to my site now. This is odd in the sense I am not only more prolific now but also more well known, at least in the social sphere. If my goal is to connect with others like me, then why wasn’t I finding and connecting with those people since I have a much larger personality?

The answer may be it’s not all of my fault. A recent stat given is we hit 1,000,000,000 websites in 2014 as compared to the 33,000 sites in 1994. In 1997, I was one of the very few people doing what I’m doing, the word “blog” wasn’t commonly used, and the word “journal” was used to label us online memoirists.

Now, no one uses “journal” or “diary” when they write about their life – everything is a “blog.” And if you’re not using “blog” in your site title, URL, or somewhere high on the landing page, you’re fucked if you’re sole purpose is to write an online diary. Like me.

Now most websites live for 100 days. In the late ’90s, they lived for 44 days. An increase, obviously, but with the proliferation all over the place, all it takes is a few well placed keywords and you’ll have a site in the top of the search results fairly quickly even if the shelf-life of that site is that of a mayfly while lesser known sites, like mine, kind of hang out in the peripherals.

(Plus we cannot forget the esteemed plaintiff used my legal name all over the web which lead to many of my hits going to him as his sites come up in the top rankings.)


EPbaB has 48 readers on Feedly, 3 readers on Bloglovin’, about 300 subscribers via other RSS readers, 28 subscribers to the mailing list, 21 people subscribed to the monthly list, and 163 likes on the Facebook page. Lastly, I have nearly 3100 followers on my personal Twitter account.

(Despite the super low stats on my blog, my twitter account has 1500% more followers than the average schmoe. This begs to the question: Are websites dead if we’re getting our new and info from Facebook and Twitter? Someone go do that study and report back. ALSO! Am I just funnier and more engaging on Twitter than I am here?)

(I can also tell you when the plaintiff’s lawyer mentioned EPbaB during the cross-examination and alleged I was so influential I had heavily tainted the plaintiff’s career. I laughed heartily, which is hard to do when you’re doped up on four mg of Klonopin, but heartily I did.)

Despite the low traffic, I adore my little website that could and I want others to enjoy it too. I am proud that I still carry on the tradition I started of writing my life online. Not many people are doing that much anymore without some kind of agenda and I think it is for that very reason most hang around my life. So another balance is how do I keep true to me while wanting to bring new peeps into my world?

The mission of EPbaB is to provide personal stories (mine), anecdotes (also mine), and a safe space for people who have similiar interests. The only thing I’m selling here is myself (and I don’t come cheap).

Did I mention I’m terrible at selling myself? The solution is how to sell the site without selling my ethics down the river. I want people to read but because they find me entertaining and insightful, not because i lured them with free eBooks or naked pictures of myself. (Though I do believe I tried that oh so many years ago…)


What does all mean for EPbaB? Short answer: I want more people to read me. Longer answer: To connect with me and feel like they are not the only ones in this world who have like minded inquiries, questions, concerns, and feelings.

How do I plan on doing this?

Taking a cue from all those lovely lifestyle bloggers, I am going to implement (or try to anyway), the following courses of action:

  • Studying my heat map for the site over the last few weeks, no one clicks on the “subscribe” or “contact” links. I’m then going to
    • Pull those links off the menu on the left hand side
    • Add a footer (as seen below) to all new posts
      • Continue using the footer (see below) to advertise how to read, follow, or to buy my book (Only $.99! On Kindle!)
    • Open up commenting again in Disqus
  • One of the reasons people aren’t finding me, or at least my site via topic, is I am not following good SEO. For example, I always use some kind of quote or word or something for the subject line of the post (see today’s as an example) which tells you NOTHING about what the post is about. Via a SEO app, I can make the title (what shows up in your browser tab) applicable to the content of the post. The subject line will say, “winning of the mind, persuasion” while the title will say, “The Direction and Rebranding of the EPbaB Blog”. Search engines index the title of the page first before they get to the subject line of the piece.
  • As much as I detest it, use the word “blog” when appropriate in the title and in the first few paragraphs to get properly indexed by search engines
  • Use applicable keywords in the first few paragraphs of a piece, again for search engine indexing
  • Use an image to in the beginning of each post.
    • Why? When cross-posting to Facebook, Tumblr, Google+, and Pinterest, the image will catch the eye rather than a long string of text
  • Be judicious on using social media.
    • How? Single post to Facebook, Tumblr, Google+, and Pinterest but after initial posting on Twitter, set up two auto-posts on Twitter, one in the morning, one in the afternoon, to gain more traffic
  • Instead of writing 2000 word behemoths, break them up into 750-1000 word chunks. A girl has a lot to say but not everyone has time to read what the girl says.
  • Revive the monthly mailing list
  • Continue emotional vomit here except for librarianship (that’s at lisa.rabey.net) or writing (that’s at lisarabey.com).
    • Why? Glad you asked! A few months ago I called Reputation.com to find out how much it would cost to clean up my online rep as the esteemed plaintiff and news sites writing about the case were keeping a girl down. I was a “very difficult case” and it “could be a long term campaign”. How much for this privledge? $25K. Yes, you read that correctly That’s $25K per year with a two year minimum. I laughed not heartily but hysterically when they told me this. I already knew what they were/are going to do and the results would be the same and I’m sure as fuck not paying $25K to give them the privilege. lisa.rabey.net  was 5 or 6 in the first set of search results and now it’s number 2 thanks to the fact I’ve been blogging over there on a consistant basis since January. I figure if I do the same thing with lisarabey.com, that will also drag that site up from 10 to who knows. Both Twitter accounts are now showing up and I’m determined to shift more shit around to get that front page free of vermin. In short, Reputation.com can go fuck themselves.

That’s the crux of what I’m doing and it’s all mostly backend so you won’t (really) see a difference when you read me.  I was already posting images, albeit haphazardly, on the blog so that won’t be a big switch. And I’ll never ever use ads on this site. Ever. Never. Ever.

The adorable trainwreck that I am will remain the same.

xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2013


1. I counted the other day; this makes said project project 10. 10 fucking projects I’m rotating through. What in thee fuck.

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A Study in Scarlet


Backyard after the great snow, January 14, 2012. (Using the cutout filter from Photoshop.)

I have been incredibly lackadaisical in regards to posting here as of late, but much of that has more to do with technical difficulties over pure laziness. But this is said from the person who only took down their holiday tree on January 31.

To not put a too terrible fine point on it, several things occurred:

  • All of my domains were infected with the same malware injection not once, but three times
  • The same week as the last injection infection took place, my provider was dDOSed.
  • Though I was ritualistic with backups of my WordPress databases across all of my domains, I apparently missed a crucial step as when I restored the databases, none of the content populated through the WordPress GUI. Ergo, logging into PHPmyAdmin shows me all of the lovely, lovely entries from many, many years and logging into WordPress shows me posts = 0. That’s sobering.

So if you’ve been wondering where the hell I’ve been and why every single one of my domains is empty – here is that explanation.

While I took massive steps to protect myself from future attacks and did everything by the book (supposedly), the best recourse seemed to be to wipe everything, including SQL tables, across the Lisa network and start fresh. A week after I blew everything away, I remember thinking how much relief I felt having no presence (or virtually no presence) on the web. How long has it been? 10 years? Maybe 12? Actually it’s been 16 since my first page up on Geocities and wrote my first entries, wondering if anyone would ever read them? And even when I was not writing, there were bits of me always present. But during that semi-glorious week in January, there was nothing. And that relief turned to emptiness.

So the cycle starts again, as it was in the beginning and so too shall it go forward to the future.

Feast or Famine: back to Twitter after 40 days

someecards | create your own ecards - Mozilla Firefox 3.1 Beta 2 Going 40 days without Twitter was an interesting experience as I’m terrible at moderation — it’s either feast or famine with me. This is one of the reasons why quitting smoking has always been so hard for me: I WANTED just one cigarette and then I would smoke 12, which meant I would have to buy a pack or bum from someone and the whole smoking process would start all over again. The only way I kicked it this time was not hang out with smokers, which is easy to do since I don’t know any smokers on the east side of the state.

However with Twitter, the problem was that just as I was weaning myself off of Twitter, everyone and their second cousin was joining Twitter. Since this was definitely not a geographic issue (like attempting to quit smoking)1 but rather a interest issue, what was a girl to do? I decided to to go off of Twitter for 40 days not because I am religious and needed something to give up for Lent2 but rather I was spending an inordinate amount of time on Twitter and not allocating that time for other, often necessary, projects. Twitter is not just about reading my public_timeline and tweeting but rather for me it is also about looking at what others are tweeting, following links, researching interests, people and things.

If someone posted a blog entry, I’d end up spending several hours on that blog and then some. I want to to know who I am interacting with, so thus, Twitter became this full-time job of me searching out and expanding my network. I’m a curious cat who needs to know how things are done! I wanted to use the time off from Twitter to do a variety of things though, things that I swore I was NOT doing because all of my time was being sucked in by Twitter.

Things such as: updating lib schooled. more often, personal research, knitting, exercise (WiiFit), homework, writing, cleaning my apartment. I suck at time management and Twitter was fast becoming another obsession that was sucking down my time and like smoking, I couldn’t find myself an easy way to quit. More succinctly, I couldn’t find myself moderating my Twitter activity to do something else.

Feast or famine.

In the Twitterverse (or really, any active online social life), 40 days is almost an entire cycle or IS an entire cycle of birth to death. Fads can come and go in 40 days or less, and with Twitter it went from bubbling under the surface of explosion to totally exploding all over the media. Every single form of media outlet was becoming Twitterized and add insult to injury, bands, authors, celebs, friends, and everyone else in between were suddenly joining the Twitter bandwagon! And I couldn’t add them or read them!

The one and only time I logged into Twitter during this period was when a co-worker asked me a question that required me to do so. But I didn’t look at my public_timeline, I swear. But other than that single instance, I refrained from reading my public_timeline, I did not log into Twitter, I did not follow Twitter links, I did not log into Twhirl or any other application, did not respond to DMs: not a damn thing. The only thing I did was check how many minions were following me because the number kept growing and it was insane! In the 40 days I was gone, the number of my followers almost doubled! Thanks to auto-tweeting on this blog, I tweeted maybe half a dozen times in the last 40 days but not the continual dozen times a day (or more!) that I was doing before.

According to TwitterCounter, the projection that I was to hit 500 minions before Easter was completely feasible — something that Chris and I had a gentlemen’s agreement on (that I would indeed hit 500 before Easter, while he did not believe it to be so). The final tally was 520. And this became the puzzlement for me: I was not tweeting with any regular basis and I was gaining new minions. Why? I came up with the following reasons:

  1. People I knew who created Twitter accounts after my hiatus.
  2. People who were recommended to follow me (via #followfriday or another method).
  3. Key word/geographic search: I gained a lot of new minions because of “librarian” and “punk rock” (@pnkrcklibrarian) in my name. I also gained new minions because of where I live, as it’s listed in my bio.
  4. Hashtag (#) via my own self-created hasltags or via key wording my bio.
  5.  Spam bots, auto/serial adders.
  6. MLM market peeps.

Was there a lesson learned in any of this?

Probably in the end I was able to do a bit better this semester than projected because I was able to keep away from the time sucking whore that Twitter had become in my life. But other than that? I came back fast and furious to the Twitter world, as the SomeECard that Chris created for me.

P.S. As of November 2009, I’ve hit nearly 1200 minions. Yeah, I don’t get it either.


1. Yes, I’ve been smoke-free for 10 weeks now. I’ve got the 10-15lbs to prove it too!
2. While I was raised Catholic, I’ve given up all preludes of Catholicism years ago (despite the fact that I went to a Catholic college). Interestingly enough, my mother who is Christian and only practices some tenements of Catholicism (when it suites her) continually gives up men for Lent every year. You can see where my sense of humor comes from, then.