The modem was screeching, trying to make that handshake with another modem, if I could just connect to that modem, I could get the information I need. I had a book with pages of phone numbers for most of the BBS’s out on there in the world, they published books with theme as well. You could download drivers and programs, it was great fun, but it took forever on a 300 or 2400 Baud modem. The days of dialing into a BBS (Bulletin Board System) to get information are behind us, and when the Internet came along, most of these software packages built modules / add-on’s to connect a BBS to the NET. Eventually, that call into a BBS became an Internet connection at faster speeds of a modem, the world changed in one fleeting moment. You remember don’t you, when you had to send email via FidoNet, use a program to download a package of all your messages from the week before. That’s right, it used to take days, even weeks to get a response via email on a BBS. The more games, and or information you had available on your BBS, the more attention, the more visitors. There were almost no GURUS & EXPERTS, just people with some experience, and they were willing to help you for free, for the most part.
While the BBS world was quietly doing it’s thing, TV, Radio & Newspaper’s garnered almost all the attention, in some markets they still do. You didn’t hear about GURUS & EXPERTS that much because those medium’s were closely guarded. Not open, not free. To advertise, to get the word out, the mainstream media was the most effective way. Until the Internet.
The Internet changed the game, suddenly the attention shifted, and then attention game had no rules, no watch dogs, it was wide open, it was free…..for now. Out of nowhere the GURUS & EXPERTS appeared, suddenly there were more authorities on everything than you could imagine. I’ve often said, everyone knows something about something, but no one knows everything about everything. The narcissists would argue that point.
Blogging became the mode of communication, you could write about anything, it is a writers dream, a painters favorite kind of canvas. Blogs had the attention until a bigger beast appeared, Social Networks, and the attention shifted once again. These Social Networks are shifting as I write, a new shift, they want you, all of us to Blog on their network, on their channel, because they want content. Why? They want to win the attention war. It matters not how you access the social networks, it only matters that your attention shifts.
I find it puzzling that many would rather blog on Social Networks than their own Blog. Giving away traffic to the Social Networks, when the Social Networks should be driving traffic to the Blog…..funny how it gets turned around.
Personally, I would rather be the owner a Blog, and use Social Networks as tools to drive customers, readers, viewers back to my home-base, my Blog. Most Social Networks and other mainstream media sites want you to make their site your home-base, they want to be your homepage when you open a browser, much like the Industrial Age of control. They want your attention, they want to control your attention, but so do you the Blogger.
If you give away viewers, readers, and buyers, and traffic….you lose. Big business wins again, they got you to shift your attention, and the attention of those that were paying attention to you. Giving away your followers eyeballs means they make the money, not you, defeating the purpose you ventured in to.
Guard your fans, protect your followers, they truly are valuable, to you, and most definitely to big business. Think about where you put your content, you and only you can control it. There is an attention shift taking place, no matter how easy it might seem, don’t be fooled into giving it to groups and organizations that want to take it from you. Build YOUR platform, your home-base, that’s the only way to survive this attention-getting war.
We all want things to happen quickly, we all want them to happen without too much effort, and we all don’t want to wait. I think we would all being lying if we didn’t think this now and then, it’s human nature, we want what we want and we want the thing to happen easily. I’m generalizing of course, but I would have to be foolish to believe everyone has the same motives and thinks exactly the same way as me.
We all have our stuff, our baggage so to speak, we justify our situation and have enough excuses to choke a horse as to why nothings changed. I’m guilty of this, well, I used to be guilty of this. What I love about people the most, is the stories, the hardships they had to work through and overcome, what they learned through those hardships. Most of all, I’ve learned that everyone has something to offer, it’s up to you to decide what value they have on that offering.
I have the privilege of speaking to 500 people this weekend, I’ll be sharing about what I do and what I’ve learned on my journey. My story is not that different from yours, but it is my story, may it encourage you and may you learn from it.
I’ve been on the Internet for many years now, I’ve had websites but never a Blog. Blog’s remind me of Bulletin Board Systems (BBS), they were communities of people learning from each other and sharing what was happening in their life at the time. These systems were the Social Media Networks of the day. I even ran my own BBS for a short while, but found the allure of the Internet to be overwhelming. I’m a technology man, I learned how to use computers when I was in Radio back in the early 80’s, I had learn how to program and use automation systems. You can see my background on the About Owen Page here on my Blog.
I started Blogging about two years ago, I started with another Blog before this one and then started all over with WordPress in a self-hosted environment. I also run a small but modest webhosting company called Billyhost.com for my clients, I wanted to provide the service so my client’s didn’t have to worry about it, it is a value-added service.
I still work crazy long days to make Billyhost.com & my Blog happen, I often wonder if it’s worth all the effort, not from a monetary stand point but from the perspective of, am I helping someone, am I making difference, do I bring value? Don’t get me wrong, I do want to derive revenue through all that I do here online but it’s not my primary focus, helping others is the goal. I have the gift of helps, and I figured this Blog was the perfect way I could help others, answer questions, provide information that may be useful, and most of all encourage and give hope to those feeling alone in the storm. I try to make myself available to any and all but let’s be honest that’s not realistic, there are only so many hours in a day. On this journey I’ve come to learn that I’m not alone, the good news is there is a way to get through the storm.
My story, my storm. Eight years ago at 43 years of age I suffered a heart attack (March 4th, 2001), I discovered all that I was working for, all that I was trying to accomplish, was for me and me alone. I’ll state upfront, don’t do that, it’s wrong and you won’t have the life you want to have in the long run. Life took on a different meaning for me after that episode, my wife & kids became my focus, people close to me seem to have more value and I just couldn’t stop thinking about those less fortunate than me, those struggling to get through the storm. I am also a Diabetic, I have hearing aids, and I wear Progressive lenses. I’m falling apart at the seams and I’m only 51 years of age! I’ll be 52 November 27th, 2009 : )
Two weeks after my heart attack I was out playing road hockey with the neighborhood kids, 2 hours a day for two weeks before I had to return to my job. I lost 20 pounds! I wasn’t going to let this heart attack beat me, if I was gonna die, it was going to be on my terms (sort of). If you want to succeed you have to think that way, after all, the option of death was not an option at all, so I was gonna make my life count, make it matter. As you can see I’m still with you and it’s October 2009.
Fourteen months ago I found myself unemployed, now I’ve always made money on the side fixing computers and doing consulting but not as a primary source of income. I started Blogging back then because I wanted to take what I knew and what I was doing offline to the web for ease of access, for me and for my customers. I have been doing Social Media for many, many years through different channels, but not like today, we have so many new options and tools at our finger tips. I would have loved to have the networks we have today back in the beginning of my Internet journey.
The problem of being unemployed is only a small part of my storm, you see a year ago I discovered I had a hernia and had to have surgery. I was booked for surgery in October, November, December 2008 and finally January 14th, 2009 I went under the knife. I was out of commission for 6 weeks recovering, by then I had already been established on Social Media Networks like Twitter & FaceBook. Then in July (the 5th,2009) I broke my shoulder, I was doing warp speed down the soccer field chasing a younger fella on a break away, I clipped his back foot and what should have been a tuck & roll was a SPLAT! I shattered the Clavicle at the joint of the shoulder. I was fortunate in the fact that the shoulder wasn’t dislocated or the shattered bones out of position, so I just had to wear an immobilizer for 4 weeks.
After the 4 weeks was up I figured I could get back to normal, wrong, the shoulder wasn’t healing, on October 20th, 2009 I finally got the clearance to resume normal activities, I can do whatever I want.
During the past 14 months I’ve applied and interviewed for many, many, many jobs only to be denied time and time again. My wife works but doesn’t earn a great deal and we can’t live on it, we own a home (well the bank does) and two cars (paid for). My only source of income was the existing clients and what I make here online, it’s not enough so don’t think life is a bed of roses. The challenge with having the surgery and the broken shoulder was I couldn’t do any kind of physical work, that wasn’t good for my self-talk and mental health. If I did land a job it couldn’t be physical work.
I didn’t let that stop me, I wasn’t going to let the health issues beat me, sound familiar? I recognize I can’t overcome all health related issues but I have been able to so far, your situation will be different. During the past 14 months I have spent 8 – 10 hours a day on the Internet, I have been writing and spending time helping others on Social Media Networks. I have been invited to speak at local events, get more consulting opportunities and me & my Blog are considered a resource to help understand Social Media & I.T. Strategic Planning.
I’m still in the storm but it seems to be subsiding, I am learning from it and I’m building all through it. Progress is being made, and I’m really excited about the ambiguity before me. You should be too. Learn to embrace it, embrace the storm because storms always end, they never last forever and you almost always become a better person because of them. The wisdom you acquire is priceless and you will be presented with opportunities to help someone else going through a storm. As I mentioned earlier, the storm is the loneliest place for a person going through it, that’s because it’s for you and only you, and only you can learn from it.
No matter what the storm, no matter what you want from life, you will pay a price, you will learn to overcome and persevere and you will at times always feel alone. Chris Brogan talks about this in his video called Overnight Success, if you want it bad enough you will certainly pay a price. The good news is, you have freedom of choice, you get to choose. You don’t however, get to decide when you will be at the place you want to be, success always requires time, lots of time, and you will always need the help other people to help you get there….always. You will go through a storm, maybe many storms before you can win, I can’t wait to hear your story, how you suffered and overcame, and how you helped others be better off because you lived.
We all have to ride out the storm and we all have a story to tell….what’s yours?