Marketing strategies, part 4: Jillions of details

I’ll begin by quoting the e-mail that started all this. Brian said:

Bill – You have some very good points in this article.  I wonder how we can increase readership of your blog?

Two ideas come to mind:

  1. Consider changing the name of your blog to something like “The Homeless Blogger”
  2. There are a number of newspapers that are by homeless people for the broader community.  We have one here in Columbus called Street Speech.  You could submit a weekly blog there.  Here is a partial list:  http://www.homeless.org.au/directory/news.htm

Some background: WordPress gives me very detailed stats about who visits my blog: where they are; what posts or pages they read; where they clicked on a link, if they did, to get here; what search engine terms they used, if any; and more.

The quickest way to increase my readership is for my readers to link to and quote from the blog early and often throughout the day. Incorporate links into your e-mail signatures. Regard any Facebook post or Tweet as incomplete until it includes a link. Do the same with comments on other blogs or news articles …

I have the conviction that the right eyes will find the blog at the right time. That doesn’t mean I should do nothing.
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* I really have nothing better to do

(Transcribed from a letter to my mother dated 25 September 2007.)

This conversation yesterday with a co-worker astonished me.

“Peaches” is a 42-year old, very short woman, certainly a grandmother and very likely great-grandmother, who has about half her teeth. She works principally as a cashier, and is a really good worker and co-worker. She constantly teases me by pretending to flirt with me.

I was stocking the trash bags shelves, and became aware that she was in quite a pickle. Her shift was over, and she had appointments she had to keep at a certain time across town; but she also had assembled this bag full of items she needed to buy at once and before leaving the store. And the line at the cash register was quite long. (Long lines at cash register are a constant, intractable problem at this store.)

I told her facetiously, “Just go down there and push ’em all out.” She said, “No, that would be unmannerly, and that’s not like me.” (Conduct that can be called “unmannerly” is a big, big issue in this community, and a big issue for me personally since I see so much of it and find it offensive.) She went on: “Now, I like your manners. You speak to the customers …”
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* Jacob’s ladder 09/28/13

Prayer for myself often takes the form of imagining myself climbing up a ladder out of a pit, the pit being my current circumstances of poverty and homelessness.  Getting out at the top represents a return to the normal life of the American mainstream.  I didn’t start with a ladder in there, but I decided to add one to symbolize the various structures and tools that others have made available to me — and eliminate the possibility of clawing at loose earth.

Here begins a list of “rungs” on the ladder that I’ve become aware I need to “overcome.”  Each one takes effort, exertion, to get over. I will update this list from time to time as I learn of others.

 1. Fear of the unknown.  See From my diary: Learning to pray.
 2. Jealousy of others who seem to be prospering more quickly than I am.  Details here.
 3. Times of despair.  I guess, from time to time, they’ll happen.  Details here.
 4. Incidents of utter selfishness.  Details here.
 5. Moments of unusual hardship and sacrifice. Details here.
 6. Cut loose the losers. Details here.
 7. Smoking.  See posts tagged “Smoking”.

Marketing strategies, part 3

Every month I send my brothers an e-mail to catch them up on the latest news in my life. The quote below comes from the one I’m sending them today. This is definitely not the last word on the matter. The detailed response I promised at first is still to come.

Brian and others have suggested I rebrand myself online as “The Homeless Blogger.”  Then my work might get more of the attention they think it deserves.  But I don’t want to be “The Homeless Blogger.”  I want to be William Tell the talk show host (New idea: a homeless talk show host?), William Tell the secretary or cashier or grocery store clerk.  I want to become one of the 53%, and a.s.a.p.  Ironically, once I do enter the 53%, I’ll probably still be homeless.

Previous post: Marketing strategies, part 2: Streams in the desert

talk show host, on air talent, radio talk show, the homeless blogger

Test of colors and formatting

A Follower advised me that the “aqua” font I’ve been using to set off extended quotes is hard to read against the white background of e-mails.  This presents a dilemma as (1) I don’t like WordPress’s “blockquotes” — italics aren’t easy to read — and (2) the background of the blog itself is very dark gray, so the “aqua” appears fine there. It will be hard to find a color that works well in both places.

So here’s a test of some things I might do. I will need Followers to let me know whether they appear in e-mails the way I describe them here. Or, someone could forward me a copy of the e-mail, and then I can see for myself.

Sample 1: Table cell with aqua font on dark gray background

Table cell with aqua font on dark gray background

Sample 2: Table cell with black font on yellow background

Table cell with black font on yellow background

Sample 3: Paragraph with aqua font on dark gray background

Paragraph with aqua font on dark gray background (and a bunch of fluff stuff put in to see how things look with multiple lines.)

Sample 4: Paragraph with black font on yellow background

Paragraph with black font on yellow background (and a bunch of fluff stuff put in to see how things look with multiple lines.)

I complained to the same Follower that writing is taking up a lot of my time. She advised me to keep at it, as it will advance my career. That was a big morale boost! Thanks!
 

My record cannot be expunged

Yesterday I researched expungement in Maryland.  My conviction was in mid-October 2010, and I’d understood one could get a misdemeanor expunged after three years, so I was hoping to take care of that now.  Turns out there is no expungement of any guilty verdict, except in the case of any of a long list of truly trivial nuisance crimes, e.g. urinating in public or not paying one’s fare on the subway.  To clear my record, I must apply for a pardon, for which I become eligible only after five years of being arrest-free after the end of probation (Oct. 2011).  The paperwork is extensive.  One’s application must include copies of one’s high school and college diplomas, any discharge from bankruptcy, and certified copies of one’s driving record from any state in which one has ever had a license (as in my case, Ohio until 1978).

So for the time being, until October 2016, my one (1) misdemeanor conviction will continue to bar me from employment with many of Maryland’s largest employers.

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