The Art Of Blogging: Consistency

An observation from the taxing mind of Chuq

It is the weekend and I would like to pass on my thoughts about blogging……..This will be my 5th post on my thoughts on blogging.

These posts are just my small attempt to explain what I have learned after about 8 years of blogging

All of us bloggers want our stats to be through the roof….but unfortunately unless you have a much recognized name then you are wishing down a dry well.

To me the amount of readers is not as important as the quality of my readers…….I am not breaking any number of hits records by any means but I do draw a continuing amount of readers that turn to me because they like what I have to say or they are interested in my subject matter…..I think that my readers continue to come day after day is …..consistency.

I find that too many of my fellow bloggers are concerned with their stats and yer they do not help other bloggers with theirs……..I make it a habit to try and visit every site on my reader…… me the key is the old saying….”you scratch my back and I will scratch yours”……..

My regular readers know that I write mostly on International situations, the Middle east to be more exact, and delve into political stuff, especially during an election.  For those that are concerned with the world situation that is a good thing for they know that I will write about what I see and read and do all I can to help them understand a complex situation……..

When I began my blogging experience I was on another site, will not mention the name for I did not like their format, my blog was entitled “Studies and Observations” and after about 3 months I went to another site that was popular at the time, now not so much, but after a couple of months there it just was not working out and I went back to the original site…..then I came upon WordPress and switched over and have never looked back.

My problem back in the early days was that people that liked my stuff (not many in those days) were having a hard time finding me for a visit… was then that I settled down and decided to choose one and stick with it…..and here I am about 7 years later.

That decision of consistency has paid off…….I now have a great bunch of regulars that have NO problem finding me and reading what I have to say and for that I am very grateful.

I also wish that more bloggers were interested in truth and justice…….instead many excellent writers are worried about their popularity standing.  To me they are waswting their minds by worrying about popularity where they should be concerned is let their readers know what is out there and why justice is elusive…….and why truth is so important.

I am NO expert by any stretch of the imagination…….I am just letting you know what I found that works for me in this experience.  Blogging like so much else in life needs consistency……without it the blogger is just spin his/her wheels in search of the ultimate ego boost……..

Ted Cruz: Makin’ Bacon

I was going to ignore this desperate attempt to gain some attention by Ted Cruz….but I had to see if it would go viral of…….of course it did because it has two of the most important things to a dipshit conserv……guns and bacon……..

If you would like to see it again then help yourself and afterwards I will leave you with my closing statement……

In an video published Monday, the Republican presidential candidate wraps an uncooked bacon strip around a machine gun, secures it with foil paper, and shoots a target using four magazines of 5.56 ammo, until the gun is so hot that the bacon is crispy and and browned.

The video is the perfect example of conservative politics……..they spent about $80 for the ammo to cook about $1 worth of bacon…..they wasted time and money………PERFECT!

Piss away cash to accomplish little……..and there is the entire program for conservative politics…….like I said…..PERFECT!

Blogging Is A Process

This will be my 4th post in a series on blogging……these are my thoughts and not a template for anyone else…..I just see the whole blogging experience as  a labor of love.

Most of us bloggers begin our process with checking the news to see what is happening while we were otherwise distracted…..with stuff like…..SLEEP.  once we have digested our information and have found something that appeals to our sensibilities then we begin to write our posts…..whether we agree or not we have an opinion and that opinion needs to be voiced.

The beauty of the internet and most specifically, is that it is a place where everyone has a voice and we can use it……sometimes it hits a nerve and other times it is just a thought we want to pass on……whatever the reason does not matter…..what matters is that we can begin a conversation and others may join …..for the exchange of ideas and thoughts is what it is all about.

Like I said previously…..we all have a process or if you will the madness of our infliction……a method to our posts.  Mine is a bit extreme more so than most….I begin my day at 0100 hrs (1am)…..I start so early because my interests are in the Middle East and in war zones….so in my time is about 0900 hrs Baghdad time, depending on whether it is real time or that fake time……I begin with check with sources in Iraq and Syria to see what has happened while I snoozed….then I check around the region for news that could be a game changer and then I begin my writing process once I have decided what the subject will be of my post……I also mark stories that I think would help my readers to understand what is happening in the region……..believe me when I say what we hear in the US is not necessarily what is important in the region.  These marked articles will become presses for my readers education.  Of course during my process lots of mind soothing coffee is consumed.

I also as part of my process try to visit daily the sites that visit my site……I feel that it is my effort to help support their attempts to make their blogs more popular.  Some bloggers want it to be magic that everyone reads their stuff……I try to assert myself into their world by commenting as much as possible…….

After I finish my posts I save them in draft of which I have any where from 5 to 20 being held to be used as needed…..after all that I sit down and make one more trip through my news sources before I shut down the process go eat and then try to sleep.

I am by no means telling my readers this should be their process……..but I am serious about my statements of concern for the education of my readers and a little work and lack of sleep is a small price to pay for a better understanding in the world.

I truly enjoy writing my blog….In Saner Thought is a true labor of love for me…….plus it helps me deal with retirement, forced retirement and it expands my knowledge and that is a great thing in my mind.


The Rewards Of Blogging

Memorial Day and Summer begins…….as usual we have yet another disaster movie and about the only thing missing is another Nicholas Cage movie.  Please take a moment and remember those that gave their lives in service to their country.

As per my tradition I will not be posting much today….instead I will spend the day with family and friends doing what people do (you fill in the blank)……….

This will be number three (3) in my series of why I am blogging and what the experience means to me personally…….

Most of my regulars know that I enjoy research and then writing about what I have discovered.  Have you ever felt like there is something that you were destined to do?  I feel that blogging is mine.

Some of my fellow bloggers judge their success by the number of daily hits which is their thing…and yes I would very much like to get 1000+ hits a day but I try to be realistic.  The only way to get those high stats is from some sort of promotion service and most of them are looking to get paid for their “secrets”.  I just refuse to pay for popularity just to feed my ego.

I find that there many rewards to blogging, at least to me……..regular visitors and commenters, fellow bloggers that think my stuff is worthy of a re-blog, but my biggest reward is those readers that come to my blog looking for what I have to say on a given subject or situation…..recently there was an international situation that one of my regulars said that he came to me first because “I would probably be all over it”……that made me feel that all my hard work has NOT been in vain.

I do not always blog about the story du jour, unless of course it is of major importance and I need to address the situation……instead I try to give my reader information that they may not be aware of or those situations that they, my readers, may find thought provoking…..there is enough confusion out there….I just want to try and clarify it, at least from my point of view which I realize that not everybody will agree with the analysis.

I write a lot on the Middle East….it is the area of my interest….I have both lived and worked in the region….but to write fresh perspective I am on the PC at 0100 hrs (1 a.m.) for at that time it is about 0900 hrs in say Baghdad and I can get fresh news as it is happening not the selective regurgitation of NBC………. I could puke up the popular topic these days…..hate……..but that is not my style…….if I speak ill of something I try to explain why I feel that way………. hopefully my readers appreciate that I want to give them news as it happens not later……ignorance must be fought whether the people want to hear it or not……for ignorance breeds hate and fear…….

After college I was recruited by a think tank to analyze and then report on situations in the Middle East…..the problem was I was given a conclusion and I had to make the report fit that conclusion…..something I would not do….needless to say I was not hired and got a bad name in the world of think tanks……so I took to writing and analyzing stuff on my own…..did not pay well but it was so satisfying to punch holes in the garbage being sold as analysis……then a blog became the next step into my world of international relations……..

The rewards in blogging are many….but it all takes work and it becomes a labor of love……well, at least for me.  I also feel that it is my duty and my responsibility to point out misinformation wherever I find it and by whom regurgitates such lies…..and I must do it everyday without fail….dependability is an asset when blogging……if my readers cannot depend on me then I have failed in my duty.

Enjoy your day and I shall be in form for tomorrow……see you then.

Blogging Is Hard Work

The weekend again…..I want to try something completely different from my weird little stories I find to break up my week….some of them are popular and some fall dead from boredom……today is about blogging……a subject that is near and dear to most of us…….

We bloggers are always looking for ways to increase our exposure… is hard work to keep a blog up and running and current.  It is even harder to get readers after all there is about a gazillion blogs out there.

We try to find ways to get more readers to increase our stats….some of us pay a service to increase our traffic……or like me they try to visit and follow as many as possible…..we comment on their sites and we give them a like whenever possible…..with the hope that they will reciprocate….this is not for those that are impatient….it is a time consuming process but it does pay off.

Some bloggers carve accolades……like awards that are heaped on them……most of the awards are just a way to try and increase traffic to sites…….do not get me wrong….there is NOTHING wrong with these awards and they work for some people…..we do what we must to try an increase readership.  Thinking that readers show up because it is a certain type of blog is not always true……we bloggers work on the old adage….”you scratch my back and I will scratch yours”

There is no guarantee that there will be people flocking to your site because it has a certain word in the title….like liberal or conservative or other descriptive names……people will help those that help them……

For me I try to use my schooling in international relations especially the Middle East……a subject that many want to forget or ignore simply because it does not fit into the narrative they have made for themselves.

I could post many articles a day….but I try to limit my day to 5 or 6 post at most……more and I feel my readers will be overwhelmed… I look for stuff that can expand their horizons, so to speak…….events and situation that they might not give much thought to but could be a thorn in the country’s butt……I like to be fore armed…….

Hard work pays off, at least it did for me……recently  when the US and Iran came to an agreement on nukes a reader said that he came to IST because he knew I would be all over it…..and that is why I do what I do.  That made my day…….made me feel like it is all worth the hard work.  Then I was asked to be a guest writer on another site……for me that is the highest honor that someone would like my opinions and analysis on their site.

Not just bitching about issues that frustrate me but rather helping my readers understand what is what.  I also try to help them understand politics….but these days there is NO understanding politics other than to realize that it is NO longer a science but rather a circus of morons playing a dangerous game…….dangerous to the country but not to themselves……..HELL the more extreme they talk the more wackos vote for them…..the more wackos that vote the more dangerous the world becomes……it is a vicious circle that cannot be broken until people try to understand the world…..and that is where we bloggers enter into the conversation.

Me?  I have been a writer for decades……until I discovered the internet most of my stuff was ‘letters to the editor’ and an occasional piece sent to magazines and such…….then Katrina hit where I live and I was badly injured and could no longer work…..but I continued to read, research and analyze……and by a stroke of luck I was given a used computer by a friend…..and as they say…’the rest is history’.

Blogging is hard work and bloggers are hard workers!  Most of us do it out of love of information and passing it on to others with the hope that they will use it for a better understanding and to eventually make better decisions.


Let The Social Media War Begin

I wrote a piece about a week ago about the cyber site within the State Dept that will work to counter ISIS on social media………if you would like to refresh your memory…….

I decided to write another piece because I watched an interview with the new head to this branch within the department…….his patter was almost word for word the Obama “Islam” speech he made recently……all about how the US needs to show people that ISIS is a perversion of Islam and only a terrorist organization….yada….yada…..after the interview his words made me sit and think……I contemplated his speech for about a day or so… matter how I turned it… was a piece of propaganda and geek speak of a bureaucrat.

The new section will be doing what other agencies are doing…..”counter-messaging”.  And there my friends is where my problem starts.  CIA, NSA, FBI, others are attempting to counter the messages of ISIS on social media…..about 90,000 a day.

Let me ask……If you were looking at ISIS on-line would you also be looking at anti-ISIS messages?  Of course NOT!  How will counter-messaging bring down the organization?

Would not a hacking of their sites with a shutdown program or a lock down program or a well placed virus be more effective?

Anonymous is hacking ISIS regularly and they seem to be doing more damage than any wimpy counter message……why not hire these guys or at least follow their lead?  If we want to beat them, ISIS, on social media….I think that action and NOT reaction would be a more effective weapon.

The government wants to compete with ISIS for readership….that is a reaction.  Anonymous is taking down their sites so NO one can use them….that is action.

Action will be more effective than some limp wrest reaction…..

Now I ask… we really want to defeat ISIS?  I mean as long as ISIS is active and a threat then someone is making money…..lots of money.

This new program seems to be a way to prolong the effective use of propaganda……a program that rubs in place while spinning its wheels because it can get little or no traction.

I realize there may be more going on than we see…..but on the surface this looks like a colossal waste of time and money.  But then that is just what our foreign policy has been for the last couple of decades……

My regular readers know that I am always watching the Middle East and that my interests in war are legendary…..all I am seeing these days leads me to want to ask……just how serious is the Washington group on the elimination of ISIS?  No plans they have these days points to s desire to end this thing.

NOTHING that is being done would lead me to believe that there is any genuine desire to end this thing with ISIS…….the sooner the American people realize that they are being played the sooner a real strategy will be formulated.  Until then expect more of the same…….talk, talk and more talk.

ISIS Is Winning The Social Media War

We have all heard of the horrendous vids that ISIS posts on social media of their executions……and then there is their Twitter and Facebook attacks….it seems at times that the Us is just not capable of countering their social media barrage…..but could that soon change?

The Obama administration has a plan to fight back against ISIS propaganda, and it involves what the New York Times calls a “tiny State Department agency.” The Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications, created in 2011, has always been tasked with coordinating “countermessaging” against extremists, but now it will be expanded, thanks to ISIS. “We’re getting beaten on volume,” a department official says. But “these guys aren’t BuzzFeed; they’re not invincible in social media.” ISIS and its supporters are responsible for up to 90,000 social media messages per day, and the group has been successful in attracting people to its cause and raising money. Administration officials will outline the counterattack plan during three days of meetings starting today.

In addition to expanding the CSCC, the administration wants to coordinate all US countermessaging attempts—larger departments, including the Pentagon, Homeland Security, and intelligence agencies, also have their own efforts underway—as well as countermessaging from a variety of sources, including foreign allies, nongovernment agencies, and top Muslim academics, community leaders, and religious scholars. Currently, CSCC employs specialists fluent in Arabic and other languages to craft narratives that oppose messages and misinformation from extremists (so far mainly al-Qaeda) and post those messages on the Internet, including on websites used to recruit jihadists. For example, one post showed a picture of three American men who traveled to Somalia to become Islamist militants only to be killed, along with the message: “They came for jihad but were murdered by al-Shabab.”

I like the idea of attacking them where they recruit….I am just not sure that the US is ruthless enough to do what is necessary to counter their, ISIS, message……

What do you guys think?