Tag Archives: Google+

Pressure: Writing

write-blog-post-fastDid you feel a lot of pressure with January’s NaBloPoMo?

At the beginning of this year, without actually calling it a resolution, I decided that I would like to pull the selection of blogs I have been dipping in and out of for the last five years into some kind of shape.  I have a blog for each of my pets where I post from time to time, attempting to develop a distinct voice for each blog that matches the personality of the dog or cat who “owns” it.  I do that for my own entertainment.  I also have this one, Occasional Stuff, which I was originally going to reserve for various rants about things like cheap, tatty election posters and how I got on with my first call to jury service, but I let it slide.  Wondering whether I should just shut this site down or find something to do with it, I cast round the Great Oracle, Google,for ideas, and discovered the concept of writing challenges.

I began following the WordPress Daily Prompts and Zero to Hero challenges, and about a week in to that, discovered NaBloPoMo January 2014.  Through January, I found that some of the challenge topics harmonised with each other, whether accidentally or by design, I don’t know.  Being realistic, I knew that it would not always be possible, during a working week, to come up with a minimum of two posts and follow all the tasks set by Zero to Hero so I translated the challenges from something to do every day into something to do for every day.    I also reminded myself that the title of this blog is “Occasional Stuff” and the tagline is “random stuff”, and because, when I set out my agenda for this blog on January 2 in Daily Prompt:  Progress, I decided that these will only change if Occasional Stuff meets the 10 points set out in that post.

To repeat, the reason I am doing this is for my own entertainment. If I felt any pressure other than to meet my own expressed desire to write more and better – if following the challenges becomes a chore, then I have defeated the purpose of this exercise.

NaBloPoMo January 2014  – Picture from Scalable Social Media – if you’ve been feeling pressure this month, you might like to read this – Under Pressure – Queen

Daily Prompt: Generation XYZ

who-high-numbersThink about the generation immediately younger or older than you. What do you understand least about them — and what can you learn from them?

I’ve always understood the concept of “generations” but never gave much thought to the date parameters until I began to think of what I might write in response to this prompt.  A quick consultation with the Great Oracle Google, and I’ve got what I need –  a definition I could use for a generation immediately younger or older than me.  So for the purposes of this post, and to allow me to  include a song I really like, I’m choosing to look at the post WWII baby boomers  e.g. those who were growing up in the 1950’s and came to adulthood during the 1960’s.

I don’t think it is necessary for me to go very far into the huge cultural upheaval that took root in the 1950’s and blossomed in to the crazy, heady days of the 1960’s.  What beats me is how, in that period, so many young men and women managed to break out of the confines of propriety and austerity that had marked their parents lives, or how those same people, in their teens and twenties, were able to craft original art and music that still resonate with a young audience half a century later,  and continue to wow their original audience. For example, I wouldn’t have been caught dead listening to anything my parents listened to in their youth, but my 20-something nephew has appropriated my entire collection of  The Kinks, Beatles, Stones, Hollies, Yardbirds, John Mayall, The Who, Hendrix, Them, The Doors et al, much of which I had previously appropriated from his dad.ROC166_MusicianPortraitsFOA_74  My niece’s two little boys were not averse to the odd antique power-chord when they came to visit either. 

As for that song.  What else would fit in with the topic of this post but The Who’s “My Generation”?    Back in 1965, 20 year old Pete Townshend condensed an all-pervading sense of resentment against embedded concepts of authority and perceptions of age  into  3 minutes and 18 seconds of raw power, with Roger Daltrey spitting out  “I hope I die before I get old”.  How can that pair of old war-horses manage to perform this particular song so many years later and still retain the song’s and their own credibility?  Because it’s still about concepts of authority and perceptions of age, of course. 

So what have I learned from these representatives of the generation before me? It’s quite simple, really – regardless of chronological age,  you don’t need to adhere to 1 Corinthians 13:11 – you can remain true to the values you developed in your youth.

Now enjoy Pete and Roger demonstrating that they still don’t fit into the concept of “old” that Pete wrote about 49 years ago.

Glad they haven’t all died before they got old

Daily Prompt: Generation XYZ – Pictures:  Classic Rock MagazineRock God Cred (I just discovered this blog – it’s got loads of really cool stuff…)

Pressure: Influence

hypnosis_cartoonAre you good at influencing other people?

According to Klout, my influence varies from day to day.   The Klout search engines look at interactions through Twitter, Facebook, Google+ , LinkedIn, Foursquare  Blogger and WordPress, and about a half-dozen other micro-blogging networks.  Lately, I’ve been spending more time blogging than social networking and the result is that my  Klout “influence” is falling. My all-time high is score is 100, and today it’s a lowly 26.  Having not posted anything on this blog for around two years, I’ve been following a number of blogging challenges through January, and according to WordPress stats, this has increased my average of 1 view per day to 30 between 1 January and today. So which is true?   If I believe Klout to be a measure of my online worth, my virtual heart would have descended to the soles of my cyber-boots.   If I believe WordPress, I would be approaching e-Nirvana.

Klout  claims that you will discover how you influence your networks, share and grow your passions and earn recognition for your influence.  It’s very glossy and there is some impressive-looking about how to promote yourself.  If your Klout rises, you get perks. This site does two things – it monitors the networks, and applies a score, or a rating, if you will, based on the number of interactions you have, e.g. shares, clicks, likes, favourites and so on, and also allows members to “vote” each other up on a set number of topics – the more influence you gain, the more topics you can have to be voted on.  The maximum score is 100.  As of today, the Klout home page shows that Mr Obama enjoys a score of 99.

I’m not that worried about promoting myself, but I do like to test numbers and mess about on the internet.  A little while ago, I engaged in an experiment with an acquaintance of mine – he is a professional who wishes to promote himself online for business reasons. Lots of people do.  I’ve got my own Facebook and Twitter accounts, and the three dogs in residence at Baskerville Manor at the time also had their own profiles on both networks.  Anyway, one wet Saturday morning when I really had nothing better to do than fool about with my laptop I decided to amuse myself by seeing how far I could push this person’s Klout score.  Each dog got signed up to Klout, and together we voted up our subject on every topic he had listed.  At about 8:00 am, his score was 5.  The in-site voting spree netted him another 30.  Next step was to find him on Facebook and engage in a round of likes, shares and comments on his latest five posts – score: 20.  So by around 10:00 am, he had a Klout rating of 55.  Rounds 2 and 3 followed on Twitter and LinkedIn – by noon he had reached the dizzy height of 93  Following with some comments and likes on his WordPress blog, the meter twitched a little higher, finally settling at 98.  Meanwhile, my dogs had begun to complain that their email inboxes and their Twitter feeds were overflowing with Klout notifications.  Result of the experiment?  The rating mechanism seems to have a bias for in-site scoring, and the search engine seems to be more sensitive to the likes of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn than to WordPress.  The drop in my Klout mentioned above seems to support this.

Did the Klout score do anything to improve my subject’s profile?  Not appreciably, he tells me.  Today, without the support of me and my canine assistants, his Klout score is back to 11.  Even with this drastic reduction in his Klout, business goes on as usual.  Like me, he was not terribly thrilled about the promised perks – when they materialised in our respective dashboards, they turned out to be special offers for movie tickets (only usable if you are in America), coffee vouchers (ditto), and … roll of drums.. a breast pump. As the ship called motherhood has sailed far past my personal horizon, I’m just a tad underwhelmed.

The moral of this story? My experiment demonstrate that I was rather good at influencing my test subject’s Klout, but that there was no appreciable benefit to me, him, or mankind in general.  So, while you think about whether or not you are good at influencing other people, consider the context, then ask yourself – does it really matter?

NaBloPoMo January 2014  – Queen – Under Pressure – Picture from Hypnosis Information Center – which has some interesting information about how to avoid being influenced.

Pressure: Definition

All through this month I have felt somewhat ambivalent about what the word “pressure” really means in the context of the NaBloPoMo January 2014 list.  To get some clarity, I once again consulted the Great Oracle Google for a definition and here it is, courtesy of Oxford Dictionaries:

Definition of pressure in English:

pressure – Top 1000 frequently used words – Line breaks: pres|sure – Pronunciation: /ˈprɛʃə



  • continuous physical force exerted on or against an object by something in contact with it:the gate was buckling under the pressure of the crowd outside

[COUNT NOUN] the force per unit area exerted by a fluid against a surface with which it is in contact:gas can be fed to the turbines at a pressure of around 250 psi

  • the use of persuasion or intimidation to make someone do something:  backbenchers put pressure on the government to provide safeguards[COUNT NOUN]: the many pressures on girls to worry about their looks
  • the influence or effect of someone or something:  oil prices came under some downwards pressure
  • sense of stressful urgency caused by having too many demands on one’s time or resources:  he resigned due to pressure of work[COUNT NOUN]: the pressures of city life



  • attempt to persuade or coerce (someone) into doing something:it might be possible to pressure him into resigning[WITH OBJECT AND INFINITIVE]: she pressured her son to accept a job offer from the bank


late Middle English: from Old French, from Latin pressura, from press- ‘pressed’, from the verbpremere (see 1) in Oxford Dictionaries (British & World English)”1).

Definition of pressure in:

Under Pressure – QueenNaBloPoMo January 2014 – Picture from Live Science – Queen, Under Pressure

Day Eighteen: Activate a social network–Zero to Hero and Beyond on Facebook

Task for today: Activate a social network.

Sheesh, I’ve had Facebook, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn publicised ever since I opened my WordPress account.  Yesterday I clearly had an attack of precognition, because I signed up for Path – although having done so,  I don’t really see the point of it, having already got the Big Three as well as Google+ on the go, and all my friends and family are signed up to one more. Nobody I know uses Path, they can see my stuff on the other platforms, so why annoy them.  I signed up for Pinterest a couple of weeks ago, but haven’t really got the hang of it yet.

The thing is, the Publicise tool on WordPress simply allows you to publish your own posts.  If you like a blog, you can add it to your Blogroll, or links widget, or whatever, but if you want to share anything from that other blog on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. it seems that you must go to each individual post to do it.  There is an app on Facebook, called Networked Blogs which my niece and I used to good effect a couple of years ago, when she was engaged in a charity fund-raiser.  This app allows you to “network” any blog, regardless of the platform. You can choose to have your favourite blogs just in your reader (which is way easier on the eye  than the WordPress reader), you can set up any blog you like to automatically “syndicate” to your Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn, and if your friends are also members, they can “vote up” your posts in their own readers (and you can do the same in return).

As an experiment, over the next couple of days I am going to add the blogs I follow to my Networked Blogs account and syndicate them to a new Facebook page I’ve started called “Zero to Hero and Beyond”. There’s a post there about Networked Blogs, so you can join if you like, or just “like” the page.  If you add me on Networked Blogs, I promise to add you back and share you on the page.  Go on, give it a go, let’s see how it comes out.



Zero to Hero