Category Archives: Blogging

Do You Really Want that Post to go Viral?

Fame and fortune can be yours!

People will stop you on the street for your autograph! Store clerks will covertly point at you, asking each other, “Is that really her, the brilliant mind behind that brilliant blog?” Your bank account will grow as more and more people hang on every word you write! You’ll soon be chatting on air with Matt Lauer and Ellen! Advertisers and brands will flock to you, begging you to wear their clothes, drink their drinks, maybe even drive their cars!

You. Will. Have. Arrived!

All you need is one thing: A viral post.

You just need to write that one post that has that special magic to go viral. Or luck into that one reader with the influence to spread your words, your post, your link farther and wider than you could ever imagine. Then you’ll be on the map. You’ll get what’s most important to you — gobs of comments, tons of accolades, visitors and pageviews and new subscribers, klout (yes, with a “k”) and respect and freebies — even a book deal with movie rights.

Or maybe not. Perhaps this is the fantasy some of us carry: if we could just find the right key to embiggen our little stage and get our words in front of more eyeballs, We. Will. Have. Arrived.

But is that really what happens? Surely there are instances in which a previously obscure blog has been catapulted to fame and fortune via one springy diving-board of a post that went viral, enabling the blogger to hit the Big Time in a sustained way.

Is a viral post always a gateway to greatness?

I’ve recently had a post or two go viral, one on kids and marijuana and the other on a jewelry commercial, and the results were nothing like what I thought they’d be. In spite of a couple of weeks of high pageviews, feel-good attagirls and (in the case of the jewelry ad critique) supporters kindly defending me, I’m still here slogging at my blog with nothing much changed. My stats have returned to my normal, no fans are pointing at me surreptitiously in the grocery store line, I’m still driving my own car, my bank account balances remain the same, and if Ellen did call (Are you the curmudgeon who didn’t like that lovely ad?), she didn’t leave a message. Fame and fortune remain just as far off in the horizon as they were before the virus.

Downsides to post virality

Virus rezonWe tend to forget that a virus is a nasty thing. This online phenomenon is named for a destructive microscopic life form that has the capability to destroy life, human and otherwise.

Here are a few downsides to a post going viral.

1. New readers don’t know you or your rules of engagement. When readers visit me from my usual bloggerhood (and even neighborhoods one or two circles out from that ‘hood), they bring wise words, supportive sentiments, relevant questions and considered assessments of the topic. When readers come from farther outside my sphere — people who don’t know me or know anything about me — the rules of engagement seem to no longer exist. In the case of the post critical of Kay Jewelers, it was picked up by The Huffington Post, and addressed by Mommyish (<== don’t hover over that link if you have a school-age child looking on) and The DailyMail. I’m pleased to say that my usual commenters do not treat people the way commenters on those mega-sites sometimes do.

2. You become an object first, a person second (if at all). With a viral post that reaches people who haven’t interacted with you before, some people may talk about you as if you aren’t there listening, reading, dealing with the impact of their words. In my case, people made hugely erroneous assumptions about me and felt no compunction about calling me and others horrid names, words that no one has ever said to my face. There were pages and pages of what I call the comment pile-on, people whose vileness feeds off each other. Here is how I handled that in the case of the jewelry ad.

3. There are also technical aspects, such as the fact that your host’s server may not be equipped to handle a high multiple of your regular traffic. You could find your whole site down at the worst possible time — precisely when people are landing there by the hundreds, thousands, maybe millions. And if you typically are attentive to your commenters, it may become very challenging to keep up with so many of them — especially the nasty ones, ones that miss the point, ones who react only to the headline (who needs to actually read the post?), ones who come to your space with their agenda, or ones that are just plain wackadoodle.

4. The virality effect tends to afford just a blip and not a sustained upward trajectory. Jeff Goins says in his post The Truth About Going Viral:

Should I change what I write about, focusing more on this topic? Should I try to keep as many of those visitors as possible? And what would I do when Monday rolled around, and I had to start blogging again?

The next week, I hit the old grindstone again, and the Internet had already forgotten about me. My traffic spike had mellowed out, and I was back to zero, forced to earn people’s attention all over again.

what does a viral post look like?
Site stats

But still, going viral can be a thrill.

I’m not gonna lie. Even with the insults and meanness, the misunderstood-ness and the return to pre-virus activity levels, I’m grateful I had these viral experiences and I would welcome them again (so share this post, whydoncha?). It’s a thrill to generate thought and passion in others and to be the provoker of that.

So if you want to give it a shot yourself and report back your results with virality, here’s an infographic to guide your efforts.

What are your hopes and fears about a post going viral?

Hopeful image by ReactionGIFs.com
Virus image by DROUET (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons.
Stats image by Lori Lavender Luz.

Seven (And I Don’t Mean the Creepy Brad Pitt Movie)

Cards-7-HeartI’ve always loved seven, or, as Brad Pitt might type, se7en. It’s prime. It’s imbalanced, yet sturdy. It’s grounded but reaching. Other than zero, it’s the only digit that requires more than one syllable. Seven is special.

I feel the same affinity for the number 7 that I do for the letter L. I lo7e them both.

There are seven chakras, seven dwarfs, seven notes on the musical scale, seven colors of the rainbow, seven days of the week, seven wonders of the world, seven seas and seven continents. Some championships come from a best-of-seven series. There are seven sisters and seven samurai. I suppose there may even be some fun in the seven deadly sins if you have a measure of self-control.

In numerology,

Acute heptagram (blue)The 7 is the mystic and the philosopher, the number of creative, mental activity and spiritual evolution. The 7 relates to cycles of time and the movement of the sun and the planets as seen from Earth. Many vibrational things, such as chakras, colors, and musical notes, come in 7s. — Source.

Hmmmm….d’ya think that resonates for me?

Seven years ago, thanks to Melissa Ford and Daisy Orenstein, I gave birth to this blog. So, happy birthday to this space (on Mother’s Day, no less)! It’s had half-of-7 names, 137 x 7 posts,  1183 x 7 comments, and an estimated 90,000 x 7 words (seems like more. It has  brought me 70 x 7 new friends (at least) and the richness of getting to know readers like you.

Thank you, Friends, for joining me on this 7 year journey and celebrating my hepta milestone with me.

Wanna send me to seventh heaven? Tell me something about your favorite number. What do you like about it?

Playing card by me SVG Playing Cards  [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Heptagram by User:Fibonacci. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Book giveaway and other stuff

Have you been wanting to read The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption but can’t cough up $85 for it (what the…!?)? I don’t know why someone would charge that when Amazon is selling the hardback for just over $26 and the Kindle edition for just over $16.

Lori Holden's book on open adoptionBut this is even better. The winner of the Open Adoption Bloggers giveaway received two copies inadvertently and is willing to give her second copy to a lucky commenter here. To enter, just leave a sentence from an Amazon review in a comment below (and a real comment if you’d like). A winner will be chosen randomly in 7 days.

**UPDATED BELOW WITH WINNER**

(Many thanks to those of you who have already read our book and left a review on Amazon and on GoodReads. ♥♥♥ If you haven’t yet, would you?)

Lori Holden on The Huffington Post=======================================

I had a Mother’s Day article published on The Huffington Post. I’m alerting you to it now, just in time for Father’s Day. Because I’m on top of things like that.

=======================================

blogherI have a current post on BlogHer about my top 12 blogging pet peeves.

What are yours?

=======================================

Wishing you all a happy weekend, full of whatever brings you joy. Any plans?

=======================================

Random.org selected #16, so Kathy J is the winner of the book giveaway. Thanks to each of you for entering!

What I Learned About Openness in Adoption By Writing a Book on Open Adoption

Happy blogoversary to me! Six years ago today I popped my blogging cherry with a short post about my intent to join the Barren Bi+ches Book Brigade. We were soon to discuss Peggy Orenstein’s fabulous Waiting for Daisy, and that book tour turned out to be my entrée into the ALI (Adoption/natal Loss/Infertility) community.

popping a cherryI’ve been the participant and the host on numerous occasions, but on this day of note, I get to be the book club’s author answering reader questions. How perfectly aligned is that?

A few days ago, Mel led a virtual book tour for my book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole. Fourteen bloggers signed on to share their take on the book and answer each others’ questions about it. They also posed two questions to me, which you’ll find here.

Did you learn anything new about open adoption through writing this book? Did anything surprise you? If so, what?

I did. And that’s because, as Heather put it, “this is the adoption book the Internet wrote.” I learned a lot by asking others in the adoption constellation about their experience with adoption. I learned from adoptees how it feels to be asked who your “real” parents are, and not to be able to get your own original birth certificate like others can. I learned alternatives to the dreaded family tree assignment in school. I learned from first mothers what has and hasn’t worked in their moving forward through grief. I learned from other adoptive parents cases for and against pre-birth matching, paying pre-birth expenses, and formalized adoption agreements.

Though it was unfunny at the time, I can now say that it was funny-peculiar that Crystal and I got a chance to practice what we preach. While writing Chapter 4 about establishing boundaries, a situation arose that Crystal and I had to work through. I was quite frustrated at first, mostly at myself, until I realized the incident was a chance for me to figure out something firsthand so that I could then teach what I knew, not just a theoretical concept. Crystal and I have had mostly smooth sailing over the years, and with our cruise control on I had gotten complacent. The situation required me to go off auto-pilot and figure out what was really bothering me by going deep within: breathe, be mindful, dig, gain clarity. Then zoom back out with clear communication with Crystal and a commitment to our relationship — and to Tessa.

It’s clear, in hindsight, that this uncomfortable episode was actually an amazing gift.

The additions from Crystal are a lovely and really informative piece of the book. I’m curious as to how this collaboration took shape. Did you develop the framework of the book together? Did you have an idea of where you thought Crystal’s voice would be most helpful and just ask her for that specific input? Or Did you work to find or create spaces for things she wanted to add to the conversation?

Crystal and I have talked for years about how we might help others develop the kind of relationship we stumbled into with each other. First we had to take a look at what we did and didn’t do and what has made our efforts a openness successful. For years we have taught classes in the Denver area (hi, Denver Laura!) to share not only that such a relationship doesn’t have to be contentious, but that it can also be enjoyable. More than anything we say in these sessions, people seem to get a lot just out of seeing a template for how an open adoption can look.

The framework of the book is mine. Crystal and I had extensive interviews about her thoughts and emotions at various points of our journey, as well as her own deconstruction of how we got to where we are. For a book that is largely about how adoptive parents and birth parents can be on the same “side,” rather than the traditional concept of competition between the two sides, it seemed important for us to work together on this book.

As for which came first, her words or a space for her words, I believe it was mostly the former. We had a few jam sessions in which we put as much on the table as we had in us. I took notes and the book began to take shape. Sometimes the book fit around her words and sometimes her words fit into the book.

I suppose in that sense, the way the book took its form is much the same way Crystal and I have taken our form.

I am deeply grateful to Mel, KathyApril, Luna, Jessica, Geo-Chick, BabySmiling, m, Esperanza, Leah Jane, AnneAndy, Liz, and Alicia for devoting precious time to reading my book, sharing their thoughts, and participating in discussions with each other about it. This has been an amazing experience for me and I thank you.

Image courtesy of ping phuket / FreeDigitalPhotos.net