Friday, March 25, 2011

To Advertise or Not To Advertise

I have always admired entrepreneurs. I have always admired writers. Can a person be both?

Barnes and Noble is filled with books by authors who earn money based on sales. Some churn out book after book to satisfy their need to write, and also the need to feed their ambition and competitiveness, and to support themselves.

How about bloggers? We write about every subject imaginable. We display our photography and post our recipes. We sell our creations in our Etsy shops. We showcase our home decorations, gardens, quilting, and scrapbooking talents. We journal our lives. Blogs contain such an array of creativity.

When I’m visiting blogs, I notice backgrounds, award buttons, prayer requests, blog rolls, Ads by Google, advertisement pictures, etc. I click, but rarely. I’m there to read the blog.

On one particular blog, I noticed a button that says "ad-free blog."

“Hmmm…” I thought. “I wonder would she (the blog owner) still visit my blog if I used Google Adsense?” Then I thought, “Do people with small followings actually make money? What’s wrong with a little income…capitalism…the American way?”

Anyway, I Googled the button and read, “advertising on blogs devalues the medium.”

Yes, some blogs are filled with stuff; things blink, things roll, things sing. Some are appealing, some are not. Bottom line for me is the personal content. I like it, or I don’t; or sometimes it’s so-so.

So what about the advertisement? Does it take away as says? How about the giveaways?

I love to read blogs and to actually remember who I’m communicating with. Will that become a thing of the past when I have my thousand hits per day, comments galore, and a major advertisement or two? (I can dream.) Will those of you who know me still visit and blend your comments into the rest?

Or will you say, “Oh, she’s big now and into making money.” (I’m still dreaming.)

What do you know about advertising and giveaways on blogs? What’s your opinion?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Conversation Starter Box

My Grandma Martha had a hard time talking to my brother and me. Grandma Mary did not; however, our time together was mainly spent directing and laughing at the characters on TV westerns. She also liked to play records on her stereo console and dance to the music as I watched with admiration; my brother laughed.

At eleven years old, I questioned the difference in the two grannies. My mom said, “the adult has to be the one to get the relationship going. Your Grandma Martha doesn’t know how to do that.”


My three carpool girls hardly talk during the twenty minute drive to school. I ask the usual questions:

“What did you do this past weekend?”
“What are going to do this coming weekend?”
“How was school?”
“How was soccer?”
“How was dance class?”
“Are you ready for spring break?”
“Are you ready for summer?”

I make comments like:

“I like your new hair style.”
“I like your boots.”

All responses from the girls are minimal. I turn on the radio. A good song comes on at some point, but mostly, I find the whole listening thing b-o-r-i-n-g.

One day, I try something new. “This is a totally random question girls.” (Random is one of the “in” words nowadays.) “I have a blog and I’ve written a post on tattoos. What do you think about tattoos?” I ask, along with a few other related questions.

And what happens?

I get a fluid conversation for the rest of the ride! They give their opinions and tell stories of people they know who have one or more tattoos.

I’m impressed.

Sooo…I’m on to something! What random question can I ask tomorrow? Will they participate? Will they think, “Oh no, here she goes again. I’m really not in the mood to talk.” But then I think of my mom and her statement, “the adult has to be the one to get the relationship going,” and I decide to try it again.

An Aha! Moment occurs. I have a box of questions from our family trip to American Girl Store. I’ll bring it along for the morning ride!

First I eat my breakfast bar, have my sip of water, get beyond merging into the interstate traffic, and then spring it on them!

“I enjoyed hearing your opinions yesterday girls. People are beginning to comment on the blog post to tell me what they think.

Then, "Girrrls, I have another random question for you today,” as I pass the box back and tell them to pick out one.

The question is, “What is the most beautiful animal in the world?”


They pull out a few more questions as we continue our ride, which makes me nervous because I want that box to last until the school year is over! Anyway, we have more conversation…all the way to the drop off in the carpool line.


The girls are thought to be quiet, shy, or reserved with adults when out of their comfort zone (their peers), but I discovered that though they were not really gelling in the carpool ride, for whatever reason, they have shown me that they can be excited about expressing thoughts and talking to “an old mom” who is helping to get our relationship going.

It’s so much better than three middle school girls listening to the diet commercials on the radio.

Do you try to talk to kids or let them “talk amongst themselves?”