Should I Even Call This Mess A “Blog”?

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I suppose by “definition” what I have here could be considered to be a blog. Do you know the definition of blog? The simple version which concludes that a blog is a website where entries are written in chronological order and commonly displayed in reverse chronological order. Mine does that. I also do allot of Mobile blogging (moblogging), which is a method of publishing to a blog from a mobile phone. A moblog helps habitual bloggers (like myself) to post articles and pictures directly from their phones even when on the move. Mobile blogging has been made possible by technological convergence, as bloggers have been able to write, record and upload different media all from a single, mobile device. Mobile blogging is popular among people with camera phones which allow them to send photos and video that then appear as entries on their blog, or to use mobile browsers to publish content directly to any blogging platform with mobile posting compatibility. In the end, it is convenient because I can do when the moment arises or the thought crosses my mind. There are many advantages to being able to blog from anywhere and anytime. Mobile blogging is particularly helpful to travelers or people on the move when access to a computer with Internet connection may be difficult. The traveler can snap photos and with an enabled phone can easily upload such pictures with text descriptions directly to his or her blog. If the camera phone is equipped for Auto-geo-tagging, the blog may be able to show a map of the locations. With my new phone, (Motorola Droid Maxx),  which is less than a week old, has many new features which have been really exciting as far as being able to keep up with my blog and all the ones I try to visit regularly.

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A majority of the blogs are interactive, allowing visitors to leave comments and even message each other on the blogs, and it is this interactivity that distinguishes a blog from other static websites. In that sense, blogging can be seen as a form of social networking service. Indeed, bloggers do not only produce content to post on their blogs, but also build social relations with their readers and other bloggers throughout the world. Many blogs provide commentary on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries; others function more as online brand advertising of a particular individual or company. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. I think I’m still qualifying as a blog. The ability of readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important contribution to the popularity of many blogs.

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People have different ideas when it comes to the length of post. Many people advocate keeping it short, however some of the best posts I’ve written or read have been long, some very very long. They were the best because they did not skim the subject so they gave real value and often told their story making it engaging by making a personal connection with me the reader. I believe that the posts that make that personal connection that resonates with the reader get more likes, more comments, and get shared more. Being I post allot of pictures here as well I often have very short posts because the “message” is self-contained in the picture.

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Anyone who surfs the “net” can find that the blogosphere counts several million active blogs offering a great variety of topics and content. The wonderful aspect of a blog creation is that anyone who has a particular hobby, knowledge, passion or a business to promote, can easily do it, and they generally do. I guess, looking back, the danger is starting a blog without a specific plan, target group, and more importantly knowledge of content for which the blog was created. Good content is the most important factor of your blog since not only it is the key to attract readers and turn them to loyal followers but also to increase your internet exposure via the search engines. I don’t look for search engine exposure, meaning I don’t do anything on purpose which gives me a ranking or page position. People just find me one way or another. I follow some basic rules of engagement in order to produce what I consider to be successful content and, at the end of the day, achieve my blog’s goal which is to get read and encourage readers to return back to my blog. Let’s explore my general rules of engagement and guidelines.

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The 10 Rules I blog by.

01. Define your blog and who you wish to target to read your blog. The 1st thing to do is to organize your ideas and define the main topic which will define your blog’s identity.

  • What do I want to write about today? The next day? 6 months from now?
  • What is my target group of readers, follower, and visitors?
  • What type of language should I use to communicate with my readers?

02. Make time to make posts.

  • A blog needs time and efforts to stay permanently active and help you interact on a regular basis with your readers.
  • Don’t risk losing your audience because of a lack of communication.

03. Take time to talk to your audience. Make them feel as though they can interact with you and make sure they get the interaction they are looking for.

  • Having defined your target group of readers, you will need to write in the appropriate tone and style to attract their interest and understanding; imagine having a conversation with your audience and write clearly and simply as if you were talking to them.
  • When I write, I write as if I am talking, whether just out-loud or physically to others.

04. Give your blog and posts a friendly and inviting format.

  • Even if you believe your post is original and really interesting, if it comes in a big block of text, no one will take the time to read it; you need to provide the reader with a friendly post format by separating it into distinct and concise paragraphs, preceded by sub-headings when needed, use bullet points lists where needed (like here with what I’m doing), illustrate it with images, use bold or italics to point out your key elements and you’ll get your reader’s attention.

05. When starting a new post use eye catching and attractive titles.

  • Once your post is written, take your time to come up with a fantastically eye catching title. Your title is how you’ll attract the readers repeatedly. It should directly inform the reader regarding what your post is about, a sort of “summary” of what he/she will read.

06. Be sure to use “tags” which will be effective in relation to your post.

  • Ask yourself which terms are more likely to be used by users when they search for the particular topic.
  • Then make sure you use the main keywords and come up with different variations that are likely to be searched when formulating your tags.
  • Finally try to incorporate the “tag” words in the keywords of your post in order to increase the possibility to be found in the search engines.

07. Update your blog frequently to keep the content fresh and inviting.

  • As mentioned earlier, you need to determine a time plan in order to frequently update your blog, ideally on a daily-basis.
  • This will not only keep the attention of your readers but also it will help you attract more readers and loyal followers to your blog.
  • The more content you produce the more traffic you are likely to get from your readers.

08. Use “social media” buttons to encourage your readers to share.

  • There are many out there, I personally use Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, and Twitter.
  • By setting up an RSS Feed and by encouraging your users to subscribe, you will increase your readers and you are more likely to get more returning visitors.
  • Note that most Blogging engines automatically support RSS feeds, so all you need to do is to place their button in a strategic position in order to help readers subscribe.
  • It doesn’t hurt to belong to a great blogging community either. My personal favorite is Blogcatalog!
  • Additionally social media can drive you lots of traffic and they can help you build steady communication with your readers.
  • Make sure you add sharing buttons in your blog and try to place them too in strategic positions to increase the number of shares.

09. Try to incorporate “how-to” and “top-10” posts on occasion to mix things up and keep the reader wondering what’s next.

  • The how-to guides and the top-10 articles usually become very popular on social media networks.
  • People love these articles and they are more likely to read them, like them, comment on them, and share them.
  • Additionally by creating such content you are more likely to increase your search engine traffic since many surfers search for such content regularly.

10. I have found that proof reading and spell checking are valuable tools.

  • This might be common sense but sometimes we can be so enthusiastic about a new post that we forget to take the time to proof read it.
  • Remember that you may be listed and archived in the Internet along with your grammar, syntax or even informative mistakes.
  • Don’t forget to be honest about what you share.
  • If you have the patience to keep being an active blogger and creating good content, you will be surprised to see your audience growing and your blog getting the success it deserves.

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I have learned over the years that my blog(s) tend to develop multiple personalities and sometimes I need to reel them back in. When I started here at WordPress I wanted to have one blog that expressed ALL of my ideas. I wanted one stop shopping. I combined 6 blogs to create The Sting Of The Scorpion which I feel know encompasses the message(s) I’m trying to express. My blog is very much a reflection of what mood I am in at any particular moment. In the end, it works for me and that results in more mileage for my blog. I am very dedicated to the upkeep and appearance of my blog. This keeps me active here which results in more posts for others to read.

All the pictures and some of this information was borrowed from the World Wide Web to be placed on The Sting Of The Scorpion, because everything else just bites. Remember boys and girls, eat it everyday, and twice if you are up to it.

What is Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD)?

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What is Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD)?

  • What “Internet addiction disorder” (IAD) is still difficult to define at this time.  Much of the original research was based upon the weakest type of research methodology,  namely exploratory surveys with no clear hypothesis or rationale backing them. Coming  from an a theoretical approach has some benefits, but also is not typically recognized  as being a strong way to approach a new disorder. More recent research has expanded  upon the original surveys and anecdotal case study reports. However, as I will illustrate  below later, even these studies don’t support the conclusions the authors claim.
  • The original research into this disorder began with   exploratory surveys, which cannot establish causal relationships between specific behaviors and their cause. While surveys can help establish descriptions of how people feel about themselves and their behaviors, they cannot draw conclusions about whether a specific technology, such as the Internet, has actually caused those behaviors. Those conclusions that are drawn are purely speculative and subjective  made by the researchers themselves. Researchers have a name for this logical fallacy,  ignoring a common cause. It’s one of the oldest fallacies in science, and one still regularly perpetrated in  psychological research today.
  • Do some people have problems with spending too much time online? Sure they do. Some people also spend too much time reading, watching television, and working, and ignore family, friendships, and social activities. But do we have TV addiction disorder, book addiction, and work addiction being suggested as legitimate mental disorders in the same category as schizophrenia and depression? I think not. It’s the tendency of some mental health professionals and researchers to want to label everything they see as potentially harmful with a new diagnostic category. Unfortunately, this causes more harm than it helps people. (The road to “discovering” IAD is filled with many logical fallacies, not the least of which is the confusion between cause and effect.)
  • What most people online who think they are addicted are probably suffering from is the desire to not want to deal with other problems in their lives. Those problems may be a mental disorder (depression, anxiety, etc.), a serious health problem or disability, or a relationship problem. It is no different than turning on the TV so you won’t have to talk to your spouse, or going “out with the boys” for a few drinks so you don’t have to spend time at home. Nothing is different except the modality.
  • What some very few people who spend time online  without any other problems present may suffer from is compulsive over-use. Compulsive behaviors, however, are already covered by existing diagnostic categories and treatment would be similar. It’s not the technology (whether it be the Internet, a book, the telephone, or the television) that is important or addicting — it’s the behavior. And behaviors are easily treatable by traditional cognitive-behavior techniques in psychotherapy.
  • Case studies, the alternative to surveys used for many conclusions drawn about online overuse, are just as problematic. How can we really draw any reasonable conclusions about millions of people online based upon one or two case studies? Yet media stories, and some researchers, covering this issue usually use a case study to help “illustrate” the problem. All a case study does is influence our emotional reactions to the issue; it does nothing to help us further understand the actual problem and the many potential explanations for it. Case studies on an issue like this are usually a red flag that help frame the issue in an emotional light, leaving hard, scientific data out of the picture. It is a common diversionary tactic.

Why Does the Research Leave Something to Be Desired?

  • Well, the obvious answer is that many of the original researchers into the phenomenon known as IAD were actually clinicians who decided to conduct a survey. Usually doctoral training is sufficient to create and test a survey, yet the psychometric properties of these surveys are never released. (Perhaps because they were never conducted in the first place? We simply do not know.)
  • The obvious confounds are never controlled for in most of these surveys. Questions about pre-existing or a history of mental disorders (e.g., depression, anxiety), health problems or disabilities, or relationship problems are absent from these surveys. Since this is one of the most obvious alternative explanations for some of the data being obtained (for example, see Storm King’s article, Is the Internet  Addictive, or Are Addicts Using the Internet? below), it is very surprising these questions are left off. It taints all the data and make the data virtually useless.
  • Other factors are simply not controlled for. The current Internet population is nearly 50/50 in terms of proportion of men to women. Yet people are still drawing conclusions about this same group of people based upon survey samples that have 70-80% men, comprised mostly of  white Americans. Researchers barely mention these discrepancies, all of which will again skew the results.
  • Research done in a particular area should also agree about certain very basic things after a time. Years have gone by and there are more than a few studies out there looking at Internet addiction. Yet none of them agree on a single definition for this problem, and all of them vary widely in their reported results of how much time an “addict” spends online. If they can’t even get these basics down, it is not surprising the research quality still suffers.
  • More research has been done since the original surveys were released in 1996. This newer research has been conducted by more independent researchers with clearer hypotheses and stronger, less biased population sets.  More about these studies will be discussed in updates to this article.

Where Did It Come From?

  • Good question. It came from, believe it or not, the criteria for pathological gambling, a single, anti-social behavior that has very little social redeeming value. Researchers in this area believe they can simply copy this criteria and apply it to the hundreds of behaviors carried out everyday on the Internet, a largely pro-social, interactive, and information-driven medium. Do these two dissimilar areas have much in common beyond their face value? I don’t see it.
  • I don’t know of any other disorder currently being researched where the researchers, showing all the originality of a trash romance novel writer, simply “borrowed” the diagnostic symptom criteria for an unrelated disorder, made a few changes, and declared the existence of a new disorder. If this sounds absurd, it’s because it is.
  • And this speaks to the larger problem these researchers grapple with… Most have no theory driving their assumptions (see Walther, 1999 for a further discussion of this issue). They see a client in pain (and in fact, I’ve sat in many presentations by these clinicians where they start it off with just such an example), and figure, “Hey, the Internet caused this pain. I’m going to go out and study what makes this possible on the Internet.” There’s no theory (well, sometimes there’s theory after-the-fact), and while some quasi-theoretical explanations are slowly emerging, it is putting the chicken far before the egg.

Do You Spend Too Much Time Online?

  • In relation to what or whom? Time alone cannot be an indicator of being addicted or engaging in compulsive behavior. Time must be taken in context with other factors, such as whether you’re a college student (who, as a whole, proportionally spend a greater amount of time online), whether it’s a part of your job, whether you have any pre-existing conditions (such as another mental disorder; a person with depression is more likely to spend more time online than someone who doesn’t, for instance, often in a virtual support group environment), whether you have problems or issues in your life which may be causing you to spend more time online (e.g., using it to “get away” from life’s problems, a bad marriage, difficult social relations), etc.  So talking about whether you spend too much time online without this important context is useless.

What Makes the Internet So Addictive?

  • Well, as I have shown above, the research is exploratory at this time, so suppositions such as what makes the Internet so “addictive” are no better than guesses.  Since other researchers online have made their guesses known, here are mine.
  • Since the aspects of the Internet where people are spending the greatest amount of time online have to do with social interactions, it would appear that socialization is what makes the Internet so “addicting.” That’s right — plain old hanging out with other people and talking with them. Whether it’s via e-mail, a discussion forum, chat, or a game online (such as a MUD), people are spending this time exchanging information, support, and chit-chat with other people like themselves.
  • Would we ever characterize any time spent in the real world with friends as “addicting?” Of course not. Teenagers talk on the phone for hours on end, with people they see everyday! Do we say they are addicted to the telephone? Of course not. People lose hours at a time, immersed in a book, ignoring friends and family, and often not even picking up the phone when it rings. Do we say they are addicted to the book? Of course not. If some clinicians and researchers are now going to start defining addiction as social interactions, then every real-world social relationship I have is an addictive one.
  • Socializing — talking — is a very “addictive” behavior, if one applies the same criteria to it as researchers looking at Internet addiction do. Does the fact that we’re now socializing with the help of some technology (can you say, “telephone”?) change the basic process of socialization? Perhaps, a bit. But not so significantly as to warrant a disorder. Checking e-mail, as Greenfield claims, is not the same as pulling a slot-machine’s handle. One is social seeking behavior, the other is reward seeking behavior. They are two very different things, as any behaviorist will tell you. It’s too bad the researchers can’t make this differentiation, because it shows a significant lack of understanding of basic behavioral theory.

What Do I Do If I Think I Have It?

  • First, don’t panic. Second, just because there is a debate about the validity of this diagnostic category amongst professionals doesn’t mean there isn’t help for it. In fact, as I mentioned earlier, help is readily available for this problem without needing to create all this hoopla about a new diagnosis.
  • If you have a life problem, or are grappling with a disorder such as depression, seek professional treatment for it. Once you admit and address the problem, other pieces of your life will fall back into place.
  • Psychologists have studied compulsive behaviors and their treatments for years now, and nearly any well-trained mental health professional will be able to help you learn to slowly curve the time spent online, and address the problems or concerns in your life that may have contributed to your online overuse, or were caused by it. No need for a specialist or an online support group.

In Conclusion…………………………….

This information was forwarded to me by my daughter who is a double Bachelors in Engineering candidate attending college as we speak. One of her elective classes offered a free writing essay for their final exam grade. A grade with is 65% of their overall grade. My daughter chose to write about the theory of Internet Addiction and chose this article by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. as her launching point for her research. Why did she send me this article to read? Probably because I tell her that she spends too damn much time on the internet and the fact the we talk about disabilities every once in a while because there is so much bullshit out there called a disability. I believe this is my daughter’s attempt to humor me, she didn’t say exactly. Funny enough is the fact that she sent it to me but I had sent her the picture below just a few days ago because eventhough she has unlimited data usage on her cell phone plan, she is always taking “Free Wi-Fi ” into consideration when heading out.

What do you, the reader on the internet right now, think about studying internet addiction?

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