What’s My Story?


I’m honored that the editorial staff at Microsoft again chose World Adventurers to feature on this week’s "What’s Your Story?"  I also want to send a shout out to fellow bloggers Ladybug’s Life, A Teacher’s Teacher, and Healthy Cooking, whose blogs were also featured this week by Windows Live Spaces.  As Jim Carrey said while portraying Stanley Ipkiss, a man bestowed with powers by the Norse God Loki in the movie, "The Mask"–You love me!  You really love me!  Someone on the Spaces.live.microsoft.formerlyknownasmsnspaces.canwemakethisdomainanylonger.com staff must like what I write (I’m only kidding MSN–you know I love you).  World Adventurers was initially featured on "The Best of MSN Spaces" in September 2005 and again in February 2006.  From time to time, Windows Live Spaces features the same blogs again.  Because this week is Chuseok, one of Korea’s most important holidays, I think it’s fitting that Spaces chose to highlight a blog about Korea this week.

Dear Reader, thank you for stopping by to peruse World Adventurers and posting your comments.  Stop by anytime.  I’ll try to respond to as many comments as I can.  Lately I haven’t had as much time to write as I would like, so any extra time I have will be devoted to posting entertaining content and responding to your comments.  If you have a blog on Spaces that hasn’t yet been featured, you might be wondering…hey, how come this guy’s blog gets featured so often when my blog has never been featured?  Well, never fear.  Here are some suggestions that might help you curry favor with the Spaces editorial staff: 

  1. Choose a theme for your blog, and write about related topics.  Pick a theme you think your blog audience will find interesting.  Some themes are more interesting than others.  Religion and politics always seem to attract attention, for better or for worse, while niche topics do not.  Travel and adventure are popular themes.  Sports, technology, fashion, and day-to-day insights are good.  Zany, quirky blogs do well, as do blogs chroncling quests to achieve challenging goals and objectives (e.g. if your purpose is to document your travels across the Sahara Desert or fight to overcome adversity, readers will be interested).
  2. Write frequently, and write well.  Frequent postings is definitely a plus.  Write in complete, grammatically-correct sentences.  Throw in a few witty remarks and some seldom-used words for good measure.  Don’t be too long-winded (I’m guilty of this) or too terse brief in your postings.  If your focus is on photography or art, then consider posting intriguing, high-quality photos or sketches like my fellow blogger mars_wolf.  If you’re an artist, try posting samples of your work.
  3. Add original content and document references.  It is better to document your own ideas than to recite from other sources.  Citing other sources is fine, but be sure to give credit when you refer to other people’s work.  I always use italics when I quote other sources.  If possible, avoid posting copyrighted material without permission.  Minimize the amount of recitation in a blog entry, unless it fits into the theme of your blog post.  For example, on Martin Luther King’s Day in 2005, I cited Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s entire "I Have a Dream" speech because few have read the speech in its entirety. 
  4. Unless it is absolutely riveting, avoid focusing too much on your personal life.  Expand your blog entries beyond discussions of your personal life, whether it be personal photos, discussions of friends, or family matters.  If you write about personal matters, tie it into your blog’s theme (e.g. your quest to win a marathon, taking care of children, or getting a good job).  You can also feature friends, family, and acquaintances on your blog.  I have occasionally bantered on this blog with readers I know, and each month I feature the blog written by someone I know.  Maybe you have a crazy uncle or a quirky friend.  People love soap operas, so decide up front whether you want to play out your life on a blog.  You’ll get a lot of hits, but you may regret playing your life’s drama out on the blogosphere.
  5. Enhance your blog with photos, lists, music, and a variety of topics.  Blogs are entertaining.  It is good to post entertaining content appealing to all five senses.  If you post a blog entry, try adding photos.  Photos truly are worth more than 1,000 words.  Adding a song is also good, but don’t loop it so that it plays on and on and…on.  No one wants to listen to "I Will Survive" five times in a row while they finish reading your last 10 blog entries.  As soon as the Internet can transmit smells, I will post a dallop of kimchi for you to enjoy.  Start an e-mail writing campaign.  If you think you have a good blog, don’t be shy!  Let MSN Spaces know Also, you can encourage your avid readers to submit your blog to Windows Live Spaces for a "What’s Your Story?" feature.
  6. Harness the power of the blogosphere.  The Internet is about interconnectivity.  Feature links to your favorite bloggers, and ask them to link to your own blog.  This will encourage cross-traffic.  Korea’s top blogger, R.J. Koehler (aka "The Marmot’s Hole") and I are acquaintances, and we have links to each other’s blogs.  Linking to top bloggers or web sites typically do not increase traffic to your site because they don’t know you and probably won’t return the favor by linking to your blog.
  7. Be kind to the Spaces editorial staff.  I have referred to the Window Live Spaces staff off and on since I started this blog, because I know they read our blogs–or at least troll for good content.  Sometimes I pass along my preferences (I still prefer the old MSN Spaces format), and sometimes I’m complimentary (thanks for letting me blog for free).  One of these days, I will take the Spaces editorial staff to lunch to thank them for liking this blog so much. 

Blog Notes:  Dear Reader, you might be wondering, "OK, so, what’s your story, World Adventurer?"  I’m often intentionally vague about personal details, but in an upcoming blog entry I will tell you more about our life and what I do as a Foreign Service officer.  Check back again soon!

* This is an updated blog entry posted February 11, 2006.

The beauty of small groupthink


It’s been said that groupthink is bad, that the group influences individual opinions and leads to conformity and discourages the free flow of good ideas.  I was recently involved in two group meetings dealing with sticky issues, one last Monday and one tonight.  Group one included eight people trying to put together a schedule and arrange logistics for an important meeting.  Group two included three people tackling several critical issues.  The first group spent about five hours locked in a room, trying to build concensus from a spectrum of opinions.  I left, somewhat disillusioned, long before it ended.  The second group spent 50 minutes tackling equally weighty issues, and with razor-like precision, the three of us resolved all outstanding issues–and more. 
 
There’s a lot to be said about small groups working through tough issues.  Having large groups with many stakeholders who need to have their say and forging concensus is a bit overrated.

Intoxicated bliss


To inebriate is bliss, to wake up the next morning is remiss.
 
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