Just Trying to Help

woman online

She just wants to help me online.


I have been getting more emails sent to my blogs (I have 9 including this one - which is just ridiculous) offering "help" and also posts I might want to use.

Here's a recent example:

My name is [deleted], I'm a writer and blogger at IvyPanda. Recently I've been working on an article about communication skills and I visited your website while researching. There's a great post named "PowerPointless" (https://www.serendipity35.net/index.php?/archives/210-PowerPointless.html) I enjoyed reading!
Unfortunately, I noticed a broken link there. Here it is: 
https://www.toastmasters.org/tips.asp

Since my brand new article is out, I think you can use it for updating your page. It has 27 tips to overcome public speaking anxiety and a bonus list of great courses available online. It's going to be an excellent replacement! 
Here's the link: https://ivypanda.com/blog/public-speaking-anxiety-tips
What do you think? Just trying to help ;-)
Warm regards,
**   writer & blogger

There is software that can scan sites for broken external links. So, these people find a broken link and use that as a way to email and help you fix your site - which is useful - and then the email will always suggest a related link that I might use which comes from their site.

The first time I received one of these emails, I made the change and used their link and replied with a thank-you. But after receiving a dozen or so similar ones I had decided that this was just a way to place links on other websites.

This particular email I shared also offered links to her Facebook page. Yes, it was a woman, and on all the ones I have received, it was a woman - and an attractive woman at that. (Not the woman shown above.)  I wonder if female bloggers get emails from male helpers? is she a real person? Is this a scam, and if so is it harmful? 

This has a name. It is called "broken link building." This is a link building tactic. You find a broken link, recreate the dead content, then tell anyone linking to the dead resource to instead link to your recreated content. When it works - and I'm sure it often does - it is because you don't want dead links on your website.

You can feel some pride if you get one of these emails because websites targeted have a good following. They target you because they are trying to raise their own search engine optimization which is at least partially based on the ranking of the sites that link to you.

Did I fix my "PowerPointless" post here on Serendipity35because of that email? Yes. I got rid of the broken link, added a new one (not the one that was provided) and fixed a broken image. So, thanks.

Where Are My Readers?

global handsTo answer my question of where my readers are I must break down my answer.

I can look at site analytics for this and other blogs I write on and find where they are geographically. Serendipity35 now has more than 104 million reads, so the countries listed in the stats are quite diverse. But still, most readers are from the U.S. and other English-speaking countries (primarily Canada, England, and Australia) but there are a good number from beyond.

hits by hours
Hits By Hours

Last month (July 2019), this site had 332,051 "hits." That averages to 10,711 hits per day, and they come at all times of the day (see image at right) which tells me that visitors are coming from all parts of the globe. Someone is probably reading this right now, just like you.

I will sometimes take posts from my other blogs  and cross-post them as "stories" at medium.com/@ronkowitz  and on linkedin.com/in/kennethronkowitz as "posts" and sometimes as "articles."

I started doing this to see if I would get more views on my other blogs or if the articles appeared on bigger sites (like LinkedIn or Medium). What I have found is that my biggest audience is here and I would like to think that some readers have been following the blog for several years.

Re-posting on other platforms gives me additional information about readers. For example, analytics can tell me what search term they used (and which search engine they used) to find that article. If my post here about engagement in online courses received half of its traffic from searches for "social presence" and "gamification," I probably should consider posts about those topics or writing about the nexus of those three topics.

This kind of information helps me get a better sense of another "where" which is where my readers are in their interests. That "where" crosses borders. 

 

A Comments Comment

Anyone who has read my posts about spam knows that I am the spam executioner.  I admit that I am an anti-spam fanatic and my spam controls on this server are Draconian even by Draco's standards.

There are many misconfigured e-mail servers out in the wild that blithely relay spam email to its targeted destination.  The most notorious of these mail relays that daily task me is one of the e-mail relays at yahoo.com.  Another wildly inconsistent e-mail relay is one of the AOL e-mail servers -- my efforts to bring Yahoo and AOL into the legitimate e-mail fold have met with indeterminate success.  Sometimes their e-mail relays behave and deliver real e-mail and sometimes they go round the bend and spit out scads of spam.

I'm committed to overcoming the automatic rejection of reader's comments by the spam filters and, if you have a comment rejected because of a spam block on the s35 server, please send an e-mail to s35@serendipity35.net and I will remove your e-mail address from the automatic spam filters.

The posts that Ken and I write are not one-way valves.  We both value (if not crave) your feedback.

If you have something to say, please say it; if the anti-spam gods object to your post, send along your e-mail address and I'll make sure the gods are appeased. 

Content Curation

butterfly collection
   Curating a butterfly collection
archive
or curating an archive

Probably your first association with the word “curator” is a person at a museum. The word comes from Latin: cura, meaning “to take care.” The curator of a gallery, museum, library, or archive usually is in charge of an institution’s collections. Those collections are probably tangible objects like artwork or historic items. But the term “content curation” is a more recent variation.

Content curation has become a term associated with the online world. Though some people might do this as a job, such as a social media manager, many of us do it for no pay. If you have a Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Facebook or other social account, you probably retweet and repost/share content. Curation means that someone has seen value in content and so is sharing it with friends and followers – and potentially with the entire online world.

I think that everyone would agree that some people do this curation with more though and skill than others. A thoughtful curator gathers from a variety of sources, sometimes around a specific topic, and shares the best of what they find. For example, I might follow someone online because they post good information (original or shared) about poetry.

A poor curator probably isn’t a curator at all. You probably have come across people who share silly things, inappropriate links and who may not even vet (make a careful and critical examination of) a link or article before they share it. You might unfriend or unfollow such or person. You might even take the time to try correcting them with a link to snopes.com or some other site that shows their information is incorrect.

And here we get into that term that is so much in the air the past year or two – fake news.

In all my years of teaching, I always had to teach lessons to students from 7th grade to graduate school about how to vet information in doing research. How do you know a source is valid? How do you know that a fact is a fact? Is your information up to date? Can you separate fact from opinion?

I posit that all of us active online need to be good content curators. Just using this blog as an example, I try to be a good curator of the information I put into the online world. I try to follow good curation practices.

I often write original content, but at least half of my content comes from other sources, such as books I am reading, websites, and podcasts. I try to share things that interest me but that I think will interest and help my audience.

Who is “my audience”? After blogging in different places for 12 years, I have learned to look at my statistics and comments for where people come from (geographically) and what content they find most appealing.

As when I taught research, I try to use trustworthy sources. I look for content that is relevant, timely, interesting, useful, and occasionally entertaining.

A good curator gives credit to sources – give a link to the original  inspiring article or the book or person. Give readers a way to get additional information if they want to go deeper into a topic.

In the more commercial side of social media that concerns marketing (I do that too), there is the “social media rule of thirds.” This rule says that you should share a third on your original brand (which might be personal) content promotion, a third using curated content by others, and a third about the conversations happening on social media.

You are reading this online, so there is a good chance you are a content curator yourself – whether you know you are or not. Are you a good curator? Leave a comment if you have any thoughts about this either on how others do it well or poorly, or about your own practices.

 

This article first appeared at Weekends in Paradelle