Changes are Coming

CultureFeast.com is in the midst of change… again. While I have been the primary contributer, we've had guest bloggers on occasion covering various topics. Guest posts will continue, and you'll still hear from me every week. In addition to more of the same, I've invited some bloggers to join the team to contribute weekly. The hope is to have at least one blog post from a new author each day of the week. 

One of the biggest complaints I've heard over the past two years has been that posting here has been sporadic. No one will keep your RSS feed in their feed reader if they don't get regularly updated content. That's going to change. CultureFeast is going to produce content every day of the week.

The second most common complaint has been theme… mainly, people wonder what ours is. The point of adding a few new bloggers into the mix is to give each one the opportunity to focus on a category. Some team members will still roam the open topic plains, but most will be known for one or two subjects tops, and those topics will be released on the same day of each week. That way you will know what days are best to visit based on your interests. 

I'm still looking at people, so contact me (daniel-at-culturefeast.com)or leave a comment if you'd like to contribute weekly. If we get seven weekly bloggers, we'll grow to 14 people so you can get culture topics twice daily. 

Commenters, Show Me Your Face!

For those of you who find the time to comment occasionally (no pressure, just do it more often) to the posts here on CultureFeast, it's time you got some facial recognition. We've added Gravatar recognition to comments so we can see your shiny mug each time you share your thoughts. 

How does it work?

It's simple. Go to the Gravatar website, and click signup in the top right corner. You'll create a user profile and upload a pic of yourself. You can add as many email addresses as you want to your profile, and give yourself a different photo per email or use the same for each. The point is, once you've set it up, you can go to any blog that has gravatar enhanced comments and just make sure you enter the same email address you used for your gravatar account. 

That way, you can be seen AND heard (or read, however that works)! Sound good? If you have any questions, post a comment here and ask. We want to see your shining happy faces and it only takes maybe 3 minutes to set up if you already have a photo ready, so just do it. 

Recent CultureFeast Theme Changes

As part of our identity crisis, CultureFeast has changed themes a second time. In our continual pursuit for heightened self-awareness and personal branding, blah blah blah. So really, I just decided it was time for a new look. I probably visit this site far more than anyone else, so the look and feel gets old quick.

We are in the process of messing around with the style you see right now. I’m hoping to add a logo in the near future, so if you do killer logos and you’d be interested in submitting one for full credit and promotion on this website, feel free to contact me. Contact info is available here, or you can submit a comment.

I like the sidebar and body of this style, but I’d like a total redesign of the header. I’m working on it, slowly and surely.

Update:

As you can see, the last design lasted a whopping six days. Something about the girlie reddish pink post titles and anchor text that just didn’t fly.

Go figure. My wife is telling me that the design before that with the revolving photos was a winner, and she mourns the loss of it as much as she could mourn anything blog related (i.e., not much). I would agree except for the flaws in the sidebar which I am not tech savvy enough to fix and a few other issues. I understand that it can get boring looking at the same stupid header all the time. I’ll consider a return of header images… just not yet.

A Reprimand of Self: Don’t Be a Common Blogger

I found myself enjoying (for lack of a better term) an existential crisis in terms of my CultureFeast identity. For so long, I focused on the Google Analytics, and constantly looked for blog topics that would draw in search visitors. But I don’t need to rank for Randy Galloway’s name or discuss the latest web 2.0 news to enjoy a fulfilling blog culture. CultureFeast has been anything but focused, and that means I have been anything but focused.

I reprimanded myself this evening when I realized that I no longer enjoyed blogging. I contribute to four blogs and one article column, and I am sick and tired of fitting into the mold of SEO / copywriter / PR consultant. Each of those jobs can be rewarding to the right person, but that person is not me… at least, not right now.

Yes, I will continue to offer those services to those in need. But there’s more to me than marketing. Way before I knew anything about marketing, I wanted to write books. I wanted to tell stories and I wanted to share life experiences. Ideally, I would find a market in young, curious adults who have more questions than answers. No, I don’t pretend to offer all the solutions to life’s problems, but perhaps I could share some wisdom that would make other people’s lives easier and less confusing.

The problem with writing from the heart is that people read what you write. It’s much like journaling, only without the privacy. That means that in the midst of my professional pursuits, those snoopy clients, employers, etc. may very well track me down online and read these words and reconsider working with me based on my publicized opinions and views.

Hence the spineless underpinnings of the blogosphere. Those intensely popular and utterly shallow industry blogs. Okay, I’m being a bit harsh, but only because I have no respect for an industry that promotes lives without political, ethical, spiritual, or moral beliefs. Everyone is so nice, they have no personality. We’re all a bunch of identity-less bloggers who have sold out to become well known.

Well, you can have it. I’d rather be uncommon. I’d rather be true to myself than to make millions as the how-to guy.

CultureFeast Traffic Update

Here are a few numbers for this website for April 21 – May 21, 2007:

8,842 unique visits

12,161 pageviews

1.38 pages per visit

8,167 visitors from search engines

471 visitors from direct URL entry

204 visitors from referring sites

Traffic is up yet again. Good news. The only thing that’s not so great is the amount of traffic from referring sites. This means that we need more inbound links.

Daniel Dessinger Provides a CultureFeast Traffic Update

For those of you looking at CultureFeast, wondering, How much traffic does this site really get? What kind of ROI can I expect from advertising on this blog?

Whether you’re interested in advertising or not, here’s the skinny:

Traffic is way up. The site saw 3,766 visitors and 5,505 page views in the past 18 days (April 13th to April 30th). May 1st saw 245 visitors in one day. That’s small beans to megastars like Copyblogger and Problogger, but it’s good news for us.

Posting has been slow lately, due to busy schedules. I’m even more amazed at our traffic since we’re currently getting more new content daily from Papaya Clothing Company fans’ comments than actual blog posts.

I have a list of topics to cover in the near future, so keep checkin’ in and drop us a note whenever you can.

Oh, and I want to recognize Sarah Kuglin. She’s been a friend for ten years, and she’s one of the first to create a MyBlogLog account. The rest of you need to get off your duffs and setup your profiles. Since most of my friends are technology illiterate, one of my next posts may be a list of communities and websites everyone should join…. Yeah… that’s a good idea.

UPDATE: This post was imported from CultureFeast.com when all site content was transferred.

Getting Raw on Purpose

Yesterday’s post gave me reason to pause and reflect on how I experienced some of the music I mentioned. I can remember the anger, the resentment, the sorrow, and the pain I continually stirred up with those songs. Those songs helped me to develop a false sense of strength, pride, and superiority. These feelings always stayed locked inside. I was never very expressive of my deepest feelings.

Let’s get raw on purpose. I’ve wasted too much time attempting to be some super special blogger whom everyone will link to and quote. It’s simply not me. So let’s dispense with the formalities and pick up where I left off a long time ago – just sharing my thoughts.

I can guarantee you that there will be topics I refuse to cover. There will be feelings I refuse to disclose. I may express my opinions more than feelings, but they will be genuine. On top of all that, I may not write very often. I have neglected my journal (the actual, physical book) for too long. I need to get back into it, so you may only find a couple posts per week at times while others you may find several posts per day.

CultureFeast just hasn’t been a predictable site, so I can’t promise anything will last forever. There have been more than a dozen different ideas for the “identity” of this site. They all flopped, for the most part. For better or worse, I am the identity of this website. I hope you will contribute because I really enjoy engaging conversations. Please leave comments whenever you think of them. This isn’t about the money. It’s about the interaction. It’s you who makes this thing worthwhile.

Want to Contribute Your Own Writing to CultureFeast?

I’ve seen a decent enough of a rise in traffic over the past month to wonder whether or not these people are getting enough new content to keep them coming back. The truth is, I’m working hard to get into the groove at WebSwank and sometimes it’s hard to spend any extra time near the computer. So, I’ve decided to try an experiment. If you want to write, email me an article/blog post along with a brief bio (nothing fancy – just give me an idea of who I’m dealing with). The way it will work is simple: if I like what I read, I’ll post it. If I don’t like it, I won’t post it. I won’t contact you with reasons why, simply because I don’t have the time. Just send whatever you’ve written to daniel@culturefeast.com.

I’m going to limit submissions to 500 words. If your article or blog is twice that size, try splitting it in half and submitting it as part one and part two. Don’t forget to include the bio. Hey, who knows? Maybe this could turn into a regular thing for one or two of you with nothing better to do than showcase your brilliance to the world. I have already been approached by one person this week looking for a job. This is NOT an opportunity to make money on CultureFeast. I don’t even make money from the blogs I write (not enough to buy a meal, anyway).

So why, then, should any of you waste your time posting your thoughts here instead of creating your own blog? Well, look at my traffic. I’m no SEOmoz or BlogMaverick, but you can get some decent exposure here. I will post your name clearly so that everyone can see who is the genius behind the magical pen! Anyone who gets 50 articles/blogs posted on this site will start receiving links to their own personal blog with each new article/blog they post on CultureFeast thereafter. What do ya think? Anyone interested? If so, drop me a line.

If you have any suggestions, post a comment down below.

Thanks,

Daniel Dessinger

My Excuse for Haphazard Writing

It occurs to me that if you read, oh let’s say, ten of my posts in a row, you probably would wonder what the hell this blog is for. I wonder sometimes myself.

It all started with MySpace – yes, the beast of the marketplace that will one day vanquish Google and take the title of “Supreme Being On the Web”. As I was saying, it all started with MySpace. I joined because a friend of mine insisted. Pretty soon I was all into it: decorating my profile page, selecting the music, uploading the right photos, looking for friends, and writing my first real blog. I still have two blogs I started on Blogger.com before then that rarely see any action.

But MySpace was different. I could see when people were visiting my profile, I knew how many times my blog was viewed. I had a list of people who had subscribed to my blog and I could see pictures of their faces. It was personal, man. I loved it. I shared very personal thoughts, ideas, emotions, and memories with those people. They responded to many of the things I wrote. I had total strangers who weren’t even subscribers send me emails to thank me for sharing how much I love my wife. I touched people’s lives.

Of course, I couldn’t always write on the heavy, emotional side. A guy needs a break. The unfortunate side of blogs is the relatively short attention span of most people. If you stop writing for more than two days, you just lost a chunk of readers. My goal was to build a readership and then try to transport them to this website.

It didn’t work. For one, I started writing here more often than there because I was using this for business and I wanted to show how I can write. Not only that – i was impatient too. My MySpace readers needed another month or two at least to become habitual readers of my blog. Then they would have taken the time to click to another website just to read my stuff. Well, live and learn.

Right now, my blog pages are being viewed approximately 200 times per day. It’s not that I’m trying to feel important. What I’m trying to do is build a reputation. This is me slowly establishing rapport with a community of readers. Yes I’m building a reputation through each contract writing project, but the reputation is with a small group of businesspeople. I want to reach the masses. I want to connect with the everyday man and woman. I don’t want to be anyone’s savior. I don’t want to be a celebrity – just one of your favorite writers.

The haphazard topics and photos come from whatever stage of growth I’m now in. I have a lot of opinions. I don’t necessarily need to share them all. I guess this is both my way of building a readership and honing my craft at the same time. Perhaps a handful of people someday will be able to say that they enjoyed the priceless journey of watching me evolve and mature into an excellent writer – a poet. That is my hope. For now, I’m just more than a little bizarre.