Who Cared About What

What do folks really care about? “Hey, how are you doing?” Most of us know the answer is, “Fine. How about you?” It has to be that way. Starting every conversation with an in-depth analysis of personal current events would make each hello the prelude to an epic. The real answer usually doesn’t come out until after the second glass of wine, another cup of coffee, the emphasized repeat of the question, or if the person is in dire need to tell someone about their news, good or bad. It is hard to know what words the other person really wants to hear. Writers, and especially bloggers, enjoy a different interaction. We can write about whatever we want, vent and express ourselves, put our words out there and see which people want to hear them. When we talk, we’re guessing at the right words for the other person. When we write, we pick the words and let other people work out whether or not they want to read them. Blog, and the answer comes back as data. Look at data and gain insights.

Congratulations to Jonathon Evelegh, the winner of a contest I ran over the blog for the book Walking Thinking Drinking Across Scotland.Walking Thinking Drinking Across Scotland His guess of the number of words I’ve published was closest to my estimate. I’m closing on a million. I’m guessing that a million is a statistically significant sample. I see trends.

In 2012, my most popular posts reached audiences that would fill local theaters for several showings. There were also several that I could’ve hosted as dinner parties. From what I can tell, there are at least three audiences for these posts: investing in stocks, living in community, and witnessing Tom’s journey. It is rare that one post speaks to all three groups.

The personal finance and stock investing posts hit the highest numbers, have the broadest reach, and are most likely to be read months after the post is uploaded. It is amazing to see the traffic spike when someone reposts a link on some other discussion board. I’ve seen hundreds of hits in a day, and know that the real total is much higher because I’ve stumbled across boards where my post was copied and pasted (granted with attribution). Posts about Dendreon (DNDN) and MicroVision (MVIS) were passed around to the point that my blog gets traffic from NASDAQ.com because I am seen as a resource. I could write solely to that crowd, but this blog is based on the book, Dream. Invest. Live.;Dream. Invest. Live. and, despite my recent investing history, I continue to believe that Invest is only a bridge between Dreaming and Living.

Posts about community are popular because I love my community and they enjoying writing and reading. We live on an island, what else are we going to do? (Oh yeah, dance.) I wonder how high Whidbey Island ranks in writers per capita. I started the Whidbey Authors page on facebook on a whim about eight months ago and we’re quickly growing. That page could easily double or triple, but a lot of writers are private enough that they don’t jump into social media – an interesting attribute for people who are invested in message. Without a doubt, the star of the community posts is Drew Kampion and his community email shopping, selling, donating, collaborating service called drewslist. But it’s an email service, not a web site (yet), so after the first surge of traffic from us locals, I see a steady stream of visits because I posted about his service. People doing searches on him and his service and find my post. Thanks for the traffic. Glad to be able to spread the word. You’re welcome to stay and play.

The most passionate set of readers are those that are following my journey through investing misfortune, building the foundations of my business, my efforts at finding a job, and the travails of selling my home and dealing with the mortgage companyHome For Sale The passions are intense enough that some have stepped aside and no longer read the blog. The journey has been too tough for them to witness. Some would prefer that I only focus on the positive. Those who are in similar situations have quietly thanked me for giving voice to their struggles. I never realized how much they struggle to answer “Fine.” to “How are you?” They don’t like to lie, yet they must to navigate society – even in such a seemingly open community as Whidbey. I’ve decided to continue writing about my journey, despite the schism. I’m an optimist and know that an honest chronicle of this journey may help others understand the struggles, and also help others who feel that they are alone. We’re going to find a way through this. Things are already looking brighter.

I’ve witnessed a common dynamic, and it is one that you, kind reader, can reinforce. The more we talk, write, and pass along these conversations, the better our mutual understanding of what we collectively care about. Share the stories, whether they are from my posts, others’ blogs, or personal verbal anecdotes. (Thanks for the suggestion that I write for The Huffington Post or The New York Times. Anyone know how to make that happen?) Statistics are important, but they have no life without story.

I know that Dendreon is a popular topic because their treatment for prostate cancer, Provenge, seems to work better than any other conventional treatment; yet, the company, the stock, and the treatment have been subjected to irregularities that make the conspiracy theorists look credible. The stock has “recovered” to $6, but such a breakthrough treatment should be worth $60, not $6. No matter to me, anymore. I had to sell all of my shares. I don’t know if the various advocacies can ever shout loudly enough, but I know they’re trying and are a model of the power of vocal community. As for MicroVision – oh, don’t get me started. (So, I’ll just point you to the most popular MVIS post.)

Drewslist is a popular topic because it is ingenious, effective, and based on community – and because Drew is a nice guy. From my web traffic, it’s obvious that the world awaits a broader unveiling. His idea will be recognized as a powerful force after he packages it and unleashes it. It may never reach the levels of craigslist, but the depth of meaning within a community will be difficult for others to match. His idea stitches community in a way that will sustain a community through good times and bad.

Of course I want my words to reach broader audiences. Word-of-mouth continues to be the strongest selling tool. Maybe if I sell enough books I can profitably terminate my relationship with the mortgage company. Read a book. Write a review. Spread the word. But it isn’t just about the numbers or the dollars or my Klout score. In the previous century, our struggles were best resolved through national efforts: FDR and the Great Depression, our military and two World Wars, the complex fight that was the Cold War, the legislative battles that were Civil Rights and Equality. Power is shifting in this century, and our struggles are best resolved through communal efforts: helping those we know, building robust communities, concentrating on individuals more than institutions.

For me, you are welcome to repost my posts (by link preferably, or least with attribution). Dan’s repost of my Jobs Report to reddit produced a lot of resume advice, if nothing else. Read my books. Write honest reviews. I’ll thank you.
For all of us, pass along the stories with discretion (skip the gossip). To do that may just require one other step, and one we can enjoy. Listen. Each of us has something we care about. Who cared about what? If we listen, we know.

About Tom Trimbath

consultant / entrepreneur / writer / photographer / speaker / aerospace engineer / semi-semi-retired More info at: https://trimbathcreative.wordpress.com/about/ and at my amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B0035XVXAA
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One Response to Who Cared About What

  1. wired2comment says:

    Dear Tom,

    Hope your 2012 year is better- it has been a hard year all around. I am a LTBH for DNDN and looked only looked a MVIS-

    The real estate market has not been kind to us either. Neither in VT, FL nor believe or not Northern VA. Hope your writing and photography brings you prosperity and solace. Heard a very interesting analysis on Agatha Christie and the theory on why her books proved to be so successful- It might be worth your time to review it for purposes related to your writing… just a thought

    Happy New Year Laura Hearne Manassas VA

    here is linkhttp://www.imdb.com/title/tt0496221/

    >________________________________ > From: Trimbathcreative’s Blog (Tom Trimbath) >To: hearnelaura@yahoo.com >Sent: Saturday, January 5, 2013 1:41 PM >Subject: [New post] Who Cared About What > > > WordPress.com >Tom Trimbath (trimbathcreative) posted: “What do folks really care about? “Hey, how are you doing?” Most of us know the answer is, “Fine. How about you?” It has to be that way. Starting every conversation with an in-depth analysis of personal current events would make each hello the prelude to a” >

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