Time Flies

It seems like just yesterday when I began the blogging adventure, but WordPress just sent me notice that it has been 15 years. Happy anniversary to GrumpsJoesPlace! Actually, I began blogging before that and I was struggling with my own website, Mortyangel.com. Modifying a website to include content frequently was not the platform I needed, I just didn’t realize it. At the time I pursued my goal to write stories for kids. I wrote them, and illustrated them with cartoons, and printed them in a book format. Each kid got a copy of the story. The unique aspect was that I made each book personal to the child with his name as a character in the story. I thought it was a cool idea, but never realized how much work it would become to automate each story with different names, and pronouns depending on the gender. I learned a lot about the limitations of Microsoft Word, Word, and Apple Pages I tried asking for help from friends, but they never used the word processor’s for my type of work. I also learned how to print a book, and to bind it with a hard cover.

A young man at work, (I was still occasionally accepting money for my advice from my previous full time employer), told me I should look at WordPress. Thank you Christopher. I followed his advice and fell in love with the ability to write freely everyday if I so chose to do. From the beginning I had no intention to use this venue as a profit making venture. I now know that was a huge mistake. At the time, making money didn’t interest me, writing did. Today, as my nest egg begins to dwindle, I am just a tad bit sorry that I did’t pursue earning extra money by writing.

My wife Barbara, my one true love, encouraged me to open up and let my thoughts run wild. I adopted the idea and the noms de plume of Grumpa Joe, and taught the kids to call me by that name. Barb is the one who told me that my grandkids, who were all little at the time, would continue to call me Grumpa. To me it was a joke intended to convey the idea that I am a grumpy old man even though I am the exact opposite. Barb was right. My oldest grandchild is now twenty-seven and she still calls me Grumpa.

Barb celebrates her twentieth anniversary in heaven this year, and I am still in love with her. Even though I have married twice since then when I speak to old friends about my wife it is always about Barbara.

I got the idea to write about myself from a story I heard on National Public Radio. A young man was explaining how he got content for a book he wrote about his grandfather’s stories. In his case he spent a lot of time with his grandfather and the old man told him stories about his life. The kid honored him by writing a book about this relationship. I thought I would do the same thing by writing vignettes about growing up in the Burnside neighborhood of Chicago. I titled the book “Jun-e-or”, and published three volumes on Kindle. I think they are still available there today. Of course no one has ever heard of the book because I never told anyone about it until this very day. I learned from that experience that publishing a book is 99% selling and 1% writing. I also re-established the fact that I am not a salesman.

In the meantime, I am happy publishing and posting articles on WordPress on GrumpaJoesPlace. It is fulfilling the self actualization part of my life’s pyramid. My readership is dwindling lately because I am posting less content. I am also not ranting as much as I did in previous years. My largest following was during the Obama presidency when I did political cartoons to include with the rant about his stupid attempts to socialize America. Today, I leave President Biden alone only because he is an old guy like me. Just to be clear I think Biden is Obama on steroids and also much more stupid. I’ll stop with that.

Any attempt by me to try to convince people to like Donald Trump is futile, and therefore, I don’t even try. It is hard for me to understand why the world hates him so much. Then I begin to think about all of his policies that attempted to kill the bureaucracies which are loaded with creatures who rely upon the swamp to feed their families. I remember a time when people who couldn’t do anything practical got jobs with the government and received far lower pay than the rest of us. Today, the tides have turned and non-government jobs pay far better than real jobs that require people to: 1. know stuff, 2. show up, and 3. produce actual useful content.

If my luck holds out I’ll continue to blog for as many years as the Lord allows me to. In the meantime, thank you for reading my stuff, your comments keep me happy and interested in writing.

Influencers & Monetization

Too many times I wonder how it is that people can make money using social media. Maybe because it is my age that puts me at a disadvantage, but I really am interested in how it works. Whenever I find something like a book, or a video that will explain the simple dynamics of using Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc I devour it.

I just finished reading a book titled “City of Like” by author Jenny Mollen. Jenny has crafted a fictional story which involves the life of of a simple New York mom who wants to raise her kids and have a job too. I won’t get into the plot any further because I would be a spoiler. In this story the characters are very different people who live for building their audience on social media. All that matters to them is getting “liked, friended, subscribed to, or followed.” The numbers become the game. The more followers one has the better the chances are the content producer will be monetized. Monetized, now thats an interesting word which has risen from obscurity in the business world to one of everyday usage by the masses of social media users. It means that that the content being presented by someone of Facebook derives revenue from the content. Companies like Youtube (Google) have learned that profit can be had by using the content of the masses. It doesn’t matter what the content is but rather depends on how many viewers see the work. It is not much different than selling newspapers.

The social media companies get all of the content free from their users. It costs very little to store the content digitally, and their computers can track viewership easily. Then it becomes a matter of deciding how to make money, and how to reward content producers for their creative efforts.

I had not heard the term “influencer” used before reading this book. An influencer is one who builds an audience of tens of thousands of viewers and pitches products and services to this audience. The influencer is rewarded with free samples of the products they pitch. Some of them are in such demand that they hire agents to agents to negotiate for them. That is when the big money begins to flow.

Recently, I watched a Youtube video of a young man in his twenties explain the mathematics of building audience for the purpose of achieving monetization. He went through the process from the ground up and explained how a blogger, vlogger, etc. will have to produce several posts daily in order to succeed. I get people clicking to follow my blog and when someone does I get an email notification. I then visit the persons blog to see what he/she is about. Most times the follower is someone who sells a product on his blog. One reason I check them out is to decide if they are genuine or in business. If they are real bloggers and are just interested in writing stories I will befriend them and continue a dialog. Some of my best friends are people I have never met in person, but with whom I communicate almost daily.

Nevertheless, with inflation eating away at my fixed income I am becoming more interested in a developing a new income stream to help me along. I have resolved that I can do it, but will wind up giving up the freedom of retirement by making my blog into a job. The formula for success requires producing several content posts daily, reading, commenting, and following hundreds of other bloggers daily. It makes sense to me now as to why so many bloggers have people on their payroll who submit content daily.

At this point in life, I feel that my sciatic nerve will allow me only a couple of hours a day to sit at a computer before my toes begin to tingle, my right hip is on fire, and the nerve between the head and shoulder is screaming for help.