I think I’m Out of Juice: One Side of the Story

Here's one side of the story

 I think it’s a good idea to give at least part of the story. There are many reasons why I’ve not been myself on the blog. My mind is clogged with “stuff”. I have a business research paper to write – and to do that I have read, read then investigate, read then draw some insightful conclusions from my findings. In a strange way, I’m looking forward to it, discovering my appetite increasing with every new thing I read (ok it’s not that strange if you know me at all). I’m also chewing over some interesting projects at work- that coupled with my increased commute to and from work (went from 30 minutes both ways to an hour and a half after I moved home in December). That’s one side of the story.

 

It’s fair to say that I have therefore found myself “out of juice”. I occasionally have a fragment of a blog post idea but it flutters away by the time I get to my screen. On rare occasions, I articulate a small fraction of what I mean – then with a tinge of disappointment (I actually squeeze my nose as if there’s a bad smell), I post it. Perhaps the other side of the story is that I don’t have much to say anymore but I’m hoping that’s not the case. Have I bled myself dry of sensible and senseless posts and now in a decline into nothing and nothingness? It certainly sounds like it to me.

 

In any case, I won’t give up just yet. I’ll give myself time to do this “famous” research paper. I’ll recover from using 10% of my daily waking hours to drive – or maybe I just suck it up and get used to it (it’s not that bad, Londoners have it much worse). The driving hours may even do me good. Ideas tend to come on that long narrow country road. I’ve toyed with the idea of a voice recorder to capture my fleeting thoughts whether it’s the gospel or rubbish. Although, doing that as I drive may will be a driving hazard. Sigh.

 

What I’m really trying to say is if you don’t see me around there often, I definitely not dead – just in over my head. At least, you know one side of the story. Hopefully, the other side will be just as plausible.

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Searching for randomness

RandomnessI have a personal chore to navigate WordPress “random” tags. I want to find out what warrants a post to be tagged “random”. I have tagged a few posts as random in my time – but looking back, I doubt they were really random. Random means unsystematic, accidental or haphazard (yes, I used the synonym checker on Microsoft Word). So if I have a whole bunch or posts tagged “random”, surely it defends the purpose. Clearly, quite a lot of posts are unsystematic, which perhaps means that there is in fact a system. Well, there’s a task I’ve set out for myself – to browse as many posts as possible tagged “random” and find a new meaning. For now, I’ve come across this blog with a post tagged “random”. It’s about the death of an inspirational person. “Death” is probably as random as it gets.

Randomness   125-365 #2

Another interpretation of Randomness (Photo credit: Samyra Serin)

Tribute to Professor Pete Tayo Olafioye.

Posted on February 24, 2012

This Death, where’s thy conquest?

If there’s anyone who wrote his pain out in words, in beautiful words of poetry, such would be Professor Tayo Olafioye. He was such an inspiration to me at the University. Despite the pain he went through and challenges, he made it to school daily, lectured and even supervised some of my friend’s final year projects. Some even wondered why he couldn’t sit his butt at home with all the money he had. He was passionate with his niche!

Death where’s thy gain?

When he arrived in Nigeria from the United States of America where he was based, to launch books he wrote at the point of death, not many people recognized him. The frail-looking writer, battled with prostate cancer, he could hardly talk. But I remember that smile on his face that said quite a lot. His health improved remarkably over the years but I guess when the time comes, who are we to fight death? Death where’s your victory? His first lecture I attended was many years in a matchbox-like room with a lot of students screaming on top of their eccentric voices. He walked slowly into the classroom and scribbled on the chalk-board ‘’The Grandma’s Sun’’. I was the kind of student who usually fought to have a space in the front row, doing that paid off during that lecture. In the midst of the noise, he shared his memoir growing up and the mishap when he got a ‘head-cap’. My inquisitiveness let loose listening to him in his whispers, I spent the whole week studying his poems. ‘Bush Girl Comes to Town-1988’ remains my favorite till date.

Death where’s your defeat?

 Over the years, Tayo Olafioye published a series of works and most importantly, collections of poetry that cover divergent subjects such as culture, family, international encounters, politics (The Parliament of Idiots), and an array of the human condition. His works celebrate and testify to the survival spirits of mankind, and, where possible, offer hope to human disillusionment he gave me hope! Death be not proud as you only took away his body and pain but his muse will continue to live in my heart and the heart of millions of people all over the world who knew him.

Die not Professor Tayo Olafioye! Rest in the Bosom of the Lord! Till we Meet to Part no More!

The end of an era

I always try to write once a week but this week has been very busy. As I write this, I’m sitting in a restaurant at London Heathrow Airport hoping that my meal turns up before my flight begins to board. This weekend I attended my last lecture at the business school I’m studying at. After almost 3 years, I would imagine many felt relief. Some voiced concerns about what they might do next to fill the void.

I’m not sure what I’m feeling. It’s not completely over yet as there’s still a research dissertation to submit. I sense that I will feel empty as I always do at the end of any task, relationship or phase in life. I feel a little uncertainty but strangely confident about the future. Undertaking this degree is the best thing I ever did for myself. That it is coming to an end is evidence that I persevered and fulfilled my goal. I hope that in time I will celebrate that.

My club sandwich is here. Thanks for reading.

I am a human chameleon…well, I was

Courtesy of the-wild-animals.blogspot.com

I’ve become arrogant about the fact that I don’t fit in with society. I don’t conform with several norms and tastes. It wasn’t always like this – in fact, my arrogance has caught me by surprise. Not too long ago, I was dying to fit in.

“Human tragedies:
We all want to be extraordinary
and we all just want to fit in.
Unfortunately, extraordinary people rarely fit in.”

Sebastyne Young

How people come to not fit in will continue to be a mystery. As an African woman in her 30s, I can come up with many excuses explanations. I left my continent at 10 years old, already considered somewhat “mild” by my countrymen – not quite as aggressive as everyone around me. Although, not a flaw in itself, I knew I needed to “toughen up” to fit in. But arriving in the Middle East, I was a little too forward; oblivious to sarcasm and not quite sure what anything meant. Over the years, I became a chameleon. I observed and imitated. Inwardly I was developing my own standards and recognised that I didn’t always agree with the world around me, but quickly conformed outwardly to avoid standing out. But was that really possible? I was an African girl in an American-British school in the middle of a hot Arabian country. Still I hoped. In the year I turned 16, I went back to my continent. Alas, no one recognised me. I loved rock music and The Cranberries. I couldn’t stop my brain from thinking differently and I was often shocked at how others arrived at their conclusions about a situation – about life. I was polite and courteous, and I demanded that from others. There was no way I was going to fit in. Again, I observed and imitated. I became a chameleon, seeking to change where change was needed. At the same time, I was dying to be me.

Yes, there are a lot of explanations for being different in this society. But society still prefers to look into the mirror when they look at you. I’ve spent years subconsciously adjusting myself, mirroring body language and even accents so that I could get my square existence into the round space of this world. My chameleon has been slow lately. I have lost the zeal to fit in, and I’m finding that I want to show off that I’m different more and more.

“There is always a certain peace in being what one is, in being that completely.”

Ugo Betti (From Laith’s Blog)

I’ve developed a keen interest in psychology, specifically why some people try to fit in – while some others don’t seem to care. I want to understand how people start that journey and at what point they realise that fitting is overrated or too much hassle or not worth it – if they ever realise any of this. Is fitting in – as our society defines it – truly attainable? What does it mean to be “normal”? And what is “normal” if there are millions out there who are not – it’s almost abnormal to be normal one would think.

I recently sat in a room with over 30 women each sharing their favourite colours. At least 15 said blue. Another 5 or so said red and the rest either purple or green. I looked up at the faces waiting for my declaration of colour. I wondered for a moment whether it would be better to fit in, even in this inconsequential moment. Then I smiled and said, ‘yellow’. I’m slipping in my old age ;-).

You’re attractive and engaging. Now what?

I don’t believe those claiming not to care about their blog stats. Why in the world are you writing on the web then? Perhaps a pocket-book or journal will suffice? Anyway, like I said, I don’t believe you. You might read through this post kicking and screaming but I think it will do some good to know what really matters in the notorious world of blog stats. Of course, it’s different for everyone.

I compare blog stats to online marketing. In that world, attractiveness, engagement and conversion are arguably the most important measurements in gauging effectiveness.

Attractiveness

Attractiveness in blogging will mean number of hits. It measures how many people are interested enough tto click on your post title. I find many personal blogs that are “attractive”. They get hundreads of hits a day! These blogs usually provide information that is of  popular interest. Some are just great marketers that visit hundreds of blogs who return the favour. That’s a lot of work. If you have a niche blog focussing on a certain demographics or topic, then your blog may not score high on attractiveness – and that’s not a bad thing.

Engagement

Engagement measures how many times people have a say in whatever conversation is on the blog. Essentially, it measures number of comments. This is my personal favourite because I think motivating people to talk is not an easy task, especially if they are complete strangers! How many times have you read an article, had something to say but never wrote it down? A lot of times, right? It doesn’t matter if your comments are in agreement with the blogger’s point of view. That you are passionate enough to comment means the blogger caused you to react to something. That’s worth a lot. But is it enough to be engaging? What about making people come back for more? This is when it becomes a religion of sorts. You have to convert them…

Conversion

This is when it starts to get really tricky. You get loads of hits, visitors can’t stop blabbing away in the comments section but they don’t come back. This is what being Freshly Pressed cannot do for you, I’m afraid. It can’t make people come back. In basic terms, conversion is the number of followers you have. Followers get alerts each time you post. It could be an indication that they were impressed by your last post.

 

 However, reality shows that even your followers may not come back as often as you’d like. Yes, blogging is hard if you want to stack the stats and make them the ultimate goal. In fact, blogging is hard, full stop. If you have a life and you are also managing to come on the web to try to reach out to strangers, you have a convert in me. So keep blogging, folks! It’s already February and there are lots to discuss before the year runs out.

Thanks for reading! (at least, I’m attractive ;-))

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