Title Head

♫ You will learn a thing or two ♪ Making sense is up to you ♫


Why Christmas is the Most Festive Occasion in Christendom

Grace-of-the-Season
In Christian tradition, Easter is the highlight of the entire (liturgical) year. Yet, most lay Catholics and Christians have more attachment to the celebration of Christmas than any other festivity. It is kind of puzzling why an occasion held in the coldest of seasons is much more festive than the one celebrated during the summer. No matter how the shepherds of the faith insist on their flock that we should be more jubilant during Easter than in Christmas, there is this feeling that Christmas has more "warmth" than Easter - even if the latter is observed during the hot summer months (mainly applicable to those who live in the Northern Hemisphere).

Easter Sunday (and the entire Easter season) is the celebration of Christ's resurrection after His horrible death on the cross. The Resurrection is the culmination of all his preachings and works here on Earth - the ultimate triumph of life over death. So how come Christmas tide, the occasion of (what is believed to be) His birth anniversary, has a more jovial celebration than the former?

From my simple observations and experiences of Christmas, Easter, and other revelries, allow this humble lay man to list down the reasons why the Yuletide has a "warmer" and more joyful feeling than any other holiday of the year.

1. The symbol of family


Whom do you think of when we talk about Christmas? Santa Claus! Of course... And why not, especially if you are a kid? However, if your answer is your family, then we are on the same page. We all want to be with our families during the Holidays. The thing is, the obvious and magnified symbol of the Season is a FAMILY. As a matter fact, the Christmas story is all about a certain family: A mother who was in labor and about to give birth; a father who was looking for an inn so his wife could safely give birth; and a new born baby who was born in a stable and laid in a manger in the company of farm animals. It is a story of struggle, hope, and the triumph of family love.

Birth-of-Jesus

While Easter's message is the triumph of life over death, the narrative of a family overcoming all obstacles through their love for each other and sheer determination is much closer and more touching to human nature. It pinches the heart of any mother who cares for her children; it surely hits home to any father who drives his passion just to provide for his family; it amazes any son or daughter who desires nothing but the love and company of their parents.

2. Beginnings are more exciting than endings


When you read a book or go to a theater to watch a movie, on which part do you get excited the most, the beginning or the ending? I bet you would agree that you feel the most excitement when you are about to watch the movie or about to begin reading that most sought after book.

A story often climaxes when the protagonist wins over the antagonist and defeats all his/her adversaries. The thing is, it also signifies that the story is about to end. Even if it is a happy ending, you cannot help but feel a bit sad because the story is almost over. The best you can do to get yourself excited all over again is to re-watch or re-read it. Better yet, you can look for another good movie or book, and start from the beginning.

This, I believe, is very much like Christmas. People get excited when they start a new narrative or adventure, and Christmas is the beginning of the greatest life story ever told. Beginnings are about hope, of getting to know new things, and of exploring fresh experiences. You always get excited with wide-eyed delight at the start of every story.

3. No pre-condition before the celebration


Human nature craves for happiness, and suffering is repulsive to any creature. The thing about Christmas is that it does not have a pre-condition of suffering before you get to celebrate the occasion. Even Advent, the liturgical season prior to Christmas Day, urges Christians to be in joyous anticipation and preparation for the coming of the Lord.

In the case of Easter, all Christians will have to undergo and commemorate the time when Jesus' fasted for 40 days and 40 nights (Lent). Before celebrating the actual day of Christ's Resurrection, you have to encounter the days when He suffered and died a gruesome death - all of which were essential to our liberation and salvation.

Yet, humanity is not bereft of suffering. Human nature longs for relief and healing. While Easter demonstrates the ultimate victory of life and the defeat of death, the Christmas message brings the hope of life's beginning through the new born baby Jesus.

4. Year ender makes you want to remember


Coincidentally, Christmas Day demarcates the last 7 days of the year. How ironic that the day celebrating the beginning of Christ's life on Earth also marks the last week of the year.

Here is the thing, whatever religious affinity you are in, there is this feeling that year enders force people to reminisce, regret mistakes, and be grateful for the blessings received throughout the year. This is one affair you want to spend with your loved ones most especially, and it is incidental that the last universal celebration of the year is the Yuletide. Any celebration done in the company of your family is way more important than any colloquial party you are invited to attend.

Lastly...


Eventually, the baby will grow into adulthood. Our faith life will have to progress from the infancy of Christmas into the maturity of the Risen Christ.

May the Reason for the Season deliver you from annoying misery, and transform your life into a really inspiring story.



Photo credits:

The Season of Grace c/o greglweaver / Unsplash

The Birth of Jesus c/o Distant Shores Media/Sweet Publishing [CC BY-SA 3.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons
Read More »

Write for Your Readers Not for Yourself

I have great respect and admiration for fiction writers. They are able to create worlds and realities other than our own. Although essays have their purpose among the readers of today, plots and characters are more challenging to develop. It is like bringing to life something that does not exist. Stories, I believe, have a more compelling way to carry out a message through emotional entertainment.

Most bloggers have to settle with writing essays, while some others prefer to write their personal exploits– showing off their travels and the many things they buy. Whatever it is, I have yet to see a revenue generating blog that has creative fiction as its sole content.

write-for-your-readers

How do I mean by that? Well, fiction writers would normally pitch their stories to publishing companies. If their stories get a nod from the reviewers and editors, then they get published and sold in bookstores. But how about if, instead of submitting their stories to publishers, they make a blog or website to host and publish their stories – and let people read and savor these creative works on the Internet?

I guess the primary challenge with this feat, as with any blog, is to get the right number of followers and subscribers, who will read your stories with honest curiosity and faithful interest. The more readers you have, the more site traffic you get – and it is traffic that will attract online advertisers and ad networks to display their money-making advertisements on your website.

For news sites and magazine websites which are owned by established publishing companies, getting readers and site traffic are not much of a problem. They have an army of writers and online marketers to provide content and promote their webpages. Famous celebrities who blog about their escapades do not have an issue with it either - they have fans who will devour their write-ups with loyalty. In the end, any blogger or writer – no matter how he/she loves the art of writing – will be burned out by the question: Who the heck are reading my works?

Some bloggers out there will say that they do not care whether or not they get revenue from what they do. What matters for them is that they love writing and that they are passionate about it. Well, if they are not thinking of their readership, then they may just write their material in a scrap of paper and keep it inside the closet (forever).

The thing is, ad revenue is a mark that your blog is getting traffic, which means people are reading your material. If you do not care about traffic and revenue, what the heck is your blog for? You might as well configure its settings to private – without the advantage of maintaining a steady and loyal reading audience.

My take is that any writer should want his/her work to be read by people. Expressing ones thoughts, ideas, and feelings are good. Yet, deep in the heart of the writer, he/she should aspire to make a mark on the minds of people through his/her written work.

If you write in a diary, then your most probably goal is just to write for yourself. However, if you are blogging or writing a story or an essay, then you should write for your readers. Think about how they will receive your material. That, I think, is the mark a true writer by heart.



Photo credit:

Write for Your Readers c/o Unsplash / Pexels
Read More »

Traits of People Sometimes Confused for Laziness

We all dislike lazy people. Not that we hate the person per se, it is the act of being slothful itself that makes us cringe with contempt. Sloth or laziness is an attribute that makes people who are afflicted by it appear as uncaring and apathetic. They may deny it, but their action (or non-action rather) allows those who see them as practically selfish. The thing is, laziness is not an inherent trait – most of the time, it is a by-product of some negative emotion or even illness.

The worse probable cause of laziness is despair – the ominous feeling of losing hope. If you are stricken by it, then you may just find yourself in danger of losing sanity as well. Get help as soon as possible. Whatever the cause, whether it is depression or fear of failure, you need to face it and beat it. If professional help is needed, get it. There is no time to procrastinate over it.

Learn about the causes of laziness and the reasons why it is seemingly pleasurable.

man-resting-after-long-journey
A Man Savors his Rest after a Long Journey
c/o Stanisław Nowak, Poznań, Poland (Ja, roweromaniak) [CC BY-SA 2.5] via Wikimedia Commons

 
We all love people who are passionate about life, men and women who practice zeal in their calling, and folks who show dedication at work. Here is the thing, there are those who have passion, zeal and dedication for life, vocation, and work, but some envious people apparently judge them as lazy fellows. Puzzled? That is OK. Either you belong to those who are being judged or to those who judge. My hope is that you belong to the former instead of the latter.

1. Those who are awesomely efficient (and effective)


There are 2 connotations for efficient people: one is that efficient folks finish their work easily and quickly; the other is that efficient people are those who work all day all the time. Albeit both descriptions are not synonyms for being lazy, the first one fits well as a target for being judged as harbingers of sloth.

It is unfortunate that some people praise those who do lots of work over those who get the job done. Probably, this is the reason why there is a demarcation between efficiency and effectiveness. The latter means getting the job done with the desired results, while the former is perceived as the state of being industrious at work. Yet, doing plenty of tasks does not necessarily mean getting the desired outcome for the job. Real efficiency means getting the job on time, as easily as necessary, and achieving the right output.

I find it sad that, when work is done without strain and stress even if the expected result has been reached, some people may still judge those who did it as lazy.

2. Those who are happily contented


The bottom line for any endeavor is that you are happy with it and with the effect it brings you. When you do come to this point in your life’s journey, some of your friends may still urge you to go on further. If you retort to them, “This is good for me, I’m happy with it,” they would find it unsatisfactory and judge you as lazy.

An important thing to note is that going beyond what makes you happy does not necessarily mean it is going to make you happier – it does not add up. Happiness to some may not be the same for you and vice-versa.

Say you want to buy a badly needed car (and yes, you are going to do so because of a need and not because of a material desire). However, your colleagues see you as a boffo of some sort, so they persuade you to opt for an expensive sports car (and yet they do not even know what your necessities are). What you really need is a just a vehicle for family-use and you have no intention of being a showoff whatsoever. If you mention this to your persuaders and add that you only have enough money to buy an ordinary car, they would respond by saying, “Why not work for it so you can afford it?” I hope that they don’t though, but if they do, going against their suggestion might earn this retort, “Hey, don’t be lazy. Go for the best!”

In such a case, which will you follow: your conscience or your colleagues?

3. Those who do “the easy” instead of “the difficult”


Most of us (if not all of us) tend to choose the easy way of doing stuff. We want to make things easy or easier than they already are. This tendency can be attributed to our human nature. Hey, com’ on! Who wants to play something difficult when there is an easy alternative to it? However, since time immemorial, the word “easy” has been unfairly demoted to being bad.

You may have heard of the saying...

easy-vs-right

Even if it is not verbatim, I bet you have come across this inspirational message more or less. It is a wise quote indeed, and such advice has guided many men and women in their journey towards success. However, there exists a dangerous misinterpretation when you juxtapose righteousness as against easiness.

Sometimes, (and I say “sometimes” not all the time) difficult is not always right and easy is not always wrong. Who says that the life of a robber is easy? Do you think there is no difficulty in doing all those bad stuff? Does not stealing involve hard work and careful planning? I bet a competent thief cannot be described as lazy, as he/she needs to plan and carry out lots of (unethical) tasks. So you see, not all the hard work being done in this world can be construed as righteous.

There are instances when the best way to accomplish a goal is also the easiest method. The thing is, most people will take a frown whenever the word “easy” is mentioned at work. Utmost prudence is needed when determining which is right and which is wrong. Easy is not always bad – sometimes it is the only workable option you have.

4. Those who choose to live a simple life


Living simply is an ideal most of us aspire to achieve. However, the simple life is not for everyone. Besides, if you want a simple life, you should live it now and not dream about it. Yet, not all people can enjoy a life of simplicity. If you think and feel that you cannot be content until you have surpassed the possessions and achievements of the most successful people in the world, and not doing so is mediocre, then the happiness of a simple life is not for you. More so, if you judge those who choose to live simply as just plain lazy…

Read all about why simplicity is not making you happy.

Lastly...


There is a time to stop, savor the moment, and just be happy and content with what you have already achieved. If fact, such times are few compared to the times when we are encouraged to push ourselves and go further. When such moment arrives and you are prompted to say that enough is indeed enough, and getting more is not anymore proper, then it is wise to rest and relish this moment of achievement, until another challenge comes to engage your prowess.

If you are not on such level of life yet, my wish is for you to (at least) not judge those who savor their elation as a bunch of lazy and mediocre partisans. Let them be, you too will have your day.
Read More »

Adversity, Pleasure, and Victory

You walk straight ahead to your destination - the place you thought you knew well. Yet now, you are not sure what will occur once you reach it.

Then, at a dull moment, you see a lonely bench. So you take a sit and rest. You ponder and recall all your past experiences. You realize nothing has changed. What you endure now, you have endured before - not greater and certainly not less.

man-sitting-on-bench

Although you are on a different level of your life, the sights, sounds, and feel of it are practically the same. You look for someone wiser, whose wisdom can provide you of some relief. But where can you find one? You are like a fish in an ocean full of strangers.

You would rather be a bird who has wings that can fly and roam around the world. In this Earth, there are many possibilities you can choose, and yet there are burdens you have to carry along with each choice.

Let all the things of this world be passing. Besides, that is what they truly are – they are all bounded by time. However, there is one thing you should never lose – and that one thing is hope – the hope that good things will come out of any situation.

Lest you forget, you still live in the present. You should keep your feet on the ground while savoring the pleasure of this dreamy moment. And then you ask, “Can happiness be found by indulging in the pleasures the human body craves for?” Your much wiser conscience responds, “Nay, they too are passing.”

If such is the case, then adversity and suffering too will pass. It will not be long and all of these will come bow to you and bend. Patience and courage - they are the ones that will aid you to come out victorious at the end.



Photo credit:

Man Resting on a Bench c/o markusspiske / Pexels
Read More »

Publishing Your Own Blog vs. Writing for Paid Writing Sites

I used to think that writing for paid writing sites is more advantageous than creating content for your own website or blog site. Owning a website means buying a domain name and leasing for a hosting service, both of which involve cost. To an independent publisher and author like me, that is something I would want to avoid. Besides, I am not a web developer and hiring one entails more expenses than just buying and leasing.

Now, if you compare that to writing for a "paid" writing site, those hassles are all at the bottom of the bin. You just register for an account, similar to what you would do when creating a web-based email and, "Voila!" You can now write your content and get paid via the pageviews (so they claim).

my-blogging-tools

Also, publishing your own blog demands patience. What do I mean by that? Well, if you intend to earn revenue from your own content, then that means placing ads on your webpages. The thing is, ad networks will require you to wait because they will need to review your site and content before approving your application to place their ads on your pages. Mind you, such gestation is not just about days and weeks, but months and years even.

So, I started my online writing stint by penning articles for writing sites that promised revenue sharing by the amount of views your content would be getting. Some of the veteran bloggers and online publishers out there might say that, in blogging, money should not be your primary purpose – otherwise, you will just be frustrated. The thing is, if there is no money out of it then it will just be a unpurposeful hobby – a waste of time and mind effort. As a former employer of mine taught me about business ventures, "You have to distinguish a profitable endeavor from just an exciting but expensive hobby."

My keyboard pounding adventure with writing sites went well for a few months. Eventually, some of them closed down; the site owners realized that they could not sustain their business model. While some others, decided to change their rules on how to cascade revenue to their writers, making it impossible (at least for me) to get paid by the number of readers my articles were getting. Thus, my quest to earn some bucks by putting my ideas into readable content went stale.

So there it goes. Should I stop my online writing stint right there and there? Or should I continue? Surely, you must know now that there has to be something rewarding to fortify my resolve to scribble words into sensible essays and narratives. Without it, I would more or less find another hobby that looks more fruitful than blogging.

As I said, buying my own site domain and leasing the service of a hosting provider are not an option for me as they involve expenses. There are a quite a few hosting and blogging channels out there that allow users to blog and upload content for free, but only Google's Blogger allows for revenue generation. This obviously puts all of my choices down to one.

So here I am blogging about the many pesky miseries of daily living with the attempt to squeeze inspiring stories out of them (you should read the About page, if you are doubtful about it). As you can see along the articles of this site, there are ads in them. Albeit I needed to wait for the ad networks to approve of my site, I can say it was worth it. Besides, it did not take years but just a few months (lucky me). :)

Suffice to say, I realize that publishing my articles in my own blog site is more beneficial than submitting them to paid writing sites. I am not subject to any editor review because I am my own editor. Most especially, I get my revenue solely as my own.

Unless they deliberately ask me to write for their websites with a reasonable fee, I guess I am going to stick to writing for my own blog site and earn my fair share of money from the Web.



Photo credit:

My Blogging Tools c/o Unsplash / Pixabay
Read More »

Why Simplicity Does Not Make You Happy

Since kindergarten, I have been taught that simplicity is a way of life that will allow us to experience happiness and contentment. My elderly mentors advised me that, even in the struggle to reach my dreams, I should not let my ambitions get over my head – that we should always live within our means while shunning away from obscene extravagance – and if you choose the life of excesses and over-spending, then you are surely on your way to miserable poverty.

grouping-of-mugs
Grouping of Mugs by Andrea Michelbach
(Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
I remember one story about a professor who had a coffee session with his former students inside his office. He noticed the way they chose their mugs from the cupboard – they were all after the ones with fancy designs and colors; those who were last in line were left to pick the mugs with little or no adornments at all. When all of them were drinking already, he called their attention to point out how their mugs were so different from each other, and yet they were all sipping the same coffee. He went on further to say that life, in general, has the same principle  – most people run after the fancy kind of things – fancy clothes, fancy cars, fancy houses, fancy et cetera. Yet, those fancy things are just like empty mugs without the “coffee.” Satisfaction will come from drinking the coffee itself – the mugs are just the containers. We all aspire for the same happiness, security, and contentment.

There is nothing wrong with getting rich. In fact, it is a noble goal to pursue especially if you are doing it for your loved ones and you have the desire to make this world a better place to live in. However, there is a demarcation between living a rich life and living the life of excesses. Having a fat bank account does not mean you should be ostentatious with it.

However, modern life with its competitive and “show off” culture has pushed simplicity out of the limelight. Happiness and stability are presumed to be the products of flaunty lifestyles – never mind spending and going broke in the near future, as long as you show to your friends that you are not left behind in the race of pretentious success.

Therefore, simplicity is not going to make you happy if...

You Equate It with Mediocrity


You think life sucks because you live simply? Maybe it indeed sucks, but mainly because you assume you are living a simple life when in reality your desire is to be more exuberant than what you see from your friends in your social media feed every day. You want to exceed their travel exploits and the material goods they show-off on their waterfall. For you, not doing so is mediocre. You have equated simplicity with mediocrity.

There is a sarcastic yet practical and wise advice about simplicity and extravagance…

The rich spend like they are poor while the poor spend like they are rich.

I guess this summarizes why the rich gets richer and why the poor gets poorer. Read this out aloud: Working hard, working smart, and investing properly are not enough to make you rich; you should also save more of  your money while spending a few with prudent caution.

You Compare Yourself with Others


One sure ingredient to unhappiness is to set your standard of success based on what others possess. Whatever self-help literature you read and motivational talk you listen to about simplicity, they are not going to have an effect on you, if you always compare your successes to those of others. Being thankful for your own achievements is a misnomer to you until you own the things that other people have.

allegory-of-vanity
Allegory of Vanity by Antonio de Pereda [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

You will always feel uneasy if your goals are always attuned to getting ahead of people rather than setting your goals on how to best provide for yourself and your loved ones. The thing is, work and career becomes satisfying only when you do it for those whom you care about and not merely to prove you are better or more talented than other people.

Simplicity is only effective in making your life happy and contented only if your soul is void of envy and vanity. Yet, it takes a heartfelt decision to empty yourself of such emotions. Simple living allows men and women to enjoy the simplest of things. In so doing, you learn to appreciate the little blessings that come your way, which will eventually lead you to real happiness.
Read More »

When Does the Love of Money Become the Root of Evil?

The tool is just as good (or evil) as its user. If you have been keeping a close touch of the articles here in Scroll Down and Read, you may have probably noticed how this concept is mentioned a couple of times or so. What tool or thing is this statement more applicable than the ever useful yet most coveted by any human being living in the civilized world – money.

Cash, income, salary, profit, treasure, wealth, or whatever you want to call it, no tyrant or peasant can say he or she does not experience a longing to touch it and own it. Since time immemorial, money has been the cause of many conflicts; yet it is also money that made a difference to millions of lives through charities funded by the humble donations of commoners and lofty contributions of wealthy folks.

deadly-sin-avarice-peter-brueghel
The Deadly Sin of Avarice By Pieter Brueghel the Elder (1526/1530–1569) - Public Domain


Sadly, sages from both ancient and modern times have classified money, or the pursuit of it, as something immoral. Jesus Himself and His apostle Paul, issued strong statements against the evils of being engrossed with money. Over the centuries, the idea of earning money has been stained. Albeit looked upon with admiration, it is not rare that most commoners would smear at people who have amassed great wealth yet congratulate them with a treacherous disdain. Such an act may be coming from human nature’s propensity for envy. I would, however, opine that it is also heightened by our idea that money has been debased by the spit of narcissistic evil.

Yet, it will be hypocritical and unfair if we just mark any person who labors to earn some decent amount of money, fit for a days wage, as evil. Even this website earns some profit too, you know. Or do you see money as evil only if it is amassed in great numbers?

Here is the thing for you, dear Reader: Whether such money is accumulated in great sums or in bits and pieces, it is the intention and purpose of the earner that will determine if money is of good or of evil. How the money will be used will further signify how evil or good it will be.

So when does the pursuit of money indeed become the root of all evil?

1. When it is coupled with vainglory


They say that greed or avarice is a dangerous trait, as it is the Deadly Sin that is particularly associated with the love of money. Yet, I believe there is something much deadlier than greed, and in fact, avarice is called as such because of it – it is vainglory.

When you are in love with yourself and you are elated with applause and flattery, yet you get offended with the slightest hint that someone is better than you, then you are in danger of the sweet but intoxicating venom of vainglory.

Now, imagine getting tons of money, and then you use it to show the world how great an achiever you are. You would dress yourself with all the finest garments available, so all the people can see how you are better than all of them. But wait! You still do not have enough money. So what to do now? You would have to get to the top so you can take all the glory. Never mind if you step on people; you can utilize them, anyway, as mere tools to your Elysian goal. You feel you deserve all the honor, and those people you would step on probably deserve it too.

You see how ignominious the scenario can be if money is pursued and acquired with the heart and mind full of vainglory?

2. When it is fueled by sinister envy


No, I do not mean jealousy because, in reality, jealousy means something else. What makes the world go round is humanity’s appetite for competition. Why do games and sports exists? Is it for mere entertainment or do you get entertained because you win while someone else loses? What motivates you to excel? Don’t you feel a sense of satisfaction when you are affirmed that you are better than other people?

I believe it is alright to be inspired and get motivated by the excellence of another person and by making such admiration as a goal for you to reach. What makes envy sinister is when you desire the lost and fall of those people you are envious of. You want them to experience sorrow and failure, so you yourself can get ahead of them. It does not mind you if you see them get hurt as long as you prove you are greater than all of them.

When envy is used as a catalyst to earn and spend money, then you are in for a trap – a trap that will encapsulate you in the quagmire of misery. Surely, it is not new to you if I say that there are rich men and women who died alone and miserable.

3. When it is sceptered by vengeance


Anger is the emotion that, when not subdued, can lead you to say and do things you will be remorseful of afterward. Now what if you think you have subdued your anger, but in reality you just buried it deep inside. Or maybe you really do not want to subdue it in the first place; you are just holding it of for a future time when you can finally have your vengeance.

The desire to hurt a person because you feel it can satisfy you and can quench your anger – that is vengeance. Mind you, there are people who are pursuing the riches of this world just because they are angry at someone. They think that, by becoming rich themselves, they can use their money to hurt the object of their anger.

My question to them is this. What happens if they do hurt the person they are angry at? Will their hate subside or will it just transfer to another object or person?

4. If you lack compassion for people


You want to be rich and you just do not care whether you will be stepping on people or not. What matters is you get to that dream of yours by hook or by crook. Let say you do get to achieve what you want. Would you start caring for people now? I sure hope you would, because if you would not, then you go against the norm – even the rich men and women of past and present have charities and advocacies they support.

The thing is, if hurting people does not concern you on your way to wealth and fame, then I would wonder how dangerous you would be when you do become rich and famous.

Lastly…


Money is not evil. It is the intention of the man or woman wielding or desiring it that can and will result into an evil deed. Our history books are not lacking of stories in which real people were able to achieve wealth through decent means. Some of them are still living, while some have already departed. Yet, they have used (or are still using) their wealth to make this world a better place to live in.
Read More »

The Feeling of Futility

All of us have or will come to a point when we feel that our efforts have become pointless. Our goals are closely looking like they want to remain mere dreams, and such dreams have become comfortable staying in our imaginations. Reality is not something they want to dip their foot into.

In this issue of S.D.R. (or Scroll Down and Read), I want to share with you a free verse poem I penned on 23rd of April year 2004. I wish that, in times when the feeling of futility comes, this work of literature would give the comfort and the wisdom that such condition is only a stage in your journey you just have to pass through.

running-man


You realize that what you are doing is futile

It does not mean anything to anyone...

...even to yourself.



To what purpose do you see the end of it all?

Has it come to the point when you feel no more?

And yet, you do not know what are feelings for.



So what kind of reality do you want to see?

You feel so useless, it has come to toil your glee

Your dreams have become visions of malady.



In all of these, you keep your hope alive

You still want your aspiration to get out of the hive

Because your guilt pushes you to run again with vive.



Photo credit:

Why are you running? Where are you going? c/o Pexels / unsplash.com/photos/BjcGdM-mjL0
Read More »

Job Applicants in Waiting

What makes applying for a new job difficult is, not so much the pressure of interviews and other screening procedures, but the tightness of the competition. If there are a lot of other applicants and they are all eyeing the same post, then such situation makes the application more overbearing than the usual.

Written on the 12th of September year 2002, here is a poem about queuing for a job interview. Enjoy the read and, if it pleases you, share your own experience of waiting in line for your turn during a job screening process. Express yourself in the comment section below.

we-are-hiring



Young men and women sit beside each other

The way they sit makes the benches sunder

Plastic chairs, each one has a man

Though some of them, instead, have a woman.



Waiting for the call from the office not beyond

The smiling faces make them greet anyone

Who comes out of the room they hope they could be in

As they ponder the question, "Will I be the one?"



Only time can tell,

And the ones on top as well

Will they be allowed to enter and be met

By those they call the Management?



Photo credit:

Job Hiring Signage c/o geralt / Pixabay
Read More »

When You Are Bothered and Cannot Sleep

For a person to say that he or she has insomnia, the inability to sleep soundly should be habitual or chronic. If it is just one or a few instances of not being able to sleep, then it may not be insomnia. In such a case, you need to find out what is bothering you and causing your unsleepiness.

Here is a poem written on the 28th of August year 2002. Read and learn why some people find it hard to sleep - and it is not about insomnia.

Social Insomnia


I am bothered

The dog barks unstoppably;

My head lies on the pillow

But my thoughts are wide awake

Its barkings sound like cries for succor

Wanting to be free from the chains

That grip its neck.



It expects its master's coming

In the hope that he will set it free

From that which binds its will

Yet, throughout the night

Exhaustion has embraced its throat

Its weightless sounds are null

And my thoughts have taken them in sleep.



Photo credit:

Causes of Social Insomnia c/o johnhain / Pixabay
Read More »

What is Character?

Would it be proper to assume that, when talking about the definition of character, you are familiar with the saying...

"Character is your personality when no one is around to look at you,"

...or something along those lines?

Well, if you are not yet aware of it, I guess I have given you a (free) service. Now you are aware! Indeed, character is the real you; it is beyond reputation, because reputation is just the perception of people towards you. It is up to you, then, which between the two is more important. What is it that you care for the most, your character or your reputation?

your-shadow-your-character

Talking about what character is, here is a poem I scribbled circa September, 2002. Enjoy the read, and please do make your comments about it in the comment section below.

It is something I see but do not perceive,
Yet it can be perceived but cannot be seen.
All things shall pass; only this will remain,
My thoughts are a part of this special domain.

Yours and mine are often compared,
Yet those who compare are not even fair.
For they too are judged just like we are,
Their actions will speak for them however far.

Darkness will conceal but light will reveal,
It is you when people’s eyes are not on a deal.
Truth has its way of showing Herself out,
You will be judged as soon as She gets a mouth.

Conscience tells us the wrong from the right,
Erroneous it may seem yet it has its own might.
We may conceal it by acting out a lie,
But karma has the wit of making deceit die.

Though by death it looks like it is the end,
Those alive will recall your memory from grave's bend.
Your sins and blessedness – whatever they might say,
The future of your soul is what you do today.



Photo credit:

Is Your Shadow the Real You? c/o OpenClipart-Vectors / Pixabay
Read More »

What Do You Do When You Are Tired?

How do you define rest? How do you define tiredness? Are they contrasting words? Surely you know that the former is the antidote to the latter.

If you are asked to choose between those 2, I bet you would choose rest. The thing is, rest is not useful (it may not even exist) if there is no tiredness. Otherwise, if you just rest all the time without any speck of feeling tired, then you may just qualify to be a disciple of the Master Procrastinator.

From my archived notebooks long hidden deep inside web infested drawers, here is a poem about tiredness I wrote 23rd of August in the year 2002.

Tired Kid

I am tired
Tired from work, tired from school.

My head is exhausted from thinking
My hands are crippled from crunching
And they can no longer stretch.

The nerves tingle with fatigue
My eyes are sunken from looking up
No response... No response...
But hope pervades my heart.

Does His Presence invigorate me?
Testimonies of His Mercy
Abound in my memory
That's what makes me going
And what makes me living.




Photo credit

Tired Kid c/o Unsplash / Pixabay
Read More »

The Last Turn of the Century – A Celebration Gone Wrong

Y2K
Writing on behalf of my generation, I raise my pen and think of words that will best describe what is going on. I think not for my own sake, but for what accounts on the welfare of many. It may not be popular as it is, but I deem it right for everyone to read what I am about to convey. Let the world stop and reflect on the events of our age.

More than a decade ago, we have celebrated the dawning of a new millennium. The citizens of Planet Earth were jubilant, ecstatic, but most of all – hopeful. The celebration was in unison regardless of culture, country, hemisphere, and timezone – as if all the nations have finally united and human beings were no longer alien to each other. The media (print, radio, television, and the Internet) ostentatiously covered the gracious occasion, truly proving its power to bring people closer in spite of the spatial and temporal boundaries that existed.

The world was hopeful that after enduring many wars and revolutions, pestilence and famine, devastation and calamities throughout human existence, we have finally learned to value each other in order for us to survive and live as one citizenry of this planet. It appeared that we have learned from the mistakes of past generations and that we would resolve to avoid them once and for all.

It Was Just a Party


Many years have passed since the celebration, and now, we endure another war – one that involves both violence and hi-tech propaganda. Suffering and bloodshed have taken a new form. The roots of this evil is just the same as all those that were done throughout history – racial and religious hate and apathy.

Instead of trying to get rid of poverty, look for cure to terminal diseases, and find ways to ensure equity and sustainability of the Earth's goods, not a few people have chosen to do more damage than remedy. They have given in to apathy and hate. Or are they victims of apathy and hate that they (wrongly) responded with the same?

Whatever the reason, violent aggression can never do anything good. It will only lead to more suffering and hatred. Unless kindness and compassion would come in, this cycle of violence will never stop.

Our World's Star Wars Episode IV


Stop Wars

The world has forgotten the New Hope which was ushered in by the new millennium. Yet, it is hope that keeps our hearts burning with aspiration – the desire for something good and better amidst all that is bad and worse.

Should you keep on hoping? A hope that will develop into zeal, and zeal which will lead you to commitment – the commitment that will bring you to the realization of your hope. Let justice and peace reign in this world.



Photo credits:

Y2K or Year 2000 By The President's Council on the Year 2000 Conversion (http://www.Y2K.gov/) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Stop Wars - A New Hope c/o geralt / Pixabay
Read More »

The Hall

Except for those who major in literature and language, I am inclined to believe that very few people in this modern age have a passion for reading poetry. But what the heck! For no better reason than to share something from my archived notebooks which contain some poems, proses, and essays, here is a poem (if you can call it a poem) I wrote dated August 30, 2002 and entitled as "The Hall."

The Hall

The darkness envelops the hall
Though there are windows on the walls
That emit a certain spark.

Below, chairs abound with people
Yet some are empty and dull
While no one speaks in front,
Silence is not resident.

Noises echo around
But they remain murmurs from behind
The wall listens yet no one understands.


So how do you find it? What is its literal meaning? What does it say about human behavior? How does it relate to you? Your interpretations and comments are all welcomed below.

Literature is a tool that has the power to bring out inspiring stories from any of life's miseries (which is this website's mission). So whether prose, essay, or poem, SDR will use the potency of the written word to accomplish this mission. Expect that from time to time, you will see poems of such nature being published here in Scroll Down and Read.



Photo credit:

The Hall c/o Pexels
Read More »

You Should Avoid Facebook If You Have These Traits

Communication is so easy these days. Getting connected with friends from your long lost past is no more difficult than typing their names in the search field of a social networking site. News and stories are more shareable by a click of a finger than what comes out of your mouth. In all of these social connections online, one network stands out among the rest.

Facebook has gotten the widest share of the social audience all around the Web. This is not my personal assumption, but if you say otherwise, then I encourage you to Google it up and ask what is the most popular social networking site all over the world.

The thing about Facebook, or any other social network wherein “friendly” connections are supposed to reside, is that it has created a world existing on its own where people release their emotions which they normally will not do with their dealings in the real world.

Mobile Facebook User

In my observations on how people behave on Facebook (which include myself) plus my conversations both online and offline, I took the pleasure to note down top 5 traits that may not be advisable to have if you are an active Facebook user. No judgment intended here, and I suggest that you do not judge yourself and your Facebook friends either. Just be conscious of these attitudes when you are online lest you regret ever seeing that waterfall again.

1. You easily get envious


Do you measure your own life's achievements based on how you surpass others' way of living? Even how beautiful or handsome you are, you still feel you are not and are insecure about it because someone is wearing the latest fashion making her/him the talk of the community. You get disturbed when you see photos of a friend standing by his/her new car or boasting his/her exploitative travels, while ignoring the fact that you are blessed with a fine family and a stable source of livelihood.

If you are sad because you feel your friends are getting ahead of you, even if in reality you have the most out of life, then it would be best to avoid Facebook for a while until you have come to terms with your own better blessings.

2. Ostentation is something you adore


In relation to being envious, ostentatiousness is an intoxicating attitude particularly if it is coupled with vainglory and materialism. People who feel bad if they see their friends showing off their material exploits, thinking that it is a challenge for them to step up, are more likely the same people who will squeeze up their resources just so they can boast something greater that what their friends have.

If this behavior means depleting your salary just to buy those expenditures or to paint a mask of yourself that you are not broke, then you have turned Facebook into a battleground of superficial makeups and unrealistic lifestyles.

3. You are instantly affected by opinions contrary to yours


Social media sites, and that includes Facebook, are agents of democracy. Albeit there are human administrators and moderators who watch over the posts and threads of conversations going-on in the community, their default behavior is tolerance. Unless there is foul-mouthing, attacks against race and/or personalities, they will not meddle with the discussions.

Since Facebook is a democratic platform, it is common to see various political posts and religious threads, which are in fact the ingredients that democracy indeed exists in such a place. If you are a person who values democracy, then you should not get offended if there are news and stories going about in Facebook but are different to your own sentiments.

Do you feel that a meme merely saying, “God bless you,” is an indication that people are shoving their faith on you? Do you react by saying, “Keep your religion to yourself,” or something like that? If you do, then Facebook probably is not the social networking site for you. Or how about political news and social issues, do you rant like hell while foul-mouthing everyone who does not share the same views as you have? Disagreeing with someone is OK as long as you do not let bigotry overpower your reactions.

4. Fact and gossip look the same to you


Unlike television, print media, and radio where there are organized teams who proofread, verify, and edit the news story to be released to the public, social media has a very loose way of sharing stories and information. With proper grammar and vocabulary skills, anyone can write a story and concoct an issue. Once it is shared, quite a number of people may have a hard time distinguishing it from the real news that comes from a credible and verifiable source.

If you belong to these types of people, then you are in danger of making decisions based solely on rumors and hearsay. If you are an active Facebook user, it is advisable to test the veracity of the story you are reading in order for you to differentiate what is fact and what is fiction.

5. You get satisfaction by ruining people's reputations


I have been active in various social media channels for quite a while, and one I got use to seeing every now and then is the “basher.” So what the heck is a basher? Obviously, a basher is a person who is in the act of bashing, and bashing according to the Cambridge Dictionary is...

“...the act of hitting hard; a physical attack on someone; or a defaming criticism on a person.”

I will just simplify the meaning of bashing as “online bullying” since we are pertaining to a certain kind of behavior in social media. Anyways, I bet you get what I mean. Without resorting to a heated argument, you and I agree that defaming a person's reputation by bashing him/her is never a commendable online hobby.

Also, there is such a thing as slander, which is defaming a person through word of mouth and is discreetly done behind the person's back. Slandering when done in written form is called libel, and libel is not limited to print and broadcast media. If you are spreading stories in social media with the guise of maligning people's reputation, then you are no different from the murderous psychopath who can make a deadly weapon out of anything he/she holds – whether it is a sharpened pencil or a kitchen knife.

Lastly…


It said that a tool is just as good (or as evil) as its user. So how do you know if Facebook is good for you or not? Well, if upon browsing a few posts you feel a sense of misery instead of inspiration, then you probably need to log-off from social media for a while until you find a worthwhile hobby that can help you become a better person.



Photo credit:

Mobile Facebook User c/o terimakasih0 / Pixabay
Read More »

Why Eating a Hearty Breakfast is Difficult to Most People

Experts say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and that you should never skip it. Both nutritionists and dieticians recommend that you devour like a monarch in the morning, eat like a peasant at noontime, and munch like a beggar in the evening.

The thing is, to most people, consuming large amounts of food upon waking up in the morning is like a workload being forced upon their appetites. For them, it is more acceptable to just drink a cup of coffee, chocolate, or milk. At the most, if they do eat something solid, it would be something light and easy to swallow. Yet, even if they are the majority in the society, the few who see themselves as “breakfast people” condemn the former as slaves of an unhealthy eating habit. Even though the “non-breakfast” people are fit and healthy, their behavior is (still) abhorrent to self-righteous fitness buffs.

Breakfast

Whether you belong to either of those 2 factions who treat breakfast differently, judging people based on their breakfast habits is not going to help – you can admonish but not condemn. While eating a heavy breakfast is indeed commendable, it is still yet to be proven that people, who devour the morning meals like there is no tomorrow, live longer than those who do not.

Given the vast number of people who find it more appetizing to eat breakfast lightly, you may have to wonder why is that so. If experts say that a heavy breakfast is good for your body, why do you prefer to consume a light meal in the morning and eat more during the latter part of the day, and more so at the end of the day's work?

1. It is ingrained in our genes


Our primitive ancestors were hunters. Albeit some chose to be tillers of the soil and pickers of fruits, most humans (especially the males) were going out to the forests and wilderness to find their prey. Hunting was a whole day's work – it entailed traveling, trailing, tracking, flexible planning, and if they hunted as a team it also required coordination with the rest of the members. Once they succeeded in pounding their prey, they would return to their community to partake and savor the delicious meat at dinner time – not breakfast.

So you see, even our ancestors would just bring some light meals with them to munch during breaks between the course of their day's toil. The end of the day was the time when they would gather with their families to break bread, slice the meat, and enjoy the sharing and partaking of the food – the reward for their work and arduous hunting.

2. Rush is a ritual in the morning


The Flash
The Flash played by
Grant Gustin
The only days when most people can eat a much prepared breakfast are weekends and holidays. These are the days when you can wake up with no worries, think about what to cook for your first meal of the day, and eat your hearty breakfast while taking the time to read the morning paper – no rush necessary.

In normal days, the scene is a different matter all together. Morning is the part of the day when almost everyone wants to be a speedster, like The Flash (or Quicksilver if you prefer Marvel over DC Comics). Your goal is to beat the time and finish all your usual morning rituals as quickly as possible, so you would not be late for work or school. An easy and quick munch is preferable if your aim is not to be defeated by the morning rush.

3. “End of day” fatigue makes us eat more


Just like our ancestors, our tired bodies desire a reward after the day's work. Fatigue heightens the sensation of hunger and thirst. So what do you do? You look for something edible to gorge upon. You will not stop until your craving is satisfied. The longer you wait the stronger your appetite becomes.

Food is much tastier and irresistible to a human being whose body was lambasted by a hard day's toil. You cannot deny that.

4. Social gatherings do not happen upon waking up


Are celebrations – like family reunions, alumni homecomings, and birthday parties – organized to commence early in the morning when people are waking up? Have you attended one like that, even once in your lifetime? If you have, oh please, tell us about it – write your story in the comment section below.

Dinner is the meal when most (if not all) social gatherings occur. If it is not dinner, the earliest they can happen is lunch at noontime. You do not organize a social event or party without preparing the food for your guests. In a way, you are encouraging them to eat (and drink) heartily when you invite them to your party.

Society itself, with its norms of how to be prim and proper and how to bring people together, promotes eating and enjoying food at the later part of the day. Surely, if you are one of the guests, it would be rude to shun away from consuming what is prepared for you at the table. You would not tell the host that you prefer to eat heartily during breakfast than doing so at dinner time.

Lastly…


Precious relationships such as those with family and close friends are often glued and strengthened during meals when food and stories are shared and partaken. To fitness buffs, however, the sad reality is that most of us engage in this bonding time during dinner – when all work is done and when loved ones come home to rest and savor the fellowship of family and friends while feasting at the table.

My wish is that we can do this too at breakfast – without the threat of the early morning rush and without disturbing those who are still asleep.



Photo credits:

Light and Quick Breakfast c/o Pexels

"The Flash" By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41164597
Read More »

Making a Difference in the World – 2 Meanings

When you were younger and highly spirited, you were full of idealism and great expectation. You wanted to change the world. It was your belief that there could be something better than what you were already experiencing.

As you grew older, your desire to make a difference in the world did not waver. There was no time to despair because hopelessness was not an option. You pushed yourself and went through the length of honing your skills; as a matter of fact, you even learned new ones. Time was of the essence and wasting it was not acceptable.

Hopeful Young Man

But what is it really that you want to achieve? What kind of difference do you really want to make? Why do you want to change the world and what is it that you what to change about?

The sayings “I want to change the world” and “I want to make a difference in the world” are practically the same. The person saying them wants to do something outrageous that can in fact change the course of what is going on in his/her life (and in his/her community).

Here is the thing, people who desire to make a difference or want to change the world have varying degrees of intention and purpose. In this article, I have classified them into 2.

1. You want to standout among the rest


Sometimes, the man or woman who desires about changing the world is someone who is motivated by ambition. This person feels that he/she is the best or needs to be the best and the people around him/her must see it that way. This person thinks that he/she alone has the capacity to “save the world” and turn it into his/her image of beauty and paragon. He/She sees people not as the beneficiaries of his/her goal, but as tools to attain it.

“I want to be rich. I want to be successful. I want to be famous. I will standout among others, because I am the best. The world is broken until I have fulfilled my ambitions.”

Is this your idea of making a difference in the world?

2. You just want to help and make the lives of people better


Altruism is a trait difficult to practice, yet I believe it is a quality that is intrinsic in every human being. The thing is, it is often buried deep inside because of trauma and sensations of fleeting pleasures.

A person who has this view of making a difference in the world may also have the longing to be rich and successful, a bit similar to what was described in item #1. He/She will do his best to attain such state, but his/her difference from #1 on the list is that he/she sees it as mere means to achieve the real goal. This person feels the essence of using material wealth, power, and the influence that success brings to help his/her loved ones (and other people) who need to improve their lots.

People who want to change the world and make a difference with this kind of thinking will normally shun away from popularity. Yet, if they do enjoy fame inevitably, they will use it to boost their influence and bolster their cause.

Here is your surprising caveat: Do not think these people are the ones being liked and praised by everyone. Sometimes (if not most of the time) such folks are misunderstood, their intentions are doubted, and their actions are reviled. You may even accuse them of being fake, that they have skeletons inside their closets and they are “making a difference in the world” to conceal their ulterior motives.

How do you want to change the world?


It is sad that most people see altruistic men and women as phonies, implying that being real and true means being rude and doing bad deeds. No wonder altruism has the tendency to be hidden and left buried deep inside of people.

Let's admit it, changing the world is not at all easy and making a difference will entail a lot of obstacles. Here is something you can do, though, and it is sitting right next to you – that loved one or friend who needs you, surely you can make a difference in his/her world too.



Photo credit:

Hopeful Young Man c/o snapwiresnaps / Pexels
Read More »

On Chaos, Order, and Randomness

It is the nature of people to look for order in their surroundings and in their own lives. No normal person wants chaos. Although rebels are condoned at times, most people only do so if the perception is that such rebels are rebelling against a chaotic status quo. Rebels are hated when they are seen to be the agents of chaos.

You will always do your best to put order into chaos, and when the former has defeated the latter, you will not want to return to the previous state. Yet, amidst the seeming order of things and structure of events, there comes a momentous spark, something you do not expect — an unusual phenomenon. Such unexpected upshot can be an act of kindness from a stranger (or a perceived enemy); it can be an unwanted tragedy; or a sudden change of heart by a friend or loved one.

Kindness in the Midst of Chaos

We call these circumstances as events of RANDOMNESS. The dictionary defines randomness as...

...the lack of method or predictability in events. It occurs without definite aim, reason, or pattern.

The thing about randomness is that it seems to be happening for no reason at all, and that it takes place without a purpose. Because of this, your reaction tends to reject or ignore (blatantly) the occurrence of randomness.

It is a given reality that no one likes a tragedy, be it random or something foreseen. Everyone, by nature and instinct, avoids and abhors it. Will the opposite be your response to a random act of goodness? You wish! Most people will react with suspicion. Here is the thing for you — such suspicion should not prevent you from doing your own action of random kindness.

Consistency Dilemma


Admit it! It is difficult to consistently be good and practice kindness at all times. The harshness of daily living and the apathetic attitudes of most people around you have made your outlook and emotions the basins of indifference. Yet, you surely would not want to say that you are an indifferent person, incapable of caring and doing humane acts, would you? Your desire for order and consistency has made it hard to practice concern and sensitivity, making you a slave of routine and monotony.

Fortunately, there is a way to get out of apathetic constancy. Being consistent and orderly is not an obstacle from letting you perform actions of randomness.

Be Random and Make a Difference


If bad things can happen to people randomly, why not use randomness as a weapon to fight off evil and a tool to bring out goodness in any situation. Random acts of generosity, helpfulness, thoughtfulness, and cheerfulness can go a long way. They not only have the capacity to affect people positively, but they can also infect them with the virus of goodness. Even a smile that is randomly given has a spellbinding effect on the person who receives it.

You say superheroes do not exist, and because of this, you cannot be one yourself. I say you can. If you retort that you do not have a mask and costume, then wear the cowl of randomness. If you allege you do not have powers, then be energized by power of goodness.

In a world where stolidity rules, tragedy and crime have become more than just random. If randomness just comes out of nowhere, then why not put some kind of order into it? Use it to promote good and bring out the best in people. Let them (and yourself) experience the goodness of life and all that is in it, not just once but again and again, as long as your life dare it to be so.



Photo credit:

Kindness in the Midst of Chaos c/o skeeze / Pixabay
Read More »

Why Online Businesses Have Gone Cold with Content Marketing and Social Media

(Scroll Down and Read is dedicated to discuss about the minute details of life in the hope that, in the end, the reader may find something that allows himself/herself to see an inspiring story hidden within the miseries human beings experience daily. Yours truly works in the field of SEO, social media, and web content marketing. So in this article, I am taking the pleasure of writing about the ordeal endured by many of my colleagues in the field.)

If you own a business and you want more exposure in order to get more sales, having an online presence via owning a website and creating and managing social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google Plus, et cetera) are inevitable tactics in an era when people converge as virtual communities in cyberspace. With the recent trends in SEO (search engine optimization) and the ever changing and improving Google search algorithm, webmasters and eCommerce managers cannot ignore the fact that Content is indeed the King. Dynamic websites with regularly updated and interestingly relevant content are IN, static websites with no regular updates and boring portfolio are OUT.

Yet, even with all the updates and trends, there are still online business owners who stubbornly insist on sticking to the old SEO ways of keyword manipulation and aggressive linkbuilding. They assert that their websites should contain only their business or company profile, descriptions of their products or services, and a few pages about their branches and affiliates. If they do practice blogging or news and press releases, they would rather publish it somewhere else but never on their website (backlinking).

SEO and Web Marketing Tactics

I have seen how SEO evolved from focusing mainly on keywords and relying on the number of inbound links placed on third party sites (not social media) to the new content driven strategy, reputation building, and community engagement (via social media). Some online business owners were left behind and chose to stay on the extinct stages of SEO evolution. In my encounters with such, I have taken note of the beliefs and reasons why they would rather avoid content marketing and social media engagement.

1. The fear of bounce rates


Ok, so maybe the website owner dabbled into writing a blog, publishing news, and posting updates and relevant content in his website. He also created social media profiles in Google Plus, Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter; he promoted the website's content in these platforms while building his community. To aggregate his website's visibility further, he also shared the content in Digg, Stumbleupon, Reddit, Delicious, and in other social bookmarking and discovery sites.

Voila! As days go by, the website's traffic goes up - visits and pageviews. Yet, here is the thing: As the site traffic increases, so as its bounce rates! Because of this, he concludes that the website is just getting bad traffic and he degrades the quality of its visitors. Afterwards, he retreats from his strategy and rethinks things over.

There is a misconception about bounce rates. Some online business owners think that a bounce is a visitor who left the site at once - PERIOD - that definition is half-baked. A bounce is when a visitor visits your site and views only one page; he may read the content for an hour or so but if it is the only page he visited in that particular day, it will still be counted as a bounce. What we need to understand is that an increase in site visitors is mainly brought about by the increase of first time visitors, and first time visitors almost often amount to high bounces. Seldom do new comers go beyond the page they first landed on. The challenge here is for the content to be compelling enough to make them bookmark and remember the page, and convert them into returning visitors; because returning visits are the ones that contribute to your site's reputation and they normally will convert into leads and sales.

2. The one is to one ratio


In a sense, this belief is related to the fear of bounce rates. Some online business owners insist that any visitor coming to the site should convert into a lead or sale; if it does not, then it is bad traffic - it is worthless and should be thrown into the sea. Webmasters and web marketers know this is not going to be the case, not all visits will convert into leads or sales. Sometimes you will have 50 visits or more but only 1 to 3 will bring about conversion. So if the business owner believes that having more visits with less conversion is detrimental to his eCommerce, he will be inclined to put a halt the content effort and social media campaign. I have seen this happen because I know a web marketer who got fired because of this.

Again, I would go back to the concept that new or first time visitors usually do not bring about conversion. The challenge is to make your content compelling enough to make them remember your site and eventually return with the conversion you desire. Besides, traffic whether from new visits or returning visits build reputation and give signals to Google and search engines that your site is a highly visited website, affecting your search ranking performance.

3. The only performance indicator is the ranking in the SERP


SERP means Search Engine Results Page; it is the output whenever you type a keyword and hit the "Search" button of a search engine, such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

Online business owners who insist on this kind of belief usually take Google's SERP as vox Dei (or voice of God). They do not care how much they are getting from direct traffic, referral traffic, and social media traffic; they do not even care how much traffic their website is getting overall. What they want is to have their website on the top page of the SERP whenever their chosen keywords are typed and searched in Google.

They will go on to say to themselves and to their online marketers, "What more logical tactic to achieve this goal than focusing all our online marketing efforts in keyword research, manipulating them in our website[s], and building links with other websites that have keywords related to ours. Content strategy and social media engagement are nice to have but they are not SEO, because SEO is all about KEYWORDS."

Now, that is a very ill-advised online business strategy. With that said, we go on to the next one which is so related to Number 3.

Connecting to Customers Online

4. SEO, content marketing, and social media engagement are separate and contradicting strategies


Search engine optimization depends on your website's content and reputation. You build your site's reputation and community through social media engagement, and generating traffic from social media to your website depends on how interesting and relevant is your shared content. SEO then is the umbrella that covers your content marketing and social media efforts, and SEO depends on such efforts to make itself effective.

Yet, some web owners think that these 3 are different tactics and should be dealt with separately. This leads to the temptation to take priority on one over the other. "As of the moment, I want to focus mainly on SEO. Content marketing and social media can take the back burner for now," they would say to their online marketers.

5. Competitor (and even popular) websites with less content and without blogs perform well


If your only key performance indicator is your site's ranking in SERPs, then I would think that this is probably one of your reasons why you do not want a blog within your site and beef up your content strategy. You are probably obsessed with monitoring you competitors' ranking in Google's search results against your website's chosen keywords.

The thing about SERP is that it can differ depending on the timing, date, trending, location, and IP address of the searcher. If you and I type the same keyword, on separate locations, different timings, and distinct devices, the scenario of getting different search results is very likely. There maybe tools to help you monitor your competitors' rankings, and they are a big help, but constantly focusing on them is not healthy to your website's uniqueness and quality. Making your own unique yet high quality content with a push from social media is something that you can control without being stressed by competitor envy.

6. My ten year old son/daughter can manage a social media account


When an online business owner thinks social media as a trivial and childish activity, he/she is surely discouraged to pay someone whose only task is going to be reading, sharing, liking, and commenting on posts and shared content. This kind of boss feels that money is wasted on the salary of such employee because the latter's duty is so easy and effortless that a 10 year old child can manage it.

This thinking is probably laughable to most of us, but I tell you, I have met not a few managers who think in such a way about social media and social media campaign specialists. If money is indeed wasted on someone's salary, I am inclined to believe that it is on these bosses for failing to be updated and informed about the Internet and its community.

7. Products and/or services contain business secrets.


Some businesses may have products and/or services that are advertised with the least possible information and details; reasons can range from ethical standards to client-confidential agreements. In such a situation, divulging content such as stories and testimonies from satisfied customers may not be a viable strategy to the online marketing campaign. Thus, source material for you content strategy also becomes limited. Surely, your site's exposure and activity in social media will also be constrained. Some of these businesses may include those that deal with term paper writing for students, online betting, government servicing contracts, private detective and security services.

As a conclusion, it is understandable for online business owners to ensure that what they are getting at on their Internet marketing efforts are their targeted audience. They do not want randomly thrown messages which they think will not bring in their needed revenue (they are still businessmen, remember?). The challenge for web content marketers and social media campaign managers is for them to make a convincing presentation, and eventually the RESULTS, that their strategy is indeed intended to bring in the leads and the necessary ROI or return of investment.



Photo credits:

SEO and Web Marketing Tactics c/o KevinKing / Pixabay

Connecting to Customers Online c/o geralt / Pixabay
Read More »

Loading...