Advice

Reflections of the Freshly Pressed

In May of 2014, I achieved one of my blogging goals:  I became Freshly Pressed.  It was a pretty cool moment for me, and one that many other bloggers would like to achieve.  But as amazing as it was, it didn’t play out like I had pictured in my mind.

So what was my experience like?

  • First off, it’s tough to explain to those outside the WordPress community why being Freshly Pressed is a big deal.  My mom told me congratulations of being “newly ironed”.

    Freshly Pressed / Newly Ironed.  Potato / Tomato

    Freshly Pressed / Newly Ironed. Potato / Tomato

  • I didn’t see the statistical explosion that I expected in terms of views.  I was expecting thousands and thousands of views of the Freshly Pressed post and a notable spike for other content.  That didn’t happen.  Granted, a lot of it has to do with the piece that was chosen:  2,500 words on the trap falls of paying NCAA student athletes doesn’t convey “this is going to be a fun read” like some of the other Pressed posts.
  • My traffic on the day I was Pressed was far, far below my personal best, and has been topped by several other posts before and since.  I don’t get a ton of traffic, but even with all of the exposure that being Pressed provided, that post will only be the fourth most read thing on this site for the year
  • That said, I received far more likes on that post that anything I’ve ever published.
  • Ditto for followers.  In the first two weeks, I gained over 200 followers, which almost doubled my count to that point.  Most of these were actual people and not the foreign language spam accounts that seem to be attracted to my blog of late.
  • Most of my posts do not get comments, but the Pressed post had over 50.  I had some excellent, well thought comments on that piece.

What advice do I have for those who aspire to be Freshly Pressed?

  1. Be patient.  I was at it for almost three years and 350 posts before I got picked.  And I’ll be honest – the piece that got me pressed is not my best work.  I like it, but I probably could find a dozen or so that I feel are better.
  2. Visit other blogs and comment.  I have no way of proving it, but the email notifying me of my Freshly Pressed selection came a day after I commented on a Daily Post blog post.  Would I have been selected if I hadn’t commented?  Maybe.  But I doubt it.  And almost definitely not that particular post.
  3. Don’t be afraid to break the rules.  In WordPress’s “So You Want To Be Freshly Pressed” guide, they list several recommendations.  You may notice that my Pressed post does not have any accompanying images.  They say “Readers are overwhelmed by huge chunks of text”, yet I have several lengthy paragraphs with not a lot of white space.  My headline (“NCAA Pay for Play (P)”) is not catchy, and the random letter in parentheses (part of an A-Z challenge I was in at the time) is odd.  And there are probably more of their recommendations that I didn’t follow.  Bottom line:  be yourself.

Why You Shouldn’t Take A Girl To Perkins For A First Date

A little background on this one…

The lovely Mrs. Feit Can Write came to me with a request and a story:  an intern at her company had managed to land a date with one of the other interns.  For their first date, he was planning to take her to Perkins.  Yes….that Perkins.

My wife and her co-workers tried to explain to the young lad why this was such a bad idea – especially if he hoped to get a second date.  Unfortunately, they struggled to eloquently articulate* why this was a bad plan in words besides “Why?” and “Dear God, no.”

*Mrs. Feit Can Write is a self-proclaimed “numbers girl”.  She works with other numbers people doing a number-centric job that quite frankly, I don’t understand.  I think she is a transponster, but I’m not really sure.  I’m secretly hoping she gets a new job so I can once again understand what she does all day.

After Mrs. Feit Can Write explained the situation, she asked me to take on a freelance writing assignment:  Provide her a list of 10 reasons why you just don’t take a first date to Perkins.  We negotiated a fair price for my work*, and I set out to create the list below.

*Lunch with my lady, and permission to publish here.  It goes to show that if you are in need of freelance writing, I am willing to work cheap.  If you need a talented writer cheap, let me know.

So without further ado, I give you:

Why you don’t take a first date to Perkins:

  1. Typically, you buy them breakfast AFTER the first date, not as the first date.
  2. You’re not 75.
  3. Perkins doesn’t serve alcohol, so she can’t drink you handsome.
  4. Nothing says romance like the Perkins crowd of drunks, elderly, and um…who else goes to Perkins again?
  5. If your thing is “breakfast served all day” chain restaurants (and what girl doesn’t LOVE that?) you should take her to Denny’s so you can use menu items like “Grand Slam” and “Moons Over My Hammy” as the basis for sexual innuendo.
  6. Egg farts are not sexy – especially from her.
  7. Perkins is more a second date place.  For a first date you want to impress her with pie, which means Village Inn.
  8. You don’t want her to be disappointed with the size or quality of the sausage.
  9. McDonald’s has a perfectly good breakfast menu, allowing you to save your precious money for eHarmony after this girl dumps you.
  10. Because you would like to have a second date.

As of this post, I know that the intern has seen the list.  However, I do not know if he has been convinced to take this girl somewhere better like Olive Garden, Hi-Way Diner, or the Tastee Inn & Out.

Husker Advice

Some friendly, non-solicited advice and suggestions for several members of the Nebraska football program, and those that enjoy it:

  • Taylor Martinez:  When talking to the media, don’t saying anything other than generic clichés.  I get that you are confident (“if we don’t go to the national championship game, I’ll be disappointed.”) and you have set strong goals for yourself, notably a completion percentage “70% or above”.  But please, stop.  All it does is provide fodder for the haters, the doubters, the message board critics, the talk radio naysayers, and the negative writers to use as a weapon against you.  Just stick with bland, nondescript sound bytes (“I think this team can accomplish our goals” and “I trust my receivers to catch whatever I throw their way”) that cannot be parsed into a million pieces.
  • Bo Pelini:  Hopefully you know by now that every Saturday ABC/ESPN/BTN/whomever has a camera dedicated to catching any negative reaction, yelling, or sideline eruption in full HD quality.  So if (when) you feel the need to vent or rage, hold up the playcard in front of your face or hide behind Barney Cotton.
  • ABC/ESPN/BTN:  Instead of leaving a camera on Bo Pelini for the entire game, mix it up a little.  Show the band, the cheerleaders, and Kenny Bell’s afro.
  • Adidas:  Hire some new designers in your alternative uniform division.
  • Nebraska Chemistry Department:  As you may recall, when Der Viener Schlinger was first introduced, it wasn’t very good at schlinging vieners (with a tail wind, they could barely get one into the East Stadium balcony).  Then the NU Engineering Department got a chance to redesign it.  After that, they were launching Fairbury franks halfway to the Coliseum.  Why am I bringing this up?  The helium shortage means no red balloons after the first score.  Surely you guys can figure out a suitable substitute without the potential risk of a Hindenburg disaster.  Get on it.
  • HuskerVision: Show multiple replays of plays under review.  If we trust the officials to make the right call and not be influenced by the crowd (and I do), what harm is there in letting those of us in the stadium see the same replays those at home are seeing?
  • Nebraska Ticket Office:  I’ll be applying to two seats for 2013.  But due to my financial situation (adoption expenses and minivan payments really hurt the budget) I won’t be able to make a “donation” for the right to purchase tickets.  Set aside some seats for me – and other fans with modest incomes – anyway.
  • Kenny Bell:  Don’t cut that glorious afro.  I don’t care if they need to order a special helmet for you.  Leave it alone.
  • Husker fans:  Maintain an even keel throughout the season.  If Rex rushes for 150 yards and 3 TDs against Southern Miss or Idaho State, it doesn’t mean that he’s going to win the Heisman.  If Martinez throws an interception or (heaven forbid) Nebraska loses a game, it doesn’t mean the sky is falling nor should a player be benched, a coach fired, or the program shut down.  I know that Twitter, message boards, Facebook, blogs, radio shows, and 18 other instantaneous media outlets lead us to overreact to everything, but just stop and take a breath first.
  • Tommy Armstrong:  Prepare to be the most popular man on campus if/when Nebraska loses a game, or Taylor has a bad game.
  • Andy Janovich:  It has been a while since one of my fellow Gretna Dragons has graced the Memorial Stadium turf.  Make us proud.
  • Barney Cotton:  This would be a really good time to have your best (and most consistent) offensive line.
  • Eric Martin:  I know the new kickoff rules were put in place to stop guys like you from doing what you do.  But please do not stop being a Red Bull-fueled runaway train.
  • Nebraska beat writers and media:  Stop asking when the Blackshirts are going to be handed out.  If you haven’t figured it out by now, Bo will do it when he’s damn good and ready.
  • Rex Burkhead:  Stay healthy, keep doing what you do (on and off the field), and use your platform to bring awareness to your buddy Jack whenever possible.  But mostly, stay healthy.
  • Guy Who Stands All Game Long:  Look buddy, I’m with you.  I’d much rather stand than sit – especially during a close game.  But if the person in front of you is not standing up, be considerate and sit down.
  • Guy Who Stands All Game Long (2):  Encourage the person in front of you to stand up.
  • Quincy Enunwa:  Try to get more pancakes than one of the offensive linemen.  If that isn’t realistic, I’d settle for a (clean) hit that knocks a guy out of his shoes.
  • Taylor Martinez (2):  Until we know how good your backup is, slide or run out-of-bounds instead of taking a hit.
  • Jason Peter:  Unless you can help supply Pelini with players like Tommie Frazier, Ahman Green, Joel Makovicka, Grant Wistrom, and yourself focus on today instead of how things were done in the mid 90’s.
  • Blackshirts:  When you make a big play (i.e. a sack, turnover, tackle for big loss, or a key 3rd/4th down stop) throw the bones.  You’ve earned it.
  • Ron Brown:  Keep your personal politics to yourself (or at least distance yourself from your role with NU).  Stick to being a great coach, a positive role model, and the spiritual leader we saw last year in Happy Valley.
  • Husker Media:  There is a fine line between thoughtful, honest criticism and taking cheap shots / trolling a passionate fan base for reaction.  Stay on the good side of the street.
  • Lee Barftknecht:  Yes, this means you.  I know some Husker fans were real jerks to you in 1997, but try to play nice.
  • Husker Fans (2):  Learn to recognize the difference between thoughtful, honest criticism and a cheap shot from writers and radio hosts.
  • That One Guy in My Row at Memorial Stadium:  Try to get there before kickoff.  And if you need to go to the restrooms, concession stand, or wherever 15 times a game do so during a dead ball – not in the middle of a play.
  • Husker Fans (3):  Remember, these are 18-23 year olds in that awkward transition from “kid” to “man”.  These guys are not getting paid, are working their tails off, and are taking college courses that many of us could not pass.  Criticize their performance and mistakes all you want, but do not boo them, bash them unfairly, or make it personal.  We’re better than that.
  • Everyone:  Enjoy the season.
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