Bob Blah Blah…

Friedrich Nietzsche said it best.

“I am one thing, my writings are another matter.”

I started the BobSongs Blog, because I wanted to write, and talk about my music.

However, life… (messy as it is) …got in the way.

Things sometimes tick me off, and affect me, and I feel compelled to write and explore my feelings.

So, (for instance) when news that convicted pedophile Graham James had received a pardon from the National Parole Board, and the Federal Government (tough on crime ???) knew nothing about it… I was ticked.

When I was plucked from amongst other volunteers, to run with the Olympic Torch, I wrote about it.

And, for over a hundred Blog posts… whatever the fallout, I wrote about it.

I’ve had some folks pile hate on me… a couple of them, to the point that I had to block them.

But overall, the response has been positive, or it has (in some cases) inspired a debate… and that is good.

At its best, discussion brings together different viewpoints, and when done properly, is an inclusive process, showing us that we are more alike than different.

At worse, it allows me to vent, to bring to light something that I am proud of, or think deserves a bit more prominence.

There have been a LOT of very varied topics… but my original intention was to have my Songs and Songwriting featured, but my BobSongs Blog evolved into a lot of other things.

Bob Gray - BobSongs - BobBlahBlah - BobSongs Musings - BobBlahBlah.comThus, I’ve been looking for another Blog name, that encaptures the “everything else”-ness of my writings.

Driving down the highway, in Washington on Friday, my sweetie and I were talking about it, and…

Bob… Blah… Blah…

was born.

This will be the home of “What’s In Store”, Caught on the Web, Musings and other NON-Music posts.

Thanks for checking it out, and I hope to see you back here, soon!!!



National Politics, On A Global Stage… On My Blackberry…

In the past few days, we have seen a variety of events, playing out for our supposed enjoyment, or betterment.

The Paralympics wound to a close, and, as sad as we are to see the athletes go… all parties have to end, and so best it goes off when everyone is excited, energized and enthusiastic !

I was not able to attend any Paralympic Sporting Events, but through Twitter, I was apprised of successes and losses, and felt I was “part of the action.”

The Prime Minister of Canada, to much fanfare and hoo haw, made a big commotion about bringing his message to the people, and embracing social media… which proves that the wonks in the Conservative Party have NO idea how YouTube works.  They laid out an “unscripted” 40 plus  minute video.  With NO regard to the average length or attention span of the public… they laid out a long… dragged out… bilingual snoozefest.  It was, for all intents and purposes, a regular question and answer session, just released on Video… but waaaay too lengthy to go viral.

It was on YouTube, but QUITE difficult to find, by comparison to the Prime Minister’s foray into Pop Singer Territory, when he sang a Beatles song with YoYo Ma !

The American Government, amid much hue and cry, hand-wringing and name-calling, passed a Health Care Reform, which will (reportedly) extend Medical Coverage to help more people.

There were banners saying it was Communism… Socialism… Barbaric… Overbearing…

I find it ironic, that the country that leads the free world, fears putting into place a program that, at its root, tries to help people.

After the vote, President Obama spoke, and said, in part…  “We did not fear our Future, we shaped it.”Barack Obama - Yes we can -

Throughout the day, there was a discussion on Twitter, using the #HCR(Health Care Reform) hash tag.  Some were for, some against… but using the power of Social Media, I was again able, amidst other chores, tasks and programs, to keep up with the debate, and had tears running down my face, when I read the Tweet heralding their success…

I have a few American friends.  Some like this plan, and some fear it.

I believe time will show it to be a good thing… especially my friends who have serious debilitating diseases.

But if it isn’t ?  I bet I’ll hear about it on Twitter, first !



Thanks For The Memories…

Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity to run a leg of the Olympic Torch Relay, through Pitt Meadows .

I was a last minute substitution, for someone who didn’t show up, so none of my family or friends were there, to see or share the joy of this great honour.

It is a memory I will cherish, for the rest of my life.

The only tinge of sadness I felt, was that my wife was not there to share the moment.

At the end of the relay, those of us on the bus, knew we had participated in a moment we would always treasure.

However, although I had taken photos with a lot of strangers, I had no camera, and had no photos to share with my family.

The Maple Ridge & Pitt Meadows Times came to my rescue.  Apparently, Don MacLean, the Mayor of Pitt Meadows, had forwarded a post from my blog about this experience, to the editor of  our local paper.  A reporter, Maria Rantanen, called  to interview me, and ask about my experience.

Pitt Meadows - Maple Ridge - 2010 Winter Olympic Torch Run - BobBlahBlah.comAt the end of the interview, I asked, if it was possible, to mention that I didn’t have any pictures, and would love to have photos to share with my family.2010 Winter Olympics Torch Run in Pitt Meadows -

Because of the wonderful article she wrote, I have received e-mails and calls from a number of kind people who have shared their pictures.

I am overwhelmed by the kindness of strangers.

Many thanks again, to all involved.





Ripples, Puddles and Google Analytics…

I’ve just been awoken by Statistical Analysis… Yes, I’ve graduated to a WHOLE new level of web geek.

It’s Monday morning, and a little after 2 am.  I’ve been awake for an hour, and, having been unable to get back to sleep, have been trying to look at, review and understand the various statistical breakdowns that are supposed to be critical to a Blog’s success.

I believe that much of the traffic that is drawn to my site, comes from Twitter.

So, I turned to a Twitter Analyzer with the thought that perhaps my Tweets are driving the traffic.  I have recently been talking with people about the use of Hashtags (#) as a search device, and so I find it not surprising that 51.9%of my Hashtag comments are #Canucks related, with a further 16.5% being attributed to mentions of #Canada, after the #WJHC(World Junior Hockey Championship) in December, which contributed 4.7%.  With the Winter Olympics imminent, and the inherent NHL Break, I expect #Canada to do some serious catching up !

While the Hashtag stats are interesting, I saw nothing there that would give me any aid or guidance, in being a better Blogger… So, moving on.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics – Starting from Zero…

Google Analytics tells me that 54% of my traffic comes direct to my site, while 27% gets referred, and 19% from Search Engines.  I guess this is a baseline, and I can see what the relative numbers do, going up or down.  On an unrelated note, I think it’s interesting that the 5th highest source of visits is Facebook, although I haven’t pushed my Blog there.  Hmmm !

Owen Greaves on his Blog,  has written a number of thoughtful and insightful articles, and says that he has found that the best time of day to Post a blog is between 5 pm and 10 pm.  I’m not able to grasp that level of detail, but there are some revealing stats, and being a bit of a numbers geek, I am looking forward to reviewing this again, sometime soon.

But what has awoken me just recently, is mind-numbing in its simplicity… elegant in its mathematics… and daunting in its implementation.

I think more than anything else, I view my Blog… like one of the science experiments we did in Elementary School.  I’ve got a bunch of seeds, (my postings) some get sunshine, (viewers) some don’t… some get more water, more fertilizer (multiple mentions) others not.  And at the end, we get to see on a very organic level, what works… and what doesn’t.

I was getting bogged down in minutiae.  Stuff that doesn’t matter.  So what if I overuse the word “Awesome” in my Tweets, and use the salutation “Cheers” too many times ?  (Other than perhaps being minorly annoying…  It doesn’t matter !!!)

What DOES matter, is the resonance of your message, and the distance it carries.  Thus, the ripple and the puddle analogy.

On Twitter, my account @BobSongs has 750 followers.  Owen Greaves has 15,200.  Jaff Jarvis has 34,000, and Gary Vaynerchuk has 846,000.

Even if EVERY single one of my followers reads one of my Blogs, I will still get less hits than @GaryVee gets in an hour.

Scale of economy.

This should NOT have been mind blowing to me… except for some reason, I believed something different.

I have a music website, that I don’t tweak or overtly promote… and it smacked me in the face to know I got NO TRAFFIC !!!

In the drop of water that is that puddle, my Music website has no ability to create a ripple.

And similarly, with Google Analytics… I can’t get bogged down in the very fine print… yet.

So, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go get a bucket, and find a tap… because my puddle needs to be bigger !!!

Cheers !!!


Project “Impact”…

Wal-Mart logo - BobBlahBlah.comWas stunned today to hear that WalMart has turned a corner, in terms of their approach, and are openly and aggressively going to be trying, in the next 18 months, to drive their largest competitors out of business.

For quite a few years, I ran a store, and in all our endeavours, while we may not have thought highly of our competition… the number one focus was never to eradicate competition.  It was product quality, product availability, customer service, product price… and if we kept to our goals, and maintained a good position on ALL of these points… it would possibly make it more difficult for our competition… and if they aren’t well positioned, they may fail.

I took Marketing in University… (back in the day) …and one of the tenets of Marketing, was the “Four P’s“…  Product, Place, Promotion and Price.  These four factors, when combined with the “T” of  Timely delivery, was the key to a successful marketing strategy.

Now, apparently, it is down to the “One K“… Kill your competition !!!

(And, as an aside, KMart is one of the first targets)

I think it is scary when a retailer becomes SO big, that they do not have to be cagey, or circumspect in their attempts to take over the world, and stamp every inch of the planet with their “mark” !