10 on a Scale of 1 to 5

by Danny Cruz| Follow Danny @sixstringsensei on Twitter HERE

If I could give this piece of music and video a 10 on a scale of 1 to 5, I absolutely would! In fact, on my site, I can! So here it is! Came to My Rescue by Hillsong United, a song also known as Be Lifted High.

Every time I listen to this song I get wrapped in goosebumps and all my hairs stand on end. I decided to look it up on YouTube and share it with you guys. Praise God!


Get Twitter Followers Without Being Completely Obnoxious

by Danny Cruz| Follow Danny @sixstringsensei on Twitter HERE

Mad Twitter Bird Follower

How to Get Twitter Followers Without Being Completely Obnoxious

Seriously, if I had a new Twitter follower for every time I run into somebody who asks “How can I get more followers on Twitter?” I’d have followers coming out of my ears. So, instead of taking the high road, I’m going to address this situation head-on. Yes, I’m tackling the question straight on. However the heck I want to, but still head-on! I mean, look at the title of this thing. It says it all.

Ok, first things first! Why the heck would you want more Twitter followers? Do you suffer from some kind of complex or low self esteem problem? Are you 15 years old? Do you think you’re still on Myspace? Does the number of Twitter followers you posses dictate the size of your… umm… apartment? I know I feel like I’m tiny if I don’t have a million followers. Really tiny. So what? No, but seriously, too many people do the follow-to-follow-back thing. You know what? I pretty much stopped doing that. I’m not Ashton Kutcher. I’m not married to Jessica Alba. My wife’s hotter. Yeah, Jessica Alba is hot. But my wife is blonder. Same skin color, but blonder. Is that really a word? So, since I’m not a celebrity I’m not going to expect a crapload of followers, nor am I going to stress about how I’m going to get more. I just do my thing, day in and day out.

Having said that… If I’m not trying to be a celebrity wannabe (like you) why would I want more followers? Well, A good reason would be… to expand my design business. Ok, ok. Fair enough. That’s a genuine excuse. But otherwise, I love some of my Twitter friends, I really do. But I simply don’t have the time to talk to more than 1,000 people in a week. Heck, 500 is even too much! But there are some Twitter buddies that I simply love to speak to on a daily basis. You know who you are. Yes you.

I realize I still need to answer the question that sprung this post. How to get more Twitter followers without being completely obnoxious? Well, the best thing I can recommend is: write good tweets! Yeah, that’s it! Write good tweets and good quantities of them. “Write good tweets and good twitterers will follow”(made that up too). That simple. Because if you go around trying to buy followers just too look badass, or you spend your time playing the follow-you-follow-me game, your newfound followers are going to suck. So… instead of wasting your time doing that, how about generating good content? You don’t have to suck. It’s not you that sucks. It’s your practices. I’m a nice guy. But I won’t give you a follow back simply because you follow me. Not anymore at least ;) Think I’m talking crap? Haha. Go ahead, follow me on Twitter here and see how I DON’T follow you back.

Now, go take a minute and write a good tweet. In fact, retweet this post. That’s a good start. Little retweet button’s on the bottom right. Later, -D

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A Post About Whatever the Heck I Want!

by Danny Cruz| Follow Danny @sixstringsensei on Twitter HERE

View of Point Loma

View of Point Loma from the San Diego Bay channel

Yes! Right now I’m writing a nice post about whatever the heck I want! I don’t care if it does well.  I don’t care if it ranks well on the search engines.  I just want to write for the sake of writing.

It’s Sunday.  The very day before Memorial Day.  I participated in a regatta yesterday from San Diego all the way up to Oceanside.  With all the years of experience I have in the ocean and on boats, I got seasick nonetheless.  I got cold, tired and miserable.  I felt sleepy.  The dang race took like 6 hours and that’s not counting the time it took to get to the starting line and the time it took to run the starting sequence.  Needless to say, I spent 9.5 hours on the boat.  Sick for 5-6 of them!  Depressing.  But hey, we all have our bad days.  I’ve spent thousands of hours aboard all kinds of floating objects, both fast and slow.  So, I guess I shouldn’t be complaining too much about this one.  I love sailing and I’ll be back!

Well, I’m busy working on a few sites.  A particular one is driving me nuts right now as I can’t quite get it the way it needs to be yet.  But it’ll get there.  On the other hand, I’m quite happy that I’m home.  I’m nice and warm, wearing some PJ’s and a hoodie jacket.  I’m listening to Led Zeppelin and the occasional Eminem rap.  I’m not cold or seasick.  Just drowning in work, that’s all.  :)  But honestly, I couldn’t be enjoying my day more.  I think I’ll have another cup of espresso!


New Twitter Followers – Reasons Why it’s Harder to Get Them Now. Part 2

by Jane Michelle| Follow Danny @sixstringsensei on Twitter HERE

Twitter Yellow Intense Watching Eyes

Tweet! Tweet! I'm watching you too!

Photo by: Johan J. Ingles

(This post is part 2 of the article, New Twitter Followers – Reasons Why it’s Harder to Get Them Now. Part 1 Here. It’s based on an exchange of emails between the author of this reply, Jane and myself.  It offers quite a bit of insight on the situation on Twitter and the difficulty of acquiring legitimate new followers these days.  I suggest you read the first part of the article as well in order to get a complete idea.)  -Danny (Editor)

Hi Danny,

Thanks for the email and blog post about Twitter follows. A lot of what you’re saying makes sense. I haven’t thought enough about Twitter implementing restrictions nor its effects but I do see a difference in Twitter all around from 3 years ago. It has a ton more users, businesses, too many “bots”, and just a different flow of communication with so much more noise. But I think Twitter still works. If users genuinely want content, or want to see what you’re up, to they are going to follow. It might just take more time. I may be restating you but I’ll share a little of my experience with Twitter and follows.

1. Saturation: Twitter is saturated with new users who don’t really understand it and with a ton of new business accounts. This changes the experience of Twitter, how it functions and our access to content. It’s interesting that what seemed like this underground niche (blogging and Twitter) has turned into something everyone does. This can be a great contribution to connections and content, but it has its annoying downside. In my adult community I’ve seen a lot of cyber pressure to have specific worldviews or political views and a lot of stuff that probably isn’t thought through before it’s published. I don’t enjoy that aspect of saturation in social media when it starts to affect individuality because it feels homogenizing. But these users probably follow and inform themselves inside of a small community so it won’t affect follows directly. But it has affected the number of users and noise to sift through.

Twitter is way more saturated with businesses and spam bots than when we started. I have many friends trying to promote their companies and it’s really hard to differentiate the clothing lines they create and advertise from their personal content. To resolve this I’ve suggested they create separate Twitter and Facebook accounts for business, or to simply restrain from spamming with ads. This way I can be in the know on what’s happening in peoples’ lives but don’t have to get 30 real-estate listings in my feed when I’m not in the market. Otherwise, they just need to be a little more thoughtful about it. You are awesome with this! [Thank you! -Ed] Twitter could be reaching that arc in its growth where if it doesn’t retain a little structure then not only will the content suffer but the company itself could. This may be why they are restricting 3rd party applications and adding promoted tweets- ways of control and monetization for an expanding business.

2. The “follow-for-follow” issue: Like you, there are people I’ve done this with. Some of them I don’t particularly seek out their content but most I enjoy seeing in my timeline. And then there are the people I follow whose tweets I read every few days. I agree with you, “If you’re following everyone then you’re following no one.” I think this exchange can work when used with discernment. If Twitter is involved in payment for followers I think they are only doing themselves a disservice by, like you said, diluting content.

3. Keyword search: You mentioned keyword use to search through Twitter and having to really thin through the bulk to find contacts of interest. I don’t know if everyone does this because it does take time. I still like this method on Twitter’s platform because it works and I believe it will push us to be more creative. There are so many different reasons why people use Twitter and we are all looking for content we feel is relevant as individual users. By looking through trends and hash tags, then following or retweeting, this all seems to aggregate. Often the best content/tweets find their way up.

4. How could I forget #FF. Follow Friday was something I paid attention to 3 years ago. But, when someone lists 500 followers in my feed it’s clear they aren’t giving a shout out to a friend or a contact that inspired them. After I was included in several tweets and felt all special, I checked the page and saw the account Follow Friday’d their entire follower list. So again, I think it works if it’s used with thoughtfulness.

5. Being female: I won’t disagree on that except for, I don’t have a preference over female vs. male Twitter users. There are so many other issues women would probably rather have an edge on. [Refers to the edge that girls can have over guys in collecting new followers.  Read part 1 for more on this. -Ed]

On the whole, I think the best ways to maintain the followers we want are by taking the time to actively seek contacts and content, retweeting what we really like, tweeting well (there are many blog posts on that issue), and giving a shout out to friends without spamming the timeline.

I continue to try to present substantive, fun information and be a part of the online conversation (I’ll try harder haha). I’m incredibly grateful for the friendships and connections I’ve made through Twitter. Part of what makes you unique and interesting, Danny, is that you genuinely have a lot of talent and passion and a fascinating variety of interests in life. [Again, many thanks - Ed]. So I guess this is where I feel like those accounts that don’t have authenticity will fall away. I trust people will find ways of getting to the good stuff they are looking for and we can rely on who we follow to show us new and interesting information. I don’t think numbers really matter much by themselves. Who wants 5000 followers bots anyway? The quality of information and connections we make are so much better. I think if the integrity of the user is there then the right people will follow.

Best to you!

Jane Michelle Subscribe Contributor Pic

About the author:  Jane Michelle studied philosophy and religion, then found her way to acting, film & new media.  She seeks to balance the creative with the analytical.  Click here to follow Jane on Twitter.


How to Succeed on Twitter – The Personal Common Sense Approach

by Danny Cruz| Follow Danny @sixstringsensei on Twitter HERE

Hana Social Flower in Maui

After the big interest shown on last week’s post about new Twitter followers…
(Read the article Twitter Followers – Why it’s Harder to Get Them Now here) I decided to write a follow up. In this follow up article I’ll to teach you what I do in order to have success on Twitter. You can do things your own way. It’s not like you have to do things exactly like I do. At the very least however, I know these tips have worked for me in an excellent way. Keep in mind, you should go for quality, not quantity.

1.  Be 3-dimensional. Some people tend to be focus solely on writing new tweets, others seem to focus on conversation and yet others spend their entire time searching keywords in order to follow other people hoping for a follow back. It’s important that you be 3-dimensional in that you find a perfect balance between writing good content, engaging with other people and searching to expand your connections. It’s like a 3 legged stool. If you take out one of the legs you’re going to fall over.  No exceptions.

Don’t spend your time selling on Twitter. People don’t want to buy your **** anyway!

2.  Use proper grammar. People, this is a writing and reading tool. Do you think people are going to want to read your tweets if they have a hard time figuring out what the heck it is you are trying to say? Worst, once they see you’re a sloppy writer they will most likely never come back. Even if you learn to finally write properly it will be very hard to get some of those people interested in you again. So, get this right the first time around. It’s not about writing like an English major. It’s about writing clearly and composing your ideas properly as to engage readers. One good thing about the short length of tweets is that it really puts people to the test on composing interesting content in short bursts. Another thing…. Proofread. Yes, proofread! While every once in a while I’ll overlook mistakes, most of the time I catch them before I post them. If you don’t proofread what you write you are just going to sound stupid more often than not (or at the very least, careless).

3.  Read tweets. I briefly touched on this in point 1, but I must mention it again. Unless you are Ashton Kutcher or Oprah, you won’t develop any lasting connection on Twitter if you don’t interact with others. And guess what? Event the celebrities engage with their fans from time to time. If even the famous types take the time to talk to their fellow twitterers, what makes you think you are going to get away with being a self-centered jerk? Take the time to skim through the new tweets in your timeline. You’re bound to run into something that catches your eye. If you found something you liked, hit the person back. If you do this a little every day, you will be surprised at how many people you are actually connecting with. You don’t have to speak with a person every single day in order to make it count. Sometimes I speak with some people once a week, or once a month. But, I’ve taken my time to connect with that person. He or she knows I’m available to talk or help whenever.

4.  Don’t post junk. No, seriously. While a joking tweet about your lunch and one about you washing the car comes across well once in a while, talking crap about mundane things is just that; mundane. Everybody watches TV, everybody eats, everybody showers (hopefully), nobody wants to read about you doing it. If you are a bit racy and tweet about your sexual encounters that’s up to you, at the very least it’ll hold an audience. But crap about your TV watching afternoon won’t.

5.  Diversify. That’s another good thing about Twitter. You don’t have to stick to only one topic. Most people reading your tweets have more than one interest. You might not hit everyone’s sweet spot with every single tweet, but you might be able to at least tickle more than one. Plus, writing about different topics increases the amount of people that might be interested in what you have to say. While this might be a screw-up for a blog, website, magazine or company, it might be just fine for micro-blogging on Twitter.

6. Update your bio. I don’t think anybody is capable of completely defining themselves in 140 characters. I know a lot of people never change their bio but I believe it helps show off your multiple interests and talents if you change your bio once in a while. Not only that, but little keyword changes here and there every once in a while can help those doing automatic searches find you. This is not completely necessary but it seems to work well for me.

7.  Be prompt. In other words, reply to DMs and Mentions in a timely manner.  Topics on Twitter move fast and they get old very quick. More often than not, if you wait an entire day to reply to a tweet the person won’t even remember what the heck you are talking about. So, if you want to succeed on Twitter, make it a habit to reply sooner instead of later. If you don’t want to be a slave to the updates, set 2 or 3 times during the day to be reminded to check for mentions or DMs and reply to them right away. You will engage your followers and the people you follow better if you do this. Most will really appreciate the prompt replies too.

8. Review your intent. What’s your intent when tweeting? I originally joined Twitter just to “try it out” but I quickly saw the possibilities and immediately got hooked. However, even though I now use Twitter for both personal and business use, I make sure to keep the personal relationships as the top priority. Don’t spend your time selling on Twitter. People don’t want to buy your **** anyway! Instead, put sincere effort in connecting with people and having meaningful conversations about stuff other than business. Not only is it more gratifying that selling **** all the time, but people are not into simply buying stuff anyway. They prefer connecting with people and the people behind the brands. The money will come later if what you have to sell is actually any good.

Well, that’s it. This is what I do for Twitter success. Hopefully you can implement some of it for your own tweeting well-being. Share this article with friends. Not to brag, but a lot of this is common sense and if the vast majority of users would implement this, Twitter would be an even better place. Have at it! -DC

Click here to follow me @sixstringsensei and post your comments via Twitter.

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Consider this a Warning!

by Danny Cruz| Follow Danny @sixstringsensei on Twitter HERE

Ford Mustang V6 Premium 2011Consider this a warning.  Well, more like a call for your attention; an alert.  Today is Thursday.  Also the first week of May 2011. What’s so important about that?  Last month was my 10th wedding anniversary.  I managed to pull something off that most people cannot.  And I’m happy to say that thanks to that, my wife is driving around in a brand new white Mustang.  How about that?  But, that’s not why I’m writing this post.  This site has been up since 2002; since late 2009 in it’s current form.  Today marks the day where I’m going to aim at scheduling my blog posts.  What does that mean?  It means that from now on and until further notice, I will be posting a new article on my blog every Thursday.  This alert is my excuse for a blog post this week.  However, next week expect the first in a sequence of posts all on the same great day of the week that marks the close proximity of the weekend.  Stay tuned and subscribe. Yes, right now.  Subscribe.  Find the little link on this page that says subscribe, click it and join me.  You’ll make me happy and I will be eternally grateful.  Because writing for others is better than writing for yourself.  Until next week… -DC


You Should Have Been Here Yesterday

by Danny Cruz| Follow Danny @sixstringsensei on Twitter HERE

Danny Cruz at Snow Valley in Big Bear

You’ve been there before. You plan your day out a certain way and it doesn’t come out quite like planned. Here I am, sitting inside the truck in the parking lot at Snow Valley Ski Resort in Big Bear. After waking up at 4:30am to drive all the way up here, I realized I should’ve been here yesterday. Yeah, I missed a good foot or two of fresh snow by one day, and to make matters worse, it’s so windy they have closed most of the lifts. Guess it’s not a bad time to write. They say people get creative when in odd situations.

I’ve heard it before. In surfing, “You should have been here yesterday.” When kiteboarding, “Perfect wind and waves – yesterday!” Well, the old saying goes, “If life gives you lemons…” I certainly cannot complain about having to make lemonade all too often. The few times things do go wrong become an interesting change of pace. Which brings me to the point of this post.

I certainly cannot complain about having to make lemonade all too often.

Most certainly, one of the keys to success every day is staying motivated. This involves staying motivated even when things don’t go quite as planned. Face it, things don’t go quite as planned OFTEN. I’ve found it’s always good to have an alternate plan. In fact, I’ve gotten so good at having an alternate plan, that oftentimes I don’t even have to think about it. I just quickly move on to the next thing. Like right now for example. As I’m typing on my phone I’m looking over my shoulder at the mountain to see if things start clearing up. I came here to snowboard and I want to get on the snow already. If I had my laptop with me, I would likely be working artwork. Right here, sitting in my car.

Next time you are on a ski or surf trip, on a date or simply at work and things go to crap, think about it for a second. It really isn’t so bad. You’re alive. You’ve got a lot to be grateful for. You can’t control every situation. Things go wrong simply as a part of life and it’s merely a chance to become stronger.

What can I say? I’m actually grateful for this wind. Without it I would likely not be sitting here writing. My phone could crash any minute and cause me to lost everything I have typed so far. But sometimes things just turn out pretty good after all. Like right now. The fact that you are reading this is proof of that. God bless. Danny

View Atop Snow Valley

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