Why I blog (nearly live and in-person)

This is my first video blog.

I hate it.

But we all need to push ourselves and experiment, right?  This is WAY out of my comfort zone.

I intended to edit out the turning on and off parts (why doesn’t this camera have a remote?), add a title etc.  but the video editing software is too complicated and I just don’t have the time or patience to mess with it. If somebody wants to make a title with a scorching rock theme and teach me how to paste it on there, I will gladly pay you to do it.  Also show me where the “make it look like he lost 10 pounds” button is.

In the end I decided just to post it as-is — one-take, mistakes and all — because it was just turning into more excuses to not  do it. I’m trying to encourage you to stretch yourselves and {grow} so I’m taking my own medicine on this one.

I appreciate all of you who have encouraged (pestered) me to finally do this.  Sort of.

All posts

  • Congrats on stepping out of your comfort zone! Unlike many “talking heads” who just seem to roll out a ready-written manuscript with no emotion attached, you come across very human, very approachable. You truly seem to have a gift for this.

    Yet, if I were to comment on details, I’m sure I’d miss some of the story — simply because I can’t go back to a certain place in the narrative to check. Well, I know I’m a more reading type of guy.

    What I think it really boils down to is this: if you’re communicating an idea or an emotion, video is fine. If you’re communicating detail, you should use text. Or at least provide a transcript. My tuppence.

  • Awesome, Mark! And I mean this sincerely.

    It’s never easy to jump in front of the camera, especially if you a 40+ something who grew up watching MTV instead of living life as if you were permanently on digital like todays Gen Ys and Millennials.

    I know from personal experience how much I *hate* the lack of control and how disappointed I am to see that I’ll never give George Clooney a run for his money in the looks department.

    But like Kimmo says, there’s emotion in a vlog because we read the paralinguistic signals as well as the text.

    For me it reinforced the sense of fun I see in the comments you write, the smart quips. And it brought a more human element to this textual universe we seem to play in.

    Thanks for sharing, Mark. And thanks for being a blog buddy.

    I’m looking forward to seeing you in person when you finally make it to Sweden 🙂

  • Hey Mark,

    I love it when an extra dimension is added to your friends on top of the blogs and Twitter. Makes you think “Whoa! there’s an actual human behind those words and retweets.”

    If anything, maybe it was “narcissistic” with all those greenbacks in the background but I like you’re style there!

  • This is great Mark. You’re a natural. Speaking of natural, do you live near a jungle or do you happen to own a big parrot by any chance? What kind of bird was that?
    Clever how you’ve woven so much mystery into such a short film.

  • Mark

    Well thanks for your feedback. I know you guys are sincere.

    As far as the background and the mystery, it’s simply my wooded back yard. I thought it would provide a serene backdrop that might distract the viewer from the actual content : )

  • I blog for the same reason. I’m social by nature and blogging not only allows me to practice and stretch my craft, but also to socialize on a world-wise scale. I love meeting new people and getting the opportunity to share whatever it is that I might have to offer, whether that be advice, my time, or simply a new friendship.

    Thanks for pushing your comfort zone on this one. I plan on having some video blogs up as soon as I get my site up and running.

  • Mark

    By the way, I think it’s fitting that some of my oldest and dearest blog friends were the first to comment. Kimmo (Estonia) Jon (Sweden) Johnny (Spain) and Billy (U.S.) represent EXACTLY what I’m talking about. And Joey is a relative newcomer but we have already talked about ways we can work together some day. Blogging rocks.

  • Dia

    I think it’s great! It’s so nice to see you “in person” and describing your passion for the blogosphere community.

    I look forward to seeing more of your videos. Have a great weekend Mark!

  • I think it came out bad but at first I thought you were rolling around in a pit of money on my tiny laptop screen.

    And you better believe, we’ll probably all meet up at some point.

  • You did great, Mark! I’m impressed that you did it in one take – seemed perfect to me! Though, we are always our own worst critics, aren’t we?

    I normally don’t like video – I’m with @Kimmo. I’d rather read. However, this is well done and shows fantastic insight as to who you are as person – especially for those who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting you.

    I think there is a place for video blogs, but they need to be used in the right way. Yours was just right. Much longer or much more detailed and you would have lost me.

    I have yet to do a video blog myself. I need to give that a try one of these days….

    BTW – love your backyard! Simply beautiful!

  • Mark

    @Dia One of the most touching things — When you Brandon and Christy gave me that “virtual toast” a few weeks ago. If we had not connected through the blog, we would never have a moment like that. I’m sure all of us will look for ways to support each other for years to come. It’s all about the connections. Until I start advertising. Then it will be all about the money : )

  • Mark

    @Johnny — I’ll take a case of whatever you’re drinking.

    @Laura — Thanks for the support. I’m so appreciative of your friendship. I’m sure we will be working together on something at some point!

    P.S. Maybe next time I will show the part of the yard I’ve really landscaped. I like working in the yard. When I moved into this place it was completely overgrown with poison ivy!

  • I’ll second all the affirmations of the video post!

    Since I’ve been blogging for my company, I’ve realized that the biggest thing I take away from blogging is a greater understanding of what we do for people and our product. I vaguely remember a quote that one of my college English professors shared about “writing not to explain, but to understand.”

    When I write about something I chew on it in my mind in a way that helps me formulate concepts that I wouldn’t have come up with by just thinking about it. I’ve gotten into a pattern of thinking that when I don’t understand something, I think “I should write about this.”

    Thanks for the post…made me ponder a few things that perhaps I should write about!

  • Hi Mark, I absolutely love your video. Sincere, not rambly, smart. Beautiful background (complete with chirping birds). I think you did a great job outside your comfort zone. I’m in a transition myself where I’m doing something a little scary career-wise so I very much appreciate you setting an example of how to push yourself into places you may not feel totally comfortable.
    Kudos to you! Can’t wait to see more.

  • I am admiring and in awe of your comfort zone imploding. Video is something I, too, have been considering, and the pain of seeing the end product freaks me out!

    Congrats, Mark. So wonderful to see you raw and genuine. It really adds another sincere, personable aspect to [grow].

    Thank you for pushing the envelope for us all!

  • Awesome. I know your 10s of Thousands of readers will really appreciate the vlog! Since I already know you IRL (in real life), I hear your voice in my head when I read your articles. But for everyone else, it will add a great new dimension to {grow}. All for the better, too. Unless, of course, they hate serene gardens and chirping birds. 🙂

  • Andria

    Love the video blog — congrats on first one, hope there are many more.
    Love the background image.
    Love you.
    From old friend pre-bad times, still around for the new grand ones. Proud of you and your success!

  • Hi Mark, I’m really enjoying {grow} and this was a nice change. I like the fact that you acknowledge its a knock on the comfort zone, but actually you would never have known – great job.

    And, I’m with you, its all about personal develpoment and the connections you can make with people 🙂


  • Mark

    @Bill — That is a very interesting and powerful concept. In fact it might make a dynamite guest post : ) I learned something from you today. Thank you!

    @Yasmeen — So great to hear from you. We are overdue for a chat. Let me know how I can help with the career transition.

    @Jayme — I think freaking out is a good way to put it. So many other people seem so natural doing video. I wanted to cry when I pushed that “publish” button. It’s just not me but I HAVE to do it if I am going to teach it, consult about it and be relevant on the blogosphere. Hate to say it — same for you my dear!!

    @Frank — I always look forward to your wit. I appreciate the support of my Knoxville tweeps and you are at the top of that list!

  • Mark

    @Andria — Well now this is starting to look like people signing my high school yearbook! : ) Folks, Andria has been a dear friend and inspiration for 20 years. When she starts blogging, the world is going to be a different place. Thank you my dear friend. You and your hubby are among the people I specifically had in mind on my “short list” of close friends!

    @Barry — It’s really cool when new folks like you to start to connect with you. First on Twitter, next blog comments, then emails calls and eventually meetings. I sense that momentum with you Barry and am glad we have connected! Thank you!

  • Congrats on the FIRST video post!! Yay!! I thought that you did a great job with it and you are a natural! I am so excited to see more!

  • Carrie Bond

    Great job, Mark! You let your real self come through, just as you always do in your right. You are your authenitic self and that’s why there is such friendship and respect in your tribe. Very refreshing.
    PS If that is the part of the yard you haven’t landscaped I can’t wait to see the rest. Do you hire out?

  • Mark Hello, As they say “a picture paints a thousand words” and it was great to meet the real you – almost in person, and to understand a bit more about you and what drives you. You’ve proved you are a natural for thi medium so lets have more – and by the way, the backdrop was super.

  • Mark

    @Stephanie — You are the video queen and I need your HELP (or maybe your husband’s help!) Thanks for the comment!

    @Carrie — Thank you for your very kind words. Yes I do hire out but I’m not cheap, despite the word on the street!

    @Richard — Hey, grand of you to take the time to comment today. I appreciate it very much!

  • Congratulations Mark for your very humanizing video…

    Awesome guy sharing thoughts on this video in front of an awesome garden background 🙂

    You share my thoughts so eloquenly Mark on why my associates and I blog, twitter etc. etc. etc. and moving forward to share videos.

    In the meantime, just placed music on our site with the option to “Skip musical intro” ~ enjoy…

    Sharing is caring, and we care!

  • I LOVE THIS!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. So feel your pain about not having the time or patience to figure out how to edit out the start and stop button.

    2. The “narcissistic” topic made me LOL!

    3. You are DEFINITELY cut out for this medium (and I’d be willing to bet your numbers will prove me right).

    4. I can’t wait until you pimp me out!

    5. You don’t need to lose 10 pounds.

    6. Isn’t it funny how many of us who are in communications that are natural introverts?

    7. Is that your backyard??

    But most importantly…I echo what everyone else has said here. It’s one thing to read your blog every day. It’s one thing to see your handsome face in my Twitter stream. It’s something entirely different to see and hear you live. I feel like I just got to know you a little bit better and I love it!

  • Forgot to check “Notify me of followup comments via email” with my comment above, and since I cherish and want to read them all I’m sending this comment to once again say thank you Mark for being you…

  • Mark, this was a perfect start to your vlogging efforts. I find your honest simplicity inspiring. Thanks for going out on a limb.

    You Rock.

  • Mark

    @Rae — Wow that means a lot! Thanks!

    @Gini — HA! Thanks for chiming in as only you could do! Yes, that is part of my backyard. I understand what you mean about getting to know somebody through video. I love the way you do it on your blog and like your natural and familiar style!

    @Nathan — You’re welcome. Thanks!

  • So, what’s on the editorial calendar, Mark? One video per week? per fortnight? per month? Run with it…

  • Heh. Living in the northeast of Europe gives Jon and me an advantage over the ‘competition’: we’re 6 and 7 hours ahead of Knoxville time, respectively. So when you’ve just fallen asleep, we’re already up and firing off comments to US bloggers…

  • I’m usually very disappointed with the movie after having first read the book ~ but you’ve just shattered my belief that the words are always better when I can make up the character in my own head.

    I enjoyed your first v-log. I’m looking forward to seeing your presence {grow} on-screen as you become more comfortable and confident with this communications medium. Your voice will fill the speakers, your words will resonate throughout the space in which the listener sits. Powerful!

    I learn and comprehend best via the written word. Others understand better when they can hear information presented to them. There’s definitely a place for both blogging and v-logging ~ and the two together is perhaps a very effective means of ensuring your message gets transferred as intended. (Who HASN’T inferred tone when it was never intended to be there?)

    I blog because it connects me to the hearts, spirits and essence in others. I read and comment on blogs for the same reason. My most favourite part of your v-log happens at 2 mins 30 seconds. That smile was heartfelt and sincere ~ and I can still feel its warmth. Well done.

  • PS: @Jon Buscall ~ I would watch you on video before I’d invest time with George Clooney. I’m probably not alone on that either …

  • Hey, you did GREAT, Mr. Grow! Natural, sincere, honest and from the heart.

    So,I see that your hands and mine have similar genetic qualities–happy hands! :))))


  • Carrie Bond

    I’m with Sally, Jon. Clooney has nothing on you (or Mark). 🙂

  • @Sally and @Carrie I’m off to the gym this morning with a new swagger in my steps.

  • I too just produced my first YouTube video and HATED it. Lukcily, it’s only gotten one view. I’m gonna stop writing and do a video response. Check it out in the comments at YouTube.

    Also, I read blogs and watch vids on my iPad and you can’t click on an embedded YouTube video to click through to the video. I’ve seen this on a lot of blogs and I love it when they provide a link in the prose. Thanks!!

  • Kathy Snavely

    How is it possible that we could adore you more, Mark? But you’ve done it. I’ll be following in your footsteps soon, finally starting a blog (with lots of encouragement from you and other folks) and using my handy Kodak Zi8. (I would definitely pay more for a take 100 lbs. off camera!) And you are one of the primary reasons why I’ve cottoned to this medium. How wonderful that you’ve risked so much transparency – and being the demanding female that I am, I’d like more!!

  • Mark

    Hey just wanted to thank everyone for the kind words and support on the video. OK. I’ll do another one. Can’t let Jon “Clooney” Buscall get the better of me.

  • Anonymous

    I love thought provoking blogs.

    I hate the sub text in social media, that to be current, we all have start doing the next big thing, be it vblog, tumblr, whatever. It is fun to experiment, and there are reasons for each medium, to be sure — but if a your message works best in a certain medium, I say stick with it.

    Having said that, if there really is a -10 lbs. button, vblog may become my favorite new medium:)

  • Mark – I’m late to the party (as usual), but just HAD to drop by and give you BIG props and a hearty CONGRATS on your first vlog. I’m so proud of you & I absolutely loved the final product. It made me want to reach through the screen and give you a hug. Seriously. Maybe even a bear hug.

    Keep doing what you’re doing just be being who you are. That’s what it’s all about & your rockin’ {grow} community proves that.

    Have a great weekend!

  • Hi Mark,

    I just got back from vacation and caught up with your blog. You need to do more vlogs, you are completely cut out for this medium. It doesn’t get more real than this for those that follow you.


  • Mark

    Thanks Marc!

  • Shirley White (@BrainsNBrawn)

    Mark, that was perfect…imperfections and all! Takes a lot of guts to go in front of a camera and reveal a personal side of oneself. I’m not a blogger yet, but a tweeter and find it fascinating, fun, great way to find out what’s happening in the world and sometimes making new friends.

    So happy to have found you through @mose; you are keeping me informed and enlightened.

    Have a great one!

  • Mark

    Thank you Shirley. So very kind of you to say!

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