A chubby kid with no social game

by Craig McBreen · 91 comments · General


Podunksville

When I was a about 9 my family moved from North Baltimore to the cornfields of Woodbine, Maryland.

So I went from living in a row house in the city to Future Farmer country. Nothing against Future Farmers, but it was a bit of a shock. Not only that, I was not the skinniest kid on the block and my introverted nature kept me from exploring and making new friends. I was an only-kid to boot.

My antisocial behavior only got worse as my weight increased. And by middle school I was an extremely quiet, overweight, insecure kid who always hid at the first sign of trouble and always let people get to me.

Me not speak
I wasn’t exactly bullied, but I was made fun of, a lot. Kids are good at that. I didn’t fire back or easily shake off negative comments. I endured and hid in my room. This was how I dealt with rejection, pain, insecurity. I’m not kidding when I say … I didn’t. Talk. To. Anybody.

It got better. In high school I was in the band, played football and lacrosse, but never, ever felt like I was “in” with anybody. I was always the big, quiet guy. I eventually lost the weight, but it’s taken a while to lose the antisocial behavior.

Are You A Late bloomer?
I am. Even though I’m a 10,000-times better than I was at 18 or 20, or even 30, I carry a bit of IT with me to this day. I’m a member of toastmasters. I’ve run meetings, emceed events, have a successful business (which does require some social skills), and speak up now more than ever. But, oh man it’s taken me a while.

As I am now embracing social media (read The Internet) I’m certainly no longer afraid. I truly love the sense of community here and honestly have met some of the nicest people ever just by commenting on their blogs. It is a much different place than I expected. To me this is an adventure, and honestly something I never thought I’d be pursuing – even as close as four months ago – but here I am with my first blog post.

I guess the point is I’m just discovering how to truly be social. To be honest, real, and transparent. Online. Yikes! According to Bill Dorman, it is the internet so nobody is really paying attention anyway, right? So what the heck, I’ll let ‘er rip.

Thanks to all my online friends who have helped me along the way! All critiques are welcomed. If something needs to be changed here, please let me know!

How good are your social skills now? How were they back then?

Has this online world brought out a new you or changed you in any way?

Also, let this late bloomer know if he needs to change anything about this site. Tagline, colors, plugins. You name it!

Sign-up Today to Get Your FREE eBook.

I take your privacy very seriously

{ 86 comments… read them below or add one }

Bill Dorman September 8, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Just to make sure I’m first I’m submitting and then coming back.

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Craig McBreen September 8, 2011 at 9:31 pm

Ha! I knew you’d be the first. You are quick!

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Kaarina Dillabough September 8, 2011 at 10:29 pm

How the heck do you do it? How are you in multiples places all at the same time? Love the gravatar, by the way. Just needs a blue suit and tie:)))))
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Craig McBreen September 8, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Ha. ha, that is true :) I need to Photoshop in a blue suit and tie.

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John Falchetto September 8, 2011 at 8:59 pm

Ha! Bill beat me to it.
Well Congrats Craig, now the real fun begins :)

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Craig McBreen September 8, 2011 at 9:33 pm

Thanks, John. So, will I be “chained” to my computer from here on out?

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Erin Feldman September 9, 2011 at 12:46 am

I think a “tether” would be a better description. A chain is…cold. A tether has more give to it. :)
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Craig McBreen September 9, 2011 at 1:45 am

Ah, “tether” it is :) Thanks, Erin.

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Kaarina Dillabough September 8, 2011 at 10:29 pm

And John, I’d like to know how Bill does it!
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Jack@TheJackB September 8, 2011 at 8:59 pm

The most important thing you can do is take that first step and now you have done it. Welcome.
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Craig McBreen September 8, 2011 at 9:36 pm

Hi Jack, and thanks! I hesitated, hemmed and hawed, but finally hit “Publish”. Hopefully I won’t regret it :)

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Kaarina Dillabough September 8, 2011 at 10:30 pm

No regrets are permitted, my friend. This is AWESOME! But I’ll comment once I’ve read through all the other comments:)
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Bill Dorman September 8, 2011 at 9:02 pm

Hey, what’s with the pizza head Avatar? That doesn’t look like love to me.

I knew you were ‘that’ guy…………:). I was a late bloomer too; however, mine was moreso physically than socially. I was small until the middle of 11th grade and I didn’t start shaving until 19 or 20.

I was more the ‘invisible’ kid; imagine that, huh? I was popular enough not to be picked on, but I just kind of blended in. 100 yrs later I hear these stories how the chicks used to dig on me back then but I would have never known because I was pretty shy socially with the ladies.

After 3 years of the Army and finally shaving………..:) I literally metamorphsed out of the cacoon into a butterfly………ok, maybe a moth. It truly was night and day in terms of my personality and confidence with the women. It you read my fork in the road post, it really did feel like I had died and gone to heaven.

Jr high/High school can be brutal and even know when I see people I knew from back then it seems high school is still your point of reference with them. Even though I don’t act like it now, I do feel like I still have that ‘shy’ guy in there somewhere.

Thanks for mentioning me in your first post and letting me write all about ‘me’ as well. That was pretty cool………

I love your post and your first attempt; it was light years better than mine. I also like you site as well. Unlike me, it looks like you might have actually spent some money on it.

Thanks for the heads-up too; good luck sir.
Bill Dorman recently posted..3 thanks but no thanks jobs, dadMy Profile

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Craig McBreen September 8, 2011 at 9:46 pm

I kind of liked the pizza head, but will certainly consider ditching this character. Yes, I was ‘that’ guy.

One of my best friends was also the shortest kid in the neighborhood, so we always made a good pair, big ‘n’ small. You invisible, Nah! If so, you are certainly making up for that right now. But you could have scored back then. Oh, Bill, missed opportunities :)

I read the Fork in the Road post, yes! That might be a good theme for an Army campaign poster. Join up and score with the ladies, eh?

Yes, Jr. High was the pits for me. Worst time of my life for sure.

Bill thanks so much for jumping on and commenting. You were one of the first people I reached out to, and have greatly appreciated your help along the way. Am now working on that Bill Dorman post. Your blog was one of the very first I commented on, so I only thought it appropriate to mention you here first.

Light years? IDK ’bout that, but thanks for the kind words and checking out my humble little blog.

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Kaarina Dillabough September 8, 2011 at 10:32 pm

Bill, I told you I woulda’ asked you to dance:)

And note my comment above on the pizza head: you just need to add a blue suit jacket and tie. I kinda’ like him:) Just sayin’….
Kaarina Dillabough recently posted..When your plate is full to overflowingMy Profile

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Bill Dorman September 9, 2011 at 12:13 pm

I hear ya; if I had a little confidence early I could have conquered the world. Now to go dig my suit jacket back out……….
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Nancy Davis September 8, 2011 at 9:06 pm

Only Bill would think of doing that! Nicely done Craig! My social skills have improved since my teenage years. I was a ball of anger in those days. I have mellowed quite a bit.

As far as being online goes, I am pretty much the same. I am loud all the time, except when I am sleeping. :)

Glad you dove in brother and WELCOME!
Nancy Davis recently posted..Life Goes OnMy Profile

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Craig McBreen September 8, 2011 at 9:52 pm

Hi Nancy, and thanks so much for jumping on here so quickly!

I guess since you and I had it pretty tough in our teenage years, we’ll have plenty to write about. Heck, your blog is one of my favorite places to visit just for that reason, and the big hair, rocker stories. Waiting for that Billy Idol post with pictures.

Anyway, this social experience is certainly more to my liking that the one in my youth.

Loud is good. I now like to shout and get it out. Feels kinda good, don’t you think?

Thanks again, Nancy. Really appreciate you offering help along the way too.

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Davina K. Brewer September 8, 2011 at 9:13 pm

And so it starts. Second! :-)

Okay, I’ll keep going. This is really good, I’m so excited to see you’ve got this going. Since you asked (might want to be careful about that, folks like me love the sound of our own typing): I had to click that little comments link to pop open this field, some people won’t always take the time. I like the tagline though of course part of me wants to mix up the “one day” part, esp. if you don’t plan on blogging daily. I like the theme, the simplicity and style of the sidebar widgets. “Little” changes: 1) About page, go ahead and link to your business, which you do in the main navigation – no reason to hide that; 2) for the sidebar, perhaps a color shade variation or line, just something to separate body from the side column; 3) sharing buttons at top of post, more than at bottom – just a matter of choice; 4) last one then I’ll shut up, maybe a blogroll to show others what you’re reading. Warned you. :-)

Now as to the post.. CONGRATS! I’m glad you’ve taken this step and found good places to engage w/ smart, friendly people; if you were trolling say freak show Yahoo! news comments it’d be a whole other story. I thought I was the chubby non-athletic kid back in school and oh, to be that size again. It’s all relative. I’m an introvert in many contexts but then, that’s often b/c I’m surrounded by extroverts so I don’t try to compete. Online via words I think I feel the most confident and comfortable, which has given me a little more confidence offline too. FWIW.
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Craig McBreen September 8, 2011 at 10:03 pm

Yes, Ma’am it does.

Hi Davina and thanks so much for stopping by. Now that I finally have this base up and running I hope to visit your blog much more often. It’s been a bear putting this thing together.

Thanks for the comments. You warned me, but this is great. I really do like constructive feedback and need to change a few things. I’m not sure about the tagline either, but finally just said, “go with it for now, dude.” I probably will be changing it, so thanks. I really like the other items you’ve mentioned, now that I’ve got you though a few more:

1. How do I add that little link in the comment box that asks if you want to see follow up comments in your email box?

2. Should I get a spam plug in. If so, which one?

3. Livefyre or not?

4. How / should I make my site mobile-friendly?

Sorry :)

I did hem and haw a bit when it came to finally hitting publish, but finally just told myself to jump! I certainly don’t want to go trolling in any freak show zones :) Ha, that’s a good one!

You, an introvert. IDBI!

And finally, thanks also to you for your support along the way!

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Erin Feldman September 9, 2011 at 12:53 am

I’m probably inserting myself into this conversation (sorry!), but I have some thoughts about a couple of the questions. I don’t know the answer to the first one. For spam, I’ve been using the Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin. There may be better ones. To make a Wordpress blog mobile friendly, I use WPTouch.

Have you read Marcus’ post about Livefyre? The comments gave me some points to ponder, although I do and will continue to have Livefyre on my blog.

Kudos on the Thesis theme. It’s one of my favorites.
Erin Feldman recently posted..Klout’s Influence (or Lack Thereof)My Profile

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Craig McBreen September 9, 2011 at 1:47 am

Hi Erin,

Very glad you dropped into the conversation! I appreciate the tips and will look into the Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin and WPTouch. Thanks!

Yes, I did see that post and am still scanning through his comments on that one. Honestly I am now leaning towards Livefyre.

Thanks again!

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Davina K. Brewer September 10, 2011 at 12:55 am

I agree with Erin on GASP, the grow map spam blocker. You’ve already got CommentLuv which is great. There are tons of subscribe plugins; I know I like ReplyMe. There are a few mobile friendly, think I’m also using WPtouch and looking at some of the swipe ones.

I did a post on my dreamy comment system a while back. There are features to Disqus and Livefyre that I like, primarily that I can @ reply to multiple people at once. But overall, I’m happy w/ native WP plus all the cool plugins, and think it’s most user friendly. Another tip: either All in one SEO or Yoast SEO Plugin.

And you better believe it mister! ;-) I’m so nervous in person until you get to know me, and once I feel safe being me .. I can be quite chatty. (but still private) Like Bill in school, I was just in the middle, ok enough to be left alone – kinda stuck w/ me all the way.
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Al Smith September 8, 2011 at 9:14 pm

Welcome Craig. Great job on the first post. Your site looks good too.

I was a late bloomer too. Didnt start growing till my senior year in high school. I played football and was pretty good, but got knocked silly a lot. Ha. Went away to college and discovered booze and girls. Oh Boy. The next 25 years were FUN ! I think. Anyway, glad you are blogging and know you will be fantastic !

Take CARE, brother.

Al
Al Smith recently posted..How Do You Measure Success?My Profile

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Craig McBreen September 8, 2011 at 10:08 pm

Hi Al. Thank you, Sir!

Thanks for the compliment and for stopping by, much appreciated.

Seems there are quite a few late bloomers, introverts and too skinny, too chubby in my youth folks, so good to see I’m not alone :)

Yes, when I played football I was certainly knocked silly a few times too. Ha.

Booze and girls. Now you’re sounding like one Bill Dorman (see related Army post above).

Thanks again for visiting. I recently discovered your blog and will now have more time to visit. Looking forward to it!

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Laura Click September 8, 2011 at 9:21 pm

Congrats on your blog launch, Craig! I’m so excited for you. Your blog looks great and I’m eager to see what you do with it from here.

Oh, and I know all about Podunksville. I grew up on a farm and now am a bona fide city girl. But, I can certainly tell stories about walking beans, bottling baby calves and almost blowing up a grain bin. It’s funny, most people who know me now would have never guessed I grew up in a town of 288 people.

Anyway, welcome to the wonderful world of blogging! I think you’ll like it and meet some incredible people along the way. In fact, it looks like you already have!
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Craig McBreen September 8, 2011 at 10:14 pm

Hi Laura,

Thank you for stopping by, and for the compliments. Hopefully that means I get to keep my day job, for now :)

I now want to hear the stories about walking beans, bottling baby calves and almost blowing up a grain bin! Man, I think we all do! Who says the country, farm life is not exciting!? My town wasn’t quite that small, but I did live down the street from a farm. Ah, the aroma :) I guess growing up in a 288 person town can be both a curse and a blessing, right? As adults we sometimes want to get back to a rural lifestyle (not me), but as kids all we want is out.

I’ve already meet some super-cool people, so really looking forward to the next steps.

Thank you again! Now back to your place.

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Laura Click September 15, 2011 at 8:12 pm

It’s funny – I never think of my farm stories as all that interesting, but perhaps I need to start incorporating them into my blog posts more often. I forget that the farm life is a novelty to most.

And you’re right – the grass is always greener. I couldn’t wait to escape the farm when I was a kid. I don’t want to live there now, but there are parts of me that miss it.
Laura Click recently posted..The Secret to SuccessMy Profile

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Craig McBreen September 15, 2011 at 9:46 pm

Hi Laura. It’s funny, the farm I mentioned above had one of the most interesting characters I’ve ever met in my life. I was only about 10, so memories are faint. He ran the place. It was mainly a horse farm, but his exploits where the talk of the neighborhood. I won’t give you the juicy details, but it’s funny I was talking to my mother the other night and we were telling my wife all about this guy. A colorful cowboy character for sure. So who says life on the farm isn’t interesting?

I’m sure you could make it interesting, or just make some stuff up :)

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Lori Gosselin September 8, 2011 at 9:22 pm

Hi Craig,
Wow – a strong start – great first post! Are you sure it’s your first one!? I don’t even dare to go back and look at my first post! :0
My social skills grew as I did, I think, every year a bit better. When I was small I was labeled ‘shy’ and that was a hard one to get out of. I don’t think I ever WAS really shy – maybe just contemplative, or choosy! LOL
Social media furthers the evolution, I believe, in all of us. I mean where else would you be so up close and personal with strangers, even if no one else IS listening!
All the best Craig!
Lori
P.S. Tips? I LOVE Livefyre, but then you probably already know that! :-)
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Craig McBreen September 8, 2011 at 10:20 pm

Hi Lori, and thanks! Yes. I now need to go back and dig into your archives :) Hopefully this first post isn’t the highlight and it’s all downhill from here. I am a glass half-full guy these days, so I’ll do my best to make sure that doesn’t happen. It helps to have such great support (and complements) from people like you!

Another shy (contemplative) one, eh? :) Choosy is good.

I certainly agree that social media furthers the evolution and I think it has helped more than a few come out of their shell.

Regarding your P.S., I guess I would ask you the same questions I asked Davina above …

1. How do I add a link in the comment box that asks if you want to see follow up comments in your email box?

2. Should I get a spam plug in. If so, which one?

3. Livefyre or not?

4. How / should I make my site mobile-friendly?

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Marianne Worley September 8, 2011 at 9:35 pm

Congratulations Craig! Love the design here, and on your business site. I would add a Google +1 button, which could have an impact on Google search results.

I’ve always had trouble with social skills–probably because we moved so often and I attended so many different schools. Being the new kid is tough to overcome. You’re right–kids will tease you about anything. High school was the first time I was in the same school for 4 years in a row, so that’s when I started to become more extroverted.

I noticed that I was becoming more introverted when I started working from home 3 years ago, but social media has been a huge help in getting me connected with people again. I just wish I started sooner!

You made a smart choice to build your social network first, then start blogging. I just dove right in and floundered for a few months. Planning pays off. Well done.
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Craig McBreen September 8, 2011 at 10:25 pm

Marianne,

Thank you, I really appreciate you stopping by. Thanks for the complements too and tip: I need to really get on my Google+ account and flesh that thing out. Once I do that, I’ll definitely have a button, so thanks for the tip.

I’ll add you to the list of shy kids. Can we start a support group? Glad you were able to get through high school unscathed and better in the process.

I do spend a lot of time with myself (comes with the profession), so understand how working from home can do that to ya. But, yes social media can be the cure for sure.

I had a lot of fun developing that network, but that was easy, now comes the hard part. Heck, fun part.

Thanks again for coming by!

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Craig McBreen September 8, 2011 at 10:30 pm

Okay, my stupid questions:

1. How to add the comment box link that asks if you want to see follow up comments in your email box?

2. Should I get a spam plug in. If so, which one?

3. Livefyre or not?

4. How do I make my site mobile-friendly?

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Danny Brown September 9, 2011 at 12:50 am

Oops, forgot to add a couple of things:

WPtouch Pro: Makes your site awesome in any mobile browser, and has a special iPad customization menu too. It’s $39 for a single license, but worth it :)

http://www.bravenewcode.com/store/plugins/wptouch-pro/

Also, change your Permalink settings. Currently you have the standard one running, so the URL for this post has/?=22

This isn’t friendly to search engines. So, instead, do this:

Go to your WordPress admin dashboard and follow these steps:

SETTINGS – PERMALINKS – CUSTOM STRUCTURE

Then copy this into the Custom Structure box (once you’ve highlighted this option):

/%postname%/

That will then make the URL your site name and the post name. So:

http://craigmcbreen.com/POSTTITLE

Hope that helps! :)
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Craig McBreen September 9, 2011 at 2:12 am

I’ll check out WPTouch Pro for sure. Thanks!

Going to dive in and change the settings as well.

Danny, you are The Man!! Thanks again, and I’ll be in touch.

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Adam September 9, 2011 at 3:54 am

Hah, I saw the question about the mobile plugin and was going to go grab the link for the discussion from Danny’s site — but a little farther down the page and Danny’s already here!

Thanks a lot DB. The only intelligent advice I had to give Craig was to steal your stuff! Now what am I going to comment on?
Adam recently posted..What Is Excellent Customer Service?My Profile

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Danny Brown September 9, 2011 at 3:58 am

Ha, you call that intelligent? ;-)
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Adam Toporek September 9, 2011 at 4:01 am

Well, I do have pretty low standards. :)
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Frank Dickinson September 12, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Craig!!!

Amazing looking blog and I very nice post to get things started.

I have never been one to add anything to what Mr. Brown says – mostly because I never have to. But, today, I’d add one…

Consider @LiveFyre as your commenting system. In my book it’s really and “engagement” system – and, as you know because you’ve been so engaged with all of us who are now commenting on your blog (YAY! again) – engagement is everything in this blogging game.

LiveFyre is stable, fun and feature rich. I really think you would enjoy it!

Great stuff my friend!
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Craig McBreen September 12, 2011 at 10:59 pm

Whoa, Frank! Thanks, Man!

Seems like Danny beat out many, being quick with the advice :) But I do appreciate what you have to say here, as it certainly seems that Livefyre makes engagement a lot easier.

Thank you for the kind words, Frank. Much appreciated!

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Frank Dickinson September 12, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Not sure if anyone suggested this yet

Spam plugin ->G.A.S.P. http://www.growmap.com/growmap-anti-spambot-plugin/

Akismet is yesterday, GASP is today.
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Craig McBreen September 12, 2011 at 10:59 pm

Perfect! G.A.S.P. it is!

Now to get this stuff up and running.

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Kaarina Dillabough September 8, 2011 at 10:38 pm

CONGRATULATIONS!!

What an amazing first post: keep firing away, no regrets, no hesitation.

Your writing is superb, and the “look and feel” of the site is top drawer. I love the maroon (burgundy? wine? ah yes, I shall call it wine) and black header. Simply adore the black and white photo and accompanying text. And as to the “tech stuff”, I’ll leave that to the experts, but I will be interested to see if you decide Livefyre or not. As we know, there’s been a ton of buzz about commenting systems lately!

The photo you used to accompany your first post is worth its weight in gold, and the post is pure gold in itself. Bravo, my friend: couldn’t be happier for you! Cheers! Kaarina
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Craig McBreen September 8, 2011 at 10:59 pm

Hi Kaarina,

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. MUCH appreciated! I’ll keep at it, but will probably have a few misfires along the way.

Did you say, superb? Top Drawer? Whoa, dude! :) You are a very nice person, Kaarina. Thank you. I was really wondering if my writing would even generate some interest. I’ve always wanted to write and the blog gives me the platform to just do it.

Thanks for the complements. I think burgundy is most appropriate, Madam. Very funny. Ah yes, you see here our lovely burgundy header. I do like to design, but do struggle a bit with the html and css, but I managed to clunk this together. I really love the design of your site as well, and have been meaning to ask you a few questions about it, so I’ll shoot you a message regarding that.

The post about Livefyre over at The Sales Lion makes me want to go out and get it because of all the great comments, especial after reading Danny Brown’s, as I know he wasn’t a big proponent, but is now using it. He did make some great points.

My wife had the same reaction to the photo.!

Thanks for stopping by and for the comments. You know how to make a kid blush!! I appreciate your support along the way, and your positive messages! You and Bill were some of the first people I started conversing with online and it means a great deal that you stopped by to give your support!

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Danny Brown September 9, 2011 at 12:05 am

Hey there mate,

First, congratulations and mad props for starting your blog – I know how big a step that can be, so kudos on actually doing it.

Nice clean look, too – always liked Thesis as one of the best premium frameworks around, and the built-in SEO isn’t too bad either. ;-)

To your plugin questions, here you go:

- ReplyMe: Sends an email to someone when their comment has a response

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/replyme/

- GrowMap Anti Spam Plugin (GASP): Adds a simple box to check to make sure you’re not a bot, really elegant way to control spam:

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/growmap-anti-spambot-plugin/

- Subscribe to Comments Reloaded: If someone still wants to keep up with the discussion in the comments, but doesn’t want to leave one themselves, this is perfect:

http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/subscribe-to-comments-reloaded/

With regards Livefyre, I’ve always been a big proponent if the platform, mate. I was one of the early beta users, and only switched it off due to my redesign, and Livefyre’s lack of customization at the time.

I’m a huge fan, but it’s not for everyone, so weigh up what you see as the pros and cons of each, and go from there. :)

And congrats again!
Danny Brown recently posted..Remembering Anton Hammerl, 1969-2011My Profile

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Craig McBreen September 9, 2011 at 2:09 am

Hi Danny,

Thanks for the mad props and advice! Much appreciated.

I wanted a fairly spartan look with a nice header. Thesis does make this a bit easier and I’m still dinking around trying to learn more about it. Easy to implement CSS of course and the hooks are cool. Was also looking at Genesis, but Thesis seemed the better option for me.

Also, I must say I’ve learned quite a bit just perusing your blog over the past few months, but man, I have a long way to go. More fun times ahead.

I’ll get on those plugins asap, but might just go with Livefyre. After reading that great post by Marcus the other day and the detailed comments (still looking through them), I have to admit I’m very interested in Livefyre and might just make the switch, due to that and what you’ve said above.

Thanks for dropping by, Danny. Great information!

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Danny Brown September 9, 2011 at 2:54 am

Anytime, mate, that’s what we’re all here for, right? :)

If you are thinking of Livefyre, here are some of my thoughts along the way (in case they’re helpful).

http://dannybrown.me/2011/07/24/welcoming-livefyre-comments-back-to-the-blog/

http://dannybrown.me/2010/12/10/livefyre-future-of-blog-comments/

http://dannybrown.me/2010/09/15/why-im-loving-livefyre-comments-system/

Cheers!
Danny Brown recently posted..Remembering Anton Hammerl, 1969-2011My Profile

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Craig McBreen September 9, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Thank you, Sir! I’ll check them all out.

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Erin Feldman September 9, 2011 at 12:57 am

Congratulations on your first post! Starting probably is the hardest part in the blogging journey. Once you do, it becomes a matter of allowing your voice and blog to evolve until you find that sweet spot. I think you’re already well on your way to that point, though, based on your first post. I enjoyed reading it. I well remember my school days. I didn’t really fit in anywhere, and it wasn’t until college and grad school that I really started to come out of my shell. I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts in the future.
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Craig McBreen September 9, 2011 at 1:52 am

Hey, it’s you again :) I appreciate you coming here to give your support, and the suggestions above of course.

And, yeah now I’m in it, right? Hitting publish for the first time is a great feeling though and I’m looking forward to allowing my voice and blog to evolve, as you put so well.

Seems like this post resonated with a few people, who has similar experiences in their youth. But, we learn, we grown, we write. I have some more to talk about (school days that is) and hopefully won’t bum anyone out :)

Glad you enjoyed reading it. Now to get over to your place!

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Adam Toporek September 9, 2011 at 4:00 am

Hey Craig,

I just wanted to say congratulations on the launch. I know how much work they can be, especially working out all of the technical bugs.

The site looks great, by the way. All of the advice above is sound, so I don’t have much to add to that. I can’t remember if you were there, but there was a great debate at Marcus’ place recently about Livefyre — pros and cons. Might help with that question.

Great first post and congrats again! Now, off to setup your RSS feed in my reader.
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Craig McBreen September 9, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Hey Adam,

Thank you, Sir. And thanks for stopping by. Yes, I never thought I was going to get this thing off the ground, and sometimes the day job gets in the way of this social media fun :)

Appreciate the kind words. It’s great, I can’t just shout out with a question and sure enough someone out there has an answer. I know Danny Brown is a knowledgeable fellow, but didn’t expect this much feedback! Very cool. I have been visiting Marcus’ place and perusing through the comments. Kinda making me want to go the Livefyre route.

Thanks again for the comments and subscribing! See you at your house soon.

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Tony Hastings September 9, 2011 at 10:57 am

Congratulations Craig, an excellent start to your blogging career and you have most certainly overcome your early set backs to develop some finely honed social skills!

Great look to the blog and I don’t intend to add to all the great advice you have had other than to back up Marianne’s comment re adding a Google+ button, readers can now share direct from the +1 button so it’s likely to be a valuable asset in having your content distributed.

Wishing you the best of luck for the future Craig and looking forward to the next post – have subscribed so I won’t miss it :-)
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Craig McBreen September 9, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Tony,

Finely honed social skills. Whoa! Ha :) Maybe here, but still working’ on it in the “real world” :) Thanks for dropping in and commenting. It feels great to have so many of the people I’ve been conversing with stop by and make a comment here. Great feeling and very cool to see you show up.

Thank you re: design. I was hoping the look was going to work, for a while at least. Just wanted clean and uncluttered at first.

I need to get over to Google+ and flesh that baby out, so I can put up the Google button. Appreciate the push there and know I need to make that one a priority.

Thanks for subscribing too! Off to your place soon.

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Danny Brown September 9, 2011 at 5:31 pm

Hi mate,

If you’re looking for a really clean and slick social sharing plugin, check out Slick Social Shares:

http://www.designchemical.com/blog/index.php/wordpress-plugins/wordpress-plugin-slick-social-share-buttons/

You can see it in action here:

http://bonsaiinteractive.com/social-media-sucks/ (look to the left of your screen).

Very minimal, and has the most important share options on there, including Google+ :)
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Craig McBreen September 9, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Danny, did I say you’re the man?

THANK YOU! I don’t care what anyone else says about you ;)

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Danny Brown September 9, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Anytime, mate. :)
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Joe @ Not Your Average Joe September 9, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Hey Craig,
Congrats on the first post, it’s very well done and will look forward to more. As I alluded to in my tweet, I was the chubby guy in middle school who was taunted about the weight. It def had an effect on my social skills, and made me an angry teen in some respects. But that’s so far in the rear view now. It’s better to be a late bloomer than not at all! I was in Toastmasters, a lector at my church for 20 plus years, and in sales for the last 15. I’ve been working on communication skills my whole life, and blogging is just a new bullet in the gun. I wish you much success with yours!
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Craig McBreen September 9, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Hey Joe,

Thank you! It seems like the design has been fairly well received, so I’m happy about that and appreciate your comments here. It sounds like you and I have a lot in common, except the family food thing: You know Sicilian vs. Irish, manicotti vs. corned beef ;) You had “Aunt Nicky” and her great food, while I had my grandmother’s hot dog and potato soup.

Even though we have similar histories, it’s great to see that so far in the rear view, as you put it. Late bloomers unite!

I hope sales pick up for you, and everyone else. I’m finally getting busy again after a fairly slow two years.

“New bullet in the gun.” I like that one. Thanks, again!

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Lisa Gerber September 9, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Hi Craig!
I’ve always said, there are a lot of people out there who have a personality for social media. I’m actually not referring to you; I’m referring to the people who I meet online and then am completely disappointed when I meet them in person. LOL. but you made me think of it here.

I have to add, I’m a lot like you; a late bloomer professionally. I didn’t know what the heck I wanted to do when I was in college. I ran off to Aspen and was a ski bum for a couple years, and didn’t enter the professional world until I was 30. (in Seattle, in fact!) That puts me behind in terms of my career but it helped me grow socially, and well, I also had a ton of fun, and no regrets. :)

I LOVE the look of your blog – really clean. It looks like you have a ton of advice here. We do have a post not too long ago on our favorite plug-ins. Other than that, I look forward to following!
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Craig McBreen September 9, 2011 at 5:14 pm

Hi Lisa,

Very happy to see you here! That’s funny. I do look forward to meeting many of the people I’ve been conversing with in this online world. I certainly hope I’m not disappointed, or should I say people are not dissapointed meeting me :) I’m really looking at this blog as a platform where I can learn and really push myself to do other things, esp. out of my comfort zone. The benefit is meeting all the great people and the advice they dish out. See Mr. Danny Brown’s advice.

I welcome the former chubby or shy or late bloomers out there. Interesting that you were a late bloomer too. I wish I spent my youth in Aspen skiing. That must have been a blast. I think you might have had a bit more fun than me :) Then, from Seattle to Chicago. Not as gray there, but I’m wondering if that winter weather gets to you? But you do have Da Bears and Cubbies, eh?

Thank you for the complements. They mean a lot coming from someone who does more than a few things over at Spin Sucks AND Arment Dietrich!

Yes, a ton of advice for sure. One of the great things about this realm. I’ll have to check out the favorite plug-ins post. Thanks!

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Danny Brown September 9, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Didn’t you know? Lisa IS Arment Dietrich – Gini just offers the name…
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Craig McBreen September 9, 2011 at 6:35 pm

Are you baiting Gini? :)

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Alicia Jay September 9, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Hey Craig!

I was over at Kaarina’s blog and I saw your comment from today. It interested me enough to come and check you out. Congrats on getting started! You’ve done the first really hard step! I’m not saying it’s all downhill from here, but you jumped in. I’m looking forward to visiting more and getting to know you:)
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Craig McBreen September 10, 2011 at 1:28 am

Hey Alicia,

Thank you for stopping by. It took me half the summer to get my act together and finally post something :) Good feeling though, for sure. Your “Stinky Diaper” title intrigues me :) Thanks for dropping in and hope to see you again. Have a good one!

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Jack@TheJackB September 10, 2011 at 6:57 am

Check you out, 60 comments right out of the gate.
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Craig McBreen September 10, 2011 at 11:01 pm

Hi Jack,

Hard for me to believe. Now I appreciate all the work you put in answering comments :) Lots of work, but it’s fun, isn’t it, Jack? Thanks for checking in and hope you’re having a nice weekend.

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Marcus Sheridan September 10, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Craig, wow, boy have you come out the gates at full speed with this my friend. Let me just express why I’m so impressed:

1. Love thesis theme. Looks great. Clean. Professional.

2. Love the header. Again, clean and professional.

3. Love the photo on the side, with blurb…perfect man.

4. Love how you tied personal experience in a major way from the beginning.

5. The fact that so many have shown up here speaks highly of the amazing relationships you’ve already built. Well done bud!!!

There are already a ton of great suggestions here, my only at this time would be to not post too much. Allow things to develop. 20% content, 80% networking—just as you’ve been doing already.

So happy for you!!!!!!!!

Marcus
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Craig McBreen September 10, 2011 at 10:50 pm

Hey Marcus,

It’s good to see The Lion show up at my place and offer some advice, this is great man! I had no idea I’d see so many comments here. I’m receiving quite a bit of support from everyone here and I do really appreciate it. It does feel good to finally come out of the gates though. Hopefully I can keep up the pace with writing and commenting, but hey I think this stuff is fun!

1. Thanks! Was thinking about the Genesis framework, but Thesis won me over in the end because of the support, mainly on their user forums.

2. Thanks. I know red is used a lot, but I love the color.

3. Thought it might be a bit to cheesy, but glad it works.

4. Be prepared. I’ll write about my angst-filled youth on occasion :)

5. As I mentioned on my About page, I have met some really great people online, basically everyone who showed up here.

That’s great advice on the posting. I think I’ll stick with once a week for now, as I do need to comment more, and get on Google+.

Thanks for stopping by, and for the advice. Really appreciate it!

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Stuart September 13, 2011 at 9:54 am

Sorry I’m late to the party Craig, as you may know I’ve been on holiday in Nice with Sam, and I’m in the ‘catch up’ phase now ;-)

It’s absolutely fantastic that you’ve started your own blog Craig, I applaud you. Knowing something of the trouble that you experienced in your earlier years (as I experienced it to a lesser degree in my own youth), I think you’ve come an incredibly long way. You could say that you’re a ‘different’ person now?

As of advice, I won’t offer generic stuff – all I ask is that you have a direction in mind for where you want to take this blog. Do you want it to link in with your current work or do something different? Do you build a big subscriber base, or sell products using this as a platform?

These are just 2 of many questions that I could ask you, but know what you want to achieve first Craig. Then go for it!

All the best :-)
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Craig McBreen September 13, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Stuart,

Thanks for stopping by and man, look at you in Nice with Sam :) Even though I’ve never been there, I can’t think of a better place. I may be looking to the south of France for next spring, maybe :) so would love to hear more. I guess there will be a few posts on the trip?

Thanks, Stu! Never thought I would get this thing off the ground. Definitely a different person, but you know what? It does feel good to write about this stuff, doesn’t it?

Direction. Ah! That’s what I’m working on right now. This is great advice actually, and hopefully in the coming months I can find my voice and sort out all, or at least some of the details.

Thanks for your comments. I really appreciate it and will be over to your place, hopefully to hear about the trip!

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Maureen Logan September 13, 2011 at 8:26 pm

Welcome Craig!!! I love it! You are a natural or maybe beginners luck? Just kidding, I know you are a natural. Keep up the great work and I’m so proud of you and all that you’ve accomplished!
Love ya,
Jolene
PS: I was know as a “social-holic” from my friends growing up so quite the extreme opposite, I had trouble being alone, that’s what I have had to overcome and learn to appreciate time by myself. Isn’t that crazy!

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Craig McBreen September 13, 2011 at 9:33 pm

Hey stranger!

Thanks for dropping in and leaving such nice comments. Hopefully it’s not just because I’ve known you for so long and know what a nice person you are, … but I’ll take ‘em, even though you’re family :)

Love ya too, and hope all is well with you and Alan in Colorado. Wish I was on my way there.

I can’t picture you being a “social-holic” … Just kidding! Yes. I. Can! And it is funny how opposite we are, and how ironic I’m writing about my antisocial tendencies in the great blogosphere!

Talk to you soon and thanks for dropping in, Jolene!

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Michael Schechter September 15, 2011 at 2:49 am

I have a special breed of ADHD, the one where the innate social skills that others seem to possess, you know like when to speak, when to shut the hell up, how loud to speak and when to keep that thing that is popping up in your mind from coming out of your mouth. In other words, I didn’t have a lot of friends going up and I didn’t have confidence to boot (thankfully I’ve grown into my arrogance).

I learned how to socialize on the net, in BBS in the 90′s. Lame, but true. Even to this day (although I’ve worked hard to learn how to follow and play along in conversation (although not so much on the not saying the crap that comes into my head bit)), I still have to work at it and find I’m better on a computer than I am in person.

The beauty of this little space of ours, is that for the longest time, I thought I was an anomaly. I didn’t have trouble with being an outcast, I always just feared being the only one. The web helped me find other me’s and I wouldn’t be who I am today without it. Happy that my overtaking of Gini’s domain got us acquainted and glad to know you’re a kindred spirit.

The awkward shall inherit the Earth. Looking forward to post #2 and sorry for being late to the game!
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Craig McBreen September 16, 2011 at 11:40 pm

Michael,

Thanks for your comments! I had a few friends like you when I grew up. I kind of wish gumption to speak up when something pops up in my mind, but someone always gets there first. Sometimes you might stumble, but at least you’re getting it out, man :) Regardless, you and I are similar in that we didn’t have a lot of friends growing up.

So you were early to the game, huh? Certainly not lame, maybe ahead of the curve. And, you are not alone. Many of use are better on a computer than in person. I’m always working on the “in person” part.

Yes, welcome to the wonderful blogosphere. It seems to be a place where we outcasts can congregate and share stories, and more. I like that: “other me’s”!

Yes, that day at Gini’s will go down in history, man. Very impressive, and fun for sure. Hope to see you guest post there again, if she lets you in, that is :)

Thanks and have a great weekend!

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Michael Schechter September 17, 2011 at 12:13 am

What’s interesting is just how much doing it behind a screen will eventually bleed into the real life part. It builds confidence, it teaches you the flow of a conversation, it gets you used to thinking before you speak. Or at least it has for me.

I was early to this and lucky I found it. There is a camaraderie here, especially when you find the right people (even Gini). Now I need to cook up something stupid to post about over at Spin :)
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Craig McBreen September 17, 2011 at 10:57 pm

Good points, and you are right. It is odd, I actually now have more confidence in groups (already) because of what I’m doing online. I guess it’s a confidence builder just getting … “out there” in the blogosphere.

Gini is definitely “right people” and I’m finding so many more. Hopefully I’ll get to meet some of you in person soon, and I’ll try not to act weird and introverted :)

Michael, I’m looking forward to your next post over at Spin Sucks. I feel you’ll rock the joint again!

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Barbara October 14, 2011 at 9:25 am

Hi Craig, loved your comment on Michael’s scab, he will never get rid of this reputation now! And walked over to your site and what do I find: a LATE BLOOMER! Thrilled to meet you.
I was the opposite of the chubby child: skinny and tiny but with a loud mouth, no social skills either. Along the way I learned some, what with having jobs in sales for many years.
I am finding my proper voice now online. What really makes me happy these days is having fun writing and meeting people who do exactly the same thing, learning to be more open (I think in the last months I have written about things I never told anybody in my whole life before) – what a great trip.
Here’s to happy travelling wherever it may take us.
Greetings from Switzerland, Barbara
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Craig McBreen October 14, 2011 at 9:09 pm

Hi Barbara,

Yeah, I have a feeling the scab thing isn’t going to let go. He started it though :)

Hey thanks, and I was actually wondering if there was a blog by that name, “Late Bloomers” out there … now I know! Nice to meet you as well.

Nice to learn a bit more about you. It’s funny a lot of my friends were skinny and tiny, so I looked that much funnier next to them. :)

I guess sales will change your social skills pretty quickly, eh? Adapt or you’re gone. Finding my voice too, and interesting how this all works. I’m the same way. I’ve reavealed quite a bit about myself. Things I would never really talk about in everyday life.

How are things in Switzerland at the moment? Another country I’ve always wanted to visit.

Happy traveling to you and thanks for the visit!

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AguirreGilda December 4, 2011 at 12:31 pm

All people deserve very good life and loan or small business loan would make it better. Just because people’s freedom relies on money state.

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Bryan Thompson January 5, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Hey Craig, I just read this post from way back when. I was the chubby introverted kid, too! Got picked on. I was never unfriendly (and it doesn’t sound like you were either). Also, I was never afraid of crowds. I always managed to shine on stage (acting, singing, performing), but I was (and sometimes still am) horribly awkward one on one with people.

I married someone who was very extroverted, but after going through some difficult situations, she retreated into her shell more and more. As time went on, we reversed roles, with me becoming more the social butterfly and he becoming more of the homebody.

Over the last couple of years, we have begun to reverse again. It’s not that I don’t need people – we all do. But that time of recharging alone has become CRITICAL to me not losing my mind. And I’m coming to learn that being an introvert isn’t all that bad.

Sorry I’m late to this conversation, but just found it really interesting.
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Fred Furney March 4, 2012 at 12:10 am

I don’t ever remember a chubby Craig McBreen. Like the site old chum.

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Craig McBreen March 5, 2012 at 12:18 am

Hey Fred!

Nice to see you here. You luckily missed the fat phase, which was roughly from the ages of 10-14. ;)

Thanks.

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Krithika Rangarajan October 20, 2013 at 10:36 am

I navigated to this page from your ‘Why I Almost Failed at Blogging’ post. I was expecting a boring, amateurish, poorly-written first post; instead, I am amazed by your sense of humor, clarity and unique personality.

I believe you underestimated your ability to engage and connect with your audience. But I could also understand how blogging is not just amount the Comments or Shares, but about generating some value and ROI.

Well, I can say that your writing provided a lot of value to me…and I definitely got my Return after Investing 10 minutes reading your story(ies).

ROCK ON, Mr McBreen! :-)

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Craig McBreen October 21, 2013 at 5:18 pm

Well, thank you kindly! :)

I appreciate the kind words, and man I do love making that connection, but as I got deeper into this I realized I was doing a lot of things wrong. Interesting looking back after two years.

I’ll keep rocking on and THANK YOU for the visit!

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