2011 has been a helluva year. It had its ups and downs, but we’re all still here another day. There’s a lot to be thankful for even if you had a rough one. Pause.

With the end of the year officially looming, I wanted to talk about some of the lessons I’ve learned as a Blogger in 2011. I’ve picked up more intel about women than I’d ever considered possible. It’s also been interesting to see how things develop behind the scenes when it comes to  networks, cliques, and the writing hustle in general.  With that said, here are nine lessons learned by the man behind the blog(s).

Women Are Tired of Men Telling Them What to Do.

After the onslaught of articles, videos, and special reports shining a deathray spotlight onto the plight of the Black woman’s singleness, it’s safe to say Black women have had enough. In 2010, your site wouldn’t be up to par if you didn’t write something accusatory or “controversial” to get the dialogue going. 2011 has proven to be the year that women have spoke up in comment sections, on Facebook, and on Twitter about the finger-pointing and fault-finding. It’s gotten so bad that the mention of single and ‘what women should” are enough to cause a well-written post to flop, or backfire on the author before the reader even sees the good points within.

Wording is everything.

Title is King. Quality Content Is a Close Second. 

With the amount of information out there via social media, our attention spans have gotten shorter, our time more valuable, and our eyes more discerning. If you’re a writer and your title isn’t on point, you’ve set your post up for failure. As a reader, you know exactly what I’m talking about. You see 5 links fly by on Twitter or Facebook and none of them move you, so you let them pass unless you’re a fan of the writer.

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They could’ve been the greatest articles in history, but it didn’t matter because the title was lame sauce (put you in bad temperament or didn’t peak curiosity).  If the post title is dope and the content is well-written, both the reader and the writer win. Many of us (bloggers) are still struggling to find that elusive balance.

The smallest details make the biggest difference.

Relationship Blogging is the Fastest Way for a Man to Get His Name Out.

I’ve said it before: If a man wants to quickly get his name out there and drive traffic to his site, he’ll dabble in relationship blogging. For whatever reason, women don’t like reading what other women have to say about relationships, so men get a leg up (pause).  I know you’re probably thinking of an exception, but think about the total number of successful relationship blogs out there. One gender has a much higher pass rate. No misogyny, no foolery, no shenanigans. Just truth. Maybe you can help change this trend.

Support your people.

The Original e-Celeb

You Don’t Have to Be a Great Writer to Get Great Opportunities.

This goes across niches. One of the things I’ve painfully watched happen is the rise of the e-celeb. I know a lot of folks crafty with the pen/keyboard that have advanced degrees in writing, but can’t find sustainable gigs because they don’t have a heavy following online. If you know how to be funny, how to unabashedly “tell it like it is,”  or be controversial, you’ve catapulted yourself ahead of the well-learned competition. You’re also more like to be forgiven for grammatical transgressions and egregious misspellings. 

Real jib jab though. Honesty is always important, because without it you don’t earn the reader’s trust. But it saddens me to see truly talented writers struggle because they don’t have a gimmick. My best advice for those trying to make it is to interact and be interesting or useful.

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You don’t have to go out of control campaigning, but there’s always something you can do to better yourself without changing the core of who you are.

Some People Really Need Therapy and Counseling.

One of my goals with writing has always been to help people. But sometimes I get questions and situations that go way beyond any insight or perspective I could provide. If you’re consistently trying to solve something internal via blogs and their authors, you need to talk to someone away from the internet too.

I wish more of us directed people to the help they need rather than back to our sites.

The tweets are watchin'

The e-luminati and the Glass Ceiling Are Real.

I learned in 2011 that there are more cliques, secret meetings of secret societies about top secret things, and e-lunch tables than I’d ever have thought possible. Blogging used to be something for fun and hobby, but now it’s a serious industry (for some of us). If you’ve decided to turn your hobby into your passion, it’s difficult to break into certain niches, or get your name out without getting cosigned by the leaders of the Free World “in-crowd.” I guess this is the same as any other highly competitive industry, but I didn’t really learn this until 2011.

The e-world is small, very small. Be careful how you treat people. Karma does laps ’round here.

There Is a Whole Other Side of the Internet People Don’t Know About.

After a few months of seeing the same names everywhere talking about the same subjects, I sought out on a journey to find the other side of the internet, and prove that the web is round.

I’m back to tell you there’s more out there. You need to click around on blogrolls and hashtags to find the other side, but it’s there. Great discussions, great writing, and refreshing topics from people you didn’t even know existed. If you seek, you shall find. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

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The world is not in your neighborhood. Venture outside of it and you might find your dreams.

Momma, I made it!

There Will Always Be Trolls.

You know how Time Magazine put The Protester as the Person of the Year? If it were up to me, I’d nominate The Troll.

Your site hasn’t made it until you periodically have someone from the Troll Corps drop by and derail an otherwise positive discussion. 2011 had an uptick in trollism. Economics says I should blame the recession, but I’m still doing some calculations. I’ve banished more trolls in 2011 than I’ve banished since the summer of 2008. And this almanac indicates this may just be the beginning.

Some people just don’t have ish to do. Find something to do. Please.

We Have Great Readers!

It’s awesome to see how much SBM (the site) has grown this year in terms of staff (pause), Facebook fans, Twitter followers, subscribers, and members of the commenting community. None of what we’ve accomplished would be possible without your support — even if it’s reading just one post. I love what this site has turned into and look forward to a monumental 2012 with you along for the journey. Non-emoly stated.

Hard work pays off. You win some, you lose some. You should strive for the few who are committed, rather than the masses that are lukewarm. 

What great lessons have you learned in 2011? What do you have on the agenda for 2012? Share your thoughts in the comments. 

Cloaked, Hooded, and on my Fortune Cookie Ish,