The HubPages Forums – A Survival Guide

If you’ve ever ventured into the HubPages forums, you know that things can get a little hairy. This is by no means unique to our community; it’s an occupational hazard for any internet user. I can’t necessarily help you navigate the World Wide Web, but I can share my insights from a long history of successful forays into the forums, from which I’ve managed to emerge relatively unscathed.

  1. Know thyself. Before you enter the forums, it’s important to check in with yourself to see where you are mood-wise, and whether or not you’ll be able to handle whatever you might encounter–be it titillating or aggravating. Going into the forums already frustrated is a recipe for disaster. There are days you’ll be able to conduct yourself responsibly in a heated discussion on politics or religion, and there are days you won’t. Be realistic, and…
  2. Be prepared. I may not agree with all the teachings of the Boy Scouts of America, but they do have a good point with this one. Think about what you want to achieve in the forums. Are you looking to kill some time? Get some advice? Make new friends? Engage in educated debate? Once you’re clear in your mind about what you’re looking for, go find it… but try not to get side-tracked. If you find yourself straying from the path, refer to Tip #1, and know when to walk away.
  3. Plan an escape route. This is an extension of Tip #2, but in addition to having a plan of attack, you also need to meditate on your getaway, should the need arise. Everything might go well, but if something unforeseen should happen, and you find yourself getting hot under the collar, it’s important to have a plan. Whether it’s taking a half-hour break from the forums to research a new Hub, or shutting down the computer for the night, decide beforehand what you’re going to do to cool down, and follow through with it.
  4. Remember the human. I take this from Virginia Shea, who literally “wrote the book” on Netiquette. It’s the first of her 10 Core Rules, and the most important. Psychological studies show that most people have a lot of difficulty connecting online activities with offline consequences, so you’ve got to make a concerted effort to be the exception. Keep in mind that, just as you are an individual beyond a username, other Hubbers are too. There are human beings on the other end of that internet connection. (Yes, even I am a person, despite what you may have heard to the contrary.) Treat us all with human courtesy.
  5. Lighten up. Seriously, guys. Seriously. The forums are supposed to be fun! If you’re not having a good time (whatever that looks like for you… see #1), just don’t do it! HubPages is full of clever, inventive, hilarious Hubbers. We may not always agree, but that only means that we all have something unique to contribute to the larger community. And I think, on the whole, that’s a good thing. Hey, it certainly keeps things interesting. 😉

The Payout Chronicles: Cagsil hits his first $100 AdSense payout!

Payout Chronicles

If you’ve ever frequented the forums, you’re sure to know Cagsil, one of the most well-rounded Hubbers. (Take a look at his Accolades to get a snapshot of his activity since he started less than a year ago.) I learned recently from a forum thread that Cagsil hit his first AdSense payout recently. It seemed like as good a time as any to pose a few questions to Cagsil about his experience at HubPages so far.

1. The first payout is probably the most memorable for most Hubbers, even though it always takes the longest. You've been with HubPages for 7 months now, and have published 82 Hubs. How does this payout match against your expectations?

It matched my expectations, because it's based on my effort and learning of HubPages. It is not based on bring referrals exclusively to a program, like many others, even though traffic could be increased through referring others. [That] it was not a requirement is what I liked most.

2. You have a mix of types of Hubs – a lot of cerebral opinion pieces, as well as a handful of picture galleries. What's the motivation behind the different types of content?

Cagsil

Cagsil

The motivation I used was one of the oldest known in marketing and advertising: sex sells. The photo hubs I have are responsible for 90% of the revenue, while 5% comes from my poems and the remain 5% comes from my life topic hubs. The message I bring to the table is one of equality and individual self-responsibility, for which, has been lacking in many ways. It is absolutely important people realize that equality starts with being self-responsible about their own actions. Should their actions be harmful to others, then most likely they will not be able to maintain forward growth, because accountability will end up stopping them. My own purpose of life is about maintaining a certain level of integrity people can identify, just by looking and to be an example for others to emulate.

3. A quick look at your Accolades shows you're quite an accomplished Hubber. You have over 500 followers, you're known for both commenting on others' Hubs and for having plenty of discussion on your own Hubs, and you answer a lot of Questions. What type of activities do you enjoy most on HubPages?

I enjoy the forums the most, because of the interactive nature and simplicity.

4. Now that you've hit the first $100 milestone in terms of payout, what are your goals going forward? Anything you plan on doing differently?

My goal is continue learning more about SEO and to display as many of the misconceptions that have been created, so as to distract others from the truth about what is actually happening and causing problems in their life, even if they do not see it happening. I will continue to explore other opportunities as they arise and work on my business model, so I can refine it and make it an excellent form of supportive assistance for others.

5. How does HubPages figure into your whole online presence? Do you use social media elsewhere? Do you have a blog, and are you active on Twitter or Facebook?

I am presently using HubPages platform to make my own presence known, as a person/writer/voice of reason and to create substantial revenues I can use for other purposes, other than supplying myself with earnings. Much of the revenue made from HubPages is leveraged, so as to create more. Thus, making money work for me instead of doing nothing with it. I am presently using Facebook under the same name. I am also on twitter as Cagsil too. I presently write articles pertaining to my hubs at RedGage as well. I also have a blog, which can be used for holding discussions on any of the topics I write about or other problems not presently written about.

6. If you were approached by a new Hubber, who told you that they wanted to make a little extra money writing online but that they wanted to still enjoy the process, what would you advise him/her to do?

I would tell them to write about things that they know themselves. Things they have experience with and to remain honest as possible. I would also inform them that they need to not rush, but produce quality content over quantity. I would also guide them to quite of few of the more knowledgeable hubbers, such as Sunforged, Thisisoli, RyanKett, Relache, Nelle Hoxie, Frogdropping, Darkside, MyWebs and point out that these veteran Hubbers provide support of HubPages community with regards to inside track of HubPages success.

7. Finally, what is something you'd like to share with the community about your experience so far as a Hubber? How has your interaction with the site changed since you began 7 months ago?

I am the most impressed with HubPages' ability to constantly listen to the community of hubbers who do take an active role. When changes come through the changes are not a final result, until reviewed by others, assessed and modified, which makes HubPages one of the most versatile platforms for writers to do their own creative work. I have not disagreed with any of the changes HubPages' staff/admin has given to the community and it's supportive staff is/has been one of the best I have ever dealt with online. I have been active in the community from day one and haven't looked back since. I presently have close to 20,000 posts in the community forum and I adore most of the people I come in contact with.

Keep up with what Cagsil is publishing on HubPages–become his fan!

“It Was a Dark and Stormy Night” on HubPages…

Okay, actually the weather’s quite nice this afternoon, but the title’s still accurate, because there’s a “Dark And Stormy Night” Contest getting underway here at HubPages! Some of you may have read the results of the official Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest in one of those funny emails your grandma likes to forward all the time. (I should never have taught mine to use a computer.) In a nutshell, it’s an annual competition to write the most awesomely bad opening line for a novel that you can possibly think of… and then make it worse. The original inspiration was an author named Edward Bulwer-Lytton (at right), who wrote the famous opening in his novel Paul Clifford.

It was our very own lmmartin who had the idea to host a “Dark And Stormy Night” Contest here at HubPages. She wrote and asked my opinion, and of course I thought it another great example of user inventiveness. (She was then very patient as I got bogged down with medical problems. Thanks, Lynda!)

You can enter by leaving your worst-written sentence in the first comment box on the official Dark And Stormy Night Contest Hub. You’ve got until June 15th, at which point the HubPages staff will pick their ten favorites, and these ten will be put up on the hub with a voting capsule, and YOU will determine the overall absolute worst entry. There aren’t any prizes, except the joy of winning… and of reading all the other hilarious entries. The winner will also be entered in the Bulwer-Lytton contest later this year. So what are you waiting for? Get on over there and show us how bad you really are!

The Race to Find (or Make) a Mother’s Day Gift

By Mothers&Daughters on flickr

By Mothers&Daughters on flickr

Mother’s Day is quickly approaching, and I don’t have a gift yet! Everywhere I looked this morning, I saw signs and ads for flowers, bath salts, and cards. The problem is that my mom doesn’t like any of the highly-marketed gifts that people usually give. She is very unmaterialistic, which is noble and all, but it makes buying her a gift nearly impossible.

My mom thinks that cards are an expensive waste of paper. She doesn’t like to get flowers, because they die so quickly. I don’t think she wants plants or knick-knacks, either, because she has too many of those already. My mother loves chocolate, so you’d think that buying her a fancy box of chocolates would be the perfect gift … but you’d be wrong, because for some bizarre reason she only likes the cheap Hershey’s stuff and she buys that for herself.  Whenever someone buys her jewelry, she gushes about how much she likes it and then never wears it again. I’ve tried giving her bath salts, but her bath tub is so full of my niece’s toys that she always showers instead.

Last year for Mother’s Day, I knew that I had to try something different, so I gave my mom a gift certificate for a massage. I love getting massages, so I thought for sure that she would like it, too. But it took her almost a year to make the appointment, and that was after I bugged her about it for months. Afterward, when I asked her how the massage was, she said only that “it was okay.”

Almost everyone says that their mom is hard to buy for, but I think that my mother is more difficult than most. This is beginning to sound like I’m complaining about my mom, which isn’t my intent. On the contrary, my mom is an amazing woman who has always gone the extra mile for me. (For example, she moved into my dorm room to take care of me when I broke my ankle in college. Without her help, I would not have graduated on time.) My mom is awesome, which is precisely why I want to give her a gift this Mother’s Day that she will actually enjoy.

Although I still haven’t found the perfect gift, I thought that these Hubs were useful in my search:

  • SweetiePie suggests painting a picture for your mom, and provides step-by-step instructions. I’m seriously considering something like this, but I’m afraid that my mom might actually display the result in her living room, which I’m sure would be embarrassing.
  • Blake Flannery has some great suggestions for what to write in a Mother’s Day card. If I end up making a card myself, then I will definitely read this Hub carefully.
  • Habee has a Hub about inexpensive gifts for Mom. She suggests cooking dinner for your mother, and I would absolutely do this if my mom wasn’t 600 miles away.

Please leave a comment if you’d like to share what you are doing for your mom or wife this year, or if you have any ideas for me. Happy early Mother’s Day to all of the moms on HubPages!