*Consider this post a public service announcement of sorts today. And if you just can’t force yourself to read the whole thing, then at least look for the bold print to speed you along and quit whining about how long my posts are. Is there a freaking rule about it?
I promised I’d do a food blog entry before I wrote here today. That hasn’t happened. I have absolutely no control. I’m wired to this thing and to this spot. I languish daily over all the possibilities:
The RT’s analysis of his PSAT prep class and 1,000 vocabulary cards
My CSS Web Design for Dummies book
The “checking off” of the 5th of my black cat’s nine lives
My deplorable ability to paint my own toenails
The impending fall season (not television…) and all that goes with it
My status as a “Phoodplan” dropout
Breaking home run records
or narcissism, hedonism, and nihilism…
I’m good to go on any of these right now. I always have something to write about. Always. I know that you are thinking that you may not be interested in reading about some of these topics, and I completely understand that. The point is that part of my interest in this obsession business of blogging is the opportunity it provides me to write. Just that.
Of course, a side benefit to keeping a blog, or in my case, two blogs, is that I can obsessively read others’ blogs. To learn from them in ways I may not by reading a book I’ve purchased, or by sitting in a room listening to someone talk about similar topics. As with all learning, however, I also learn what not to do. And so over the past four months since I’ve been maniacally driven to started blogging, my analysis of this very strange world has kept me holed up in my office and plastered to my computer enthralled.
It’s fascinating how many connections can be made between this world and the physical world we are supposed to breathe in daily. I won’t blather on about that now, because what I’m getting at is something not very Earth shattering:
We all “blog” for our very own reasons. And if you don’t want to read what follows immediately, then click down to my point at the end of this post. Just look for the lips.
Some simply want traffic driven to their sites. They’ve heard they can earn quite a bit of money doing that. (More on that another time. I suppose I should have added “How not to be a sucker on the Internet” to my list of topics above. That story is a doozie.) Unfortunately, blogs like those are not something I’m interested in reading. Do they annoy you as much as they annoy me? I will click (because I do know that’s all they want at times) to take a peek, but a variety of characteristics of those blogs are less than interesting to me such as the quality of writing, complete lack of personality, quality of information (because that is what they say they are providing — information, right?), design, lack of any kind of discussion, commentary, or anything that makes the site human. It seems those who have created this particular kind of site frantically join communities, attach you as a “friend” and move on, never to be seen or heard from again. What’s the point? It reminds me of this: Let’s say you want to open a business. You feel that the best way to earn an income is by doing this. But you don’t want to put any real effort into it, and you really don’t know how to run the business, and you can’t really discuss in any real depth what you are selling, why you are selling it, who will be interested in buying it, or anything. You’ve opened the “store” and expect it to make money on auto pilot. Have I made my point? There are bloggers who have sites set up to sell product who are human, who write and sell, and respond to comments—like they would if they had a brick and mortar place of business. I enjoy checking in on them to see what’s new.
Other individuals enjoy keeping a type of journal. When I read those blogs, I am very much immersed in the person’s life and learn about what matters to them. What makes them angry. What cheers them. And very often, what is holding them down in life, or challenges them. I enjoy reading these blogs. I am able to compare what challenges me with what they are working to overcome, and I fall short routinely. These remarkable people, I think, are in part strengthened by their ability and willingness to write and share their lives with others. It wouldn’t be the same if I was actually holding their personal journal (because that’s not right), or listening to them speak in a room with others (although some of them would be fascinating to listen to). It’s different because they respond to comments. Simple.
Lots of people from several areas of Bloggsville like humor. It ranges from people who NEVER write anything, but post a photo, or a video, or a quotation, or a link to another blog. No comment. I’m very guilty of being the chauffeur on a drive-by of those sites. But there are others who just have a way with words. Whether their words are about themselves, their beliefs, their opinions, their kids, their husbands, their bosses, or life in general, their writing can be hilarious. And I truly enjoy reading. Frequently. I love them because they stand proudly on their own soapbox and let it rip. And I miss them when they don’t write, or when I haven’t read their blog in a couple of days.
Then there are the techies. And not just any techie, but the ones who ONLY do the techie thing. These sites are not always interesting because some are similar to the first example — they lack any kind of personality, seem to only be out to make a buck (sorry, but so are the hookers down town…), and reek of doing as little as possible to post with “content” borrowed from someone else. Of course, then there are some great tech sites with outstanding information that even people like me can understand and put to use. The person has taken the time to think about who may read and use the information and make it concrete. They have personality. They occasionally talk about something other than technology (because they aren’t androids). And they can actually write! I especially enjoy the tech sites that actually have comments on the posts (others have ZERO comments in the posts) and real humans respond to them. What a concept. Many are beyond intelligent and I have to sit and wonder how they know all that they know about the Internet, computers, and web design. I used to be able to change the tire on my 10-speed…
And the writer’s groups. I hover around those routinely and enjoy reading hopeful writers, poets, fiction writers, and many very talented people who have built careers with their writing talent. Their sites remind me of what I might be like if I chose to have an Education blog — something my stomach isn’t yet strong enough to handle — where I could passionately debate, and eloquently inform the masses on important aspects of changes in the No Child Left Behind legislation, effective uses of Title I allocations, analyses of public school restroom cleanliness before and after The Williams Settlement, comparisons of state adopted textbooks and teacher created curricula, or validity and reliability of assessments used to measure student growth from one year to the next. Scathingly brilliant, don’t you think? Okay, so not. You wouldn’t read my blog if I wrote about those things, would you? I’d have to create another blog.
And then there are the bloggers who have a tendency to remind me of cliques in school. They know who they are. That’s the whole point. What I have noticed is if I am not deemed “one of them,” I won’ t get a response. No, I don’t always expect a response or even acknowledgement. But they NEVER respond to comments I’ve left on their sites, and they don’t seem to visit mine. My feelings aren’t hurt because I get it. Truly. Perhaps part of the fun is belonging to a group, and then being very public about belonging to that group, so that others can see that you belong to that group. Just in case you’re actually still reading this, I’m not whining. I’m providing an objective view of Bloggsville. Oh, and it’s entertaining to read along with others who are seriously pissed off about those supposed cliques. Be a fly on the wall and watch it all.
Food blogs. If you haven’t seen the great ones, you are missing out. They’re amazing and there’s some serious mud slinging thrown in for good measure occasionally. I only have a big toe wedged into that world and I’ll tell you, it’s work. Of course I love to cook, love reading recipes like they were entries in a forbidden diary, love planning parties, and eating, of course. The writing is so different for me, and I’ve struggled to find a “me” at all. I’m getting there, but it’s hard work. Think about it. Shopping and cooking all turns into blog material. Everything gets photographed. The lighting is awful, or I don’t know how to use a particular setting on my camera. I don’t take time to use great props, and how cold does that food get while I’m clicking away? Can you imagine the psycologist’s bills to fix the Resident Teen when he hits 30 and realizes all his struggles are because his mom took photos of his food? It’s actually fascinating and I enjoy it quite a bit, but I’ve noticed that the hard core bloggers sort of keep a wide berth around the food blog group. Funny thing is though, for all the maniacs that just want people to visit their blog…MY TECHNORATI RANKING WAS SO MUCH HIGHER on my food blog very early on with much fewer posts than this one has. It has a built in audience and foodies spend a lot of time on each others’ sites reading and commenting and developing community. Interesting, don’t you think? So much for the link train. I’d rather cook and write recipes. It’s constructive.
Sports blogs, gardening blogs, entertainment blogs, celeb gossip blogs, political blogs…I could keep going, but I won’t. I truly make an effort to look at them all.
So here’s my point. MEMES, AWARDS, and LINKS.
Memes exist in part to help people who can’t think of something to write something to write. Right? In some cases (much like prompts for writers) memes can help people exercise their writing skills — if they choose to see it from that perspective. But 8,000 memes? Come on. I’m at the point where anything goes the next time I get tagged so get ready.
Memes in content focused blogs can be interesting because content people only write content, and when you read their blogs on a regular basis, some people want to know more about the blogger. (I’m trying to be understanding here.) Of course, a flying finger could be considered a response.
Links. Link Trains. Rankings. I’m really struggling with this one because I work VERY HARD to visit and comment on other’s blogs. Yes it takes a lot of time, but it is worth it. Isn’t that the real point? The whole ranking thing is…ridiculous. How will having the ranking change things? Really. I need to pull mine off my sidebar, but I don’t feel like digging into my files right now. Trust me. It will be gone.
Awards. It’s swell that people came up with this idea. It think it’s great. I even think it’s great that if someone wants to build a mantel to show off their awards, good for them. If they want to ignore the whole thing, good for them. A person’s blog is HER/HIS BLOG. If someone else doesn’t like how another blogger does what he does, then READ SOMEONE ELSE’S BLOG. There are only about a billion of them to choose from. Go crazy.
The minute we all decided to make our blogs public — and we do get that option — we were fair game. But I’m certainly not going to walk up to my neighbors and tell them that I don’t like the plant that’s blooming in the pot on their porch. Just because I drive by their houses each and every day, I don’t have to interact with them (they don’t appear to want anyone to smile and wave hello. Ever. I know this.) and I certainly would expect them to give me shit if I acted like an arrogant ass (arrogant entitlement abounds in Paradise). I do know how to keep my mouth shut when what is coming out of it just heats up the air (like now.)
So…let’s all agree that we’re all swaggering, narcissistic swashbucklers, who through our small slices of Bloggsville, are working post by egotistic post to achieve hedonistic nirvana. I hereby award everyone who enjoys my verbal crapulence, and everyone whose blog I enjoy, this dubious distinction. Wear it proudly.
Yes, you can use it. No, you don’t have to give me credit. Sorry. I don’t know how to do the html thing. Well, I could probably figure it out…but not right now. I’ve already spent an entire morning here and still haven’t done my food blog post.
Come on. I double dare you to use it.