Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Five reasons why I am a bad blogger

Since I started blogging back in June I have been feeling my way like a blind woman through the blogosphere trying to decipher its secret language, learn its customs and conform to its codes.

As the year comes to a close I think it’s only fair that I come clean about the things I have struggled with.

You maybe sniggering at this point.....only five reasons? Well free to point out any I’ve missed….

1) I don’t reply to every comment
2) I don’t know what a meme is
3) I don’t really do the award thing
4) I cannot work out any of the social networking stuff
5) My site is severely low tech


This is a biggie. Do you reply to every comment?
Well it seems some very conscientious bloggers do, but is this necessary? On the one hand it’s very nice to see your name with a little note beside it on someone else’s blog because it makes you feel special. But on the other hand if they respond to every comment, because they are polite, lovely people, this also means that you are not at all special.

If I don’t get a response I’m not personally offended. But maybe others are? Maybe one loses readers because people feel neglected? What is good blog etiquette?

I suspect there is no clear directive on this. For example, take Dooce; how the hell would that woman respond to everybody? And if, as I suspect, she doesn’t respond to everybody, then does that put an end to my ‘reader neglect’ theory? This one will probably have me pondering during the whole of 2010 too.

#2 The meme

If you say a word often enough it loses its meaning. I also find that if you don’t know what a word means or don’t know how to pronounce it, the word becomes really fucking irritating. I see this word ‘meme’ everywhere and it taunts me like a private joke in a party of three. ‘Wordless Wednesday’ had the same effect on me, until I looked it up. So the other day I looked up ‘meme’. This is what Wikipedia had to say

A meme (pronounced /ˈmiːm/, rhyming with "cream"[1]) is a postulated unit of cultural ideas, symbols or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena.”

….yeah, thanks for that Wikipedia – you really cleared that one up for me. The only thing I learnt from that was that it rhymes with cream, which has now only added to my confusion.

#3 Awards

OK. I think I have fucked a few people off with this one. Here’s my problem with awards. If I win an award I need to go up on a stage in an amazing outfit and hold a piece of glass/perspex in my hand to feel that I have really won an award. I need to have beaten others in my catergory. I need to have been to the hairdressers for the occasion.

Now, I understand that blog ‘awards’ are a way of bloggers acknowledging and complimenting one another. I am not going to lie and say that I don’t like receiving them because I do. But here’s the thing: I resent being told that I now have to pass it on to ten other people. I resent being told that I have to tell you 5 of my biggest secrets and what I dreamt about last night. It’s like those really irritating e-mails that go round teling you ‘I don’t often pass these things on but this one REALLY works’ before telling you to forward some sappy friendship poem to ten people, including the person who sent it to you. Fuck off!!!!

Many of you maybe thinking at this point – calm down Troutie, it’s only a bit of fun! You’re right. I should just chill out. But when another blogger impresses me, I just say so. I just mention them in my blog and link them and say, I really liked this.

For example: I really liked this: Mommy has a headache, Not waving but ironing

My final word on awards. Please feel free to send me one. I will genuinely appreciate it and I will thank you and link you and love you, just don’t expect me to join in with the rest of the rituals because I am one stubborn bitch who hates being told what to do. And besides, I think you get to know quite enough true things about me already, I’m a fairly no-holds-barred kind of girl.

#4 Social networking

I am on Facebook but I rarely use it. I would prefer to remain fairly anonymous in blog land. I thought about setting up a fanpage (delusions of grandeur?). But none of it did what I wanted it to do and I ended up getting very frustrated.

Ok. So then I look at the Twitter homepage. It says ‘search’ but I have to search by theme. So I can’t for example follow a particular celebrity – say Stephen Fry, who I know likes to tweet? Accepting this and moving on from it, I still don’t find Twitter engaging or easy to use.

I just don’t get it! Maybe this makes me a total moron? Maybe that’s Ok. Anymore time spent at my computer and my life might really fall apart.

#5 My low-tech site

Your lucky if you get a picture folks, that’s all I’m saying. I would like to get a nice design and stuff but …….

…….it’s all on my ‘Things to do in the New Year List’.
I'm unlikely to be around much over the next few days, a cocktail in one hand and child in the other. I'll be checking comments but unlikely to post much. So, in the meantime, thanks to everyone who has visited my site and thanks to those who left comments, awards and were generally nice to me in my first year of blogging. You’re all either drunk or crazy. I’m usually both. Thanks for reading!


  1. I have a sneaking suspicion that you may know more than you let on but you're mighty amusing, nonetheless.
    I will, in the spirit of Christmas, take your words earnestly however and try to help as I have been blogging for a while and used to be as confused about these things as you.
    Comments. Do what you like. However your commenters will come back more often and feel that they are 'listened to' if you respond, even fleetingly in one giant response to each of them by name. Once you have 20 - 30 per post it obviously gets a bit silly but you could reply in general to everyone and thank them. Then they want to come back. Or don't if you don't feel like it, up to you, right?
    2. Meme. It's like a chain letter. Mostly very dull but you can sometimes be quite interesting with them if you feel creative and, here's the reason why people do them - they UP YOUR STATS because everyone you click on sends them on and clicks back to you. I find them rather tiresome as a rule but you can do one every now and then if you want to increase your readership. On the other hand, if you don't give a fuck, don't bother.
    3. Awards. Well, they're like memes with a virtual prize and you also have to figure out how to put the badge on your site. I have dozens of these and haven't put any of them up because I'm shit at this and feel weird about it anyway. But it IS a way of building stats and community blah blah.
    Social Networking. Twitter is fun and you can easily find Stephen Fry by tapping in - wait for it - @stephenfry and he will pop up. You can also follow your favourite bloggers and they will perhaps be saying something witty and irreverent. Or they might be talking total crap but you never know who you'll find or what will occur. I found it a bit baffling at first but have found amazing people through there.
    Facebook Fanpage. This will (eventually) bump up your readership. If that's what you want. Maybe you have a book idea? Some other 'platform' you want to build. I think you probably do, so this is a good idea for you. As is the social networking. You'll figure it out.

    Your low tech site. Yeah. When you're bored you'll fart about with it. Or not. Nobody really cares about the bells and whistles if you write well.

    Merry Christmas, Troutie. Good luck with world domination and the perspex award. I'll be there to clap ;)

  2. I gave up on memes and awards after I'd been blogging for a few months, because a) writing the post dedicated to the meme/award sucks and b)no one read that shit anyway.

    Comments, I used to reply to every single comment, but I've stopped now. Sometimes, you can only type thankyou so many times before your fingers drop off and head explosions occur.

  3. Thanks Ladies -

    Mighty helpful and Merry Christmas to you!


  4. I like your blog a lot, content and your simple design (not sure if I have commented in the past, but have been reading for a while). I partiucularly love the photo at the top.

    Regarding replying to comments, it seems to me that it is a British thing, I had not noticed people doing it on US sites. Sjhows how lovely Brits are, I guess!

    I barely have the time to blog, so rarely reply to the few comments I get, though I always intend to! I don't usually go back to blogs I have commented on (or remember to click 'email follow up comments') so don't even notice if I was thanked or acknowledged for my comments, and I certainly don't expect to be!

    For the same reason forget to do the meme things, though I do like them.

    Twitter I just joined and kind of like. I just follow bloggers I like, a few profesional organization and a few actual real life friends.

    Facebook I use mainly for people I know in real life, though I have started to cross over the worlds a little.

    Looking forward to reading more from you next year, Merry Christmas!

  5. LOL!! Yeah - I could have written this myself (only I've never actually heard of a 'meme'....). I feel (kind of) bad that the whole 'awards' thing makes me feel uncomfortable, confused and slightly enraged - but hey, at least I'm not alone.... Happy New Year and keep it up.


  6. I'm with the others. I respond to every comment because it is an excellent work avoidance tactic. Awards, like getting them, will occasinally in a massive flurry of work avoidance pass them on, but not so good on the 10 things I didn't know about you side of it. Facebook, twitter - you know about a facebook fan page? YOu are so the pro. Bells and whistles websites? Just want to read you because you write well... Have a great Christmas and write more in the New Year - I look forward to your posts!

  7. Ha, at least you actually manage to post regularly which is more than can be said for me. Regarding awards and whatnot, I take part in them because but don't expect people I pass them on to to respond - it does take time and I can see why they're not for everyone.

    Wishing you a very happy Christmas! Looking forward to reading more of your writing next year x

  8. I think you should do what you damn well please darling! I do reply to every comment but I don't know why .... it is a bit of a waste of time. As for facebook it is riddled with wierdos so I have gone off it.At least with blogging people have a blog so you have a vague idea who they are. I say play fast and loose with blogging conventions and stay a maverick. Happy christmasxx

  9. Happy Christmas troutie - and am loving the hat in the post below. Such a thing would probably come in very useful where I'm headed in 10 days time. And no response necessary...

  10. Thanks for letting me off the hook ladies, You are all far too kind. x

  11. I have managed to stay away (yes, A W A Y) from my laptop AND my notebook for, wait for it.... 5 days now, what with all the festive euphoria and eating and drinking and stuff (ok, mostly drinking - I have finally discovered that when it all gets too much and I start to stress out, the answer is another drink... You would think at my age I would already know this).

    I digress.

    Re comments: I am pretty crap at responding, even though I love getting them and am woefully disappointed when I post something (I think) witty, but NO ONE says anything. Aside from my mother, but that doesn't count.

    Re meme: WTF? No idea. Give me a business plan please.

    Awards: fun. I like. I try to pass them on. Think I gave you one?

    Social networking. Yeah, FB and all that. The one thing I love about it is that I can delete 'friends'... and then watch as some of them come back and say something like "I noticed you are no longer a friend? Is something wrong?" Yes, you loser, your endless drivel and idiotic comments about how the bus was late and the cat ate your last chocolate and OMG it is raining were just too much to bear. I did 'hide' you, but then thought better of it. Delete. Ha ha ha ha ha. Oh I am so easily pleased.

    Twitter: I have enough issues with the number of remote controls in our household. I have to get my 6yo to turn the TV on (probably explains a lot). More technology to waste my time with? Not right now thanks.

    Re low tech site: after much faffing (I emphasise the 'much'), I even managed to make mine a tad better and had a new header designed. Mind you, I was also not back working then, so had more opportunities to spend endless hours trying to get my head around code and java and stuff. And boy, did that hurt.

    Prognosis: keep writing. I love reading it regardless of all the above.

    LCM x

  12. Sara in Austin,TX29 December 2009 at 18:27

    I love your blog !

    I read all the time
    Please don't get all responsive or
    put up fancy crap on the page

    I love you just the way you are !