I was going to call this post, ‘Shit they don’t tell you about blogging’, but…christ, every person with a blog writes a fucking post about how to be a great and successful blogger like a bunch of people I’ve never heard of [they’re probably mommybloggers, the popular girl clique of the internet that won’t ever notice me because I refuse to reproduce].
And I’m not going to wade through all that shit, because wading through it seems to require buying this helpful book, or watching these helpful videos, and…fucking christ, really? No.
But good job finding a way to make money from desperate people. I’m not gonna play, though.
I’m just gonna wade into this all ignorant-like.
Well, mostly ignorant-like. I did find a lot of ‘blogging as a journey of self-discovery’ and ‘blogging helps your career’. One ‘Don’t worry about typos or grammar issues’ which nearly made me track down where the internet lives and burn its fucking house down because it was on the same page as a recommendation that you spend fucking weeks researching your posts and citing them properly and everything else, as if each blog post was an end-of-term research project that counted for all of your fucking grades.
Do you see the contradiction there? Holy shit.
I don’t have a proven formula for succeeding at blogging. That should be blindingly obvious to all five of my readers — a pretty sad readership for someone who’s had the same URL for, like, a fucking decade.
There is no formula. Or, if there is, it takes up three walls painted with whiteboard paint, involves a symbol for ‘luck’, and, once you’ve worked out all the variables and interpreted everything else, you find out that the entire fucking mess was contained within parentheses, and the next operation you have to perform involves subtracting every instance of ‘fuck’.
What I want to talk about is the weird shit that happens when you start blogging. And, of course, it’s going to involve anxiety, because I can’t fucking go anywhere without anxiety.
When you start out, you’ll probably go with a default. And that’ll be fine for a little bit.
Then you’ll get irritated for no apparent reason. You’ll develop some sort of exposure-instigated allergy to the perfectly fine look you started out with, and you’ll start looking around for something better. You might even decide to learn how to do your own, if you’re on a service that allows for that.
This will continue to happen. You’ll find something, be happy for a bit, and then start itching like you just rolled around in insulation, and start the process all over again.
Search Term Fixation
At some point, you’ll probably hear the term ‘SEO’, or something, and you’ll get curious about how people are finding your site. Or if they are. So you’ll track down the thing that lets you see how people are finding you.
Then, you’ll find out that people are finding you while looking for animal sex and child porn, or hilarious combinations of search terms. And you’ll start sharing them with people, perpetuating the cycle.
About the same time you hear the term SEO, you’ll probably also read about how, if you want to succeed, you have to interact with your readers, and let them interact with you. And you’ll read about trackbacks and linkbacks, and, once you’ve found the Bullshit to English dictionary, you figure out that this all has to do with comments.
So you check and see if you have your comments turned on. If they’re not, you turn them on.
And all you get is spam.
So, what the fuck do you do? Moderation? That seems like a good idea. But that just means you’re deleting everything, because nobody real is commenting.
What do you do then? Do you make a bitchy post about people not commenting? Do you assume that everyone’s just too intimidated by your blinding brilliance?
Or maybe you’ve just made it too hard for real people to comment, with all the spam prevention.
I’m guessing here, but the reason I don’t get very many comments is probably because it’s much easier to interact with me on Facebook. Person comments there, I get an alert, I reply, they get an alert. It’s all very easy. And the options I’ve offered here [Facebook and…some other thing, I honestly don’t remember] are pretty limited, and only in place because, seriously, fuck spammers. And fuck sockpuppeting assholes who just want to troll me.
I’d turn the comments off, but, well, I don’t really accept random friend requests from people who don’t have mutual friends, and I’m not really active anywhere else.
Is it done? Is it coherent?
Fuck it. Seriously. And fuck spending weeks on a single post. I only panic after the fact: Oh shit, what did I just do?
Then: Fuck it, nobody will read this shit anyway.
What’s My Thing?
By now, you’re elbow-deep in your blog, and knee-deep in ‘how to blog’ bullshit, and you’ve discovered that you’re supposed to have a ‘thing’. Knitting or parenthood or photography or travel or fast food or something.
I don’t get this. Obviously.
Why none of it matters.
As you can see, I don’t really care much about any of this. Yeah, I’ve got an ad, but, well, having this shit costs money, and it kinda covers that. I think. Maybe.
I’ve been through the tracking visitors phase [really useful when trying to work out who’s trolling and where from, and how many there really are], and the listing of search terms. I still peek at my search terms, just in case something really funny happens, or in case I want to see that I’m suddenly getting a lot of hits from ‘john arkle cofee chick’ [seriously, exactly that, so, um, sic or something] and ‘zenmonk_genryu’. Y’know, so I can expect another series of messages from a fake process server or something.
I’ve lost count of redesigns and relaunches, because I really have had this URL, and evilcoffeechick, for about a decade. Maybe a little more. Which is why I can tell you one thing, for sure, from a position of almost-authority.
Doing anything online — blogging, a YouTube channel, whatever — is whispering in a room full of a million other people trying to make themselves heard over the running-full-throttle jet engines suspended from the ceiling.
If those other people do notice you, they might just throw you into one of the turbines.