Tag Archives: internet

Journal & Blog

Lots of my studying lately has been bringing up evolution of consciousness.

I spent over 20 years writing my thoughts in journals read only by me.

Somehow I imagined blogging would be even better, inviting new perspectives to shine their unique light on my own point of view.

Despite the rare meaningful encounter, I have arrived at total disillusionment.

This medium appears to be all flash, self-promotion and tediously predictable argument.

I no longer know how to approach it.

That’s all for now.

So Big

Sometimes I surf the internet, like bein’ at the seashore, and I realize that, wow, this ocean is so freakin’ big. I’m just a tiny wave makin’ my way up the beach. Raising even tinier waves.

It’s just so big.

Facebook plug

This is why I shouldn’t look at stats.

Yesterday I had 151 hits. WordPress says it links to a Facebook plug, but it won’t show me exactly where. So surely it must be someone I don’t even know, or else it would show up on my Facebook feed?

Anyway, my stats go from around 10 per day to 151. But resulting in only a couple of comments, and those are from 1. A dear fellow blogger who comments all the time and 2. A wonderful blogger on whose blog I just commented yesterday. Absurd.

I hate numbers sometimes. I like people, face to face, talking, sharing, laughing, mulling things over in a communal setting. Ideally over food.

I have come to like math though, don’t get me wrong. I have come to appreciate the poetry of it, the tidy organized reality of how numbers fit together like a puzzle.

But statistics? The thing that makes students cry when forced to study it? The thing that rules our lives, that we beat each other over the head with to prove that we are right and they are stupid?

Not much love there.

I want to be read. I want to be heard, but also to be commented on and challenged. Tell me where my logic fails, tell me how I made you feel, tell me if I have spoken the words you wanted to say or if I am just blowing hot air.

Go on. I can take it.

Pseudonyms for the young’uns

There seem to be two types of blogger parents on the internet: those who use pseudonyms for their kids, and those who don’t.

I think the only problem I have with the pseudonymers is that they inspire me to thoughtful reflections such as: Oh crap, are my kids in mortal danger because I’ve used their first names on the internet???!!!

Hope no one learns my secret identity!

Hope no one learns my secret identity!

My father is really big on privacy. This adds to my general paranoia. “Never tell anybody anything ever about anything! Less than that, if possible!” is the philosophy he raised me on. And this is BEFORE widespread use of the internet. This is just your average run of the mill caveman safety protocol, as far as he’s concerned. “What’s my name? None of your g.d. freakin’ business, you weirdo pervert! Jerk! Get away from me!”

And then I go ahead and say things like, “And Hank, age 4, dug a tunnel across our property line to bury and detonate secret fire crackers.” Or whatever crazy thing he’s done lately.  “Gwen, age 2, has stolen the neighbor’s gnome and has repainted its nose a flaming purple after removing its ears.”

I hear sirens at this very moment.

No one will ever recognize me in these shades!

No one will ever recognize me in these shades!

And the pseudonyms that bloggers use are always so painfully cutely adorable. “Munchkin scrumpkin jolly baby squid” or some such. Good lord, I already came up with names for these people, do I have to do it again?

Do these pseudonymers think that DSS or CPS, or whatever acronym the Child Police are using these days, has access to their blog? Because if this is true, I guess I’m genuinely screwed.

“Olivia, age 9, lined up Daddy’s beer cans on the fence so she and her friends could bet pennies on who could knock down the most by throwing empty shotgun shells at them.”

Why is the phone ringing?

Olivia is reduced to wearing a disguise to protect what's left of her privacy...

And if the kids hate that I’ve been talking about them and revealing their secret superhero identity, they can always change their names.

Like I did. Like my husband did.

Like my oldest did.

Names are a dime a dozen. My little petunia fluffy bunny nut.

The names in this story have been changed to protect the innocent.

(Oh, crap, I forgot to change the names, didn’t I? “Go see who’s at the door, uber-cutey-love!”)

"Who's that trip-trappin' over my bridge?" Garth in battle helmet guards the family estate

StumbleUpon

Who actually uses this?

I can’t really diss it, because since I’ve started “suggesting” my blog posts to it, I’ve gotten many more hits.

But I’ve never been on the stumbling end of it.

Do people think this search engine can surf better than they can?

Does it really turn you on to tons of great stuff?

Seems like just another addiction, like Twitter and Facebook, bidding on Ebay, and now Pinterest, which is yet another “you have to be invited, you friendless slob” arrangement, like Google + was (maybe still is?)  Are people seriously so desperate for acceptance that they would assume that an invitation to these things is worth pursuing, or that once they get into the club there will be some kind of awesome party going on? Because let me tell you, the novelty of Google + wore off pretty damn fast. Now it’s just an echo chamber.

I admit I’m prejudiced against this StumbleUpon thing because my husband uses it and actually reads some of the blog posts he trips over, (or however you want to describe the magical “chance” encounter between surfer and site). Being a “real” writer (evidently words are only worth reading when their author has been paid), he normally insults bloggers and their output to no end and doesn’t ever read mine unless I happen to insist. Which I’ve done precisely twice, I believe.

So a search engine that inspires my husband to read blog posts that aren’t mine? Ummmmm…. not gonna like it. (It’s even more fun when he recommends blog posts for me to read. “That’s just so special that ums has found an interesting blog post by a total stranger! It’s too bad ums doesn’t know any bloggers more local that are worth reading!”)

Unless it gets me more hits. In which case, I’ll certainly supply it with plenty of fodder!

In fact, I think I will suggest this very post to it.

If you’ve read this thanks to StumbleUpon, be sure to give it a nice pat on the back here in my comments section!

Or if you adore StumbleUpon for some reason, please, enlighten me.

Publicize Yourself!

I was raised to be modest. Keep your skirt covering your knees and that sort of thing. Don’t toot your own horn.

But here we are in the age of information and networking and I’m supposed to be tooting away, skirt hiked up revealingly.

I recently had an interesting discussion with myself on the subject which didn’t help get my name out there but did land me a head writer position here at Wise Way Tribe:

Do you “like” your own stuff?

Well hell yeah, I love my stuff. I’m the best damn blogger west of the Pecos.

We’re east of the Pecos.

If you started flying west from the Pecos, you’d eventually end up here, and you wouldn’t pass any better bloggers before you got here. Besides, I know a really great blogger in Tennessee.

Yes but do you publicly “like” yourself?

I was taught that was best done in private.

No but do you hit the “like” button so that everyone knows that you think you’re all that and a sack of chips? Or do you wait patiently for someone else to come along and decide that you are, indeed, a tasty tidbit, and hopefully take the time to push your buttons for you.

Again, I think that sort of thing oughta be done in private…

Well do you “+1” yourself?

I really only have time for the one blog right now.

Have you ever “stumbled upon” yourself?

Occasionally I can’t find quite the right word I’m looking for…

Do you “tweet” yourself?

That sounds painful.

Linked In?

Well I’ve got to have the cord plugged into that doo-hickey or I’m not online.

Do you Yahoo?

You know sometimes I just write something so doggone spectacular it makes me feel like saying just that. How did you know?

It doesn’t sound like you expose yourself much. You should publicly share much more than you do.

Again, my mother really wouldn’t approve.

Self-promotion is where it’s at, man!

That’s true. And while I’m at it, I’ll give myself a raise as well!

So this is how I ended up as head writer. And since I don’t have any budget for paying myself, let alone giving myself a raise, I’ve decided to reward myself with a piece of chocolate for every blog post.

This blog may not make me famous, but at least they treat their writers right.

Excuse me now while I go devour a Special Dark.

Where’s my medal?

I’m amused by the new motivational tactics of the WordPress site – how it sets a goal for me (it’s always a number of posts… how can they be sure that I’m not hoping to cut red meat from my diet or grow a great crop of carrots?) and then gives me a big ol’ cyber pat on the back for my latest accomplishment.

I’m coming up on post 100 – surely there will be some kind of music playing when I hit “publish,” a little John Phillips Sousa with the sound of fireworks in the background should get me where I need to be.

Are we just all so indoctrinated by school and whatnot that we need the lure of a piece of candy to get anything done around here?

These WordPress people aren’t working out of a windowless, unmarked van, are they?

Still, it’s cute. I’ll take kudos wherever I can get them.

My latest motivation to post, other than not wanting to disappoint my mentors here at WordPress, has been just to get one up every day. Purely chronologically-driven writing schedule. Did you wake up? Has the date on your cellphone changed? Then post something already.

So far so good.

What do you use to motivate you to write?

The Challenge of Stat Watching

Or not watching stats, is the part that’s hard for me.

I’ve explained that blogging is a step on a writing journey that began with journaling, which began when I was old enough to write.

When you’re seven in 1977 and you’re writing in a Snoopy diary with a flimsy lock, there’s no danger of checking the stats on how many views you’ve had and having it rattle your cage.

My first blog was The World According to e which I had for a couple of years. One time, near as I can figure, the fact that I linked to an article on cnn.com resulted in them linking to my blog in their “readers comments” section or some such, for maybe a minute and a half but it was enough to get me 90 views that day.

Previous to that I’d be lucky to get 10.

Well, new benchmark, I was thrilled. How to get it back up there? I knew it would be tough to hit 90 again but I knew I’d never be happy with 10 again. I linked to their stories, adding my own thoughtful commentary, of course, tried to add more interesting photos to my posts, fussed over details.

The words got lost in the obsession with numbers.

My blog was never the same again. Soon thereafter I “took a break,” then gave up entirely.

Yesterday, on this here new blog of mine, someone linked one of my posts to Facebook. This time my new daily high is 177 views. Up from a daily average of 5.

Once I’d realized what had happened, I was rushing in to check on the computer every half hour or so to see how high the numbers were getting.

My mind began once again to race, wondering how I could promote myself to keep my numbers high, to keep the views flowing in.

But I’m not a number person. I’m a word person. I’m going to stay a word person. (No offense to numbers. I’ve learned to enjoy playing with them. But as soon as they get too close I poke them with a stick and send them scurrying back under their rocks.)

I’m going to keep on the Wise Way, welcoming Tribe members as they arrive, whenever and however they arrive. When it comes to my personal mathematics, one Tribe member > 10,000 invisible stat views.

To paraphrase (or butcher, as the case may be) the song from Finding Nemo:
“Just keep writing,
just keep writing,
just keep writing, writing, writing,
what do we do?
we write, write, write.”

p.s. Despite all my pithering above, I am truly grateful that someone thought enough of my writing to share it. That was seriously cool and greatly appreciated.

The Nature of a Blog

I had the insane idea this morning that I should challenge myself to write one post a day every day next year.

Talk about setting oneself up for failure.

What I come up against, over and over, is polished versus organic.

Is the goal of this blog to have shiny, perfect essays with which to dazzle readers?

The idea pops into my head when I see the amazing things other people consistently do with their blogs. I covet the appearance of being an award-winning, high traffic site.

The reality is, my current circumstances do not allow for me to even finish a sentence, much less a thought. This frustrates me to no end, but should I sit in silence because I can’t turn out the most amazing post you ever saw?

No, if I sit for a minute and forget about what everyone else is doing, I don’t think the value of my blog, or my life for that matter, is to be grandstandingly impressive. No one ever has or ever will look at me or get to know me and think, holy crap, she’s hella polished, dude!

My chocolate chip cookies are going to look imperfect, but taste awesome.

My children will go out in public in mismatched clothes, but be kind and polite (that’s the goal, anyway!)

My hair will be wild but clean.

My garden will look like a jungle but will yield deliciousness (knock wood.)

My blog will be a disorganized ramble, but will be accessible, useful, inspired, or inspiring. Sometimes all at once.

If you’re along for the ride, it might seem like I don’t have a map. Cuz I don’t. Who knows where we’re going. But we’re going to hit a couple great restaurants on the way, all of which look like dives on the outside but serve authentic grub on the inside. We’re going to meet some real people who tell us some great stories and show us where the non-touristy, must-see spots are. We won’t think twice about sittin’ a spell, watchin’ the flora and fauna until we’ve soaked in that moment in time and it becomes a part of us, more than any paper photo or digitally recorded image could ever be.

The Wise Way may not be clearly marked, smoothly paved or dotted with modernized rest stops, but it’ll get us where we need to be.

New Social Network or Another Noisy Pocket of Silence?

Google +. Are we excited yet? The only discussion I’ve heard so far is, will it kill Facebook and/or Twitter the way Facebook apparently killed Myspace? Having never used Twitter, I can’t speak to that issue. However, being a former Myspace user as well as a Facebooker for a few years now, I have a few opinions.

I think the common wisdom says that those of us on Facebook, and there are a crap-ton, will be loathe to move everything to a new place when Facebook seems to work fine. Myspace had gotten too cluttered and once a few people abandoned it, it seemed the exodus was unstoppable. I think we are too entrenched in Facebook to just walk away.

That being said, I think there are a couple of reasons that make a new network appealing. First is simply the chance to reinvent yourself. Precisely because I filled in all the blanks in my Facebook persona years ago, starting over on a fresh page, revealing updated information and current quirks, is fun and satisfying. I think this desire to uncover one’s present identity, after all the events and life experience lived since we appeared on Facebook for the first time, will inspire a great number of people to take the time to sign up on Google +.

And second, a new social network offers the allure of a happening place. It may just be me, but 9 times out of 10, when I sign into Facebook, I may find one good quote or link shared by a friend, or one compelling status update, but for the most part it’s people telling me from their cell phone that they’ve “checked into” Chili’s restaurant (thanks for rubbing that in my face) or that they’ve leveled up on the latest virtual attempt at having a life (time to hide yet ANOTHER game). I am almost always ashamed at how pathetic I’ve been to waste the time getting online and pretending that I’ll find some kind of meaningful connection.

Google + keeps the dream alive.

Do you have any thoughts, predictions or tips to share on the newest trend in social networking, or about our virtual lives in general?