Posts Tagged ‘Blogging’

Today I’m trying something I’ve never done during the five years I’ve been blogging. (My fifth anniversary was just after the beginning of the new year.)  I hope you’re sitting dow when I tell you that…

I’m going to take a cyber break.

Whaaaaaaat?

© janet m. webb 2016

Yes, it’s true.  I’m leaving today for Arizona to spend ten days with my parents, who don’t have internet.  While I’m there, I usually head over to the library every day to do my blog, read other blogs, check email, etc. as quickly as possible. This year, I’m going to not do most of those things. Although I’ll check (and delete most) email, I’m not going to be blogging or reading blogs during that time.  I will respond to any comments, however.

I anticipate it will be very difficult, because I haven’t missed a blogging day in five years and I enjoy it.  I also enjoy reading everyone’s blogs.  But I also anticipate that it will be both freeing and relaxing and that it’s something I need the discipline to do.

So TTFN.  I’m already longing to see y’all on the 31st.  In the meantime, all the best and don’t spend too much time online!

In the words from a book I read many, many, many years ago:

Don’t make a stranger of yourself.  Don’t forget me.  ‘Bye.

My name’s Janet and I’m an addict.

It began innocently enough just over four years ago.  It wasn’t my fault.  My husband and younger daughter are to blame.  They told me, “You love to write.  You’ll love blogging You’ll be good at it.”  After a time, I took the plunge, soldiering through the process of actually setting up my blog.  The last step (as my muddled mind recalls) was to enter the name of my blog.  Name?  I’m supposed to have a name?  Not wanting to start the process again, I decided on something to cover all bases:  “This, that, and the other thing.”  The first step down the road to addiction was taken.

Initially, I wrote…about this, that, and the other thing.  I reveled in the first non-family person to “like” one of my blog posts and the first to hit “follow.”  I sourced my few photos online (with attribution), until I realized that it was difficult to find some that I knew were available for use and weren’t going to infringe on someone else’s work.  Even free clip art isn’t always free (go figure) and any photos I wanted to use, I didn’t unless I asked permission.

Then I got an iPhone and a digital SLR and things changed again.

I discovered how easy it was to use my own photos. I discovered challenges,both writing and photographic, a great way to meet bloggers and get people to visit your blog.  BUT (and as you can see, that’s a big “but”), you have to be prepared to visit lots of other blogs, which is fun, but also time-consuming.  Eventually I discovered editing apps for my photos and another addiction was truly enabled.

And I discovered something I really love:  meeting and talking with new people, people all over the world, with no long-distance costs.  I experienced the joy of meeting some of these people in person.  I discovered that I was blogging every day and couldn’t imagine missing a day, even when it felt overwhelming, when I struggled to keep up with all the blogs I followed.  I discovered my blogging time was sometimes fighting with time for  real life.

I’m addicted to blogging.
I fight to keep control of blogging, rather than letting it control me.
It’s an ongoing battle, one I fight each day to win.

Towards the end of January 2016, I’ll have blogged daily, sometimes more than once, for four years.  Hard to believe.  While I started out with only writing, sometimes with photos borrowed (with attribution or permission) from the internet, my blogs moved now to mostly photos.  I’m trying to bring back more of a balance, but we’ll see how that goes.

Anyway, it’s interested me to see which posts are the most popular, so I waded through the stats pages to find the following.

The most viewed in one day post, as I linked it to something on FB, was a grammar post I titled “The drop of an “at.” When I saw it had garnered 473 views, pushing my total for that day to 598, I couldn’t believe it.  Unfortunately, most of the viewers didn’t bother to “like” or comment, but it still made me feel good.  Total views of that post have been 823.

My most liked post was a Weekly Photo Challenge shot, “Depth…water droplet.  This has been viewed 384 times and reached 254 likes.  Will I ever be able to top that?  I don’t know, but I’ll keep trying.

But sometimes a post takes on a life of its own.  My post with the most staying power and overall views, is one I did back on December 9, 2012: Story of Stalin’s war…Al Stewart’s Roads to Moscow.  I didn’t have many followers then and the original post only got 16 likes and 4 comments, two of which were probably mine.  But with a persistence which continually surprises me, this post has been viewed 1,595 times!!  Rarely a day goes by without a view (no likes or comments) and I just shake my head and smile.  Who’s viewing this and why don’t they respond?  Is it linked somewhere obscure, somewhere that people find and then come to my post.  I Googled “Al Stewart’s Road’s to Moscow” and didn’t find it.  But when I put in “Stalin’s War, Al Stewart”, my link came up first!  🙂

Thanks for “listening” to my ramblings and for being a follower of my blog…or at least a reader.  I love meeting and talking with people from all over the world via my blog (and theirs) and even meeting some of them.  I also love finding out what you’re doing and thinking via your blogs, although I can’t begin to regularly get to as many as I’d like and still have any sort of non-computer life.

Speaking of non-computer life, I’m out of here and into the real world.  🙂  See you soon!  If you go over to view the Story of Stalin’s War, “like” (if you do) and comment.  It will change everything.  And do take time to listen to the song.  It’s wonderfully sad.

Earlier this week, my follower list popped over 2,000, even though I’ve never been Freshly Pressed or featured in any way. I think that deserves a post: a post to say thank you so much for being one of those followers.

Yes, I know that the majority of you never surface, probably never read any of my posts. I’d be happy at any time to hear what you like or don’t like about the blog and to get to know you, too. That’s entirely up to you.

But for the large group who faithfully stops in all or most days to follow whatever path I’m on, thank you!  I know the time it takes to make me part of your day. I enjoy knowing you, talking with you, learning a bit more about you and your part of the world, and learning from you.  You know who you are.  I’m truly thankful for you.

IMG_9304

Sweet!! Yesterday was my three-year anniversary, both of being on WordPress and of blogging. I’ve managed at least a post per day during that time and enjoyed every minute of it. And though I’ve yet to be Freshly Pressed, except by circumstances beyond my control, I’m thrilled at how well my blog and I have been received.

SO…Thanks to all of you who follow This, that and the other thing, (even the majority who follow and are never seen or heard from), and especially to all the lovely people I’ve met who read, comment, and engage in conversation with me on a regular basis.  You’re the reason I blog and the reward for all the time I spend on my blog.  I’ve been blessed to meet some of you in person and hope and plan to meet more of you as time goes on. 

To those of you who’ve never surfaced, please come up for air sometime and let me know you’re alive.  I want to know what you (all of you) enjoy about the blog, what stimulates your thoughts, what soothes your souls, and even if you disagree with something I wrote. 

Thanks to my husband and younger daughter who encouraged, even forced, me to start blogging.  You enriched my life beyond words by doing that and your faith that I could do it made all the difference.

Thanks to each and every one of you for adding so much joy to my life.  I’m sending you this delicious dessert to enjoy calorie-free as a token of my appreciation and I look forward to seeing you tomorrow…and the next day, and the next day, and…

Take your camera to lunch.

Let’s face it.  Every blogger, although s/he loves a “like”, really wants to read some praise-filled comments!  You know it’s true!  Yet how often do you read a post you love or view a photo that you wish you’d taken, yet not really know how best to comment?

Part of the problem is time–so many posts, so little time. But an important aspect of being a good follower is to take the time to let the blogger know what you like about the post.  Every blogger looks forward to reading complimentary comments, but there can easily be so  much more to a comment than “Great post.”  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying you should never use those two words.  But it’s simple to make your comment just a little bit better and to vary what you write in that comment section.

The obvious is true.  Be specific when mentioning what strikes your fancy. Do you love the twist at the ending of the story or that the story made you feel good? Are the colors in the photo vivid or does the photo remind you of good times in your past? Mention those things and the writer/photographer will love to hear from you.

But you don’t always have the time to comment in-depth. So let’s consider that word “great.” Yes, every blogger wants to hear that you love the post. However, many comments overuse a few words, hence my suggestion that you periodically resort to the thesaurus. The thesaurus is a “great” way to find some descriptive words that not everyone is using. Here’s what a cursory search found:

adj. exhibiting expertise in some activity

brilliant
champion
distinguished

excellent
expert
first-rate

master
outstanding

superb
virtuoso

Or perhaps something from this list would be more like you:

adj. held in great respect

A-1
A-OK
ace
attractive
best ever
cat’s pajamas
choice
commendable
cool

copacetic
crackerjack
deserving
dream
estimable
excellent
exquisite
fine
good

great
greatest
hunky dory
keen
laudable
meritable
meritorious
neat
out of sight

out of this world
peachy
praiseworthy
rare
solid
super
super-duper
superior
unreal

valuable
wicked
wonderful
worthy
zero cool

(A personal favorite is “the cat’s pajamas”, a phrase my dad used to use and that I have on a cup, although I have yet to use it in a comment.)

Consider also that the internet has the effect of bringing out the superlatives in comments. How often have you read (or said) that something is “brilliant?” Are there that many things that are actually “brilliant?” What do you say if you then see something or read a piece that’s even better?

I’m not trying to discourage you from fulsome compliments in your comments. Don’t we all love a peachy/deserving/zero cool compliment?  But you might consider the thesaurus when looking to praise; if nothing else, so that your compliment stands out a bit more.  Pair the word with something specific and you’ll be the darling of the comment section.  Rather than “exquisite post”, “The colors of the rainbow are exquisite” tells the photographer what you love about the photo.  “Superb descriptions” is more to be cherished than “Superb post.”

For even more useful words in the same vein, take one minute and pop “marvelous, synonym” in your search engine and take note of what you find. Seriously! Try it. You’ll be amazed! And your comments will be the cat’s pajamas.