Monday, 19 July 2010

A Weekend of Cyber Surfing

Greetings Readers!
How did you spend your weekend? Did you have fun? Go to places you've never been before? Meet new and interesting people? Get drunk?

I did all of the above, and more.... well, I virtually did - I didn't actually get drunk because the whole experience was traumatic enough without alcohol being involved!

I spent the entire weekend doing "research" on blogging, whilst making my first foray into the world of marketing my blog in an attempt to increase the "traffic" to my site, thus making it theoretically more attractive to would-be advertisers, resulting in my getting one step closer to my dream of supporting myself by writing random rubbish, instead of just inflicting it on my friends (who are few, but very tolerant - so far!

It was scary, very scary.

But I learned many useful lessons, including:

1/.The blogging community can be split into three distinct groups - those writing blogs on how to blog (90%), those writing "tips on sewing" blogs" (90%), political blogs (3%), sickly sweet "here's our happy family" blogs (5%), everyone else (4%), British bloggers (0.01%, if that), Scottish bloggers writing about Scottish scenery/where to visit,Scottish history or shortbread (0.001%, which is 0.001% too many, but only 'cos they're all so predictably boring! Nothing wrong with the subject matter, but lighten up, and stop using tartan backgrounds everywhere!), Scottish humour blogs = 1 person (in Glasgow - where they're all comedians anyway, but this one could at least write (oooh, controversial!)). I did find a Scottish political blog roundup site, but I only realised this after I had submitted my blog for inclusion (ooops!).

2/.That my expertise in the field of percentage maths is imaginary, at best (do I care?).

3/.That there is an site called Linkbait Generator, which is a free service for bloggers who are looking for inspiration for titles for their blogposts, using keywords which should generate lots of hits in search engines. You enter a word or two into the Linkbait generator and it, in turn, spews forth a random title (which includes your selected words) for you, so that you can skip away to your picnic, interview with social services, wifeswap party (or whatever), safe in the knowledge that your next post is virtually in the bag. It's hilarious!

I'm now ready to write so many, many posts on so many, many new and interesting subjects (I can hear you all clapping with sheer glee at the prospect)!

Subjects such as:

"8 ways Dudeism can help you survive a plane crash" (original word = Dudeism)

"7 cynical ways politicians have exploited goodies and baddies" (o.w. = goodies and baddies)

"7 reasons why Buzz Lightyear gets better with alcohol" (Buzz Lightyear)

"5 BS facts about my mum that everyone thinks are true" (my mum)

"10 of the biggest screw ups of all time" ( *left searchbox blank to see what would happen*)

The frightening thing is that you can see the sense of the article that would follow each title. Each title has some kind of deep and meaningful, like, thing, like, deep meaning, or truth, or something. Whatever. read them over again and you'll see what I mean (especially the last one, it's like spooky that I'd left the search term blank. It almost like the LG machine talking to the World, man - warning us!).

As a dudeist priest, I have now decided to adopt Linkbait Generator as my official oracle.

I spent faaar tooooo long on this site, having lots of fun and wanting to read the posts that the LG title machine had come up with (the one's that probably actually exist somewhere, written by previous visitors to this site) - well, wouldn't you want to read them? While it was definately quality time spent, it wasn't getting the marketing done. So I finally dragged myself away from it.

Then I got my blog approved by blogger networking site Blogcatalog  (still trying to get used to the wrong American way of spelling it), but only after joining in a newbie blogger group discussion and completely embarassing myself. Too embarassed to tell you. Oh, ok then, since you insist. It went like this:

I joined a group within Blogcatalog for newbie bloggers. I asked how to hyperlink one's blog address to one's comment. That was my first comment/question. I waited for an answer. And waited. After two days, which was a pretty long time for this very active group, I posted a second comment/question, this time asking if everyone had gone on their holidays or was it just too stupid a question for anyone to bother answering (I was restraining myself from being too sarcastic)? I then added, in my third comment, that I'd bet that it would be something really stupid, like that I'd type the address in with the comment (at this point I typed address in with comment), and it'd come up automatically hyperlinked (it did), and that I'd end up feeling stupid (I did).

After this I added a final comment, apologising for my stupidity.

This conversation that I had solely with myself is now lodged out there in the virtual world, for all the cool people to see. And the sewing bloggers. Everyone. As a testimony to my stupidity. Go me.

So then I tried having some comment conversations with other bloggers. This has resulted in me now adopting the phrase " *WARNING - CONTAINS SOME BRITISH WIT AND SLIGHT SARCASM* " when submitting a description of my blog to would be publishers. I think that gives you, dear readers, some clue as to those conversations.

That stereotypes are there for a reason. The reason being - THEY'RE GENERALLY TRUE!

And that, before blogging, I felt marginalised as a Scot. Now I feel like I'm part of an endangered species! It's made me bond more with the concept of being British, rather than purely Scottish. There are so few of us out there using British-style sarcasm and putting each other down with a few well-aimed ironic barbs. My face would light up every time I read a blog which mentioned "fish n chips" or "as reported in "The Sun", whether humourous blog or not. And, where the pre-blogger me used to embrace the idea of being Europian, not now my friends. They're all mad. 

But I have certainly developed a new understanding of how us Scots have landed ourselves with aspects of our stereotype-selves, as I realised that blogs I enjoyed made me want to make friends with the blogger authors, but expose me to reading various other blogs (which shall remain nameless), and immediately an absolute brainful of beautifully provocative or fluidly insulting comments would spring into my mind and jump around trying to be picked for me to leave as comments on whichever poor, unsuspecting bloggers site I happened to be visiting. It was very hard to resist. Not because I'm a vindictive person, but because some insults/jokes, once conceived, are simply too good NOT to use. It was painful at times. The problem was that these same jibes sprang to mind when I wanted to make friends, this time in an "I recognise a fellow wit - excellent - let the sarcasm flow!" kind of way. I'm beginning to see how Scots may have developed a reputation for being slightly agressive - even when we're being friendly (which is actually most of the time!).

But there were also upsides.

For example, I discovered that I like Canadians who insist on spelling things correctly, namely "neighbour" not "neighbor", and "humour" not "humor", etc.

I discovered a site devoted exclusively to bizarre images of animals (used one or two in this post, you may have noticed).

And I also discovered some excellent sites, and some excellently wierd sites (e.g. this one), and some other sites which I might introduce to you in later posts.......

But that, in marketing parliance, is a teaser...............

Bye bye now, and don't forget to look out for my next post:

"10 moustaches the government are trying to keep secret"

Until then, I'll leave you with this lovely, happy family photo. Or is it?



Anji said...

Who are you sat on?

The best place to find out how things work is always the forum. (Not just because I'm chief forum administrator on EYB) There is always someone who’s had the same problem as you, which is a great comfort I can tell you. Did I tell you about the time I couldn’t log myself into the EYB forum?…

There is a forum for everything – if you look.

Anonymous said...

Hello, neighbor. I hope you realize that I enjoy the humor in your blog. You are one of my new favorites. It is an honor to read your ramblings. Your prose is skilful and colorful, and I will hear no argument on the matter.

Silly Brit.

Rhetoric Camel said...

awesome post I like this. Got half way through reading this and then I got stuck on LinkBait generator myself. Pretty cool idea for coming up with titles, unfortunately I don't think it's anything I'd ever use as a guide for my blog titles. Maybe there is something out there somewhere that would be helpful.

I'm on blogcatalog to. Pretty cool site, lots of blogs to explore. Can easily get caught up reading blog after blog after blog.

Love the Brit humour (when I type humour firefox tells me it's spelled wrong, when I type humor it tells me it's spelled right, along with catalogue, honour, and so on with your wacky Brit/Scot spelling)

Brand New Day said...

(note to Anji - it's not a photo of my family, or anyone I know)