Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Pimp my blog

It's an odd place, the blogosphere. I like my corner of it - there are friends I visit regularly, and those who visit me. There's an awful lot of rubbish out there, but every so often I happen across a place that makes me laugh, makes me think or even just makes me cross. I pootle around, reading something here, commenting there, and that's the essence of what makes this such a wonderful medium - you can make your point or just lurk, enjoying someone elses point of view. Before I get onto the main point of this post, a small disclaimer is called for. I blog because I enjoy it. I have an awful lot of stuff floating around in my head at any given point - some of it useful, most of it rubbish. The Other Half suggested blogging to me as a way of finding some peace rather than obsessing over useless things, and it works for me. If people enjoy reading it, then that's a bonus as far as I'm concerned. Of course there's a certain narcissistic pleasure in watching my stats daily - everybody loves an audience and I'm no different. And I welcome anyone who happens by - lurkers, commenters et al. Spammers are of course a different matter - why anyone thinks I'm going to visit their random timber website on the basis of a poorly worded overlong spam comment is beyond me. Neither am I troubled with premature ejaculation, lying awake at night wondering about a cure for diabetes, or trying to figure out a solution to my web hosting issues. Still, it's all part of the game, and I accept it as such. I've made some good friends through blogging - some in the real world and some who remain in the ether. The thing that marks them out is their desire to express an opinion, and I'm conscious of my own responsibility in keeping my eye on the point of my internet existence.

My main bugbears in this arena fall into two categories. The first of which are blog pimps. There are some top blogs out there, some of which I've fallen in love with, who have subsequently pissed me off to the point of deliberately avoiding them. There's a guy from New York who, by his own admission, is fat, hopeless and reliant solely on dick jokes in an effort to retain his audience. He's made me laugh helplessly and often out loud, which is never a good thing in an office where I'm not exactly popular among my immediate management. I stay with him because in five out of any ten posts he's hilarious. However, he's one of a growing band of bloggers who are using the sort of public support that makes a blog such a warm and cosy place as a springboard to his own fame and fortune. Now, there's nothing wrong with that per se - we all dream of the celebrity (or at least the financially comfortable aspect of it) lifestyle, and blogging is certainly an effective way of honing writing skills. What I object to is either endless posts alluding to very exciting things that I as a regular reader cannot be privy to, or blatant pimping in the style of "I really hope I get a book deal off the back of this blog". Whilst I appreciate that those who consider themselves on the cusp of fame and fortune may not wish to divulge their ways in, I find it slightly offensive that someone who relentlessly begs for readership then cuts those very people off the minute they get a sniff of their ultimate goal, while simulataneously asking for donations from their readers in order for them to continue striving for success. In some cases, faithful readers are subjected to evening-class exercises in diversifying someone's writing style, which is occasionally nothing short of embarrasing. If this is coming across as sour grapes, let me assure you that it's not. I fully appreciate the power of the off-switch - and if someone irritates me enough I simply stop visiting. If I want to write a book I'll write a book. If I want public recognition I'll streak down the high street, regardless of the inevitable wincing and horror. Just let's keep these things separate, shall we?

The other aspect of blogging that drives me insane is the comment whores. Again, spamming is a separate issue. What I'm talking about is people who comment on blogs with the sole intention of pulling people into their own readership. I know from experience that blog commenting is a moral minefield - I've spent ages lurking round blogs I enjoy, wondering whether to comment or not. Of course there's the option to comment anonymously, but as I said the narcissist in us all drives us to leave our URL. So I do - but only on the basis that I feel I can comment in a way that relates to the blog that I've enjoyed or hated so much that I just had to say something. What I can't bear is people commenting in an effort to piggyback on an obviously popular blog. There's one I've recently deleted from my favourites, on the basis that any given post would elicit over a hundred comments, with at least seventy five percent of them consisting of "wow, that's really funny. I'm funny too - check me out at www.imacompletefuckwit.blogspot.com" . Yes, we all want to be heard. Yes, the commenting on your blog gives you that warm and fuzzy feeling of knowing what you have to say has made someone feel something enough to give you their take. But please, stop with the whoring.

And another thing, while I'm on my soapbox. How many of us have stopped by a blog more than once, not because we like it, but because it's deemed to be the best thing out there? Some of the blogs touted around are indeed fabulous, but some are utter, utter crap. So, to sum up. I know I have a small readership - I'm grateful for that and hope it grows. I love blogging and I love that you care enough to stop by and tell me what you think. I'll carry on reading and commenting where I feel I can contribute. Sometimes it feels like crashing a private party, especially where it seems like all the commenters know each other and you're not sure whether you should pipe up. I'll carry on dropping my URL in places where I feel the blogger might enjoy my two pennorth as much as I've liked theirs. And if I happen across someone who irritates me sufficiently, I'll tell them.

Blimey, can you tell I had another really really bad day at work today?

More wine. Immediately.

33 Comments:

Blogger car01 chimed in with...

Oooh, I'm with you all the way there Lowri (this is beginning to stick isn't it...;))

Anyway, for a fantastic blog, go to...
(actually, not mine at all - go and read a really good one. We all know which they are).

Some of the very worst blogs I've read are touted to be the best thing in the whole blogosphere, but obviously I'm missing something because I found nothing to interest me, and decided to leave.

I currently visit about 30 blogs a day; some 20 or so because I feel somewhat obliged to, and the remaining 10 for the sheer pleasure of it. Guess which category yours falls into...?

23 August, 2005 21:16  
Blogger Crash chimed in with...

Please please please tell me which High street your streaking down. Fine tits madam....

23 August, 2005 21:29  
Blogger Crash chimed in with...

Sorry and another thing... Do you think I'll ever get that book deal?



Where is the spell checker button?

23 August, 2005 21:33  
Blogger Who is this Dave? chimed in with...

OK, I can see why you might think you'll offend me, but you haven't (says he sobbing into his cornflakes). Remember, yesterday's commenter begged me to write a book, I didn't bring the subject up. But of course we'd all like the idea that what we're writing is so interesting to others that they'd actually pay to buy a copy of your book.

I won't delete the link to your blog yet, young Lowri, as I can probably annoy you just as much...

24 August, 2005 07:39  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

carol - um, obligation? (so humble...)

crash - down boy.

dave - annoy away - it passes the time

everyone - STOP CALLING ME LOWRI!!!

24 August, 2005 09:06  
Anonymous Not Dave, because he's scared of you. chimed in with...

I'm sure I've seen you on DIY SOS. So if you're now Lowri, you must be Billy.

Right?

24 August, 2005 09:20  
Anonymous Him what wrote last chimed in with...

God, I wish I could type properly. I think I meant 'not', not 'now'.

24 August, 2005 09:22  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

oh, very good dave, very good.

more the princess than the prince of darkness, thank you.

*mentally kicks self for inadvertently revealing knowledge of handyman nicknames on lame diy programme*

24 August, 2005 09:23  
Blogger Who is this Dave? chimed in with...

Oh no, it wasn't from me, didn't it say that?.

Anyway, I don't watch makeover progs myself, being as how I work a 25-hour day, 8 days a week, with no time even to blog.

24 August, 2005 09:27  
Blogger Donna chimed in with...

Ooh I didn't realise this was such an issue, and in fact I only noticed a spam comment a few days ago on Paul's blog.

For my tuppence worth ... I only read blogs I enjoy and I comment wherever I can think of something to say, and occasionally I'm really chuffed when I can think of a witty comment :o) - but I can't today - but that won't stop me wittering on ...

I do find the frequent references to something-really-interesting-I'm going-write/have-written-on-my-blog-today rather irritating too.

As for your veiled mention of Jason Mulgrew - you lead me there, I think he's funny too, but he got me a porn warning via WebMarshal the other day, so I can't go back ... Ooh, I can feel a rant coming about Firewalls ... you will be able to read it at Our very entertaining blog ...

24 August, 2005 09:56  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

i think we're all guilty of trailing our blogs to some degree on occasion - it's not whoring around the blogosphere that's the important thing.

ooh, am i dirty enough to get you a porn warning now, with all my filthy talk of pimps and whores?

24 August, 2005 10:03  
Anonymous Other Half chimed in with...

If you're going to be down with the kids my love I think you will find the correct vernacular is pimps'n'ho's !!!

BTW...on the 8th day God invented the blog...it says so in the good bok (anyone get the Python reference ?).

For the rest of us non-believers it's just a way of wasting time. In my case I'm not even bright enough to write one so I make do living my life vicariously through all yours.

24 August, 2005 10:15  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

bok? like a springbok?

ahaha - vicariously...

24 August, 2005 10:18  
Blogger Donna chimed in with...

No, WebMarshal does not consider you dirty enough ... The mention of breasts did it for me, but I think it has to be on your blog rather than in the comments ... breasts, breasts, lovely breasts ...

24 August, 2005 10:42  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

i said whores in my blog...maybe the webmaster is carrie's mum and can't bear the mention of dirtypillows.....

24 August, 2005 10:49  
Blogger Phil chimed in with...

Can I just say, I'm beginning to feel slightly guilty about the whole Lowri Turner thing.

24 August, 2005 10:54  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

good. i'm going to send the sugar glider back to the shop tho. just as soon as i figure out how it goes back together..

24 August, 2005 11:16  
Blogger Ant chimed in with...

I'm losing the thread of the comment conversation, but agree with (most of) the post...

The one that started me on this whole blog-thing seems to be turning into an attempt to say funny things every two or three days (emphasis on trying too hard...)

As for commenting, I have no shame - I say something appreciative or attempt to be witty (leaving my URL) and hope its received well.

But I always try to be nice. I happened across some posts recently where I had to physically sit on my hands to avoid telling someone what a cock they were...

I saw a whole comment-war opening out in front of me otherwise...

24 August, 2005 11:54  
Blogger Ant chimed in with...

And car0l - 30 blogs! I've been looking for good ones for ages now and in the whole blogosphere I've only happened across 5 or 6 that I really like...

24 August, 2005 11:57  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

i trust i'm one of them, young man.....

as for that - well, over on a well-known blog (which is crap) "written" by someone in the service industry, a commenter stood up to be counted and said it was crap. there then followed about a thousand comments (some of them creepily with made-up email addresses to show how much they loved the *coughs"waiter"* service industry guy) moaning - basically saying if you don't like it then bugger off. which is fine, and a valid point, but i feel that people are trying to turn blogging into a fluffy unrealistic place where negativity is not allowed. if a reviewer doesn't like a book or film, do thousands of people write to them telling them not to be so nasty? it's all about freedom of expression, and in a world where people who couldn't get a publishing deal if they paid for one have free rein to publish as much drivel on the internet as they please, i applaud those with the courage to show them up as the half-arsed embarrassments that they are.

i wouldn't necessarily leave my URL tho.....!

24 August, 2005 12:13  
Blogger Who is this Dave? chimed in with...

Mind you, Ant does have link on his blog to 9 others (yes, Billy, it does include yours) so one must take with a pinch of salt his claim that he only likes 5 or 6.

I must say, given the time and effort involved in re-writing my template, I'd only give links to blogs I really liked.

If people happen to visit my blog now, to see which links I have there, I do hope that young whatsername won't suggest this comment was a shameless attempt to pimp for my blog (on which, by the way, there are no rude words whatsoever, thus avoiding censors [mind you, some people slip in foreign words in their comments, in an attempt to confuse me]).

24 August, 2005 13:03  
Blogger Ant chimed in with...

OK Mr Pedantic, within those 9, there are varying degrees of quality. So my claim still holds...

My point is that in the entire blogosphere, which according to the BBC is growing every second, there really is a lot of guff...

And picking out the wheat from the guff is not easy.

24 August, 2005 13:37  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

altho of course mine is of high quality.

don't mind dave - he's got issues. and twenty three members of a russian orthodox church choir in his understairs cupboard.

24 August, 2005 13:54  
Blogger patroclus chimed in with...

Oh God. Am I a whore? Am I a pimp? If you'd asked me twenty minutes ago I'd have been pretty sure that I was neither of those things. But now...my whole sense of self-identity...trashed...again...

This is not a good day for me, either.

Bollocks.

24 August, 2005 14:04  
Blogger Who is this Dave? chimed in with...

Oy! Who's got issues? Are you looking for a fight?

24 August, 2005 14:16  
Blogger Who is this Dave? chimed in with...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

24 August, 2005 14:21  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

patroclus - welcome..pimp, whore, whatever. at least you're not a ranting waiter (just how bad is that? it's car-crash blogging - both the dull posts and the sucky comments. go see..)

dave - if it's a fight you're after you may well have come to the right place. i just had a very strong cherry liqueur chocolate and am bypassing "you're all my bestest friends" in favour of having a fight.

24 August, 2005 14:23  
Blogger Ant chimed in with...

Aw, I don't mind Dave :o), and neither do those Russian stalkers. I'll need to catch up on the back-story on that one later though. Have just made the most embarrassing cock-up in a meeting and need to go and soothe my shattered nerves...

What was it, Stolichbn-summat?

24 August, 2005 15:06  
Blogger Who is this Dave? chimed in with...

No, I couldn't fight someone who looks like (or was that laughs like?) Lowri...

24 August, 2005 15:55  
Blogger car01 chimed in with...

Ooh, I'm sorry I missed all this now. Yes, 30 blogs, of which about 8 are really any good.

My obligationstems from being part of some bizarre blogring thing which is far too complicated and boring to go into here, and since I'm part of it, I feel I should at least read the blogs of the others. Occasionally they're good, but mostly they're not, but still. Passes the time, I suppose.

30 August, 2005 14:03  
Blogger Swifty chimed in with...

Jesus christ! I had to go and lie down after that. But I think I agree with you regarding blog-whoring. As a sensitive sort, I have in the past been loathe to comment, lest I'm thought to be self-promoting. However, I have learned to put those feelings aside. Now I comment freely when I feel the urge. Commenting is writing, so it has to be good, yes? What matters to me is for the comment to be thoughtful and relevant, and not just a quick "how's your father" and off. The latter piss me off something awful. So there.

02 September, 2005 17:07  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

but by that you are asserting that allwriting is good.....ladies and gentlemen, i give you...the Daily Mail.

See - not all writing is good....

04 September, 2005 17:51  
Blogger Swifty chimed in with...

Just in case you REALLY didn't understand my point about writing being good, I meant for ME of course. As long as my comment is relevant, and I make some effort at being thoughtful then it's worthwhile. Not that I'm suggesting I'm simply practising on other people's blogs, but if you've got to comment, then think about it critically. Thus, killing tow birds with one stone. Thass'all.

06 September, 2005 16:04  

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