Once upon a time there was woman who wrote a blog and decided to join in with a daily challenge to post something every day for the whole month of January. But real life got in the way and by the end of the first week she had already failed in her attempt. The end.
I’m realising I don’t want my daily joining in with Just Jot it January so far this year to turn into a frustrating feat of endurance. I don’t want to struggle to find something to say about a word I’m not inspired by just because it’s the given prompt word for the day, so right now I’m not sure what I want to do for the rest of the month… 😦
I tend to find the content of my blog posts seems to mirror whatever is going on in my life at any given time – whatever is life-topical at the time, inevitably becomes blog-typical.
When I first started blogging over eight years ago I was 50 years old, living in a one-bedroom first floor flat in London with no garden or any outside space at all, and my blog reflected that reality. I went out a lot, just to be outside, and typically took pictures of big city life, of parks and public spaces, of tube trains and buses and buildings and inevitably people – nameless and generally faceless strangers, commuters and tourists and locals and incomers.
I took pictures of flowers in other people’s postage-stamp front gardens, taken from the outside looking in. I took pictures of trips we went on, visits to Brighton and to Scotland, including trains shots and track shots and station shots and landscapes seen through train windows.
And then in 2019 we sold up and moved back to Inverness, buying a detached house with a garden of our own front and back, and I slowly settled into making our new house a home. Sadly a few months later the Covid pandemic hit and for the next while – the longest while, as it turned out – everybody’s world necessarily shrank to the size of their own back yard. But at least now we had one to call our own.
No visitors allowed, no travel or trips allowed anywhere, no doing anything at all that wasn’t strictly necessary. It set the pace for a slow life, a small life, but a potentially safe life. Inevitably my blog posts shrank accordingly, mirroring a life that was slower, smaller, and supposedly safer. Even when I caught Covid myself in early January 2021, long before we were all vaccinated as a population, my blog followed my progress along the way.
So here I am in 2022, looking my 59th birthday in the eye with an increasingly dodgy arthritic hip and the last lingering remnants of Long Covid, wondering what comes next for my blog? And I know that that depends one hundred percent on on what comes next for my life as I approach my 60th year on this planet? Typically still lots of garden pics, but hopefully something more too – maybe a few trip pics, a few tourist pics, a few more city-scapes and lots more landscapes again?
Whatever it is, you can be sure my blog will continue to reflect my life as it happens, typically topical as ever… 🙂
OK so something weird has been happening with my WordPress recently – if you have a free wordpress.com site it seems I can follow you and comment on your posts as usual, but if you have a name domain paid for site, things don’t seem to be working in the same way for me any more?
Even if I’ve previously been following and liking and commenting on your posts without any hassles at all, now although I can still ‘like’ a post on your blog, if I try to leave a comment WordPress wants me to ‘log in’ first, but when I do so it tells me my email and log-in is incorrect, even though I’m using exactly the same email and log in as I always have done…
So sometimes it seems to (arbitrarily) allow my comment to post, while at other times it refuses to allow it, leaving me no choice but to give up and not comment after all… Grrr…!
And to add insult to injury, this morning I commented on a post by a blogger I’ve followed happily without problems for eight years, only for WordPress to tell me I was not logged in, that my email and log in were incorrect – and as a result my comment was posted as ‘anonymous’ instead of as me… FFS…!
Is this because I continue to have a free site? Is this an underhanded way of WordPress forcing me pay for blogging ‘privileges’ like interacting with other bloggers that previously were mine by right?
Either way, if I used to comment regularly on your posts and now seem to have nothing much to say on your site, please be aware it is possibly WordPress that seems intent on silencing me rather than me losing interest…
Fandango asks for his Provocative Question this week:
Do you have a preference with respect to the length of blog posts you read? Does the number of words in a post affect how you read it or even if you will read it? What is your average post length?
I suppose on average I tend to prefer reading shorter posts, including flash fiction, although occasionally I do read longer posts, especially personal stories. I suppose as a rule the subject matter matters most to me, and the style and tone of writing – in general something too densely written is rarely read by me regardless of length.
Mind you a lot of the people I follow tend to post images, or poetry, or share their personal opinions on topical issues – snapshots and snippets of everyday life rather than journalistic style articles or full fictional stories.
I can ramble on along with the best of them at times but to be honest I have no idea what the average length of my posts might be – I don’t pay attention to my stats, and have no interest in checking my dashboard to find out… 🙂
Fandango’s Provocative Question this week asks:-
How do you feel about online anonymity? Do you believe that when people are hiding their real world identity, it encourages them to misbehave or to be offensive? Or does it allow people to reveal who they really are or possibly who they would choose to be and act all the time if they could?
When I first started blogging I didn’t use my real name or any real personal identifiers at all, although at the time I was actually on FaceBook wholly as myself, which seems in hindsight to be a bit counter-intuitive on my part – but in my defense it was as much beginner’s caution as anything else, a fear of the unknown. I was testing the waters and wanted to hide behind that degree of separation until I was sure what I was doing, and that I would continue blogging.
Eight years on and this is currently my fourth blog on WordPress, and having been more and more open about myself with every new blog I now comfortably use my first name online, but not my surname, and from time to time have posted random images of myself, too. Personally I just find it easier to feel like I’m being genuinely ‘me’ online, but I do try to be careful not to use names of family members, etc. So I suppose I try to protect my identity in some ways while being open about it in others.
Incidentally FaceBook and I parted company acrimoniously several years ago, not long after it floated itself on the stock market and changed from being a useful online tool to help me keep in touch with others to becoming an intrusive means of aggressively making money for itself at all costs – too many deliberately obstructive algorithms for my liking, too much about what benefited FaceBook and too little about what benefited me. Ultimately I deleted my account completely and would never ever consider going back to such a self-serving platform.
Basically my current blog on WordPress is my only online presence. As I said FaceBook and I long ago parted company and I’ve just never felt the need to join in with Twitter or Instagram or Snap-Chat orTik-Tok or whatever else is out there. For now this is it for me, so I’ll have to base my answer solely on my experience of blogging here on WordPress over the last few years…
I think there’s a big difference between someone being authentically themselves online while simply using a pseudonym, and someone creating a virtual persona that is deliberately false in all things (like for sexual grooming purposes, for example). I have no issue with a blogger using a pseudonym as a means of protecting their real-world identity. Or even a blogger creating an online character based on some particular aspect of life they choose to write about (I can think of one blogger I’ve followed for years who blogs as a very believable character, but not as themselves per se) as long as they are perfectly open about and consistent in what they are doing.
And for me, I suppose that is the crux of the matter. I don’t want to feel like I’m being hoodwinked by anyone. For a blogger to ring true in all things there has to be enough of a genuine human being that appeals to me behind the blog persona to let me want to follow them in the first place. Enough continuity to ensure the virtual person behind the blog appears ‘real’ in the basic essentials, regardless of the name they choose to use. So I suppose what I’m saying is ‘A rose by any other name would smell as sweet’ in that someone’s underlying character or personality or whatever needs to shine through no matter what name they choose to call themselves online, real or otherwise.
So to that end I always like to be able to read an ‘About’ page on any blog, preferably giving a little information on the blogger and their reasons for blogging, at least enough to set the background context for their posts. Of the bloggers I follow, some are male, some are female, some are older, some are younger. Personally I tend to follow people who, like myself, are just blogging randomly about life in general, posting images or poetry or opinions or rants about family and politics and the crazy world we live in. And it seems many in my little blogging community seem to be around my generation, there or thereabouts, even without specific ages being stated.
I’m sure there are many deeply offensive bloggers out there hiding their inferiority complexes behind their virtual anonymity, but I tend to keep away from them and if they try to troll my blog they just get their nasty comments deleted without a second thought other than a brief ‘Get lost, loser’ running through my head. I feel there are enough fuck-wit forums out there for them to get their kicks aplenty without defiling my blog space.
I do worry that social media space has been left to develop unfettered for far too long as a mouthpiece for partisan poison, but I don’t feel that anonymity alone is the problem here. And anyway some of the most vile and venomous vitriol comes direct from the people who are most proud to stand up on their spurious soap-box and spout their narrow-minded nastiness to all and sundry. After all one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, and there’s no accounting for taste.
So to sum up, I have no more problems with someone blogging anonymously than with someone who chooses to use their own real name. What I do have a problem with is someone being offensive in their choice of blog content, and in my experience the two are not necessarily linked…
Sometimes I take my hat off to the spectacular synchronicity of the WordPress gods – it’s already 8pm and a bit late in the day for me to be looking at my blog for the first time today, and what do I find? The Word of the Day challenge is ‘ebb’ and the Ragtag Daily Prompt is ‘flow’ – perfectly matched! 🙂
Yay! I did it! All 26 letters of the alphabet in order, posted on time, and on the correct days… success!
And I managed to check out most A-Z posts of most of the bloggers I already follow – what a diverse set of themes they had this year, I really enjoyed keeping up with all their interesting takes on the challenge 🙂
But not so good was my new blog checking out from the master list… I started out reasonably well but as ever things soon tailed off and by the end of the month I’d given up completely… 😦
Time is always a big issue for me, I choose to give only a set amount of time to blogging so have to prioritise and prefer to keep up with all daily posts from bloggers I already know, not just those doing the A-Z challenge.
I had fun though, and will no doubt try again next year! 🙂
I’ve been blogging on WordPress for the last eight years, and in that time have had four consecutive blogs although this current one is the only one to remain floating around in the ether – the others have all been deleted along the way. I just blog about the everyday stuff of life, and I like to read other personal blogs in a similar vein. I’m really interested in finding out more about the people behind them, what they think, what they see, what they do, and I really love the feeling of community and connection I get from blogging – thank you, blog family, for just being out there in the blogosphere!
Life events have conspired to pull me away from blogging over the last couple of months, and the idea of taking part in this year’s April Blogging from A-Z Challenge seems like a good way to try to get back into the habit of reading and posting regularly. Originally I thought of just using any old random words to go with the particular letter of the day, but realistically without a clear theme to work towards I’m not sure I’d be able to keep my focus for a full month… So instead I’ve opted for a relatively simple, if slightly self-indulgent work-around: This year I’ll be posting 26 things about me, nothing too taxing to write about yet still fulfilling the brief!