Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Cautionary Tale

What if you were a 20-something blogger who did everything wrong? I was going to just nix the review of today's blog, but I thought it might be a valuable learning experience for all of us about a simple concept:

Not everyone needs a blog.

Seriously. Does that come as a revelation to you? The internet is wide, my friends, and there is a niche for literally everyone. The blog phenomenon came along, and somehow people became convinced that they NEEDED to blog.

But frankly, they don't. This blog is good evidence of that.

Let's consider the following:

1. The name. Words you should always avoid, unless your goal is to be hopelessly trite:

  • Snarky

  • Random

  • Musings

  • Thoughts

  • Writing

  • Trivial

  • my life

  • me

  • just me

  • blog


Uh, duh. It's a blog. By definition, your blog is going to be composed of your (potentially) random thoughts and musings about your life. Who else's life would it be about?

If you can't even be bothered to be creative enough to put a name to what you're doing, why in the fuck should we be bothered to read? I find myself sighing, out loud, every time I go to do a review and see these words.

The only possible exception could be blogs that use these terms ironically.

2. The layout. This blog should receive a commendation for "year's fugliest template." There are so many nice templates out there, and frankly, even the blogger standard template looks better than this morass of doom and gloom.

Also, you don't need all this crap in your sidebar. Clean it the hell up.

Does your house look this disorganized and dirty? Oh, wait. Don't answer that. Think of your blog as your online home. You are welcoming strangers into it, don't you want it to be a positive representation of you? Less is more, people. This blog looks like the blog of a hoarder.

3. Advertisements. If you're dooce, you might be able to make money from advertising. If you are not-dooce, unless you are receiving well over a thousand hits per day, you probably aren't going to make a red penny. Beyond that, having ads at the top of your blog (see today's example) is confusing and distracting. Give it up. You aren't going to be able to suppport your stay-at-home mom ambitions and/or college tuition on your blog-salary, no matter how you might hope for it.

4. Content (or the lack thereof). At 20 years of age, you don't have enough life experience to be profound. And frankly, you haven't suffered enough to moan about it unless you are an orphan from the streets of Calcutta who once fell in a latrine and was kidnapped by a band of mercenaries who plan to blind you and/or lost the love of your life to the violent and powerful leader of a criminal organization until you won a national quiz show and redeemed yourself in her eyes by being able to financially support her in the manner to which she'd become accustomed. Failing those circumstances, give it a fucking rest.

5. Textspeak. Stop it. It's you, not u. It's are, not r. It's your, not ur. I could make some allowances for you if you were 12, but you aren't. If you're above age 12, grow the fuck up, and speak English. It isn't funny, clever, cute or cutting edge. It's just stupid. When cats have better English than humans, I despair for our survival as a species.

6. Apologies for not writing. Don't do it. Either give us the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, or give it a fucking rest.

AG, from Mumbai, India: I think you will be happier on facebook. Or livejournal. Or, any of the host of social-networking sites online that allow you to connect with other people without actually WRITING anything. Thanks for playing.

78 comments:

  1. Mumbai strikes again! Fuck, that place is where imaginations go to fucking die. Sorry, India, fail.

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  2. Just gross. The whole fucking thing is just gross.

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  3. Sweet.Merciful.Crap.

    It's like someone decided their facebook status box just wasn't big/colourful/formatted/fucked up enough, so they started a blog just for that.

    The good news is that they are well on their way to developing their own inane mommyblog style.

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  4. Each time I read blogs like these (whether Indian or otherwise), I feel a helluva lot older than my 27 years (LB. How do YOU read through this kludge?)

    AG ends one post thusly:
    "I still got tons to write but a chapter on Bacterial amylase is calling me, the floor is open for a discussion."

    Maybe she should write a post on bacterial amylase. I'm sure that'd be a LOT more interesting than this other rubbish.

    Blogger and wordpress ought to have some sort of minimum age limit. Banish emo kids to MySpace.

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  5. I think bloggers should also care what their blogs look like on mobile devices. 21st century and all that.

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  6. Interesting review though.

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  7. Key: I don't blame India. I blame youth & stupidity.

    Crowley: Imagine how old you're going to feel at 43. Now you know why I've become such a heinous bitch.

    Thanatos: I was pleased to see how good this blog looked on my friend's i-phone.

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  8. Yeah, LB it loads quick, doesn't look distorted in either orientation. The quote of the week gets messy when it's really big, but that's just being nitpicky.

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  9. My son plays ice hockey, and we live just far enough from the rink that it sometimes makes sense for me to hang out in the warm room through the whole practice, rather than drop him off and then come and get him after. I mention this only so you can understand how it is that this next bit might have come to pass.

    So there I was, minding my own business, probably doing work on my iPhone or something, when two girls, maybe 11 or 12 years old come in. They know me, and I know them, as they are in my son's grade in school.

    And they start gossiping with each other, only, they don't want to keep their voices down and at the same time they don't want me listening in, so they started talking in some bullshit code that they made up on the spot. And since it was just made up, most of their gossip consisted of "Wait, who were we talking about again?" "Oh yeah, right." And their code was pretty lame and I was able to figure out that they were talking about my son, two of his friends, and even a little about me -- as in, "I think HE knows what we're talking about..."

    So. Why did I bore you with all of this? Because what little of this blog I was able to tolerate reminded me of being trapped in that warm room with those brats.

    Not least of which because I could not have possibly cared less about what either of them had to say.

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  10. I hate myself for reading that, Pos, really I do. I feel the same way about today's blog. I'm gonna go to the employee bathroom and wrench those barbedwire legwarmers down two more notches.

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  11. Key -- For a minute, I was trying to figure out if you were insulting me or what. But then, I remembered something.

    I don't care.

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  12. Barbedwire Legwarmers was the name of a band I was in in High School

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  13. Pos:

    Reading that blog reminded me of listening to the teenagers who seem to make frequent appearances in my house. Except, I actually CARE what they are saying, and consider them halfway interesting.

    It's funny, my daughter is 15 and hates textspeak even more than I do.

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  14. I wish I had more patience and tolerance for boring people.

    I also wish I had more tolerance for people who use stupid quotes. Good quotes are fine.

    Also, I have an inherent issue with this blog because I don't believe in destiny.

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  15. And by that I mean: Fuck this fucking blog. I am frustrated with your meaninglessness and discussion of Facebook layouts. I know you're all trying to relate it to good marketing and stuff, and that just makes it more lame.

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  16. Hey, Thanatos -- I think I figured out who peed in my coffee.

    Key -- Are you diabetic?

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  17. I don't know...could be. What'd it taste like? Asparagus?

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  18. Eh Pos. As they say in the land that we drove the colonists back to, "are you takin' the piss"?

    Also, you have an iphone. Show-off.

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  19. I've come to the decidedly grim conclusion that the stupid and/or boring people outnumber the rest of us by a significant margin.

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  20. LB -- I have long been known to state "The average American has below average intelligence. I am, for better or worse, dragging the average up."

    Key -- let's just say I don't usually take sugar in my coffee.

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  21. Imagine the world if the INTJs dominated...It would be quieter, but would run like a well-oiled machine.

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  22. I like to listen to music pretty loud. So, it might still be loud, but it would not be filled as much with the sound of one's own voice....

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  23. Sorry, Pos, maybe someone dropped one of my biscotti in there. I suggest you brush your teeth at least five times today.

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  24. Just don't ask who pissed on your toothbrush.

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  25. It's a little known fact that in days gone by (first century Rome), people really did brush their teeth with urine. Apparently they thought that the ammonia was a cleansing agent. Urine continued to be used as an ingredient in toothpaste through the 18th century. And apprently Portuguese urine was considered the best/strongest.

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  26. They call it Bud lite now, and instead of brushing it, down it in large quantities?

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  27. Budweiser would be better off bottling my piss. At least that way they could guarantee a buzz.

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  28. Some indigenous tribes in Mexico used to hold religious ceremonies using intoxicants. The chief of the tribe would use the intoxicant, then piss, and people would drink his piss to get the remaining drug. If you were low person on the tribal totem pole, your beverage would have been recycled several times.

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  29. This is the part where I keep my mouth shut about present day urine usage.

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  30. Hey Thanatos - I wrote this comment on my iPhone!

    While peeing.

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  31. Wow, that was a whole can of piss that I didn't mean to open.

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  32. Thank god for the swine flu - I don't have to shake hands again.

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  33. I never wash my hands after I pee.

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  34. This really needs to go in the New Bloggers Handbook. What exactly IS a musing? Don't you kill those things with RAID?

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  35. Exactly. I don't even have handsoap in my bathroom.

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  36. I wish we could kill this blog with RAID.

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  37. I just pee hand soap. Problem solved.

    PS - Hand soap is loosely defined as beer in this comment.

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  38. See, there I was, minding my own business, posting comments about drinking pee and brushing teeth with pee, and then you had to go and take it to a weird place.

    Geez!

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  39. Blech. Like myspace and facebook got together and made an ugly love child.

    I.Dont.Like.It.

    Great review though.

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  40. I spoke with Al Gore and after reading this he is sorry he created the internet.

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  41. What a terrific review, LB.
    Sometimes ya just gotta call a spade a dirty little shovel.

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  42. Oh, and Mr. Crowley! I am so, so sorry I've been doing all of that threatening about putting you into our equine training pen and using my blue nylon whip on you. Seriously, I only make those threats to those well into their 30's. At the very least.
    I mean hell, I'm only offering banjo lessons to GoD Himself at this point!

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  43. There is a new bloggers handbook? WHy didn't I get my copy?

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  44. Mongo: I look 40, if that helps. I could use a nylon whip about now.

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  45. I think this quote from the Mumbai blog says it all:

    "Wooo! I seem to get better at this, I just think about something and lines like these pop outta my head :P"

    Profound stuff.

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  46. Yeah. The difference between 20 and 43 is that, when I have illogical thoughts like that, I don't let them pop out of my head.

    It would be funnier if she just did what Rassles does, and identifies the posts where she's clearly PWI.

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  47. Good review, some great tips.

    And what's with all the black at the blog? It makes my eyes burn.

    and thanks for the link to The Dullest Blog in the World. Amusing.

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  48. Mr. Crowley: Wow. Uh...I don't know what to do with a person in his 20's who wants the whip. Just stay alive into your 30's and I promise to beat you down.

    LB: I let illogical thougts out of my head and onto my blog and into the universe. The difference? I also recognize how illogical they are and then kill people and bake lots pumpkin muffins to make myself feel better.

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  49. RH, we live to serve. Or something like that.

    MG: What is this chronic obsession with pumpkin? Can't we switch over to lemon poppyseed or something that people actually eat?

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  50. LB: And here I thought someone was going to complain about me killing people! Oy vey! Who knew my pumpkin muffin obsession could be so disturbing.

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  51. Some people need killin', MG.

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  52. Dammit, dammit, dammit! I totally tweeted today that I was going to use that dullest blog link in my next appropriate review. You beat me to it, you sly bitch.

    Perfect review.

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  53. I think pumpkin muffins sound pretty fuckin tasty.

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  54. Fuck the fucking pumpkin muffins. I want lemon poppyseed. So let it be written, so let it be done.

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  55. Easy LB, what about a pumpkin poppy seed muffin? Hmmm?

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  56. I'd like to point out that my e-famous biscotti are now on clearance.

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  57. Clearance you say? Why? Are they on the verge of spoilage?

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  58. No, they're on the verge of not being eaten.

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  59. Well, that would be a shame...

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  60. Y'know, I just ate a piece of chocolate. So I'm good right now.

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  61. Well, that doesn't help me out.

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  62. Sorry. Maybe next time?

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  63. Noted.

    But really, what I'm craving now is a muffin. An apple cinnamon muffin thing. Fuck pumpkin and poppy seeds.

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  64. Fuck pumpkin was my porn name in the 80's

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  65. While I agree with you on most of those words, I have say that I like "snarky".

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  66. Snarky is so fucking overdone. Every other mommyblogger out there thinks she's a unique fuck pumpkin with snarky insights.

    Fuck that noise. I get tired of the posers. Some of us really are snarky, but we realize it's actually a social deficit, and not something to brag about.

    p.s. Did y'all just see how neatly I stole Chris's catch-phrase? I'm so using it.

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  67. Condolences to you for having to waste time out of your life while reading that blog. Just think, you could have been busy picking lint out of your navel instead.

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  68. "Just think, you could have been busy picking lint out of your navel instead."

    I actually can do both at the same time. Luckily, I don't have to. I pay people to remove my lint for me while I sleep.

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  69. The navel fairies eat mine.

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  70. Right here, right now I vow to call a minimum of 20 people a "Fuck Pumpkin" daily.

    I would encourage others to do the same and we will see,at the end of the year if "Fuck Pumpkin" is the years new "Ass Hat".

    And yes, I have a poor grasp on the rules governing the use of quotation marks.

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  71. Dammit. I was approaching Fuck Pumpkin as a compliment.

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Grow a pair.