Thursday, March 29, 2007

I love you StatCounter but we've only got 3 hours to save the world - II

Reposting this old blog post in honour of those great guys at Statcounter. I love everything about it and they've gone and given me another reason. I'm going to go all "Mulley" on you and send a love link to Statcounter.


Originally posted 26 April 2006

Veteran bloggers can probably recognise the stages but for us blog virgins (*) there is so much we have yet to learn. We don’t even know what we don’t know. And some of us don’t even know that!

The first flush of enthusiasm. Then the distraction of reading other people’s blogs. You get yourself some StatCounter stuff and spend the next month trying to build traffic. You try to master Blogrolls and construct lists of ‘bloggers what inspire me’.

Around month 4, serious writer’s block kicks in. You write about it. The block passes and you continue for a few weeks blogging but somehow there is a gnawing feeling. And then it hits you. You don’t blog. You don’t read.

You swear at your laptop and every internet café you have the misfortune to fall over. You start to panic as it dawns on you that (a) you’ll never be Róisín Ingle (b) you’ll never be a ‘writer’ (c) your life is so pedestrian that people will probably start busking around its edges (d) you’ve said everything that you want to say but haven’t really said anything.

At this point you realise that if you are going to suffer this crisis of confidence, then at least you should just do a PhD. Then at least after four years of it, your Granny could boast that there is a doctor in the family.

But of course by this stage you are clinically addicted to the ‘Sphere. StatCounter’s bar charts stimulate the release of endorphins in the brain in a process similar to cocaine addiction. You start to steel to feed your blog habit. You scour Blog O’Sphere looking for an angle. A cheap twist on someone else’s innovation. You begin posting inane comments in the hope that it will restore the ‘Counter’s bar charts.

You fall into a soporific humour. You want to blog but you are afraid that you can’t. Or at least you are afraid to find out. First your punctuation, then your grammar, then your spelling goes. Your self-esteem falls so low that you don’t even bother putting two spaces after a full stop. You begin to seize on anything that will fake a post. You cut n’ paste a joke from your work email and post it. You look at the StatCounter keywords and pretend to yourself that it might be poetry.

You acknowledge your weakness (but never your addiction) and promise to change. You write a million and one draft posts – okay so it is two – but they never see the light of day. Self-esteem is now non-existent. You furiously and compulsively check to see what other bloggers are posting on.

You’ve a million and one - okay, so it is only two – posts that you were about to write but have been beaten to the punch. You start posting comments that say LOL and LMAO but in truth there is never a chance of your cellulite ass ever being laughed off.

And that’s when it hits you. You just can’t help but be touched by the warm embrace of Blog O’Sphere and its older, wiser bloggers who seen it, blogged it and won an award for it. Brilliant bloggers who have so much to write about but still take the time to post a ‘welcome back’ or a ‘missed you’ comment. You realise that it is not about you. Or your non-existent audience. It’s because for the first time ever, you are part of a community that accepts you for not being Róisín, not being profound, innovative or funny.

Why wouldn’t a girl blog?

(*) In those early heady days of phase 1, I took JL Pagano literally and dropped my blog virgin subtitle. Gosh, who feels stupid now?



Anonymous Anonymous said...

and it worse when your blogging for weeks with no traffic its like talking to yourself!!

Hello anyone there?

6:09 a.m., April 27, 2006  
Blogger Fence said...

Who wants to be Roisin, think of the confusion if we all shared the same name.

What do you mean, thats not what you meant?

I think you are dead right about the whole community thing. So many people go on about making money, or asking what's the point in blogging. Well, whats the point in having a conversation with people?

8:48 a.m., April 27, 2006  
Anonymous ubollix said...

Why would you actually want to be Roisin Ingle? Has blogging caused your self-esteem to go for a Burton's?
Always remember : Don't ever put yourself down, that's my job...

10:10 a.m., April 27, 2006  
Anonymous Sinéad said...

I was talking to another (male) blogger last night about how it's all gone a bit quiet in general in the Irish blogland. Maybe people are getting out in to the sunshine or perhaps everyone's just suffering from blog fatigue. I've been working too much and feel like I'm all written out. When I've got feck all to say, I just keep schtum. Not in person of course, I talk my head off all the time.

11:00 a.m., April 27, 2006  
Blogger Curly K said...

Great post, you've described the whole blogging process / addiction to a tee. By God you're back on form girl!

I've realised that I don't necessarily want the truckloads of traffic that I initially thought. The enjoyment comes from those few who read regularly, give you great feedback and become your virtual friends (sort of, if you know what I mean). Increased traffic and new visitors are the icing on the cake.

12:13 p.m., April 27, 2006  
Blogger Omaniblog said...

Well said Curly K.

I'm a bit shocked. What's all this rubbish about stats? Were you really trying to push your stats up during the last few months? I thought you were simply enjoying yourself writing stuff that I really liked reading. I just don't believe that you have been bothering yourself over how many hits you got and how many comments you generated.
Maybe you admire other bloggers a bit too much for your own good, but that'll wear off.
As for all these drafts that you wrote... I find it hard to imagine you sitting there with several almost finished pieces and unable to put them up. You don't strike me as a neurotic perfectionist, a perfectionist perhaps, but not neurotic about it. I've seen you laugh about yourself too often.
Perhaps it'll help to tell a story:

there was a blogger once who was worried about his DNA. he couldn't sleep because he felt sure that every bit he wrote revealed just as much about him as the last one. he was sure that it didn't matter how hard he worked on the quality of his blogs, his style would always shine through. the poor man felt doomed to be only himself no matter how hard he tried to become a "better" blogger... then one day he met a fairy godmother blogger. she took his hand and cut it off. she showed him the blood flowing. 'See that's you... all that stuff that comes out, that's you... you can't escape yourself.' the pain from the bleeding arm got less and less. eventually he stopped noticing it. his fairy godmother held his arm until the blood stopped flowing and all the pain was gone. then she picked up his hand and put it back on again. the blogger bent over and kissed his arm and from that day on, he was able to write whatever came out without any apology to anyone.

2:17 p.m., April 27, 2006  
Blogger plurabella said...

Who's Roisin?

oh yes recognise all of this and good to have you blog it

11:57 a.m., April 28, 2006  
Blogger Omaniblog said...

I think she writes a weekly column in the Irish Times Saturday magazine. She writes a lot from her personal experience and she's probably a good role model for an aspiring woman writer. There's a woman who writes for the FT on Weekends who calls herself Moneypenny and she's pretty good too.
In my opinion Paige is better than either of them. And I wish her all the confidence she needs.

8:15 p.m., April 28, 2006  

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