Tuesday, June 06, 2017


This time of year on the east slope of the Rockies this far north, a person can go to bed in one world and rise up in another.  Go to bed in a high wind, manage to sleep through the racket, and the next morning that little tree in the yard, the one you were fond of, is lying on the ground, uprooted.  Sometimes there’s a shift in the night so that you wake up enough to go find another comforter or switch on the electric blanket, or it could go the other way so that all your covers end up on the floor and your dog moves down to sleep on them because you’re too warm to be next to.

Stagger over to the computer, call up your fav check-in "sosh" medium and the thing is reconfigured.  In fact, once you’re at the site, they want a password which you long ago forgot.  So you have to make up a new one and you haven’t even brushed your teeth yet.  Then, once you’ve conjured up a new password — careful to write it into your little prompt book because you forgot to do that last time with another website and suddenly you didn’t care enough about that site to do the recovery work.  Just crossed it out.  Now this one wants you to review your privacy settings, your spam filter, whether the prompts for a new email should be on the left bottom or top right of your screen, etc.  When you start to scroll through, reminders to try the new emoticons pop up.  Etc.  It’s boring even to grumble about all this stuff.

Marathoning “House of Cards” and then hearing the same stuff on the news (I watch reuters.tv in an effort to avoid shrill morning chatter about fake indignation) makes me super-sensitive in a avoidant way to the constant attention to website minutia, marketing infrastructure, mini-strategies, on and on.  Nudge-nudgedy-nudge.  

Twitter gave me this morning a blog named “Blog Tyrant.”  Today it tells me the proper way to start a blog.  “. . .really important things you need to know including the quickest set up and hosting, the most effective strategies, and even a quiz at the end to test your readiness.”  The little kid next door went to Kindergarten Readiness Roundup last week.  She’s evidently not quite ready since she couldn’t tell the inquisitor where her shoulder was.  Blog readiness seems to be like that: you need to know the jargon like “domain” and “blog host” and “platform.”  Then you get on a massive mailing list while developing your own list.   

The Tyrant’s cover story is that he’s a thirty-year-old South Australian who works from his couch while his “fiancé" does the donkey labor of research, etc.  He says,  “But what I’ve come to discover is that this blog has the single best community on the Internet and almost every post has hundreds of helpful comments and friendly, caring interactions.”  In short, he’s a Christian evangelist without the Christ — which might explain why he isn’t married to his fiancé.  He doesn’t have to.  Or maybe there are tax reasons.  It’s bound to be a guy thing.

Anyway, the goal is to dominate your niche through the use of Wordpress, the really elite and complicated platform.  Blogger is so downscale, such an ugly word, no association with the middle-class understanding of the importance of literacy and publishing, let alone the status enhancement of many fancy features of design and gizmos because presentation is everything and one actualizes that as soon as one chooses what to wear for the day.

But for me the point of blogging is that I DON’T have to decide what to wear.  All I need is a mug of coffee; whatever I wore yesterday is fine.  A few months ago I changed pharmacies (I don’t do that online because I want to look my dispenser in the eye — or conversely, when the roads are closed, to ask him to mail me the pills.  I was visiting with him, said I was a writer (it’s a good diagnostic tool to say that) fended off the “what kind of writer” inquiry with “I’m a long-form blogger since 2005.”  He wrote down the url.  

His older, thin, well-dressed assistant chimed in.  She had wanted to write on my file card my cell phone number and I don’t have one, which offended her.  “How can you blog if you don’t have a cell?” she demanded.  She must have been thinking of texting.  Probably has a teenaged daughter, judging from her tone.

The gizmos and the technicalities and the strategies and the jargon are all just irrelevant chatter — sales smoke.  All how to do it and not why.  I blame education:  workbooks with little games, no “chapter books,” lots of numbers, and no way to escape the sorting chute.

Even writing “long form” which is basically (in my hands) a thousand-word essay every day (that every day is a choker for some people, both readers and writers) is addressed by “quicksprout.com” who ASSUMES that the blogger wants thousands of readers and as much money as possible.  They include their photos with their pitch which may be a mistake.  Aside from making them traceable, if some of these folks knocked on my actual door, I wouldn’t let them in.

But security and branding are a big deal and be sure to — you know — shine up to the big shots by doing little favors for them.  The Aussie recommends just buying a turnkey-ready franchise.  “You see, when you first start a blog you have to do a lot of groundwork that takes time. Research, pillar articles, networking, logo creation, social media accounts set up, etc. It is a very time consuming process.”  I never did any of this stuff.  I don’t even know what some of them are.  He says “back links” are what create the best “ranking sites.”  I don’t know what those are either.

But then on the 19th point he confesses:  “I have a tendency to want things to be perfect; launch dates, syncing of projects, image design, article structure, etc. Well, I think that has resulted in a lot of lost opportunities for me because instead of getting things out there I’m mucking around behind the scenes on issues that only I care about.”

“We will see more competition for organic links because more and more people are moving away from the old “link building” methods of the past in favor of a “quality content” approach to SEO. “  Quality content!  What a concept!! He recommends a website called MOZ.  I had to google to find out what an SEO is:  Search Engine Optimization.  I don’t know what MOZ stands for and I don’t care, but SEO’s might be useful as a way to evade Google’s profit jiggering.

In the end, blogging is simpler than that.  Tyrant doesn’t like writing.  That must have been the missing 20th point.  He has nothing to say.  The drive to say something well is in the writer, not the software.  It’s as simple as paper and pencil.  Incoherence on Twitter is just incoherence.  Which is risky in a world that changes overnight.

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