Things you should know

Hey dear friends.

By the way that “dear friends” opening is not me trying to win friends or be trite or whatever. I’m actually speaking to the few of you out there who are kindred spirits. Also the multiple personalities up in my head.

Today I’m going to share a fantastic resource with you from a fellow WordPress blogger. And he’s a PhD candidate so his word must be golden, right?

Right and wrong. Honestly the more I look at the whole PhD thing the more I see that PhD’s (and/or candidates) — of whom in some ways I am insanely jealous btw — are like any other group of people. Some are twits that understand strategy and social climbing and “parasiting” more than others, and some are heartfelt kindly folks interested in learning stuff, who want to make the world a better place. Most are a bit of both. And all are people who evidently thought having a title would improve their chances at succeeding at whatever they wanted to succeed at. Maybe even if that was simply succeeding at finding or validating their own self-worth or helping others see the worth they already know themselves to have.

Basically “PhD is as PhD does.” Brené Brown, in my view, is a good example of when a PhD is good, because a PhD does good. In this case she uses her PhD title to gain entrance onto various “talk” stages (E.g. TED) and whatnots, where she then proceeds to talk like your average human about average human emotions and quandaries. And she uses her position to advocate for minority groups. Michelle Obama is another fine example. Well she doesn’t have a PhD but rather a JD (Juris Doctor degree). She uses her doctorate status as well as her social status as former US first lady to change stereotypes in the way the world thinks about black women, and to advocate for, and help encourage, minority social groups in general.

But I digress. What I want to share here is this great tome of blogging information that speed-liking, scientific-minded, strategic but most importantly HONEST blogger Louis has shared, over at his blog “Learning to Write,” under the category “Off-topic.”

https://thematicallymeandering.com/category/off-topic/

For any of you who, like me, have been completely naïve about the blogging world and how it works, this ream of currently about 20 posts, or more specifically, the five or so within that ream which apply directly to blogging, will help open your eyes. It sure opened mine!

e.g. For example, there is the article in the above-linked list, entitled:

“My experience of blogging over the last three months on WordPress – The good and the ethically questionable.”

The main thing I gleaned from that particular post is that cynics are out there. Like, I mean cynics even more cynical than wherever we ourselves are at, in our own becoming-more-cynical journey. And “they” are misinterpreting “our” intentions and actions, just like “we” at the more naïve, hopeful end of the spectrum are out there misinterpreting “theirs.”

One of the things that hit a nerve for me in Louis’s post:

Like up to 120 posts per hour – doing this usually notifies the recipient and prompts them to check out your site. I have found that roughly 5% of posts you like return a view to your site.

Follow up to 60 people per hour – I have not done this other than to find out the limit, so I do not know what kind of returns you can get.

I have not done the research to see how many comments you can leave as I cannot be bothered, if you wanted to do this legitimately you would have to bother reading peoples content and then tailor the comment. Which I doubt anyone would do.

(Boldface added by me.)

What?!?  “Bother” reading people’s content? I feel like I’m in the twilight zone. My god have I ever been naïve! And I don’t mean fake, strategic naïve but genuinely newborn-style naïve!!!

By the way, I came to read Louis’s blog because he “liked” my posts from the beginning of my time on WordPress. A little subconscious part of me felt proud and validated because a PhD candidate who was “Learning to Write” liked my posts. That must mean my writing was spectacular, right?

Right and wrong. First, if I think so, it means that I am insanely narcissistic and/or naïve (in the blogging/writing world at least). Second of all, spectacular is a silly word, one that silly, exuberantly heartfelt folks like me use WAYYYYY too much. Calm down, silly exuberantly heartfelt folks! Even in the eyes of folks like us, who think SPECTACULAR is a spectacularly WONDERFUL and under-used word,  the writing may or may not have been spectacular. Spectacular is subjective. Basically like anything, writing is as writing does.

Does it connect with a person? Then it is spectacular, or at least “okay,” to that person. (If it gives head-tingles then it is spectacular — at least, for that person at that moment in their life — ergo, it’s the meeting of minds that is actually the spectacular thing — a kind of thought-or-emotional-understanding orgasm.) Does it aim to achieve something more than just boost the status of the person writing it? Then it might also be good. Either way, the quality of my writing, and/or yours, and/or anyone else’s, has very little to do with the average amounts of likes it gets. Because, many of the likes come from people who are experimenting with getting likes and traffic to their own blogs.

WHAT?!?! I know, right. NO! It can’t be true. Why would anyone do that? It’s so weird, it’s so selfish, it’s so strategic, so unartistic, so disheartening, so cold-hearted, so…  scientific.

Ah well. That’s the way the world is.

NOT!!!!

Well, scientific maybe, but disheartening, no. Honestly, the amount of cynicism out there is what’s disheartening.

What I have learned is that regardless of what cynics think, we the valiant hope warriors still exist. We still read people’s posts, no matter if it’s because we happened there because that person liked our post without reading it, unbeknownst to us. We read because WE ARE ACTUALLY INTERESTED IN WHAT OTHERS HAVE TO SAY. Weird, right?

BUT YES. THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENS!!! The ironic thing is that of course I’m preaching to the choir here. If you are actually reading this post rather than just “liking” it without reading it, you already know this, since you are one of those golden handfuls of people. But LOOK AT US, hello, we actually exist! In multitudes, actually! (Though most of us prefer to live in relative isolation, or in very small, peaceful colonies. Lol.)

And, we *learn* from reading those/these posts. We learn more about the world and how it works. We open our minds. Perhaps very few people will recognize this about us in return, since awakening is a quiet process. You can’t really shout about your own awakening, since that oddly causes it to fall back asleep somehow. But those few who “recognize” are golden!

Who are these people?

These people are the ones who applaud your efforts in the comments, without promoting their own. They’re also the ones who criticize or simply respond to your efforts in the comments, without promoting their own and without personally attacking you. They’re the ones who yes, actually read your post, often because you liked one of theirs (whether genuinely or not), and they (perhaps naïvely) wanted to learn more about you. And then they genuinely wanted to recognize your efforts and contribute to the conversation. I know, it’s weird right?!? But we do exist.

Mind you, we aren’t going to get any PhD’s for it. Not unless we dedicate a lot of time and energy towards achieving what some theorists say we need to achieve to get their fancy piece of paper. Which ultimately means spending a lot of money too. (Unless we’re strategic enough to find a way to spend someone else’s money to get that piece of paper. In which case we’ll be seen as even more noble and pure — e.g. PhD obtained via scholarship/bursary — or just as spoiled brats — e.g. PhD via parents’, spouse’s, or other private benefactor’s money.)  i.e.  It basically means investing in ourselves, just like the average zero-or-low-pay blogger does — oh wait except the blogger doesn’t need to spend much money, if any at all.  Hmm, which is more noble? Probably the PhD blogger. ;))

It’s just a game, people. We might as well enjoy playing it. Whether that is by strategically getting PhD’s and empty-liking things or by rampant blogging and heartfelt engagement — or a mixture of both. For me, at the moment, rampant blogging and heartfelt engagement is my bag. I know that some see me as a hopeless sucker for that. But they needn’t worry, nor give up hope. For I might change at any moment. Cynicism conversion rate is wonderfully high. Also, let’s face it. It’s fun to experiment. Many of us “artists” are actually “scientists” at (he)art.

I’m cool with being seen as a hopeless sucker for the moment since I don’t really see myself that way. I see myself more as a hopeful. Hopeful what? A hopeful nothing, haha. I’m just hopeful, period. Hopeful that the world might actually exist out there exactly as I see it, filled with its mud and lotuses; hopeful that you get something from this bit of energy I’ve expended, hopeful that something that feels as good as writing does to me can be worthwhile just for the sake of it. I’m just hopeful.

And I’m grateful. Super grateful to scientists like Louis, who lay out the facts of their own existence, and through their objective honesty, make it really, really clear that likes and follows are MEANINGLESS in themselves, objectively, and  meaningfully subjective, at best.

What does this mean to me as a writer, what should it mean to each of us hoping to express ourselves artistically? (AND YES, WE ARE ALL ARTISTS AND YES, WE MUST EXPRESS OURSELVES! Otherwise LIFE IS MEANINGLESS! AND WE WILL NOT EVOLVE! EVEN ANTS EXPRESS THEMSELVES!)

(Ok I don’t know if ants artistically express themselves. But they are really cool and work really hard and have been around since the dinosaur age! That’s good! Oh, but hang on, some of the more ambitious species, like red fire ants, and P. Lucidus, use techniques like brood parasiting and/or slave-making. That’s bad. And then humans make art out of their homes by killing them in mass exterminations. Which could be good and bad. Oh my god did I ever just go down the Internet rabbit-hole-I-mean-anthill there. Anyways… case in point. Ants should make art, if they don’t already. Maybe then they’d stop existing and become something else… oh never mind. I’m not scientific and I can’t argue for the life of me — except against the life of me.  ;)) #existentialism

It means go write about whatever the fuck you want to write about. Enjoy every fucking moment of it too! Because no one cares. Except the kindred spirits who do. And they are cool. Or rather, warm. And they are curious. And they are like you. So they will find you. Or you will find them.

You don’t need a million. You only need a few good friends.

“We should always have three friends in our lives-one who walks ahead who we look up to and follow; one who walks beside us, who is with us every step of our journey; and then, one who we reach back for and bring along after we’ve cleared the way.”

― Michelle Obama

xo

love, n

Image credit: by Rakesh Rocky via Futurism.com

…………………………

Nadine inhales & exhales words & images from current vantage point in Zone of Emptiness, France. This post was sponsored by “hard-working spouse who actually knows how the world works and how to survive in it, as opposed to just talking about surviving in it.” Oh yeah and by two hyena-laughing monkeys wrestling on the bed of my “office” behind me, desperately needing my attention. Time to make lunch and “be IRL.” Thank you for reading. ❤︎

45 thoughts on “Things you should know

  1. Love how you’ve expressed it here, Nadine! 😀 This was very relatable for me – early on in my blogging journey i was too caught up in agonising about the publicity and audience ‘liking’ my stories, so I panic-published a lot of content but without any rhythm or consistency, and my writing nose-dived as a result. Since restarting this late last year & cutting it back to weekly blogging, I’ve been incredibly lucky to build a small but consistent audience, who can be relied upon to revisit my amateur scribblings & leave meaningful constructive feedback. Proud to be one of the ‘hopelessly hopeful’!

    Like

    1. “panic-published” – haha love that Tom! you do have such a way with words! And yes you’ve helped build a wonderful community around them! Thanks for your always-thoughtful comments :))

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you ❤︎🙏I’m a huge wimp when it comes to violence Tom, particularly fictional violence; but I’m sure fans and critics of your work alike will agree your writing is well-“executed” !!! 😉😘

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Thanks for being so encouraging to a budding writer! I totally agree – darkly satisfying stories aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s also about letting the quieter moments (of which there are plenty) breathe to balance out the story easier [I hope!] 😀

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Likewise on the encouragement factor Tom 🌷🖋your comments always give a bit of bloom power! 💐As for your darkly satisfying stories, I will have to trust that is the case, since I’m far too wimpy to brave the violence! 😩😅

              Liked by 1 person

              1. If you’d prefer, the only chapters so far with violent action in them are 1, 12-13, and 19-20. All the rest is gradual world-building and character development (plus there’s a dog and cat too!) 🙂

                Liked by 1 person

  2. Nah, I have a feeling, you are stronger than you think you are Nadine. It’s good to be a big baby 😊 Indicating you are full of energy, hope, love, optimistic and lots of other good stuff 👏 please, jump in for some yoga: it keeps I sane given my questionable thought processing system 🏋🏄👌 Great thanks for the share and I will appreciate a feedback

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I hate random likes. And yes, I used the “h” word. As content creators, we are meant to express our thoughts, feelings, emotions ….. out there. It makes no sense receiving thousands of likes yet the content remains unknown. Currently, I value likes based on who and not their number. Stay awesome Nadine 😊🏄🙌

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Joseph you rock. 🌊🏄‍♂️Always happy to see you here. :))) I definitely felt deflated and disillusioned to learn about fake likes, but am happy to have this knowledge now so that I understand the system better. And yet tbh I can’t say I hate them… because if I had not had that first possibly-fake like or follow or two, in the very beginning of starting this blog, not sure if I would have had the guts to continue. I’m a big baby. 😆👼Rock on Joseph, spoken-word-politico-poetic yoga master 🧘🏽‍♀️(can’t find the man yogi emoticon :))) 🎸🤘I will be diving into your book soon.

      For others here interested, check it Joseph’s book: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43583737-orgasmic-sinister

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve recently noticed that some of the people following my blog have followed it two, maybe even three times in the past. I suspect they follow, then unfollow, then follow again to attract readers to themselves.

    I pay attention to the people who leave reasonably insightful comments. Also, to the few who “like” a post now and then over a period of years, and who have commented once or twice. Last to the pretty women who like my post. Yes, I’m guilty of being both male and admitting it. Twice guilty. But if you have any condemnation, please save if for those who can benefit by it.

    I like your prose style. What I like most about it is it’s authentic. There’s a beauty in authenticity — it’s there even in people who are otherwise heinous. That’s one of life’s mysteries, isn’t it? How heinous people can also have a bit of beauty to them, if they are authentic (which in my experience, the vast majority of them are not).

    Your post was well worth my time. Thank you for that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well I feel honoured 😅 thanks Paul. But I wonder, aren’t we all a little heinous at times? ;)) About the followers yes I’ve seen that too but actually also *been* that, though not to get another blogger’s attention. Mainly it’s if the content is not what I want to be taking in at the moment, and then when/if that changes later. About the attractiveness factor, no condemnation here. 😄We’re all human (at least those of us who are not bots ;)) and I think we can probably all (secretly, at least) relate to this. Thanks so much for your thoughtful thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve had people leave a string of ten or twelve likes in a period of minutes. About as long as it would take them to navigate from one page to the next. Who they think they’re fooling is anyone’s guess. Even if I don’t happen to be watching my inbox, anytime I see a block of likes unbroken by ads, offers of discounts on things I don’t want, political fundraising emails, fake surveys, and petitions I agree with but that don’t seem to be addressed to anyone, I know they were left within minutes of each other.

    Sorry–I could’ve said that without giving you a tour of my inbox but I got into a rhythm there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh wow you still have likes coming by email? serious die hard!!! :)) (says the ridiculously smug-feeling blogger who recently managed to figure out how to turn off all email blog notifications, AND zero her inbox… doesn’t stop her from compulsively checking the WP interface for pink/orange dots though ;)).

      Always love your rhythms Ellen. Someone kind liked one of my old comments on your blog today so that’s how I saw the remainder of our thread on your knicker-bocker-I-mean-Brexit post again (and, I’m guessing, how you subsequently ended up here. ;)) Likes are kind of fun aren’t they. Very happy to see you here milady, thanks for popping by 🤠😘👍😄

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t stop by often enough. But that’s one of the things about likes–they remind me to stop by and do a bit of reading here and there among bloggers I enjoy and some I don’t know yet. It’s a damn shame that life interferes with our blog reading. I try to keep the two in something that’ll pass for balance.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Damn your black heart! How do you live with yourself? Taking the very words out of my mind? 😜

    I started, and dropped, many social media/website experiments because I could never get the “numbers” I needed. Since then I’ve learned about bots that will increase you’re numbers. Any number of places on the interwebs sell friends/likes/whatever by the thousands. It’s all bullshit. And disheartening.

    Or, more precisely, I should write WAS disheartening. Since I’ve been seriously writing and corresponding with people here on WordPress, my handful of the Golden Hopefuls has meant the world to me.

    And, what’s more, I’m glad to be counted among the hopelessly hopeful.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Agreed Nadine. There is a strong emphasis on the numbers game on Wp/Twitter etc, but I always remember a post I read from a woman who had 10k followers and ended up in hospital after a suicide attempt. Not one of her ‘friends’ were really there for her. As per the comments above, I think it’s quality over quantity.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh my gosh… that is so heartbreaking… on a similar topic we just watched Mrs. Doubtfire with the kids for our Sunday family movie and I couldn’t stop thinking about Robin Williams… such a light in the world, who made so many of us laugh and laugh and feel so much joy. For his work to be so loved, yet for him to self-extinguish… I’m still processing it, five years later. And I’m just a random fan.

      I think some people are better able to manage the crushing responsibility of fame better than others… or manage to remain unaffected by it, or thrive on it somehow.

      Thanks for commenting, Matthew, btw you’re my favourite Phd candidate in the known universe. :))

      Like

    2. Matthew, that reminds me of John Kennedy Toole’s story. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with him. If not, here’s a extremely condensed version:

      He felt himself a failure because his writing was ignored, so he killed himself. His mother pressed and pressed and finally got his (second?) book published, A Confederacy of Dunces. It won the Pulitzer.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Now this reminds me of my first encounters with likers and followers (on another blog of mine, not this one). Every time I hit ‘publish’, I got, say, two likes and one follow—in only three to five seconds, and still zero view until hours later(!) WTF! LOL

    Aye! Though the readership we’ve got is much less than the views on our stat (and I guess this will always be the case), those ‘real viewers’ (however few) are priceless. So, I believe many [new] bloggers will find this post of yours helpful.

    Have a good time blogging your way! 🍸

    Like

  9. Nadine, I do not quite follow your angle. You talk about what is out there. And you talk about what is in there, multiple personalities. You speak about external signs of general recognition as a PhD title or “likes” on the Internet.

    Multiple personalities
    I have been eagerly grasping for a sense of knowing who I am. It has been going on for a coverable length of time. My brain tuned by acquiring a PhD title was of no use. Leaning toward that end did mess things up — quite a bit. I was able to play that role reasonably well. But where was I. Therapy told me to find myself but did not help me to do it accurately enough. Ten years post therapy gave me a clue. For me, it is to dare to know nothing about myself, feeling disoriented and in pain ever so often. (And trust me, I have read many thousands of papers and hundreds of thesis´. Only a few are worth the title. They may execute adequate logic and lingua. But they seldom reveal new knowledge.

    But the point was multiple personalities. Do not walk the path of despair. Be proud of your ability to detect various aspects of yourself. You are that one handling this orchestra of inner voices. Not easy to specify and not worth it. Because you will never be able to use such a specification.

    Title
    After reaching a point of examination, a lot of people withdraw. Then they start spinning a chrysalis around themselves. Sadly, there will never be a beautiful butterfly out of that intermediate stage. Their self was hurt. They started hiding it in this chrysalis. I was about doing this myself. I was tempted to withdraw from the assignment I have given myself. But not yet.

    Likes
    To use ”likes” as a measure is to my eye an unscientific way to go. The crowd gives “likes” on many different grounds. So they read such “likes”. Being ”liked” in a social bunch may help your outside. Your inside may be severely distracted and distorted.

    Your friend in writing
    Göran

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Göran, all good points and I love hearing some more about your personal journey, what a gift you’ve given here, thank you <33

      As for the multiple personalities, well I think we all have them to some extent and I am learning to embrace mine. (Hence why I address them, along with kindred spirits, as "dear friends." :))

      I love your paragraph about the butterfly… so true and poignant… really great reminder, might post it up above my desk, alongside some snippets from the other comments here, thanks again G.

      Like

  10. Great post! (Yes, I read all of it.) My approach is thus: I write because I enjoy writing. It’s how I process my life and my thoughts and feelings. First and foremost, my blog is for me. Beyond that, I offer what I write to the universe to be used in whatever way is best. I trust that if someone can benefit from reading my posts, as I have benefited from reading others’, the universe will guide them to it. Once I press Publish or Schedule, I release the outcome. I love Likes and Follows and that’s fun, but they’re not what matters to me about blogging. I don’t have many readers, but I trust that they are the “right” readers. I blog because I enjoy it, but it has also become a most wonderful mindfulness practice for me, and a way to attempt to be of use in the world.

    I love reading “honest” bloggers, and I’ve become fairly adept at recognizing almost instantly the fame-seeking bloggers you describe, and move on in fairly short order. Everyone has a different reason for blogging, and that’s fine. I read the ones I feel I can connect with and learn from, and those that make me laugh, or tell me about an experience of life I’m curious about but won’t experience this time around. There are so many interesting and wonderful people in the blogosphere writing heart-felt wonderful pieces, giving expression to their souls (like you), and informing my life in the process! The rest don’t matter. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “I blog because I enjoy it, but it has also become a most wonderful mindfulness practice for me, and a way to attempt to be of use in the world.” Oh! I love this encapsulated description so much! This sums up perfectly what blogging should be!

      I do feel that bloggers like Louis and anyone else as honest achieve this usefulness, in combination with their perhaps (self-described) ethically grey success strategy. I think that what Louis does in revealing his strategy and motivations takes real guts. I admire that. It balances the grey.

      I love your philosophy and way of expressing it. Thank you!

      Liked by 2 people

  11. I am commenting not because I like this post, but because I love it. For me, blogging is part spiritual practice, part confessional, and sometimes just emotional word vomit that I choose to share publicly. I was talking with a friend the other day about “artists” and though I consider myself a writer, simply because I write, I know that my writing is stylistically juvenile and largely self indulgent. His take was that all artists have this fear of “what if no one ever sees how great I am?!”; while at the same time confronting their inherent worthlessness and inadequacy. I think it is a paradox many of us recognize in each other. I don’t have any followers that are not also bloggers. I have a Facebook page that gets meager traffic from my family and friends, so clearly they aren’t my target audience. I write for me, to sing “a song of myself”, naive and narcissistic though it may be. I tend to follow writers that are the same. It rings more true to me than someone’s blog about home design, vegan recipes, or the currently ubiquitous ‘lifestyle’, when really they just want someone to see their lives through the subjectively “best” window possible. Keep doing what you do. It is well done.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Allie!! I love this comment so much. I think we’re peas in a pod on these topics. But I disagree about your writing. I love your writing, especially the book excerpts about the ayahuasca experience. Just brilliant. Excited to see the book when it comes out. Thank you!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Good post, nice words as usual. I know that some just want as many followers, views and likes as possible and that’s cool. Some others, me included, write for me, and if other people choose to read, like or comment, then that’s pretty humbling. If I follow someone, it’s because I like what they write. I won’t like everything, but some of my stuff is terrible at times too. Swings and roundabouts, do what makes you happy.

    Liked by 3 people

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