How to Lose Followers

You start blogging to have a voice, to be heard and to listen to others.  It’s an outlet that doesn’t involve you having to go through agents, publishers, or other constructs of the industry.  It’s easy.  You get a blog, you start writing, people listen.  You are not a number.  You are a voice.  You are important.  You are heard.

But you better be careful.  You can amass followers to your blog, yes, but there are some sure-fire ways of losing followers too:

1.  Don’t respond to comments people leave you.  If someone writes you, ignore them.  Don’t answer.  Don’t dare answer.  These people leaving comments are like parasites.  Parasites with a lot of time on their hands, to do nothing but comment.  They can’t possibly be interested in you.  They’re just running about commenting on anything, and thus they are the true filth of the blogging world.  It is your duty as a human being to ignore them.

2.  Don’t ever comment on someone’s blog that you’re following, especially if they comment on yours all the time.  Blogging is meant to be a one-way discussion, like talking to a wall or a peach.

3.  Get it into your head that you are so incredibly great at spewing out high-class content that it’s not possible for anyone to not religiously follow you, to the point where you don’t need to ever comment on someone’s blog, ever, because you are above the lowly class of blog-prolls that populate the WordPress world and are way too good to stoop to the level of actually providing feedback on something someone else wrote.  Unless, of course, that person is also an elite blogger and thus worthy of your attention, in which case make sure to gush voluminously over anything these upper-crusts write.

4.  In order to save time and to show that you do in fact pay attention, just hit Like as you pass through blogs like a streak of holy lighting.  The very presence of your gravatar on someone’s blog should result in instant orgasm for the author, and thus you have done all you need to do for the unwashed masses.

Order one.  Wear it proudly.

Order one. Wear it proudly.

5.  Build an empire.  Become a cult blog leader.  Abuse your followers.  Abuse them!  Hoard them!  Gather them together and form ranks as your army of peons swoops outwards to spread the word of your munificence, so that you can have an instant audience to whom to sell your soon-to-be-published guide on How-to-Breed-in-Silk-Pyjamas, you epic twat.

6.  Keep this phrase in your clipboard, so that you can paste as required, on ANY post ever written by ANYONE on ANY topic: “I just loved that.  Damn.  I wish I had written this.”

7.  Tell people all the time that you love them and the way they write, especially on other people’s blogs, and then never actually read what they write or comment on it.  That’s so classy.

8.  If anyone ever calls you out for your lack of following, tell them that you have had computer problems, sorry you rancid little attention-grabbing fuck stain.  If you’ve already used this excuse, go to the next level.  Blame it on WordPress.  It’s infested by gremlins.  They’re chewing it to bits.  Don’t get them wet.  Don’t get them angry.  They will cut the lines that link you to those whom you follow.  And they will probably come after your genitals next.  Do you WANT to lose your genitals?  DO YOU?????

9.  Mass follow.  Do it.  It’s a real thing.  Go on the Reader and hit follow on every new blogger who rolls through.  Do it.  It’s easy.  Half of them will follow you back.  Soon, you will be in a magnificent place where you have incredible numbers of followers and tons of Likes on your posts, but strangely, very few meaningful comments… interesting.  The law of averages does not lie.  Statistics can be bent, but also don’t lie.  Your future publishing house or television network or movie studio will not have much problem seeing through this lie.  But hey, at least you won’t die alone.

10.  Go read this guy: Exile on Pain Street http://exileonpainstreet.com/ for great writing and utter total lack of kiss-assery.  By the way, does anyone LIKE kiss-assery?  Really?  Do we actually appreciate that drooling driveling virtual lovefest of like-minded twattery?  Here’s a rule, how about instead of gushing about everything we ever read, we actually call out the shit posts and extol the good ones.  It’s all a matter of taste, of course, but it is it really humanly possible to like every goddamned thing everyone ever writes?  Really?  Is EVERYTHING  that amazing and insightful and beautiful and full of humming humping butterflies?  Please.  The next shit short story I write, someone call me on it.  Please, I beg you.  Don’t random like me.  Fucking crucify me.  In fact, I’m going to write a rank awful short story in the next couple of months and post it, and if you guys don’t burn me to ashes for it, I’m gonna get really pissed.

11.  Find a new blogger.  Comment religiously.  Own them.  Make them one of yours.  Show unbridled enthusiasm for them, stroke their ego, make them feel grand and wonderful.  And then stop showing up.  Do it gradually, so they don’t notice, but just make sure you’ve done enough to attract them to your blog and have them commenting on your stuff, but not enough that they would expect you to stick around for theirs.  This is a skill.  Nurture it.  Grow it.  Practice it.  Dominate.  The way to get ahead in life is to forget about the little people as soon as you have used them for the purpose for which they were born ie. to accelerate your own God-given blogging fame.

12.  Post every five minutes.  Please.  Do it.  Keep posting until you have worn us down through attrition, to the point where reading your posts has become automatic, like blowing your nose or eating spaghetti through your ears.  By the way, very very few can pull this off – Art from PMAO (http://pouringmyartout.wordpress.com/ being one of them.

13.  Post every two months.  Seriously, wait a full sixty days between your posts.  Because of course we’ll remember you.  Of course you’re essential.  Of course people won’t just forget about you, nah that would never happen.  They’ll remember you, right?  Won’t they?  Huh?  (here’s looking at you, Fay-http://spa-curious.com/ and Michelle-http://silkpurseproductions.wordpress.com/, two writers I really like but damn if you don’t post with the frequency of some deep-space comet returning to our solar system every couple of years).

14.  Write inflammatory, insulting and unnecessary posts such as this one, to piss off all your friends.

Listen, blogging’s going to make you rich.  It will.  It will build an audience for you and make you massive.  Only, it won’t.  This won’t make you money.  This won’t make you huge.  This won’t make your writing career.  It won’t.  The chances of that happening are worse than the chances of you winning the lottery.  It’s true.  You can look it up, right here.  On this post.

You got into this to be heard.  To hear others.  To make relationships.  To create, to express, to be bold.  You wanted to be something other than a number.  You wanted to be a voice.  But really, you’re a cog for people who can do this better than you and can spend more time at it.  You are one small part of a huge world.  You are a stepping stone for some.  You are insignificant to others.  You are in some cases just a potential sale.  But what you really are is everything you didn’t want to be.  You are a numeral.  A rung.  A blade of grass.  You, friends, are a number after all.

This matters, right?  Doesn't it?

This matters, right? Doesn’t it?

Here’s why I blog: I want meaningful interaction with good people.  And there are so many of you.  Some of the most ethereal writers I’ve seen are here (hey Catastrophe Jones-http://catastrophejones.wordpress.com/, that’s you).  But those who have different motivations, you know who you are.  You fit into the above categories.  You flit through this like it’s a game, and that’s because it is a game. And you’re winning.  You’re winning this great game that leads to absolutely fucking no where.  Congratulations.  I hope this is what you wanted.

And a quick shout-out to Sean Smithson for his awesome post, http://seansmithson.com/2014/03/17/how-to-get-more-followers-in-5-easy-steps/.  Just an awesome blogger and a great guy.  And I know I threw some shout-outs to a few, but there are so many others out there worthy of being read and listened to, too many to name.  That’s also part of the reason I’m here, reading and following.  To be honest and frank, there are many people out there writing their hearts out that no one pays attention to; and there are others who carefully construct bullshit for our viewing pleasure who don’t deserve the attention they get.  Sorry, that’s how I feel.  Sure, there’s a Nicki Daniels (http://nickidaniels.com/) here and there who’s good and deserves the attention.  There’s that Smithson guy.  There’s others.  But for everyone else who’s not followed to death by thousands and thousands, I’m here because of you.  For those poems and stories you write at two in the fucking morning because nothing less will do, and you don’t care if anyone reads it.  You do it because you’re writers.  You have to do this.  I’m here for how you weave words in ways that we don’t see often – for originality, for creativity, for doing something that is actually artistic rather than built for traffic.  Here’s to you.  I know this post will come off as angry and ranty and the like, but it’s not really.  It’s a love letter.  It’s a love letter to those who are here to write.

And now, back to writing that shit post (yes, I know this one’s shit too, but I can do worse, I promise).  I hope you’re ready.

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433 thoughts on “How to Lose Followers

  1. I didn’t have time to read this … just wanted to let you know I love you and your writing. You are truly incredible. Now, leave me alone for a bit so I can go randomly like every blog post I find in the next 30 minutes.

    Seriously … a lot of what you describe here is why I stopped my daily blogging habit and have narrowed who I read to a group that is barely larger than a handful. And that group? None of them are the ones who blog every day.

    • ::sigh:: I’ve gotten into the habit of posting daily…or almost daily. Not to attract and retain followers, to accumulate “likes,” or to generate tons of comments, although if that happens, I won’t complain. But I post daily pretty much to because I love to write, and expressing my thoughts and observations in my blog helps me maintain my sanity.

      Oh well. I guess you can’t please all of the people all of the time.

        • No worries. I’ve finally stopped bawling like a baby, although I’m still in the fetal position and sucking my thumb. I’ll get over it.

          Unless the Red Sox lose again today. Then I might just stay that way for the rest of the baseball season.

          • I applaud your thumb sucking. I must do more.

            As for your Red Sox … I’m a happy Giants fan at the moment. But one of the beauties of baseball is the length of the season.

            • Now that I live in San Francisco, I, too, am a Giants fan. But my heart still belongs to the Red Sox. And my baseball dream would be for a Red Sox-Giants World Series. Hey, it could happen!

              • I would love to see that. I have always been intrigued by the Red Sox and enjoyed their first WS run. But since then I’ve grown tired of them and they are no longer the underdog with a sad history.

              • True. I think the Cubs are the new, perennial underdogs if baseball…with a sad, albeit storied, history.

                Having said that, I will NEVER grow tired of my beloved Red Sox. Unless they lose again today.

              • Exactly how I feel about the Giants. It is both a blessing and a curse to be a real fan of one team. Fortunately after more than three decades of curses, we’ve had finally had some greatness the last few years.

              • You guys are making me weepy-eyed. Here you are talking about the Giants and the Bosox, and I sit about rueing the loss of my beloved Expos.

                Cubs… on scale of take or leave, I leave. Giants pretty fond of. Sox, can’t help but like with that stadium. But I gotta say, I’m still a Yankees fan.

              • I may have to disown you, Mr. Lewin. How can you possibly be a Yankees fan?! They represent so much of why the Expos failed to make it in Montreal.

              • Ya know, I never wanted to tell you about it… kind of kept it to myself. When the Expos died in 2004, there was no way I was going to throw myself behind Washington. So the Yankees it was.

                I told Doobster too, he’s die-hard Bosox fan. Should make for some interesting discussions this year, though I figure neither team will end up winning the East or sniffing a wild card.

              • I will never stop shaking my head over this. Already, I’m starting to feel dizzy. You went from a team that represented the purity of small market dreams to the evil empire.

            • Look man, I tried to keep my Yankees love quiet. But you got to give me a break here. My team went and folded! It flippin died! I had no where to turn. No where to go. But Steinbrenner and his ilk were there for me. Took me in and told me everything was gonna be okay.

        • Being a Chicago native…. I am a Bears fan. That is my usual answer to the Sox or Cubs question. I guess I would be a Cubs fan by association, but really as far as I am concerned they are both Chicago teams, so I root for em. I remember once when my daughter realized what the cross town classics was and wanted to know why they were playing each other. I told her the answer was simple. It was so a Chicago team could win.

      • Nope, ya can’t. We have a mutual “friend” who falls on the complete opposite end of the spectrum from this. Perhaps he’s who I have in mind, I dunno. This is all a bit meaningless. Should probably flip back to baseball, and rant and rave about how there was baseball in Montreal again, if only for a couple of days.

    • Figured as much, Midget, but you exemplify this case. People should be reading you. They should be buying your books. They should know what Northville is and why it’s going to be great.

      • Hard to know what to do with blogging these days. From your post and earlier ones like it, it’s clear we share some of the same frustrations. I wanted my blog to be a conversation. It didn’t happen. The blogs I enjoy with good writing and authors who engage in good discussion are very few and when I look at those blogs I see that it is basically the same circle of bloggers commenting and saying things worth reading.

        And then there are the likes. One if the posts I did earlier this week was up for something like 12.875 seconds before it got a like. Ummm. Hello. Could you at least pretend to read it before you like it.

        And one more thing … Other than a handful, I can’t tell that my blog has led to much in the way of book sales.

        Which all leads to the big questions. Who am I? Why am I here?

        • I know you’ve written about this before, Mark. The conversation is important. To me, it’s the only important thing. That’s why I appreciate hanging out on your blog. I may not always agree with you, but that’s irrelevant.

          So the questions, who are you and why are you here… I know who you are, if you can forgive my presumption. You’re a bonafide writing with a love of that craft and no other motivations that I can detect. You’re a writer. A very very good one. Now why are you here… I have that same question myself, and I can’t quite seem to answer it, which is perhaps why I wrote this post.

          • Thank you, good sir. I always feel so incredibly humbled when you say things like that because it’s just something so impossible for me to believe. The one thing I can agree with, and I never thought I would say this about myself, is that I do love the craft. It’s why I undertook to write Northville the way I did. It’s why I undertook to write Deviation the way I did. It’s why I have tried to write The Irrepairable Past in a form that forces me to think about so much while I’m writing.

            Just remember … you are the same. It’s clear to me that you have the love of the craft and a talent to put words together that shows how much you respect it as well.

              • When I describe how I feel about my job, I describe it as feeling like a kid wearing his dad’s suit. A fellow blogger/writer described it as imposter syndrome. It fits well my feelings of inadequacy as a writer also. But that’s okay. It is that self-doubt and feeling of inadequacy that push me to keep working and trying to do better. I shudder at the thought of being motivated by something than my own doubt.

  2. “I just loved that. Damn. I wish I had written this.” How could I resist, Trend. I mean, honestly. You asked for it.

    I agree with much of this — especially the idea of not responding to comments. It is simple courtesy to respond when someone is talking to you — and so rude not to. They have spent time with you and it is the least you can do (except for trolls. They do not deserve courtesy, although I do tend to explain exactly why they are assholes). I’m digressing.

    Keep writing; I’ll keep reading. Most of the time — because I miss some sometimes. But I’m always sorry!

    • “I just loved that. Damn. I wish I had written this.” Beat me to it Elyse. He was just begging for it wasn’t he? I think he’s like Art in setting himself up to spur comments. Now go look at that photo of the view out of your old office.
      By the by, I sometimes drop the gravatar to let someone know I was there and the come back when I have more time to think and write one of my mini-posts HA in their comment box. Some days there is just so much going on and you need to tend to your own knitting first so you don’t violate rule #1, reply to their comments. As you may have noticed, I am usually not a man of few words.

      • You are not a nice man for making me think of my old view while looking at the brick wall. Not nice at all.

        I sometimes do just leave a “Like” — because, as surprising as it may seem, I don’t always have something to say about a post. Even if I like it.

      • You are definitely not a man of few words, Dan, but you sure put your time and effort into them. Seldom seen materials so thoroughly researched and thought-out; makes my stream-of-consciousness blather seem very childish.

        You know, time is a harsh master.

        • Any day now I expecting a nomination for the sister to the Most Versatile Blogger award, The Most Verbose Blogger. My posts are like a smoke-and-mirror résumé. The author always looks good on paper.and then they get called in for the interview. UH OH. Thanks for coming in. We’ll let you know. One of these days, someone will run one of hem through http://www.plagiarism-detect.com/ and it will all be over. I will be a washed up hack….You don’t understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let’s face it. It was you, Trent. Uh, don’t run that last part through the checker.

          Time being the harsh master she is, I am all out fo time for the mome….

  3. I just loved that. Damn. I wish I had written this.

    And seriously, Trent. Are you somehow peeking at me through my webcam? How else would you know that I have an instant orgasm every time someone’s gravatar shows up in my comments? Sheesh, maybe that’s why I’ve felt so spent lately.

  4. I enjoyed reading this, because I share some of your frustrations, but I also feel like I just got my ass kicked. I don’t know how some people are able to read as much as they do and still are able to write. I go through periods where I am able to and then other times I just can’t. I get overwhelmed by it. I just actually wrote a post where I did call people out on the bullshit, and got a varied reaction on it. Two people are actually currently having an argument with each other on my blog, leaving me completely out of it!
    I recently had a Kickstarter campaign to try to launch my book – and a lot of the things you’re talking about in this post were constantly in the back of my mind. I didn’t want to treat people as just potential sales or customers. I hated feeling like that. Now I find myself playing the role of marketing person as well as writer, when really I would prefer just to write. I will fully admit I’m just trying to figure all this out – i’ve been blogging as an attempt to build an audience, but I, like you, have tried to build that audience by building relationships rather than just trying to draw people in with tricks and some net. I’m going to shamefully admit that I haven’t read much of your writing. But every so often you post one of these rants, and they are just so freaking dead on and hilarious. I hereby solemnly swear to try to probably maybe check out more of your writing.

    • I don’t know you Helena. I don’t begrudge you anything you need to do to make a go of your writing. I haven’t much checked out your blog, but if you’re up front and clear about what it is that you’re in this for, good for you.

      My rants… reminds me of Nicholas Cage. I think he’s a great actor, but often he does really crap commercial fare to earn enough to do something a little more out there. Does that make sense? I think I am basically telling you that I am Nicholas Cage. My rants are dumb. The stories mean something to me. They might mean something to others, too, at times.

    • Noam Chomsky (86 years old) is probably the busiest guy in the world. He gives lectures, speeches, interviews, writes profusely about politics and linguistics. Yet, he takes the time to reply to emails sent to him. Another author, an historian (76 years old), spends two hours a day returning emails. When he was younger, he spent even more time.
      I’m writing this as much to myself as I am to you, because I need to do that. If they can do it, I can do it. Maybe even just a half hour a day, but at least something.
      BTW, on a previous blog that I had, I loved it on those rare occasions when people would chat between themselves. I felt very successful at setting up a forum where people could do that. I wish more people had discussed topics between themselves.
      Now, it’s like I can hardly get anyone to visit my site. But as Trent mentioned there are some tricks that can be used, and I’m going to spend at least a half hour a day clicking all the like and follow buttons. Also, like the idea of a general comment: “Love the blog. Keep up the good work.”

        • What now? I think you were commenting to Helena, but in the way WordPress works, I get the comment too.

          Is she really a guy? You mean Helena? That’s a very odd question. Does that matter in some way? Honestly, I’m gender-stupid. A lot of people I interact with here, I don’t know if they’re guys or girls or hippos.

          • I like kidding around with people. Not really cheeky, just the playful and amusing part of the definition of it I just looked up (I’m American so I don’t speak much British.) Heh-heh.
            I was referring to your reply to Helena (who I know is a girl) where you said, “You make me laugh. But I’m not calling you darling. I think you just became another “dude”. So there you are, dude.”

            • Oh sorry, right I forgot. I kind of throw dude out there for most people, I don’t know why. It’s not like I’m a beach bum or something, I mean I live in Ontario. I should probably stop that eh? It’s even annoying me at this point.

      • Well, I’m not really endorsing the tricks, to be honest. I’m more testing their resolve. They appear to be very strong.

        Art from PMAO is the best example I can think of for interaction in the comment threads. Half the time, the contents of his comments is better than most of the posts I read.

      • Oh my god, do you have Noam Chomsky’s email address? (Yes, that’s what I took from this, darling).

        Manufacturing Consent is brilliant.

        It really does take discipline to try to organize your time — I find myself overwhelmed and lately find more time commenting and responding than I do actually writing.

        By the way, love the blog. Keep up the good work.

        • Yes, I have his email address. Here’s the last reply I had from his legal team, along with the address.

          MIT Legal Department
          Mr. Miller, You’re constant emails, as many as thirty-eight per day, are becoming annoying. We ask that you desist from expressing your apparent obsession with Mr. Chomsky. We get the idea, you admire him and think he is a “great” man. Please, do not force us to contact the Justice Department.
          chomsky@mit.edu

          By the way, Helena, I too, like your blog and/or website, and I also hope that you continue your excellent work in the cause and/or activities you are involved in.
          🙂

  5. Ah, I have done this. I have disappeared for months–not because I don’t want to be all over this incredible community of writers, reading everything, because I do. Unfortunately, that part of my blogging life will not likely come back until after I have corneal surgery of some sort. It is difficult to read anything of substance on the days I am working. Hey, them’s the breaks. If I read your post, I want you to know I blew the typeface up really big and thought it was worth hitting “like” on it. Dammit, you’d better orgasm when I hit like, after all that effort,and a comment should leave you experiencing multiples 😉

    LOL, I am reblogging this, and including the second half of my comment as my intro. I did well and truly love this!

  6. This is brilliant, it made me laugh. So basically in order to lose followers, I need to be a narcissist?! Also I wondered if you’d mention PMAO with his many posts a day! LOL

  7. Reblogged this on Susan Daniels Poetry and commented:
    Ah, I have done this. I have disappeared for months–not because I don’t want to be all over this incredible community of writers, reading everything, because I do. Unfortunately, that part of my blogging life will not likely come back until after I have corneal surgery of some sort. It is difficult to read anything of substance on the days I am working. Hey, them’s the breaks. If I read your post, I want you to know I blew the typeface up really big and thought it was worth hitting “like” on it. Dammit, you’d better orgasm when I hit like, after all that effort,and a comment should leave you experiencing multiples 😉

    LOL, I am reblogging this, and including the second half of my comment as my intro. I did well and truly love this!

  8. Wow! My very first “Bitch Slap”. I’m all verklemt. So, twice in one week you have called me out. I guess I better stop reading everyone else’s blog and commenting and finish one of the 12 pieces I’ve started.
    For the record, I am looking forward to your “piece of crap” blog (although, I don’t believe you are capable of that) so I can return the favour.

  9. Did you say follow the “next big thing” blogger and then troll others’ blogs in the comments telling them to follow your new best friend so that you may get some of their glory? You may have, I just didn’t read all of this…

    Now, I am guilty of more than a few of these things, but I do promise that I read everything I like or comment on. If I just “like” something, it is because others have already said what I was going to or I am in a place where I can’t type (or both). I can read quickly and have lots of down time, so why not?

    My last blog had a fraction of the followers my current one does, but the interaction level is the same because I love everyone, dammit! That’s all that matters to me.

    • Don’t read it all, it’s not worth it. Next big things… they come along regular-like. I still don’t know what it means.

      I have zippo traffic at times. I guess I could do something about that. But I won’t. I agree with you fully, it’s the interactions that matter. They mean something.

  10. yes, I blog to have a voice, to be creative and for the love of writing. I stay up late sometimes just to post a poem or story. I wait for the comments, the likes and the traffic….I can say I am obsessed with the statistics. “how well did my writing do?” “no likes? does that mean it was horrible?” sometimes, I fall into the trap of judging my skills by the presence or absence of likes and comments and I allow myself to wallow in self pity. not for long though, I pick myself up and write again, because that is what I love- just to write.
    nevertheless, getting traffic and accolades are still important. I am human

    • I look at the stats too. I certainly am not immune from doing that, or wondering if they do validate what I’m writing. I guess that’s the point, no one watching (and I have pretty low stats compared to many I would imagine) don’t mean that I suck – I mean, I might just suck, but not because of that.

      Yes, we’re human. We want validation. We need that, it’s a human condition. I just remember back before the internet and stuff, I would write for myself, and occasionally I would get real buzzed over something that I had written because I thought it was good. Maybe I just miss that place, where the validation came from me. From being comfortable in that place. I don’t think I exist in that state anymore.

      • yes, the pressure of the internet and social media and the crave for popularity has slowly eroded our internal validation system where one feels good about the ability to create art and something beautiful too. now we judge our art against the views and likes of people who are totally alien and who might see things differently from us.

        • As long as we feel the truth of what we write… I think that is all that matters. I miss being that way. Maybe that’s one of the things that erodes from us as we grow up. One of those things we miss about being a child.

          • exactly! adulthood and the pressures of doing things we don’t want to do just so we can fit in…

            we need to find a balance where we can still enjoy what we do and then doing them in ways that is expected by the society at large..

      • I have a poster with a wolf or two on it in a pretty forest setting that says ” Integrity is doing the right thing even if no one is looking” Ok, maybe I got the picture wrong, I doubt it, but I could. I like the saying. I try to have a good deal of Integrity. Of course you still exist in that state. You just have to trace your way back. I was thinking this morning how technology is a double edged sword. I wonder if we wouldn’t be better off with out it all. Do you realize I grew up without a cell phone?! No computer! There was one phone in the house (the house with one bathroom and at one time 8 people living in it) and that was a rotary dial attached firmly to the kitchen wall. we spent al lot more time outside when it was nice out, and if you needed to “call” a friend you went to his house and yelled for him to come outside. Or went in to get him.

        wow. how’d I get there?

        • I like the saying. Yes, that makes sense, it does.

          I heard that the internet corrupts us in some way by taking away the spontaneity of conversation. By allowing us to craft responses carefully instead of saying what we really believe; we issue an image of us, not really us. I totally do that, if I think about that. But what technology also gives us is access. So we reach more people and touch more people, but we do so with a version of us that ain’t necessarily us. They get to see a gravatar. I have no idea where this is going. Well, yes I do. It’s going to beer number three.

          • hence the other edge of the sword. I never would have ‘met’ you if it weren’t for the internet. Well, I guess I shouldn’t say that either. That may or may not be true. People find their way into others lives, and they always have. Even without the internet. Destiny.

            • I believe in destiny, Julie. We have a haphazard relationship and occasionally separate only to fly into each other’s arms again, but destiny is kinda hot and I love her dress.

          • There is this to consider also, Trent.
            A) It works well for introverts who most naturally like to consider before speaking.
            B) We introverts do GET the opportunity to speak and WITHOUT interruption. We can express complete thoughts.
            C) In writing, we often tend to dig a little deeper into our psyche and come to know ourselves better
            D) It (Thank God in some cases) allows us to collect and refine our thoughts as we blather.
            E) Through the process of collecting out thoughts as we write, we may actually be showing our truer, higher-selves and though “conditional” in the moment, we are not being at all deceptive as to who we really are, or at least wish to be. There are of course abuses of representation for malignant reasons. I wouldn’t deny that.
            F) There is the potential to be exposed to the broadest range of opinions on a topic, even within the same forum.
            G) It may be working toward increasing tolerance of others and their perspectives. We still don’t have to agree, but we can understand their motivations.
            H) We can see the world is filled with creative and caring people and experience their dreams and hope for a brighter future.
            I) We can share in the joy and triumphs of others, and they with us.
            J) We can offer comfort and healing to the wounded and heartsick.
            K) We are never alone. There is always someone to stand beside us.
            12) Gottcha. You were looking fir or dreading “L.”
            M) On the downside, it allows verbose and pretentious bastards to create and post lists and pontificate almost endlessly. But isn’t that why we’re all blogging? HA.

            .

            • Well, I’m definitely verbose and I’ll take pretentious as a matter of course. 13! There, I thought I would spring that on you. Well, there are great reasons to be here, aren’t there? Nothing is perfect.

  11. I was posting something and then it just disappeared, so after swearing repeatedly and flailing my arms wildly, I’ll start again.

    I am guilty of some of these although I make a concerted effort to try and refrain from the worst blogging offences. When I was blogging first, I was quite selfish. All I could think about was me and my blog, which is ridiculous. Now every time I get any interaction at all, I am so touched by it. Yesterday, I spent four hours reading through other people’s blogs. Sometimes I left comments and sometimes I didn’t. I suppose sometimes I feel that I don’t have anything worthy to contribute.

    There are some blogs that I just love reading; more so than I love writing for my own. Yours is one. Sean’s is great too. There are dozens. I see it as a privilege that we can all read such great writing and for free. Man, that’s ass-kissey (another made up word) but it’s true.

    I have been finding it hard to keep up with comments but I try really hard to respond to them all (I am also ridiculously forgetful 😦 )

    Anyway, great post Trent. You’ve given me plenty to think about!

    • I wouldn’t call anything “guilt”, Janey, it’s just the way this works. Blog stats are the new money, except you don’t really get to spend it. Could very well be that the number of blogs out there that are worth reading are what creates the problem. It’s hard to substantively keep up with everything you want to. But you know, I’m always there for eccentric teacher blogs…

  12. Bring on the flaming pile. I hope I don’t like it.

    I don’t hit like on every post I comment on…even for the writing. Sometimes the experience can’t warrant a like.

    I’m finding one of those T-shirts!

    • Yeah but Jaded, when you’re around, I know it, and you leave great comments. You do. And you write great posts, even if some are difficult to read.

      T’s all around. They come with free beer.

      • Whoo for Ts and um..alcohol.

        Thank you for saying that. I know my posts don’t go down easy, and that is ok. The alternative involves an instrument of self-destruction, and I don’t want to go there. I post for those who may relate. I have a goofy side, but it is difficult to share. Given the choice between reading and writing, it is reading, hands down.

        You have a gift of empathy and it shows in your characters. Your rants and non-fiction let us into your mind. Nice combination.

        I’m going to leave you with a final thought…Go Tigers!!! Ha!

        • Well, I’d love to see the goofy side some time too. I find it interesting that you’d pick reading over writing. I’d pick writing over reading, but I enjoy the stuff I read, so I try to make time.

          Thank you… I appreciate that word empathy. It is kind of what I go for. The rants and the like… they’re kind of fake. The real me is in the stories, somewhere. I don’t really know where, but it’s in there.

          Tigers… I should have known, with that gravatar of yours. I greatly respect the Tigers, and when the Expos folded, it was them or the Yanks. Long story why I picked the Yanks, but I still love the Tigers and check them out when they’re in Toronto.

  13. Thanks so much for the plug. Wholly unnecessary but utterly appreciated.

    I understand if someone doesn’t want to read my dribble. There’s no harm. I’m not that sensitive. I get it. But, for me, blogging is a conversation. All the action takes place the comment section. And if I start to follow someone because I love their writing, and I actively participate in their conversation, but they never pay a visit, I tend to fall out of love with them. It starts to feel like I’m pissing in the wind. I need a two-way communiqué. I need that give-and-take.

    Sometimes, love dies. Like any relationship, shitty and otherwise, the spark is snuffed and you find yourself in a slow, unstoppable fade away. Bloggers in. Bloggers out. Just like breathing.

    • Perfectly said, Mark. It is a conversation, and if that conversation is one-sided, what’s the point? Pissing in the wind indeed. Makes an unholy mess.

      You always interact at a very real level, and I have much appreciated that. If you were a Yankees fan, I might marry you.

      • I will consider your strange offer. I’ll abandon my hapless Indians for your Evil Empire but first I have a few questions. Do you have any money? Can your parents furnish you with a dowry? Do you have any dietary needs or restrictions? Do you clean bathrooms?

        • You know, I suspect that getting you over your irrational hatred of the Yankees is going to be harder than making you my gay lover. Money: no. Dowry: certainly no. Dietary needs: lots of expensive meat please. Clean bathrooms: what’s a ‘bathroom’?

          • My hatred of the Yankees is anything but irrational. When I was in high school, my friends and I would cut class and go down to Municipal Stadium to watch the Yankees kick the living hell out of the Indians. It was heartbreaking and it never changed. Then I moved to New York and had to suffer the smug satisfaction of Yankee fans. My favorite team is the Indians. My second fav is whoever is playing the Yankees that night.

            You don’t know what a ‘bathroom’ is? Typical Yankee fan. Unfortunately, I don’t think we’re meant for each other.

            • I knew you were an Indians fan. I remember watching games in old Municipal, on TV. That place was huge and drab, and nothing good ever seemed to happen there. The Indians were the AL equivalent to the Expos. I always felt for them.

              Yah, the bathroom thing is exactly what you suspected. I can’t believe you just dumped me!

              • …huge and drab, and nothing good ever seemed to happen there.

                Never mind Municipal Stadium, you just described Cleveland. And, yes, I dumped yo ass. How does it feel? To be on your own? Like a complete Yankee fan douche bag unknown?

              • Well, it kind of feels like the sweet sweet taste of 27 championships… it’s a bit chewy, but it it’s also very filling.

                Dude, did you see Olympic Stadium? People weren’t lying when they called it the worst ballpark in the majors. I still loved the place, though.

              • 27 championships + the greatest collapse in all of sports history. The Yankees had their cleats on the necks of the Red Sox but then they tucked their tails between their vaginas and gave up. If we’re going to talk history, let’s be all-inclusive, shall we?

                Municipal Stadium could hold 80,000 and the Indians were pulling about 10,000-15,000 for the weekday cut-class games. We’d try to do the wave and it would look stupid.

              • Okay, one tiny blemish… you know, I never thought I’d ever see anyone come back from 3-0, let alone the Red Sox do that to the Yankees… what are the odds.

                I have a photo in my office of Fenway, more of an artists’ impression. I love that park, it smells like baseball.

                The Big O was drawing 4000 to 6000 people at the end. I went for a double-header once, against the Cubs. By midway through the second game, I was by the third-base line yelling across the diamond to my buds at the first-base dugout. They could hear every word. We got every foul ball. You couldn’t buy beer, all the concessions were closed. Damned if I didn’t try and do the wave anyway, what with like a thousand people. I stayed till the end.

      • so….I just like the conversations? From the perspective of someone who doesn’t have a blog, the interaction with the writer is very important. I have made comments at other places that just seems to go by as if it didn’t happen. I tend to shy away from those places after a while. We all like to be validated I guess. I also don’t really know the proper ediquette yet. I often want to comment on what someone else has said but am not sure if that would be appropriate or welcomed. Well, I learned something on that blog with all the comments, but even there my tender little feelings got hurt if I said something witty to someone I admire and they didn’t respond. I get it there though. It is hard to keep track of that monster!

        • Probably on that post (where we met!), people probably got lost in the comments. You know, nothing in this post applies to you, because you don’t have a blog Julie. You are totally not expecting someone to jump back to your blog. I think you are the exception to all of this, which is just whacked. But I always figured you were a bit on the exceptional side.

          • Well then….I suppose it is written well cause I found it rather funny considering I know nothing of which I speak. Yes, exceptional. That’s a good way to phrase it! Hah! what was it my daughter said to me the other day? Something about the “short bus” and my “helmet restricting my window licking”. I suppose some might consider that insulting. I bust out laughing! How proud I am of that child! Perhaps I have reached the age that something in my brain is shifting. The same daughter was driving my car and got a photo enforced speeding ticket in East St Louis MO. (caution to all)
            to the tune of $240.00! she felt so bad. I found it rather funny. She said she’d pay it and took the dog for a walk. by the time she was back I had written the check and sealed the envelope. She really wanted to write the check tho, she just got checks with minions on em. she thought it would make them feel bad that they gave a little kid such a big fine. See why I love her so??

            Ok, you just take a bunch of my comments and mush em together and voila! your guest post is written! Genius right?? go me! 😀

          • you have my permission. I don’t know why I am having such an issue with the assignment you have given me. Clearly I have plenty to say….

  14. I don’t understand any of this. I write because I write. I like it when people read.
    I suck at the part of blogging that requires making rounds and writing heartfelt meaningful comments.
    I read and laugh in my real world – but you can’t hear me can you?
    🙂

    • I don’t understand it either. But I do think this is meant to be a conversation. It’s as important for me to interact with someone as I want them to interact with me. I think it’s the basic part of the conversation that brings out the best parts of blogging – the interaction, the discourse. That can never be one way. It just doesn’t work.

      • I guess. 🙂
        I just don’t think it is that formulaic. I comment when I think I have something to contribute. I feel fake if I just repeat what 5 other readers have already said. I am a big fan of the like button myself. But then again I am also horrible at small talk. 🙂

        • If I don’t have something useful to say, I don’t bother commenting or liking or anything, I just move on. I just wonder if what you’re talking about actually does make sense, when you start to read so much. Maybe that’s the only way.

          Small talk… I was in Death Valley’s Little Brother the other day (been there? uptown Waterloo right on King, not far from McPhail’s, awesome coffee/scotch shop), and someone next to me started making small talk. I looked at them blank and got another coffee. I suck.

          • Hey I think that was me! Yeah I go to DVLB. I feel like such a yuppie when I am in there. OH sorry hipster. I have to switch decades.
            Some people are fantastic comment leavers. I know I am not one of those. When I find something that strikes a chord I do reverberate back…
            So keep posting good sir! I read but I may not always speak. What is important is that enough people do leave a comment every now and then. Constant silence is bad – lurkers are so creepy!

            • Well, I’m not one for really meeting up with bloggers, but if you’re ever in the mood, I could go for a coffee or a scotch. That place is amazing. I write there a lot, it’s one of the places that relaxes me.

              What’s your e-mail address, Stephen? Have something to share with you.

          • I comment to let the writer know I read it. Kilroy was here. I suppose I could just leave that as a comment if what I want to say has been said by 5 people already. or maybe Julie was here….. or just….. watermelon.

  15. I so wanted to comment “I just loved that. Damn. I wish I had written this.” but several others beat me to it. All joking aside, I actually did love this and, damn, I actually do wish I had written this! Asides from the humorous article, your comment section provided me with more laughs than perhaps any other comment section ever has. Bravo. I read a lot of other comment sections, yaknow. 😉

  16. Even though this is funny, I’m going to respond in a semi-serious way.

    I honestly feel like I can have a week where I post, or a week where I catch up on blog reading and commenting. I’m not a “hitting like” kind of person. But I just can’t seem to manage my time well to do both things. And it’s really frustrating!

    I don’t appreciate bloggers who never comment. Especially the ones who post daily. But, there are selfish people everywhere, so why should the blogging world be any different?

    I know this seems pathetic, but the blue graph thingey doesn’t make sense to me. View, visitors? What’s the difference? Wait – don’t tell me. I don’t want it explained again, because it will just go in one ear and out the other. But I DO love the search terms.

    And there ARE gremlins in WP. I missed 3 posts from one of my favorite bloggers because he disappeared from my reader. It happened with your blog, too! I was told there was a glitch in the code, but my high tech way of handling it is to click “unfollow” and then “follow.” It seems to work…

    I dare you to write a shitty post. I double dare you.

    • I think blogging will eat you if you let it. It’s impossible to have a life, family, other hobbies, friends, etc. and keep up with everyone who you want to keep up with in the blogging world. I know you like the math, so for me it’s like you follow an exponential function up a curve, but then hit an asymptote and everything just comes apart after the plateau. You can’t do everything. I think a lot of the drive-by blogging comes from this. Can’t possibly keep up, much as you want to. Don’t let it eat you, Samara. I think that’s a bit of a trap, to be honest.

      I know there are gremlins, for a fact. I couldn’t get Mark’s or Sean’s blog to follow properly for a long while. Unfollowing and refollowing was all that would work.

      Yes, there are selfish people everywhere. Maybe this blogging thing just quantifies that selfishness to some degree. Puts numbers to it. Rewards you for the effort. Sends you on your way. I can’t fully tell if that’s a good thing or not. Well, I can actually… nothing’s perfect. You take the good with the bad. I figure all the good people I’ve met, such as yourself, outweigh any temptation to begin validating my own writing through views and likes and all that stuff. So this is worth it. It is. I just like facing things that are not very comfortable head on at times.

      • I’m in a phase where the good people I’m meeting in the blog world far outweigh the bad, so I’m pretty happy lately.

        As far as doing it all, the psyche wants and wants and wants! I wish I was like Rara, who only needs 2-3 hours of sleep a night. She and blogging are a match made in heaven.

        Shit! I don’t see Smithson’s blog either! Why do I get the idea that if wordpress had income at stake, they’d make sure we all had our readers working correctly?

        • Yes, Rara is definitely at a level of her own.

          Why did you start blogging? I know you had an incident beforehand, but why start again?

          You gots to fix that thing with Smithson. The man is a must-read.

          • I remembered how much I love to write. Once I started, I felt like I didn’t want to stop.

            And I crave interaction with others, rather than writing in a vacuum. Not only for their feedback on what I write, but from what I learn from reading their work. I’m always wanting to be better. You know how that is/

            • Yeah. Wanting to be better. It’s everything. Maybe that’s the allure, and the trap, of being here, that it can be interpreted as a barometer of how good you are or are becoming. I’m not sure that’s entirely true, though.

  17. I don’t really worry about who I follow vs who follows me. Though every now and then, I check my stats and am surprised anyone reads at all.
    I just read the stuff I like, with no expectation of being read in return. (Though I do like the comment back-and-forths when they happen.

    So…what set you off for this post?

    • I guess I do have expectations along those ways. There are very very few bloggers I would continually read without ever a return visit. Maybe 5 or 6 of these, and I follow them and comment on them because they post stuff that routinely blows my mind. Stuff I can’t write. Stuff I wish I could.

      So what set me off… I dunno. Just thinking about it. Commenting on an elite blogger’s site recently, no response to a comment I made that felt important to me… maybe it wasn’t really, I dunno, it’s hard to be objective with yourself. Then got to thinking: hey, this person has never been to my blog and knows nothing about me or what I do or why I do it, has shown no interest in me as a person. And then just lurking about reading people like Catastrophe, who writes rings around me on a routine basis and has few people following her… it just seems off. I think it is off. Does it really bother me or change what I’m going to do? Not really. But it felt like it was worth thinking about, as ugly a topic as it might be, and then I thought I would post about it.

      You are of course excused from my rant in entirety. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone comment on peoples’ blogs as much as you do, and with good comments to boot. I don’t know how you do it.

  18. I couldn’t decide if I should:

    A. Like this post without commenting
    B. Comment without liking
    C. Like and leave a comment in which I gush over you in a sickening manner

    I decided to go with:

    D. Like the post and comment without saying anything at all

    No, actually, I generally post a LOT. Sometimes I make 3 or 4 posts in a day. I even wrote a post about it here: http://bleachedbonevalley.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/you-may-have-noticed-i-sort-of-make-a-lot-of-posts/. (I swear I’m linking because it really does explain things.) Other days I just can’t keep my eyes open long enough to do more than respond to a couple of comments. I hate that. I feel guilty, like I’m letting people down, because I appreciate that they took the effort to read and comment. So, if I ever seem to be “ignoring” you, please know I’m not. I just can’t always control what my illness will let me do.

    Mark and Fran send their love.

    AZG

    • Here I am just waiting for someone to rip me a new one, and you vacillate between all the things you could have done and decide on politeness????? What’s it take to get a rise out of people, anyhow?

      I can’t keep up with all your posts, I admit it. But I really like the way you write, and the fact that you give Art a run for his money. I hope you’re not really related though.

      I will be by, that’s my promise, and I’ll try to out-Art Art. There, that’s a new one. Out-Arting Art. Sounds kind of gross.

      I understand about the illness. Be well, and I’m sure we’ll run into each other. Give Mark and Fran hugs and kisses. Little Braden is being a bad boy, however…

      • You have hella good timing. I *just* got on here two minutes ago.

        Damn that Braden. tell him to knock it the hell off, will ya?

        Also,what the hell, man? I thought you Canadians were big on politeness. If I’d known you were looking for a tongue lashing I totally would’ve given you one. I’m good at it, and I just want you to be happy.

        Wow, that sounds soooooo dirty.

        Anyway, thanks for understanding. I don’t mind if you can’t keep up with all my posts; I don’t expect that from anyone. (I admit to being pleased that you like the way I write, though.)

        As far as Out-Arting Art? I’ll grab some popcorn. Ought to be a heck of a show. 🙂

        • I think Braden’s getting a bit of a tongue-lashing…

          Well hell, hold the tongue-lashing for my future post of complete stupid-assness heaped with a serving of twattery. Then let me have it.

          Yes, that sounds dirty. I think you may be related to Art after all. That’s way dirtier.

          I’d pay to watch you and Art go at a verbal battle. I admit, I can’t keep up with him. But I got a feeling you can.

  19. Hilarious, and true – but I feel self conscious now, as I had a demon in me yesterday and wrote several posts, so I guess I have to go and crawl around on crushed glass and flog myself. (Yes, that’s it, flog myself…)

  20. I don’t comment on enough blog posts but I feel I had to say something on this one, as there is a lot of sentiment that I share with you Trent. It saddens me when I get post with a fair few likes but no comments at all. I would much rather comment on something I respect than just blindly liking it and it shows you have made an effort to read and understand/appreciate the content. The trouble I’m having is juggling lots of different commitments/distractions in life and working out a schedule for everthing (including reading and commenting on other people’s blogs when right now I barely have enough time to write, eat and read a little outside of long office hours). The simple answer would be to put aside time for reading and commenting on blog posts on a regular basis (if I can ever be bothered to draw up a schedule that isn’t chaotically zooming around in my head). I did find this piece very amusing, there are definitely players out there and your jabs our refereshingly honest too. Glad I could comment and look forward to being here more in the future too!

    • I know that feeling. My workweeks run into sixty hours commonly, and I have a family and other things. I can’t keep up. To tell the truth, I only follow about 150 people. That’s it. I can’t do more. If I do, I’m going to start having to throw down random likes here and there and not provide any meaningful comments. I don’t want to do that.

      As I said above, I think blogging can lead into that trap of reading and following so much content that you can’t interact meaningfully with it. I heard once that this is what the internet is doing to us. Allowing us to have conversations in very prescribed, carefully-crafted manners where you paint an image that is exactly what you want to paint. It’s you but it’s also a version of you. And the conversation is not really real in the sense that it would be if you were talking to someone directly.

      Anyway, it’s all good. No one has the time to comment on everything. Picking and choosing is part of life.

  21. I’m certainly guilty of no 13. I rarely check my stats, and I’m not just saying that because I post only at the turn of the seasons. What I love about blogging is the interaction and because writing feeds my soul. I think I comment more than I write, and find it difficult to strike a balance.

    I have followers who have never commented on my blog but have liked every post. Thus makes me wonder if they spend more than a few seconds at my posse.

    • Yes, you are, but it’s not guilt I’m talking about there. I’m talking about wanting to read and hear from people whose stuff I love but don’t get to hear from often. You fit into that category for me. Plus, I think you’re a bit nuts and your comments are snappy… typical Aussie.

      My old boss used to tell me that there is no such thing as balance. It doesn’t exist. All you can do is sway from one side of the boat to the other, and try not to throw up.

      I get so many followers every day. So many. I don’t understand it. They just show up and never actually show up. What do they get out of it? I dunno.

      I hope you post soon. No guilt though. Just honest desire to read what you have to say.

      • Thanks, Trent. You’re in luck, as I’m planning to post pret-ty soon.

        Me too – a shit ton of my followers lurk in the background, probably hoping I’d take the bait and follow theirs.

        Bravo for raising so many shared frustrations. There are blogs I absolutely love and used to read religiously, but the romance was one-sided it seemed, so I decided to take my time elsewhere.

        And by the way, you couldn’t write a shit post if you tried. Good luck with that. x

        • Thanks Nadia. It’s interesting to see the people who are okay with this type of post, those who are clearly not, those who who duck and cover and don’t show, and those who wouldn’t have shown anyway. I think that probably sounds petty, but don’t mean it to be. Just a case of me coming to grips with the frustration of blogging, and the one-sided romances as you call them.

  22. I comment when I feel, and don’t when I don’t, and people who comment on my blog aren’t necessarily the same as the blogs I comment on. I don’t want to comment for the sake of commenting, and as I have done everything from posting 4-5 times a day, to posting once every other day – for example, 71 times in February and 15 times in March – I know what happens. If you’re interested more in your stats than your content, you may be doing something wrong. If you’re keeping score, I think you’re not doing blogging right. Nobody comments on or likes everything someone writes, and that probably goes double for me because I publish posts in so many different categories.

    You also didn’t say Simon Says.

    • That’s fine. I respect that.

      When people comment on my blog, I feel beyond honoured. I’m flabbergasted that anyone would want to show up and actually say something about what I’ve written, especially if what I’ve written is good and they say so. If they take the time to do that for me, I figure I owe them the time to at least look at what they have to say in return.

      I don’t care about my stats. Averaging like 8 views a day is nothing to really warrant keeping your eye on. That said, I still watch that number. Why not. I post once a week, maybe. Sometimes once every two weeks. I put a lot into whatever I post, and sometimes it’s okay stuff – other times, it’s a spectacular failure. That’s fine. I don’t need to convince anyone that anything I write is worth reading.

  23. Trent, you forgot the tip about how you should not only ignore someone’s comments on your stuff and hit Follow on their blog but never turn up again, you should also comment profusely wherever you see them commenting on other people’s blogs so they’ll know that you haven’t dropped off the planet, you’re deliberately ignoring them…that’s a fucking great one, that one. I hate politics and get all kinda fuck you-ish when people try to put expectations on me that I never signed up for.

    Also, I think there should be a few more buttons besides Like and Follow. Unlike is a no-brainer, but I think there is some merit in You Must Be Fucking Joking, WTF?, and Stop fucking Writing!

    Sorry ’bout that, started to get carried away. Anyway.

    After reading through the comments I take at heart at not being the only person in your followship with a prohibitive conscience. That’s to say that as I read your rant I felt maybe you were having a shot at me (eg. posting bi-annually). Quite frankly, I probably do need a wake up call occasionally, because I don’t follow the rules of blogging and I don’t care what the stats tell me about my blog profile…I just can’t seem to take the “blogging thing” seriously. I don’t think of myself as a blogger, pure and simple. Not even a writer, which implies a certain discipline, of which I have none. I’m a story teller and I write the way I tell the stories in my bar or around the dinner table or at the pub, etc. It never once occurred to me that publishing my shit would gain a following, much less build any kind of relationships with people…and yet, that’s what’s happened. Fucking weird if you ask me. The thing that gets me the most is the responsibility I feel towards some of those people. Not everyone, but certainly the ones with whom that whole two way interaction in the comments section has given a feeling of history and closer proximity. Of course, you’re practically family if we’ve shared emails! It’s hard to put your heart out there only to have it ignored or stood on, it’s bad enough in real life let alone cyber-space. I offer sincere apologies if I have transgressed in any way so far, and also for future transgressions, and also for the admission that I have no intention of changing my behaviour. I will say this though, you and Mark have both been responsible for making me post when I’ve been absent for a bit. And Samara. And Aussa.

    Anyway, for what it’s worth, I like your shit, and this provocative stuff is proof of why you’re worth reading. One of my yardsticks of whether or not a person is worth Following is definitely how they respond to people in their comment section. You are the real deal along with blokes like Guap and Mark and that’s what keeps you on my blogroll I guess. Thanks for making me say all that stuff. Now I’m going to hit Post Comment and then go back and re-read what I’ve just written and find out what kind of arse I’ve made of myself haaa!

    • That first one… I feel you there, man. I know that one. It’s a community, people are connected, and yes someone’s gonna know when you’re commenting endlessly on other people’s stuff but not on yours. They’re making a decision. And that’s okay. It’s just painful if said person also blathers about how great you are and yet doesn’t bother to show.

      More buttons’d be good. Seriously, have you ever told anyone that you don’t like something they’ve posted? What they appreciate that or not? Honestly, I’m craving someone calling me out. Just someone please show up and rip me a new one on something that I write that’s shit. I love the compliments, I do. But is everything I write that good? It can’t be. I want constructive feedback. I want help to write better. Something like that, I don’t know.

      So I explained down below to Nadia to that that shot about not posting enough… that’s the most facetious one. There are people who post so often, in some formulaic way, that it drives me crazy and I get nothing out of reading that stuff. And then others, who have interesting and totally different things to say, don’t post often at all. I want them (and you) to post more often, because you don’t replicate yourself. You don’t hit the magic buttons to get the traffic. You don’t do that. You just write. And you are a storyteller. And there are very very few of those around, to be honest.

      Anyway, you’ve got a following and readers and people who want to hear what you say. It’s not an expectation that you have to share with them. I got to tell you, when you post as infrequently as you do, it does get easy to miss you in the Reader. I probably read 150 blogs, all told. I can’t do more than that. I’m pretty sure I’ve missed you before, though not intentionally.

      Anyway, you have not transgressed at all. You are just one of those folks that I feel should post more, because that would give me something original to read. I can’t handle more stuff about cats. Or daily prompts. What the fuck is a daily prompt? If I met a daily prompt in real life, I would run it over.

      Yeah, the Guaps, the Marks, X, Jaded, Nadia, all those folks. Like you too. My apologies if you took anything I wrote as being about you, cause it’s not, and man, you didn’t come off as an arse at all. That was a hell of a well-thought, honest comment, and I hope I’ve answered it in turn.

      • Nope, I’ve never bothered to tell someone there stuff was crap, I just move on. I usually unfollow the moment by moment diaries and I-love-my-cat-more-than-life-itself blogs…pretty much anytime it’s just too taxing to keep reading. Tell you what though, if I think I can add to your craft I will commit to being honest about what I think is shithouse.

        Yeah, I thought you mighta been taking the kids but that’s the problem with a prohibitive conscience…I’m the guy who hears a cop siren 2 miles away and figures they’re after me, so I heard me in your words. No offence taken, man, just noted.

        Appreciate your appreciation…and your answer. Cheers

  24. Haha! This was some good reading.

    I was one of those bloggers who posted every two months. Those were dark days. Now, I seem to be making up for it with this daily blog challenge thing. Probably another mistake, but oh well. 😉

  25. It’s rare that a post has “fuck stain” and “gremlin” within two lines of one another. I feel this is worthy of some sort of award, really. 🙂

  26. Whoa, Trent, you stirred the pot. I mean that in a good way. I nodded through many of your examples. Yes, yes, yes…oh, and that I recognize…hmm. Really, I’m laughing too. I haven’t followed many people lately because I can barely keep up with who I’m trying to read already. But, I really try to read and comment as much as I can. Always enjoy you. You’re a brilliant writer. You won’t be able to write a crap post. No way.

    • Well, I may prove you wrong on that… but yes, I know Amy. It’s not like I read everything I want to read or comment as I’d like to. Could be that’s why the pot stirring, getting frustrated with not being able to comment as much as I want.

      • The truth is you could read blogs every minute of every day and not read them all. And then, I think it’s healthy to step away sometimes and enjoy the sunshine. Otherwise, I think you can get really burned out.

          • It’s understandable. I bet a lot of people feel that way. I see people drop out, too. I guess it’s a matter of pacing and accepting you can’t read them all. I think it’s the true meaning behind the blog roll.

  27. I still don’t know what kiss-assery is. But I do remember a red nosed ego the size of er well Canada 😀 who may have come to a sticky end (not literally of course). Great post Mr Trent.

  28. I first checked to see how long this post was before I would commit to reading it tonight in my zombie state or wait until having it with my morning Dark Roast Blend. Then I saw a graph and realized there was math involved and so I ripped up the post in tiny pieces, set it on fire and flushed it down the toilet. I hope it’s still here tomorrow morning.

    • Fay, the appropriate place for this post is at the bottom of toilet bowl in the form of ashes. There’s no other way to put it. As for whether or not the post will last, who knows.

  29. I’ve followed and then fallen out of love with blogs, but I don’t purge them because I feel guilty about dumping them. Or is that old girlfriends? Anyway, blogging relationships are like any other; you need to be honest with others and yourself. Let common sense prevail.

      • I have a few followers that I engage with on my blog but I don’t follow, simply because they write on topics that don’t interest me (crafts, for the sake of argument). There are only so many blogs a person can follow. And some I read faithfully, others I drop by depending on the subject.

        • That makes sense. You can’t read everything. I may be hitting that wall myself, where I can’t consume all I want. And thus choices become important, however painful at times.

          So, a Liberal victory tonight – I have to say that I’m relieved.

  30. This was cool, I am sure a massive chunk of my followers clicked ‘folllow’ one day and never read anything I wrote ever again. When I started blogging I thought I was just writing some stuff a few people would read, I had no idea about the little community that grows out of it, and that is what I love most about blogging and you don’t get that with drive-by liking sprees. Though sometimes I do just click ‘like’ on a post because often I did enjoy reading what someone wrote, I just don’t really have anything to say about it.
    Anyway this post I did like very much.

    • Thanks my friend. The drive-by bloggers are pretty self-evident, and none too useful in any way that I can think of. I figure they’ll burn out sooner than anything.

      The community is everything. The strength of the interaction and finding new voices that are original.

  31. I haven’t finished reading this post. Need to say that right off. Why? For the very reason I am commenting now. Haven’t decided if I will ‘like’ or not. Have to finish reading it first.

    Which brings me to my point. Time.

    My time, especially in the recent past and future has had an altering of priorities. This bares mentioning because I wonder if the very bloggers you are musing over have had similar needs that make their delayed or lack of response in a manner you deem prompt and appreciative of their readers means that posting is of the highest order – but response lower down on their to-do list.

    Once I completed, even as I was completing my 500 posts, I found that my blogging and reading of blogs dropped further down. This for a variety of reasons, makes me wonder what and/why others prioritize their writing and blogging efforts.

    Really it boils down to each their own. Though a point of appreciating your audience, your readers is valid. It goes both ways. With out a writers personal life, would they have experience or perspective in which to write compelling work, stories or blog posts?

    Me thinks it is all a necessary evil that in and of itself keeps one from writing. Finding that delicate balance to have a happy life, and happy audience is not an easy thing to do.

    • The like doesn’t much matter to me, Julie. The discussion does.

      If we all only wrote and never read, where would we be?

      Time is the message, and the number of bloggers out there worth reading compounds that constraint. We can only do so much, as you say, and still write what we want to write. I haven’t come close to matching your output. I never will. I don’t even understand how it’s possible, when taking into account my own constraints. I do my best.

      I don’t think balance exists as a concept. I think it’s a goal, like shooting for perfect on a final or something. Balance is rocking on a boat, as I said elsewhere, hitting the highs and lows with each foot. Maybe that’s the fun part.

      In the end, I think we’re all here to be read. I can’t think of another motivation.

      • That output was on purpose and it was not easy and I had to lower other things on my list of priority. And I still fell below the quality content and out out of others. I needed to know that I could.
        Now I have to re-calculate my pace, as well as have a life.
        Like tonight I have to watch Kentucky in the final game. That is priority over reading tonight.
        Your quality far out weighs my previous out put in a significant way.

  32. I just reread this (because it’s that good) and the ‘talking to a peach’ line is so original and so funny that I laughed at my desk and everyone looked at me. I missed it the first time. This is good, poignant stuff and I’m glad to see it getting some traction.

    • Thanks Mark. Funny enough, I got more attention for this post than my last ten put together, which goes to prove the old axiom that you can butter your bread, but don’t eat the crust if it’s already been chewed.

      I don’t know about poignant, you know. I think some of my stories are poignant, but I’m aware that blogging is perhaps not the right forum for short stories. Who has the time, after all?

      • You’ve hit upon something there. I will not read a post unless I’ve got the time in front of me to give it the attention it deserves. Anything less is disrespectful. I won’t skim a post. Sometimes, I just don’t have the time to dive in until days after it’s up. I love Samara’s writing but her posts tend to run +/- 2,000 words. It’s tough to fit in sometimes, especially with these rotten kids and their bottomless pit of need. (joke)

  33. Holy bloggy shit! Well, I can say yep to everything you wrote.

    I have been blogging four years. And in that time I have pretty much responded to every single comment I’ve gotten with the exception of my last post because I was battling the world’s worst stomach bug and almost ended up in the hospital. But if I had the strength to get out of bed, I swear by God I would have responded to my blog comments. It’s that important to me.

    To me, the main problem with blogging? There are too many good fucking bloggers! How in the bloody hell can anyone find the time to read and comment and like hundreds of posts a day is beyond me. It must be their full time job because I barely have time to piss in a pot these days (sorry, Mainer saying)

    And you’re right, it’s about quality connections with real people, not numbers and stats — although we all want high numbers and stats in the beginning if we were all honest. We all want people to read our shit. But then if we finally get recognition we are disappointed because it eventually feels empty in the end. I figured this out long ago. Building relationships with bloggers takes time, you can’t just do drive-by commenting and rapid-fire “liking”. It took me a few YEARS to build solid connections with a small group of fellow bloggers, some of whom I’ve met in real life and consider to be my good friends. This is the reason I blog. It sure as hell ain’t for the loads of money.

    As for you, keep it up. Love reading your blog and look forward to reading more.

    • I think you nailed it. There is too much good stuff out there. You start to follow it all, and you follow it half-handedly. There are so many original, unique voices, how’s it possible to truly appreciate it and give it its due? When I followed like 20 people, no problem. But now? I find I make choices in what I read, choices I don’t necessarily like to make. I want to give people their due, and show some apprecation of their efforts (even if it’s criticism). But I can’t. Hell of a wall to run into. Sounds like you solved this riddle long ago.

      The connections are precious. I never expected those. But I treasure them. How couldn’t I? I always have this fascination in thinking that blogging is a so-what activity for me, like it means nothing, but that’s not true. It’s just not. I find a great community here, and while it’s hard to keep up and expand it, I have great affection for the people I’ve met and interact with. It’s really an amazing thing.

  34. e·the·re·al
    iˈTHi(ə)rēəl
    adjective

    1. extremely delicate and light in a way that seems too perfect for this world.
    “her ethereal beauty”
    synonyms: delicate, exquisite, dainty, elegant, graceful

    I imagine myself to have all the grace and beauty of a shark attack. On land.

    That being said: thank you, Lewin.

    • Catastrophe Jones, the shark attack on land. It’s an ethereal concept.

      My next post is going to have to be flowers and butterflies.

      I think I dreamt your Return series last night. That story is dripping with something familiar, like it’s how we began or something. Or how we end.

  35. Part of the reason I ditched my second attempt at a blog was that although I had about 200 followers, I rarely generated any commentary or discussion. I hate, hate, hate the “like” button on WordPress. It doesn’t encourage interaction, which is part of why I started blogging again..I missed reading and writing out to an audience that doesn’t know me and therefore, it is safe to say exactly what I think.

    I comment mainly when something strikes a chord with me, or if I admire the eloquent way they’ve written their post. Other than that, I try not to be one of those obnoxious people listed above! How annoying!!

    • There aren’t many obnoxious people, to be honest. Maybe they just exceptionally aggravate me. I don’t know why that is. There are many more things to be concerned with.

      I think most people in the blog world are wonderful. They clearly are hear to express themselves, and are open to doing that. As others have said here, building the relationships takes time. Maybe the bad apples ruin the sauce a bit, at times. But I treasure the relationships I’ve made, and the writing I have read.

      • True. I have many bloggers I adore, because I kept following them even when my blog was gone. My plan now is to build blogging friendships with people who are fun and articulate and who write about interesting things.

        🙂

  36. Trent! You’ve hit the nail on a lot of blogging heads with this post! (I’ve probably been guilty of everything you said at one time or another –except every blog I like or comment on I have actually read!) I’ve always admired the way you engage with people in the comments. You have a knack for conversation, and you enjoy people and that comes shining through. I was so touched when I listened to your radio interview and the interviewer asked you what you read and you said mostly blogs. And then you went on to say how good so many of the blog writers are out here and gave us all a shout out! That meant a lot to me.

    I started reading your blog at 7:30 this morning. It is now 8:45 and I didn’t even finish reading all the comments! I guess it’s a matter of prioritizing. Do I read and comment on blogs or do I write? Do I do anything outside or spend time hanging out with my grandkids or do I read blogs? There just isn’t enough time to do everything. And the older you get the faster time goes and the more you can see the end looming up ahead and you think — what am I doing? Am I picking the important things to spend and I do mean SPEND my time on?

    When I do go to someone’s blog, I want to be supportive and encouraging. Maybe I don’t think it’s the best post in the world. I want to find something nice to say that I mean. I want to hit that like button because I want to say I came by and I read what you wrote and good for you! Writers are very sensitive. I don’t want to rain on anybody’s parade.

    Phew! This is a hugely long comment for me. In real life, people always say I’m quiet. I’m the person who makes a joke under my breath and someone else hears and shouts out and everybody laughs at their joke! But I like it that way. Blogging is a paradox. You write and when it’s good you put it out there and everybody likes it and you get a lot of attention for it. And yet there’s something kind of embarrassing about everybody liking it. And yet you say, gee that was fun, I want it to happen again.

    • I think everyone has done one or more of these things, Linda, including me. Yeah, he blindsided me with that question in the interview. I didn’t know what to say. I don’t read many books anymore, hardly any to be honest. I read you guys. And I don’t need much more than that. I’m happy this way, I am.

      Yes, there’s not enough time to read everything and write. Balance is impossible, I swing one way or the other at times, based on how I feel at the time. As you say, writers are sensitive. I think that’s like some kind of prerequisite for being a writer or something.

      I can’t imagine you being quiet. What I can imagine is you sharing a nice goat curry with me. Just to utterly gross you out, the leg bones are cut across a diameter and thrown in the curry, and with enough cooking, the marrow within is very tender. A good suck and it splatters inside your mouth (I’m probably not using the best words here). De-licious. One day, Linda V.

      • Goat must be delicious because I sat next to a guy on a five-hour train ride who talked about how his dad barbecued goat (and tripe too) and how delicious they were for almost the entire five hours. When we got to our destination, he said he couldn’t believe how fast that five hours went. He wanted to know what train I was taking back so we sit together again — apparently his dad had other delicious recipes for goat that he hadn’t even touched on.

  37. Hi Trent!

    I think you’ll be amused by a couple of blogs who followed me in the last couple of days (unfortunately neither of them bothered to like or comment on a post):

    -Columbian Cuties: a blog with pics of cute Columbian girls. Now, I know I’m cute, but I’m certainly not Columbian. What was the attraction? Do they also leave food to rot in their purse? Or manipulate their husband with bed making?

    -Talk to Naughty Angel: a sexy chubby asian girl looking for fun (complete with phone number and web cam). Well, I am fun. And I could also be considered chubby. I feel there could be a real connection there. Perhaps I’ll warm up my cam right now?

    Sigh.

    I’ve followed, been followed, unfollowed over the last 8 months and I have a good set of blogs that I like and people I really enjoy chatting with. Sometimes, I just hit “like” but I ALWAYS read. A few weeks ago I mass-unfollowed a slew of blogs who made it clear they were only interested in themselves and promoting their work. It was quite liberating.

    And I am guilty of always being nice because I try to be positive and encouraging in the blog world. However, when someone sends me work to critique I am honest 🙂

    • I’m pretty sure the manipulative bed-making technique is what sold the Columbians. I can’t think of anything else.

      Naughty Angel – I saw this one! Yes, I clicked on her to see what she was about, and yes, she is a chubby Asian. I think that’s fun. I bed she would be awesome at making her husband make beds. I totally think you should connect with her, Jennifer.

      I think you’re all class, to be honest, but I’d like to see more posts out of you. Also, another slew of rapid-fire blogging on Art’s blog, cause that was pure fun.

      • Thanks, Trent. I know. I suck at writing posts right now. My day job is sucking the life out of me. I’ll be better. I promise.

        Yes, the massive comment thread. I look back fondly on those days. I think it’s because I didn’t have to leave a “thoughtful” comment – I just said the first thing that came to my mind. We need to do that again 🙂

    • JENNIFER!!!!! gosh I have to find your blog too?? Guys! can’t we just hang out at the local watering hole after work?? I’ll buy the first round and a couple appitizers!

  38. Thanks Trent? Because I miss my daddy and am so glad you have taken it upon yourself to replace him in supporting me and giving me that kick in the ass I need so badly. Don’t get me wrong – I adore your condescending pep talks and pats on the back. And stop with the bullshit self-deprecation of your writing. You are an incredibly talented writer and you know it. We all know it. Even your shit doesn’t stink. I bet you couldn’t write shit at gunpoint. Did it ever occur to you that I am uncomfortable with the attention you have brought to my blog? But Fay, why would you start a blog if you didn’t want attention? Did you ever have so much to say and nowhere to put it? I was hoping to attract other spa/massage enthusiasts and form some sort of community but it turns out that same therapists who sext while massaging and do cocaine in the room before work are shy with a computer keyboard? And with your conceited generosity of mentioning my blog – you only managed to bring a whopping 25 new visitors to my site? Impressive. You must be well-regarded in this pathetic, ass-sucking game. Stop being so nice to everyone – it makes me want to kick you in the teeth. You are feeding the undeserving and untalented when you’d be doing us all a favor by letting them starve. I’d never try out for the Yankees and not just because they’re overrated and I hate them but because I’m not a baseball player nor would I audition for Green Day because I own even less talent musically than I do athletically. Yet every fucking accountant and mother of 4 have decided they are amusing and talented enough to start a blog? And you supply them with the false encouragement needed for them to honor us with their titillating and unique perspective on the fucking boring shit they produce. I’m pretty sure I must sound like an unappreciative cunt about now. And I’m sure when I come down from this Merlot-induced high, I’m gonna regret every single word of this but I’m here now and once I hit post – it’s out there for all of your thousands and thousands of viewers to read.
    Be careful what you wish for…

    • All right, gloves off. Your daddy should have given you a right proper ass-kicking when he had the chance, but he also told me it was okay to deliver the occasional condescending pep talk because that beats another night of fruitless wanking with a cheap bottle of scotch. Self-deprecation is the wart on the rear end of my writing greatness, as you know, and I think far too much of my own ability to properly express it in any other way than have a going at you Fay. Fuck my talent. What about your stuff, or is that not unlocked in any other way than your ranty rant rant? Not that I don’t love your ranty rant rant. Cause you do it so well, and you get my blood going, but I have to side with your anus-like gravatar on this one, so tell it to prepare to meet my boot.

      Yeah, I did troll the blogosphere to see if I could find any massage therapists who actually know how to use a keyboard and weren’t presently snorting cocaine, but they all appear to be jerking off some drunken half-wit blogger in the back corner. This is going to be the subject of my next post, please co-contribute if you can actually rip your attention away from your 25 new fans. They’ll be the cream of the crop, I promise, but they may get upset when they find out that your blog isn’t actually about anus-shaped gravatars.

      So, I’m not nice to everyone. I don’t consider my post to be very nice. I think it’s honest. And some won’t like that. Which is fine. It’s still honest, and there are still great writers hereabouts. Some will feel a pang of guilt because they see a bit of this rant in them, in the things they do, but so what who cares why should they care, we all do things we shouldn’t. It’s what makes us Canadians. And I would dig the living shit out of that mother of four troglodyte astronomer Green Day-playing horse-fucker if she could write something goddam for-once somewhat even-remotely original. I would. The accountants… well them I would bury. Deep. With the lawyers. And the sheep. And who drinks merlot anymore anyway? Is that even still a grape?

      I will sure as shit encourage those who are worthy of my lofty expectations. Why not. Something better I have to do? I could write my next epic 3000 word piece of twattery that finds people scurrying for the hills like that goddamned Russian bugnuts fuck-wad just emptied his silos of everything he’s got because he once got penetrated by a Ukrainian. Instead, I write this insipid piece of shit and it’s like I’m the rancid, dripping lollipop in the maggot factory, because this is quality. Yes, this is deep and ephemeral and oh-so-relevant, and those twelve minutes I spent writing it? I’m not getting those back. I better enjoy it. Thousands and thousands agree, I better enjoy it. And all those to whom this post is directed? They’re not here anyway. Just as planned.

      So in short, Fay, I know I just spewed gibberish all over the place. You have that effect on me. I love your writing. You are a dearly demented individual with a knack for anger. You are exactly the type of person I want to read. You don’t take prisoners. Your gravatar sucks. I dig your sarcasm. And yes, this is EXACTLY what I wish for. This I can take. This I can absorb and read again and roll up and slip down my throat. This is not the same as anything else, is it. Fuck yeah.

  39. “I’m here for how you weave words in ways that we don’t see often – for originality, for creativity, for doing something that is actually artistic rather than built for traffic. Here’s to you. I know this post will come off as angry and ranty and the like, but it’s not really. It’s a love letter. It’s a love letter to those who are here to write.”

    You’re right NB, it is a love letter. A tough-love letter…well written and well expressed. For some, even the best of those ‘some’…that “I just HAVE to write this out” bug…often times hold hands with the “I just have to disappear” creature of the night. Sometimes for cause, sometimes for not…but when it happens, the sad part can be a feeling of isolation or ‘newbieness’ upon returning. Not fatal, but unsettling. As I mentioned to our mutual friend Daniels, one who will never lose her following, no matter how long she may be gone, it is something writers have bourn in order to be born…again and again. And I speak of those writers I follow, because I love what they have to say and how they choose to say it, such as yourself and more than a few very talented penners here…not of those such as myself, who dribble and dable and quite often fall down. But that’s my style, I write (or converse really) to connect myself to the human race…I read to connect with the human heart.

    and I have to say….holy comment stream…not too shabby buddy 🙂

    • Ah SB, “I write to connect myself to the human race… I read to connect with the human heart”. I always love the way you put things down in ways that make sense to me. You’re always such a powerful, heartfelt writer, but I’m not going to go on, cause I figure you know how I respect and admire you.

      I know you’re in the “I just have to disappear” mode. I have felt that way of late, to be honest, but I just can’t seem to throw that switch. I think it’s important for me to stay. I know you have other priorities. Well, whenever you come back full-force, you know you’ll have your friends about, like Daniels and me. I’m glad she’s back. I hope you’re not far behind, but that’s just me being selfish.

    • Well, it’s not like a rule or anything, but it seems to be a good way to do things. Talk to people can always end up turning into making friends though, so have to be careful.

  40. Hey. It’s a kingdom not an empire. And I prefer, “nicely done” to “I wish I would have written that.” 😛 And, yeah, sometimes I have computer problems. And, yeah, sometimes all I have time for is to hit “like” and move on, because work and Queen, and Prince, and two hours in the car every day, and food, and cats, and other assorted chores, and for the love of Pete can’t I get more than 4 hours of sleep one night this week…
    But, you know, whatever.

    • This post was not meant for you, my friend.

      Three kids, a 60 hour/week job minimum, hell to pay on the weekends, and sleep… I remember that. What’s it like. Kind of like being drunk and passed out, from what I recall. Bugger. It doesn’t matter.

      It’s not a kingdom or an empire. It’s a blogosphere. It’s a web of connections and here we are, having at it. So I’m bugnuts and I don’t mind being uncomfortable with my topics, or walking the edge a bit. Failure can be a spectacle. It can be exactly what you need. I come back for more, so I would charitably be termed a hypocrite by the densest of people. I don’t bother calling out others on anything I wouldn’t call myself out for. But this post is not about you Matticus. You are way too giving of your time, despite your limitations, to warrant anything but a high five or a good shot of vodka. Drink up.

  41. This is fantastic, Trent. Every blogger, especially those just starting out, should read this. I think blogging is like so many other things, in that you get out of it what you put into it. If people comment on my posts, I am sure as hell going to respond and let them know I appreciate it. Everyone is busy these days, and if someone decides to take a few minutes out of his or her day to read and comment on my work, then I’m thankful to that person. I also want to offer support and encouragement to my fellow bloggers (except for the spammers, of course). I don’t engage in kiss-assery, but I also don’t go around picking at people’s posts. I know you asked us to “fucking crucify” you, but I follow Thumper’s motto: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.” (Unless the blogger specifically asks for constructive feedback. Some people are into that, while others get their feathers ruffled.) So if you post a truly shitty story and don’t ask for feedback, I’ll just decline to like your post. And please, to anyone who is reading this rambling comment, please please please DO NOT indulge in #12 up there. There is absolutely no need whatsoever to post here eight times a day. This is not Twitter. Once is plenty, really.

    • Heya Miranda, appreciate your comments. When I post my rank-awful impending post, I will ask for feedback. Very curious to see what I get. I guess I’m saying that I would appreciate some constructive feedback, but I know that writers are indeed sensitive and that it’s not always easy to do that. It’s not like I run about doing that myself very often. Maybe I should, however delicately.

      I agree with you on returning for a look at someone’s post. I have been blogging for a year and a half, and I greatly appreciate (and am often amazed) that people comment on what I write. I figure, as you say, if they took the time… I just find that the time is getting away from me now, and I’m not sure how to reconcile that.

  42. Great list that had my nodding and laughing. I too blog because of the the good people … thus, like much of life, the most important decision is who one decides to hang around. Well done, Trent!

  43. Dude, I just read through all the comments on a shitty laptop with an even shittier internet connection and my eyes are sore… That being said, it was well worth it. Just like the post itself, it really lifts the lid on all of this. I wish I had something smarter to say but unfortunately the glare off the laptop screen has burnt my eyes and I have a headache now. Thanks again for the shout out though man.

    Even though my ‘actual’ reader number is substantially less than what WP says it is, I’m properly made up that one of those cats is you. Anyway, enough of this mutual love fest.

    Beer, tits, ass, football. Ahhhh… Order has been restored.

    • No worries man. Get back to the beer, the football and the right proper stuff that goes with it. Ever seen baseball game? It’s started up here, which is basically the same thing as telling the world to begin spring. The beer will flow.

  44. This was horrible, Trent. I wish I had written that. By the way, when you write that shitty post you promise to write, don’t be too surprised that people will genuinely like it, and if it becomes your most-liked post – shittiness is subjective, and it’s not easy to gauge if your own work. You’ll think it’s shitty, others will think it’s different, unusual, original. So don’t force yourself to write a terrible post – someday, it will just happen.
    And, do you know that most of the items on your list are surefire way to gain followers, not lose them?

    I also found funny your “I only follow 150 blogs” comment. I follow about the same number, but I refer to it as “as freaking many as 150”. Probably because a few of them can post 5-10 times a day (Yes, A DAY). And I’m not bothered by the fact that some of these don’t follow me back – or follow but don’t show up in comments or likes. Normally, I only follow blogs if I want to read the content – comment interaction is just a bonus. And as it was already said, there are tons of great bloggers on WordPress – even if you only want to read just the best 0.01% of them, it’s still 3000-5000 blogs, and that’s just not humanly possible. It’s like an all-you-can-eat buffet with 50 million different dishes (even if probably half are spam). I have bloggers I want to follow (Helena H-B, for example), but I’m just not ready to actually grab a full plate of them, because if I add this one, I’ll just have to get that one, and these ones, and those six, and then my brain explodes and I just quit following everyone. So I sometimes come for a nibble, then disappear for months.
    And in the end I still don’t get enough sleep, don’t read every post I want to read, and don’t even get to writing my own stuff.
    P.S. I actually came in to read the previous post, but seeing how I spent almost two hours reading the post and the comment, I will have to come back.

    • The horror, the horror… yup, I know. And I dread. What’s it all mean, X, if I can write an abysmal post and have people like it? Could it be so bad that it’s considered good? Time will tell. I’m going to make it rank awful, like Rob Ford butt-sweat awful.

      Yeah I know that most of the items are ways to gain followers, the whole post is ineffective and ineffectual sarcasm. Blah. This is one I’m not going to look back on fondly… hey, maybe I already wrote that bad post…

      Yes, that was a bad way to state the number of blogs, 150 is my limit. I can’t follow more. It’s my carrying capacity, and I can’t go further than this. I guess I crave the interaction – I do have some blogs that I would follow without any, but not many. Yours is one, because you are eXcellent (and don’t argue with me). Art. Some others I don’t think people know. But not that many engage me so much that I’m okay with a one-sided discourse. It has to be special in some way for me.

      I think the reading is getting in the way of my writing, which is a bit dangerous. I don’t remember why I started blogging, but it had something to do with writing but also obviously something to do with being read and reading other people… like you, I swing around. Sometimes read a lot. Sometimes vanish. Tough to keep up. It was easier in those first few months, tougher now. But still lots of fun, and that’s what matters.

      • I meant that you can write a post you genuinely thought is a crappy post, or just wouldn’t consider your best work – and it unexpectedly touches a lot of people, more than your regular writing would. That’s kind of what happened with this post – I’m not saying it’s bad, it’s a good post, but you probably don’t consider this as your best work, because that’s not why you’re writing and it’s not what you’re trying to write. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s my impression that you’re probably more proud of the Other Things post than this one.

        • I think it’s a crap whingy post, to be honest, and yes, it’s probably one of the most liked and viewed posts I’ve ever read… actually, checking it out at your prompt, it’s the third most-liked post I’ve ever written. And you are right, I’m not proud of it, don’t care much for it, but at the same time I fully expected that it might strike a nerve because it is about something we as bloggers seem to care about: why we are here and the nature of blogging. And I guess that’s okay.

          Yes, much more pride in the stories I write, and I much like that Other Stuff story. Plus it took far long to put together, and there’s more care put into it than in this post. But I’ve said before that I don’t think the blog-world is really a great forum for short story writing or reading, so I think it makes sense that this type of post would find more viewership than another 1500 word short story.

  45. Wait, what? A comment box?! How did this happen?! I meant to hit the like button, dammit.

    Side note, please don’t bury the accountants! We’re not nearly as bad as the lawyers.

    Whoops, I didn’t mean to comment. Does that make us friends? Ugh. People.

    • Yes, that dratted comment box. It often gets in the way of the Like button… silly little thing.

      Yes, possibly Erin. Friends it may indeed be. I’m so sorry.

      • Friends, huh? In that case, I suppose I’ll have to go on reading your excellent writing. Woe is me.

        Side note, I started reading your cat story at work today and I LOVE IT. I only got halfway through because my boss came in and wanted me to do some work. I started to tell her that I was clearly busy reading the work of an award-winning Canadian author, but I don’t have the balls for that, so I’m about to finish reading it right now!

        And I suppose you’ll want ANOTHER comment over there, because you’re sooooo high maintenance. Sheesh.

        • Yeah, I’m big time high maintenance… just saw your comments on the cat story, thanks so much for that. I really like that story, it’s kind of different for me.

  46. MMPFFFFHHHAAAAA! #7. I just did that. Now I know it won’t be hard for you to find it, but I might just go somewhere I haven’t seen you and #7 again. Then you will have to look and look and look. Doesn’t that sound like a fun game? Oh. and #1. Ignore me. That works well. You are right. Kinda reverse psychology. Don’t answer this comment.

    That is a pretty flower at the end, kinda looks like a dandelion gone to seed or queen anne’s lace.
    You are a good artist Trent. And a good guy my friend. I might just have to follow you now. (reverse psychology)

    I am familiar with some of those you have mentioned. I will have to look into some, you know, in my spare time when I am not working, or sleeping, orcatching up on those that I already love, or writing guest posts.

    Watermelon.

  47. hmm with 305 comments you don’t really need mine do you? i confess i am not much of a commenter but i notice when someone who normally says hi just stops saying hi, not naming anyone in particular trentle ooh did that slip out ? darn my mouth ^_^ so am i one of those ones that you nurtured etc etc to then drop and there’s me thinking oh maybe he’s poorly or something, nah all joking aside good post ^_^ enjoyed it and i have made great efforts to catch up on all other people blogs so far i have done rhinda and mims and now its your turn ^_^ so -flexes fingers cracks knuckles- lets have a looky at what you bin writing ^_^ have a fab day trentle much love to you and yours and all your family too take care^_^

    • Hell no, I stay with folks if I can. But I do find myself completely running out of time now. Maybe I’m just trying to do too much, I dunno. Rhinda I will never give up, even if she never says another word to me, I figure you know how that feels. And I very much like you Kizzy L M, so let’s crack some knuckles together and get to er eh.

  48. haha, I had to double take when I read the first line, certainly makes you think, not only about your own blog but also about the ones you follow.

      • Nods, but there are certainly better ways of doing things I know I can be a bit off on comments for example as I normally get stuck for what to say. One of the bits about your post that especially made me think were the bits about following other more popular blogs (in terms of followers) and they not commenting on you, like it is all me me me (from their side). I’d never really looked at things that way before, it was eye opening.

        • Well, don’t take it too seriously though. I figure the people who have lots of followers have that for a reason, I certainly don’t begrudge them. If they write really well and keep things interesting, I’ll keep following along. If it’s just the same stuff over and over, I may not.

  49. Interesting post. I’m not a follower but I do have you on my screen and I’m not a writer, I read.
    I love to read different writers, happy, sad and those that rant.
    I’ve no need or desire to write when others do it so well.
    If I ever leave you a quick comment about loving your writing, I meant it. If I hit your like button, that means that I read and liked your thoughts.
    I don’t have command of the language like you do.
    I like to read. Thank you for writing so I get to indulge in my love of reading.

    • That’s a very interesting perspective. There are very few people, I think, who read and comment without some expectation of return visits. I’m guilty of this, certainly. But I respect that you are here to read and see different voices and what they will do with whatever words they command.

      Thanks for the note. It makes me really glad (and quite honoured) that you are here reading my stuff.

  50. I wish I had time to read all of the comments on here because I hope I’m not the only one who felt inermittent “oh my God is he talking about me?” sorts of feelings. Does that make me a narcissist or incredibly humble?

    So much of this cracked me up– particularly the scrolling through and liking and following like mad. WTF is that about? I feel like blogging about all those random avatars that like my post 45 seconds after I post it every. single. time. Speaking of Avatars, your remark about an instant orgasm made me laugh out loud. But then I got very serious because I had to give it greater thought.

    Damn. Good stuff. Wish I wrote it. 😉

    • No worries, Aussa, this is just me being impossibly snarky. It’s really me figuring out my place in the blog-world, and wrestling with a wall that I suspected was out there but hadn’t yet hit. But definitely have hit it now. I can’t keep up with everything I want to keep up with. I try, but not successfully, so that leads to choices, and I don’t necessarily like that. As Mark said somewhere in here, blogging is a bit like dating. You fall into someone at first, have massive interactions and excitement, but then things fade off a bit, and sometimes the interaction does become one-sided. If you’re okay with that, then it’s okay. But I’m here for those relationships, or at least that’s how I’m thinking about it, so those are important to me. They don’t have to be important to everyone, far from it.

      I figure everyone, including me, sees something in here about themselves. Some react with humour (like you), others get offended. I find that interesting, but it’s an academic form of interest and goes no where at the end of the day. As mentioned above, I think my priority is relationships, interaction, the two-way conversation, as I don’t have or understand any other end-goal related to blogging. I’m sure I could generate more traffic, but to what end? What do I get out of that activity at the end of the day? Not to sound trite, but what tangible results do I get out of more traffic three years from now if I’m still blogging and generating more than my oh-so-astounding 20 views per day or so? I can’t answer that. I enjoy the interaction; I know that to be so.

      You should really really give the instant gravatar-inspired orgasm great thought. Mine has been specifically crafted to bring stomach-cramping levels of orgasm to anyone in the blog world.

      So far, I’ve found there’s two primary reasons to stop following people. The first is the lack of real interaction (to be honest, I mean them at least showing some kind of interest what I have to say, too). The second is sameness. I hate that term. It’s mean. It sounds like the puddle formed as a result of Rob Ford’s butt-sweat. But reading the same thing over and over is not a turn on for me. Funny thing to say for someone who writes bloody short stories, I know, but I vary them up in tone, subject matter, voice, etc quite a bit. That’s my contribution to not saying the same thing. I should probably be more tolerant on this one.

      Anyway, you’re what I consider to be an elite blogger. Don’t let it go to your head (or other places – for other places, please consult my gravatar again). You take time to interact. I respect that.

  51. Taken under advisement. To paraphrase Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino, NOW. GET. OFF. MY. BACK. Or is that way #15 to lose followers. I already dropped the gravatar. 😛 Movin’ on.

  52. First off: Hi Trent! <– Art told me to do this, so I did.
    Second: I love that the day I decide to check you out, you have the most unbelievably great post for me to read. I did a quick read (too quick, because I'm at work and busy) but I WILL come back to read this before the weekend. This is wicked good!
    Third: I don't know nearly enough Canadian bloggers, so I'm excited to get to know one more. Plus, I think we have lots of common bloggy friends.
    Fourth: Nope. No #4. Blame it on being super sick with a never-ending cold + being away on biz in NYC and not getting any sleep + being super busy at work (but hey, I'm in NYC – who can complain??)

    Okay, enough already, Nanc. <– no, I don't always speak to myself (or refer to myself in the 3rd person). See Fourth comment above.

    • Hiya Nancy – give Art a little virtual tickle for me, I love that man. Glad you popped by, just be warned – this is not what I usually write! And yes, I’m totally Canadian, and seems like we do have friends in common.

      You are hilarious. And I’m jealous that you’re in NYC. But I’m Canadian, so there!

      • Dude, I keep coming back just to read the new comments. This is the interaction that I think most bloggers crave. Fuck the “great post, keep it up” bullshit.

        NYC finally let me out. Only 4 hours after my planned departure. Love that city, man, but jeezus why do I get delayed every single time I fly out of there??

        Spring has sort of sprung here in TO. Hope you’re enjoying the thaw!

        • I’m with you there. Great comment. Keep it up.

          Just kidding… I love NYC, I’ve been dying for reasons to get there and work, so far it’s been passably successful.

          Send some heat up here! We still got snow piles of mucky dirty snow. Gots to melt it quick so we can take our toques off.

          • How far north are you??? No snow left in my little area of the TDot…

            And totally on NYC. My company’s office is right in the heart of Times Square. Saw 2 shows in 3 nights this week. My heart is full! 🙂

            Sad that I couldn’t swing a coffee with Guap though. Next trip!

  53. Pingback: Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 215 | A Frank Angle

  54. I came this way via A Frank Angle. Yep. These sound like stellar ways to lose people. Unfortunately, that WordPress one happened to me for real. A bunch of blogs I followed were unfollowed for me a few months ago. I spent a long time trying to figure out who I lost. Some I didn’t discover until weeks later when I’d sit back and think, “Hmm, I haven’t seen a post from so-and-so in a while.” So frustrating. I still can’t be sure I caught everyone. Then again, I suppose that’s a first-world problem…

    Great post!

    • Heya Carrie. I’ve not heard of WordPress forcing unfollows. I’ve had trouble following people I want to follow before, they just don’t show up in my reader (I think Samara said same thing in here), I just unfollow and re-follow and it usually works out.

      • That happened to me, actually: I found a number of blogs that I was sure I was following, and realized that I wasn’t when I saw them in Recommended blogs widget. PMAO was one of those – and you know I definitely follow him.

        • Okay, I have to keep an eye out for this. The people I really follow I really follow, so I think I would notice if they fell off…. that happened with Mark from Exile and Sean Smithson at one point, so I kept fidgeting until it got fixed.

  55. Like Carrie Rubin (who I don’t follow nor does she follow me), I was compelled to read your post because of Frank over at A Frank Angle, who I have been following for years (and he, me). And Like She’s a Maineiac (who I don’t follow nor does she follow me) I have been writing my site for over four years, and coincidentally, I have been very under the weather this week with a monster cold. During my convalescence, I’ve had the time to read more blogs, including yours, and I have skimmed through your 350 comments.

    You’ve covered so much in this thoughtful post that resonated with me and clearly, the many likes and comments you’ve had reflect that I’m a member of the herd. But like rossmurray1 (someone else who does not follow me nor I, him) there are people that follow me who I don’t follow back nor do I comment on their sites because those sites don’t “sing” to me. I do feel some guilt about that. When I’m well, I’m at work. My job is not one where I can work on my site or field comments. Sometimes I can sneak peeks at sites I follow. I do respond to comments posted on my site and in turn, I try to write something thoughtful and on topic on the sites of those I follow. I don’t have tons of time to devote to reading blogs or commenting back and forth. When I give a like, it is sincere and I have actually read the post. And I am very aware of the quid pro quo factor. It’s a very delicate balance to maintain. But for me, as someone who works full time, has an active social life and writes a blog as well as other writing, I’m spread very thin. Therefore, something has to give and that something is the number of blogs that I follow. There are many excellent blogs out there, including yours and very likely those I’ve named in this comment. But until a day is 36 hours long, it’s impossible for me to follow everyone I suspect that I would like very much.

    I agree that the blogosphere is also about community. Through my blog I have made some wonderful friends in The Real World, but when reading and commenting feels like a chore, I get overwhelmed. If someone seldom comments on my site, such as an “elite blogger” I will comment less or stop commenting altogether on theirs. My time is tight. Great post.

    • That is a really thoughtful comment, and good to meet you. I think time is the hardest bit to master, it seems like I should be reading more but there is only so much that can be done. I have a very busy job and a family, and many other things that I would like to do (in addition to actually writing). The time gets spread out fairly easily. I love the community, but I suppose community is about making choices at times, who to follow and who to not. I know that feeling of being overwhelmed, I seem to get to it a lot these days, which is perhaps the frustration behind the post.

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting, it’s much appreciated.

  56. Hopped over from Frank’s ( who has a fabulous blog and crowd). This is always a topic of interest to bloggers. Conversations are what makes blogging fun. (rapid fire serial “likes”-er can get the numbers up I suppose, but they aren’t real readers, so I guess it depends on what game you want to play. Those that blog overly frequently tend to get tiresome – some can pull it off, but posts generally take a bit of thought and time…Responding to comments, writing interesting posts, and keeping up with blogs you enjoy – it all takes time. Sometime I do better in one area than other…then try to catch back up reading. It’s a struggle…after all there is real life to live, too.
    Enjoyed your blog! (now gotta hop back to Frank’s)

    • Hey there – I’ve certainly seen you around, thanks for popping by. Agree with everything you said, time is so hard to come by these days. And there are so many great blogs! Say hi to Frank for me, he’s got exactly one of those great blogs that’s worth staying with.

  57. Holy Shit Trent, I just saw a pair of humming humping butterflies! and one was definitely a twattering! lmao… are those really your fkn numbers??? I bow to your monstrous size… of ass kissers!! WELL DONE!!! how the hell do you find time to write comments to all of us? that alone should make you worthy of a NObodygivesashitBEL PRIZE!!! 😛

    • Dude, Shards, really. Those aren’t my stats, that’s from the Daily Post. I have near subsurface levels of viewership. But bring on the ass-kissers and the twattery, fair followers!

    • Yes, fascinating and interesting. And disheartening. I find this post a bit constructed, a bit sensationalist, and not really involved of any substance I could name. But it’s more popular than pretty much everything I’ve written, including the stories that I really put myself into.

      C’est la vie, mon ami.

    • The irony is borderline eating my innards. I think it started on my intestines, and really the only question is: which direction is it going to move?

      Hook, the truth is that blogging is not a good forum for writing, in my opinion. Blogging, as I guess I should have suspected, is a good forum for blogging.

  58. I’ll be honest, I’m not good with posts like this. I love ’em, I read ’em out loud to my husband– I laugh over the ones that make me crazy, and feel awful about the ones that apply to me– and then have nothing to say. I think you wrote one about leaving likes everywhere before, and yeah, I do that. I do read everything I like, but I just overthink pretty much every comment I’ve ever left ever. I’m still agonizing one I left over a year ago on a blog that’s now defunct because I said, “Great job!” and I thought… “Who am I to say what a great job is?!” Even this comment is insane, but I felt like just littering your blogs with likes (which is what I’m going to do right now as I read through everything I missed in April when I was suddenly for the first time in my life not feeling like a reader)– would be tacky given that this is the first post I chose to tackle. In other words, here’s an awkward comment for you. To show that I’m legit here. Just to make it triply awkward, I nominated you for the 2014 IndieChicks BadAss bloggers award in the “male” division just a second ago, and read that it was courtesy to let someone know when you do so. Alright, color me officially melted by awkward.

    Also, the WordPress thing is real. I’ve mass-unfollowed people TWICE. The second time, I was prepared with a back up. Still embarrassing, though.

    • You don’t need to nominate me for things, Rara. I respect you. I crave connections and I enjoy people, and that’s very important to me. I’m just a writer, a middling one I think. I’m not a good blogger. I understand my place and my reality. A comment on my writing is like gold to me, so I thank you for that. But you don’t need to defend yourself, the whole post I wrote was dumb and stems from frustration, and the gradually-dawning realization that blogging has rules and structure that are not for me. I do not think I am very long for this place, to be honest. And that’s okay. I’m a writer. It took a while to admit that, to say that it was something more than a hobby. Now that it is, it’s possibly time to move on. I really don’t know.

  59. This is the second post I am reading from your blog in the last 10 minutes and I really enjoyed it. Your personality shines through and your voice is strong.

    Also…you really do like to use the word ‘twat’ a lot, don’t you?
    I look forward to more of your writing.

  60. Thanks Trent for being there for us and our 2 p.m poems that no one will ever read but truly i don’t mind especially the 2 p.m ones if i don’t write those ones i won’t sleep seriously .You’ve got to get it out, you know what i mean.It really isn’t about the numbers because sometimes that triggers the depression but to those who get unnecessary attention, we don’t mind truly every one has their part to play in this grand scheme of life.I hope you read this i did realize that its the 432th comment, i guess that makes you huge, i thought you said that wouldn’t happen in this hopeless blog writing industry we find ourselves in.
    Take care & awesome recommendations in the text you just introduced me to some really great blogs thanks.

    • Dude, I am super small. I just like to chat with my chums. if you would like to be a chum, just let me know… anyway, I mostly write fiction, and that is a wasteland on WordPress, and I don’t blame people for not reading it much, who has the time? But yeah we’re hear to get the words out – that’s alll that matters.

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