Archive for the 'The Web' Category

Election 2008: Why shouldn’t we all get along?

September 11, 2008

My blogging tastes are, to say the least, far-ranging. In addition to my midlife friends, I keep up with a number of political, media, fashion, health, religious, sports (alas, it’s true) and even fat-acceptance (FA) bloggers. And if what is happening in some of the FA blogs and blog groups is any indication, it’s a sad, sad time out here on the old Web.

Fatistician and Worth Your Weight, both fellow WordPressers, tell of defections from the FA community due to the increasing political nature and resulting rancor of some recent conversations. Lindsay of Babblebits explains:

With the upcoming elections going on in the States, people are getting more and more political in their blogs… There has been entirely too much drama in both of the [FA] feeds about who should and shouldn’t be in them, and both of them have had minor s–tstorms brewed when someone got removed from each of them.

Hel-lo? These are fat-acceptance bloggers, women (mostly) who want to feel good about themselves at any size and who want others to feel the same way, and yet they’re being sidetracked from their original mission by presidential politics. They came together for a sense of community, and that community is being threatened.

As Fatistician says, “The fatosphere is supposed to be this safe space to discuss fat issues and make everyone feel warm and fuzzy.” And all of a sudden, for some members of the community, it no longer is.

Oh, I know. Marx (or Lenin or McCartney or somebody equally divisive) said something about everything being political, but I just don’t think it has to be this ugly. I would like to think we’re all grown-ups out here. While wild-eyed, foaming-at-the-mouth ranters seem to invite equally rabid responses, I would hope that a well-reasoned post on any subject would invoke an equally well-reasoned reply.

But, alas, this is the Wild Wild Web. People can get their dander up over a comma splice out here. So we all continue to hit the Publish button and hope that we won’t be seriously misconstrued. But, somehow, we are.

I’m trying very hard not to promote any political opinion, mostly because I haven’t made up my mind. I daily get ultra-right-wing e-mails from my retired brother-in-law, as well as left-leaning tracts from my childhood friend in California. I glance over them, and I delete them. I watched the conventions, mostly on CSPAN to avoid the live punditry. I read the papers, and I even check in from time to time with both Fox and MSNBC.

And I gladly read my friends’ political comments on their blogs, which, for me, add to their personal richness and character. Your passion is always attractive and admirable, whatever the subject. I’ve even commented on some of my favorite posts in what I hope is a responsible, reasoned way.

If I offend, please forgive me. That would never be my intent. Americans indeed have a big decision to make in the coming months, but we don’t have to permanently alienate each other in the process.

Note: This article is cross-posted at MidLifeBloggers.

Attracting readers: Speak and be heard — and read

September 3, 2008

While I had a LOT of interest in my recent post on attracting readers to Ye Olde Blogge Syte, I didn’t get any suggestions, which makes me think that everyone else is as baffled or uninformed as I — or else you’re all still sleeping off a Labor Day weekend-induced intoxication involving copious amounts of distilled spirits, potato chips, baked beans and barbecue sauce. Whatever.

So I shall continue to labor away in my campaign to capture the hearts of the Blogosphere with my latest cutting-edge innovation:

Commenting.

Huh? What? I was a little skeptical about this suggestion, but Problogger promises me it has merit:

One of the best ways to find the right type of reader for your blog is to comment on other people’s blogs. You should aim to comment on blogs focused on a similar niche topic to yours since the readers there will be more likely to be interested in your blog.

Most blog commenting systems allow you to have your name/title linked to your blog when you leave a comment. This is how people find your blog. If you are a prolific commentor and always have something valuable to say then people will be interested to read more of your work and hence click through to visit your blog.

I mean, du-uh, it certainly IS nice when someone makes the effort to comment on one of my posts, and as a courtesy I always check out the site of anyone new who comments. I’ve found a lot of online friends and wonderful blogs that way. I suppose I’ve just shied away from commenting on a regular basis because, after all, WHO could POSSIBLY be interested in ANYTHING I have to say?

A host of folks, apparently. So be prepared for COMMENTARY, people!

The Blogger’s Bouquet

August 18, 2008

Since I came back from a lazy weekend in the mountains not wanting to expend any more excess energy than is absolutely necessary, I am inaugurating a new feature — The best of the Monday morning blogs:

• I absolutely love Bill Cunningham’s fashion photo essays in the New York Times. If you haven’t been introduced, oh, PLEASE, allow me! His latest one explores the burning and eternal question of “Can I wear white after Labor Day (and if not, WHY NOT)?”

• If it isn’t too early in the day to stomach a little Camille Paglia (Have you had your coffee/Diet Coke yet?), she has an interesting take on Madonna’s 50th birthday. (Just ignore her initial ranting about Obama.) Via Jezebel.

• For those of you who don’t know Maud Newton, I’m sorry for you. In addition to her wise, witty and comprehensive coverage of the literary scene, she’s a weekend genealogist, and her family history is both poignant and hilarious. As someone who has felt the eternal tug-of-war of religion in a family, I find her tales of her Southern Pentecostal upbringing absolutely spot-on. And now she finds a family link to the Salem Witch Trials! (Maud, some of us just can’t escape religion.) If you have time, track back on the links she provides.

• I was surprised and curious to see a NYTimes article on a subject that I blogged about days ago, including a prominent reference to my own best evidence, Bruce Jenner. Hmmmm.

• In that light, be sure to put a bookmark on Jan’s latest offering at MidLifeBloggers, wherein she demystifies the whole Internet copyright maze. Thanks, Jan!

Why I’m ashamed sometimes to be a blogger

August 6, 2008

This bit of depravity (via Gawker, one of my guilty pleasures) has got to be a new low. I really believe in the World Wide-Open Web, but a few common decencies should prevail, shouldn’t they?

About blogging: Of epithets and self-expression

August 5, 2008

The Backstory: Once upon a time, there was a blogger named msmeta, only she didn’t know she was msmeta and she certainly didn’t know ANYTHING about blogging or the Blogosphere. She just knew that she liked reading about ideas and the arts and women’s issues and, oh, all sorts of things. She was a bit of a geek, actually.

Our protoblogger particularly liked reading things by Terry Teachout, the prolific arts writer and observer who is, among other thing, the theatre critic for The Wall Street Journal, which she reads every morning with a Diet Coke and a handful of Frosted Mini Wheats while seated at her desk at The Rubber Chicken Factory, Inc. (where she is a senior beak inspector).

One day, a year or so ago, she noticed that Sir Teachout also had something called a blog, called About Last Night. Read the rest of this entry »

Be very afraid

August 4, 2008

Jealousy I can understand, along with lust, revenge, fear and wrath. This kind of maliciousness is just beyond me, and very frightening. Mayhem for mayhem’s sake. It’s the same reason why I found The Dark Knight so disturbing. There was no ideology or coherent history behind behind the villain’s mask. Just nihilism.

About blogging: Blogging for dollars?

July 8, 2008

I’m such a ninny. I was weeks into setting up and tweaking my infant blog on WordPress when I discovered that there were blogsites out there THAT WERE ACTUALLY MAKING MONEY! What a concept! For example, Problogger admits to a six-figure salary from his efforts, and he’s just one among millions, likely.

I have pondered this fact ever since then, even signing up for the Amazon Associates program along the way, although, between the inscrutable WordPress restrictions and my Mac, I haven’t exactly been able to get it to work. (And since my site didn’t turn into a book blog like I initially thought it would, I probably wouldn’t make much off the Amazon link anyway.)

I have no problem with blogs containing advertising, although I don’t think I’ve ever clicked on any ad. (Sorry.) My friend’s daughter, a Mommyblogger, makes a nice little part-time income and gets lots of fun freebies for promoting products on her site, which allows her to stay home with her toddlers. I think that’s great, and so do all the other young mothers who regularly visit her blog. She’s very up front about what she does, and she also regularly files posts that don’t advertise or promote anything.

Thanks to all of you who have kindly mentioned my site and included me on your blogrolls. I’ve tried to reciprocate. But I’ve recently run into a few blogs in my interest areas that offer to promote my blog on their more-trafficked sites — for a fee. They even provide a PayPal link to facilitate the transaction.

Maybe I was a journalist for too many years, but that idea BOTHERS me. Believe me, I’m not naive. I know how public relations and lobbying can make whores of even the most respected individuals and publications. But I somehow want to hold the Blogosphere above all that. It’s the wide-open and free-from-influence side of the Web that appeals to me and made me want to join the party, and I guess I expect some honesty from the sites I visit — and from myself when I post something.

Advertising in widgets and at breaks is one thing, but giving a thumbs-up to somebody’s site because he or she paid you to crosses the line for me.

Am I being too squeamish? Naive? Impractical? And just exactly how honest is the Blogosphere?

About blogging: 100 posts

June 10, 2008

To celebrate my 100th post on Ye Olde Blogge Syte — thank you, thank you, I couldn’t have done it without you — may I offer a few observations about life online?

1. SEX SELLS. Paris Hilton. Victoria and David Beckham. Madonna. Sex and the City. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Tyra Banks. Gossip Girl. There. Just by mentioning those names, I have guaranteed that this will be a record-setting post for me. My popular culture posts have been among the most viewed, and I, for a brief, giddy moment, considered changing the whole outlook of my site. But reason prevailed. I’m not fascinated by celebrity, and blogging continually about it just for readership would certainly turn me into some sort of Blog Whore. Celebrity blogs are fine, but not for me.

Read the rest of this entry »

About blogging: A bouquet of blogs

June 9, 2008

One of the delightful things about reading other peoples’ blogs is discovering the blogs that they’re reading. The very idea that WordPress, my home sweet home, is supporting millions of blogs and blogposts daily* by people from all over the world would be daunting if it weren’t for the fact that bloggers have a knack for seeking out like-minded friends. I feel like a bee flying from flower to flower, sipping a bouquet of nectars.

Jan’s Sushi Bar is the latest midlifer site to kindly include my humble offering in a list of her new-found favorites, and I have happily reciprocated. (Thanks!) Blogs are as individual as their creators’ fingerprints, and I enjoy the visual and literary feast that is always available out there, day and night.

But I am tired of being at the mercy of the available blog designs. HTML for Dummies, anyone? If you have any experience on breaking out of the box design-wise, or could direct me to some instructional sites, I’d love to hear from you. Right now, I only know enough HTML to make me dangerous!

Keep on bloggin’!

*Is is just me, or do the most popular blogsites on the WordPress list always seem to be about soccer?

My favorite quote

May 27, 2008

“Ninety percent of life is showing up.” — Woody Allen

For those of you looking for a goodly gathering of “modern proverbs” — like the mystifying but occasionally very apt “It is what it is” — those deep thinkers at Freakanomics have a fun list. (Don’t miss the comments.)

And if you’re in the mood for sort of a mini-meme: What’s your favorite quote?

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