The new black in blogging – comments turned off, no response to comments

Copyblogger shocked a lot of people when they turned off comments a while back. The post they wrote explaining why was reasonable and let’s face it, Copyblogger is one of the biggest blogs around. Their business model has probably changed twenty times since they started and well progress, right?

But it got me thinking and maybe wondering if they just weren’t acknowledging a trend or perhaps even predicting one. When I started blogging there weren’t many rules but there were a few common practices, among them, responding to comments.

It made sense. You write a post, someone comments on the post and you respond, if only to say thank you. You started a dialogue and sometimes that dialogue grew into a connection. Maybe you visited their blog and commented, or added them to your blog roll, introduced them to other blogger buds, linked to their posts. It was nice. Cozy. Friendly. I made a lot friends that way.

These days though it seems that perhaps a “like” is supposed to suffice for a comment. An electronic ‘atta girl’ if you will, that at least lets you know somebody’s reading. And given the many types of feed readers there are out there, getting someone to even visit your blog can be feat.

Too big to respond or interact?

In the case of Copyblogger, perhaps they are too big to respond or even allow comments. I imagine they had hundreds of comments daily. And realistically, they’d have to hire someone to answer the comments. Probably….

And of course this may be an issue for many of the popular blogs that get a lot of comments. And I’ve certainly noticed that some of the blogs I read follow this business model. Funny though, I tend not to comment on those blogs anymore – even though I do read them somewhat regularly. On the other hand, there are some very popular blogs that still seem to not only manage to respond to their comments but do so with warmth and and good humor.

So maybe it boils down to preference on the part of the blogger.

Old school or new school?

Personally, I’m old school. I feel that If somebody makes the effort to come to my blog and make a comment it seems only right that I acknowledge that comment with a response. Nobody likes talking to themselves, do they? I know I don’t. And really don’t we blog to start a conversation and exchange views? Or is it just a one-way street where we’re all supposed to just be talking at people instead of to them? Are we so wise and such experts that we don’t need to respond?

If you listen to any of the experts they all say you must give value with your content – wouldn’t a response to a thoughtful comment be valuable to the commenter? Anyway, I think I believe it would be. So, if you comment, rest assured, I shall respond

What do you think? When you make a comment on a blog, do you expect a response? Do you go back and check to see if you received a response? If there is none, do you feel disappointed? Are you less likely to make a comment in the future on that blog?

I’d really like to know what people think about this.

Writer Chick

copyright 2015

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How Blogging Saved my Sorry Writer’s Ass

words

Started out innocent enough. A writer friend was going on vacation, could I cover his blog while he was gone? A blog? WTF is a blog? He showed me the ropes:

  • Where to find images
  • How to post a blog
  • What categories and tags were
  • How to respond to comments

Back then you needed a handle, a blogger’s name, an avatar. Because you know, back then we didn’t use our actual names. Privacy and all that, right? So for lack of a better idea I went with Writer Chick (who knew it would stick?).

So….I blogged for him. I wrote about whatever came into my head. My first post was called Cream Boogers.  Surprisingly, people liked it.

After a week of this, I kinda got the blogging bug. So when he came back I started my own blog. I was scared. It was weird. I mean, who’d want to read what I thought about anything? I had no idea…

Writer rebooted

I’ve written stories pretty much all my life. Words were always my friends – especially written words because I didn’t stutter and stammer over those. I didn’t burn bright red when I wrote words, only when I tried to speak them. I could let the words do my talking and really it was better that way.

And I always ‘dreamed’ of being a writer. Of writing books, movies, TV shows, poetry. Yeah, all of it. But life always got in the way. There were jobs to work, rent to pay, relationships to nurture. Whatever, always some reason I should put it on the back burner. Or I could do what I really wanted to do someday. And I had periods, maybe you’d call them spurts where I was ‘being a writer.’ Got an agent, yeah I was going to hit the big time baby. Meh, not so much.

I gave up a lot of times. I decided it just wasn’t meant to be. I wasn’t good enough or just didn’t have the guts or something. But I always missed it when I wasn’t doing it. I always thought about it when I wasn’t doing it. Every time I read a book I thought, “I could do that. I could’ve written that story…”

So this blogging thing – that I did for a friend – forced me to write. Not dream about it. Or think about it. Or long for it. But to do it. I couldn’t let my friend down, right because he was depending on me so I did it.

So I figured if I had my own blog I could make myself ‘be a writer.’ I could make myself write. So that was the deal. I started blogging to see if I could make myself write everyday. No. Matter. What.

And I did it

I wrote a blog post everyday for 18 months and somewhere along the way I realized I was a writer. And always had been a writer. And I’ve been a writer ever since.

So just by writing this silly blog I:

  • Got into the habit of writing daily
  • I got a lot better at writing
  • I learned a lot more about writing
  • I got work as a writer
  • I became a freelancer
  • I published a book
  • I now make my living as a writer
  • I am currently writing a series (soon to be published)

And I was saved. From being the 9 to 5 grunt I feared I’d become. From keeping all those words inside. From being miserable.

So you just never know what a silly little thing like a blog can do for you. So I say, if you have a dream, find a way. Find something that helps you to walk toward that dream. Do something that reinforces it. That validates it. That makes you better at it. Gives you more confidence in it. Helps you prove to yourself that yes, you are that thing that you want to be. Because nothing creates being like doing.

So what about you? Did blogging save you too? What’s your story?

Writer Chick

Ten Ways to Ruin Your Blog

156

Yup, I think I’ve done all of them.

Stop blogging about what you want to blog about in favor of the advice of experts whom you do not know. The problem with experts on the Internet is that everyone is an expert. This can confuse us. While there are many people who do give sound advice on Internet marketing you might want to check them out before taking their advice.

Worry about value to your readers so much that your blog posts are incomprehensible and even you don’t know what you’re saying. I remember a few months back I was trying to get back into regular blogging and so read tons of articles and advice, most of it stressing value. I became so stressed out about my ‘value’ that when I wasn’t in apathy about writing a post I was chewing my fingernails down to the stubs worried that whatever I produced was not valuable enough.

Imitate what the big bloggers do so you are a poor imitation of them. I think we’ve all done this. Tried to imitate CopyBlogger or some other big blog in our niche. I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t pull it off. Can you say disaster?

Blog about what you think others think you should blog about because what you want to blog about you don’t think anyone will think is cool. Look, you started your blog because you had an idea. You had something to say in your own voice, from your own point of view. Now after reading all the how-to articles, that enthusiasm, that joy of creating that you felt is like a cold super-sized side of McDonald’s fries churning in your stomach. See if you can go back and find the thing that excited you when you first started.

Write about a topic as though you are an expert but about which you know nothing or you know something but not enough. Lots of people think, well I can (fill in the blank) so I can assume the view of an expert – and in fact I’ve seen that suggested in marketing advice. But when you try to write the post it doesn’t fly. It doesn’t sound authoritative or experty enough or whatever. Might work better if you approach the topic from the view of ‘this is how I do (fill in the blank).”

Write the same post everybody else is writing. Is this tempting or what? You subscribe to lots of blogs, read a few of the big ones and everybody is posting about a certain topic, news story or current event. So you figure you’ll do it too. I’ve done it and it didn’t work. I say, so what if everybody is talking about the fight with Hachette and Amazon, if you want to blog about red-haired girls and their best looks then write about that. It’s your blog, your voice, your little condo on the Internet. Do it your way. Who knows you may even set a trend.

Write posts based on titles you get from a title generator. Okay, I haven’t done this one but you can tell who does. Because you see the same titles/headlines everywhere, slightly edited but still…

Write nothing about which you have an opinion, feel passionate or have any interest in. Can you say instant death? Blogging about things you don’t have any strong feelings about is about as exciting as watching milk go bad. If you don’t love it, chances are nobody else will either.

Write a blog for the sole purpose of collecting readers for your future books. I know, I know, most of us are writers. Most of us write books, stories, and poems and we want people to read those books, stories and poems. But people can tell if you’re just trying to sell them rather than have a conversation with them. And who knows if the conversation goes well, they might want to buy your books, stories and poems.

Have lots of ads, pop-ups, flash animation and everything else you can think of to keep people from being able to read your posts. This one I did for about five minutes. I didn’t go full-bore flash animation but I ran the ads. I made no revenue whatsoever and even I was irritated by them staring back at me.

So my friends, there you have it, ten surefire ways to ruin your blog. Have you ever done something that ruined your blog? What happened? Did you fix it? How?

Oh yeah, and Happy Tax Day to one and all 😀

Writer Chick

The Good Old Days of Blogging

the good old days of blogging

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before there was online marketing

Before anybody knew what SEO meant

Before Twitter uttered its first tweet

Before anybody over the age of 14 had even heard of Facebook

Before Social Media Managers existed

Before anybody really gave a whit about their page rank

Before anybody checked how many online reviews they had

There was blogging

And it was fun

And it was a way to make friends, share a few laughs or insights

You had your pals and your readers

And you read their blogs and commented

And they read your blog and commented

And you carried on conversations from blog to blog

And rolling posts came into being

And guest posts were about introducing your new blog friends to your other blog friends – not increasing the size of your email list

And you always had ideas for posts

And you never felt like it was work

And you didn’t have an editorial calendar

And you weren’t really concerned about finding your tribe

And jumping online to check your comments or see what your blogger buds were up to was sometimes the best part of the day

And it was fun

It wasn’t about being politically correct

It wasn’t about reputation management

It wasn’t about relevant content

Or pay-per-click

Or affiliate marketing

Or optimization

Or power blogging

It was about having a little freedom

It was about showing a little creativity

It was about having a place of your own

And it was fun

I miss the good old days of blogging

Do you?

Writer Chick

Copyright 2013

Writer Chick to Hong Kong

In the last several days I have noticed that the same ‘reader’ has visited my site multiple times and viewed anywhere from 10 to 34 pages per visit.  I’ve also noticed some very odd referrals from acne sites, weight sites, insurance sites and so forth.  To say I don’t run in those circles is an understatement.

And I’m getting the idea that Mr. or Ms. Hong Kong (of the Central District) is doing a pretty big cut and paste job of my blog posts.  Either that or they are a real bloggy stalker.  In either case, it makes me quite uncomfortable and I would ask, nicely that if Mr. or Ms. Hong Kong is lifting content to Stop immediately.  I write all the copy on this blog and it is my property. Period.  My blog is not a blog copy co-op for underprivileged or overly challenged bloggers who cannot write and so must steal from others.  If, on the other hand, you are simply a stalker, get help.

It is not beneath me to publish your IP address and every other bit of information that my stats programs provide, as well as find out who you are and file a copyright infringement complaint either.

So Hong Kong, get a life – but do me a favor and write your own, instead of trying to take mine.

Writer Chick

Well Hong Kong, clearly you thought I was kidding – not so much. Here you go:

Domain Name netvigator.com ? (Commercial)
IP Address 203.218.228.# (PCCW Limited)
ISP PCCW Limited
Location
Continent : Asia
Country : Hong Kong (Facts)
City : Central District
Lat/Long : 22.2833, 114.15 (Map)
Language unknown
Operating System Microsoft WinNT
Browser Internet Explorer 8.0
Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 6.0; Trident/4.0; GTB6.5; SLCC1; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; Media Center PC 5.0; .NET CLR 3.5.30729; .NET CLR 3.0.30729; .NET4.0C)
Javascript disabled
Time of Visit Sep 5 2010 8:04:53 am
Last Page View Sep 5 2010 8:27:56 am
Visit Length 23 minutes 3 seconds
Page Views 20
Referring URL unknown
Visit Entry Page http://writerchick.w…rdpress.com/page/77/
Visit Exit Page https://writerchick.wordpress.com/
Out Click
Time Zone unknown
Visitor’s Time

A Word About Comments

blog comments

We bloggers sure do love them, don’t we? I mean, let’s be honest, we don’t write our blogs to be ignored, we do want people to read what we have to say and we really want them to comment. However, not all comments are created equally.

I’ve been blogging a long time and those of you who know me, know that I rarely edit comments, much less delete them. That in fact, I encourage people to debate and even disagree with me. I enjoy debating and I will if I feel there is an honest debate being offered. Usually this is not a situation or problem.

But just so it’s on the record, here is where I draw the line: I won’t tolerate rudeness, out and out flaming or spamming and I prefer that commenters not put more than one link in any comment – particularly if it’s linking to their blogs because it makes me feel more like I am being an advertising venue for them than they are actually trying to contribute to the discussion. If the commenter feels the links are pertinent to the discussion and wants to add more than one link to their comments, they are free to email me and check to see if it’s okay. Believe me, if I think a link is pertinent I’ll be happy to link to you. Because again, any of you who know me, know that I have and do freely link to others’ posts and always have. It’s just the approach that makes the difference.

Bottom line is, I think it’s a matter of manners – you don’t go to someone’s house and put a billboard in their front yard advertising your business, right? In my mind, it’s the same thing – you don’t go to someone else’s blog to advertise your posts, you use your own blog for that. If your posts are good and pertinent, people will link to them usually without hesitation – so why force the issue?

Maybe some will disagree with me on this, and that’s fine – if you don’t like it, you don’t have to read or come back. But that is my policy and will remain so. If you want me to link to you, just ask – chances are I will say yes. I just like to be asked first. And that’s about it.

Thanks for reading.

WC

It’s Been a Year

time passing

It’s hard to believe that it’s been more than a year actually, since I left the safe world of WordPress for self-hosted land. Though I would never delete this blog since it was my first born, so to speak, I have to admit the self hosted blog has become my favorite child. For many reasons.

While WordPress makes it easy for you to set up your own free blog and offers you many options, it just doesn’t compare to the options available to you. From thousands of themes that are absolutely gorgeous, to cool little plugins, widgets and endless varieties of layout and design. It’s actually a little overwhelming at first. In fact, in the first week of self hosting I was ready to push the delete button many times.

You own it. Now, there is certainly a degree of ownership with a free blog – it’s not like some squatters will swoop in and take it from you – but WordPress does have the final say on what you can and cannot post. Most of the time that may not matter – but there may be times when you don’t want to have to worry about being censored. Self-hosting allows you that freedom. You really do own every bit of your blog and I suppose it’s the difference between owning and renting a home. Because your blog is your home on the internet, in a way.

You can advertise or sell or both. Many people blog in order to just express themselves, or find like minded people and that’s a great and fun thing to do. However, a lot of us have products, intellectual properties, saleable goods, information products, what have you and that is verboten here. On a self hosted blog you can advertise and sell your wares to your heart’s content. Which is not to say you should stop writing content, because that is what got you where you are – still, it would be awfully nice to make a living from your blog, wouldn’t it? Or at least part of a living.

So looking back over the last year, all the trials and tribs – the learning curve that was sometimes way too steep and all the other things that took place to bring about the change – I have to say I wouldn’t do it differently if I had it to do over again.

I hope you’ll drop by and see the new place – it’s not quite so new now that it’s been around for a year but I always like it when people drop by. You know?

Writer Chick

Blogging, the Last Stronghold of Free Speech?

free-speech

As the world becomes increasingly global in its reach and connections, it also becomes increasingly politically correct. So much so, that what used to pass for common conversation is now a little dicey. Where we didn’t used to think too much about saying something, an opinion, a thought, even certain words – now it gives us pause. Am I using hate speech? Is that an epithat? Was that a racial slur? Is my religion racist? These and other thoughts can easily zip through our minds as our mouths are held agape – thoughts in mid-air and maybe never to be launched verbally for the world at large to hear.

Television, the newspapers, magazines, even movies and popular music have all ‘softened’ become more and more homogenized and bland, all in the quest of saying the right thing. While we are madly engaged in a game of leveling the playing field, playing fair, not discriminating, being democratic, etc., etc., until we are absolutely dizzy with confusion as to what we can or cannot say to whom we can or cannot say it. Funny, just that statement alone made me think of a history lesson centering on Nazi Germany…and the KGB… I digress.

While I cannot speak for other countries that I do not live in, nor have I ever lived in, I can say that in the United States we have a thing called the Constitution and within it, The Bill of Rights (technically considered to be the first ten amendments ratified in 1791 of the Constitution) which in part, entitles American citizens to free speech. Although many people misunderstand that to mean that they can say absolutely anything under the sun, the spirit of the amendment centers around free political speech. And too, it is a direction to the Congress (our law makers) that they may make no law that would prohibit such free speech. It does not include what one may or may not say on someone’s blog or website, etc. However, still there is much leeway given on this particular right and it is extended to the media (freedom of the press as it is commonly known) as a group, not a special group as they are comprised of the citizenry, so that short of starting a riot, or inciting someone to harm another, it is protected.

Though in practice it is getting short shrift – so much so that newspapers and conventional media outlets seem ruled more by their own ideology than the truth or even a strong opinion. More and more, politically and socially we are being bound and gagged in our efforts to express ourselves and say what we think. I suppose if the pc police had had their way we’d all be reading our daily talking points on what we could or could not say on a weekly basis.

However, along came the internet and specifically bloggers. Despite the many attempts to muzzle, control and legislate the internet and the voices represented there, most attempts at doing so have been thwarted. People started to like the idea that there was a place that they could go and actually speak their minds, without regard to hurting someone’s feelings, being offensive or upsetting someone with the truth. In fact, a Pew Research study showed that an increasing percentage of people now get their news on the internet, particularly those in the thirty and under crowd. There must be a reason, right? Perhaps it is because there are fewer filters, perhaps because there is a certain anonymity and fear of reprisel is less or perhaps it is just a way for an overly pressured and somewhat oppressed society to seek the truth without being told what to think about it.

So here’s some truth for you, at least as far as I’m concerned – words are not things. They cannot and will not in and of themselves hurt you. Words are simply the vehicle by which we express ideas, thoughts and hopes. They are the representation of concepts. And they do mean things. Words do have their own meanings, one word can and does hold more weight than another. There are hundreds of thousands of words, there is a reason for that, they mean different things. They do not all mean the same thing more or less. They can be used to express love, hatred, contempt, joy, bias, understanding, reasoning, insanity and on and on. And as long as there are people out there who understand this, there will be people who will have ideas. Ideas that will become realities that will help and improve lives – but also ideas that can create realities that result in harm. It is a mixed bag but we live with this knowledge and have since humans began to talk to each other.

I’m afraid there are a lot of people out there who would rather we didn’t know this. And that we should reduce our vocabularies to 400-500 words most of which resulted in submission, not fairness, enslavement, not kindness or humanity and their motive is simply and only power. And it galls them, folks, that they can’t get to us. For some reason, they cannot pull the reins in on the internet and bloggers. And while many may think that blogging and bloggers are just so much nonsense or silly play I beg to differ. I believe that we are the surviving truth seekers out there. We want to say what we think, we want to read what others think, we want to know the truth and to write the truth. And while the title for this piece may seem a bit presumptious, I have come to think more and more that it isn’t at all. We may be the last stronghold on free speech.

Something to think about, isn’t it?

Sending Joy – An Introduction

daisies-joy

I want to introduce you to a very special woman whom I have known for many years. We first met at an online writer’s group. From our first contact, I knew this lady was a unique individual. She was incredibly perceptive and very gentle in her words and actions. Soft is the word that comes to mind. You know how some people are just like a soft, clean light? Well, that’s Sharie in a nutshell.

Sharie is the friend I mentioned previously, that I was helping set up her own blog. She is probably one of the most spiritual individuals I have ever met (and when I say spiritual, I don’t mean religious) and her strongest desire in life is help others and to see the world and all its inhabitants at peace.

Her new blog is called Sending Joy – A Place to Soothe the Spirit. In order to tell you what her blog is all about, I quote her own words here:

I truly believe that everyone just wants to be happy. Most of us search for happiness in the world or in another person, or in things, jobs or money. And we’re always disappointed because it’s never there. It’s in a place we forget to look. Right inside ourselves. I have been a student of A Course In Miracles for seventeen years. During my studies and through interaction with other Course students and under the guidance of some amazing Teachers I have developed a whole new way to see the world and everyone in the world. I have learned things like “forgiveness is the key to happiness” and ‘we are all entitled to the miracles of peace and love and joy’. I have been a spiritual teacher for many years.

Through my dear friend, Annie, I have learned of a new venue called WordPress where she helped me build a lovely Spirit Space called Sending Joy . Anyone interested in tapping into their own joy, wanting to empower themselves by gaining a new understanding of who they are and why they’re here, having a question they want answered, wanting to communicate with a like mind, or just needing a moment to rest their spirit, is welcome to visit me.
Peace, Sharie

I would ask all of you to give Sharie a visit, read a few of her posts and her poems and see if it is a peaceful place you might want to visit again. I can promise you, you will never meet anyone quite like her and you’ll be glad that you did.

Sweet Little Lies…

As many of you probably know, there is a blogger who has recently ‘come clean’ about some pretty serious lies she has been telling us. Specifically she claimed to have cancer, dead relatives and parental abuse in her life. With the recent coming clean post we have learned that she has none of the above. And is, in fact, a drop out slacker who says she gets depressed so she has to get people to feel sorry for her about imaginary illnesses and life circumstances in order to have friends.

This is the type of person we are all warned about prowling the internet. The liar. The one who invents some sort of pathetic and sympathy-inducing life so that people will pay attention to them. Now, I don’t suppose I have too much trouble with someone embellishing or even creating a personna on the internet – in a way, the blogosphere does liken show business, it certainly has those types of elements to it. However, when the embellishment and personality doctoring actually uses a terminal disease as it’s punch line and dupes unsuspecting people into caring for the person, I have to say it makes my stomach turn.

Perhaps that this person chose cancer as the illness d’jour – and I happen to have several friends who are cancer survivers and one who actually died about three weeks ago – is what kind of got to me. You know there are people out there who have lost loved ones, lost body parts, or somehow managed to survive the hellatiousness that is cancer – so to pretend – well it’s just not cool. In fact, it’s downright evil.

Perhaps some of you would disagree and think I am over-reacting but I don’t think so. The intent is what you have to look at here folks – her intent was to trick you and use your good intentions against you in order to get something for herself. Sorry but I can’t see that as anything but evil. I will not accept excuses like depression (she just admitted that she doesn’t have cancer but we believe her when she says she has depression?) or drug abuse or being a drop out or slackerdom. The coming clean post was a joke – and honestly, how is it that she went from having horrible grammar and punctuation and syntax to suddenly writing a clear, concise and clean post about how she tricked us?

No, this person is not at all who she says she is. She wasn’t then and she isn’t now. I suspect the coming clean post was just about whatever her next scam is going to be. Last time it was cancer, now it’s depression. I say bullshit. Who wants to bet it is some 35 year loser who lives in his parent’s basement and searches for pictures of little kids on the internet? Think about it. Those weren’t sweet little lies she told and the next ones won’t be either. She’s in my spam box and shall remain there forever. Maybe you should think about it too.