Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tim Tams! I'm super popular!

My son is for the VERY FIRST TIME EVER working on an essay he's very excited about. He finds the topic inspiring: Write about a few of your pet peeves.

I can't blame him. It IS inspiring and I'm going to be a good example and write about some of my pet peeves, too. (I checked his essay. His pet peeves are his little brother, his parents, and the neighbors. He will make an excellent hermit.)

Specifically, these are blogging pet peeves. Go ahead and pull out your Judging Hat. Also, you better scrounge out your Paranoid Delusional hat since you just KNOW I'm talking about YOU. 

First, people should not brag about having a large blog audience if you get all your page views for a post that's not actually what your blog is about. For example, I could say I have thousands of readers. It's true in that I have a post with "Tim Tams" in the title that gets a lot of traffic. But these aren't people who come back to my blog again and again. They're probably just trying to figure out what a Tim Tam is and why people love them with a passion and devotion that defies logic or reason. 

They're just yummy, okay?

Anyway, I guess if I really wanted to, I could say my blog has a bajillion readers, but it's a bajillion by the same reasoning wherein Al Gore invented the Internet.

Secondly, there are a whole lot of people who need to figure out what the word "expert" means. An expert is someone who knows enough about any given subject to teach a friggin' PhD level course on the subject. There are a whole lot of "experts" suddenly running around the blogosphere and I blame two things: blogging conferences and the GRIP of "How To Make Money From Home" articles that litter the Internet. 

Blogging conferences are fine. I think they're incredibly helpful tools for serious bloggers the way that writing conferences are excellent for writers. But everyone who is interested in monetizing their blog is taking this "become an expert in something" route and now we've got a lot of faux-experts. In my opinion (did you know I have one?), you'd be far better served in blogging about what you're passionate about and not trying to come off as an expert. Psst . . . if you're not an expert, we're going to figure it out real quick anyway.

I think this is a pet peeve because I see aspiring writers do it ALL THE TIME. Oh, my gosh. Attention, attention, please! If you don't have a book out or you have just one or two books out so far, YOU'RE NOT AN EXPERT. You do not get to be the be all and end all of wisdom on how to write first person point-of-view or how to get an agent or how to market a book. FOR THE LOVE, people.

There's a difference between that and reflecting on writing. Musing = Totally acceptable. How do you feel about trying to write first person? Talk. At length. It's fine by me. But do not go on for 1000 words about the right way to do it until you're in a position to do so. (You look silly.) A reflection on writing from someone who has something to say but doesn't pretend to be an expert: check out LT Elliot's blog post today at Dreams of Quill and Ink.

I think I've said enough. More than enough. I expect I'll hit publish and find myself soon greeting the angry Villagers of Blog at the front door with pitchforks and everything. 

Fine. FINE, I say. I guess my point is, Be Real, and if that means being an expert in something, have the credentials (training, experience, etc.) to back it up.

And let me repeat: Getting a thousand hits a month on your Granny Velda's applesauce cake recipe does NOT mean you have a large readership if you're writing a humor blog.

Having said all that, I'd like to finish with this . . . I love you. And I'm totally not talking about your blog, okay? It's those other ones.


Lara said...

People should not brag about having a large blog audience even if it's legitimately true! Ick.

Apparently, I am the internet "expert" on things a woman should carry around in her purse. It's what makes my blog popular. Although, I can't figure out what on earth people are doing Googling about that. But there you go. I'd rather be popular for tim tams. Whatever the heck those are.

L.T. Elliot said...

I could totally pretend to have a ginormous audience because of repeated hits I get for 3 things: 1- The word Chloroform (don't ask) 2- The words to a hit song by the Fray and 3- A picture of a Grateful Dead Bear.

Now you know all the secrets to my fame. Just write a post about "who you are, who you're not, and who you want to be" with a picture of a chloroformed Grateful Dead Bear. You're set! Instant success!

p.s. Thanks for the shout-out, Melanie! You're as awesome as a Tim Tam!

Kristina P. said...

So, should I add the talking about numbers in my Bloggy Boot Camp presentation about blogging etiquette, which I, of course, am an expert on?

Actually, I am. I don't know why I don't have that in there to begin with. Awesome.

Amber said...

Whatever. I am totally an expert on whatever my blog is about. If only I could figure out what that is...

MommyJ said...

Most of my excess blog traffic, that is, that which comes in for reasons other than to read my blog regularly, comes from people wanting to know what fodder is. I feel so good knowing I'm providing such useful information. The whole everyone is an expert thing just makes worse the me centered world that is the internet. Everyone thinks that everyone cares about every little opinion... It's nuts. And ridiculous. Like parenting advice from someone who has no kids...

Susan said...

Well, I know you weren't talking about me. I have a tiny audience, no published books, and wouldn't dare claim to be an expert on anything.

What the heck is a tim tam? Now you know I'm not an expert. Maybe I'll google it, and it will send me right back here.

Wonder Woman said...

Um, DITTO to all Susan said. No massive audience, no expertise, and what the heck are tim tams? I thought you were talking about TAMN for a second...

My biggest hits are on "baby hungry" and "women of the summer of 1000 dreams." One shows pictures of little babies made of frosting, and the other is a post my husband wrote about Disney Princesses. It also has a picture of Kim Kardashian. I'm pretty sure that's what the traffic comes for.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

I'm afraid that everything I'm an expert in is not very marketable: How to whine about housekeeping, Starting over 6,000 times anything that requires serious discipline, and Not taking any pictures of your children for about 8 months at a time.

And I am a SERIOUSLY big-time blogger with mega site hits (please note: be very alarmed at the number of people who have a fetish which involves grown women in diapers).

Love you, MJ.

LisAway said...

You are a terrible person.

I also don't like it when people with really large readerships talk about their "three readers". Sort of cutish, but mostly not. At all. I think we each know and care about how many readers we have, but it shouldn't be something we ever draw attention to, either to complain or to brag. Just blog and enjoy it, people.

People visit my blog from around the world for an image of the Opel Zafira. Which I swiped off Google Images. But I linked to the original sight so I'm okay. I can't imagine feeling like "my blog" was getting a lot of hits from that. That's like a store claiming as customers anyone who glanced in their windows while walking through the mall.

And for a second I thought L.T. went a little over the top telling you you're as awesome as a Tim Tam, but actually, I think she's right.

WV: "witance". I quite like that. Especially on your blog.

InkMom said...

Tim Tams ARE awesome. My husband served his mission in Australia, where you bite off the ends of the Tim Tam and then use it like a straw to slurp hot chocolate until it just disintegrates in your mouth, a mass of melty chocolatey goodness. It's a skill, and I have totally acquired it.

Does that make me an expert?

My only comments lately are chinese porn spam. Does THAT make me an expert?!? Hope not! Of course, I can't exactly expect to get comments from legitimate sources if I'm not actually writing anything, so maybe I'm getting what I deserve!

NIKOL said...

Now I'm going to have to go on an internet search to find out what Tim Tams are. Maybe I'll end up back here! See you soon!

Melinda said...

I have so many pet peeves its ridiculous, I could be an expert on peeviness!! Also, my blog is about me, so I suppose I am an expert on that too! Gee, I didn't realize how expert I really was! Thanks for this post!

wendy said...

Well. I KNOW you aren't talking about my blog cause I am an expert in NOTHING.

so my pet peeve, and maybe you can give me your 2 cents on this
If...If you comment on someones blog say a gazillion times, and they NEVER comment on your blog (and never visit as far as you know)
what is your response to that.
Just don't go back anymore.
Doesn't everyone deserve at least a 'courtesy visit' once in a while.

It's like I used to tell my kids when they are being served something they don't like to eat....I say, take a polite bite.

and FINE I am glad you have a gazillion readers/followers.
What. EV. Ah.

wendy said...

that last sentence where I said YOU
I didn't mean YOU....just other you's

Charlotte said...

I am an SEO expert. That is why people come to my blog looking for Toy Story Cakes (which I have never made) and 12-year-old birthday party ideas (of which I've done once and so must be a total expert).

Usually if someone's profile says "expert" in it, I know to move on quickly.

Karen Peterson said...

It makes me sad that we live in a world where someone doesn't know what Tim Tams are.

And, yeah. I'm tired of people thinking they're all awesome because they wrote one post once that got thousands of hits. Have any of those people come back? No? Then they AREN'T READERS.

Kimberly said...

Mmm...Tim Tams...

I had something meaningful to say but I think I'm going to go get a snack instead.

Great post!

Anonymous said...

I don't feel bad about feeling proud of my 8,605 page views of my post on making magnetic paper dolls, because even though my blog is not primarily a crafting blog, I did figure out some useful things on the topic and it's been fun to share what I learned. One person even bothered to comment and thank me, and 1/8605 seems like a pretty good gratitude statistic for a service so much smaller than healing leprosy.

Your peeves don't touch close enough to home to make me uncomfortable, but reading others' peeve lists have left me feeling like I'd be lucky to please anyone ever. For example, apparently some people are really annoyed when people put their kids' drawings on their blogs, or when they use "baby talk" words like "yummy" and "yucky." That's when I just think, "Okay, whatev, life is hard for you," and go right back to putting my kids' yummy drawings on my blog.

(I hope those weren't previously-expressed peeves of yours. I don't remember where I read them.)