It’s not a shocking revelation to say the blogging world is filled with creatures great and small, bless those beasts and children. What might surprise you, based on the random rantings I sometimes hurl into the blogosphere and then just wait for somebody to challenge me (which I actually like, because it makes me think about and solidify my worldview), is that I actually follow a huge variety of bloggers. Not just the folks that agree with me, although there are lines that can be crossed and we don’t go there. So, in the interests of growing as a family and singing songs about compassion and trust, let’s take a gander at some blogging categories.
Here we go…
ONE. The Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret.
I actually follow several erotica blogs. In fair disclosure, I can say that most (all?) of them present stories focused on participants, activities, positions and outfits that I would never, ever, consider pursuing. (“I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that.”) I know what I like and things have worked out swimmingly for 50 years. But the appeal, for me, with these sites? The writing. A good writer can take any topic or situation and turn it into music, it’s that simple. And that really applies to the theme of any blog. If your words make me want to come back, I will.
That doesn’t mean I will necessarily renew my visa, though. If you get exploitative and trashy, as some writers do once they have a steady supply of johns on their roster, regardless of the genre, I’m done. There might be fifty ways to leave your lover, but the most effective one is to hit the un-follow button. Bye.
TWO. Conservatives who are so tightly anal they will never be able to get a proctology exam.
I’m a liberal. Go tell it on the mountain and dance in the streets. And the fact that some people are doing their very best to associate liberalism with all the darkest facets of society just strengthens my resolve. Still, I’m all about a quality argument. If you can present your case in a factual and considerate manner, I will listen. Why would I not want to read an articulate, thoughtful opinion piece, even if I don’t agree with it? There are so many idiotic people in the world, let’s be honest, belligerently repeating lies, without an iota of thought-processing in the mix, running with the shadows of the night.
Dialogue is key, in basically any situation there is. If you want to talk intelligently, I want to sit down and have a virtual beer with you. (And maybe some nachos. A good plate of nachos, prepped just right and served with equality, can lead to world peace.) So I follow a number of conservative blogs, freely admit. Silos don’t work. Conversation does.
THREE. Jesus and the Jamming.
I’m a very spiritual person, despite the rumors and a certain heated comment thread that I’m assuming most of you did not see, because many of my posts fall into the Abyss of Nothingness and are never heard from again. (But it’s still there, if you want to get all Sherlock and dig for it.) Of course, “spiritual” means one thing to me and a different thing to Eleanor Rigby down the street, pulling up to the bumper with her insistence that there is only one path to enlightenment.
When someone new follows me, I do the full-out body search. (No one gets an automatic follow-back from me. Sounds harsh, I suppose, but I consider following to be a commitment, one that you should be able to honor with some degree of respect for both yourself and the person you’re following.) I look at the recent posts, I check the archives to see how long you’ve been posting, and (this is often the deal-breaker) I check the “About” page. (Why would you not have something on your About page? It doesn’t have to be a thesis, but slap some words in there. Damn.)
Anyway, point is, if your blog is crammed full of Bible quotes and little else, I’m not going to follow you back. This is not being disrespectful of religion, at least in my book. I want to hear your thoughts, not someone else’s. If you have to depend on the words of others to define yourself, there’s really no definition at all. A quote or two and then you branch from that? Great. Let’s hear what you have to say. (And that’s why I follow a number of strongly-religious blogs. It’s the writing, folks. Can’t stress that enough.) Simply parroting scripture? Not my thing. Teach me, papa, don’t preach.
FOUR. The Shell Game.
Easy rule, here: If you have less than five posts on your blog, and your “like” buttons and sharing buttons and archives and essentially everything else is non-existent, with me getting a message along the lines of “This is where the About Page would be if the author really cared enough”, I’m not going to follow you back. Yes, I understand that new bloggers need some love, and some guidance. But I’ve been in this particular dating scene for some time and the Golden Rule is this: Flesh out your blog before you try to flesh out your followers.
Get several posts up in your playground, with as much variety as possible, and make sure that you pick a theme and layout that works. This might take a little time to figure out, and that’s fine, we were all babes in toyland at some point. But show some respect for your potential readers. This is not a place where everyone gets a trophy just for showing up. Earn the trophy. You don’t get to be Jessie’s Girl just because you have a flattering profile pic of you flopping around on a beach in Cancun. Speaking of…
FIVE. Supermodel (You Better Work)
This one’s a bit of a retread in that I have babbled before about fashion blogs. I do follow some, and it once again goes back to the writing. I don’t want to buy anything that you’re promoting, but you’re funny and engaging when you do it and I can respect that. Not engaging? 74 pictures of you wearing the same exact outfit in 74 ill-defined locations. (Why is she standing outside Alice’s Restaurant? What the hell?) And nothing else. Just you, and maybe a portable fan blowing your locks about while you pout your lips and exhibit self-love with a vengeance that is mind-boggling. Honey, you’re not all that. You are not all that. But thank you for providing Exhibit A in why there is such a cultural divide right now in our world. Some people are only in it for themselves. Other people are in it for everyone. And only one of those teams is the right answer.
P.S. Bonus points to those who caught all the song references in this bit. (Tony? Are you there? Neil? Dirty Seppy?) There’s no real prize, just the quiet satisfaction of personal accomplishment…