Dear Miss Lonelyblogs:
Please help a blogger who lost his way. I have dallied with more than one piece of blogware, shamelessly used a few blog editors, and taken a web host. Do I need blogger absolution or can I learn to live with the situation?
I was seduced. Some pretty blogware wagged its back end at me and my mind numbed. My fingers took over and stroked those keys as if words could be coaxed from them. I admit it. I lost control. Pretty, sexy, amenable to change, she posed prettily with all her 3 columns of goodness just running over. Now she has become teasingly difficult, hard to handle, prone to tantrums, stubborn and, I fear, slower and fatter than I would have liked. There is still something about her I love but blogging with her has its drawbacks.
The foreplay to this tragic tale of being drawn like a moth to the gentle, embracing light of the computer display is that first rush of pride that the words people read, the pictures they look at, the thoughts and feelings exposed are the self-caress of my psyche. The hidden exhibitionist cries, “Look at me, world.” WordPress took me away with her into the depths of blogospherical depravity. What would I not do for a sweet, pretty, amenable, friendly and all-embracing blog system to expose for the world to see?
Blogging caught me up with my first computer a few years ago. Like my past life where newspapers, magazines, annual reports and books published my work; blogging seemed like self-publishing. Is a web log vanity-publishing or just vanity? I push “publish” therefore I am published. Or is it just another self-caress brought to us by the magic of the Internet?
I lived with Blogger for years and played around with more than one Blogger Blog and Blogger Betas searingly hot off the press. I tweaked them and pimped them, asked much and they returned my lusty exhibitionism with placid restraint and engaging loyalty.
Oh, Miss Lonelyblogs, I did not give them the respect they deserved. So now I keep some Blogger blogs in a harem. Am I a bigamist or blogamist?
It was this year with more time and less money that I decided to plunge into a morass of web hosts and Content Management Systems — even Blogware Platforms. One would be my very own. I wanted, thought I, a space of my own in the great Web, a place under my control and my design. I looked around, visited the dens of iniquity called WordPress, Movable Type, Serendipity , Mambo and yet more. I wandered the proffered offerings of Laughing Squid, PowWeb, Blue Host and ItsaMac and looked at the pretty front of SquareSpace which is no square.
I decided it was time and bit the bullet, made the commitment, said “I do” to WordPress and we settled our blogging lives into our own domain, 7 Color Lagoon . We became family with a home on the web host. Ah, to think that there was a possibility of sub-domains to come, buying up virtual real estate, moving in a sexy new dance called “SEO”. All was right with the world — or was it?
Disillusionment came quickly. Our marriage showed rifts, fractures, tears and frustration. What had I so blithely gotten myself into? The web host installed WP and I went to work “migrating” (no green card needed) my Blogger life to WordPress. I looked at 1001 different themes and finally settled on one. I tweaked colors and columns, added links and ads and Pages (little blogs spat from the mother-blog). I would love to say I had mastered NVU, Freeway or Dreamweaver but the skills come slowly and only this week have I begun making my own pages for my site . The road ahead is long and rocky.
Oh, Miss Lonelyblogs, what happened to sideline that romantic freight train on the tracks of love?
I learned that the seductress of panting bloggers was not as easy to get along with as she seemed. She was downright ornery, hard to handle, to control, always making you wait while she did some private thing in her storage closet. Only a few hours after a week of working on her and sighing on how well it went in spite of so much time wasted; her developer let it be known he had re-made her in a new version. Proper fellow that I am I set about installing the new version. Many hours later my site was lost. I recovered her and she was preening on the Web yet again after only a week of frustration.
Oh, Miss Lonelyblogs, the web host I hired has been sweet but not quite all there, if you know what I mean.
Did you notice that a 99.9% guaranteed uptime has some fine print below? The infrastructure of the host's site is promised to work 99.9% of the time. They will have a site. It doesn't mean that you will. Mine was up about 40% for a while, then 60 or more and, recently, it began working like the 21st century artifact it is. They have always been sweet and supportive but sadly said I was on the dread MySql10. It didn't work very well. Someday they hoped they would be able to fix it. That is another part of the equation, almost a menage a trois. Who did what to whom? When is the blogware acting up or the host? Or is it the Mexican ISP taking a siesta. No matter. At least the host has done what they promised to do — fixed it.
What is the moral, Miss Lonelyblogs? Am I a two-timer? Or does blogging require careful thought and planning, clear direction and purpose?
When I questioned a photographer who had a relationship, photoblog-wise, with my own blogware; he replied that he had a web master to attend to that. That is one way to get it done. The best way. Who am I to want to become a web master, beast master, task master or zen master this late in my life? Remember that the web master deserves far more respect for facing the constant petty problems and nitty pickings necessary to keep a site working, flashing, roll-overed and mastered.
Yours is a common cry. We at MissLonelyBlogs.com offer a family service counseling bloggers, their abandoned families, reformed blog addicts, and those who have fallen into the cult of media-worship. I cannot condone your profligate and possibly perverted use of perfectly good blogware to stroke your own ego. You have the audacity to cry that you were “seduced”. That blogging platform trusted you to treat it fairly and, in your inexperience, you could not properly control its environment.
Remember this, bloggers! Don't say “I do” until you can.
Blogging is not for the faint of heart nor the fickle throbs of those who would follow just any blog home to its domain. You want to blog away without regard for the simple feelings of complicated systems who need constant attention. Blogging is a serious activity that requires effort, loyalty and planning. If you cannot support a blogging platform, take a communal blog out for a while — Blogger, WordPress.com, LiveJournal. OK, they must be shared with complete strangers but they could make you happy for a time or even as a regular diet. Better yet, they are yet better day-by-day as they vie for the blogger-Johns that happen by. Even blogging must sometimes sully its purity with the mechanisms of business.
Take your fingers out of your guilty pockets and put them back on the keys. Make your blogware happy by keeping it filled to overflowing with words, pictures and links. Give it all your attention. Make it feel loved and important. Smile on your host for they will make the servers sing your praises. Pull up the only editor that works, ScribeFire which lives in the den of the Firefox, and don't whine. Just post and post again. Drown your lascivious need to philander around the Web in hard work and let the different wares assert their power and independence. Each has its own needs and desires and we at Miss Lonely Blogs will forever work to protect the strength and identity of the willing partners of you blogging devils and devilish bloggers.
Ever So Sincerely,