Why Do the Russians Want Big Melons?
A Beginner’s Guide to Blogging Theory
First, an enormous thanks to the extraordinary Tangled Lou for allowing me to take over her blog for a day. I feel very much as if I have been given the keys to a vehicle much nicer than my own. Or moved in with a really nice, normal family and lived as one of them for a day. I will try very hard not to leave any dings in the exterior, Lou. Or any nail clippings in the family bedroom.
What I want to share with you all today is a Beginner’s Theory of Blogging. Blogging, like everything, has discrete stages which can be expressed as trite textbook psychobabble. I only personally know about four of them, so I may be projecting forward somewhat. However, I am sure what I have described are the obvious final stages.
The (Heretofore) Officially Accepted Stages of Blogging
- Begin blogging because one vaguely recalls that once one was known to be a writer. Technology, it seems, now exists to project this writing onto the internet where other people can see it without one’s mailing it to each of them in the form of creepy anonymous letters like a serial killer.
- Become thoroughly amused by oneself.
- Learn, to one's utter amazement, that some acquaintances are also amused by one's writing. At this point, visions of quitting one's job and simply writing essays to amuse these people become prominent.
- Discover something such as Blog Her, Facebook blogging groups, or Twitter that puts one in contact with other bloggers. As a result of activities there, start to develop a readership and community greater than one's acquaintance. This is the stage where one usually installs Google Analytics. (We'll discuss this later.) This stage is both exhilarating and profoundly humbling. One learns that one can be part of a community of writers without ever leaving the comfort of the underside of one's own cat. One also learns that there are a LOT of bloggers out there and many of them are quite good. All of them, seemingly, have a larger readership and much better lay-out on their blog. This can be depressing.
- Do you remember that Bruce Springsteen video Dancing in the Dark, where at the climax of his stage performance, he reaches out a hand and lifts Courteney Cox onto the stage, alone among the throng of audience members at his show? I think success as a blogger is something like this. Bruce Springsteen is probably played by a publisher.
- One writes books and continues to blog. At this point, the job is to be professionally awesome. A throng of tiny sparkling stars and singing bats accompany one wherever one goes.
- Death. It comes for everyone.
Where, you ask, do big melons come into this? Well, here is how. (Don't be so impatient.) One of the primary quandaries of bloggers everywhere involves the results of their Google Analytics (see step 4 of The Officially Accepted Stages of Blogging). Here is a sample from my own:
One might wonder why people who Googled "dark life" were landing on my blog. Apparently, though, they are not finding what they want there and are quickly leaving, at the rate of 80% to continue their search for "dark life" on the internet. (The other 20%, apparently, are happy with what they find on my blog.) Even more concerning, a recent spike in my page views seems to have been explained by people who were searching for "Michele Pfeiffer's hairstyle" rather than a sudden increased interest in my writing. These things tend to obfuscate my sense of self as a writer.
Additionally, I am jealous because Tangled Lou's Analytics apparently show that people find her after Googling "sleek jowled" and "big melons", which is infinitely more interesting and less depressing than either Michele Pfeiffer or other results I have such as "dark horrifying woods".
A subject of some concern to many of us newbie bloggers has been the great interest we all generate among Russians. My husband, who is a Computer Person, says that all of our page views from Russia are due to the hub of Eastern European cyber crime. In other words, people are somehow using our blogs for nefarious means, and so I can't even emotionally own every one of those page views I work so hard for. Most of them, it turns out, are probably generated by searches for hairstyle tips and Russian spam-bots.
All in all, I prefer then, to believe that we are a huge hit in Russia. Countless Russians are seated, as we speak, at their computers, happily Googling "Michele Pfeiffer in the horrifying woods" and "sleek jowled big melons" and then reading us post after post, commenting in broken English and laughing great belly laughs. Soon, one of them will come for each of us and, lifting us like brides out of the crush of bloggers, offer us handsome book deals.
Because we're THAT good.
Guest post by Tara Adams. Read her beautiful and dazzlingly funny blog at Faith In Ambiguity.