confessions of a blogger

In ALL, EXCERPTS by Stephanie Klein22 Comments

I joined the ranks of 4 million bloggers in late January of 2004 as a delayed New Year’s resolution to write everyday.   Okay, fine, I just broke up with a boyfriend, and break-ups mean tears, maudlin introspection, and let’s face it, online therapy.  Shopping therapy was too expensive; I needed to obsess over something other than the lack of incoming messages on my answering machine.  Enter the modern instantaneous diary where word count, editing, and fact checking fall by the rubbish-strewn wayside.  Blogging is mental masturbation with thousands of peeping toms.

Shifting focus off the Tom, Dick, and Harry’s of my life, I chose to invest in my interests: writing, photography, hedonism; that sort of thing.  For real change to happen I knew I had to be consistent; it meant a commitment that wouldn’t leave me biting my nails.  Blogging sporadically won’t give you results; it’s like investing in a personal trainer for your mind.  It means showing up, even when you’re lazy.  Because once your online journal becomes bookmarked as a favourite, there are fans and an impetuous audience with frenetic fingers on the refresh buttons of their browsers.  They’re waiting for your next post.  These strangers become your personal trainers, even the ones who tell you your words are too small, sentences too big, and stories just plain inappropriate.  Hey, it’s better than, “You’ve got flabby arms.  Now two more sets!”  (Actually, I get “you’ve got flabby arms” in the comment section of my photography posts.)

Blogs are reality TV without an editing room.  As a reader, suddenly you’re glancing over your shoulder, worried someone might find you out.  You’re a voyeur, but instead of a pair of binoculars, you’ve got a computer monitor and a bevy of blogs to lodge your fix. In reading personal blogs you experience an emotional RPM, ranging from terror and sorrow to entertaining delight.  We read blogs to identify with the human condition, and, let’s face it, to break up our work day for a laugh.  We feel less alone, and suddenly, now we can comment on what people are writing.  There’s a community, a sense of home, really, where other readers know your name. With blogs ranging in content from political satire to personal exploits, there’s a favorite flavor out there for everyone.  Pass the mint chip, please.

I’ve been known to make a one hellofa homemade ice-cream, have an eye for the composition of a photograph, and I can occasionally be dead on with where to place an area rug, but I’m no blog expert.  I am an observer of behavior and the world around me, taking care to honor details and delight in imperfections.  “Write what you know…” is fine for books and magazine articles.  But for blogs, I’d add, “…and do it often or people will stop coming back.”  From the snarky to the satirical, that’s all we bloggers are doing out there.

Blogging isn’t for the thin-skinned, and no over the counter sea cream is going to help you out with this one.  A story is written.  A reader loves it, hates it, or just shrugs and moves to the next.  But the more popular your blog becomes the more fan and hate mail you get.  For every nasty comment or email, you’re likely to receive five genuine sentiments of appreciation, so if you’re starting one of your own, learn to have a sense of proportion.  If you have nothing nice to say, come sit by me—link to me, same diff.  That is, if you’ve got nothing to post, “link dump” to those who do, or post a photo worst case scenario.

On an active day, 20,000 unique visitors read my site, a slower day peeks at 5,000 readers.  That’s a whole lot of strangers peeking through my keyhole.  Of course, everyone’s a critic.  But I remind myself, with the fan and hate mail, the blog, at the end of the day is for me; it’s my commitment to my writing and my sanity.  It has become a home and lodge of comfort no one can ever take from me, and that’s all I’ve ever been looking for, well, at least since January and the dreaded resolutions.

Comments

  1. Stephanie,
    Thank you for allowing us to peek through that "keyhole"…you are certainly one of a kind.

    Rob

  2. So in the post christmas haze I buy a copy of the independent largely for the last column by a guy who helped me with some techie advice and there you are – immediately contradicting my observed theory of bloggers.

    And a New Yorker to boot – bravo – I'll be back over there in February so maybe we'll have discovered by then that we like each other. I can tell you're thrilled.

    john

  3. Thank you a thousand times over for your honesty, wit and dedication to posting. I am one of the aformentioned "frenetic refreshers" (that should be an '05 Webster word)and your insight always makes my day.

  4. i'm new to your site, but after seeing some of the psychotic postings you got the other day, i can see what you mean by needing to be thick-skinned. the last critical comment i got sent me into an alcohol induced depression… kudos for not letting it keep you from your writing.

  5. Reading your site this past month has inspired me to "consider" starting a blog of my own. On only the second day of discovering and reading your "keyhole" I found myself posting a comment in your defense. (the post you removed)

    However at the same time having Robotnik looking over my shoulder has inspired me to use a grammar and spellchecker from now on before I post.

    Ashley

  6. Thank you for sharing your life with the rest of us. Some people connect with your writing because of similiar experiences, some wonder what life is like for a 20 something female in the city that never sleeps, some enjoy your honesty, some enjoy your talent (writing, pictures, etc.) and some are reading your blog for reasons I don't know.

    But the one thing that everyone appears to have in common with each other, is that we all continue to come back to see what happens next on your exciting adventure called life.

    Just keep enjoying it, living it, and writing about it. It makes you happy and the true people see that.

  7. You know what? You got spunk! I *hate* spunk!! Of course, all 20,000 readers know I'm kidding and some are wondering where they've heard that before? Hmmm, got it? Yeah, Mary Tyler Moore, episode #1 when Mary was interviewing with Lou Grant. That's when Lou proclaimed he gated spunk.

    You do have *balls* though. I think 20,000 readers know this to be true and, luckily for me, I got an up close and personal account just 3 days ago. I'm not gonna do a blog clog here (shit, have I already done so?). Don't wanna nauseate your readers any further. But I didn't get a chance to say 'thanks' back there on the previous post prior to Operation Comment Shutdown. So very simply, thanks NYNY for all you do and for who you are. PT

  8. Well said Ms. Stephanie. I applaud you.
    You are one brave soul with great spunk! Inspiring as well.

    No hate mail coming from this reader.

    Happy New Year

  9. Blogs are definitely not for the thin-skinned. I had mine for over a year and recently began receiving anti-Semetic comments – 47 in all on one day! I would have prefered to have the traffic you have from legitimate readers but… as fast as I deleted the offensive comments, they were posted again. I've been forced to deleted the old site and am skittish about returning.

  10. Vendala, you should reconsider. If you loved it, you should do it. I try to write as though no one will ever read it… then I take a breath and hit post. Make your mark.

  11. Sorry to be a downer, but you have so many readers – I wanted to ask if you'd mention the tragedy in Asia, and list a few places people can go to help. I'm not some freaky evangelist type… LOL I've just been glued to the news and am very saddened by what's happened. Thanks, sorr y to take up the space here, and I hope the html works out ok!!

    USAID

    American Red Cross

    United States Fund for Unicef

    DirectRelief International

    Sarvoyada, Sri Lanka – Relief Fund

    MSF: Medecins sans Frontiers

    Oxfam America

    AmeriCares

  12. I dont know why I haven't been allowed to post a comment for a few days but…oh well. Now my mind is blank.

    Stephanie- I am definately an everyday reader of your blog and I always find it enjoyable..even the little comments people write. Keep up the good work! Have a great New Year everyone!

  13. I FECKING HATE people who spell it: definAtely. It's defInitely. Jaysus, we now have spellcheck on our machines and we still can't spell. That's why the freaks in the other countries laugh at us. We can't spell our own language.

  14. whoa…Im sorry I bothered you so much. I actually do know how to spell DEFINITELY…I spell for a living but people make mistakes sometimes. I never knew they had spell check on comment boxes…

    Don't you have anything better to do than pick on people for spelling mistakes?…guess not.

  15. I miss the days when people got nasty comments for MAKING nasty comments…I was just trying to write a nice note for Stephanie…Oh well…

  16. I feel Robotnik's typo pain. But congrats on a great year, Stephanie. If only you could bottle whatever it is that creates your traffic and sell it in little eau de parfum bottles, you'd be on Easy Street in no time.

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