My first post! - painstakingly crafted with every ounce of wit, flair and skill I could muster! A story surely to mesmerise the entire blogging community and then beyond to the world at large - I would be a star! By some miraculous mass participation in ESP I expected everyone in unison, eagerly waiting and seated at their computer screens just for me, to read this masterpiece of literary genius. Surely, this would cause them to sit up, rock them to their very foundations and inspire them to queue in droves, demanding More! More! More! with encouraging comments and questions as to who is this fantastic new boy on the block?
To ensure success I took pro-active steps to 'hook up' my blog to all available search engines and I employed a suitable stat meter to analyse the many positive comments I expected to receive from all round the world - surely success was guaranteed.
There I sat in front of my computer screen awaiting a multitude of hits from satisfied readers - yet the comments tally remained stubbornly at zero. No matter, I would return later after interrogating my stat meter. I saw to my joy there were several hits recorded already and overjoyed I saw there was one loyal person currently on-line. 'Who could it be?', I asked myself, 'Is it a gentleman or perhaps a lady? My heart thumped faster and faster; surely this was it! - contact at last! This person had been on-line for 2 hours!
And then it dawned on me - what a let down! This persistent viewer was none other than . . . . . . myself! And, to cap it all, the others were recorded as duration = zero seconds. Brushing this disappointment aside as a mere coincidence I returned confidently to my comments record beneath my blog which somehow insisted recording 'nil points', absolute zero! I was mortified - all my efforts had amounted to ZILCH! What was the world missing, I wondered?
In my minds eye I sacked my stat meter for failing to make those awful and inconsiderate zero hits stay and read my work. I was very disappointed with it since it had failed me abysmally - it let people get away when I wanted them to stay. I needed something a little more 'pro-active'. I thought I must have a nasty piece of work lurking somewhere deep within my blog because it was amazing the number of times I saw visits of duration 0 seconds, time and time again and I kept asking myself, "Why?" It was as if some hideous monster had jumped out at every poor unsuspecting innocent hitter, shouting, "Boo!" frightening them away from my work. I thought I really must get this fixed because it was depriving the world of entertainment far exceeding that on any goggle box. What I needed was a sweet talking, assertive, highly entertaining audio visual assistant who's job was to grab every hit by the 'short and curlies' and bind them right there in their seats making them watch, listen and inwardly digest! This, of course, applied to hits from the world at large, but what about comments from the blogging community itself? Surely that would be a piece of cake! Wrong again! The comments icon was inclined to disagree for it remained stubbornly fixed at ZERO.
I must be doing something wrong! Was it my ability? - maybe! Was it my subject matter? - maybe! Was I being too serious? - maybe! Was I being too jocular? - maybe! I just did not know.
I did not realise these people had lives to lead outside Blog Land - kids to pick up from school, meals to cook, houses to clean, jobs to do, their own writings to perfect and publish, their own followers to attend to . . . . . . etc . . . . etc. How dare they, I thought? They should be reading my work and not attending to their's!
It was some time before the penny dropped! No-one was replying to me because no-one had read the post! They could not read it because they did not know me and they did not know I was there, you silly idiot! How preposterous of me to expect everyone to have a degree in ESP and to expect them to clone themselves!
So the answer was to get myself known in the blogging community by visiting other sites, reading other people's work and making intelligent comments on their work. In that way actually getting to know people and SLOWLY building friendly relationships with them. Joy and hope appeared in my heart again! I thought the best place to start was to read David McMahon's site at Authorblog and what a pleasant surprise that was. Eagerly I read loads and loads of posts and plucked up courage to make the occasional comment here and there.
I noticed hundreds of weird looking blog names, typically Menopausal Old Bag, Retired and Crazy, Sniffles and Smiles, Robynn's Ravings! There were hundreds of them in a sort of society reminding me of our social insects - something like a bee colony or an ant colony! I asked myself, "What sort of a place have I come to?" "Is this real?", I wondered. "Am I mad?" "Why not use names like Fred Blogs (ah! that's a good one really, isn't it?), John Smith, Will Jones? Why all these weird names?"
Further, I saw comments people made containing strange abbreviations in what I can liken only to modern day hieroglyphics, LOL and btw. What on earth did all that mean? I thought LOL meant "Lot's Of Love" so I ventured out confidently into the blogging world and read some blogs containing interesting posts - I found a rather sad one and thought I would console this poor lady by adding to her tale of woe, LOL, which elicited the blogging equivalent to a 'slap in the face'. I soon learned what LOL meant! Ouch! Further I was convince that ROFL meant something hugely rude so I avoided it like the plague.
I struggled for an age concerning btw. Usually it appeared in the middle of a point made in a comment when suddenly the context changed completely rendering the remainder of the comment quite unintelligible. I guessed the true meaning might be "Bring the Wife" or dare I say, "Beat the Wife", but eventually I tumbled on the true meaning.
There was no manual on Blogging Etiquette so I had to learn the hard way hoping no-one would have to wrap my knuckles along the way. By and large people were very kind to me because if I blundered I was not chastised too harshly since I as a new-comer and I did have a guardian angel in Blog Land incognito to keep me on the straight and narrow. At that time no-one knew she was none other than Maggie May of Nuts in May, my sister.
Then there was all the mechanics of blogging to learn and inwardly digest - I was floored with widgets and links and how to get images on the screen - it took gargantuan efforts to get to grips with all the technology even though I hardly considered myself a Luddite.
I decided to follow David's blog but hadn't a clue how to sign up. Eventually I fathomed it so I went over to David's site and awaited eagerly to sign up as a follower, at the time his 632nd. I had been playing with my photo URL on my profile when I pressed the wrong key and an unflattering photograph of Gordon Brown appeared not only on my user profile but also as an icon on David's list of followers.
There was Gordon Brown, gazing out like a stunned idiot from hundreds of dutiful and faithful followers with the name Eddie Bluelights shouting his identity to the whole world. Panic welled within my breast - not knowing how to undo this error I said to myself over and over, "I have ruined David's Blog! what am I to do?"Then as if by magic I received my first comment - I had made contact at last with another human being when I was beginning to think contact with a little green man might be much easier - I was inclined almost to say, "Take me to your leader!" I was delighted! It was a nice and encouraging comment from "Granny on the Web" - thank you Granny, I shall have it framed as a shining example of your kindness and I shall nail it to my side bar.
I have met some highly talented writers and made some truly great friends and gradually built a small following, signing up also as a follower to some wonderful writers posting truly great and inspirational work. The television has not been switched on for weeks and I find the whole process of blogging highly satisfying. It is not just about writing but reading much better work elsewhere which I find rewarding and I have learned such a lot in only a few months.
One reason why I have posted this is to encourage new bloggers to persevere and not to expect too much too soon, like I did - it takes time to meet people, to get to know people and to get results from one's efforts. There have been times when I have been tempted to stop writing and blogging altogether but I am very glad I persevered - I have met some super people out there and had some fun doing it. Occasionally, I hear a most welcome visitor wiping his feet on the doormat with an Aussie accent, "Good on yer, Sport! Put the kettle on!" Always nice to have him appear!
And . . . . . if you are watching, David, we all appreciate your efforts to help would be bloggers get off the ground by your tireless efforts to promote and encourage them - your POTD scheme is a credit in this regard. How you do it I cannot fathom - a true shepherd amongst a flock numbering 767 (sorry 768) - you must have at least two divine characteristics - Omniprescence and Omniscience!
Oh and David, btw I've repaired your blog! Gordon Brown has vanished from it for ever! LOL
Wish he'd vanish from here as well! . . . . although he was last seen flying out of the country!