Blogging Birthday Lessons Learned

It's hard to believe, but as of today, I've officially been blogging for three years. Yep, newborns have grown into full-fledged, "NO!"-proclaiming humans in the time my first blog has been a virtual quickie-mart stop on the Internet Highway.

And in that time, I've learned a few things. Things which I will share with you today:

  • Spammers know no sense of irony. I have a Japanese spammer. She spams both of my blogs daily, in Japanese. My readers and I don't speak Japanese. She doesn't speak English. Each day she specifically spams the post about my deep loathing of individuals of the Spamacious nature, such as herself. Each day I delete her spam. What we have here is a failure to communicate.
  • When you discuss the film Aliens, do so with the reverence normally reserved for the Pope and crispy bacon. Back when I was just a baby blogger, I made the mistake of thinking I had some funny observations about the film Aliens. Due to the wonders of Social Media (meaning about 10 angry Reddit-haunters who apparently sleep under Aliens sheet sets on their parents' pull-out sofas, dreaming of how different their lives would have been if only Sigourney Weaver had gone to the prom with them), I learned that my observations about Aliens are, in fact, wrong and distinctly unfunny. So from here on out, I shall refer to Aliens as "That Space-Oriented Film Of Which I am Unworthy To Speak, What With Not Having Thoroughly Digested Its Entire Catalogue of In-Depth Mythology." For your own safety, I recommend you do the same.
  • No, they've already heard that story. No, really. Really. I'm lucky enough to have a few real-life friends who read my blogs. This, I understand, helps them keep up with all the fast-paced, budget-conscious, telemarketer-flaming, furniture-refinishing, anti-zombie activity that surrounds my oh-so-riveting life. This also means that when I see them in person, I begin to regale them with my latest plan for better human-zombie relations or, say, the cool new purse I thrifted, they cut me off quicker than the Stig test driving a Lambo on the Autobahn. "Yes, I read that," they tell me, offering the polite pained smile you give that aged relative with Alzheimer's who's just opened her birthday slippers for the fourth time. Let me tell you, the conversation dies quicker than Meryl Streep looking for another Oscar. Always have new material.
  • If they're not laughing at your jokes, at least you can't see their faces. Blogging has allowed me to share all the things that have struck me funny, some of them not even involving infomercials. But the best thing about blogging is, I don't have to see your faces. Not that you guys aren't all really beautiful people, who I wouldn't totally enjoy staring at until you started nervously sweating and tugging at your collar, because of the High Art involved in your perfect profiles. But 1.) I don't have time for that crap. And 2.) when I make a joke that totally bombs, I don't have to see your expressions of weary bewildered tolerance. This has been great for the ol' self-esteem. Thanks!
  • You can't turn back the hands of time on a bad post. Believe me, I've tried. I've scoured the city, looking for Doctor Who. And not just for a brief vacay of interstellar travel and cheeky banter, but also to intercept the latest, mutant blog issuance I'd given birth to. How do you unmake that three-eyed, humorless child you adored for 3.5 seconds? Well, you don't. You can't. You can unpublish, but it's already out there, limping through the cities and breaking up the place. So just slap a tux on it, sing a duet of "Putting On the Ritz," and move on. Maybe no one will notice.
Well, I could go on and on about this, but I won't because of the last thing I learned from blogging:
  • Know when enough's enough.
And since I know a lot of you readers out there are bloggers, too:
  • Care to share your bestest blogging lessons?...

And do any of them involve a "Space-Oriented Film Of Which You're Not Worthy to Speak"?



Claire said...

You have beaten me by a month and a wee bit :)

I seemed to have failed miserably, as I am as fresh as a stale potato lately and I mainly write for myself lol

and it is all about ME ME ME!

I am consistently impressed by your talent! I hate you.

Jenn Thorson said...

Claire- That was the nicest hate-on I've had to date, anyway. And given you write as a counselor-in-training, and as part of an assignment, you kinda HAVE to have it be about what's going on with you. But I've learned all sorts of interesting counseling stuff from you. And I consider that a public service, because anyone reading my blog knows I need it. :)

Claire said...

I was too nice! God damn it! you troll encrusted farkle fancier.

Better? lol

You have been a public service for me, because you have reminded me of so many bizarre/random/funny/disturbing childhood moments of my own.

I declare you mentally healthy!

Jenn Thorson said...

Claire- Coming from a person who came up with the phrase "troll-encrusted farkle fancier" I'm thinking a proclamation of mental health from you might not quite have the impact you'd hope. :)

But I'll take it anyway. :)

Daisy said...

Happy blogoversary!

I learned the hard way that there are about 2 people in the world who get really mad and accuse me of cruelty to animals when they see a picture of me playing with a lizard. Even though the post included a picture of the lizard being set free afterward. And even though about 3 tiny lizards get in my house every day and usually die of starvation because they hide somewhere and can't find their way out. Oh, and both of those 2 people comment from the same IP address. And then they write on their blog about how "this cat, who has plenty of toys" terrorized a lizard.

But I'm not sensitive about it. Definitely not.

Jenn Thorson said...

Daisy- I'm shaking my head. I'd like to say I'm surprised folks could get their knickers in such a twist over it... but truly that's the Interwebz, eh? :)

IndigoWrath said...

I did once think about saying something funny about HIGHLANDER, and thought better of it.

Slasher flicks and horror generally seem to be fair game*.

But. Science. Fiction. Is. Not.

(* Except FRIDAY 13th, which is held in ridiculous regard.)

IndigoWrath said...

And (with apologies for the double post) CONGRATS on three years of blogging. That's really something.

Jenn Thorson said...

IndigoWrath- I think you probably made a WISE move on that Highlander idea. You're quite right-- horror is infinitely tweakable. But trying to tickle sci-fi's feet is apparently not permitted. :)

JafaBrit's Art said...

Your list is hilarious and so spot on.
I enjoyed reading it.

Jenn Thorson said...

Jafa- Thank you for reading! It's been a fun, strange three years, let me tell you.

TJ Lubrano said...

Woohoo 3 years already! Time flew by! Congrats!

I just started blogging, I believe I started in the end of June, so I'm still learning haha. I have no stalkers, spammers...oh wait. I did had one who spammed my shoutbox. I blocked him/her. I do think that people like to see my illustrations and they wonder what I come up with in my next post. So I try to keep that a regular thing. Other than that I just write what needs to be written at the moment ^_^.

I do LOVE the way you write! Like pieces of a book ^_^

Happy blogoversary! Ciao!

Jenn Thorson said...

Ah, TJ- The spammers just haven't found you yet-- wait, your time will come. :) (Aren't you EXCITED?!) It's good you're finding your audience so soon into the process-- that says a lot! And thanks again for visiting. You always seem like such a nice person. Ciao!

HART (1-800-HART) said...

I'm on month 51 now since I started blogging .. and I can truly say that it is easier to ban an IP from my server than spend time arguing that 42 is really in base 13 and the "real answer" is 54.6 ~

But, usually when something like that gets out of control, the reddit adolescents like images of people vomitting, drunk and disorderly .. then, you'll be O.K. on their books~

timethief said...

Happy Blog Anniversary Jenn. I enjoyed reading this entertaining post just as I enjoy reading all of your posts. You are a funny lady who keeps me laughing and I value that very much. Long may you blog.

TJ Lubrano said...

@ Jenn - Hahah yes yes I'm very excited...about the future spammers *coughs*. But thank you for your sweet comment ^_^! Your blog is definitely one of the better ones out there! I just keep coming back haha. *waves*

Anonymous said...

Congrats on 3 three years blogging! The time just flys by.

Nothing Profound said...

You're an intelligent person with a mature point of view and your humor as well as your conduct reflect that. I don't find ranters very funny, just arrogant; but you always make me laugh.

Jenn Thorson said...

Ah, Hart- I'll have to pull together some good vomit shots then. Er... um... maybe just I'll forgo that venue after all. :) I'm amazed at the amount of blogs you run and have kept up in the air all the time. You always have something new.

TimeThief- Awww... shucks and thanks. :) People have on the whole been really nice. I appreciate that a lot.

TJ- Cheers! (waves back)

Zobop- It did go pretty quickly! Lots of work, but lots of fun.

Jenn Thorson said...

NP- Hey, thank you. That's a tremendously kind thing to say.

I'm not big on rant comedy myself-- I'm more of a Bob Newhart/Eddie Izzard stand-up kind of person. They manage to be funny and strangely positive at the same time. They sneak it in there. I love that.

Pierre said...

Thanks for sharing this with us. I am a baby blogger with my blog now only being 9 months old. It's a pleasant discovery when fellow experienced bloggers share what they have learned. BTW: I love the movie Aliens lol

Chaotically Calm said...

Congrats on turning 21 (dog yrs right?)!!!!

The one thing I learned through blogging...find your focus, keep your content up to date and if you aren't semi passionate about it don't do it.

I heart blogging but I fell into it haphazardly. I finally found out what I want my blog to be and am doing it...lost some readers in the process but I am happier with it now and have that passion to keep the readers up to date.

And you're no right you can't unblog...once a post is out there it is out there even if it tanks. I would like to burn some of that early stuff but then again it wouldn't show the progression.

nonamedufus said...

Another winner, Jenn. Happy Blogoversary. I don't know how you consistently come up with funny stuff but luckily for us you do. Oh, and in dog years I think you're blog would be dead, so better stick to blog years.

Michael Rivers said...

Congrats on the anniversary. My one year is in November. It goes fast in many ways--but it's also a lot of work.

One thing I learned from reading a lot of blogs and writing my own posts--shorter is usually better. If you have a long post, break it down into segments. Add a photo to each segment.

A series is more fun to read than one long post. Keeps people coming back.

Jenn Thorson said...

Pierre- Loving the movie Aliens is fine. (I liked it myself.) I think there are just different levels of adoration. :)

Faith- And here I thought I'd never be 21 again! :) And I know we talked about this on BC-- seeing that old stuff that you don't like as much is hard. But it shows growth. And sometimes we're a lot harder on ourselves than others are.

Dufus- Well, I don't know how consistent it is. Ohhh how there are valleys. :) But I'm so glad to have you visit and appreciate your always-so-nice support.

Michael- Yep, lots of visual breaks make a big difference. Reading online isn't as easy as it is on paper. So any headers, bullets, and section breaks you can do are a help. I have some old posts I pretty much should go back and trim. But we learn as we go.

Midwest Mom said...

The zombies! They're here!

Well, with a 3-year supply of your brains to feast upon, I'm not surprised a bit. Must be a superfood.

Congratulations on your bloggy longevity. :D I always enjoy reading what you have to say.

- Julia at Midwest Moms

Jenn Thorson said...

Aw, Julia- you're a sweetie. You always make me chuckle.

MikeWJ at Too Many Mornings said...


I'm in an extremely reflective mood today and this post touched an emotional cord and so I'm going to be uncharacteristically serious here for just a (long) moment, first to say congratulations and to let you know how much I've enjoyed your blog since I first discovered it about four months ago. It's well written, often funny, and frequently uplifting. Sometimes silly, too, which is nice.

Second, I'd like to confess that I have an odd, one-way, Internet-only connection with you that you can't possibly know about unless you're psychic. (Don't call the police until I explain.)

Although I don't think I'm the sort of writer you'd necessarily like--I'm a huge fan of comedians like Bob Newhart and Jake Johansen but also of Denis Leary and Dennis Miller and I enjoy both fierce rants and what I'd describe as easy-going, nonsensical humor--you were one of the first intelligent blogger-writers I stumbled upon when I started blogging about four months ago. You didn't know it at the time--and probably don't want to know it now--but you became one of those people out there in the bloggidty etherland I felt I was writing for. You were part of my imaginary literary audience, if that makes sense, because I respected your writing a lot.

So enough of that. I'm embarrassing myself and probably you, too, and right here in front of God and all your many fans. Sorry for that.

And now here's what I've learned about blogging, not all of it good:

1) Almost nobody in America is willing or able to read more than 300-500 words, or about three to five paragraphs, at one time. And they prefer dick jokes over almost any other subject matter.

2) Because that's true, blogging, which is supposed to promote the art of writing, often has the strange and unfortunate effect of diminishing it, reducing it to simplistic, shallow and base thoughts that can expressed quickly, usually with bad spelling, even worse grammar and disjointed transitions that render most posts virtually unreadable. As a result, most blogs--not yours--are so horribly bad it makes me want to mourn the death of language and careful thinking.

3) Despite all that, I love to write. Unlike some writers, who aim to be accepted by the broadest possible audience (and I suppose we all hope for that on some level), I often write specifically for a very select audience of regular readers, or to amuse myself, and I don't believe that necessarily means I'm being narcissistic, just introspective in an extroverted medium. I don't worry about length too much, either. I just say what I feel needs to be said in as many carefully chosen words as it takes to say it.

4) Because I don't have a large audience, I don't know if anybody's really reading, or if anybody really gets it, or even if I'm doing a good job. That can be very discouraging. But blogging's strangely addictive, and I think it's important to love your own words, to treat them like they're your children, and then send them on their way and hope they do well out there in the world, which isn't always very friendly (Damn spammers!). This is why I often revise old posts, even weeks after they've been published.

5) I like a good dick joke as much as the next person, maybe more, and I really admire people who can be thoughtful and terse at the same time. I have difficulty doing that, as I've proven here by writing a novel--and possibly the Guinness world-record longest comment--on somebody else's blog.

Sincerely, and, again, congratulations,

RecycleCindy said...

Sending you warm wishes of congratulations on your 3 years of blogging. I have about 4 months until I hit the 3-year mark myself. If you are like me, I find it hard to believe we have been at it this long. It's fun and frustrating at times. But like all things in life, it has its wonderful and rewarding moments. I love your humor in both blogs so please keep up the funny and humorous adventures that you have invited us along for these past 3 years.

Jenn Thorson said...

Mike- Thank you for taking the time to share and discuss your thoughts on all this.

I understand how you feel about the writing on blogs because I felt very similarly to you. Then I came across some writers who really did it up right-- some of whom unfortunately aren't blogging any more due to personal life getting in the way.

I know it gets discouraging sometimes-- each of my blogs has taken over a year to get even a foothold on the internet. Not quick at all in blog-time. Finding readers-- people who really ENJOY reading-- isn't easy. But every blog has its audience. It's a matter of hanging in there until things click with the right folks.

The most important part is to ENJOY it. It's a wonderful creative outlet. And when folks see you enjoy writing it-- that's usually when they enjoy reading it.

Jenn Thorson said...

Cindy- Thank you! I knew you and I had started around the same time... Congrats on your belated bloggiversary, too! It's a lot of work, certainly-- and as you have to MAKE something and write up instructions, too, that's even more amazing.

Staci said...

I have learned not to talk about your blog too much around your family because sooner or later they're going to ask for the web address, and then you either have to lie, give them a fake one, and rush home to make a fake, family friendly blog (i.e. one that paints your family in the best of lights) or you have to give them the real one, run for cover, and change your number. Of course, the latter route also means that you can no longer make fun of your family in your real blog in the future.

I'm starting to wonder what's wrong with my blog that I don't get all the weird spammers. This is the second post that I've read since last night about all the wacky things spammers say in their comments. All I have ever gotten that's halfway interesting is a spammer who kept posting an all natural Viagra type ad on a post I wrote about craft foam (guess he thought it was another type of foam). Am I not worthy of spam?

I hope I'm not jinxing myself by putting that question out in the universe.

Jenn Thorson said...

Staci- I completely understand your dilemma... Especially when family can make great material! :)

Hey-- would you like a Japanese spammer? I can let you have her, cheap... The Japanese characters are pretty to look at, even if they do probably sell Japanese Viagra.

Chris@Maugeritaville said...

I just have a few blogging rules:

Take the writing seriously.

It's a blog, not Twitter. No one cares about what I had for dinner last night.

Consider the audience.

Tell the story through humor.

Take the time to read the work of others.

feefifoto said...

Wait -- I have to respond to EVERY comment? But I forget!


Jenn Thorson said...

Chris- You're an excellent writer, and your rules for yourself help show it. Me, I need to read other blogs more often. With two different blogs, and content to write 5 days a week between them, in addition to my novel and my regular job, I'm not getting the chance to do that like I was.

I hope folks forgive me. It should get a bit better once my novel is finally done.

Skye said...

I have to agree with Chris' rules for himself, and yes you are certainly forgiven :)

So saying, I also tend to write for myself, sometimes I just need to get something off my chest and so I post it. It's not usually funny, it tends to not have any bearing on what others may think about it, and can sometimes be quite offensive. Therefore, I have a blog specifically for it. It's my bitching blog (pardon the language) and no one has ever commented (quite probably because I have it hidden). 2 weeks after I write a post I delete it so there is never an accumulation. Weird, I know, but oh so therapeutic!

Kathy said...

Congrats, Jenn! What have I learned?

1. For me, my short posts work best. I'm having convulsions of regret for posting a 650-word post today. It's easily 200 words longer than my normal posts. We'll see if I lose anybody.

2. Don't do sarcasm unless it's painfully obvious that it's sarcasm. Or else the response will be painful.

Regarding Daisy and the lizard comments she gets. God, that person has to get a life!

JD at I Do Things said...

Happy Blog Birthday!

At least you HAVE friends and family who read your blog. With me it's the opposite. I'll say, "Oh, yeah, I blogged about that . . . " Blank stares. I'm tempted to just say, "Read the blog, damnit!" I hate repeating myself.

CatLadyLarew said...

Okay, since it's your Blog Birthday, I'll share a true confession...
...I've never seen the movie Aliens.
...Even worse, I have no plans to see it.
...Do you think I should just stop blogging now?

Jaffer said...

Happy Bloggy Birthday Jenn ! You are out our your terrible-twos eh ! I'll be turning 4 in October.

Well, I began as a stereotypical "Angry Blogger" who had on opinion on everything - and being afraid to emprace criticism at the same time.

Since then I shut down my first blog and moved on to write for the community that I discovered.

I don't worry if I don't post often days - Well, I've become busy again but - I try my best to keep in touch with all via twitter & facebook - and I know that when I'll post again - thing will liven up !

ReformingGeek said...

Congrats on 3 years!

I also like Chris's rules and I'll add be true to yourself and know why you're blogging.

I know what you mean about bad posts. Oh well.

Babs-beetle said...

Congratulations on three years of blogging!

What have I learned in my time of blogging? Well.... er...... well there' I've learned.... not a lot ;)

Drowsey Monkey said...

Happy blogaversarry! Or Birthday! whatever - it's very cool!! Congrats! :)

I know what you mean about starting to tell a story and have someone say, oh yeah, I read that. LOL (crickets)

And you can unpublish. I've done it. I don't care if it's not right - my blog, my rules, LOL. Altho I'm sure fragments remain in the cyberspace somewhere.

jay said...

That's pretty funny about being told off for being disrespectful about 'Aliens'! LOL!

Lessons learned .. I shall have to think about that. Not that I've been blogging for three years yet.

Jenn Thorson said...

Skye- I think it's smart to separate different toned stuff into different blogs like you did. That way the audience gets what it wants, and you still get to say the things you like. Works out well for everybody.

Kathy- I was pretty well offline over the weekend, so I'll have to go check out your longer posts. You tell a good story, so I don't imagine it could be much of a problem.

JD- Or when you get those folks who really don't know what a blog IS! :)

CatLady- I think you're safe-- it's only when you speak of it, and you're not as well versed as those who apparently LIVE it, that's when things get tricky.

Jaffer- I know you've been busy with non-blogging work-- and that can sap it out of you. But four years of blogging is a really long time! Congrats to YOU.

Reforming Geek- Well, at least most folks seem to understand if every day isn't the post of a lifetime. :)

Babs- You've learned to make fantastic little cartoons using minimal tools... I love that. The facial expressions you do with your little illustrations... so funny!

Drowsey- Yes, I think those fragments still end up lurking out there somewhere, like space junk. :)

Jay- Yep, Aliens is No Go territory for me now. The irony being, I LIKE the film-- only apparently NOT ENOUGH. :)

gemiwing said...

I'm taking your advice to heart. My blog is barely old enough to recognize air.

I'm still trying to figure out what it will be all about... it's a toughie.

I really enjoy reading your thoughts. They either make me laugh or guffaw. Either way is good by me!

Happy Blog Birthday!

Robin said...

Congrats on 3 years blogging! I like your rules of blogging. I have broken 4 of the rules on my blog, d'oh!

Cindy said...

Awesome post:) I've only been seriously blogging for a few months and the best lesson I've learned is that the best thing to happen is for people NOT to agree with you. This leads to all kinds of conversations and discussions... nothing like your Aliens situation, but close!

Jenn Thorson said...

Gemiwing- Ah, yes-- finding the niche isn't easy! I'd say whatever you choose, make sure it's something that already fits as a part of your life-- something you'd do or be interested in anyway. That makes blogging a lot easier! You never run out of material.

Robin- Well, to quote Jack Sparrow, they're more like guidelines, anyway. :)

Cindy- Yup, depends on what kind of blog you have and how people handle disagreement, too!

Anonymous said...

Blogging lesson #2456:

Always send your loyal readers virtual ice cream. It mollifies them enough to keep them from becoming rabid tetchy pants (in a zombie-like way). True fact.