I really enjoy blogging. For starters I like writing, pretty much a prerequisite (imagine if you didn't, and were made to blog daily?!) I also like taking photos and boring people with them. Perfect. What started as an unadvertised toe-dip has morphed into what sometimes feels like an obligation. I'm approaching three years behind the keyboard, and amazingly still have not run out of things to say, though I reckon some people wish that I had. Perhaps I have a very active mind, but I find myself mentally composing blog posts at almost any time of day. Driving, shopping, commuting, you name it. I get home, and it just trips out, just as this one is now doing, for I have been thinking about it on and off all day, as well as part of yesterday. Often I have several thoughts on the go, so sometimes they become one horribly rambling post. Sometimes they stay separate, but many times they just go nowhere. Something else catches my attention, and so a 90% formed blog post about some tiny and meaningless aspect of my life gets cast by the wayside. Drivel that never was. And then sometimes, just very occasionally, I decide that I just cannot be bothered to write anything at all. Sometimes reader, you don't realise just how lucky you are.
When this happens, I wonder whether people will be disappointed? Whether my inconsistency will put people off? I read somewhere that the most successful blogs always post at the same time of day. Regular readers know when that is, go and check it, and hey presto there is the next installment. I am all too aware that it must be horribly frustrating to keep coming back to a photo of a strange-looking Common Gull for days on end. But that's just the way it is. The Fatbirder counter, shrouded in mystique though it undoubtedly is, is a chronic nag. Anything below 150 and I realise I must pull my socks up. The dizzy heights of double digits and I am in a frenzy of wishing to keep my spot. All ridiculous, but then when you think about it, that's blogging. Ridiculous. There are some blogs out there that actually serve a purpose, where you can actually learn stuff, guru Mattanganna's Birding Frontiers perhaps being the best example, but by far the majority are waffle. Padding. This blog is padding par excellence. I am gratified that people continue to read it.
I've never been much good on the stats element, I just forget to keep track. Every now and again I remember that there are stats, but because it will have been a couple months since I looked at them, I never really build up a picture. Instead I judge the success or failure of a post on comments. All bloggers LOVE comments. Don't pretend you don't. They are valediction for our efforts, and we relish their leaving. There are some blogs I read that within half an hour of having been posted have attracted thirty or more comments. Mrs L reads a knitting blog that is guaranteed to get over a hundred every single time. A few days ago one post had 634!! Were it me, I would read each and every one of them. Twice, probably. Luckily I don't have that problem. My average number of comments is about three. If you take my replies out, probably about 0.3, but nevermind, I love each and every one of them. Almost.
Although bloggers live for comments, there are some that I would gladly do without. I deleted one such comment just yesterday. Zapped it, just like that, which is what made me write this post. Normally I'd say that for the sake of free speech, people should be allowed to say what they like, generally it works better like that. As such I've never moderated comments - I don't review them before they get posted, they just go straight on, easier all round. But this particular comment has made me change my mind. There was no swearing, no abusive language, but the comment was left with the sole intention of belittling, and of winding me up. On this last part it has succeeded admirably. Naturally it was left by "Anon", they usually are. I read it, and my immediate thought was "You swine". I devote a great deal of time and energy to writing this, to trying to make it vaguely entertaining. I do it because I enjoy it, I am not so grand as to think I am providing any kind of service to the birding community. I do it for my own sake, I don't ask that anyone read it, though I am pleased when they do. And Anon, whoever you are, you see fit to post a snide, rude, very clearly designed-to-insult comment. For what reason exactly? I wish now that I had kept it, as I am struggling to remember exactly what it said, and it would help explain, but it's too late. Zap, gone. There might have been an element of sarcasm buried within it, but no amount of smilies would have made it benign. So now there is a new policy on comments. Until I start getting 634 per day, I'm going to moderate them, and I am only going to publish glowingly positive, gushingly feel-good ones.
Not really. I expect I'll wave most of them straight through, as many times the comments are far more interesting than the original post. They allow for discussion and the development of ideas, and they're often extremely amusing. But the anonymous 'grudge' ones like I got yesterday will be going precisely nowhere. I am currently preparing my vast ego for the inevitable decline in the number of comments that this will unfortunately result in. I suspect I'll cope.