Various Lies

Monday, February 15, 2010

Log Phase

There's a meme doing the rounds about "why we blog". It started with Martin Fenner over at nature Network a year or so ago, and post-Scienceblogs vs. Nature Network.

(teh ghey fight, if ever there was one...Seriously. I'm not going to get into the whole thing here (yet), but what a fucking waste of electrons that row was. They are two different media, catering to two different audiences, with two different operating paradigms. Fucking bullshit, comparing electrophysiological analysis of NMDA Receptors in HEK cells, v.s patching native neurons in organotypic slices. Yeah, you can address the same basic questions, but you're look at two completely different fucking systems.)

Anyway, the meme has started up again via Steffi Suhr. I'm not one for scribbling about that stuff. This is a (mostly anonymous) semi-rant blog and I'm fairly sure, Dear Reader, you don't give a fuck about my motives for blogging...

 


 


 


...but...


 


 


 



...I was looking at the weekly email from my stat counter peeps today though, and saw something modestly exciting. And thus I'm going to break my own embargo on writing about why I write.

I have been a blogger for something like 6 years now. My first blog was virtually identical to this one and was inspired by the discovery of the first blog I ever read. It's gone now, long defunct as the author/blogger has moved on in his life. He was (maybe still is) an inspired musician and comedian, very entertaining writer and an associate in the same musical scene I moved in when I lived Up North. I saw what he was writing and enjoyed it greatly. After a while I saw through some of the humour, and realised there was catharsis in his writing. He was exorcising some daemons and exercising others. I wondered if I could do the same thing, seeing as I was in an interesting and transitional period of my life; I was separating from my wife, but still living in her house while she worked in Florida, I had just quit my job and was unemployed and almost an illegal immigrant, and I played drums in a fairly well known local rock band. I felt I had enough material to write, but wondered, "could I write".

Yes, it turns out I could.

Sometimes, you, Dear Reader, have been kind enough to leave a comment or two complementing me on my writing or praising a somewhat demented turn of phrase. Well, back in ought-four I started the first version of Some Lies and slowly, slowly, slowly accumulated readers and commenters. I learned the cardinal rules of blogging through trial and error (its funny how there are now websites devoted to telling bloggers the most obvious fucking things).


  1. Use pictures (see below)

  2. Keep it to the point (bollocks to that)

  3. LINK OUT

  4. TRACKBACK

  5. COMMENT ON OTHERS' BLOGS


These last three are how you accumulate readers, and without readers, you don't get comments. And despite what anyone says, we all love to get comments.

Despite the pleasing sibilance of the aphorism, If You Build It, They won't come. because no one knows you're there and if someone does stumble upon you, you're just noise in an infinite system. You need to stand out. There are other tricks too (like using Technorati and Vlog (if that even still exists)), because they force-direct traffic to your page.

Anyway, I gradually watched my stats climb and it was fucking brill. At it's height (right before I killed the blog) I was getting thousands of hits each week and averaging 20+ comments per post. Not the most awesome comment count, but pretty damned good, considering maybe 1 in 20-50 of your readers will actually leave a comment. Especially on blogs like mine, because they tend to be the kind of blogs that build a comment-clique and folks are hesitant to jump in just to say "nice story" (which is a real shame).

Through my blog I mapped and told the stories associated with my changing life. I blogged through my move to my current location, my trouble with a long distance relationship and the exciting decline into alcoholism and emotional meltdown that went with watching my career as a postdoctoral (post-PhD/grad school) scientist collapse in ruins around me. The blog gave me an outlet and through it was able to hone my writing skillzorz, and actually pick up other writing gigs.

When it came time to re-direct my focus, clean my fucking shit up and move on with my career/life I used the blog as a crutch. And when I finally transitioned away from the awful fucking diseased soul destroying hell of the lab bench traditional basic science into clinical administration, I killed the blog. It is still stored on Google's servers, and I go and re-read now and then, and I've lifted some old posts from there for shits and giggles.

For reasons of my own I wanted an outlet for my writing/rambling/musing and frothing mental ejaculations and decided to resurrect Some Lies. And here we are, Dear Reader, a year into the new Blog. It still has that New Blog Smell because I don't post as frequently as I should. But that might change now I have discovered MarsEdit. I get to write offline in mark-up text, and post when I'm ready at the click of a button.

Fucking. Brill.

And on top of that I just saw my stat counter reflecting a log 0.5 increase in readership hits! (Don't worry, non scientists lurker, I made that up. I'm not sure what log 0.5 is either).

Oh Joy! I'm building traffic, my loins vanity is swelling and I have an easy and accessible means of writing that doesn't involve the crappy fucking TextEditor on my Mac.

Thank you, Dear Reader, for pooping popping by. I'm going to be making a few cosmetic changes around here (including more pics, see #1 above). Let me know if you think they suck, or even better, tell me how awesome they are and how much you wish you were just like me.

24 comments:

Maxine said...

I don't know why I blog, really - but I am one of your loyal readers even if I don't comment that often. Keep writing the blog! (I am not bothered about pictures....but I think I am in a minority, as usual.)

tideliar said...

ha ha, thanks Maxine :)

Y'know, despite taking 45 mins to write that post, and edit it about 5 times, it is appallingly written. Not good for a post where boast about my writing prowess!

chall said...

ahh.. I knew that there was something I had forgotten on the journey to make my blog "most read", PICS.

Oh wait, that might be because I don't have any good ones nor is it a drive for me to read blogs :)

happy to see some more posting by you though :)

tideliar said...

Cheers Chall. Actually I got that note from a review of my blog a long time ago. The reviewer pointed out that reading long posts is sometimes easier if it's broken up by pics.

I need to get more shit saved to Flickr account though; I'm not a fa of hotlinking and stealing someone elses bandwidth.

Science Bear said...

I'm just commenting because you're right.. we all love comments.

Am having to read this post in chunks due to a busy schedule, but like what I've read so far. :)

The Grand Inquisitor said...

lucky you, i started to blog because in a fit of drunken stupidity you convinced me to, now i blog because i had the clever idea of a hero of the day, and i dont like to quit things i start. i blame society in the main, and you in particular.

tideliar said...

@Science Bear: Thanks for commenting :)

@Grand Inquisitor: Every day I wake up and remember that your life is slightly worse for knowing me. And that fills me with a joy I can't begin to express.

Now go write your post for the day...you left a lot of holes in January I expect to filled.

The Grand Inquisitor said...

slightly worse? giving yourself a bit of credit there aren't we?

tideliar said...

Of course. I am excellent, after all.

The Grand Inquisitor said...

i think maybe you gave yourself too little credit

tideliar said...

Dude. It's me. Of course I'm giving myself too much credit I'm the most arrogant motherfucker I know!


...and it's my blog...

microbiologist xx said...

I for one am glad you started blogging again. I love this blog, pictures or not. It makes me laugh and that will always keep me coming back.

tideliar said...

And I truly appreciate you commenting. Let me know what you think of the template. I guess in the "new" blogger it's harder to fuck around with the global style, unless I can figure out the XML/CSS stuff they give me in "template".

Plus I'll have to think of some new gags now too...

Anonymous said...

On the subject of IRBs and multicentre clinical studies

I just found out that the National ethics form that I spent 2 weeks filling out (and months waiting and corresponding about) has a fucking lie in the title and covers only our state.

-antipodean

Cath@VWXYNot? said...

I like photos taken by the blogger more than generic images. The latter remind me of the sites run by the (very few) "professional bloggers" I read.

Keep blogging - I will keep reading, and commenting when I think I have something to contribute (and often even when I don't).

tideliar said...

Thanks Cath. Now I have a digital camera I can snap more shit myself. The camera on my cell phone is shite (aperture way to small), and I can't synch (via Bluetooth) with my mac anyway :/

I need to sit down and upload some shit to my Flickr account and use those :)

steffi suhr said...

Sorry for being late - as I mentioned in my post, I am not terribly good at picking up who links to my blog. I added a link to you post now. Keep it up :)

Heather said...

Nice story, Tideliar.

I got here through steffi's link, so it just goes to show that trackbacks and linking out does help...

Case in point, what.

I've personally lost most of my motivation, but I was struck by your exorcising demons/exercising others image. Very nice. And true.

tideliar said...

Dr. Suhr, Dr. Etchevers, so nice of you to pop by!

I need to heed my own advice actually, and learn how to log in to my statcounter more regularly. I have a hard time finding my tracks etc., compounded by having to re-request my statcounter password every couple of days....

steffi suhr said...

I am a little scared of the prospect of having stats if I 'have' to check them. Does one have to check them? I'll probably forget, or just never get around to it.

P.S. I remember now seeing your blog recommended by Maxine at some point, but was already feeling overwhelmed. Will look now :)

tideliar said...

Ha ha ha. I exaggerated about checking mine. I think in the year I've had a stat counter I have logged on maybe two or three times. :)

Maxine recommended Some Lies? She must have been on the sauce again...

:p

steffi suhr said...

Seems like that's what many people do - except Cath, who checks her incoming links every morning over breakfast, apparently...

So I'll just plan on ignoring them*. When I have them. (ahem)

*mostly

Cath@VWXYNot? said...

Heh - that makes me sound really bad, eh?! But I don't get that many visitors, so it only takes a minute or two a day!

steffi suhr said...

Not bad at all, Cath - very... dedicated.