This is not a knitting circle

As my Followers will know, I enjoy posting the funny or off-the-wall side of most situations. Occasionally, however, I use the amusing to suggest a more serious and nuanced side to life and even, Heaven forfend, wax philosophical about the realities that the slings and arrows of misfortune bring on ordinary people. I share my perspective on a number of blogs and sites that proffer challenges to respond to words or photos as themes and, of course, I post various types of writing on my site. Unlike many participants on these blog challenge sites, I take the time to read every contribution and comment helpfully and encouragingly where I can.

Here are some of the things that I have discovered both from the comments and the yawning silences on blog posts by me and others:

  •  Any mention of death, except in the most of sentimental terms, is, well …. death.
  •  Any suggestion of a sexual orientation other than heterosexual is taboo.
  •  People of colour rarely post and/or are rarely mentioned (ethnic Indians being the main exception).
  •  The default response to any current prompt is overwhelmingly a woe-is-me cliché-ridden variation on Covid-19.
  •  Facebook has trained people to hit Like and leave it at that, which could mean anything from ‘I read it’ to ‘Shakespeare, eat your heart out’.
  •  Despite whatever prompt challenge may have been set, some will post something entirely unrelated they feel compelled to share or a cut-and-paste from their current ‘novel’ featuring fairies, unicorns or androids in a dystopian future and/or ‘I know this is a site for writing but I just thought I’d let you know I have cancer.’
  •  Blog hosts will never enforce the rules they have set for contributions.
  •  Why bother to email your friends when you can use a blog site as a public private chat room and fill up subscribers’ email alerts?

I know this post will upset some but learning comes from discomfort. Besides, I’d love to hear from you about blogs and sites that you think are worth following.

19 thoughts on “This is not a knitting circle

  1. I agree with the title of this post, Doug. I think some people use their blog as if they were on Facebook. In some cases, blogging on WordPress has become like publishing something on Facebook. It’s a bit like ‘I’ll like your post if you like my post. Or, I’ll leave a comment on your post if you leave a comment on my post. I’ll reblog your post if you reblog my post. I see a lot of that happening.

    I’ve written about the ‘like’ button many times. In fact, in the comments of those posts, some bloggers admitted that they press ‘like’ regardless of whether they’ve read the post or not. When I asked why they did that, the reply was usually ‘because I want to show the blogger I am supporting them.’ Supporting them by clicking the like button on a post you’ve never read? That’s a bit of a mystery to me.

    I think most blog hosts do a great job with the weekly and monthly blog challenges they publish. However, some participants do see those challenges as an opportunity to promote their books. Personally, I would not allow it to happen.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for the detailed response, Hugh, and yes, I agree, that anybody hosting a blog comp is doing a great service to writing. I just wish they’d discourage self-promotion, chat room conversations, posts entirely irrelevant to the prompt etc.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I get what you’re saying, Doug. I often get people leaving comments that ask me questions about how I am, what I’ve been up to, etc. If they keep asking questions like that, I ask that they take the conversation offline.
        I’m not one for reading blog posts that are only about what a blogger has been up to during their day or week. What they had for lunch, or what they did at work today, or what their aunt Sally said to a neighbour. I’m just not interested in any of that kind of stuff. So, I agree with you in that when I follow a blog that’s themed around writing (for example), that’s all I’m interested in reading on that blog.

        I’m so pleased that you had a big response to this post. It’s an interesting subject.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Indeed, Hugh, and the level of response far outweighs my usual traffic, so it seems I’ve hit a nerve (although the ‘usual suspects’ have been notable by their absence from the scene). 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  2. As always, Doug, your post is fantastic. I must be honest, that I enjoy reading all about people and their lives, loves and the small things, as well as their poetry, prompt writing, novel extracts and various other things, but I don’t like woe-is-me posts and I am very over covid-19. I like Smorgasbord, Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo, Chelsea Owen’s blog, Hugh Robert’s blog, yours and many others. I follow a lot of people and try to read at least a few of their posts very week. I can never manage them all.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Well, Doug, I think you are kind of cherry-picking amongst what this online world has made possible. Imagine the likes of you or me, with the age and predilections we now have, but twenty-five or more years ago. We’re 70’ish, we want to write, we want people to read what we write and intelligently respond to it. Before the Web, we either, miraculously, cracked the publishing nut or we were consigned to emailing our novel drafts to our friends who were unlikely to read it. But now, even though self-publishing is largely a chimera in terms of actually achieving broad readership, it is a good-looking chimera with a nice haircut, and we can, if we work at it, get a little something by way of attention from the world. And one might say the same about blogging. As you know, I am, like you, a pretty recent entrant into this particular arena.I share some of your reactions. There is a large gap between people’s desire to be ‘nice’ (i.e. the Like button) and their willingness to read a novel. It took me a while, but I’m coming to terms with this gap. Current technologies enable me to say, “Here I am, here’s my book, here’s what it’s about, here’s what some other people think of it.” But once that is done, the ball moves to the other side of the net where people may be sick or distracted or busy or, mainly, people who simply won’t beyond the first page or so of novels like mind unless it reaches out and grabs them by the short hairs and drags them in. When that happens, I’m thrilled, but I don’t count on it and I know that people can be my friends but not my readers. Apropos of these comments, now let me insert a five thousand word excerpt from my book because, you know, I can….(but won’t)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Daniel. I get the ‘publishing in the dark’ bit and that people bring different mindsets and experiences to any opportunity, online or otherwise. To continue your analogy, I’d just prefer people play on the agreed court on writing i.e sites to write and to appreciate the writing of others when they feel so moved. Finally, as you know, I’d read 5000 words from you anytime 😉


  4. We’re all adults and can have different ideas without starting world war three. We have nudged up against that but that’s what being a human is about. We’re not drones.
    I follow a few you know, Bonneywood- not quite overly conservative, but I admit, popular sites like Brians are a rarity.
    Bryntin’s as well, and a site called Unbolt me is quirky as all Hell, in a good way. Another is Read After Burnout,but more wry than humorous. Well written, but.
    I do tend to trawl the Wordiverse but it’s slim pickings at times. If I find a post I Like it with no expectations of reciprocity. If it turns out to be one that warrants my interest, I’ll return and follow.
    I agree with Hugh’s comment though- support a blog by Like but not read it? I know we’re busy but… oxymoron?
    And hey, though my sad and lonely blog isn’t ablaze with Likes- to those who visit and Like half a dozen or so posts- please don’t press Like’em all in the space of a minute. It all seems and looks a tad hollow.I just read Daniels comment and agree about the idea of at least having a forum, WordPress warts an’ all. I still strive to see a bit of humour in this life; And ain’t that kinda sad? You’d think we’d have wised up by now!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Obbverse. Following your recommended blogs but couldn’t find Bonneywood. The worst part of the mindless Like syndrome is the excruciating WP default message of ‘so-and-so thinks your post is pretty awesome’. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks Doug, the ‘awesome’ is getting less cool hip and groovy by the day. Sorry as well, I misspelled Bonnywood Manor, hosted by Brian Lageose. Trying to find a laugh gets pretty tiresome at times but he consistently delivers. Dare I say ‘awesome?’ Thought not!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It certainly touched a nerve, even if some thought I was over-egging the pudding slightly. What was interesting is that I had no response on my blog from ‘the usual suspects’ that it was aimed at but one site where I posted the link produced two very aggrieved comments, including ‘I feel like you’ve stabbed me in the heart’. Needless to say I’ve left that lot to their own snowflake devices. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Some people do take things so personally, particularly when it’s directed at them 😉
        You gave me some good pointers on what not to do
        It is a paradox, though. Each person is the King or Queen of their own page, blog, or site and yet many have suggestions to make about what is relevant or shooting things down


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