In the quiet cracks of today I've been thinking about writing about Australia day and all, but today I don't have the working brain cells necessary to do the topic justice. Well, not without being snarky. Which I wouldn't like, because I think we have a lot to celebrate in this country. So Happy Australia Day, Oi...
Best of all, I had the day off work! After getting only a public service day of leave at Christmas because neither of my work days fell on the public holidays. Which indicates a major planning failure on my part in negotiating my return to work (if only I'd selected my working days as Monday and Tuesday, which they're going to end up being anyway... so public servantish to think like that, I know). Anyway it was a gentle day with lunch at Barkly Square with Grace, Mum, sister Betty and Cam, followed by napping on the couch with a very trashy sci-fi book, followed by some beautifully boring cricket on the telly.
Anyway, onto the meming. I got this one from Em and I've been wanting to write a little about blogging for a while, so here goes.
1. Do you like the look and the contents of your blogs?
Yes, more or less. Although I'm starting to ponder another style change on this one. I've recently tweaked the other one, changing the format to two columns. Which I really like. I'm considering doing that here but that means faffing with the banner etc and I just can't be bothered. Yet. In certain moods I enjoy fiddling with the template in typepad. It's all very formularised but it's amazing how much fiddling you can do. Especially once I discovered that you can use custom colours for text and backgrounds. The trickiest thing I find, is applying the same style to one's about page. It's hidden in the user profile section and not a logical process.
As far as content goes, I'm up and down with it. Sometimes I'm really pleased. Sometimes I'm not. I'd like to learn how to do short pithy posts but I don't think it's in me. It does tickle me though that I have a blog all about laundry with nary a stain removal hint. Man, I love playing over there sometimes. Then of course there is that other, other blog. The one that's like the secret evil twin chained in the attic. I think a makeover might be in order there too. One day.
2. Does your family know about your blog?
Oh yes, indeed they do. Luckily they don't all read it. Otherwise we'd never have any conversations that don't contain the words, "yeah, I read that in your blog..." Seriously, I consider the fact that my family could read my blog a good form of self moderation. They're very open minded so I don't have to be too careful of anything other than being unfair or hurting someone's feelings.
Come to think of it, I think my family even like my blog. I'm hoping that some more of them may come over to the dark side (light side?) and start their own. I've convinced G to return to the fold.
3. Can you tell your friends about your blog?
Close friends, yes. People I don't know so well, I tend not to. They might think it's weird, or something. I have had the experience of someone saying that they know more about me from reading my blog than from real life, which when they don't have a blog you can read in return feels a bit lopsided.
4. Do you just read the blogs of those who comment on your blog?
No, I read far and wide. There are now 97 blogs on my bloglines. I don't read all of them all the time or I'd never have a life or time to write anything. The number of blogs I comment on regularly is much smaller, maybe tennish? I tend to have to read a blog for a while before I feel I can comment. I'm a lot more comfortable commenting now than I was at the beginning, when it always felt super awkward.
If someone new comments on one of my blogs, I always go and visit theirs. It seems like the polite thing to do, and I've found great new blogs to read that way. I imagine that if one was getting huge numbers of comments, it would be hard to do that. I tend not to comment on the blogs I read with lots and lots of comments. Sort of feel I would be lost in the crowd.
5. Does your blog positively affect your mind?
I guess so. It gives me a way to write, a way to feel like I've said all I need to say, a place to vent sometimes. And it has led me back to taking photos, which I'd stopped because I just ended up with rolls and rolls of undeveloped film, and then stacks of photos that needed to be albumised. Sometimes I think of my blogs as like a photo album with words.
The other thing is that blogging makes me feel more myself. Which I think has a lot to do with the process of writing, and of writing in a diary format in particular. I used to feel like this when I was studying at RMIT and keeping a paper journal, writing short stories and reading to an audience. I also made a decision quite early on to be as real as I could be, even if it meant sharing some of the less pretty things in my life. That's the sort of writing I like writing and reading, even if it doesn't always feel great at the time. Often it feels great once the words are out and not in my head anymore. That said, I also like boring, which is kind of why I have the laundry blog. My special haven of banality.
6. What does the number of visitors to your blog mean?
That someones reading? I have to be quite stern with myself and not be too stats conscious. It's gone from just me and my family reading to maybe 50 to 100 hits a day. And according to Feedburner there's an average of 30 subscribers, which is small potatoes compared to some blogs. Nonetheless I get pretty excited that anyone is reading!
7. Do you imagine what other bloggers look like?
Not really, I find that I connect most through words and getting to know someones narrative voice. But then again, I do quite like to see the odd photo of the blogger up on their site, if they feel so inclined. However it's nearly always the words that keep me going back.
8. Do you think blogging has any real benefit?
Yes, for the individual it's a chance to have a voice. In a wider sense it means that those who read blogs are less reliant on mass media for entertainment and that smaller more diverse viewpoints enter the public discourse. Or something.
On the other hand, one could argue that it's a form of expression only available to those with broadband internet and enough spare time to gaze at their navels. That it's the white middle class latte sipping elite at their chattering best. I prefer to think that it's a form open to almost anyone and that eventually human consciousness will expand to the point where we become super enlightened beings and stop killing each other and destroying the planet. Think of the connection between the widespread use of the printing press and dissent and revolution. It could happen. Probably not in my life time.
9. Do you think that the blogosphere is a stand alone community separated from the real world?
No. Even if it feels like that when we're online, we still take our online experiences back to our offline lives.
10. Do some political blogs scare you? Do you avoid them?
I don't like the conflict and name calling that seems to go on in the comments sections of some political blogs. I also feel that it's been such a long time since my brain was used in any sort of academic way that if I entered that arena, I'd be dogmeat. Not that I ever felt that convincing when I was at uni anyway. Although I once got 97% back in the 80s during my honours year, for a metahistory talk I gave on Foucault and The Order of Things (there's a list in that book that I just love, I no longer have the book but have the list transcibed somewhere). In this case the mark was totally undeserved, considering I gave the talk pretty much on the fly, with pretend notes, having spent the night before smoking drugs and talking about Foucault as opposed to actually reading Foucault... The lecturer did suggest at the end of the semester that perhaps an academic career wasn't for me and that maybe I should go to New York and become a writer. However, I digress.
11. Do you think that criticizing your blog is useful?
Sometimes my Dad says that I've put up too many photos. I disagree, although I did stop using ampersands & start using the proper ands when he mentioned it. He was right on that one.
12. Have you ever thought what would happen to your blog in case you died?
Not until I read this by Problogger. I guess if something happened G would do something with it, he knows all my passwords. I guess my blogs would just stop and disappear into the ether.
13. Which blogger has had the greatest impression on you?
Everyone on my blogroll has made an impression on me. That's why they're there.
14. Which blogger do you think is the most similar to you?
Although I think I think I fit fairly neatly into the Australian/personal/mummy blogger genre, I don't think anyone is that similar to me. Even if we have lots in common. Blogging is about uniqueness.
I would love to discover more Australian blogs with lots of gardening content. So if you find me, please comment so I can find you.
15. Name a song you want to listen to.
It's been floating around my head for a while, Culture Club, Miss me Blind; I know you'll miss me, I know you'll miss me blind...