Being a nice sort of person, I would never dream of telling any of my cherished readers what I don’t like about their blogs.
In fact, I did find the constructive comments on my roughseas poll very helpful. And I am sure I would have got most peevish had any of you said what you didn’t like. But I have been slightly irritated when I flick on wordpress recently and seem to see the same endless tripe.
So – things I don’t like to see on blogs:
1) If you have a blog devoted to your darling offspring, please call it that and save the rest of us being inundated with photos of Francesca and Alexander from their birth onwards, under the vague
pretence pretext of it being a general blog about life, or, photography, or, musings.
It is a kiddy blog, pure and simple. I have a dog blog. I rarely put photos of the dog on my blog because not everyone wants to see endless photos of a big furry dog. If they do, they can visit his blog. Same applies to your wrinkly offspring who you consider to be the most beautiful thing in the world.
One of my father’s more sensible views was regarding children. If anyone asked about me, he would say 'She's fine, thank you for asking.' And talk about something else. Usually cricket. He sure as hell did not want to hear about their boring kids, so he figured they didn't want to hear what chapter I was on of Janet and John.
Now, this does not mean that a decent photo of a child should not be included on a blog. Just not on every post and every photo. Thank you. And please grandparents out there, do not feel I am picking on you. I am not. It is usually the parents who flood their blogs (and dogblogs) with pix of Junior and Junioress.
2) Recipes. I do post these from time to time. Partly because for vegetarians, it's sometimes good to get inspiration from elsewhere. And for carnivores you can always carnivorise it. It's about ideas as much as anything else rather than standard recipes.
I like to read some food posts, they are good and inspirational.
But it is insufferably boring to read someone posting about pasta, with any of a) garlic b) chillies c) olive oil or butter d) lemon e) cream with possibly some salt and pepper and fresh herbs on top. That does not make for a brilliant blog post nor is it something I consider remotely useful. It would only be a brilliant blog post if you added something terribly witty about the making or eating of said incredibly boring and simple pasta recipe.
The same goes for seared tuna/shark/salmon/whatever all served with dill and a drizzle of something and a couple of leaves of rocket. (Aragula for NAs)
There is nothing new about any of these recipes, they are incredibly basic and why some of them end up as featured blogs is so beyond me I can't be arsed to think about it.
I do, however, wonder how long people spend creating their wonderful dish to take that perfect photo that looks as though it has come out of a coffee table book. They are truly amazing. So well arranged, perfect colour, texture, blah blah, and they dish this up every day? Get out of it. These people have an eye to being the next amazing cookstar.
And, also, it is really polite to say where you have got your inspired recipe from, instead of pretending you are the next winner of 'The Kitchen has Talent' with your original recipe of pasta with garlic or seared fish.
That's before I even get into the olive pate lottery. I wrote a perfectly simple post about how to do this, with a bit of context as to why. And got no comments (OK it was pre-wordpress days ie boring old blogger). I read some other blog that posts a similar recipe (not quite as good IMO, the recipe, not the post) somewhat after mine and gets a hundred or more 'Supah recipe dahling' comments. FFS. There are some serious suck-arse commentaries on the recipe blog circuit.
Which brings me to
3) Photoblogs. As everyone should know by now, I am not fond of these blogs that post a photo without even a caption, let alone any text. No, your picture is NOT worth a thousand words. This is not Vietnam with a photo of a kid running down the street with her back on fire. We all knew what that was. It didn't need a caption.
But if you post a photo of Tiddles/your prize rose bush/the sunset/a cup of coffee/the sea, without any context it looks exactly like everyone else's photo of Tiddles/their prize rose bush/the sunset/a cup of coffee/the sea.
I do follow *some* photoblogs. But very few of those are photos without text. Take note photoblog people. Most people can produce a decent photo in these days of digital messaround. Even me occasionally.
4) What I didn't do blogs. Then there are the blog posts that start off 'Well I'm really sorry I've not been around because [insert boring emotional/domestic incident] but I'll really try very hard to get back on track with my blog’.
Just. Who. Cares. There is a limited window to get someone interested in your blog on WordPress and it is that first paragraph. Negative crap about your boring life won't do it.
5) Pretentious creative writing. This falls into the same category as photos and recipes as it invariably elicits comments of the 'supah' type. You know your writing is good if someone actually comments about the plot/style whatever. But reading the same sucky comments from the same people on the same blogs just looks like a cozy circuit. And one I am unlikely to join.
6) Busy blogs. Hate'em. The ones that take too long to load, and when you have finished, they even take a long time to get rid of. If you fill your blog up with a load of links and too much clart, it switches off your readers. It used to be the same in the dogblogosphere. I would get so bored waiting for something to load that I would click off before I had even read the post.
Not just busy in terms of media, but in terms of design too. We all like to individualise our blogs – it is a statement. I have messed around with mine over the years, but in the end, I invariably end up going back to a variation on the same theme. Not because I don't like messing, but I find clear and simple more readable when I read other blogs. Even the dreaded photoblogs or recipe blogs. Backgrounds are distracting, poor old Pippa will probably get his changed soon!
7) If you wish to address your readers collectively, please do not call me a guy. I know that you think it is a general term that isn't discriminatory but personally, I find it grossly insulting to be called a guy when I am a woman. I do not want to be a guy, one of the boys or anything else. Nor do I like the acceptance of the masculine default.
There are plenty of alternatives. Readers, everyone, people. If you insist on the tacky and slangy guy, why not say guys and gals, or guys and dolls? Awful isn't it? So cut out the guys, guys – and gals/dolls.
If you think this
song rant is about you (cue Carly Simon) then it isn't. It is just a total random mix of my views about random uninspiring blogs that I saw over the weekend.
[Off topic, but there is some nice guitar music on this song, and I can sing nearly all the words which is a record for me. Hey! Who wants to know that?]
And if I follow your blog, it will be because I like something about it, for whatever reason. That something is what makes it individual. I thought I had about five faves, but in truth it will be nearer ten. That's ten authors, not ten blogs, as there are far too many of you out there like me with a Multiple Blog Personality Syndrome.
I do like cranky blogs, grumpy blogs, dogblogs, travel blogs, opinionated blogs (preferably the same as mine but I can tolerate a little dissension), and some decent pics.
Almost forgot. A little dash of originality goes a long way.
PS I know, I still have the last consumerism post to publish on ethical shopping. Soon. Promise. Sort of.