Yet more blogging tips

Awful words? – The ones to avoid.

We all overuse certain words. Well, I certainly do. And even as I hear myself speaking, it grates on my nerves. At least with writing I can correct the overuse.

Before I rejoined the world of the internet this century, complete with forums, chat rooms, and everything else, I had never heard the word awesome.

I loathe it. It is vastly overused. This may be something to do with my age. Or the fact I am not American.

It reminds me of the original/archaic meaning of the word awful. Not so much terrible or horrific, but inspiring wonder.

But unless you are an American teeny or possibly a little older and still think it is cool to use the word – don’t.

It is like swearing. It is lazy and looks as though you can’t be bothered to find the correct word. There are so many words in the English language that you can surely do better than saying everything is *awesome*.

I’m guilty of overusing swear words at home, no children, two adults and a dog, so no reason not to. But awesome is the same syndrome. Find a word and overuse it instead of thinking of a more appropriate or imaginative word.

I couldn’t for the life of me write or say ‘I read an awesome book, that pizza was awesome, we saw an awesome film,’ etc. Its overuse has made it bland and meaningless, unexpressive and also tends to typecast people by age/nationality – just as not using it does. Sure middle-aged Brits may well use it, but I don’t know many who do.

Onto the next word.

In speech, I overuse the word ‘stuff’.

Why does it annoy me? Because I am being too lazy to be specific. It is vague, amorphous, evasive. I thought it was just me, but I have noticed other people using it too.

The trouble with ‘stuff’ is that some months ago we had a conversation with someone we knew and every question was answered with ‘just stuff.’

It was meant to be a general chat with someone we hadn’t seen for a while, who we had met by chance outside the supermarket, and they weren’t prepared to say anything to us.

‘What did you do in the UK?’

‘Just – stuff.’

‘What sort of stuff?’

‘You know, stuff.’

Well, obviously we didn’t know, or we wouldn’t have asked the same question twice.

‘What did the training course involve?’ (bearing in mind we had both worked in the health service so there was a degree of commonality there).


After more non-conversation on the same lines we realised we were going to get stuff all out of him.

‘We can have a drink one day and catch up,’ he said. Despite the fact we have repeatedly told him we don’t want to go to the pub.

‘We just have,’ said Partner, with one of his rare acid put-downs, and off we waltzed.

No, we haven’t seen him since.

I have no problem with people keeping their own business to themselves, but if you want to have conversation with people, it is normally polite behaviour to share out the conversation.

And ‘stuff’ is hardly a polite response.

As for bucket lists? I wondered where this phrase had suddenly appeared from and it seems it is from the film of the same name in 2007.

It’s another one that just doesn’t do it for me. ‘Must-do’ list yes. ‘Things-to-do’ list. But bucket list? And actually, I think it is inappropriate. There is a big difference between being terminally ill and funded by a billionnaire to do everything you have always wanted to, and the rest of us who just have ambitions and dreams. They are not, by any stretch of the imagination, bucket lists in the sense of the usage in the film.

If you want to jump onto trendy and inaccurate popular idioms that’s up to you. Just think twice before you do. Sure, you look as though you know the awesome current fashionable words. But that might be all.

And for a change of subject – trolling.

I was a bit surprised to be accused of trolling on someone’s blog.

In fact I didn’t actually realise the inference in a reply to my comment, until there was a second comment, referring to an email that had been sent to me (because I don’t check my emails all the time). Just wow!

It’s that long since I had read about trolls that I had to look it up.

2 informal Computing an e-mail message or posting on the Internet intended to provoke an indignant response in the reader.

Hmm. No. That was not my intention. I was probably mistaken in writing in my usual flippant/sarcastic/blunt (choose one or more appropriate words) style. On a blog where I thought it was perfectly acceptable. Obviously not.

Readers of my blogs, and those blogs I regularly comment on, know my style.

There is no-one who comments on this blog who shares exactly the same views as me. I can say that categorically.

So if non:feminists/vegetarians/environmentalists/cyclists/raving lefties/etc etc wish to have a lengthy discussion on issues I raise that’s fine by me. Even though the threaded thing peters out after a few posts. Note, you can always start a new post rather than continue into a one-word one-line thread.

We all exchange views, they aren’t the same. Some words are sharp, and we come back for further discussion or later. This applies to any blog, as far as I am aware. What is the point of having a blog if you don’t have different points of view?

Otherwise it ends up being a ‘supah dahling’ photoblog.

I also like the fact that the people who comment on my blogs digress and talk about wildly different topics to the main subject.

So why was I accused of trolling? Well, I’ve no idea so I’m not going to speculate, because I wasn’t told why in the email.

Let’s look at wiki:

In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as a forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[3] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

Well to start with, I’m going to talk about my blogs here. If people wish to post anything under those categories (ie inflammatory, extraneous or off-topic), fine by me and I can easily give examples of comments that fit into those categories. Because virtually all of the people who comment on my blogs, are previous commenters, you are welcome to do so. And sometimes do. Presumably tongue in cheek, but you also may wish to make a distinct point at the same time.

So what are the rules for discussion on blogs? Because this is the crux of the point.

For me, pretty broad. People can take it off topic as much as they want.

Inflammatory, antagonistic, is such an individual point of view. If I know someone, ie via the internet, I will certainly give them the benefit of the doubt.

Unless it is downright abusive, or totally ignorant, I’m not going to accuse anyone of trolling. I probably wouldn’t anyway. Who cares?

What is important, is to note the tone of the blog. If there is lots of – or even some – swearing then you aren’t out of place commenting with similar language.

If it is a tea and cakes and crocheting blog then it probably isn’t appropriate.

Beware the blogs where there is an inner circle. A clique. Don’t think you can merrily jump in and join in. You can’t. You will need to earn your spurs. It’s like a forum (hence the trolling).

And above all else, don’t think that everyone likes dissension. They don’t. As I learned.

Anyway, really nice CloudyRoughseas is willing to take all flak that you may wish to throw this way.

As one of my newer internet friends said recently, if he gets negative emails, he ignores them. So do I. They aren’t worth responding to anyway.


About roughseasinthemed

I write about my life as an English person living in Spain and Gibraltar, on Roughseas, subjects range from politics and current developments in Gib to book reviews, cooking and getting on with life. My views and thoughts on a variety of topics - depending on my mood of the day - can be found over on Clouds. A few pix are over on Everypic - although it is not a photoblog. And of course my dog had his own blog, but most of you knew that anyway. Pippadogblog etc
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25 Responses to Yet more blogging tips

  1. pinkagendist says:

    I love this. I think people who say awesome should be kicked in the shin every time they use the word.
    In regards to the other topic… As you know, that’s what I found attractive in the first place. You weren’t just ‘on topic’, you were refreshingly honest about what was going on. You said what I was thinking but didn’t bother to say because I’ve resigned myself to the fact that an overwhelming number of people operate on those terms. The knowledge that they’re just wasting their time comforts me. Generating peaks in interest is useless when there’s no real substance behind it.
    And furthermore (is that too formal? perhaps pretentious ๐Ÿ™‚ ), the only point of this sort of interaction is education. It’s seeing the world from different angles and perspectives and being able to use that to make our own (and others’) lives better.


    • Ha! I’m pleased I’m not the only one who dislikes ‘awesome’. (invariably said in a whiney accent/tone of voice too).

      Damn you! I was gaily writing that, thinking it was an interesting topic of conversation that raised a few issues and that no-one would be aware of where it arose (from?). I had totally forgotten that was where you found me, abandoned, unloved, unwanted, cue violins etc.

      This wasn’t an attempt to rehash it either, I’ve left it for weeks before I’ve mentioned it, so it’s in the past, but I thought worth a post because it seemed most odd. Temperamental in a way.

      I can’t be bothered to go over it all again. You saw it, so did I. It’s not worth the analysis, although I think the shortened version is ‘This is a blog where people who can say what they think – so long as they fit in with the parameters.’ And I didn’t.

      I only flitted there occasionally anyway, but the topic took my fancy as I thought it was crazy ๐Ÿ˜€

      But, to me from that, I’ve gained more interesting blogs to read. So a win for me ๐Ÿ™‚

      I don’t know about generating peaks, generating rubbish is what comes to mind.

      I would be seriously worried if I had hundreds of comments on my blogs. Partly because it would take up far too much of my time, but I also like to think that sometimes other readers look at the comments before they write. Scrolling down through a load of drivel is a waste of everyone’s time.

      I like furthermore. It is good. Not remotely pretentious or formal ๐Ÿ™‚ I like however too.

      Bit serious for you. What happened to the wind-up?


  2. Good post – Awesome stuff! My contribution to a list of words not to use is fantastic, it’s rather like awesome, too easy to use and there are a whole load of better options. I didn’t know about trolling – I thought a troll lived under a bridge and picked on small goats!


    • Thanks Andrew. I think I may need to do a poll about words not to use! Problem is you can’t do a poll that asks for submissions. Fantastic is probably old speak for awesome, or maybe like fabulous too? I do think overused words are well worth a thought though, just how to collect them.

      Don’t be silly of course you knew about trolling, anyone on the internet does. I just hadn’t considered it in relation to blogging.


  3. free penny press says:

    Well I love the word awesome (I do think it’s an American thing) but abhor the word, genius. If I had a penny for every time I have heard so & so say, “This is genius”. Really, did they split the Atom? No it’s not genius it’s inventive or good but not genius.. I also abhor the word stuff.. Just what the hell is stuff? stuff is a lazy word or a word for people whose brains are dried up. (that sounded awful I know)


    • If you are comfortable with and love the word – go ahead, just don’t overuse it, please ๐Ÿ™‚ because any overused word so loses impact. I hadn’t thought about genius, probably because I neither hear no read it very much. It’s a good example though, and exactly the sort of misuse of word that I am writing about.

      Yes, I realised my brains were drying up whenever I used the word stuff ๐Ÿ˜‰


  4. I’ve found that I’ve started to overcompensate my avoidance of the word “awesome” by overusing the word “delightful.” So perhaps I should go back to awesome?

    On a more serious note, I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on “trolling.” I think that there’s been a subtle shift in the definition over the past few years. It used to be reserved for anything horrifically blatant or spammy–now it seems to mean “something someone said that I don’t agree with” (and the “I” there can be a blog or forum as a whole). I suppose the internet now is full of niche communities that never interact. The quickest way to shut down discussion is to dismiss someone as being a troll, though. I don’t know the specific situation you’re referring to in your post, but I’ve observed situations online where “calling out trolls” seems to be the new form of popularity contest. Every comment section of anything (even a newspaper!) end up with one or two frequent commenters who are little despots, ha.


    • I quite like delightful ๐Ÿ˜‰ But there is a range of pretty good words that describe something better than awesome all the time. And I think you should have an American passport to be allowed to use the word awesome.

      Had a quick glance at your blog and will be back to read at leisure, but I did see you had written about the trolling.

      You make a very interesting point about the ‘something I don’t agree with’ (exactly what happened) – and – the popularity contest by inciting some excitement calling someone a troll.

      Thanks for your comments and your thoughtful point of view. Appreciated, not something I had thought of, so a good addition to my blog post.


  5. Vicky says:

    I was under the impression that awesome was a fairly new word, used mainly by the younger generation, but on looking it up, I was quite surprised to find it is a word from the bible ๐Ÿ˜ฎ but obviously used in different context there.
    I do think words go through phases though. As a child, gay always meant happy, jolly, but it has a totally different meaning now.
    There are plenty of other words, that on hearing them used in a ‘new way’ have made me wonder what the person meant, but they slip my ageing brain.
    As for trolling??, yes Andrew, the only sort I know are the under bridge inhabitants….fol-de-rol ๐Ÿ˜‰


    • pinkagendist says:

      I don’t mean to be picky, but the bible wasn’t translated into English until the middle ages- so…


      • Vicky says:

        It doesnt really matter when or how the bible was translated, my point was, it is a word that up until the last few years, I had not heard in conversation. Dating it back to the middle ages still makes it an older word than I thought it was.


        • pinkagendist says:

          I don’t mean to be pickier… but the word awesome only features in the bible since the New King James version from the late 60’s/70’s, which overlaps with the time the word became popular in America.


          • Vicky says:

            Not being a religious type I’ll take your word for that.


          • pinkagendist says:

            Atheist historian here… in a permanent search for accuracy.
            Did you like the RSC theatre? My partner is an RSC associate actor. He hates Stratford with passion ๐Ÿ˜€


          • Vicky says:

            I guess from that question, you’ve read my post?

            In all the years I’ve visited Stratford, I’ve never been into the theatre, apart from to shelter from the rain once.
            I do like the town though ๐Ÿ™‚
            Why does your partner hate it with a passion?


          • pinkagendist says:

            Mike found Stratford rather contrived…


          • I’m away for a couple of days and you two suddenly embark upon a discussion about the semantics and origin of the word awesome. I actually can’t find any biblical references. And I’ve never heard it before this century. Perhaps I never mixed with enough Americans previously. ๐Ÿ˜‰


          • And I want to write about Shakespeare too, but maybe I’ll witter on about that on Vicky’s blog. Awesome, stuff, bucket lists and trolling don’t really fit with Shakespeare (to me).


          • Oh, and back to Vicky’s original point, absolutely that words go through phases. I’m wondering if ‘cool’ has ever gone out of fashion though (man).


  6. In addition to the word ‘awesome’ how about ‘like’?

    “It’s like totally awesome!” “Like, is that really a horse?”

    “Like” is very overused by the younger generation, I think. And as the linguists say the manner in which it is used, is improper. ‘Course it “don’t me make no never mind” if a person uses it (If I pay close attention maybe I’d notice myself slipping into the habit), but overuse can tend to get annoying.

    ” At least with writing I can correct the overuse” Hah, I hear you there. Unlike blog posts, I can’t proofread my speaking.


    • ‘Like’ is a good one. Sadly it is also one I have caught myself using, usually when I am being exceedingly sarcastic, eg ‘like, really? – the really is said in tones of dripping sulphuric acid.

      Probably accounts for why I am not a very chatty person ๐Ÿ˜€


  7. EllaDee says:

    I think you’re aweome ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s your points of view that keep me coming back for more. If I only cared about my own, I’d type and type and post and post and not bother to look at anyone else’s blogs or comment… oh hang on, there are people who do that… but you’re not one of them, and that’s why I like you, your blogs/posts a lot. You give a lot, and my world is a lot broader and interesting since discovering you virtually… or being discovered by? If a person couldn’t distinguish your style from that of a troll, I’d assume they’re an idiot.


    • It’s not just always the world according to Roughseas ๐Ÿ˜€ But as we are all blogging, I think sometimes the odd discussion is interesting and the truth is, I think all my readers are far beyond the WordPress ABC for Kindergarten bloggers where they tell you a sentence needs to start with a capital letter and end with a full point/full stop. Which is one reason I figured my style wasn’t appropriate for writing for them.

      I’m quite hard-nosed about commenting on blogs. I’ll give it a few goes and if I don’t get a return visit, that’s it. No more. But if they are busy and find time to come back later, I’m always willing to revisit. I’ve got a couple of exceptions to that rule but few and far between. You’ll recognise a lot of the commenters on my blogs because like you, they comment regularly – as I do on theirs. It’s pretty basic etiquette.

      Thanks ED, not sure what I give, (!) but pleased whenever someone says they enjoy anything I have written, that’s always great and very rewarding to hear. (I could have said awesome but not difficult to find different words).

      As for trolling – part of my style and blogging personality is that I try and be as honest and up-front as possible. I don’t see anything wrong with disagreeing with people on their blogs, or at least writing a different point of view. Andrew and Pinkagendist haven’t accused me of trolling because I have written my perspective on their blog. FreePennyPress likes aweseome – am I going to accuse her of troliing? I don’t think so. For me, it was a lesson well learned. I made a mistake in the judgement and the style of the blog. I’ll know better next time (hopefully) …

      Incidentally I can never remember who discovered who of any of my older contacts, I just know that I found Places from somewhere!


  8. Perpetua says:

    Nice rant, Rough Seas. ๐Ÿ™‚ Awesome is one of my pet hates too, along with ‘like’ and ‘you know’, though those two tend to be more used in speech than in the blogs I read. However as the proud possessor of 3 grandsons, the eldest now a teenager, I’m having to get used to a lot of expressions I would probably avoid in my own writing. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I tend to connect trolls with internet forums rather than blogs, perhaps again because of the blogs I frequent and don’t think I’ve ever had or read a comment I’ve thought of as trolling. I obviously don’t read the right blogs…..


    • Hardly a rant… ๐Ÿ˜‰ Just a few comments about blogging. ‘You know’ is another good one, because of course, it makes you want to reply, ‘NO, I don’t know.’

      I think speech is one thing and we can all be a bit slangy there qv my comment about swearing because we have no children around, but in written communication when we can proof read, I’m not sure we should be using tat language – for want of a better description.

      I too had thought trolls lurked on forums but Adelle above made some excellent and informative points which I think are totally valid. And – I have stopped reading those sort of blogs (i didn’t read them much anyway!).


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