When in doubt, add an artsy photo.
Photo by Xenonlit
Danger lurks in the back alleys of the vast digital metroplex we call the internet. Social anacondas slither around with their web bots and their canned code. To them, we bloggers are nothing but small literary rodents, ripe for the slimy, gaping maws of plagiarizers, schemers, high school English teachers and trolls.
We start out believing that decent people will recognize our wit and skill. The reality is that blogging is a bloody beast that will suck us up and chew our bones if we do not exercise care.
Blogging sites are the least private place in the known universe.
Oh come on! Aliens in outer space have been reading our stuff and poking through our overstuffed profile pages. They planned to come after us this weekend for mocking them, but Gorlock the Destroyer had to move out of his apartment by Saturday. The landlord threatened to keep his deposit.
Online readers consume our priceless brilliance with the attention spans of infant gnats. They like an infusion of plain language that goes directly into their bloodstreams. This has nothing to do with reading. It is all about content consumption.
This means that online content must be clean and well edited before we flush it out into the web.
There is no going back. A blog is a thing that lasts forever.
Blogging is literary Styrofoam. Blogging is not biodegradable. It will stay available until the end of time, floating around and around at the top of the bowl. Our blogs will rise to the top no matter how many times we try to flush them down.
Hey... you go reach down in there to get it out! I'm not going to do it!
Blogging is like the plot of a "Dr. Who" rerun. If you write a blog, it will take on a life of its own. It will sit there forever, glaring at you and breathing loudly. It will appear every time you Google yourself.
Bloggers create the equivalent bulk of a hundred million ethnic food takeout containers a day, so think of the web as a gargantuan vessel, full of living, breathing, immortal creatures that were created and set free... by us!
Photo by Xenonlit copyright 2012, all rights reserved
The audience is the real threat to a blogger. This is why we should never see or know our audience.
Here are two recommendations: Compartmentalize your audience and stay ignorant about your audience.
Never tell your loved ones, co-workers or close friends that you blog. Yes, they will show up in big numbers... once. After that, they only return for fresh ammunition to lob at our heads.
We must compartmentalize when we publicize our blog. One day we might be compelled to write about our own Addams family values. It is not safe to write that stuff while Uncle Fester and Pubert are reading it, now is it?
No! It is not safe for them know what we really think of them. How will they behave when they know it?
Keep your source people away from your blog or the police will come around to ask why you left so much blood behind when you disappeared.
This wisdom also applies to co-workers and employers. They are not like us at all. They will never understand why we need a thesaurus to describe a graphic sex scene. Those people only have a few words for describing their own sex lives, so how are they going to read our scenes?
They will not understand what we meant when we wrote the story about Quahog Clams who get exposed to Fukishima radiation, become super intelligent, and take over the world.
They are certain to miss the hidden meaning.
The boss will not be happy to know that he is the model for the juvenile, sadistic King of the Super Quahogs.
Your work relationships will never be the same if you allow known people see your blog.
The blank page is a seductive lure. Beware the critics.
Be ready for your audience. All of three of them will read, but they will never comment. They are the phantom people. They lurk during their lunch hours. They use their sporks to eat from deli containers of macaroni salad while they read. We never know when or how they come and go.
If you are attacked by a critic, go back and change the offending blog as soon as you can. Do this quickly so you can claim that your tormenters is delusional!
Photo by Xenonlit, copyright 2012, all rights reserved
English teachers and editors are more dangerous than the buttery pancake photo we use when we are too lazy to find a more relevant photo.
We think that editors will discover us and lead us to the land of milk and honey. No, they will not do so. They will huddle with their buddies, misusing our error riddled work for their personal entertainment. Otherwise, they will intimidate and discourage new writers of all ages by pointing out our errors!
They will ruin us if we let them! Attica! Revolt!
Tell the editors and critics about the new world of web optimized grammar and spelling. We the bloggers of the world do not need their stinking commas and tildes unless they lift, separate and make our stuff bouncy and perky. Otherwise those punctuation marks distract the eye and the reader! A distracted reader is a reader who has already moved to another web page!
Tell those editors to get with the times.
We must control the urge to publish SEO laden celebrity opinions and news just to make a load of money and gain loyal audiences.
What happens when you do that?
You become Perez Hilton! That's what happens!
Do you really want to be Perez Hilton? Think hard about that, no matter how much it hurts! Avoid celebrity gossip and news even when Google trends screams at you to write about it!
Bloggers mistakenly expect to gain an audience that will grow exponentially.
Sorry. Blogs can only do basic math! A blog audience can only grow through arithmetic, one half to one quarter of a reader at a time!
Don't worry. Let Perez Hilton keep the fame, shiny fabrics and fortune. We bloggers are the real deal. So what if we have no clue about search engine optimization?
We are here and we are legion. Our sheer numbers will feed the word gluttons. Our insights will be here for all to discover. Our word spills will pollute the web forever!
But we will be careful.