Monday, November 08, 2004

BlogExplosion Anonymous - 1st Meeting

Hello, my name is Mellie Helen, and I’m a blogoholic.

(hears the two or three people which comprise the crowd offer up a somber, “Hello, Mellie Helen.”)

I’m a brand new member here at BlogExplosion Anonymous; um, I’m kind of uncomfortable laying myself bare like this, and right now (nervous laugh) I’d really like to blogsurf. (licks lips.) I’m admitting that my problem is bigger than I am, and I’m ready to take on my demons to free myself and return to a life of normalcy. However un-normal that was.

(deep breath.)

Up until just about a month ago, I was merely a blurker. I’d look at a very few blogs, but never comment on anything, or contact the authors; I never got involved. It was purely social blurking, and I only blurked the big names -- you know them: bOING bOING, FARK, J-Walk, the Disney Blog...but I was content to read and not, ya know, get all caught up in that world. I only checked ‘em two, three times a week tops, and never spent more than a total of, say, half an hour perusing all of them.

Then one day, a friend urged me to try blogging myself. Heh, it always seems to start with “friends”, doesn’t it (more nervous laughter). At first, I eschewed the idea right off the bat. What Me Blog?, I laughed. I don’t know code. I don’t know html from ftp. Plus, I’m an extremely busy mom and just don’t have time for such a thing.

Oh no, it’s easy, the friend reassured me. Gave me a link that set up my blog for free. It’s always free at first, isn’t it. (sees audience members nod knowingly.) What she didn’t tell me was that there was a catch: just one taste of blogging, and you’re hooked. My friend, the pusher.

Since then, I’ve found myself spending time on the blog, first setting it up, finding interesting things to post on it, getting it up and running. My kids were watching tapes on the TV; they’re okay. But then the video watching stretched to two hours...three...four...while I told myself, it’s only temporary; after all, I am in the process of setting up my blog. It’s not like I’ll always be on the computer this much.

Truer words were never thought. As I got more sucked in to the world of blogging, I discovered what I thought would be a fun tool. It turned out to be my ultimate nemesis. You know what I’m talking about, don’t you. Let’s just say it out loud: BlogExplosion. Yes, we know BlogExplosion, and even affectionately refer to it as “BE”. Like it’s a friend. A friend with a hook in our souls.

It was evident now that I was just fine letting my kids sit in front of the tube for up to six hours at a time. “It’s not that bad,” I’d tell myself. “After all, we don’t have television and all of the tapes here are either educational or otherwise fully acceptable.” Never mind the glazed look on their faces. Never mind they were not on their usual bathing or eating schedules. Never mind the abandonment issues they will be discussing with a therapist years down the line.

I was getting wholly consumed with blogging. Get a blogroll going! GASP! The blog rolling thingie isn’t working!! Stay up late into the wee hours of the morning, trying to get it to work. Unsuccessful, I lay myself down in bed only one hour before it’s time to get up. I get up, toss the kids some juice and toast, and sit myself back down to check the blogging again. “How many credits do I have left? Perhaps I’ll make another banner! OH now why did one person rate me a 10 and the very next person rate me a 1? What’s wrong with my blog? I know it’s not the wittiest or most cleverly designed blog around, but....uh oh, my credits are running out. No one will see my blog when surfing. Must spend the next three hours surfing to gain credits! But, oh, I SO want to catch up on reading some of the blogs that really stood out to me as excellent ones -- so then I spend hours reading everyone’s fabulous stuff, while my husband is wondering why there isn’t a clean shirt to be found in the house and the cat drops all his fur from the stress of begging for food, unnoticed.

Then tonight, I recieved my intervention. DH -- who spends his LIFE on the computer -- confronted me and mentioned that he felt that perhaps I was spending a little too much time on the laptop. My knee-jerk reaction was to say, what are you talking about...and I instantly felt defensive...and didn’t want to stop my blogsurfing...and...and...

...and then I realized it was past 7:00pm and hadn’t yet fed my family their dinner.

So that’s it. I’m taking a hiatus from actively surfing and BlogExploding. I will continue to write my blog, and I will continue to read the gems I’ve blogmarked, and may still occasionally check the directory for new material. But I will no longer blogsurf to gain credits, and when the credits on my banners run out, that’ll be the end of my advertising for a time. I need to grab hold of this, and now, before my toddler and pre-schooler are in college and I miss their lives. I mean, we only homeschooled one day this past week. One day!

Those three of you who enjoy Golly Blog Howdy, please do keep coming ‘round. Tell your friends to check it out. Everyone is welcome to fall on by and be an elite reader of the Really Tiny Blog That Almost No One Will Know About Or At Least Hear About For A While.

I’m not writing off BlogExplosion. It’s fine for those who can hold their blogging. But it’s obviously an issue for me, at least for now. I shall remain a member, and I may even come back for full participation. But in the family needs me. And I need my family.

If you’ve a mind, you’re welcome join the club.

Do I get a chip now?

UPDATE (AKA, MAKING THIS POST EVEN LONGER): Well, golly bob howdy whattya know. I only just this morning learned that one can purchase credits and banner impressions from BE. On the Members page, there’s a Buy Advertising link. It’s $5 for 500 credits; $9 for 1000 credits; etc. Banners are $7 for 5,000 impressions, $12.50 for 10,000 impressions, etc. Sure, it’s basically pimping to pay people to view your site. But, let’s face it, so is “visiting” a site for only 30 seconds just to get credits. If I add up the hours I was spending in pure surf time and calculate what each hour of my time is worth to me and my family vs. the benefit of getting my three readers to come visit, well, it’s a no-brainer to buy the credits. Plus this way, I can spend more time actually reading the blogs that interest me, rather than eternally surfing.


At November 8, 2004 at 7:59 PM, Blogger SilverBubble said...

Ah, I know how addicting BE can be. Best of luck working things out!

At November 8, 2004 at 8:27 PM, Blogger u-set said...

your not the only one addicted..i've gone threw the same think since BE came up..and its unfair that the only way to stay in the game is to surf or banners but hey its free unless you buy those credits...i read alot of blogs but i dont read the long ones..your story kept me entertained..

At November 9, 2004 at 6:44 AM, Blogger Ms. Lori said...

BE is really making me mad lately -- used to be that I'd win mystery credits, like, every five minutes, and that was great 'cause I don't have the time to surf for hours (I've four kids), but the last two days have been frustrating. Nada credits. Well, except the three times I won two or three credits. Big whoop.

You know what they do, those wicked BE people? They hook newbies in by throwing a ton of mystery credits at them then slowly take them away. Oh, and don't even get me started on the ratings. I've had quite a few 'tards rate mine a 1 because they hate my politics. Boo!

Anyway, nice blog you have here -- good writing, sweet humor...
I'll be back.

At November 9, 2004 at 8:08 AM, Blogger Carmi said...

I almost got hooked as well. I started seeing all these posts telling me how wonderful Blog Explosion and its ilk were. They begged me to both subscribe and learn the intricacies of the referral process. They breathlessly exhorted me to dive into the participant pool lest my blog get left behind and, in doing so, be doomed to a future of endless loneliness and mirth.

Well, I decided to pass. Sure, I signed up and tossed a log or two on the site. Fine, whatever. But I'll be darned if I'm going to spend an inordinate amount of time basically flogging myself in arcane systems which may or may not benefit me or my family into the future. Correction: I KNOW they'll have no impact.

At the end of the day, blogging is about good writing, and the folks who read it. Everything else is either gravy, or a great big waste. I'll focus on creating the best darn blog I can. Glad to see you're thinking the same way.

To quote one of my favorite movies of all time, Field of Dreams: "If you build it, he will come."


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