Today we have the integrated blog stats that WordPress so thoughtfully provides us all, informing me at a glance how many clicks I’ve received per day and what the clickers were clicking on and where the clickers came from, both geographically and via the internet.
We have “Likes”, which on all but the most popular blogs have replaced the standard comments of yesteryear. There were no such thing as Likes in 2006. If you liked something someone wrote, you would tell them by leaving a comment and let them know what exactly you liked about it.
(Not that I’m at all complaining: the world is a much busier place than it was in 2006, and comments take time to compose while Likes are quick and dirty. I’m grateful to know at all when stuff I write resonates with people.)
We also now have blog subscribers, which I love love love, both having them and to be one. There was nothing more annoying back in 2006 than to have to constantly check your favourite blogs for updates, especially for writers who posted multiple times a day.
And yet, despite all these innovations for tracking one’s visitors, I still have no idea who is reading my blog, and perhaps more importantly, how they’re doing so.
Versatility is a virtue
A case in point: last week, I was nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by someone I was completely unaware had been round to check out my site. (At this point, I’m still fairly new to this brave new world of blogging with only a modest number of subscribers and daily clicks, so in theory, figuring out who my readers are should not be that difficult.)
What’s more, I only found out by accident, seeing on my stats page that I’d been referred a reader from a site I’d never heard of before.
Naturally, my curiosity got the better of me. Thus did I find myself at the blog of Anne Kathryn Smith, Writer at Large, who was kind enough to nominate me with the following words:
The Rules of Engagement is nominated for superb articles, tips, and resources for fellow novelists.
Thank you very much, Anne Kathryn, for thinking of me. I am honoured by the nomination, and I hope you continue to enjoy my blog as I carry on documenting my writing life and journey.
From what I understand, the purpose of the Versatile Blogger Award is to help promote blogs that readers consider to be excellent. The rules of accepting the award are as follows:
- Thank the person who gave you the award
- Include the link to their blog
- Share 7 things about yourself
- Nominate 15 other blogs you think are excellent for the award
- Contact the 15 and inform them of the nomination
Steps 1 and 2 are completed. Now for remaining three:
Seven things about me
1. My favourite band is Linkin Park: People are always surprised when I tell them this. It might be because they remember the way Linkin Park sounded back in 2000 when lead singer Chester Bennington was screeching such lyrical poetry as “Shut up when I’m talking to you!” That was all well and good then, but people, they have changed! I’ve already got my ticket for when Linkin Park comes to Vancouver in September (although I have no idea what I’m going to wear; how are Linkin Park fans supposed to dress?), and will definitely report back after the big night.
2. Music in general is a very important part of my life: Music is both the filing cabin and the encyclopedia of my mind. It helps me make sense of my life by allowing me to categorize and understand my various experiences according to specific lyrics or sounds.
3. I am a cycle commuter: I ride because it’s good for the environment, good exercise, less expensive, blah, blah, blah. None of that is untrue, but the truest reason I do it is because I’m incredibly impatient when it comes to city travel, and can’t stand to not be making constant progress towards my destination. Waiting for a bus or sitting in traffic is not making constant progress. Yet, with a bike, the moment you wheel it outside and crank the pedals, you’re going places. I’d rather ride steadily for half an hour than wait ten minutes then take a ten-minute bus trip. In any weather other than snow.
4. I perform a Lenten fast every year, even though I’m not Catholic: I like the idea of giving up things that I love for a time. One never knows when something might be taken away for good, so I like to regularly practice living in a state of (perceived) deprivation, and forty days is just long enough to be challenging but not life-changing.
5. My favourite food is oranges: In this, I define “favourite” as a food I’ve never stopped loving because otherwise, I have many favourites. Despite being in my early-thirties, my eating habits are quite child-like and phase-like. I’ll eat the same foods every other day for years until I abruptly get sick of them … again, for years at a time until the whole cycle begins anew. In the past, I’ve loved and left bagels, Cream of Wheat, quinoa, broccoli, tuna, and cheese. The only food I’ve never abandoned at one time or another is oranges. I’ve eaten an orange at breakfast ever day for at least the past ten years with no sign of stopping.
6. I don’t wear makeup: This isn’t because I’m so beautiful, I don’t need it, but rather because it’s against my egalitarian sensibilities. I believe that all women are naturally attractive in their own way, but marketing and media has created an innate anxiety in us that a) looks are everything, and b) we never look good enough. Women already face enough barriers to economic equality without spending hard-earned money on products we don’t really need that contain unhealthy chemicals to boot.
7. I am terrible at texting: My transition into the world of smart phones and touch screens has not been a gentle one. Even though I see plenty of people more ham-fisted than me texting up a storm every single day, whenever I try it, my plunger-like thumbs managed to hit every letter all around the one I’m actually trying to type. Erpearefly.
Unfortunately, as I am still newly returned to blogging, I don’t yet have fifteen blogs that I follow. As well, some of the bloggers I do read have recently already received the award. For now, I will thus nominate the following:
- Write On: This blog gives me a daily dose of writing craft advice, inspiration, and reminders.
- Meredith Jaeger: This was the first blog I followed on WordPress. I like it for its excellent reflections on both writing craft and on creating a fulfilling and meaningful life.
Thanks again, Anne Kathryn!