Back to Blogging Bootcamp
I don't visit my local library as often as I should but whenever I do the women in there give me wary looks, although I could be just imagining this.
I'll come clean and admit I used to be paranoid but I am fine now because I have realized only half of the people who used to spend all day following me are tailing me now.
Even so I still feel the strain in my eyes in the library as my pupils dilate and I take on the expression of a random alcoholic in an ABC store as I gather in books from east and west, knowing I'll probably never read any of them from cover to cover by the due date.
I hadn't meant to get out Blogging for Dummies but when I saw it I thought - what the heck? What the heck one day I may look back on this as one of life's seismic what the heck moments.
Now I find myself randomly opening pages and getting more and more disenchanted each time. Of course there are the normal frustrations brought about by my rampant technopobia but I can cope with that. I don't need to concern myself with heading off free template problems because I have no clue what these issues might be. Likewise blog markup languages, pinging, RSS feed and Apache which until now I thought was a type of helicopter that got into trouble in Somalia.
I'm more worried by the perceived goals of a blog which include the number of readers attracted, the number of comments, followers and the ability to sell a product. By any and all of these measures if I was at Blog Bootcamp I'd be the overweight guy walking down a dirt road four miles into a 10 mile run.
I try not to consider the stats but 17 followers in over a year and a couple of comments on each post if I'm lucky, certainly ensures my blog is a failure in the terms defined by Blogging for Dummies.
And in the era of social networking when following is everything let's face the harsh truth. I'm hardly a virtual Moses whose followers would walk through parted seas for me.
Page 151 of Blogging for Dummies has proved the most dispiriting so far. "A blog that gets lots of comments is a sign that the blogger is resonating with his or her audience - even if just to make them mad. A blog with no or few comments is probably just leaving people flat and maybe just isn't being read."
This advice makes me wonder if I should be more controversial. What a great job BP is doing in the Gulf. That kind of thing.
Another thing I should be doing, according to Blogging for Dummies is lurking on other blogs. This sounds slightly sinister like I should be wearing a dirty rancoat as I trawl through successful blogs, getting increasingly frustrated by their abject success.
The author Susannah Gardner suggests turning an offline hobby into a blog can lead to a successful hobby blog that's read avidly by likeminded people. "One of my hobbies is knitting, and let me tell you, the knitters have caught onto blogging in a huge way," she writes.