My relationship with blogging

To say that Strawberry Singh is an influential Second Life blogger would be a huge understatement; her character and her uncanny talents in photographic manipulation have earned her a massive following, especially in the fashion-centric part of SL’s community, and this has also created a rather large crowd that responds to her memes. Let me go on record for saying that, as a rule of thumb, I avoid doing memes, preferring to honk my own horn instead, writing about what I want to write, when I want to write about it (or feel ready to do so) and following a format that I chose; I’ve no problem with Strawberry starting memes; in fact, I enjoy her posts, and even her meme-starting posts (her blogger challenges) are very well-written, interesting, witty and thought-provoking. What grates is seeing other people’s blogging (and internet in general) presence consist (almost) exclusively of sheepishly following other people’s memes. The words “bandwagon” and “jumping” spring readily to my mind when encountering such blogs, SL feeds etc. I tend to think that these people are the exact kind of people who droveinspired “Weird Al” Yankovic to record this magnificent song:

If it wasn’t for the “me too” mentality that characterises the bloggers whose blogging presence consists mostly (if not exclusively) of responding to memes, I would have responded to Strawberry’s “Why Do I Blog Meme?” much earlier – and perhaps I would have participated in a few more of her memes. I only responded today, with a delay that now exceeds two weeks. Deciding whether I wanted to do it, whether I should do it and, finally, whether I should actually post it and share it with the public at large was not easy; it took some serious deliberation. That said, I must say that I also do have my own role models when it comes to blogging – some of them being, among others and in no particular order, Exotix (Inara Pey), Honour McMillan, Gwyneth Llewelyn, Darrius Gothly, Saffia Widdershins and Ziki Questi. As far as I’m concerned, it was only after Exotix (Inara Pey) and Gwyneth Llewelyn responded to Strawberry’s that I decided to consider breaking my “avoid doing memes” rule and take the plunge. The format of the meme is quite easy: all you have to do is answer a few questions about your blogging habits. So, without further ado, I give you my own answers, for what they can be worth:

Should I or shouldn't I?

“Should I or shouldn’t I?” – Here I am at Humanoid, pondering whether I should respond to Strawberry’s meme.

  1. How long have you been blogging? Blogging about my SL presence has been an on-off thing; I’ve tried my hand at it quite a few times in the past, but most of my previous attempts were erratic – at best. I started blogging systematically late in 2012 on WordPress, although I had also given Blogspot a try.
  2. Why did you start blogging? Back when the blogging bug bit me for the first time, I wanted to blog about my exploration and enjoyment of erotic themes, fantasies and fetishes within SL. One of the topics I wanted to write about (and still cover occasionally) is D/s, my experiences in this realm, and the way it is perceived and often misinterpreted and misrepresented in both RL (Real Life) and SL. I must say here that I drew great inspiration from the D/s-related blog that Exotix (Inara Pey) had started on the subject. However, there’s just so much more to SL than D/s and, well, pixel sex, that I soon realised that I should broaden my blog’s scope considerably.
  3. How many times a week do you post an entry? There really isn’t such a thing as a “written in stone” rule for me in this regard. I try to publish at least two posts per week, usually in the weekends when my RL activities and obligations allow me some time to blog. Sometimes, though, RL might either get in the way or I may take opportunities or be presented with reasons to blog more frequently within the week, as is the case with today. Or, I might just get lazy; sometimes I also run into “writer’s block”.
  4. How many different blogs do you read on a regular basis? I try to read most, if not all, of the blogs on my blogroll at least a few times a week – there are, of course, a few blogs that I read daily or whenever they have something new, and some that I should start reading more often.
  5. Do you comment on other people’s blogs? Yes, when I feel that I have something to say that might be worth saying.
  6. Do you keep track of how many visitors you have? Yes; it helps me gain some insight not only w.r.t. the number of people who read my blog, but also w.r.t. their interests and expectations.
  7. Did you ever regret a post that you wrote? To be honest, I try to avoid publishing rushed posts. Most of my posts spend quite a good deal of time in draft form (where they are often cannibalised for parts and broken down into smaller, more focused posts). While I don’t really think I’ve written a post that I shouldn’t have written, w.r.t. the views expressed in it or the way I backed what I had to say, there have been times when I thought that maybe a post or two might have benefitted from a little extra “polish” here and there.
  8. Do you think your readers have a true sense of who you are based on your blog? I believe and hope that my posts do offer people a clear view of where I stand and what my values are. In that sense, I believe that my readers are given a good sense of my personality. Does this reflect and represent the “real” me? To a certain extent, yes – because my presence in SL and the blogosphere is an expression of many aspects of my RL personality. However, the fact that I have placed a number of limits regarding what information about my RL I disclose and to whom, there’s always going to be a disconnect between my RL and SL self, for numerous reasons. How this affects readers’ ability to understand who I am, I don’t know.
  9. Do you blog under your real name? No. Never have, never will.
  10. Are there topics that you would never blog about? Yes. I avoid blogging about (a) SL fashion, (b) topics on which I don’t have any knowledge – one can very easily make a total fool of themselves when they don’t know what they’re talking about, (c) religion.
  11. What is the theme/topic of your blog? Second Life and the way I experience and savour it. Sometimes I may also blog about RL-related (sometimes political) topics, if I feel really strongly about them or if they affect my own experience of SL.
  12. Do you have more than one blog? If so, why? I keep my old blog, but I no longer post in it, as I’ve migrated to this one. One could say I keep the old blog merely to provide some insight into the beginnings of my (now systematic) blogging presence.
  13. What have you found to be the benefits of blogging? It allows me to better understand SL, the people in it, and even Linden Lab (with all of its own weaknesses); also, it is a way for me to document my meanderings in the ways people can express their creativity within this particular platform, as well as a way to express myself and improve my own skills when it comes to being creative (in-world building, SL photography, writing, etc).
  14. So, why do you continue to blog? I think my answer to the previous question largely answers this one as well. It’s an outlet for me; it helps me put my thoughts in order and even inspires me to continue exploring the Metaverse.
A detail from Lotus Dream Valley at Fantasy Faire 2013

A detail from Lotus Dream Valley at Fantasy Faire 2013

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Mona

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See also:

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Shortlink: http://wp.me/p2pUmX-bk

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5 thoughts on “My relationship with blogging

  1. After reading your reply to Strawberry’s meme, as well as a few others, I noticed how arrogant I am — I’m fond of writing about things I have no clue about (I do that all the time), and, most especially, I write a lot about “religion” 🙂 [even if it’s not obvious]

    I feel humbled to know that most of the bloggers I’ve read the answers about are much more humble and rational in their blogging… I’m so glad to have found all of you around in the SLogosphere!

  2. Thank you so much for the kind words about me. I’m happy you did the meme. I’m also happy though that there is a “me too” mentality in the blogging community, I do it myself at times. If I see a good challenge or meme and I have time to do it, I make sure I do because well, I find it fun and that’s what my blogging is about. Plus, if they didn’t have a “me too” mentality then I wouldn’t get as many people participating in my memes and that would be a bit disappointing for me as I enjoy reading everyone’s answers so much. So I am really happy that you and the others that don’t normally do the memes took the time to do them this time. It was great to learn more about some of my favorite bloggers. Thanks for participating! ❤

    1. Hello Berry and thank you for commenting. One thing that gets to me regarding the “me too” mentality on the internet (and elsewhere) is the complete lack of deliberation regarding whatever is propagated. As far as memes are concerned, users just follow and/or forward them without thinking at all.

      Putting aside the chain mails that cause my eyes to roll everytime I see them in my inbox (you know, the ones that help hoaxes, paranoid conspiracy theories and urban legends spread like wildfire), blogger challenges are often a double-edged sword for the ones responding to them.

      For starters, some blog challenges (not necessarily yours) can read like personality tests. While this sort of questionnaire can be fine every once in a while, when a blog’s content consists exclusively or mostly of this kind of thing, it gives the impression that its owner either doesn’t care to write something that requires mental effort on their behalf or doesn’t have something interesting and thought-provoking to say.

      Then, at least to my eyes, one can get a much deeper insight into someone’s way of thinking and attitude towards various matters when I read posts they’ve written to discuss these matters, putting their thoughts and arguments in plain view, rather than giving formulaic (or semi-formulaic) answers to questions someone else created.

      I understand your pleasure in reading others’ answers to your questions and challenges. However, I do think I should point you to my second argument on why memes can be a double-edged sword for those responding to them; having someone express and expose their views on a specific matter in a free-form style can be far more revealing about what they think and how they think.

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