I have written over 500 blog posts – three times. What I mean is that on three different occasions I have surpassed 500 posts, but that is only because about once a year I perform what I call “blog maintenance.” That is when I go through previous posts and look for things that:
- Seem outdated
- Express opinions too harshly
- Should not have been written in the first place
So twice now I have reached about 530-ish posts before erasing a good pile of stuff. In addition to the above reasons for deletion, I also have a tendency to post chapters of novels. After enough people have read and commented, I always delete those posts mainly to avoid my writing being pirated. I have at least one friend who found out the hard way that her books available on Goodreads and other places had been electronically reproduced and then sold through Amazon by someone pretending to be the author. If I leave chapters up here long enough, that’s likely going to happen to me too.
Many of the blog posts that I deleted were written long before I was “Freshly Pressed,” which means that very few people, if any, actually read them. However, there was also a pile of posts deleted that were post FP. Lots of people read them and commented. So why delete them? Because they were dumb. No, not the people who read them. The posts. Let me explain.
There are many writers out here who write some fabulous stuff. Unfortunately, “fabulous” doesn’t automatically mean anyone is reading it. On the other hand, there are many people who are not necessarily writing anything of interest. However, the writers themselves are very interesting, and hundreds of people are reading everything they write, no matter how dull it might be. It might be like Johnny Depp putting a meaningless editorial in a newspaper. It might not say anything worthwhile, but you can be sure people will read it due simply because of the author. Understandable, but annoying.
Many of the deleted posts, which totaled over 100, were politically themed. There were rants about President Bush II, John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Republican policies in general. There were a handful of rants about things that annoyed me, such as poor drivers, people on television, and people who wanted to be on television but weren’t. There were also a few short stories that will soon be published, so I needed to clear them out before the publisher finds out because some publishers have this weird idea that to put something on a blog is using “first rights” so then it’s like your story lost its virginity or something. I know, crazy, right?
A few other posts needed to be deleted because they were the first versions of something I had later re-posted because, although they were good, they were pre-FP’d, and nobody had seen them. For example, my famous post about Michael Jackson and what was at one time by far my most popular post ever – my ranking of the Disney Princesses. The first versions had to be discarded because they were blog clutter. And there were also posts in which I simply wrote about things I eat, don’t eat, would like to eat, and would like to eat but shouldn’t eat.
I also had to delete a few things because I have at least two stalkers, and I determined that certain posts had caused them to think I was writing about them. Although I was not, I didn’t want to incite them because, well, stalkers are dangerous. This one isn’t the violent dangerous, just the stupid dangerous. She knows who she is.
There were other things I had written that struck me as interesting not because of what I had written but why I had written them. Roughly a year ago, year and a half, I worked my way into what has been called a blog “clique.” It was a group of maybe 20, 30, 50, I’m not really sure how many people were regularly writing, reading, commenting, sharing, etc. It seemed to me that after a few months, this group was gaining a cult-like atmosphere.
The group was very successful at adding up the “likes,” views, comments, and “re-blogs,” but it seemed like we were just writing for each other. It became evident who did or didn’t have certain political or controversial leanings. It also became evident that if you did not write something in agreement to those leanings, you could find yourself right in the bull’s eye of a dartboard. If someone wrote something that was in support of gay marriage or legalizing marijuana, and you commented in opposition or even commented with ambivalence, you might find yourself swarmed upon. Claws would be out, fangs would be sharp, and the thirst would be for blood.
In one particular literary spasm, someone had written about how very few national statues depicted women. My comment was in the direction of “please tell me ten women to whom you feel statues should be dedicated.” My comment was an honest request for the writer to tell me her list of women who deserved statues. I just wanted her opinion of who should go first. Unfortunately, my comment was interpreted as a challenge. The reactions assumed I had instead written, “I doubt you could tell me ten women who deserve statues, but go ahead and try.”
The names, the vicious things I was called were unreal. On my blog I had recently written chapters of fiction in which a deranged man stalks a woman. People were writing things akin to, “I read your story. You’re a horrible man. How dare you even comment on something in support of women when obviously you hate women?” It was the most unfair thing anyone had ever aimed at me.
Someone had misinterpreted my statement, which was like making a wrong turn. Then everyone else not only followed the first wrong turn but then hit some kind of turbo boost and rocketed further down that same wrong turn. Each time I tried to defend myself and explain, I was told to “stop being defensive and just accept that you’re wrong.” I guess their rationale was that nobody should ever defend his or herself. If anyone ever accuses us of anything, we’re just supposed to accept that we are wrong, submit, allow ourselves to be dunked in the lake, and then convert to whatever their way of thinking might be.
Before that angry day, I was writing a great deal and building a great audience and blog numbers – but I wasn’t writing anything worth a damn. I was just writing to make the group happy. I was not writing I wanted to write. I had become addicted to numbers, views, likes, comments, and silly pats on the back in trade for my willingness to play along with the others, as long as I played exactly the game they wanted to play.
That group had some good people in it, smart people. Unfortunately, those smart people were caught between an angry, misguided mob and some unfortunate individuals who dared express either a dissenting opinion or an opinion misinterpreted as dissenting. And even if it had been dissenting, since when is that a crime? I get a kick out of people who claim they will fight to the death to defend your right to express your opinion – as long as your opinion is in line with theirs.
This wasn’t really the direction I had intended when I started this post, but it’s rather clear that something kind of pried its way in and took over. At this point, there’s really no graceful way out of this except to say that I went through my list of 500-something posts, I deleted the stupid ones, and you might want to do the same thing. Or not. I mean hey, it’s your blog, and it’s a free country. Do what you want, as long as everyone else approves.