Reaching Out To Your Audience

As a weblog column writer I get a number of return contacts; spam, emails from people who admire one or other of the posts, and offers to help me increase my popularity with my readers. I do inspect each new contact, and have actually added one weblog column to my daily reading as a result of a comment, but by and large that is it.

It is not that I do not want to increase the ” traffic ” of my columns – it is just that I do not want to be writing or dancing for the audience on their terms. If that were the case I would take up Instagramming or Twittering or Facebooking on a serious basis and fire off memes like machine-gun bullets. It may sound selfish, but I write my own thoughts here…and I am happy to have you read them whenever you’ve a mind to. I can’t write yours – I am not you. And I know some of you are not you, either.

When I try to entertain I fail about as many times as I succeed – that is the fate of most Catskill comedians. The best I can hope for is that you read through to the end of any particular column – in some cases to see if I mention your name, Bill – and do not send in a complaint to your ISP about it. If you laugh or ponder it is a bonus. I will already have done so while writing it.

I do want your readership, and appreciate the likes and replies – at least the ones that do not want me to buy Viagra in an online Russian casino. If some days are less enlightening, be patient – eventually a zeppelin will crash outside the front door and I have a camera ready. In the meantime reflect that all of our lives are somewhat similar, and what happens here in Perth also happens where you live…with the possible exception of the venomous snakes coursing through the local hospital car park. We actually do have that as a real thing here on the south side of the river and it pays to look carefully when you get out of the car. Not all humorous Australian memes are just exaggerated jokes – not in the springtime.

Note: These are not kindly snakes…Google Dugite.

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It’s Not A Blog…

It’s a weblog column. Something that comes out regularly and has a complete set of thoughts in it. My thoughts.

It is not a poem, though there have been times when I’ve written it in poetry.

It’s not a novel. Nothing novel at all. Indeed, there are some very old things in it.

It’s not a connected story – it bounces around as new things are discovered. People say things in the street that eventually become columns here. Wait until you read ” Hey! Bring back my purse! Police! Police! “. ( Good purse but there was nothing of much value in there. Still, it goes with my tan shoes.)

It’s not a rant. One of my columns is a commercial one advertising for a shop and the IT specialist who set it up characterized it in the sidebar as a ” rant “. That actually offends me, but since they do nothing to remedy the situation I merely raise my rates for the jobs I am asked to do. The extra money assuages my injured soul.

So what is it? This one’s a daily essay based upon observation and humour. One of the others is a similar thing devoted to photographic matters – a third revolves around scale models and toys of all sorts. I am happily long retired from my first profession and need not write about teeth and jaws.

Who are my readers? You, for one. And many more, though I cannot exactly figure out how many are constant. I suspect many of the ones that notify me that they like a certain post are using their own weblogs as commercial enterprises and may have automatic programs to throw out electronic grappling hooks. I don’t mind – I do read their connection emails  at least once and have actually added four of them to my daily reading. A couple more seem to have dried up – I mourn that as they had interesting things to read.

Why do I write these columns?

a. It lets me speak freely. That’s not possible on many social media platforms.

b. It lets me crystallize thoughts and memories. If I remember it, I write it, and vice versa. At 70, any mental agility is welcome.

c. I can debunk the myths I have invented for myself and finally be a plain person. That’s hard – even the Amish have to work like devils to be angelic. I need to look at me, and reading what I write helps me to do it. Unfortunately I find others looking over my shoulder and I am aware that no admission ever really vanishes from the internet. But as long as the authorities do not find out about the incident with the chicken necks and the tax inspector I should be fine.

d. It lets me play a part that real life would condemn. The Backstabbers Guild of Australia is a wonderful haven of vile behaviour. The BGA doesn’t have a Speaker of the Senate or a Pauline, but we do have horrid practices nevertheless.

 

Synchromesh

If you never learn another thing…learn to shift gears smoothly.

The people who have automatic transmissions miss this skill – they jerk their T-bar into ” D ” and just accept whatever the unseen mechanism decides to do. In some cases this is flawless work, but in some it is a drag upon their resources.

And it can be worse if they are steering a motor car. Those car transmissions need a lot of maintenance.

What? You though this was all about motor cars in the first place? Wrong – it is about life.

You’ll do lots of things in life that happen at different speeds and under different loads; you’ll be a little kid one day with no responsibilities and a school student next day – with the weight of the world on your shoulders. If you cannot shift smoothly from a 4-year-old centre of the universe to the 5-year-old who is in line and quiet, you have trouble.

Likewise when you transition from grade school to high school – high school to university or trade training – and so on through your lifetime. Be assured that you need a good deal of strategy and patience to make the leap from employed person to retired one. You need to plan to speed up one set of gears while you are slowing another down to get them to mesh properly – you need a mental Synchromesh.

My transition involved writing these columns  as well as hobby interests gathered over the years. I selected a couple that still resonated with me – ones that I could afford and could manage on a physical level. The result has been a smooth transition with no loss of traction. No gears grind and no teeth have broken off the idlers.

If I travel slower than before, and do not surmount such high hills of achievement, I can still take some comfort from the smoothness evident in the ride. It’ll stop one day, of course, but hopefully not from idleness or inattention.

I Shall Be Happy To Support You…

If you are worthy of my support.

This means that the meme you have copied and thrust into my face on Facebook ( Is that where the name comes from? ) will have to be moral and intelligent as well as smarmy. Oh, I like smarmy all right…talk to me after four beers and we can trade smarm…but I am unwilling to sacrifice my good sense, patriotism, or moral principles to gratify you. I am perfectly happy to like your kitten pictures but please keep cheap politics or baiting people  off the page.

I shall also back you to the hilt if you are supporting a good cause that has the primary aim of actually being good. If your cause is selling oleander oil, time-share apartments in Queensland, or the racial vilification of Asians, you are wasting time touting it. In fact you may be opening yourself to the kind of contumely that you are least able to bear. I do laugh readily, and it can be at as well as with you. I can write well enough to set others a’laughing as well.

Please do not regard me as an enemy – I am not. I wish to love you long time, and am dismayed when your actions make this impossible. Help me. Be reasonable. Do not ask me to march up the street screaming against your imagined enemies.

Let me do it against you. I know you. We’re friends…

JORAL

If you are done with FOMO, and JOMO….if you are tired of Woke…if On Fleek sounds vaguely disgusting…we have a new buzzcronym for you. You can take it home, unwrap it, plug it in, and use it on the next unsuspecting listener at a party.

JORAL.

That’s it  – pronounced Johr-Al, it is not another character from an old Superman comic. It is what we all want to experience in today’s world. It stands for Joy Of Ruining A Language.

Now we all have some language skills – we cannot help it, being constantly bombarded by words and ideas from all sides. If we have only a family and a school to form us, we may have a limited vocabulary to keep up with the kewl kids in our crowd. If we take a dose of social media we can have more acronyms and buzz-words than we can handle. Occasionally we need to resort to the Urban Dictionary to see what exactly we have said – though we can get a clue when people spit on us whenever they meet us…

JORAL takes a perfectly innocuous word or phrase and turns it into something vile…and in the process ruins it for ever more. Take the word ” HSOASF” A simple word we often use, particularly in the baking trade or amongst the Amish people. It now turns out to be an acronym for Hold Someone Over A Slow Fire. Hardly the sort of thing that we want to appear on our CV or resumé.

Or REBORK. I hesitate to explain this one, as there may be children reading.

And so it goes – any number of words have been turned into weapons of terror. We cannot be sure what we have said, even if it has passed the Spellchecker stage.

JORAL. That’s what it is.Now get out there and spread the word about not spreading the word.

 

 

What Do You Do When A Writing Deadline Approaches?

You either barricade yourself behind a wall of completed work…or you retreat into excuses – both are perfectly valid.

The first means that you have not disappointed your readers – at least not any more than you normally do. If your entire readership is composed of disappointed people, you have my sympathy.

But by fulfilling your obligations or promises, you only make a stick for your own back. Do good and they’ll expect it of you all the time. Keep topping yourself and one day you’ll be over the top.

On the other hand, if you retreat into whiney excuses for non-performance people will be disappointed in you…oh, wait…they were disappointed in the first example as well…

Have you thought of getting a better set of readers? People who are less judgemental? Might be a thought…

But anyway, let them down occasionally and they will not be on your ass so hard each day. This will give you time to gather new material for a glorious comeback. Because that is the real secret – if you cannot break a writing block you need to go out and find something that breaks it for you. It can be any person, event, place, or experience that makes you mad, sad, glad, or bad. If you are sweating internally, you have a live topic. And you can make it go for ever so long as the powerhouse for your work.

As you explore it and draw from it, the readership will respond. Some will agree, some will not, and some will be disappointed. That is the best indication that you are back in the groove. Go on – give ‘em what they don’t want. They’ll love ya for it.

This Post Has Been Viewed 22,367 Times…

And aren’t we all better for it?

I see from my involvement in Facebook that I can be rewarded with attention from other people. I get it in the form of ” likes ” and small cartoon symbols attached to whatever I post. If I cannot think of something to gain this attention, I can search the internet for someone else’s opinion and post it as a ” share”.

I am not sure how many ” likes ” and ” shares ” I need to be adjudged worthy of entry into Heaven, but if there is a definite number, I’m sure that the Facebook organisation will tell me, and provide a bar graph to show how close I am coming to it. Thankfully, if I seem to be falling behind, salvation-wise, they are prepared to boost my visibility in exchange for money.

To be frank, I’m actually surprised that they have not started to subtract money from my bank account already. It’s computerised and they seem to be in charge of that.

And how did we get ourselves into this mess? We were sensible and adult in the 1990’s. Surely we can be so again.