Sunday, February 21, 2010

Being noteworthy, a mixed blessing. Not wanting to be churlish or anything...

Last week I got made a Blogger 'Blog of Note'.  Three and a half years ago, when I was just a little blogger (I am still a little blogger, but slightly sagging and a little overweight with age now), I secretly wanted this so much.  I used to look down at the Blogs of Note when I signed in, and wonder if I would ever be noticed like this.  In truth, I rarely visited them, though I do remember one rather good themed one about 19th Century Moustaches, but it still seemed like a good thing to be.

Of recent times however, I had pretty much forgotten about the existence of the thing, that I even could scroll down from my dashboard and find the list of recent Blogs of Note.  However, statistics being what they are, the time had to come when, simply by dint of having been around this long and still posting, and of Blogger needing to find a new one every day, my number was up.  Now I'm not saying the accolade is simply bestowed in some totally randomly, electronically generated way, I'm sure there are human beings involved, and that they have genuinely looked at Box Elder and decided that recognition is in order, but the longer I went on, the more likely it was to happen, and that, truthfully, it can't be much to do with quality and more about the need for quantity.

I always assumed one would be notified by the authorities in question, but the first I heard of it was from a hitherto unknown commenter congratulating me about it.  I received a handful of visits, comments that is, from people who haven't been here before, which was interesting and gratifying, and I have very much enjoyed visiting them back, they are proper, talented bloggers doing great things, so thanks to them for that.

My Followers have doubled in number.  Unfortunately, I don't and won't (at least for the foreseeable) subscribe to Followers myself, and unless you do, as I've said before, Blogger won't let you see who your followers are.  I daresay my stats have increased, at least temporarily, but as I don't and won't have any form registering or counting of stats on this blog, then I don't know about that either.  So the benefits there are equivocal. 

And then, there's the spam.  The spam creeps obviously pay more attention to Blogs of Note than I do.  Two of them were in non-Roman characters, I didn't bother to find out what language, and blitzed me heavily, so I had to go back and scrape them off a dozen or more posts, and one of them was Portuguese, urging me to 'make money on-line!'. He seemed to be a sort-of-real blog, with some profile information and posts about commercial webby matters, but I flagged him as spam anyway because I didn't like being harrassed by him, and he'd hidden the bar thingy with the 'report abuse' facility on it, so that indicated to me he had something to be ashamed of.  I copied and pasted his blog address into the relevant Blogger form anyway.  But it just kind of wasted my precious time.

Which brings me to the question of spamming on blogs.  What I've heard, from people who should know, is that once you follow a link in a spam comment or to a spam blog, you are risking being jumped by malware, viruses etc, even if you take no further action.  However, the other piece of advice, and one which I always tend to follow on principle, because it gives me some satisfaction to do so, is that spam blogs should be flagged and reported as abuse.  Now, how can you flag them if you don't follow the link?

Some of the spam is anonymous, I don't want to ban anonymous comments, for reasons I've given before, I've had some I wouldn't have missed for the world, and occasionally someone I know, without a Google account or just not logged-in, might use the facility.  So far, apart from the spam, I've not had unpleasantness from anonymous commenters, most of what I post here is fairly anodyne, I don't imagine many people would bother reading or looking here to take issue with anything.  Though now Blogger has brought me into the temporary and very dingy limelight, who knows...  This anonymous spam I delete straight away, but as the comments themselves are full of links, sometimes you can click on it inadvertently, in ignorance anyway.

Any information or advice here would be welcome. I really don't want to have to use moderation.  I know many of my best friends do, and it doesn't bother me to go along with it, but it would just seem to spoil something for me somehow, and ditching spam is still a chore, what ever stage you have to do it.

But, I must stop this graceless griping.  It was very nice to get noted, and welcome to any newcomers it has brought.  As you may have gathered, I am very comfortably ensconced in an evolutionary blind alley here; basic Blogger blogging without too many trimmings is really all I do; my life is free of stats, Followers, I've even ditched most of my feeds.  I don't have any truck with Facebook, Twitter, Bebo, or any of those things, because at heart I am a technophobe suffering from accidie (though at least I know how to spell it, which I probably still wouldn't were it not for blogging).  Even my Flickr account has fallen into desuetude, and my attempts to have a second string to my bow or possible bolthole with Wordpress also fell by the wayside on account of the accidie thing.  I only have Picasa web-albums because as an editing tool it's easier than Photoshop.

Now, enough blogging on about blogging.  I seem to have been doing rather a lot of that lately, and I think perhaps it's a bad sign.  A tendency to get self-referential is bad for any form of expression, I think.  (Or do I? You see I'm far too uncertain what I think about anything to get in any fights...)  So last night's 'The Virtual Revolution', and the question of whether we hedgehogs are an endangered species, about to be gobbled up by the youthful little foxes, will have to be shelved, or left to more trenchant minds than mine.

So now I'm off to whittle a stick-calendar, or perhaps finish illuminating a codex, if I've got the time.  Or else continue to shuffle and snuffle, hedgehog-like, through my blogroll.  But before that, a few abstracts of home, garden and compost heap, because I'm like that. ( In the one below, you can see my blue Nepali felt slippers, which I love with a passion, but which are already going into holes.)

Oh yes, and I meant to say, Crafty Green Poet got Blog-of-Noted too, and she does deserve it!


jem said...

Good to read your post Lucy. I got 'Blog of Note' last week too, and felt much as you. When I started blogging readers and comments seemed so important. But as time has gone on the writing has become the main thing, and comments are a bonus, but really only when they show they have connected with the post itself. I try to comment on a handful of blogs I read regularly, and try to say something unique in each comment.

Sadly there is too much cut and paste complimenting on blogs which doesn't really give you much satisfaction when you think about it.

And yes, lots of spam since being 'Blog of Note'. Quite a lot of genuine comments, but I wonder if a lot of those are just hoping for reciprocal commenting.

Good to read someone else with a taste of cynicism about it all. And also good to see your blog, and in particular your stunning photos. I really love the third one, the blue one, sort of watery whilst also being leafy.

Thanks for letting me share my ramblings with you. Best wishes.

PurestGreen said...

I got blog of note last week and have had a lovely increase in followers but also new spam, which I hadn't had before. I was surprised because of the word verification, which would mean that the spammers are actually having to work at being annoying. I deleted the comments.

And may I just say...mmmmmmm...close up broken glass photo...

HKatz said...

Congratulations on being a 'blog of note' :) Regardless of what Blogger's selection criteria are, your blog deserves to be noted and visited.

And thank you for posting these photos. The blue plant shadows are especially wonderful, but the rest too have so much texture - it's great when photos convey more than the visuals of an object or scene, but also engage the other senses.

Unknown said...

C'est ci BON!

Zhoen said...

Love the brass reflection photo, smeary impressions.

Eccidie and desuetude, I am impressed.

I'm well into six years blogging, and am still not noteworthy. Still, I get enough spam that I meticulously delete and report. Far worse when I allowed anonymous and didn't use verification, which keeps some real folks away, sadly.

I got noticed by a Big Blog once, and had a week of large numbers of readers, which I mostly had to shoo away because they were trampling the lawn. I'll take my score of friends, and write to them.

Roderick Robinson said...

Glad to get into the comment chain early on. I blink my eyes and I'm down to 17th and you've already done two summary-responses. It's hard to deal with compliments and I admire your use of spam as a delaying mechanism before arriving at the valedictory bit where you must wrestle with incontrovertible recognition. Very gracefully done, you shrug your shoulders so elegantly. As to the worth of this virtual medal I know nothing; my only reaction is what took them so long. I could tell you why you gained this award but I feel for your shoulders. Too much shrugging... So let me be brief and disguise my appreciation of Box Elder with another quite different thank-you. Back in the dark ages I commented a couple of times on Plutarch's blog and you poked around to check my profile. Since I was merely commenting I didn't have one. But given that I always fear the worst I thought that anyone who aspires to be a loud-mouth should lay something on the line. My blog followed my profile and during those early arid days you and Plutarch provided the only evidence that anyone was listening. I enjoy blogging and you are 50% of the reason I got started. For that much thanks and, damnit, this is something you cannot shrug your shoulders at. Hah: the WV is "Bless" - a bit fulsome for the West Riding but it will suffice.

marja-leena said...

Congratulations, Lucy, you deserve it, even if you shrug it off! You've been a favourite since the day you started blogging and you just keep getting better, like good wine. I love your writing style, a touch self-deprecating though it is, and your photos are magnificent, even more so now that they are larger. These ones are almost abstract which appeals to me. Keep on doing what you do so magnificently.

As for spammers, comment moderation works for me. I tried registration for a little while but my readers didn't like it. Another thing I do is turn off commenting on older blog posts, for that's where I notice most of the nasties drop their calling cards!

Heh, by the time I get up on the other side of the world to read your blog, you've already had dozens of comments!

Rouchswalwe said...

Gosh. I hope this won't take too much "administrative" time. You found me within a month or so after I started blogging, sweet Lucy, and so yours and Tristan's blogs were my first two that I commented on. For me, you've been and are not only a writer and photographer of note but a good friend! Don't worry, all of us old-timers are with you for the long haul in spite of the award! I'm still hoping we can get together someday in the future to raise a pint together!

Marcheline said...

Congrats on your "Blog of Note"-ness!

I am not a spammer, I actually found you on the blog list of "In This Life". A sort of friend-of-a-friend visit, this.

I'm looking for some unbiased advice for a conundrum I'm facing just now, and I would appreciate it if you'd stop by my blog and weigh in on the issue at hand.


Crafty Green Poet said...

I think that whoever chooses Blog of Note was following a little trail in our part of the cybersphere to find you, me and Jem so closely together!

Oh the Spam is annoying isn't it? I'm hoping it will only be temporary. Nice to have so many extra followers, but would be even nicer if they commented and engaged (well perhaps that depends on what they would say!). I don't really want to set comment moderation, i agree with you on that. The idea of setting it up on older posts though might be a good one....

Anyway i always enjoy reading your words and seeign you photos!

P. M. Doolan said...

Hi Lucy,
Well, selfishly, the "blog of note" thing helped me discover your blog (and that of Crafty Green Poet) and for that I am grateful.
I don't agree that statistically you were bound to get it eventually because the number of blogs around increases by hundreds a day at least, while there is only one blog of note per day. So your chance of getting it decreases daily. So, congratulations. I'm sure is wasn't a machine that choose you but someone recognised the quality of your work. Wonderful photos and I love your meandering postings. Keep it up. Oh, I do use moderate my comments, though I've never had one that I had to reject. I don't find it a hassle at all, yet was thinking of getting rid of the moderation step - so I'm moving in the opposite direction to you.

Jean said...

Congratulations! You're definitely a blog of note in my book.

Lucy said...

Oh you are all lovely, I do so like how you all come rollicking back on a Sunday night full of good cheer! Thank you everybody.

Jem and PM Doolan - I very much appreciate your coming, it was worthwhile getting the BofN thing if only to meet you two, and such fine intelligent writing at your blogs.

Plutarch - I can't remember what that's the slogan for! Some iconic French foodstuff...

BB and R - I think if I encouraged you two along that's enough blogging achievement in itself. Say I'm weary, say I'm sad...

CGP and Purest Green - yes, I'd rather come to that conclusion that they must have been following links in our neighbourhood!

In the end I think it is largely chance, though I appreciate the compliments. I know it is a real person or people who selects them, and that there are many blogs started up all the time, but many of them fold or go dormant very quickly, or post so infrequently that they aren't likely to be picked up on. Some time I'll go over to Blogger Buzz and read up about it.

I won't resort to moderation, it's potentially a discouragement to readers, and if verification doesn't stop them I can't see that moderation will. Putting on both just seems like building too much of a fortress.

The blue pics are of afternoon light coming through the front window, which I could photograph endlessly, with the shadows of the Christmas cactus behind the semi-tranlucent screen of a blue document wallet I'd left on the table. Glad you liked them, thought it might be an abstraction too far. The glass was the dome of an old outside lamp, lying around in the garden and broken by frost. The brass knob is the poker handle, it was surprisingly fuzzy and scratched, to the passing naked eye it looks a much smoother mirror...

Once more, thanks all.

Teem-k said...

It's great! 10x

herhimnbryn said...

Hedgehogs of the world unite, says I.

I shall continue to snuffle around my blog and others.

Your slippers sound very exotic...

Dale said...

Well, shoot, I've been blogging forever on blogspot, and *I've* never been a blog of note. Or at least if I was, nobody told me about it :-)

I've had a couple ghostly encounters with blog fame. A post about commuting by bicycle got linked to and twittered about, and my stats doubled for a couple weeks. Of all those ghostly visitors, exactly one left a (rather banal) comment. Same thing a couple months before, with a post about poetry publishing. It was fun to see the stats jump, but that was about it. One thoughtful reader who comments insightfully is worth any number of ghostly, inattentive glancers!

In any case, you were a blog of note long before blogger took notice! :-)

rb said...

Oh look there's one of the b**tards there above me! Knob off!

How rude of them.

Well done on being blog of note. I am sure they only select blogs that are worthy. Really though, I'm sure they do.

I have no idea about spammers though - because my blog is essentially closed and I don't link to it I don't get any spam at all. But that's a high price to pay.

I am not sure what I would think about being a blog of note. Well, at the moment I would panic because I am meant to be private, but generally I'm not sure. I'd be flattered I think and it is nice to find some new readers but I dunno, I don't really like or approve of awards and things - I like blogging to be pure and for people to do it just because they love it. So I'm not sure. I suspect I'd have a little skip about though and feel horribly pleased with myself - so I hope you did too!!!

afinskiy said...

Очень интересно

Lucas said...

Well done Lucy - your response to being a Blogger of Note is real and confirms what blogging as a new form is about! Great photos in this and recent posts too!
Identification word: shers which is a bit like Cheers!

Bee said...

Ah, the mysteries of Blog of Note-ness. Another friend of mine, Elizabeth, got noted for a blog that she has not posted on for almost two years! What does it all mean?

I would like to think that someone at Blogger REALLY is reading, though, because in your case the honour is richly deserved and you should have lots and lots of readers.

As for spam, unless it really becomes a problem just remove the comments.

Meggie said...

You truly deserve to be a Blog of Note.
The traffic settles, I found.

Lucy said...

And again.

HHB - I haven't done the test yet, to confirm that I am indeed a hedgehog, but it seems to me likely. The slippers I got in Yorkshire last year, and have not been able to replace either by orthodox retail or internet means, until now, when I have found a woman in Devon making them to order from local fleeces. I shall blog about them whe they arrive. Felt is marvellous but wears out quickly.

Dale - thank you dear, and frankly the oversight of not noting you further proves that the worth of the thing is dubious. I think glancing is probably all they do, and judging by Bee's comment below probably not even that, so anything that required much thoughtful reading wouldn't get a look in from that point of view. May I just say, RB below is not telling you to knob off, but a spammer who was there and no longer is.

RB - you made me laugh quite immoderately at that! It's unfortunate that I have permanently removed the spammer and it looks like you are talking about Dale! Also, you have caused the incidence of the word 'knob' here to increase even more, following the one on the end of the poker, and now I'll probably get even more weird visitors! Damn, I just said it again...

Lucas - mm, as I say, a very mixed blessing. But thank you anyway!

Bee - oh good, you've confirmed that I genuinely can go on brushing it off as meaningless!

Meggie - I'm glad to hear it settles. It's getting a full time job scraping off the spam. The rather puzzling ones are these Ukrainian boys. I've had a couple now, they seem genuine, but what are they doing here? One of them didn't really have anything on his blog, but referred one to his Picasa albums which were things like snaps of a trip he made with his girlfriend to Kiev. Interesting buildings in Kiev, beside which he and girlfriend were often captured snogging. He says she is 'always good', though I'm not sure in which sense he means this...

The Crow said...

Well, what took them so long to come to that conclusion, I'd like to know! Of course you are noteworthy, as anyone who has visited here even once can see.

Accept all blessings, as Herhimnnbryn says, because beauty is in the details, which you bring to us so wonderfully.

Congratulatios, Lucy! Well deserved, well done.

Matt Conlon said...

I for one am quite happy to have stumbled upon your blog of note. I find it difficult to come across blogs I care to read otherwise. I enjoy reading well written pieces, even if they have nothing to do with anything I understand. Likewise, I enjoy writing pieces about almost nothing. It's when we write for ourselves we do our best and most honest works, I think.

Unfortunately, spammers are always around in just about every medium available these days. Keep up the good fight!