Friday, January 29, 2021

What keeps me blogging. (and what I have learned)

If you thought as a blogger I must think myself clever, you'd be right.  If you also thought maybe I like  to widen the platform for my opinions that is also true.  Vanity plays a big role but my motivation goes much deeper than that.  As I get older my memory fades.  I want to understand and remember the good times.  Learn from my mistakes and unhappy times. It challenges my brain--I don't post a blog every day, but I do write, edit, research every day.  One thing I would add is that blogging is FUN.

Birthdays can be transitional and reflective.  Originally my daughter Heather set me up with this blogging site on a birth day, but for over a year I avoided it, mainly for technophobia.  I do love writing so I did give in to the urge and then fell in love with the idea.  Through a mix up mostly on my part the annual dues did not get paid.  My old title had been made inaccessible, but worse than that, instead the owners set it up as a porno site.  From that experience my education advanced a little and communications improved. 

I have always had a few missions, but that they have changed with circumstances.  1).  I was a salesman when I started and at that time wanted to reinforce what I had learned, realizing that in truth everyone is a salesperson. 2) to boost world understanding by promoting sub-titled movies--stumbled on this after discovering the pleasures and then realizing that we all make assumptions about other cultures, especially ones far away--subtitled movies are really a small tool in the effort to understand others, but it is an underused tool and can be very enjoyable.  3).  politics are boring for most people, but the reality is the end results have a controlling effect on our lives--Proportional representatives seems to be the most practical way for average voters to take back some of the control lost to first past the post--but if not educated, largely wasted   4) Trump has been  a topic by himself.  Myself and many cartoonists will have to find another subject that draws as much attention.  Even after the election he will be causing problems and the afterwards there may be years of court cases.   5).  Understand myself and others better.  Humans are an odd combination and you of course can pick and choose--but if you are bored it might hit a nerve.    

A few random thoughts:

My vanity takes a bit of a beating when I realize that a high percentage of page views are really robots and many others are just casual peeks, often by mistake.  Not sure how Google works, but understand the more popular they think you are the higher ranking your blog will appear when one of your tag words is requested.  You don't get many page views if your blog is ranked on page 2 or higher.

One long term strategy was to review my blogs with the idea of editing.  I try not on principle to "update" any post.  If someone stumbles on one of my blogs I want it to run as smoothly as possible.  To encourage more stumbling I look for more relevant tags that might be of common interest.  Another strategy is use links for other blog posts--often the best measure if someone actually read the first blog.  Sometimes if there is a follow up blog afterwards I give a link so the reader will know the latest development and my updated thinking without burying the original thoughts.   

I have been pleasantly surprised using the name of a non celebrity would occasionally draw attention--once from a child hood barber, a woman I worked with, and once with an acquaintance who helped me appreciate horses.

As I research, analyze my life I am constantly learning, something satisfying in itself.  Organizing your thoughts, researching and actually writing help to enrich one's understanding and sometimes even change my mind.  The challenge of sequencing words and stringing together ideas to make a point.

Blogs open you to criticism.  There is no idea that cannot be challenged and all too often not in an intelligent, considerate way.  I admit to sometimes trying to be provocative and also realize my range of interests do not exactly coincide with most people, making us all unique.  I occasionally do change my mind and frequently modify my thinking.  As a salesman I recognize it is almost impossible to get someone to "change" their mind, but sometimes they will modify their opinion with some new information.

One questions who, what, where, how and why?  Why did I select a movie or a book?  Was it totally random?  Some of my blogs are a spur of the moment--something big (in my mind) has occurred and I realize facts are still emerging, but I want to record how I feel with existing facts.  I don't feel I have been too far off years afterwards, but do admit that more analysis takes time

Yes, I am aware that my thoughts are not original.  I believe all new ideas are just rearrangements of old ideas or ideas off the beaten path.  Most readers have seen very similar thoughts expressed in very similar ways, but sometimes a reminder enables one to get back on the path or maybe cast a small doubt-- aggregating opinions and facts is common.  Roger Ebert-- a movie lover and critic was one inspiration.  I think his interest in trying to understand the world manifested itself in a love of understanding movies.  He earned a platform and used it to express political and social views.

To generate more interest in my blogs I have developed the use of inter links to direct interested readers to another relevant blog.  It sometimes assures me that somebody read the first blog enough to reach the link.  Here is an example:

My posts are popular enough that the odd comments happen, but not popular enough that they attract trolls.   Pretty well all positive and appreciative.  I read other blogs, often political and encounter toxic comments.  Too many are inflammatory, bigoted, ignorant, etc.  It is ok to gain some understanding of an opposing viewpoint, but many complainers show little respect for bloggers who have the courage to articulate views and make themselves a target.  Constructive comments are always welcome.

Privacy is a touchy issue. I have no desire to embarrass anyone (well no one I actually know). I realize there are literally millions who don't share my views and in fact would hold them against me if they had the power.  There is a part of me not in these blogs--the part I want to remember and be remembered for is mostly here.

The world may or may not be better off as more bloggers catch the bug.  By allowing an outlet many bloggers find some benefit to venting.  We all see things from a limited perspective and we all benefit when we can expand that perspective.  While taking a nite course years ago I encountered a young accountant whose passion was drag racing which seemed incomprehensible to me.  He did set me straight on a few points and I have a little more respect.  Most of us have something that gives us if not a sense of purpose, a "buzz"  Understand and appreciate that in others and you will get along a lot better.


  1. Just to let you know I am not a Bot. Probably once a month I take a look at your blog just to find out what is happening. I am not a foreign movie buff. I do read but not as ferociously as you do. Just finished Sanjay Guptas book - an easy read "Keep Sharp" that I would recommend to my younger self. Just started reading Obamas book which I am enjoying but I know that it will take me a bit of time. Being a history buff, Ken Follett's book is next on my list.

    I agree with your views on Trump and also agree that you cannot change someones mind - they need to come to that conclusion themselves.

    I read your blog for number 5.

    I struggle with your number 1. Since I have never seen you function as a Salesman, I don't see you as one.

    I see you as a reader, conversationalist, bollywood lover, cultural fan and brother in law.

    I guess I read you bogs for #5.

    I like the real life stories. The barber, you previous New Year's Resolutions ( some of your goals were set very high), the events that you attend etc.

    Being locked up there is very little social interaction and reading some of your blogs lets me know how you are doing.

    I am not a bot.

  2. Thank you. We are all in sales and my experience trying to extract money out of strangers has made me aware of the process.

  3. LOL - I was in the middle of writing and all was suddenly lost - so I will try to recreate my recent (though unseen) comments.

    Thanks for sharing your motivation for blogging. Although I don't have a blog at the moment, I do very much enjoy writing for a minimum of 20 minutes each day in my journal. It has become a very cherished habit without which a day does not feel complete. My motivations are the benefits of self-reflection and expression, particularly of gratitude. Writing often helps me find solutions for whatever problems I'm struggling with. As well, my growing collection of journals is a form of legacy - a collection of my thoughts and experiences, that at least one daughter may attempt reading one day.
    I like your noble mission of increasing people's understanding by promoting foreign films. Foreign films are a favourite of mine for the simple reason that they offer a different perspective than the typical North American film.
    Personally, I have no desire to change the way someone thinks. Instead, I've realized lately that I do much better when I follow Covey's fifth habit of seeking to understand rather than to be understood. Through this, we can often discover our own misconceptions and consider changing our own minds - though this is not always the case, of course.
    I'll end here before I lose anything else.