Tag Archives: blogging

Freshly Pressed — The Top 5 Facts and Fallacies About What It’s Like to Be (WordPress) Famous For a Day

Now, as the dust begins to settle, once again, within the greater Missing Zero Blog landscape, I thought it might be timely to share my impressions of the Freshly Pressed phenomenon, while it’s all still fresh in my mind.

I know, for instance, when I first started blogging, I looked at those select-few bloggers featured on the Freshly Pressed page as virtual Gods of the Blogosphere, as fabled attainers of the unattainable and as some of the luckiest S.O.Bs to ever submit a blog post, bar none.

But now I know differently. The fact is I was thinking fallaciously, all along. And hence why, in this post, I will now seek to clear up, once and for all, the many facts and fallacies surrounding this whole Freshly Pressed caper.

So, let us begin:

Fallacy No.1 — The Freshly Pressed Are Not As Others

I, sadly, do not consider myself a virtual (or otherwise) God of the Blogosphere, even now having since joined the ranks of the hallowed and select few that make up the Freshly Pressed. Moreover, my status within the human race, more generally, remains as one who is fallible as opposed to one worthy of fable. Household chores, like cleaning toilets and putting out the trash, still call me their b!tch, while even close family members maintain their strict refusal to genuflect in my august presence. Go figure?

Fact No. 1 — No News is Good News (ie You Don’t Want To Read The Email Telling You You’re About To Be “Freshly Pressed” 48-hours Prior To It Occurring)

This is the sort of email you want to find after the event, trust me. I was, like, “cool, I’m about to be Freshly Pressed. I better just check all my links are working and that my blog-roll is up-to-date etc. And then, like, for the next 48-hours or so, I kept logging in, every 15 minutes, to see if the Freshly Pressed miracle had actually happened yet. Think back to what it was like to be a child, when you stayed up all night trying to catch Santa Claus delivering presents on Christmas Eve. Well, it was nothing like that. Because I didn’t sleep, at all, for two nights! Aargh!

Fallacy No. 2 — If You Slavishly Copy The Latest Batch Of Freshly Pressed Blogs, You’ll Also Get The Nod

Believe me, I’d completely given up on the idea of ever getting Freshly Pressed. Instead, my primary focus, even now, is to achieve one post per day, for the whole year. I mean, if nothing else, your chances of getting noticed multiply significantly, when you write daily posts anyway.

However, beyond that, as a writer looking to improve his or her chops, no better workout exists than committing yourself to submitting a new blog post every single day. So forget about the imagined competition and embrace the sense of community. And remember, above all else, “to thine own self be true”.

Fact No. 2 — Everyone Is Entitled To Their 15 Minutes of Fame, So Why Not The Freshly Pressed Also?

You know, along with admiring glances, I must confess I tended to harbor feelings of extreme resentment towards those newly initiated into the Freshly Pressed inner-circle. I couldn’t help thinking they knew something I didn’t, so as to get recognized the way they had. Maybe they were part of some secret handshake club I didn’t qualify for. Or worse, maybe they were all supremely talented, and I was merely a self-published hack. Well, in news just in, I’m still merely a self-published hack, but I’ve somehow also made the cut for Freshly Pressed. And, if I can, anybody can.

BTW If there is a secret handshake, it’s so secret even the Freshly Pressed themselves aren’t allowed to know of its existence, evidently.

Fallacy No.3 — Getting Freshly Pressed Is Like Winning the Lottery

People say this all the time. And, by saying it, they mean, of course, that the chances of being picked for the WordPress front page are pretty much stacked against it ever happening. But, let me tell you, my bank balance is still missing more than a couple of zeroes, after being given the Freshly Pressed nod. So I know I definitely haven’t won the lottery in the conventional sense of the term.

Hell, believe me, I haven’t won anything in a financial sense ever! Not even $100. Yet, more importantly, in this context, up till now, I also haven’t ever had a single piece of writing feature in a journal or magazine etc, either. That is, even though, I’ve penned a novel and countless songs and poems and consider myself to be a writer, above all else. So, maybe, the idea of my having just won the lottery isn’t a complete fallacy, in this regard, on second thoughts, after all…

Fact No.3 — The Fame of Being Freshly Pressed Is Fleeting

As of last count, my featured poem has received roughly 100 “likes”. And over a quarter of those people who liked the poem also left comments. Sure, that might not seem like such a resounding achievement, in light of the 67,000,000 WordPress blogs that exist around the world (source for number of blogs http://en.wordpress.com/stats/).

But, trust me, it usually counts as a red letter day, any time a post of mine gets more than 10 likes. So, at the very least, my Freshly Pressed result represents a ten-fold increase in my blog’s normal popularity.

Of course, there are, no doubt, many power bloggers out there amongst you, who are regularly getting over 50 or 60 likes for everything you post. Not me, alas. In fact, each of the four poems I have posted since being Freshly Pressed have received significantly less than 10 likes a-piece.

Quite a crushing return back down to Earth! And if there has been any flow-on effect from my elevated Freshly Pressed status, it’s already slowed to a trickle. Hey, still, I’m not complaining! I’ve only been blogging for just under three-and-a-half months, so far. Plus, I did gain 60 (approx) additional followers, as well, over the past 48 hours, into the bargain!

Fallacy No.4 — Nobody Knows Just How Exactly the Freshly Pressed Are Selected

In all seriousness, there’s nothing that can’t be achieved through the power of money. A few Ben Franklins slipped to the right person, at the right time, and your Freshly Pressed eligibility suddenly becomes a whole lot less random. Know what I mean? 😉

If the idea of parting with actual cash to promote your cause causes you actual distress, as it were, then following the tips/guidelines provided by WordPress themselves regarding getting noticed are worth perusing (see here: http://en.support.wordpress.com/freshly-pressed/)

Moreover, as part of being Freshly Pressed, I was also made aware of the official WordPress Daily Post page. From what I can tell, this is a great place to become familiar with just who the editors of WordPress are, and therefore who exactly it is you need to catch the attention or eye of (Hint, hint! And, no, I’m not going to reveal any names, not unless we’re going to start talking, again, together, about my good friend Ben Franklin, if you catch my drift).
(See here: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/)

Fact No.4 — We’ve All Probably Written Better Posts Than The One I Had Freshly Pressed

Don’t believe me? Well, go and check out my humble ode to anticipatory nostalgia and all things photographic and see for yourself. Please, do!
(see here: https://zeromissing.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/picturing-the-past-perfect-perfectly/

However, in defence of the WordPress editors, let me just add that I acknowledge, entirely, that my poem has a large scope for universal appeal, due to its varied subject matter and plain-spoken immediacy. It’s simply that typically my own preferred style and subject matter owes much more to the Beat poets and Bukowski, than it does to the mainstream.

And, therefore, my own personal choice of poem from amongst the various pieces of assorted poetry I’ve written over the years would vary greatly from the one I’ve just had Freshly Pressed. But then, I’m the first to admit to being a terrible judge of my own work. Let’s face it, I’ll take the compliment of being taken seriously as a writer, from everyone or anyone willing to give it, baby!

At the end of the day, it’s all about horses for courses, I guess. And, you know what, this poem just happened to win on the day, praise be! 🙂

Fallacy No.5 — The Sweet Taste of Freshly Pressed Success Cures All Known Ills

On the day I received word of my being Freshly Pressed, my cat of twenty years lay on a drip at the vet, with acute kidney failure. The prognosis is that she probably has about a week to live, although there is some talk about an experimental surgery option.

I also read of another blogger who realized his marriage was over the day he heard his Freshly Pressed news. And another again spoke about his being so swamped at work that he missed the whole thing and thereafter abandoned his blog, altogether, in self-disgust.

I suppose, my point is that life continues to throw us curveballs, even when we feel we’ve achieved something to finally crow about. Because, in the end, no one is immune to the suffering and ills inherent to the human condition, I regret to inform you, not even the Freshly Pressed.

That said, the taste of Freshly Pressed Success does linger on the lips very sweetly, without adding even so much as an inch to the hips.

Fact No.5 — The Joys of Being Freshly Pressed Notwithstanding, The Joy Of Blogging Is The Sense Of Community

Simply put, you couldn’t sustain the effort needed to keep a blog afloat, if the only reason you did it was to become Freshly Pressed. Instead, it is rather the sense of community that makes all the difference to your daily/weekly/monthly blogging experience. For, without the encouragement and support of other bloggers reading your words and offering up their opinions etc, the whole enterprise would quickly lose much of its appeal.

And so, in the spirit of continuing to widen my ties to the greater WordPress community, (*shameless plug alert*) I encourage you to come and stop by my Missing Zero site, any chance you get. Where, I can assure you, you are all most welcome!

Here endeth the lesson…

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No Two Snowflakes are Ever the Same

Shakespeare never did this
Growled Charles Bukowski
And, likewise, I’m sure
“Old Hank”, the Infamous
Factotum King of the
Black Sparrow Press
Never did this, either
Mercifully
Blogging and Bukowski
Would have made for
Sordid bedfellows
Too much detail
About defiled mattresses
And whiskey-soaked sheets
A surplus of dirty realism
What’s more, his only advice
To hungry neophytes and
Would-be writer types
“Don’t try!”

20130617-210613.jpg


The Blog that Broke the Camel’s Back

The other day I had an exchange with another blogger here on WordPress, during which he told me that there are some 600 million blogs in the world.

Later on, I read a recent survey that put the total number of blogs at WordPress alone at close to 74 million. FYI Tumblr hosts over 100 million blogs, as well.

It’s mind-boggling, really. Or should that be mind-blogging? Boggling and blogging are, after all, anagrams of each other, aren’t they?

Anyway, whether the initial figure of 600 million blogs is accurate or not, I did some rough calculations about how long it would take to visit every single blog in existence. As part of this equation I allowed 10 seconds per blog view and the number I got was 190 years.

In fact, to be honest, I actually got 19 years, but now I’ve re-done the sums I think the answer should have been 190 years. If it is actually the latter, then this would be proof enough it’s in no way humanly possible to see every other blog in the blogosphere.

Who cares? I hear you cry out in despair at my lack of a discernible point.

To which I reply, all right already! Be patient! For here is my point. Are you ready? OK. Let me ask you this, how is it out of the literally hundreds of millions of other blogs (that are just blogging around out there) you ended up here, reading this?

Think about it…Life’s short, and it would take you somewhere between 19 and 190 years (trust me, math is not my strongest suit) to visit every blog in existence. And yet here you are reading this.

Is it fate or kismet or synchronicity, perhaps? Pure chance, maybe? What is it that makes us visit and follow the blogs that we do? I’m sure, most of us would like to think we exercise the power of choice in such matters. But I’m not so sure.

My primary criteria in selecting blogs to follow is a perceived sense of like-mindedness. That and curiosity. By which I mean, if a blog diverts me from my habitual preoccupations, in some interesting or unexpected way, for long enough, I might also give it a go.

Whatever. What I’m really trying to get around to saying is that what we’re seeing with this whole blogging phenomenon is actually the next evolution in writing. For in many ways we are currently witnessing the end of the novel and other more traditional forms of the written word.

And so, ultimately, I believe, the next big shift in writing will be towards a more collective approach. And that’s exactly what I would argue is taking place right now within blog-writing communities more generally. People are aligning with each other and forming small collectives, whereby they can freely exchange comments and feedback, almost immediately after a piece of written work is posted.

In the past a new idea would find expression through the writing of a single individual, be it the societally critical insights of a Charles Dickens’ novel or even the evilly distorted vision of something like Mein Kampf, for that matter.

But is it possible that maybe humanity is now moving towards a point where new ideas will find their expression through the kind of “writing collectives” that blog-writing communities naturally engender?

So put another way, are we really choosing the blogs we follow? Or is there a larger purpose bringing us all together? Because, sure, while it might prove to be an extremely long and gradual process, it’s entirely possible there are certain yet to be formalized ideas actively seeking new modes of expression through our various collective on-line groupings. Just what those ideas might be is only limited by the extent of our imaginations.

It’s either that, I guess. Or that instead of 600 million blogs, there’ll soon be 6 billion and not a single one of them will be read by another individual because we’ll all be too busy blogging ourselves into oblivion.

Makes you think, though, doesn’t it? 600 million blogs…