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Anatomy of a Spark Blog Cont'd. - Response to GreasyJoan et. al.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

On January 3 I posted a missive, inquiring what blog content was desired, not desired, beneficial, a waste of time. Thereafter I let my provincial sports fandom get the best of me and spent the next two-weeks boasting about our local (and still prideful) NFL team which just happens to be Super-Bowl bound. Clearly matters of the (AFC CHAMPION!) Ravens are unimportant to most of you, which is OK. For those few of you also swept up in this, this purple Spark Page is for you.

Many of your responded thoughtfully to my inquiry about desired Spark blog content. I read them all, but as frequently befalls me, time pressures of the real world (remember Susan818127, Thing 1 and Thing 2?) did not facilitate the time for a reasoned personal response. Thank you GreasyJoan for calling me out on this, with your customarily forthrightness. It's just one of the great many ways that I am a really bad Spark Friend.

Many of you were duly warned not to add me as a Spark Friend, to de-friend me, to delete my posts, etc. That remains the wise choice and I encourage it whole-heartedly. For those of you foolish enough to stick around - and even super-foolish to read and respond to this, in response to GreasyJoan, here are some nascent plans for improved Spark Blogs in the future:

1. Understand that like GreasyJoan, most of my blogs are for myself. They are remembrances (time-stratigraphic horizons for any fellow geologists in the bunch) of where I am, in time, space, health, and weight loss at the time of the blog. Whereas Joan does not expect anyone to read her blogs or to be interested, my business-owner false extroversion gets the best of me. I check notifications regularly for the following day or two, and read (and often cherish) responses received, insightful, pithy or otherwise.

2. Joan lauds praise upon me for reasons entirely befuddling - "... you are among the very best--who write really great stuff... you are a motivator and an inspirer...." I am humbled by these accolades, as I regard many of you to be better bloggers. TIMOTHYNOHE, SHERYLDS (a non-stop laugh-riot), and lately WATERMELLEN come immediately to mind. My better-half, SUSAN818127, does a much better job of staying on Sparky-point than I, despite the fact that she grew up even more of a Baltimore football fan than I was. No one sees her blogging on Spark about the Ravens, though).

3. Spark is free, so to speak (despite my recent pun-filled status reports above expensive Spark renewal fees). If you use ad-blocking browser add-ons as I do, it's quite free. Whereas GreasyJoan (drunkenly?) states that my blogs rise to the level of various and sundry op-ed columnists of national fame, and that she "would gladly pay to read your blogs", I'm merely hoping the Sparky editors take note of her suggestion and dismiss it for the ca-ca that it is. On the other hand, I have Thing 1 and Thing 2 to get through college and sideline employment would be much appreciated.

4. I concur with GreasyJoan that Spark is filled with rah-rah blogs, which for me grew somewhat tiresome after the first week or so. Rah-rah blogs get lots of responses, thumbs-ups, and mentions in the daily Spark mail as a consequence. The black art of getting named in the daily Spark Mail for a non-rah-rah blog (or in getting a "Popular Blog" award, or becoming a "Motivator") is just that. Since my blogs were never all that rah-rah, and since the best ones did not achieve such accolades (see Feb 5th 2012), its hard to know what "sells" around here. One of my best Spark_Friends (ECOAGE) and I once discussed just this point at some length, and concluded that advice, humor and lists (preferably in combination) seems to be the magic potion for a successful blog. But that formula bombs out just as often as it works, if not more. So, who knows? I do firmly believe that certain Spark members need to be retired to the Hall of Fame and to become ineligible for popular blog awards. You all know who I mean (and I would happily include myself in the emeritus and thus ineligible list).

5. I often read people's blogs, but do not always respond because of time and/or lack of relevant contribution. I admit to skip over the religious ones. There are other, better venues for that. And if you skip over mine about sports, politics, space exploration, global warming, how to play "Seven Nation Army" on the cello, whatever, that is ok. When I get busy, I have less time for Spark, blogs or otherwise. I try to be a good Spark Friend, but geez, there are 320-odd of you lost and misguided souls and only so many hours in the day!

6. GreasyJoan found what she wanted to say, and levied this factual accusation: She says I am "... a bit like the professor who collects a bunch of papers and does not bother to read them or grade them! So maybe people do want a bit more reciprocity in blog-reading or some sort of acknowledgement that they are being heard?" - Admittedly this has happened, as the Friend-Feed cuts both ways. I get feeds from 320ish of you, and even something an hour old requires a backward scroll. Sometimes there just is not time.

So other than less Ravens / Orioles and no more music quizzes, what else? Why I've been plateaued between a 55 and 65 lb loss since September? Is it a plateau or a long-term parking lot? As Lynyrd Skynyrd once famously said in the intro to the live version of "Free Bird" - -- "What is it that you want to hear?"
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Thanks for the shout-out (particularly honoured given I'm such a recent acolyte).

    And: "gotta get back to tracking" status in the context of "why am I on a plateau": hmmmm. Do you think there could be a connection, and maybe linked to the osmosis thing? Just saying.

    (I've just assumed that the relative popularity of religious blogging is one of those cross cultural things that as a mere heathen Canuck I can't be expected to understand . . . ).

    1970 days ago
    oh my......I'm honored.....thanks for the compliment.
    Actually, my blogs are like a publicly held self therapy session,
    because the voices in my head like to speak out loud.
    I know that what happens with me....happens with a lot of people, so I share.
    {...misery loves company...}
    This journey isn't usually feels like being adrift in a lifeboat...
    and I get a lot of comfort in not feeling alone.
    And the people who read Your blogs, relate to a great guy who shares a smile with them
    THANKS for sharing

    1971 days ago
    It sucks about the plateau. If you have access to a blood sugar monitor for a few days (and don't mind becoming a human pincushion) you might consider taking blood sugar readings before and after meals and snacks. Keeping your insulin/blood sugar level for most of the day gives you steadier energy and fewer cravings. It will tell you, in particular, what foods spike your blood sugar and lead to cravings, as opposed to those that satisfy your hunger for longer periods of time. Cut the ones that spike your insulin and you'll start to lose again. :)
    1971 days ago
  • XRSIZE18
    I agree with you (surprise!!!) I often write blogs that get several responses (though nothing like the lists of comments you receive) and even though I try to respond to each comment, sometimes I don't have the time. I do, however, read each comment and get a thrill (admittedly I'm self-indulgent and narcissistic) from each one.

    Thanks again for an entertaining and insightful read.
    1972 days ago
  • CMW123
    I personally have enjoyed your blogs whether they are sports, music or other content. Besides, it is YOUR blog, post what you like!
    1972 days ago
    On the lighter side:

    "Thereafter I let my provincial sports fandom get the best of me and spent the next two-weeks boasting about our local (and still prideful) NFL team which just happens to be Super-Bowl bound. Clearly matters of the (AFC CHAMPION!) Ravens are unimportant to most of you, which is OK. For those few of you also swept up in this, this purple Spark Page is for you."

    Go Niners!
    1972 days ago
    I like to hear honest stuff about how people get through the rough spots.
    1972 days ago
    Categorize your friends the way the stars do! Have a Friends of Boss61 A List and a B List and a C List. Sure, easy for me to say, I don't have crowds trying to befriend me! Here on SP, I have "friends" on my Friend Feed and I don't know how they found me. Which group had my name scrolling by with a blog posted back in 2011? That's OK because I visit pages without knowing the author, sometimes making a new friend. And so my good friend, I say in the words of my father-in-law "does anybody really care?" As you know, I'm not into friend collections --- not here, not on FB. And in "real life", I've always been glad for a few good friends --- never did need a crowd or a following. Because real friends tell you the truth, even if you don't want to hear it at the time!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1972 days ago
  • KANOE10
    I am sorry you are going through a plateau. That is hard.

    I have always liked your humor and your honesty in your blogs.

    I agree with you. It is impossible to keep with up with 300 friends. Keep blogging and sharing your interesting thoughts!

    Sorry if you are a Raven fan..but I am rooting for Sf. LOL.
    1972 days ago
  • POPSY190
    Enjoyed this discursive blog!
    1973 days ago
    I like the music quizzes!
    1973 days ago
    What's wrong with rah rah blogs????
    1973 days ago
    This is quite funny. I always wonder what to post in my blog too -- but you're right, it's mostly for the writer rather than for the reader (with, as you say, a few notable exceptions of people who are constantly mentioned in the daily mail digests).
    1973 days ago

    1973 days ago
    So the plateau - I've been on a plateau for several years, but I suspect it has more to do with my becoming complacent about my weight loss thus far, and less to do with actual plateau-ing.

    But many of us lose weight slowly - so change up your routine - maybe alternate days of eating at the top of your range, then eating at the bottom of your range. Change up your fitness - go try skiing, or cross-country, or something else freezing cold. Join a gym with a great pool and swim indoors. Buy heavier weights and do some strength training at home. Jump rope, or run up and down stairs for half an hour. (I hate that one.)

    Hang in there, the plateau will break. Summer will be here again.

    And good luck with the Superbowl. (If I could see the uniforms, I'd know who to root for - that's how I choose my team.)
    1973 days ago
  • MARYANN2323
    I think, in all honesty, you have missed the real point of writing a blog. It is for YOU! A place to vent, congratulate yourself, admonish yourself, spread some joy or even ask for a kick in the rear. A place to be accountable to. It's not a place where you are expected to entertain us, even though I thoroughly enjoy all your blogs. It is here to be of benefit to YOU. The fact that we, as a whole, benefit from your blogs as well, is a benefit to US. Do what you, and write what you will, good, bad, or ugly, we're still here for you.
    emoticon emoticon emoticon

    1973 days ago
    As a sportsnut myself, I welcome the sport-related blogs....even if the Dodgers are the better I agree to giving the music quiz's a rest....too much work. I'm all for the plateau discussion because I am in the exact same place as you....since September, stuck at around 60 lbs. lost. Can't seem to find a way out and getting very frustrated!!
    I'm with you for the Super Bowl...go Ravens!!!
    1973 days ago
    Well worth the time it took to stop by! Have a great day and keep up the good work. CJ
    1973 days ago
    I like your blogs. When I write a blog, I write about what is important to me at that time. On Sundays I write my goals for the week. If I am struggling with something spark related I will ask for help.
    1973 days ago
    I guess I want to read honest stories from Lake Woebegone, Garrison Keillor style with a little of the joys and the woes, the foibles, embarrassing or hilarious moments that roll on the floor laughing about because we've been there and done that and are so relieved that it has happened to someone else, the wins and losses, the insightful light bulb or hit over the head with a 2 X 4 moments, the love, and the times when we wondered what else can go wrong faced by others on this journey.

    In the interest of being able to read a handful of blogs in a day, I'd like them to be shorter, say 4 - 5 meaningful paragraphs tops. Emphasis on meaningful. But I'm my own worst enemy, rambling on and on.

    I usually don't bother to read the blogs that list what was done that day in nutrition or exercise. I know they are tracking, but I check to see if there's a little story there. Sometimes I think I'd like those blogs to be kept in a private journal, but I HAVE had insightful moments when I see how others spend their calories or available time on fitness.

    I'd be more interested in hearing what the author wants from me the reader when they share things like they've been plateaued since September. Sympathy, a chance to vent and go on, someone to analyze the situation and offer suggestions, or be entered in the Sparky Hall of Fame come to mind as 4 quick brainstormed reasons, and if I pick the wrong one and respond in the wrong way, I could really mess up a life. Reading blogs and the response is a big responsibility!
    1973 days ago
  • ANGJENN822
    When I chose to read a blog, I read ones that are more human, self-deprecating than rah-rah. I need to find other like-minded souls who have trouble with the scale, who overeat, who chose not to exercise one day...I can't read blogs of perfect people who do nothing wrong. But that's just me. I thoroughly enjoy your blogs, and as a bonus, sometimes I have to look up words in a dictionary, so therefore, your blogs are making me a more educated person.

    Keep blogging about whatever you want. I'll continue to read.
    1973 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/24/2013 9:29:01 AM
    I have to agree that what blogs I do write (and they have been admittedly very few at this point due to putting family first -- DS is home on leave --spending family time), I write for me. It makes me glad if someone reads it and benefits from it, but selfishly, that is not so important as doing it for ME.

    When I look @ blogs for each group I belong to, I look @ the blog titles to let my brain sift thru quickly what I want/need to read or not. Nothing personal, but for sure I am not much inclined to read something "sport-sy". That doesn't mean blogs in that venu shouldn't be written -- just doesn pique MY interest. Doesn't make it bad to blog about it, especially since, as mentioned before, blogs are first and foremost for YOU.

    1973 days ago
    Here's another thumbs up, I agree with you on most points. I like a little exotic :-) emoticon
    1973 days ago
    I think getting a Popular Blog award could break your plateau! emoticon

    Why can't Spark have an emoticon for "laughing quietly in my head"? (LQIMH)
    1973 days ago
    1973 days ago
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