A long time before blogs were “invented”, I used to like to go to Yahoo Geocities, look at people’s personal web pages and be amazed at the kind of stuff that people would post about themselves. It was always the cringe-inducingly embarrassing personal home pages I liked the best. And not in a mean or nasty way, I just loved the fact that there were people out there who wanted to put so much personal information online.
Now the world of weblogs has exploded into existence, I no longer loiter in the Geocities directory looking for the ultimate “My Home Page”, but instead take a wander through the incredibly vast and diverse selection of blogs online. This manner of surfing means you inevitably encounter the crappest of the crap, so I just have to get this off my chest: here are the things that make me screw my eyes up and alt-tab to a new window when a blog opens in my browser.
1) Black backgrounds
Unless you’re a photographer or an artist, a black background makes your blog painful to read and is the equivalent of Adrian Mole painting his bedroom walls black in a fit of teenage angst. It’s not stylish, it’s not sophisticated and no matter how interesting the content, it doesn’t matter, because no one can read it for more than 3 seconds without getting a headache.
2) Cheap advertising
If it flashes it’s even worse. Selling out to ads like this makes your site look like a gateway for Viagra and valium.
3) Massive picture headers
I just love it when I have to scroll down to get past a big fat picture of something I don’t even want to look at just to see if you’ve written anything that might indicate you actually do have a brain in your head.
4) Political blogs
I don’t give a damn if you’re a neo-quazi-fascist or a molten-antisocialist-leftlaner, and neither does anyone else. There’s enough politics in enough well-respected news sites already to keep everyone happy. Seriously, unless you’re an aspiring MP, it’s just unforgivable.
5) Bitch blogs
Ha ha ha, it’s so funny to read yet another woman’s attempt at vitriolic humour. As if we don’t all get enough crap from just leaving our houses every morning and having to deal with the general public anyway. An occasional rant over something that’s really p*ssed you off is amusing. It makes me smile and sometimes even laugh, because I’ve probably been annoyed at the same thing at some point in the past. Doing it for a living because you can’t actually think of anything else interesting to say is b.o.r.i.n.g. and fuels the misogynistic, all-women-are-bitches stereotype An amendment here. After some research on the subject, these women aren’t really mean. They adore their babies, and husbands, and pet cats/dogs/hamsters. They just like moaning a lot. Which is kind of funny really, because they’re trying to emulate Cruella DeVille and ending up more like Pauline from Eastenders.
And that’s enough of that. In light of point 5, I don’t want to be seen as some kind of crazy hypocrite. In case you’re wondering, here are some things I like:
1) Being able to find your RSS feed easily.
2) Everyday life stuff – I’m nosy and so are lots of people. You went to the shops with the back of your skirt tucked into your knickers? You lost 5 pounds and told your idiot boyfriend you were leaving him? You cooked for 6 and want to share the recipe for the best dessert you’ve ever made? Tell me more – I love this stuff, it makes me feel normal.
3) Frequent posts. I get so disappointed when I visit to see what’s happening in your life and there’s no news.
4) Goal oriented writing. I don’t care if it’s get your book published, get super fit, or get pregnant. It’s inspirational to read about and I want you to succeed. Even though I’ve probably never met you.
5) Unexpected humour. Some people write about misery and angst with incredible talent. I laugh out loud at some stuff I read and I think that’s great, because humour is a better antidote than violence, drugs or suicide. Please keep it up.
I feel better now I’ve said all that.