1a. Stick with the taboos: Brought up to avoid the topics of sex, religion and politics in company, I maintain this principle in my blog posts. After all I do not want to be sententious, offensive, or to claim the moral high ground which is by inference what happens when we espouse our thoughts so candidly. If what we say might cause offence or disagreement then it impels commenters to either be silent or to break the polite rules of blogging and raise contradiction. Without the face to face language of the body, virtual debate can soon turn unpleasant.
1b. Bite my tongue: Debate is of course quite healthy but there is a tendency in all social media to rain down abuse on those who break ranks from the herd view. It is this hegemony of consensus which makes me want to shout but I prefer to bite my tongue although at times I might feel like biting the writer of posts who assume that all sane thinking, rational and reasonable people will naturally share their view. If a troll sows discord in discussion, what is someone who plants contentiousness with smug righteousness?
2. Shun statistics: WordPress issue us with our blog’s annual statistics amidst virtual fireworks and hullabaloo. Initially I took these seriously but soon observed that stat watching is akin to navel gazing, with a negative attention-seeking effect and a moulding of when and what to write about. After being featured on WordPress, this blog was inundated with followers, barely any of which have bothered to return. It don’t mean a thing in short, and I’ve come to value even more the regular exhanges with fewer, fellow travellers.
The psychologist Skinner observed that laboratory pigeons more readily learnt and repeated a behaviour when rewarded intermittently rather than each and every time. This same kind of reinforcement applies to page rank and blog hits and so by ignoring these, I save myself all sorts of anxieties and superstitious behaviours.
3.Go slow slow quick quick slow: Though we usually work alone, blogging is a social endeavour and joining in with themes and challenges is often the spark that ignites ideas. But a prompt is not a prod and no one perishes at the deadline so I’m re-asserting to myself the right to post as and when it happens- after all, it’s supposed to be fun!
4. Considerations: I mostly publish light-heartedly and follow others who do the same, making a point of returning the compliment of a virtual visit or comment without the tit-for-tat reflex.
Postscript: And speaking of others, I’m mindful of the discrepancy that whilst I post trivia, there are days when human tragedies of epic proportions are occurring. Uttering the cliché of ‘thoughts and prayers are with the family’ is insufficient but neither can I blog on regardless, so I’ve set up a silent remembrance page: Considerations. It’s not maudlin, for a minute’s silent thought can punch a hole in the hot air of the blogosphere and let a touch of reality be glimpsed.