Is Blogging Narcissistic?

During my college studies, I was part of a small class of close-knit friends. Every Tuesday, the girls in my group would go for tea and gossip about the boys in our class. Pretty standard. During one of our many bitching sessions (hey, ten points to me for honesty), we were talking about a guy in our class that was really irritating the majority of the girls. He didn’t really bother me as much, but I listened as the girls discussed why they found him so annoying. ‘His hair’, ‘his face’, ‘his shirts’, ‘his habit of giggling like a schoolgirl at something that isn’t remotely funny’ seemed to be his worst offences until one of the girls piped up with:

‘Oh, and he has a blog.’

There was a collective groan. All the girls were shaking their heads as if it had just been revealed that he enjoys kicking orphaned puppies in his spare time. I sat there silently, waiting for someone to explain why this was such a cardinal sin. I didn’t have a blog at the time, but I had frequently considered setting one up. I didn’t understand what the problem was. After a seemingly interminable silence, I asked ‘erm, what’s wrong with that?’

You know when you say something in a group that virtually no one agrees with and literally everyone of them starts talking at the same time, with the express intent of letting you know how dumb your opinion is? Yeah, that was one of those moments. This is basically a quick run-through of their opinions on blogging:

‘It’s so narcissistic. I mean, no one cares what you think.’

‘Someone who blogs clearly has too much time on their hands.’

‘What does someone actually expect to get out of it?’

‘It’s like something an angst-ridden teenager does.’

I hope you guys aren’t getting too mad, but don’t fret, because I’m about to drop some TRUTH. 

I sat and I listened as each girl basically explained why bloggers are the scourge of the planet, and must be destroyed, one post about cats at a time. Of course, I didn’t agree with them and yes, I defended blogging, even before I was set up a blog myself so you guys should basically see my like this now:

Disclaimer: I can’t fly and my cape is in the laundry….

Now that I have my own blog, I’ve been able to form more considered opinions about the whole situation. Yes, you could argue that, as a “blogger”, I’m completely biased. Of course I am. I love everything about the blogosphere, especially the free wine (which I will now drink as a show of solidarity… you’re welcome). I  don’t think that any of us have to defend our choice to blog, but I have often found myself explaining why I chose to start a blog. The girl from college has not been the only person that I have met to refer to blogging, and bloggers by extension, as narcissistic.

So it blogging narcissistic?

Maybe a little. 

I understand that ‘narcissism’ is a very strong word. I also think that society is becoming increasingly self-interested. The population of the world is growing all the time, and I think many people feel that they must compete to get ahead and get noticed. If we all were 100% honest with ourselves, and each other, we would admit that as bloggers, it’s nice to be noticed. It feels good when a post that we have worked on gains attention. So maybe that does make us a little selfish at times, but isn’t everyone a little selfish?

 

Anyway, if having a blog is even a small bit narcissistic, then what about having a Facebook account, or a Twitter account, or an Instagram account, or a Snapchat account or a Bitch, I’m Totally Amazing, Look at Me account?

So I totally made one of those up….guess which one?

I think that any form of social media is inherently a little narcissistic.

We all like to show off a little, let’s be honest. We all like a little bit of attention. Everyone like some praise from time to time. We choose to share aspects of our lives for a multitude of reasons. If there is something we’re good at, we like to feel validated. A writer will share their fiction, a poet will share their poetry, a photographer will share their best shots, and a joker might share a post about farting. Ahem.

I told my friends that day that I understood why this particular guy would have a blog. He was intelligent, opinionated and very knowledgeable on current affairs. A blog seemed like the perfect outlet for his thoughts. To the girls, however, it was incredibly narcissistic of him to acknowledge as much. How dare someone have confidence in their own abilities!

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being confident in your own abilities or wanting to share aspects of your life, even if some people out there don’t necessarily agree with your choice to do it. What’s wrong with being good at something, and wanting to share that with others? I follow many bloggers who are excellent writers, poets, photographers, artists, teachers, and musicians. I honestly love and appreciate getting a peek into the lives of so many people around the world. I am often awed when scrolling through my reader, because I am reminded of the huge variety of talented people that blog. I also find that bloggers tend to be very welcoming and friendy; this certainly applies to the ones I have connected with. My life is truly enriched by them (you).

As for my own blog? Well, girl from college, in the unlikely event you’re reading this: I like my blog. It is a hot mess, there’s errors, I have no niche, but it’s mine. ME ME ME ME ME ME ME…sorry…

I make no apologies for blogging, and neither should anyone. So the next time someone asks you why you blog, you tell them the truth: because you’re amazing and the world deserves to know that. Too much? How about: because you’re good at something and you don’t mind other people knowing that. Yes, you are good. Great, even. Believe that and believe that it’s okay to believe that. Yes, I know what I said. Even if you feel like you’re not the best writer, the best photographer, the best anything, you’re expressing yourself, and that’s always a good thing. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

What are your experiences with people whom you have shared your blog with? Do you agree with me or want to punch my face? Sound off in the comments! 

 

Why you should keep blogging

Remember those first few cautious weeks of blogging? Like a fawn on stilts (weird simile? Bah, I’ve got tonnes of ’em), you wobbled into the blogging world, weary and unsure of what you would discover. Would anyone read your posts? Would people be nice to you? Would you get to sit with the cool kids? AND WHAT THE HELL DOES SEO EVEN MEAN?!

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And then the questions start: why am I doing this? What’s the point? Would anyone really care if I stopped? WHY DO MEN HAVE NIPPLES? (Sorry, I got carried away there.) If you are reading this and you are a novice blogger, you may be having doubts. You may be frustrated with the fact that you have few followers, no one seems to be reading your posts except your strangely literate cat, and Cosmopolitan isn’t banging on your door begging you to be their new Editor in Chief.

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Not really. You’re better than mediocre. You’re ocre.

Despite all of this, my advice is to stick with it. Hang in there. Tough it out. Climb that mountain, etc, etc. Sure, blogging can be frustrating. In my first few months, I had very little engagement and sometimes I wondered was it really worth all the effort. Then I realised something: if one person, even one person is reading your posts, it means that person has taken time out of their day to read something you have written. And that’s pretty cool, right? RIGHT? Well fine, here are some more reasons that you should stick with blogging:

Your audience will grow organically

If your posts are quality enough, people will read them. There is a virtually never ending supply of great blogging advice out there to help you with your posts, so if you’re unsure, do a bit of research. Remember: be concise, use visuals and people love cats. Also use appropriate tags so people with similar interests will be able to connect with you.

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IT’S A CAT…IN A PILOT COSTUME…

You will meet some amazing people

Whether you go out there and search for people with similar interests or they find your blog, you will meet some fantastic people who will help you grow as a blogger. Read as many blogs as you can and you will find inspiration all around you. I have met so many brilliant bloggers whom I have learned so much from. There is a pool of versatile bloggers out there; so many people have such interesting stories to tell.

Blogging is therapeutic

When you have a particularly bad day, there is nothing better than having a good rant on your blog. Or posting pictures of owls…whatever. It’s wonderful how another blogger can make you smile and really brighten your day. Even if you feel nobody is reading your posts, writing about your thoughts and feelings is a brilliant outlet for your stresses and frustrations.

It’s yours

This might sound a little silly, but it’s true. This is your own little patch of Internet. You are building a little home for your thoughts and other people are choosing to visit. Isn’t that nice? My thought-house is a little stranger than everyone else’s: there’s strobe lights and drunk owls, and people still visit. So you’re good…you’re totally good.

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This is basically my blog in a picture.

You’ll get a real sense of achievement from it

Remember that feeling you got when you gained your first follower? Good news: that feeling never gets any less special. There are lots of other achievements that feel just as great: awards, re-blogs, shares, and even competitions that you can enter. Having something to aim for will give you a real sense of purpose and it is the best feeling when you are rewarded for it. Ask any blogger; re-blogs, blog awards, shares and follows feel so flattering and really do make all the effort worth while. Sure, this isn’t what blogging should be solely about, but it’s a lovely incentive. It’s a lovely community where people are only too willing to show kindness and generosity.

That’s my two cents anyway guys. If you are having doubts, I hope I’ve helped in some way. And if you’re a blogging veteran, why not share some of your own blogging tips. Why have you remained in the blogosphere?

How To Out-Creep A Creep

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m a weirdo magnet. Ladies, I’ve a feeling I’m not alone here. You all know the deal: you go to a bar with your girls, you wanna get drunk and cry-sing Don’t Stop Believing but there’s a guy who wants to get all up in your junk (I don’t know what that means but it sounds intrusive). You politely tell him you’re not interested. He doesn’t budge. You politely tell him you’re a lesbian. Nope, homeboy is still grinding all up on you. That’s when you need to break out the big guns. One of these lines and you’re free to vomit as much rainbow coloured tequila as your heart/liver desires…or end up in prison, whichever.

1. It’s funny, when one boyfriend is cut up with a machete, Satan sends you another one!

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2. Ooh, don’t get so close there sailor! Doctors don’t know what I have but it’s definitely contagious.

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3. I can’t believe you’re dancing with me. This is exactly what my cat said would happen.

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4. Sorry, I just cut one. *sniffs air* I don’t remember having chilli.

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5. If I could make a boyfriend out of dough, I’d make you…but I can’t. Trust me, I tried.

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6. I’m sorry, I can’t listen to this song with you. Mom doesn’t allow me to listen to rap.

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7. Your shirt is cool. I sewed my dog the same one. He wears it for all our business meetings.

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8. Thanks. I have all of my own hair. And all of my own teeth. Plus these extras that I carry around in my pocket.

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9. *While dancing* “If ya got numerous STDs put ya hands in the ay-arrrre!”

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10. I’m just trying to forget my jealous ex-boyfriend, “Stabby-Pete”.

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P.S. I got some good test results today that rule out anything serious so brewskis all round!

I made the short list!

If you guys didn’t have a chance to catch the international news today, you may not know that I have been shortlisted by The Blog Awards Ireland in the Best Humour Blog category.

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I am thrilled! And hungry…but mostly thrilled! If it wasn’t for my lovely and loyal followers then I would have no reason to blog, so I owe this to you guys. There’s a gratitude owl on its way to you as we speak. (It’s basically a regular owl, but it curtsies.)

Time for me to go party*.

*Not really because I have school tomorrow. Maybe I’ll have a a cup of tea and not use a coaster….okay, I’ll use a coaster.

Cupid or Cats is one year old today*

This blog is one year old today! I just want to say a massive thank you and give an awkward arm punch to all of my wonderful followers, commenters and likers for sharing this weird and wacky journey with me.

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I decided that for my blogaversary, I would do a blog Q&A, with myself…because, well you already know weird is how I roll.

Hey Jane.

Hey, Janey. Wait, am I Jane or Janey?

It doesn’t matter. Man, you’re annoying sometimes.

Ditto, bitch.

Well, we’d better get started. Why did you begin blogging?

It was actually my boyfriend’s idea. I was always either ranting or making silly jokes, and he felt that a receptive audience would be a lot better than just him and our cat. My cat thinks I’m s**t, by the way.
Anyway, I was going through a tough time and I thought it would be a great way of expressing myself.

Does your blog have a niche or a theme? Because it seems random as hell.

Originally, I had intended it to be a relationship blog but then my brain got in the way (wearing a bikini and being all distracting) and was like “no Jane, talk about farts, talk about owls…” so yeah, that idea quickly went out the window (along with my dignity).
Now, I just write whatever makes me smile. Essentially, I just want blogging to make me happy. I’m selfish like that.

You’re a teacher. Why don’t you blog about that?

Occasionally, I’ll mention it. It is a big part of who I am, but this was intended as an escape from all of that. I love my job, I do. And I try to be fun in class and have a laugh with my students, but obviously I have to be professional. Here I can just be whatever I want, including a ballerina. *does awkward arabesque*
I know that if I had a proper niche, I would have more followers but I never began this to gain thousands of followers; I did this for stress release.

Why the name Cupid or Cats?

I don’t know. I really don’t. It just came into my head. I think it was because, like I said, it was supposed to be a relationship blog. And I thought I want people in relationships (who’ve been hit by Cupid’s arrow) and single people (erm, I don’t know what to say without offending anyone so here’s a picture of a happy kitten:)

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…to read my blog. By the way, I once had, like, five cats so what do I know?
And anyway, if I keep blowing foghorns in my boyfriend’s ears, this is what will happen to me:

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Smooth Jane. Really smooth. So, be honest, what do you like best and
least about blogging?

Best: The people. Really.
I have met funny, kind, intelligent, insightful, loving, cheeky and generally BRILLIANT people here. It’s great, because we are all united in our desire to say something relevant and to listen to others.
I can’t really believe how nice anyone is. Or how engaged people are. We have lots of fun on here.

Worst: Ugh. That’s tough. Sometimes I read blogs that are just amazing and I know I’ll never measure up. But then I look at owl memes and I feel okay.
Also, keeping up with all the blogs I follow can be difficult and I don’t want anyone to think that I don’t value what they do. I try my best. I get a little paranoid that people will think I’m a selfish blogger, but really I make as best an attempt as I can to catch up with all of you. I reply to virtually every single comment I receive because I appreciate them so much. And also, because they’re always great and make me smile.
Something happened lately that has upset me a little, but I’m not going to discuss it here (sorry). It just made me realise that there definitely are downsides to this blogging malarkey.
But the pros definitely outweigh the cons.

How do most people find your blog?

Through Google searches about farting. No joke.

That’s weird. So, how does your boyfriend feel about all of this?

He doesn’t really care either way because he’s so busy with his PhD. He does like what I write whenever he happens to read my posts, though.
Sometimes he even laughs.

Does anyone else know about your blog?

Yes, I drunkenly confessed to a friend but I doubt she reads it much. She’s cool though, I trust her and I don’t mind her reading it at all.
I also think I told my best friend but she didn’t really say anything at all.
There is no way I would tell anyone else, though. My family would not be impressed (they’re great, but very private) and I would be really paranoid I’ve written something negative about someone that would cause offense, so I won’t be sharing this blog with anyone else in my personal life.

Why the picture of yourself then?

I think the chances of someone that I know stumbling across my blog are very small. I probably will change it, but I’m lazy.
I like that my readers can put a face to my blog, even if I do look super-bitchy in my gravatar. M to the e-ow.

What do you think is wrong with your blog?

Nothing, of course.

Jane, stop being an ass.

Okay, I was kidding. I thought you of all people would know that.
I have no grand plan or scheme, I don’t edit my posts, I write exclusively on my phone, I post too much…okay, now everyone is just going to unfollow me. Thanks, Jane. (Little do they know, every time someone unfollows me, a dolphin cries.)

So Jane, how’s your Mom heh heh heh…

What are you talking about? She’s your Mom too, smartass.

Oh yeah. That’s embarrassing. . So what do you think the future holds for your blog?

I don’t know. I want to tidy it up a little and maybe include some features.
If I ever get to 1000 followers, and that’s a big if, I’m going to do something really really special. It’ll probably be a while before that happens but let’s just say, it going to involve me, wine, maybe some karaoke and a camera. Oh yeah.

That should class up the place a bit Jane..

Natch.

So, that’s a whole year guys. Here’s to a whole bunch more.

*Technically, it’s tomorrow. But the idea was born on the fifth and….look over there…*runs*

Here

I see you suffer
Hiding behind the burnt skin and thinning hair
Smiling a little weakly
A feeble frail finger taps a hollow cheek to where my blood filled lips can touch
I fear a kiss may kill you

I see you moving
Crossing deserts in your kitchen
Glancing through your window at horizons you’ll never reach
The timer on the oven seems to be moving too quickly, too quickly
The dinner won’t be ready
The time will be up too soon

I see you folding children’s jumpers
Holding them close to your chest for seconds before you let them go
You’ll have to show them how to get creases out, so they will know
When the folding is done, and plans are made
You need to sit

I see you now, as you are, and I see you as you were
Vibrant, dancing, living,
Teaching, learning, yearning, dreaming
I see you now, hopeless, lost, frightened, blind…but at least

I see you

-JG

10 Things I’ve Noticed About Blogging

There is no way I am in a position to give blogging tips (I use my phone to blog and have often written posts upside down for the love of Pete!) but there are certain things I have noticed about blogging and WordPress since I began nearly a year ago. Things that have made me happy, sad, irritated, confused, amused, emotional…basically, all the feelings a woman experiences in a ten minute time frame.

I decided to compile a list of the most obvious things I’ve noticed about this wonderful blogging world of ours:

1. WordPress is a really nice place

I have never met anyone here who has been unkind to me. I have never received a nasty comment either…which is a shame in a way because I have some killer comebacks.

“I’m sorry, I can’t hear you over all my awesomeness.”

“You’re pretty arrogant for someone whose wearing a tutu. At least, in my imagination you’re wearing one.”

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2. Some of you guys are reeeeally talented

Did I say some? Because I meant all. *Backs slowly out of room*

But really, some of you guys are so talented that I get really intimidated, panic and then post pictures of owls.

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Luckily, this owl thinks I’m *hilaaarious*

3. Sometimes people magically like my posts without actually reading them

Because my posts are JUST THAT AMAZING! You don’t even have to read them. You just know.
I could actually write the word “badger” over and over here and I bet I would still get likes.
I know most of you do read my posts (right, RIGHT?) so I’ll continue.

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Hey, ever notice badgers look like a mixture of a dog and a pig? I’m cool, I swear.

4. It gets hard to keep up with everyone’s blogs…

…but you guys are worth it. Especially you. And on a completely unrelated side note, here’s a picture of Kurt Cobain dressed as a cheerleader because…why not?

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5. You can get alone just fine with someone whose opinions you don’t entirely agree with

Firstly, I’m not going to tell you how long it took me to spell opinions correctly there. Let’s just say, I was so
off that even autocorrect didn’t know what the heck I was saying….

Anyway, I have a lot of followers/people I follow whose opinions on certain topics don’t necessarily correlate with my own (oh sure brain, you can spell correlate but not opinion?) and I still get on fine and dandy with them. Why? Because if you’re fundamentally a good person, with an open mind, I will be your friend. Especially if you like owls (this is getting owl of hand…har har har).
On a completely unrelated note, this:

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6. It’s probably not advisable to get hammered and get post happy

…not that I’d know *awkward face*

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7. Accidentally deleting a draft is the most infuriating thing ever

I can’t even talk about this, let’s just say:

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8. Getting a new follower feels like:

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Er, I mean (be cool Jane…) it’s more like…

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Who am I kidding? It’s the first one. I love you guys.

9. Sometimes comments go to spam which means I don’t reply

This makes me sad.

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Okay, so this picture is totally not appropriate for what I’m trying to say but…Ryan Gosling

10. Your comments are my favourite thing in the world and make me feel like…

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Wait, your comments make me feel like I’ve just participated in a laborious yet ingenious prison break after I’ve been falsely accused of my wife and her lover’s murder and I’m standing topless in the rain?
Makes sense.

What have you noticed about blogging since you began?

I don’t know what to call this post so random word time: Toboggan! By the way, what’s a toboggan?

I’ve been having seizures all week so today, I had to go back on my epilepsy medication. I will have to take it for the rest of my life. But hey, it could be worse, I could be Snooki’s beehive. That’s what I keep repeating over and over to myself.

So if I’m weird…er, post less or possibly more, or fall asleep mid post zzzzzzzzzzz <—- like that, then I can blame it on my meds. I'll be all like "hey I didn't mean to bitch slap Rob Ford's belly, it was the meds!”

And now to cheer us all up (because I know you feel my pain, let’s hug it out) here’s a picture of my dog as a puppy wearing a bandana:

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Come talk to me in the comments 😀

ERMERGERRRRRD!

I’m on my holidays! *Does energetic yet awkward happy dance*

So now I shall be able to dedicate more time to my blog and also, to your blog.

But not today, because our staff went out to celebrate last night and I may or may not (but most likely may) have robot danced my way to stiff muscles today. I also sang “Jump Around” at karaoke and in my enthusiasm, lost my voice. All together now “pack it up, pack it in, let me begin…”

Cupid or Cats will be one next month, and what a crazy and random year it has been. That’s why I want to make sure I dedicate more time to my blog in my free time, and also more time to you guys and your amazing brains. Braaaainnns. Okay, I need more sleep.
Janey out.

P.S. I woke up with this as my screensaver and I have no idea how it happened. Anyone?

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