Tuesday, July 28, 2009

An Apology

As I approach my first 100 posts-- and the Giveaway I've been promising you, it dawned on me that first, I owe many, many of you a great, big, apology.

Before I started blogging, I bought a bunch of "how to" books on the subject-- mostly the yellow and black books in the "Dummies" series-- you know the ones for dummies, aka ME. The whole idea of blogging was intimidating and since I'm very much a Type A personality (translation: freak) and obsess about doing things right, I wanted to be sure I started off on the right foot.

So I read the books, pink highlighter in hand, making notes and folding pages for all the really important blog stuff I should know. I think I actually spent a month just studying "keywords", not that I've ever once checked a keyword ranking, but I have several pink highlighted chapters in various books to prove I studied it.

I read books about Blogger too-- several times. In hindsight they were pretty lightweight but, it was enough to get me started, sort of. Eventually I "designed" my blog, if you could call it "designed", and wrote my first rant, I mean post. It was pretty lame but I kept writing and hoped people would be interested in what I had to say.

What don't I remember reading about in the books? Blog etiquette-- The does and don't of blogging, beyond using capitol letters is the equivalent of shouting at people. I really could have used a little Emily Post or Miss Manners advice on the etiquette front as I navigated my way around the blogosphere.

Last February, I finally started posting. It took a while, but eventually I figured my way around the basics of Blogger. And, I made a few friends, and then a few more friends. I swear the first time I had ten comments (that weren't SPAM), I nearly fainted! When people started to actually follow my blog-- As in leaving more than one comment before bolting to another blog never to be seen again, I was thrilled.

Thank you so much. There aren't words to possibly describe how much I appreciate your support, friendship and kindness, not to mention-- patience.

So that leads me to the apology part---

First, in the beginning, I'm pretty sure I stalked some of you. I found a few blogs and lurked until I got my nerve up to comment. Then I'd read your older posts, and commented on even more-- As in about ten older posts at a time. In hindsight, I think I was like the dinner guest that just won't leave. Sorry about that. I hope I didn't scare you.

Second, the whole "word verification" thing-- It's just not working for me. I'm certain, that once I finally found my reading and commenting groove, I started typing faster and comments started to disappear without me knowing it. So please know that after all that stalking, I didn't drop you like a hot potato. I know I left about 75% MORE comments than actually appeared because I didn't realize I needed to wait around for some of the word verification boxes to appear before exiting the Comments Section! And, I often didn't wait for the Comments to load onto your page so they were dropped. Who knew all that was part of the process? I sure as heck didn't, and I don't remember the "waiting" part being mentioned in the books. I promise to do better.

I've learned a few other things in the past 6 months of blogging as well....

1) Blogger software can be a little bitchy sometimes, when you least expect it, then poof, just when you are ready to throw your computer out the window, Blogger is back and happy again.

2) Blog friends are an interesting and fabulous group of people. Wit, humor, kindness and great insight are the first things that come to mind about all of you. Some of your comments are funnier than anything I could ever write. Your memories for past posts, people, situations, etc. is amazing. And there are even those of you who have mastered the fine art of reading between the lines and offering support when I least expect it. I am humbled by your generosity. Thank you.

3) My husband still asks me if I'm writing about him! Yes I have, but only on a few occasions here and here, but that's about it. I'm pretty sure that's not going to change, much to his chagrin. (He's available to sign autographs, by the way.)

As for the promised GIVEAWAY-- Honest, it's coming on August 4th. I'm going on vacation soon for a five day weekend in Ohio and don't want the Giveaway to end in the middle of the trip causing a delay in picking the winner and shipping the loot. So hang in there. It's coming!

A million thanks to all of you-- the readers, the lurkers, the followers and the one-stoppers, I appreciate all of you so much. Please keep those cards and letters coming!

What have you learned about blogging?
Welcome to The Fifty Factor - Joanna


  1. I completely agree about the blog etiquette! It's tricky! I will comment on every person's blog who visits mine, but I usually don't return unless they return to mine because I read so many blogs.

    I also have learned that I don't like political posts mixed in with a family blog. Not my cup of tea.

    I also don't like when people use blogging as a weapon and rant about people in their lives.

  2. I've learned a lot of the same things you have, including the word verification thing. I have a terrible time with those!
    I've also learned there are a lot of wonderful people out there!

  3. I didn't realize they had books out there about blogging, but now that I think of it, it doesn't surprise me since they seem to have books on anything and everything. blog management is something I always seem to be struggling with; leaving the right comment, not leaving a comment, how many journals can I adequately follow, always finding new journals that are fascinating, etc. I know there's a bit of blog etiquette, I think sometimes people think because someone follows your blog, you have to follow theirs. And then they may never leave a comment and you are commenting on every single one of their entries (which is what I tend to do, LOL). I'm learning to comment if I feel I have something to say and not feel obligated to comment. In saying that, what irritates me more than the word verification is the blogs that moderate comments before they publish them. I often wonder if they pick and choose which comments stay and which comments go. Those blogs that have both comment moderation and word verification quickly get off my list when I'm cutting down blogs I follow unless I absolutely love what they write. Gosh, does that make me a blog snob?

    looking forward to your give away! those are always fun

    enjoy your mini trip to Ohio!


  4. Really..there are books - you are good - I just kinda jumped in with two feet. Started with my artwork and it kind morphed into all sorts of other wonderful things.
    What have I learned - I love the people I meet here - like you!! Wonderful amazing folks!!
    I hate the word verification..I too hurry too much and end up going back to repost - ackkkk.
    The stalking thing - ROFLMAO - too funny!!
    Congrats on the 100 as it appoaches - I was doing happy dances when I got there!!! Wonderful blog hon!!

  5. Oooops - you are not at 131 - EVEN BETTER!!!

  6. I love your blog and your writing and your comments!
    You are one of my favs!!

  7. Yay! I'm glad you stuck with Blogging and are enjoying it! As for the apology there is really no need! I think it is a good idea to know about what you are doing too, so studying about it before doing it... is a good thing :) Also, the stalking thing lol I think many do that.

  8. You are good, Girl! Such a good blogger that no book in the world could teach you how to write from the heart. By the way, I hope you got my message that I ended up in East L.A. instead of where you were going to be. I promise that we'll make an attempt to get together and soon.

    PS...you're so sweet to think about your sweetheart and only buying the rum raisin ice cream. (It sounds nasty to me!)

  9. This is a very sweet post. Like anything else, blogging is an ongoing learning process. You're a great student. :)

  10. You shouldn't be sorry! We're all learning here. The connections I've made via my blog are priceless.
    I didn't know you could actually study about blogging. I just jumped in with both feet. Which, looking back, explains A LOT!

    I love you and your blog!

    You ROCK!!


  11. We are like opposite sides to a coin. I started a blog having read for awhile, but without any how to's. I think I learned quite a bit the hard way.

    And my husband, he really ought to read my blog, as I do tease (make fun of) him from time to time in a post.

  12. Congratulations are in order for doings such a great job! As for me, I got a Wordpress blog (much better than Blogger in my humble opinion) and just started. Without reading anything.

    Have a great vacation!

  13. Hey Joanna....Lilly's back!!!!!

  14. I am with you on so many of your points. I think we started blogging at a similar time and it has opened this weird and wonderful world to me! I love reading others posts and comments but, like you, I hate the word verification thingy majiggy ... It just slows you down right?!!

    Congratulations on your first hundred posts - Looking forward to the next hundred.

  15. haha! i know the feeling. it took me a month just to figure out how to upload a picture... ( don´t tell anyone) and you are thanking us, when we should be thanking you!! i always look forward to your posts (i think i might have stalked your blog a little before leaving a comment...) and thank the blog heavens that i´ve found you! besos-jane

  16. Joanna: Stop worrying so - you're doing absolutely GREAT (and yes I am shouting, but nicely).

    -LadyFi: Oh I'm with you, Wordpress is far from perfect, but I do think it's much less "bitchy" and a bit smoother that blogger (for the actual blogger to use - if you see what I mean). Much better to my mind.

    One thing I'd change though on all blogging comment systems is the need to start typing html (like I just had to) in order to put a bit of emphasis on a word without shouting. Spoils one's flow don't you think?

    Anyway, I think The Fifty Factor is superb and long may it continue to be this way.

    PS: Did you come across any books on books on books on blogging? :)

  17. I have learned that there are online scrap books for bloggers!!! Who'd have thunk it??!! No, I don't have one, but I thought that was interesting. I also have learned that I'm afraid to tweak my margins for fear of loosing my blog stuff!!

    Have fun in Ohio! MY FAVORITE PLACE IN OHIO IS CEDAR POINT!!! Before moving up here I had a season pass!!! Now it is 400+ miles away (Cedar Point I mean!)

  18. I never thought anything would mean as much to me as my work as a Hospice Nurse... but blogging satisfies my need to interact with a community..even though it's virtual, blogging and "ya'll" still mean the world to me!

  19. We are on the same wave length...I just published a post yesterday on questionable blogging practices.

    Some of the things I've learned on my blogging journey are:

    Always type the content of my post in a word document first then copy and paste it on post as you can not rely on blogger not to make all your efforts disappear.

    When leaving a comment, always copy what you write so that when it disappears all you have to do is paste it back onto the comment box.

    And finally...not all your followers are worth having. I just had to block two followers from my blog due to the content of their blogs. There are times when you know someone is following you not because they are interested in what you have to say, but because they are using your blog as a vehicle to connect with other members to push their "smut" onto others.

  20. Great post Joanna. I have learned that bloggers are just as nice in person as they are on the screen. And I hope to meet more soon!

  21. I enjoyed this, Joanna! I started my blog in March of this year, having read some books and thinking I should just jump in...After nursing my bruises from the School of Hard Knocks, I learned some blog etiquette. Ah, but there is so much yet to learn! You could do a series on blogging: what, how, why, etc. You're such a great, engaging writer. How about it?

  22. I didn't know anything about etiquette in the beginning. It took me quite a while to noodle things out. I'm still noodling, I guess.

  23. been at this almost a year myself and yes i probably stalked a few myself. smiles. it took me a long time to find my voice. joining the Theme Thursday crew gave me an opportunity to meet some great people and get some feedback. be yourself, have fun. take breaks to keep the love going. hope you have a great trip to ohio.

  24. I love your blog and would never have known you studied because you have such a clear and natural voice. Keep gracing us with it.

  25. I love your blog. You have a way with words. So you are telling me there are books out there that tell you all about blogging??

    I wonder something though...as I said, I haven't been here on your blog for long, but I have noticed that you don't tend to comment on your own posts. How come?

  26. I'm surprised by the generosity of people in their willingness to connect - it's drawing me in....

  27. So far you have 27 comments....so you've come a long way. I enjoy your posts and will continue to read more. :))\\x0x

  28. I've learned to blog what I think, and not really care about what the readers think. I do it for me, not for the audience. Audience is a nice benefit, and I love the comments, but it's not my motivation.

  29. I have learned that blogging is a lot like humans dropping out of the sky, fully formed, and into our lives.

    So when we begin to feel like we know each other, especially when some of us have open writing styles, we still need to remember that we don't really 'know' each other. WE just know what has been shared.

    But, maybe that's the truth about people in 'real' time as well. Okay, well never mind, I just solved the riddle!

    Bring on the give away which marks that you, my dear, have hit what is a significant milestone in your time with us.

    And, congratulations. With all my heart.

  30. I almost did that yesterday...leaving a post without waiting for the word varification box! I didn't know there were books I could buy to help with blogging. I am definitly blogger illiterate and have much to learn. Thanks for your post, I really enjoy visiting!

  31. no apology needed, those word verification are a hassle, I turned my off for all my blogs now

    congrats on your upcoming 100th post!

  32. I've learned that many people have something to say. Because of their blogs, I'm listening to many more people than I would otherwise.

    I find that reading blogs from many differing viewpoints is enlightening. I read stuff from all sides of the political spectrum, mom blogs and a few dad blogs, atheist, religious... I've learned a lot.

    I think my blog is a fairly accurate representation of who I really am. Most are.

  33. I got rid of word verification on my blog all together, I wanted to make it as easy as possible for people to say hello! lol

    I think you're a fabulous blogger, congrats on 100 posts!

  34. You have come a very long way in a short amount of time, Joanna, and seem to share a similar opinion of the blogosphere as me.

    I always knew you were a smart woman!


  35. You've done a great job of putting together your blog and making a community here. That's something to be very proud of! But it's your writing style that makes me come back. (even when I am a feed reader lurker instead of an active commenter).

  36. I've become blogger friends with some really neat people plus learned lots of things and got a ton of ideas.

  37. Wow, I feel like such a slacker. I just started "flapping my jaws" to see who would respond. LOL

    Loved Holly's comment. It's so true, and I love the visual it gave me. :-)

  38. I agree with you on the word verification thingy. Until someone posted how to get rid of it, I was annoying people with it.

  39. I've gone through and read most of your posts after coming across your blog, and now I have a little button dedicated to it right on my bookmark bar so I can easily navigate to your blog. I love what you have to say. Yet, I never really feel I have much important to say in response :P

    I've learned about my own blogging (same with actual diaries/journals), that I always start off with a couple things to say.. and fizz out very very quickly. I just don't have enough to say to people on a regular basis.

  40. Your blog is proof that when you relax and just say what you want to say it is the right thing for that day, and you are right about the people reading and commenting on the blogs being nice people. They are generous of spirit and loaded with humor and can be sympathetic when you need it. I am so glad your experience in blogging has been a good one. And I hope you blog for a long time to come.

  41. I'll take an autograph! You're awesome, Joanna! Keep it comin'!

  42. There's blog etiquette? Who knew. I stumbled into blogging and was hooked from the start. I'm not sure when it was that I realized I had actually made some real friends out there. You know, people who "get" me. I always thought your blog was very nice, that's why I'm a loyal reader. God, I hope I haven't p*ssed anybody off with mine. Maybe I shouldn't be offering a pair of crappy used sunglasses as a prize in my give-a-way. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

  43. What have I learned about blogging?
    1) Well, no matter how much your co-workers/employer piss you off, don't blog about them. Don't even try to disguise them by giving them aliases, somebody will figure it out. And jobs are too hard to come by these days. Fortunately (or maybe not as I'm still working with those that piss me off), I didn't lose mine.
    2) No matter what happens, don't EVER delete your whole blog site. A random blog here and there, maybe, but not the whole site. I did that once and I regret it sooo much now. If nothing else, make it private for your eyes only. Then create another blog for friends/family to read.

  44. And long may we get another 100+ posts.
    You were one of my first 'comments' I received on my site and I jumped at the chance. I went head first into the blogging thing and started my own website (note to self; never do that again) no knowing what to do or where to go but I muddle through and found that through blogging, no matter what happens in my life, I have people that are willing to lend a supportive word or laugh with me. Friendships in real life can be amazing but the friendships in the blogosphere? Book-worthy in themselves.

  45. I've learned that not everyone who says they will come back do come back. I've learned you do not have to like every blog you visit. I've learned there are soooooo many people blogging which I think is excellent. I've learned that not everyone's blog who you comment on will return the visit, well ... if they do, they do not leave a comment. I've learned there are rules but no rules really in blogland, and what momgrind.com said to me is true: treat people online as you would in person.

  46. Congrats on your 100 post...and my lil knowledge of blogging I hear you have to list 100 things about yourself in a meme :-) Yes, blogger is fickle sometimes. I write wonderful comments sometimes and blogger eats them never to be seen again..and the words are lost because I have no memory..dang it.
    Congrats again

  47. Blogging seems to me to be making the world a smaller but friendlier place...

  48. I really enjoyed your blog. Your honesty is so refreshing. I started blogging first of the year ('09) and am slowly getting the hang of it. I really appreciate your comments on blogging etiquette (did I spell that right?????)
    Anyway. Keep writing, I'll keep reading.

  49. Great post! We all make mistakes when we first start. It's just that we take it so hard when we want it all to be perfect.

    The most important lesson I learned was to walk away from blogs if I didn't receive any
    (none, zero) feedback from the blog owner after visiting and commenting for months, I walked away. I realized I was wasting my time and probably annoying that blogger and their readers. I could be out there discovering new blogs that shared my interests. Best move I ever made, because I have had an amazing time blogging and have made friends that I cherish.

    I'll be away on vacation so I want congratulate you on your 100th post! Here's looking forward to thousands more!

  50. Congratulation on your first 100th post. Cool :)I must alert to check mine.

  51. Wow! I just did a similar post on Followers! We are having a Jerry Maguire moment! haha!

  52. What I've learned about blogging is that I don't mind if people don't comment constantly. It's nice to get comments, but I really dont want people to feel like they HAVE to. I only follow four or five blogs that I really enjoy reading. I don't leave comments to get comments, I leave them because I'm communicating with people whose blogs I think are fun to read and informative. Never a waste of time.

  53. I just spent two days zooming around Saint Augustine with blogger friends Garret Atherton and Jim Kelly of "RVing with Jim and Garret" (http://jimandgarret.blogspot.com). After blogging, commenting, and trading insults with each other for a year, we met in person and it was a pure delight. The actual meeting part was kind of like seeing a close relative after a long absence... we already knew each other so well that the how-do-you-do was more a formality than anything. We ARE friends, afterall. There was no weirdness, strangeness, uncomfortable moments, long silences, pregnant pauses, "what am I doing here" occurrences... just fun, laughter and immense fun. I wish everybody could be so lucky to meet their blogosphere friends. To ME, that completes the circle and really puts a face on it. Blogging is awesome, but the friends it brings into your life is the icing on the cake.

    So when do WE meet, girlfriend?

  54. What I've learned is that there are various expectations around blogger.

    For some, it's a chance to make friends, like internet pen pals.

    For others, it's a writing for the love of writing.

    For some, it's a place to be completely honest, no matter how painful that may be for some.

    For others, it's a chance to see if anyone but their family thinks they're funny.

    Congratulations on coming up on 100!


  55. Hi Joanna -- glad I stumbled across you. I entered the blog world just before you but didn't have a clue about friends or followers - just figured that out in the last month or so (wish I had read a book). I started as just a way to keep a diary and quite love the whole aspect. Would love to have you visit sometime. Besides I was a Joanne J at the beginning of my life and always loved finding other JayJays - I figure that was my first alliteration.

  56. Happy 100th! It has only been recently of coming upon your blog and I LOVE (capital because I'm so excited) your blog. You make me laugh and who doesn't like a person that adds laughter to the day? I enjoy the humor you bring even on a rainy day. We should be giving you a gift for all that you give us! xoxo

  57. You did what???

    READ books about blogging before you blogged!!


    really, it's ok. you can have a blog that blows monkee butt and people will read.

    just be honest and let your emotions show.

    and then we can see the real you. and judging by what i am reading here. you sound neat :)

  58. I don't know Ms. Jenkins, but you're doing something REALLY right.

    Look at all your comments! Look at all your followers in such a short time.

    Congratulations to you!

  59. I'm just so happy to know that I'm not the only one who's done these things. Finally getting used to Twitter here and hope I'm doing that right too.

  60. We are writing blogs for several reasons and once it is out, people can read them. Depends if you set your blog to be private. Giving comments would attest that some are reading your blog and these comments can be set into moderation to prevent spammers from posting unrelated topics.


Thanks for stopping by and commenting, I really appreciate it.