Tag Archives: the internet

The Limitations of Blogging for Poets and Authors

Yesterday evening, I fell into a very enjoyable conversation with a lady, during the course of which I mentioned that I compose poetry. She was kind enough to express an interest in my work, consequently I provided her with my business card, which contains my website’s address.

On being asked by the lady where she should start, I mentioned my poem “My Old Clock I Wind”. Having done so, I fell to considering how easy and/or difficult it would be for someone accessing my website to find a particular poem.

my blog, kmorrispoet.com, does have a search facility and, on returning home I searched for “My Old Clock I Wind” and reblogged the poem in order to make it easier for my acquaintance to read it.

My search took some 10-20 seconds (well it seemed to do so, although I wasn’t counting)! This incident did, however cause me to consider the limitations of blogging as a means of promoting my work.

In this age of social media, smartphones and other high tech devices enabling people to access information online it is, in my view essential to have a presence on the internet. Having a website/blog enables you to reach readers who would (in the absence of your blog/website) be unaware of your existence, let alone the fact that you write poetry, short stories etc. Having an online presence also allows you to easily share links to your published works (if any) with your online readership.

However, many blogs (including my own) have a very high number of posts, which means that (even with a search facility) its often difficult to find a given article, poem, short story etc. Of course one can (and should) use both tags and categories to enable your readership to find what they are seeking as easily as is possible. One can also create pages (for example a page on a book you have written, or one containing links to reviews of your books). However, having done all this, a blog still has its limitations.

The blogging community is a place full (on the whole) of friendly and helpful people. However, for those who do not blog, accessing a WordPress (or other blogging site) can be bewildering. Indeed I have found that a number of people who have become acquainted with my work through having met me face-to-face (and who have expressed pleasure on reading it), rarely (sometimes never) access blogs. They feel more comfortable with a paperback or an ebook and lack any significant desire to engage online either by reading, commenting or liking blog posts.

I know of people who have visited my blog (they have told me that they have done so and enjoyed reading my work), yet many of these have not followed my site. I (as with many other bloggers) do have a facility to subscribe by email as well as via the WordPress reader. The email facility is particularly good for those who do not have a WordPress site and/or Gravatar. However few people (at least in the case of my own site) subscribe by email, meaning that the overwhelming majority of my (online) readership is composed of fellow WordPress users.

As mentioned earlier in this post, the WordPress community is a helpful and friendly place. However, if one wishes to promote one’s work its extremely important to use a variety of means (not just blogging) Such other means include readings, chatting to interested strangers, and (if you can aford to do so) giving away the odd copy of your books.

As always, I would be interested to hear the views of my readers.

Kevin

We are a nation of scrollers not readers, and tech billionaires are to blame

An article in The Guardian’s opinion section argues that we (in the UK) are a nation of scrollers rather than readers, and that the blame for this lies at the door of the tech billionaires, (see https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/may/08/nation-scrollers-readers-read-netflix-twitter-books-mark-zuckerberg).

Its very easy to blame others for one’s own shortcomings methinks . . .

Online Distractions

Yesterday evening (Sunday 26 November), found me contentedly sitting on the sofa in my living room, reading a recently purchased braille edition of Robert Frost’s “North of Boston”, http://www.gutenberg.org/files/3026/3026-h/3026-h.htm. On turning to the final poem in “North of Boston”, which is entitled “Good Hours” https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/good-hours, I came across the word profanation.

Being wholly unfamiliar with the word I was keen to ascertain its meaning. I had, however turned off my computer (quite deliberately as I wished to spend the remainder of Sunday evening reading, undisturbed by technology). I do not own a braille dictionary (they are, to my knowledge no longer produced as blind users can access online dictionaries), consequently the only way in which I would have been able to find the definition of profanation would have been by turning on my computer or looking up the word using the search engine on my mobile phone, (both devices are equipped with screen readers which convert text into speech and braille).

To cut a long story short, due to my unwillingness to succumb to the demon of technology, I left my curiosity unsatisfied until this evening (Monday 27 November).

I spend much of my life engaging with technology. My job entails the use of a computer Monday through to Friday, while my poetry is written using a laptop. Consequently I relish time away from electronic gadgetry, hence my disinclination to engage with technology yesterday evening.

I do, of course recognise the value of online reference books. Language is constantly evolving and it is not always convenient to lug a heavy dictionary around with one. However, when writing it is easy to go to one of the many online dictionaries, only to get caught up with online distractions such as webmail, social media etc. Had I the choice, I would not go online while writing but would rely on a good old-fashioned paper dictionary. However given the absence of braille dictionaries (as explained above) I have no option other than to use the internet. I will, however continue to avoid the temptation to go online during my leisure time, while reading for pleasure. We all, in my view benefit when we take a break from the World Wide Web and technology more generally.

Incidentally, for anyone interested in ascertaining the meaning of profanation, Merriam-Webster defines it as follows:
“the act or an instance of profaning”, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/profanation