Friday, January 1, 2010

Blogging Is Bad For My Mental Health? BMD

Seems there's a lot to learn about my new obsession devourer of free time hobby. In the few months I've been blogging I've picked up a lot of information and a few new skills, but I'm constantly reminded how much I don't know yet.

For example? I'm not a tech-savvy person. I'm a borderline Luddite who was dragged kicking and screaming into the digital age. I'm on Blogger precisely because it seems the most user-friendly, and I'm learning to manipulate little things without getting in over my head. (I tried switching, and rushed back in a near panic.) But I am learning!
I also needed to learn about generating traffic to get readers. Thankfully, there's a plan laid out that even I can follow! As part of his "insane scheme to take over the entire freaking blogosphere", Robert Stacy McCain discovered - and shares - 5 Rules to Get A Million Hits. So, I follow the rules to get the hits - and after that it's my responsibility to be interesting enough that folks will come back. Traffic has finally begun to grow a bit.

But then I learned something a little scary.

Turns out this whole blogging deal can be bad for my mental health. Yikes. Good thing I'm only following where others have bravely gone before, and there are those willing to share what they've learned.

As "Blogospheric Neologian", Professor William Jacobson has identified several conditions bloggers need to watch out for. (We could have pushed a campaign for regular screenings and early detection, but Obamacare's about to put an end to niceties like that.) Anyway, if you choose to blog, be on the lookout for the following:
  • Blogger Mood Disorder is a condition in which one's mood swings up and down in sync with the level of blog traffic.
  • SiteMeter Envy: (1) The point in a blogger's development at which the blogger realizes that other blogs have more traffic, and always will; or (2) the obsessive refreshing of other bloggers' SiteMeters to see if their traffic has increased since the last time you checked it, seven minutes ago.
  • Sitemeterenfreude, defined as "deriving pleasure from the failure of other bloggers to generate traffic."

Robert Stacy McCain expands the list further with his own discoveries:
  • SiteMeter Fever -- A neurosis typified by obsessively refreshing your SiteMeter to see if your traffic has increased since the last time you checked it, seven minutes ago.
  • Bloggernoia -- This psychotic disorder involves the suspicion that other bloggers have malevolent motives for not linking you.

And in my brief time as a blogger I believe I've discovered another, related disorder. Recently, I had my biggest traffic bump yet. At the peak of my Sitemeter traffic increase (at which point I was already suffering extreme SiteMeter Fever), I was struck - nay, clobbered - by a virus that literally flattened me. While wrapped in my electric blankie, fevered and grouchy, I began to suffer from delusions... namely:

  • Blogochondria-- The irrational belief that fate has conspired with the flu virus (or microscopic annoyance of your choice) to stop you from actively blogging, thereby causing your Sitemeter "bump" to trickle away to the previous low-flow rate.

I hope there aren't more of these surprises to come. My mental health was questionable before I started blogging (Why else would I have started?)... Here's hoping with regular self-checks, and the determination to seek professional help if it becomes an issue, I can carry on long enough to celebrate MY first million hits!

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