Saturday, February 24, 2007


It seems to be a widely held belief that all people who have blogs are nerds with poor communication skills.

Occasionally you'll see someone suggest "ooh, I've considered internet dating, but I'm really not sure. I've heard of these people who come across as really witty, funny and intelligent in their blogs or e-mails, but in real life they're just really boring and have terrible social skills and are not very good looking or anything" (yeah. So unlike you, eh?).

Anyway, relax, non-bloggers. I'm sure there are as many pushy nobodies who love the sound of their own voice who blog alongside all of the Dr Who obsessives and teccy geeks who are unable to hold a conversation consisting of more than one word grunts. Look, there must be SOME over confident wankers in the blogging game - a lot of them even admit that they're media whores!

Still, I'm pretty sure of where I am on the blogging spectrum.

I don't like sci fi novels or films, don't wear a lot of nylon and don't have personal hygeine issues, so that's a reasonable start ...

... but I've got very poor social skills.

A night out with me is as interesting as a Monday afternoon sat in a dentist's waiting room. I don't like talking to people, they don't like talking to me and an unhappy medium of monosyllabic *conversation*, awkward silences and avoided eye contact is the best you can hope for. Sorry, but I don't really like having to socialise and avoid it as much as possible. I don't see it as a problem and am perfectly happy provided I don't have to be around other people.

Still, these days you can't get *anywhere* in blogging unless you network.

Which means that this blog is destined to fade into obscurity because I won't be attending supah doopah blogmeets or kissing arse.

... and I'm perfectly happy about that.

At least I won't be involved in the following awful scenario which will probably happen at an A-list blogmeet near you at some point:

A-list blogger 1: "Hi! How's it going?!"

A-list blogger 2: "Oooh, things are a bit chaotic at the moment! It's all ... rather ... STRANGE ... actually!!!"

A-list blogger 1: "I knoooow! Mind you, I have to say .... LOVING your work, really ... that post you did about your grandfather's funeral where all his relatives came over from Denmark had me riveted. I have to confess, I shed a few tears. It was just marvellous."

A-list blogger 2: "Oh, gosh!"

A-list blogger 1: "And I believe congratulations are in order, what with the publishing contract and the weekly column in the Much Wenlock Chronicle!!!"

Etc., ad nauseum.

UPDATE AND DISCLAIMER: Of course, as someone who is positively Z-list, I realise that I wouldn't actually get an invitation to an A-list blogmeet, but would be stood outside like a smudgy-cheeked Dickensian chimney sweep ... "cor, there goes that Little Red Boat lady, all 'oity toity in 'er silk gown!"

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Oh goodness, no. A blogmeet, like office parties and similar, fills me with dread, too. Having to talk to strangers under duress? I only met Phil in the flesh this week because I "knew" him from elsewhere before I was a blogger. If we ever happen to be in the same establishmnet Betty, which may well happen one day if my children in your area ever decide to talk to me again, make yourself known and then we'll go and stand in opposite corners politely ignoring each other.
A blogmeet? I'd rather shit myself.
Well, here is a little bit of information about me. I have really good communication skills and I love meeting people (as long as I know I dont have to befriend them on a permanent basis). I even went to a school re-union and enjoyed it.
So whoever you are, and that includes you Betty, I know it would be absolutely fine to meet you at a blogmeet. Of course I am more than happy not to, and the likelihood is I really couldn't be bothered - I guess what I am saying is that the widely held belief that all bloggers are introspective weirdos is simply not true.
as a nerd with poor communication skills, I was pleasantly surprised to find blogmeets not at all painful. Come to the next one Betty, we're going to a pub quiz so we don't have to talk to each other at all, just answer quiz questions. Go on - you (& Geoff) could sit at a separate table - so long as it's near enough that we could sneakily copy your answers.

(And if it's not too personal a question - "I don't like talking to people, they don't like talking to me" - however did you and Geoff get together?)
Betty I share your personality and socialising phobia.
But I can't possibly go to a blogmeet because people would be so disappointed to find that I really do look exactly like Joanna Lumley!
Richard - too true. I make a point of making myself unknown.

Sky Clearbrook - exactly. Mind you, I should imagine shitting yourself would be one of the unfortunate side effects of attending a blogmeeting.

Tom - well, I'm certainly proud to be an introspective weirdo, and was nailing my colours to the mast. It's something you're not supposed to admit to. I don't have a problem from people being more extrovert than me, whatever. Live and let live. Ahem. Maan.

Annie - only if you want a team that scores in minus figures. Oh aye, Geoff could do Feeling Suicidal About West Ham Utd's Diminishing Fortunes and I could do How To Cope With Unmanageable Flyaway Hair as specialist subjects ...
Kaz - funny that, I look exactly like Diana Rigg. Or should that be Janette Krankie?
Which era Diana Rigg would that be, Betty?
I've never been to a blogmeet and although I'm not averse to them existing per se, but the only other blogger that I've met prior to knowing them offline was one that was vetted by a blogger who's a friend in the real world.

I certainly don't dream of going to blogmeets.

PS; my heart-felt sympathies go to Geoff, on what must be a miserable day for WHU fans.
Hang on - I'm just going to do a correspondence course in law to decipher what Istvanski was saying! How do you vet a blogger before you have met them via someone else?

Blogmeets (I have an aversion to that word - just going to throw up - that's better) are terrifying - until you get there and drink copious amounts of red wine in a short space of time like I did to get over the fear. Strangely enough, I'm a bit of a nerdy hermit but am quite astonishingly brave in those sort of situations - fuelled by adrenalin coursing round my system no doubt. It's fine once you are there but the anticipation is the scary bit. So pub quiz then - Betty - you and Geoff can wear matching his'n'her kaftans with special hoodie things so we can't see you (and it will keep your aforementioned flyaway hair under control) if need be? Or a live satellite link-up? Or you could be represented by Derek Acorah - Britain's shite-est psychic medium?
That "Agnetha Faltskog's weird stalker" is a cracking tag/label.

Can't say I've ever done a blogmeet, unless you include meeting my mates who also blog. So, it's a bit like hanging round with your mates, then?

I'm confident I'd shit my pants if I ever met you, Betty.
Istvanski - vetting bloggers, eh? I wonder how many of us would pass the "slightly strange but ultimately fairly harmless" test? Or how many would be rejected as "potential stalker, should be placed in a maximum security unit for the good of themselves and the public"? Doesn't bear thinking about. As for West Ham, Geoff has, I think, given up at this point, rather like the team themselves.

Rockmother - I think we should be represented by the couple we see in one of our local pubs who we call Lloyd Cole and Hazel O'Connor, although turning up dressed as the grim reaper sounds quite appealing. Perhaps you could invite Derek Acorah, dim the lights and see if he could sense a "presence" in the pub. That would be a *fun* night out.

Holyhoses Rob - none of my mates blog and think that I'm a complete mentalist because I do. They are probably right. I'm very flattered to think that you'd be terrified to meet me. That's the nicest compliment anyone has paid in a long time.
RoMo - I was due to meet up with Stray Photon (a blogger of considerable standing) for the footie, prior to this I had not met up with him in real life.

Both Photon and I know Howesy (another blogger) in the 'meat world' and Howesy assured me that Photon was a true gentleman.

Therefore, Photon was vetted for me by Howesy (and vice-versa, ensuring Stray's personal safety).

Legalise my botty.

I did ofcourse mean Legaleese...
I wonder if there's anyone who's better at talking then composing emails? I'd be very suspicious of them if they did exist.
i got invited to an a-list blogmeet once. i went (with a friend), but chose to get drunk and wuss out of actually talking to anyone. it was terrifying. i'm pretty sure some people actually had laminated copies of their book deals in their handbags.

Istvanski - legal E's? Some sort of herbal concoction, apparently. Not that I know anything about such stuff.

Billy - some people do actually seem to be able to communicate better verbally than on paper. I don't know why - in real life I can't edit out all the "erms" and "y'knows".

Surly Girl - I thought you were A-list! Makes me glad that I'm fairly obscure. I don't think I could cope with all the schmoozing, what with being dead common and lacking in even basic social skills.
'A-list blogs'?

Them's the ones what get mentioned on the radio and in the papers and stuff?

Twat Boyfriend, Johnny B, Girl-Fat-Arse, Red Boat, Petit Angles etc etc... what do they have in common?

They're all fucking rubbish.
Blogging is a higher level of communication because we are not distracted by cleavage, codpieces, cologne, cash, charisma and coiffures.

We can concentrate and stay 'on topic' because most of the cumbersome dynamics of the real world are not a factor.

It's the 'delay' in the response time (and access to google) that makes all so "pretty and witty and gay!"
The blogmeet fills me with dread. As does the idea of the personal-blog celebrity.

Whatever happened to good, old-fashioned ANONYMOUS blogging?

I partially second Spinsterella on some of the A-listers. Naming no names, there are one or two where I simply can't understand what people see in them.

Respect to the Utility Room.
I met Billy via another forum's get-together :) I've been to a couple of blogmeets and they were fun as we sort of knew each other already through our blogs (people whose blogs don't reflect their real personae probably don't go to blogmeets anyway).
Spinsterella - wah hey! You are the Johnnny Rotten of blogging!

H E - "cleavage, codpieces, cologne, cash, charisma and coiffures"? Bollocks to blogging, I want me some of that! Actually, I'm with you on this one. You can be yourself online without the constrictions of physical reality (or be someone you want to be, if that's your thing).

Overnight - pretty much on the money. I don't see why people should be forced to reveal their identity or network if they don't want to. It's a shame if the pushy people are going to "win" at blogging, in the way that they win at everything in real life.

Llewtrah - I'm not saying that blogmeets are a bad thing for people who enjoy socialising, they're just not for me (and, I suspect, a lot of bloggers, who I should imagine are quite introvert people). I don't know about bloggers inventing personaes, I can only speak for myself and would say that I'm pretty much like I am online in "real" life (unfortunately, heh heh). I don't have the imagination to invent a persona!
Come on Betty, admit it: you've been to one, haven't you? That was a spookily accurate transcription. I cringed a little inside.

Some (but not many) blogmeets are invitation-only because some of the attendees are worried, with some justification, about attracting stalkers and nutters. It's nothing to do with heirarchies of exclusivity.

And vis-a-vis some of the more, um, outspoken comments, I'm going to have to defend some of the bloggers-with-book-deals, some of which are personal friends, against charges of - oh, the HORROR! - "pushiness". In all the cases I know of, the bloggers were approached from out of the blue. They weren't hawking their asses round the agencies. Jeez, why do you think they all get so excited about it? It's because THIS WAS NEVER IN THEIR PLAN.

If I got offered a book deal, I'd probably never stop f**king squawking about it. God, I could stop doing this boring shitty job, for starters! In which case, I kind of admire these people's relative *restraint*.

But there's no getting away from it: the existence of a small number of bloggers with relatively large readerships, who have been offered opportunities to turn professional with their writing, really seems to piss a lot of people off. So it's useful to be reminded of that.
I chose to blog under my own name because I didn't want to hide behind a persona anymore. I'd written using a pseudonym before and still do very occasionally but it's still essentially the same person. There was an element of "coming out" too, not in gay sense but of having the courage to stand by what you wrote.
As soon as I am unmasked by anyone who knows me I have to change blog. Simple as that. Meeting people would be even worse. The beauty of blogging is the freedom to re-invent yourself and your own reality. I can no longer use my old blogger name as it became known to those close to me who I could then not really talk about with candour.

Because of stupid google twats I now have to create a new e-mail address as well so that I can have a totally new blog not referred to on the known about one.
Mike - the post wasn't designed as an attack on bloggers who have publishing deal or bloggers who have large readerships. If anything I was taking the mickey out of my own lack of social skills - it was all pretty tongue in cheek.

What was annoying me at the time I wrote it was an article in The Times that I'd read from a link on Quinquireme blog - http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article1401041.ece
about a blogger who had been plucked from "obscurity" to get a huge advance. Later it emerged that she was actually a former Sunday Times correspondent whose blog had received recommendations from a few established political bloggers. It's difficult not to react with cynicism to something like that.

In truth, I think most of us really don't expect to get an audience of more than a handful of people and just use blogging as a form of fairly spontaneous self expression, with the added bonus of a few comments about a post if we're lucky. I should imagine most of the so-called A-list bloggers started out with the same approach, but it would be a shame if blogging is going to be hi-jacked by people who just see it as a platform to advance an already established career.

Richard - I occasionally write using my real name (Janet Street Porter) but she doesn't seem to be very popular with bloggers, for some reason.

Fidel - yeah, the whole "identity" thing is interesting, and can be quite liberating. I've stuck with the same name but it seems to be associated with a "brand" - other blogs I have get much less viewers. Problem is, I don't have the imagination to morph into another personality, whereas some people do!

*crikey, this is all getting a bit deep for someone who was too thick to get to university*
Thanks for the clarification, betty. I didn't have any beef with your original post, anyway - it made me cringe in appalled recognition, but it also made me giggle, and I "got" where you were coming from re. self-deprecation etc. I was just getting all hoity-toity with some of your more "robust" commenters, that's all.

Yeah, I heard about that Times journo book deal thingy. It's the publishing equivalent of that ridiculous Sandi Thom "grassroots internet sensation" PR scam, and yes, it really hacked me off as well. That's just riding on coat-tails. Big yuck.
If it was discovered that I am, in fact, a welder from Bridlington I don't know what I'd do. Woops.
Arabella, there are people who read this blog who're looking up all the numbers of welders in Bridlington in Yellow Pages and want to be your friend even as I write this. Shudder.
Oh, and by the way: that post by Paul that you nominated for Post of the Week... it won!
I know damn well i'd be expected to wear a war bonnet and carry a corndog.
Oh lord, THERE'S a nightmare...a 'come as your avatar' event. god forgive me for even conceiving of such a notion...

Spinsterella is up to three titles now...A-lister, Emma Peel of Blogdom and Johnny Rotten of Blogdom. she'll be shaving her head and getting a tattoo next!
.....IT WAS YOU!

*flinch, tic, tweak, shitshit, tic, tic, flinch tic, shitcrapdamn, tic, flinchtic...*
Mike - excellent news!

First Nations - Spins is the Mistress Of Disguise of blogging, and she can change herself at will (provided there's a telephone box nearby). Mind you, best not to mention that she's the Emma Peel of Blogdom. The sad, mouth breathing, crusty underpants element of the readership will get all excited.
No, she'd be about 75.
"i got invited to an a-list blogmeet once."

Are we supposed to be impressed by this SG?

"Therefore, Photon was vetted for me by Howesy "

I wouldn't believe anything Howesey tells you Istster. He told me he was a wizard on the bass guitar who wouldn't *dream* of shafting my missus...

Imagine how gutted I was when I found out he was a lying, double-crossing toad.

I was so looking forward to his rendition of 'Bass Odyssey"....

L.U.V. on ya,

Bob - um, I don't think Surly was trying to impress us, she was just illustrating a point (blimey, I'm having to do me diplomatic service bit on this post aren't I?)

As for the rest of it, didn't that sort of thing happen to Fleetwood Mac? It'll all come out in the no hold barred biography in ten years' time.
I met my bloke at a blogmeet (of sorts), so I'm all in favour. I'm also an almost pathological introvert, but then so are a lot of the other people who turn up to these things, so I'm generally in good company.

The thing is to organise a meeting around some event or other that means there doesn't have to be a lot of talking. Like a gig, or, as Annie Slaminsky (who is just as lovely in real life) said, a pub quiz. Much easier than having to make small talk with Scary Strangers From The Internet all night - although I have to say that everyone I've met Off The Internet has been lovely and interesting, even if some of them were a bit scary at first (not in a creepy way).

In conclusion: blogmeets - a bit scary, but you get to meet nice people.
Also: if you look at this chart, Betty, you will discern that you - and some other familiar characters - are, like, *totally* A-list.
Patroclus, still not sure about it. The feeling of nausea, the room swaying, thinking I'm about to faint, it takes me back to my teens (no - not what happens after too many drinks. That was just me having to go to a party). I couldn't face all that again! As for that chart - well, the high viewing figures are entirely down to the endless hits from people looking for a picture of Sophie Ellis Bextor that I linked to. Last Monday I had no less than 647 hits, because Ms Ellis Bextor's new single was out. Let's just say that a lot of *leg* men make up the blog viewing figures. I'm still completely Z-list, real, and have love for the streets.
I Howard Beale Agnetha's weid stalker or have I got the wrong end of the stick?
I would like to go to blogmeet invisible, just so I could see what people look like in the 'flesh'. I once saw Tom at a horse show but didn't have the nerve to say hello - he looked really scary!
Realdoc - Howard Beale was the main character in the film Network (I just thought "networking ... network", because I couldn't think of another title!). Can't remember the name of Agnetha's stalker, but she had a short affair with him before he started to act strangely. When his house was searched he'd apparently managed to collect her poo (that was the story, anyway).

Ziggi - this is what terrifies me. I can imagine people I'd met sending e-mails to each other saying "honestly, dear - the state of it." Er, I am over 40 after all. I'm intrigued about Tom though. Does he have an aura of madness? Perhaps it's all the acid he did in his youth that's left him with mad, staring eyes?
o god, I didn't mean to insult Tom - (I didn't mean it, honest Tom!) - nope that wasn't it, I just couldn't think of anything to say that could possibly have been of interest to him. That, and the fact that he's sooo good looking I was struck dumb.
I hope he doesn't read this - you know what men's egos are like if somebody tells them that they're good looking!
Complete change of subject, Betty, I hadn't noticed you'd changed it. Have you seen this?

I'm a nerd with decent written communications skills. My speaking skills make me sound like I have the IQ of a shoehorn, particularly when attempting public speaking.
Richard - a clarinet plays in the distance.

Cheesemeister - I would say that I've got better written communication skills, but I've got to take into account all the spelling mistakes and grammatical errors!
Betty, I've just had a go at reading the blog that it made you cross to read about, and it's made *me* cross to read it.

Admittedly I didn't give it much of a chance, she seemed to be beeing sneery about the north, so I thought 'fuck off back to london then' & gave up on it.

Incidentally, I've been to one of those 'A-list blogmeets' despite being 100% non-list, having no social skills and not really liking many people all that much. It was fine. Alcohol is a great leveller.
Beth - blimey, a comment that isn't from Richard (*goes white with shock*). Ah, alcohol the great leveller - the problem is, there's a fine line between alcohol the great leveller and alcohol the great humiliator. Which is worse - being embarrassed because you spent the evening off the booze but getting tongue tied and nervous, or an evening on the booze talking incoherently, laughing too loud and ending up with a killer hangover?
Fifty Comments!


Betty, you tryly are an A-Lister. But good.
Cheers Spin - I'm going to have a celebratory mug of methylated spirit to mark the occasion. Then I'm going to draft my first mimsy, middle class lifestyle column which will be appearing in the Observer this weekend. Bollocks to blogging - it's hanging around with the likes of Liz Jones for me from now on.
"Imagine how gutted I was when I found out he was a lying, double-crossing toad."

Bit harsh.

Hope there's irony there cos I know where you live.
Oooh, the lovely thing about blogging is that we're all one big happy family. It gives me a warm glow all over to think how much virtual love there is out there.
... and to think that's how I used to feel too...
Interesting post Betty. . . as per usual, food for thought.

Il give you something ON JUST ANOTHER BLOGGER. . .my boyfriend been with him nearly 8 years. What you see is what you get as they say, gets on with all my family, extended family and friends. Quite normal, mundain in life and in the bedroom department. No surprises. (disappointingly, but you cannot change habits of a life time as they say. . .certainly true. Ive tried)

Yet on the Blogger NOT SURE now who he is. Or is it the real him after all or someone who LIKES the bravado of being this person he is not in my life anyway.

Some of the stuff he comes out with quite surprises me, (never knew, interesting), some disgusts me that he thinks certain things by his comments, and the rest well total utter B- - - - - - s.

What keeps him on the internet anything from 4-6hrs even 12 is beyond me. No lie ins with me anymore, cuddles first thing when he wakes or I wake up first thing. He is gone. . Sneaks out of bed first thing, straight onto the internet. says how much more can he sleep. FUNNY always managed it before we got the internet 4 years ago. . .(Secret over the sites he visits and removing his history)

well. . .And they say. .you think you know someone. That is the question?
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