Blogging is an interesting hobby. It’s kind of weird to write what is basically a private diary on the internet, for any Tom, Dick or Harry to see. I’m often surprised – no, mortified – at the people I like and respect who mention they read one of the posts on my blog. I immediately want to run away and delete the entire website.
But I am glad that my sister persuaded me to start writing this rubbish down; it has really helped to keep me on track. We all know that keeping a diary is therapeutic – well, keeping a blog is therapeutic too and also makes you accountable. Knowing I have a blog to write means I can’t get away with just doing some training and then blocking it out of my head when it all goes to poop. I have to sit down, relive it and lay it out in writing – to go down in history. As a result of this, I think I have learned more from my triathlon mistakes than I would have done without a blog.
Yet another advantage of blogging is that I am able to go back over the past workouts I’ve done and see how much I have improved – or not, as the case may be. Sometimes I’ll read an old post and find I’d forgotten nearly everything that happened. So it helps to keep the memories alive for me, which will hopefully be very rewarding in years to come when I have returned to normal life.
So if you’re embarking on a new adventure, I would definitely recommend starting a blog (or at least writing a private diary, if you’re not in to over-sharing)
Although in saying all of that, the hobby of blogging can also be an exercise in insanity.
Firstly, it’s a bit risky. On numerous occasions I have typed something and hit publish, then panicked that I sound like just like the spoiled, obnoxious, pathetic wannabe that I am. It’s kind of unavoidable because I try to keep it as honest as possible and I can’t hide what is frankly just my personality, but I sometimes feel like I should preface each post with a disclaimer – something along the lines of ‘Please note, I do realise that there are much bigger problems in the world than whether the sea is a bit too choppy for a morning swim today’.
On more than one occasion I have had to text a friend or family member to ask them to quickly read my latest post and advise whether I should quickly remove it, because I convince myself that I am going to receive hate mail as a direct result of the latest drivel I’ve written. Most of the time they text back and say no, eff off Lauren. Or just ignore me completely. So then I panic even more that my post was more offensive than I realised and now no one will speak to me ever again.
But all of that is partly because underneath my massive ego is a paranoid alter-ego convinced that anything I have to say is boring and worthless. Because I am human, after all and we do have to contend with such insecurities (I think?)
Oh, and I am also mortified when I look back over posts and discover typos. How embarrassment.
The other problem for me is, you get given all sorts of statistics as the owner of a blog. I open up my WordPress editor (the go-to choice for all serious bloggers, apparently) to write today’s post, and there in front of you lays a graph and all sorts of interesting statistics.
Statistics that someone might, if they are silly, start to obsess about. Just a little bit.
It’s not just how many people have read a particular blog post or page (it was amazing to me that up until about 3 days ago I had 3 pages that had NEVER BEEN READ BY ANYONE other than me when I wrote them. Is that crazy? I thought so!)
The statistics also tell you what country the readers are in, how they found your webpage (mostly Facebook referrals, which is interesting because I am not even on Facebook so thank you to everyone for sharing the links to my page, it makes a big difference!) and even what links they clicked on in my site.
I will admit that I find the statistics irresistible and that I try to analyse the results. I wonder if I will go to my grave still mystified as to why on earth someone from Brazil seems to check my page almost every day but hardly ever clicks on my posts?
Don’t worry, I can’t tell much more than what got clicked on and where the readers were located. I am clueless as to how you spend the rest of your time, so unfortunately I can’t start sending out letters of demand if you haven’t read my blog posts lately.
Early yesterday morning before I went for my swim, I had a little inkling to see how many people had read the post I’d published the day before, on training with energy gels. I’d noticed before I’d gone to bed that although I’d had a lot of hits on my blog, it was mostly someone who was trawling through the old posts. Only 6 people had read the new post, which is quite low. Possibly not many people are interested in training with energy gels, I thought. So I did a quick check when I awoke yesterday morning and yep, suspicions confirmed – only two more readers had dropped by the new post overnight.
See, I’m obsessed.
But just before I clicked away to check Instagram, I noticed that one of the two night-readers had come across my website via a Google search, and for once, the search term had been recorded (most of the time, the stats page just tells me they don’t know what the search term was, or it is literally ‘she can try’ so someone was obviously looking for my site)
Once I stopped laughing I had to take a screenshot as proof:
So someone actually googled ‘pooped my swimsuit’ and my blog somehow popped up. I tried this for myself and can confirm that my blog doesn’t appear on the first 7 pages of search results, so not only did this person search a very random term, they then trawled through the results painstakingly.
Ah, the human mind and its eternal craziness. My own mind boggled.
[Edit: Ok literally as I pressed ‘publish’ on this post my stats page updated to tell me that some other random person had found my site by a Google search term as follows:
Sweaty crotch gym
Nice. There is a definite theme here. I should probably stop posting about poop and sweat I think. Sorry everyone, I didn’t realise how bad it had become.]
So by all means, start a blog to document your next big adventure. But be prepared for paranoia, obsession and frightening confirmations that the internet is full of strange people.