Not writing, but reading.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Dog in snood

Nothing makes me happier than being included on somebody's blog love list. Well, dogs wearing hats and making silly faces probably make me happier. But it's a close-run thing.

This week, I was delighted to see that a friend had included me on the list of blogs she reads most religiously (I'm assuming this means she puts on a special robe and lights a candle whenever it's time for some dogs-wearing-hats blog action. I'm not sure though).

I can't deny it stung a little to see that the first thing she had to say about A Safe Mooring is that I'm "not updating it quite so often any more." This is unquestionably true - the dwindling numbers of posts per month speak for themselves - but nobody likes to be reminded of their failings. Especially when the rest of the description was ridiculously flattering. "Hilarious, a bit angry and very eloquent"? I'll take that, thank you very much, but I can't say I've particularly earned it in the last few months.

Dog in snood

I've said before that blogging is a conversation, and I still believe that to be true. Lately, I guess I just haven't felt like talking. I've been indulging the worst of my introverted tendencies, lurking around reading other people's blogs, eavesdropping on other people's conversations, then skulking back to glare at my own blank page.

It struck me last night, at about half past bedtime, that today is our second anniversary. Not Fin's and mine - that was last year - but yours and mine. You, the readers; me, the blogger. I've spent the last two years of my life in varying degrees of devotion to filling this blank page. You've left me 2,580 comments and I've squirrelled away every single one of them, to keep me going when words are sparse.

This year, there's no bunting, no celebratory blogiversary background (I was weirdly organised last year). Instead, some small gifts. First, a dog wearing a snood. You're welcome.

Dog in cowl
Second, a couple of recommendations for any of you who, like me, have been spending more time reading than writing of late. 

Along the same lines as the ever-popular Google Reader 'Next' button (if you missed it, scroll to the end of this post for all the ways in which the Next button is ace), the following tip could change your life. Or make your blog-reading experience slightly more pleasant. Which is practically the same thing.

Have you ever added a blog to your reader, only to discover that the blogger in question has utilised the single most irritating tool in the blogger's box of tricks? I'm not talking about referring to themselves as a "mommy" when their only child has four legs and licks its own balls. I'm not even talking about signing off every post with some pixel-wasting nonsense like "Love and light! xo," or "Kisses and fairydust! xoxo," or "Dandruff and wheelie bins! xoxoxoxox". I'm talking about... THE TRUNCATED FEED (dun dun dunnn).

You know, that thing where the blogger gives you the first seven words of their latest post, and then just expects you to click through to their actual blog to read the rest? Well hey, guess what, annoying blogger? If I wanted to click through to your actual blog then I wouldn't have SUBSCRIBED TO READ IT IN MY READER, WOULD I? HMMMM??? I will not click through! I will control my own clicks! And my next click will be on the unsubscribe button! How do you like THAT?

Dog in cowl

Okay, maybe nobody else finds it quite as annoying as I do. Ahem. But I genuinely believe that the role of the blogger is to make it as easy as possible for people to find and connect with them, and let the reader choose how to access their content. Unfortunately, not everyone follows Kirsty's Rules for Not Being a Dickhead on the Internet. And there are some good reasons (avoiding nasty incidents with scraper sites) and not-so-good reasons (clicks mean cash, folks) why bloggers use truncated feeds, so it's a practice that is unlikely to die out any time soon.

If you, like me, find truncated feeds intensely irritating, then I am about to give you the best present ever. It's called, and it does exactly what it says on the tin. You copy the link of the feed you want, paste it into the url generator, and out pops a lovely full text feed that will deliver the entire post straight to your reader. Boom.

To accompany this top tip, I would also like to humbly propose that you use it immediately to subscribe to the Writer's Almanac. I stumbled upon this a week or two ago and, once you get round the truncated feed thing, it is an absolute delight every single day. Literary snippets + heart-stopping poetry = a daily reminder of what good writing really is. I've even done the hard work for you: here's the full text feed.

And with that, I'm going to shamelessly steal the line that ends every epistle from the Writer's Almanac, because it sums up everything perfectly (and doesn't end with xoxo):

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

(Oh, and happy anniversary.)

The excellent, excellent pictures are from my new favourite Etsy shop, Whitly Craft Works. Anyone who knits snoods for dogs is clearly my kind of person.

14 boats moored

  1. Thank you! I hate the truncated posts when I'm reading on my phone. Don't mind them so much on computer but when something takes too long to load on the phone I just ditch it. Will be like mad now!

  2. Happy anniversary ! I am one of your religious readers. There are even candles by the window sill :)
    You were one of my "inspirations", as in, if she can do it, so can I. Of course I am not nearly as eloquent, but I try and I am always happy when I see a post from you (I think I'm not the only one, you are on quite some "blog love" lists).
    Anyhow, happy bloggiversary !
    Glad you are still here (I know you are). And you are so right about blogging being a conversation. It is the connections that matter the most, for me at least.

    1. Amanda, you always leave the nicest comments. Thank you!

  3. These dogs are too cute :-)

    And I also hate truncated posts....WHY!!

  4. I can't stop my post appearing truncated in readers and have tried a few times to turn it off. Oh well.

    Happy Anniversary! I do love your blog x

  5. 1. Dog in snood = EEEEEE I'm dead now from the cuteness
    2. OMG click-through truncated feeds are the worst! I still read them but I tend to star them and go back to them later when I'm not using something like Flipboard to read my feed.

  6. If by 'robe and candles' you mean 'hoodie and crisps' then yes, it is extremely religious. The whole point in blogging is that it's supposed to be fun. If it's not, don't do it. You certainly don't owe it to me or anyone else! Part of the problem with it all is how seriously people take it- hence the truncated posts for click-throughs.

    Anyways, I'm so glad to see you on here. No one else posts such good dog and hat based pictures. If I tried hats on my cat, she'd literally scratch my face off. Yesterday she ate the minute hand off the kitchen clock...

  7. Happy anniversary! Yes to hating the nonsense sign offs - unless you're thirteen and drafting your blog posts in glitter pen there's no need. Yes to hating the truncated feeds - the only reason I would ever turn them on is to get more click-throughs and my stats are just not that important. But most of all: yes to the Next button - I would (prefer) not (to) be without it.

  8. I love your blog, Kirsty. It is wholly eloquent and amusing and thoughtful.

    I have no idea if mine does truncated feeds or not (blogging newbie here!) but I can see that that would be annoying. I'm not a huge fan of twee sign-offs either but to each their own. As a blog reader mostly from my mobile, the most annoying thing I come across is blogs that size themselves weirdly or won't let you scroll down. I have this problem with Instagram on my Blackberry too, sigh. Makes nosiness a lot more frustrating!


  9. Happy anniversary!

    This fulltextfeed-thingamajig is brilliant! Thanks for passing it along-- I too despise truncated feeds. Also, you rock.

  10. Happy anniversary. Love reading your words, even more so when I get to look at pictures of dogs in snoods!

  11. happy anniversary!!!! I'm so happy to see a post (especially one that tips us off in such a GLORIOUS manner) (no seriously, THANK YOU).

    and I've recently also been more of a stalker than a poster (which is rubbish, as I now have TWO blogs. what the hell was I thinking??). well, unless you include Instagram. I'm there ALL DAY.

    so, you're not alone. and thank you for doggies in knitwear!

  12. Arggggh I hate truncated posts. Especially when blogs I've been reading for ages decide to suddenly not load pictures or 95% of their text in your reader. SUCH a pain and so sad to lose them, but I'll be honest, I am far too lazy to be clicking through, so it's goodbye.

    I thought I was the only one. Thank god.