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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Archive for the day “May 24, 2011”

Inventing Oppression

Some people go really overboard in trying to find oppression everywhere. Here, for example, is a post that reveals a supposedly oppressive practice of paying people in law firms $60,000 per year:

The nation’s biggest law firms are creating a second tier of workers, stripping pay and prestige from one of the most coveted jobs in the business world. Make no mistake: These are full-fledged lawyers, not paralegals, and they do the same work traditional legal associates do. But they earn less than half the pay of their counterparts — usually around $60,000 — and they know from the outset they will never make partner.

It turns out that these poor victims of corporate greed are getting paid some paltry $60K instead of a more decent $160K they’d been promised in law school. How do the poor darlings even survive on such horribly low pay?

Well, actually, given that the majority of people in this country (including me) get by on a lot less, I kind of don’t give a rat’s ass about the sufferings of the folks who feel hard done by because nobody is paying them $160,000 they think they deserve.

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More Weird Spammers

Some people just blow my mind with their complete lack of understanding of how to interact with others. Here is an email I just received at the address associated with this blog. I receive such emails periodically and am now very tired of responding to them. So maybe if I respond to one right here, people will finally get a clue.

Hi Clarissa,
I am wondering if you’d consider accepting a guest post from me for Clarissa’s Blog. I am the owner of ABC a not-for-profit website that gives students information about the online college process from someone who has actually been there. To get increased awareness of my site I’d like to write an article for your website on whatever topic you’d like and in exchange, when you publish the article on your site you mention me and link to my website at the top or the bottom of the article. The idea, is that if people who regularly read your blog now read the article that I wrote and decide they like it, they may follow the link and become readers of my site as well. If you think this is something you might be willing to consider, I’d appreciate you letting me know what topic you’d like me to write the article on, and I will write one up and email it to you for you to consider.

Notice how this person gives a very detailed explanation of how this project will be beneficial to them and forgets to mention how it might benefit me. Or do people get an impression that I’m struggling to find topics to blog about and am in need to people to write posts for me? Is it the fact that I publish 6-9 posts a day that convinced them of this? Do I look like a person who needs posts “on whatever topic” from complete strangers? Besides, if you believe that you writing should be so super valuable to strangers, then maybe you might want to avoid using the word “consider” three times in such a short message, pay attention to the punctuation and don’t use “write up” when you can say “write.”

If you want people to place your links at their blogs and send you readers, you need to start by telling them how they will benefit from it. Whether a complete stranger has readers is of no concern to me whatsoever. Also, I would never accept a guest post from somebody I don’t know very well. I am especially unlikely to publish posts that promote online universities. I consider the so-called “degrees” from such places to be a complete and total joke. It is even less likely that I would direct any of my readers to a website that refers to books as “old-fashioned” while pretending to sell college education to people. And it is even more improbable that I would promote a website that makes egregious mistakes in grammar and vocabulary in every single sentence.

I’m sorry if this sounds mean but I’m annoyed at getting this kind of messages all the time.

Weird Spammers

Some spammers are extremely weird. One just tried leaving a spam message in an incomprehensible language. I think it was Dutch or something from that family of languages. This is obviously an English-language blog and the chances that I speak that language are quite minimal. The spam linked to an website in English, though.

Switching From Blogger to WordPress

Before I made the monumental decision to transfer my Blogspot.com blog to WordPress, I read everything I could find online about what this switch augured for me. When I first started blogging, I, as one of the most unsociable people in the universe, was sure that maybe three people in the world would read the blog if I was really lucky. Then, somehow it turned out that what I had to say was relevant to a whole bunch of people from all over the world.

These strangers’ interest in me led me to become more honest about myself. I have made huge strides in my personal development thanks to blogging. A fellow blogger admitted in a comment on my blog that blogging helped her drop the superwoman facade and start talking about who she was honestly. My experience is very similar to hers. The “PhD Vanity” post I published in September of 2010 marked the start of a more personal and honest kind of blogging for me. I was severely criticized for publishing this post on some blogs. Two bloggers used it to research who I really was and threatened me with revealing my real name (one actually followed through on the threat.) Long-time readers might not remember it as anything special, but that post marked the beginning of my journey to a more sincere, pretense-free kind of blogging.

Of course, when I decided to move my blog to WordPress, I was terrified of losing my readership. 300.000+ hits in less than two years is nothing to be sneezed at. (If in doubt, try to get 100 hits  per day on your blog and tell me how that goes.) I was terrified of losing my readers who were used to the previous format and wouldn’t welcome the change. However, after installing the redirecting code on my old blog, I had the record number of hits in my two years of blogging: 2,068 hits yesterday, May 23, 2011. And that was after just five days of blogging at WordPress.

As usual, there will be people who will tell me that 2,000+ hits a day is not a big deal and that they have made extensive calculations that tell them how only 5 people in the world read the blog. However, I have researched the issue and from what I hear, WordPress.com considers this kind of readership to be exceptional. So If you want to tell me that I’m nothing special, I will have to disagree. I think I kind of am, and my blogging record proves it.

So if you are considering moving from Blogger to WordPress, just install the code I linked to and sit tight. Readers will follow you to your new platform if you have anything of relevance to tell them.

Blogging Suggestions

To supplement the golden rules I published in the previous post, I also have a list of suggestions that nobody has to follow but that it would be nice to see people consider.

–          If other bloggers are anything like I am, they are dying to know how you found their blogs if you are commenting for the first time. I always really appreciate it if someone says “I just Googled “obnoxious Ukrainian Jewish professors of Spanish literature” and alighted on your blog as a result.” (If you decide to try this particular search, you will see that Google links to my blog as search results #4 and 5. It’s funny because I made up the search specifically for this post). Nobody is obligated to leave this kind of comment, of course, but it’s nice when people do.

–          There are crowds of people who read a blog on a daily basis but never comment. That’s perfectly fine and they are 100% in their right. However, if such people consider leaving one little comment saying “Hi, I’m from Greenland and I often read this blog,” that would be super cool. But don’t do that if you really don’t feel like it.

–          If you really like a blog and participate on it a lot, you might not want people you know to be aware of what you say there. I can understand that perfectly. Just yesterday, I shared something on a blog I like that I haven’t shared with anybody else in the entire world. If, however, that is not the case, it might be a very kind thing to do to tweet, Facebook or email links to the blog you like to other people. (Those who have been doing that for my blog: you have my eternal gratitude. Those who haven’t: just visiting the blog is more than enough.)

–          It’s OK to say whatever you want about me. But try not to be insulting to other commenters. I see it as a personal favor to me when people come to my blog and leave comments. So when somebody is mean to my readers, I get annoyed. I’m not talking of being critical about people’s opinions. I’m just talking about  insulting people.

–          Everybody has their little personal obsessions. I will never EVER ask you to buy anything or pay for anything in return for my blogging. Even if I start publishing books like crazy, I will never exhort my readers to buy them. If my regular and faithful readers and commenters decide they want a copy, they only I have to ask me and I will email them a file with the text for free. Using people who have been reading and commenting on my blog for a long time to make money off of them in this way is something I will never do. However, I have this little addiction to polls. They make me happy, people. (Aspie here). So if I post a poll – and even if you find it very silly and annoying – I would really love it if you pressed a button to register a vote. As people used to say in the XVIIIth century: “If it costs you so little hardship and gives me so much pleasure, why not do it?”

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