Monday Moments – Grateful ‘Leftovers’, Pet Peeves and Random Reality Checks

gratitude

I survived 30 days of Grateful posts … and while it was rewarding and I loved all of the great comments, it was exhausting. But I was left with a bunch of thoughts – positive, negative, etc – that I figured I would just spill out … so here goes:

Grateful ‘Leftovers’
1. I am grateful for YOU. Anyone reading this, as I get a bunch of reads and views from non-commenters (which is fine, of course). The comments here, the great thoughts shared on your own blogs, fun pics on Instagram, and so on. They are great and make me proud to be part of this group.

2. The running community Here I am talking about online, local, pretty much everyone who runs or volunteers to help runners or works in some capacity helping runners. The stories I hear all over the place warm my heart.

3. The non-running community These are the people who get us to races, cheer us on, worry when we aren’t home when we said, and so on. They are also the people who deal with redirected traffic at races, runners with headphones not following traffic rules, and so on. I complain about the occasional ‘morning moron’ who intentionally tries to push me off the road, but in general everyone I meet and talk to and deal with is incredibly encouraging and kind.

4. My Co-Workers I have talked about how wonderful everyone was when I was losing weight back in 2012, and also noted the supportive people on my project team going back and forth to Kentucky last year. And this year has been great as well – I have loved watching as some people have succeeded at joining the ‘100+’ club and looking great, and continued enjoying the support. I got asked a couple of times about my 5K this week, and it is great.

While I’m at it let me add ‘The Power of a Simple Text’ – the way my company works is very project based, so I have worked with more than a dozen separate groups of people over the 6.5 years I’ve been there. For the most part things just fade into the background, you say a quick ‘hi’ in the hallways, or at local events if you see each other. But then there are occasional friends who stick with you – and I got a fun and friendly text from one person the other night that was just super-nice and very much appreciated.

5. Humor I love laughing and having fun – which is why I have shared things such as the Oatmeal talk the other day. I love comedy movies from Airplane to Monty Python to the Marx Brothers to Blazing Saddles and more …web comics, Dilbert, Bloom County, and on and on. I love the Instagram account ‘Unspirational’, and things like this:

10150550_10152903229743609_6878153457449349811_n

Pet Peeves
1. OK, this isn’t a pet peeve, but when I said in a post I would alienate some people … I wasn’t wrong. In spite of putting out content consistently for a month I have lost readers and subscribers and followers – and that is after being virtually silent for a month!

2. ‘Clean Eating’ – I am a huge fan of eating well, eating REAL food, and so on. But as I have said, ‘Clean Eating’ is seldom used in a positive way – I see it on Instagram, blogs and so on as a ‘brag-term’, or sometimes a ‘superiority hammer’, but never as anything constructive. It is a vague and largely meaningless term as used. It might as well be ‘#ImEatingCleanerThanYOUBitches’ for the way it is portrayed!

3. Instagram Hashtag ‘Attention-seekers’ (because I don’t like that word that rhymes with ‘store’, and find it still has negative connotations towards women) … um, there was one young runner whose blog I used to follow who tagged all of her Instagram posts with things like #fitnessmodel and #fitspo and about 25 more #things … and it attracted the type of attention you might expect. Sure Instagram is another way of getting yourself seen … but what is your message, and how do your hashtags convey that and what type of audience are you attracting? I do NOT believe that all attention is good attention.

4. THIS! – I mean, is there even a web site there?

Is There a Site

OK, it is pretty clear if you look at the title what site that is, and I have emailed Michele about it, and we still follow each other and comment on posts and it is all in good fun, but here’s the thing – on the one hand people need to pay for their sites, maybe for the effort they put into blogging, and if lucky enough to get a few more $ on top of that. I also understand that to get that money requires advertising, which requires code that needs to be *seen* to be useful.

But on the other hand there are limits to what people should have to deal with – and if I am an email subscriber to your blog, and click on that link in my email, I should NEVER see another thing to sign up! That is just not cool – and it is not an ad that is making you money. And to have them double-stacked with an advert on the bottom? Yeah, pretty much useless. There are more than a few sites where I see the sign-up bar at top – and I already get the daily email from all of them. Please make it stop – we should be partners working together for the best overall experience, and while we know that usually includes advertising … try to minimize the clutter wherever possible.

5. Deleted Comments, Non-Replies, Link-Ups.

Look, it is your blog, do what you want. But always be mindful of what you are doing compared to what you want for yourself. I have had a couple of ‘interesting’ experiences recently…

Replies – We want people to comment, and should honor the time they put into reading our stuff and commenting with at least a small acknowledgement. Or not – but be consistent. If you get 20 comments and respond to 5, that is one thing … but if you get 50 and reply to 49 – not so cool. And if it seems to happen fairly consistently? … well, I have ended up unsubscribing from a few sites after what felt like a campaign of non-responses.

Deletions – Personally I have never deleted a comment. I know several bloggers who HAVE deleted some, but generally because they are offensive and/or inappropriate. This past week I saw a blog post that I found a bit ironic (it talked about what it was like in the ‘old days’ and the blogger is under 25) … and replied in a light but needling manner. I started getting notifications, and headed to the site to read more comments … but noticed that there were fewer than when I had left my comment – which was also gone. Oh well – not everyone can take a joke, and it is the right of every blogger to control their own narrative.

‘Living for the Link Up’ – I love ‘Thinking Out Loud’ posts that actually ARE somewhat random – because let’s face it, at this point in our blogging community I will see close to 100 posts on my blog feed that are just ‘Thursday’s Post’ with a TOL slapped on it just to get in on the link-up. We get it – link-ups are a great way to build readership (or at least increase numbers of followers). But while anyone can add a link to the link-up, PLEASE at least try – an ordered list on a single topic? That is NOT a TOL post πŸ™‚

OK … enough whining πŸ™‚

Random Reality Checks

1. Exhaustion – I loved doing the 30 days of Gratitude, but similar to when I pounded out those ’10 Days of You’ in 10 days, while also doing other things … well, I am burnt.

2. Plans for Rest of 2014 Blogging – I have a couple of other posts planned: (a) a Year in Review and Goals for 2015, and … Chances are that will be all I post.

3. What Happens in 2015? – no clue. As of right now I have no concrete plans. I would like to say I’ll do a weekly check-in, but I have no idea. I’ll still be running, and you’ll see me on Instagram, but I don’t know how much (if at all) I’ll be here.

4. Focus on Being a Good Friend, Rather Than Popular! – here is the thing: as I have slowed up blogging two things have happened: (a) I enjoy my favorite bloggers more and (b) my tolerance for BS and shenanigans has dropped to nil. So rather than do the normal ‘follow 100 blogs and comment like a mad fool to try to get more followers and so on’ … I have already pared my list back considerably.

5. I Miss My Other Writing / Review Crew – before I launched this blog (and even with overlap) I was an editor at another site, and had been writing running-related stuff (The Monday Mile) for a while. But I felt like it encroached on the unified voice of the site (though no one ever said that to me) while restricting me from really exploring what I wanted to write about.

In the past 14 months I’ve published nearly 400 posts on this blog, and have really enjoyed myself, but it has been all-consuming of my internet time. So on the other site I went from being an editor to a contributor to a no-show (and on another site I have totally disengaged) … and frankly I miss that crew. These are the best people I have worked with in the 20+ years I have been writing things on the internet, and when we all met in person for the first time it was as if the email discussion just continued but live – and when Lisa joined us the following year she was immediately part of the crew. I want that back, and have started working on writing more for that site.

So that is everything for now!

Thanks again for all your support!

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48 thoughts on “Monday Moments – Grateful ‘Leftovers’, Pet Peeves and Random Reality Checks

  1. Like my great grandmother used to say “don’t suffer fools lightly and if you do you have no one to blame but yourself” it was good advice back in the 70’s from someone who was born in 1896. So she saw more changes than most in a world that went from agrarian small town to something else. The older I get the more I understand what she was trying to tell me and often I have been the fool. πŸ™‚

    I hope you continue to write here at least sporadically, I enjoy your wit and peeking into the parts of your life that you share.

    However, I understand your frustrations and also wanting to get back into the community that you were a part of before you started writing here. Hopefully, you can find a balance that works for you.

    Good luck Mike and whatever direction you decide to go, I hope it works well for you πŸ™‚

  2. I always enjoy your posts like this, they are so honest and such a reality check in many ways. I agree with pretty much everything you said, although I know I am guilty of some of these things too. Link ups are kind of addicting. Once your realize that you get a lot more comments that way, it feels much easier to follow a theme and join in. Thinking Out Loud is one that I feel like offers more flexibility. If you are thinking through something, even if its only one topic, shouldn’t that count?:) But I do know what you mean. And people who add multiple posts to a link up or something completely unrelated, or don’t stop by any other blogs in the link up- those things kind of bother me.

    • Thanks Lisa – and I do get the thing with link-ups, it has just been interesting over the last year to watch TOL in particular fade from a ‘goal’ (random stuff) to a mandatory post label to link up.

      And for me, link-ups were a great way to find new blogs, like through Arman’s or Spoons or MissZippy

    • haha – pretty much yeah! Being grateful is all well and good, but I didn’t go into blogging to be happy all the time – isn’t complaining about stuff one of the core blogging values? πŸ˜‰

  3. First, thank you so much for your kind words the other day. I never think of myself as being inspirational and I’m always shocked when someone else does, especially someone like you. So, thank you. Second, these blogging pet peeves are all of mine as well. Sometimes I feel like a bad blogger because I don’t do a lot of the things you’re “supposed” to do – like have all the subscriber pop-ups, comment on a million blogs, participate in link-ups to get more followers, etc. But I don’t do that stuff because blogging, for me, has never been about getting a bunch of followers. I just like writing about my experiences, and if there comes a point in the future where I don’t like it anymore, then I won’t do it. The other stuff seems like too much work and I think it would take the fun out of it for me. That’s why I only comment on posts that really resonate with me!

    • You’re welcome Danielle – and seriously, yeah. I mean it.

      And it is funny you saying “I only comment on posts that really resonate with me” … because that is what I am TRYING to do more and more. It is one reason I like the ‘Like’ button on WordPress sites – it lets me say ‘hey, I was here’, though I will mostly still comment on friend’s posts regardless … but I am getting better πŸ˜‰

  4. This was one of those posts where every paragraph I was thinking, “Yes I have to comment on THAT!” You hit so many good things here. First I really enjoy your blog and appreciate that you are honest and no BS. I also know that blogging can be somewhat exhausting. When I first started (a year ago….not that long ago) I couldn’t understand how people would say that. But a year later I can definitely understand. I have pared my reader down and worry less about who is going to sign up to read my blog next. I don’t always play by the rules (I have never done a link up). I just do what I enjoy.

    And as far as the running community goes online and at home, it is something that makes me truly proud. In the past year I have made some great online friends. I also moved to a new city and realized during this holiday season just how many wonderful friends I have made from the running community that now are my family. What a blessing!

    And yes, the simple text. It is so simple and yet such a wonderful way to know you were remembered. Reminds me I should drop a few to friends today.

    • Thanks Sarah … I always worry when I mix positive and negative that the positive will be lost. So THANK YOU for noting my appreciation of the running community – it is SO great, and something I had no idea about for so many years. I am so happy to be part of such a great community of people!

  5. So many good points. The popup thing when I read on my phone kills me, and I frequently just close the page because I don’t know how to exit out of the email screen and I don’t want to add an email, I just want to read the content that I was trying to read in the first place.

    As always, if you write, I’ll be here to read!

    • Thanks Carina … I really agree that it is annoying when all you want is to read the content. I am willing to cede some screen space for ads on free content, that is just life. But there is a reason I picked that screen … because it went beyond absurd. Of course, a double-load like that is a bug in the site code, but still annoying.

  6. I definitely have a VERY limited about of blogs that I subscribe to/read on a regular basis. In the short time I’ve been a part of this community, I’ve become quite picky about what I spend my time on. And even with a limited number, I still spend a significant amount of time each day reading and commenting (and half the time my comments aren’t as detailed as I’d like them to be because I’m rushing). It’s much more important to me to have actual connections and friendships with the people I do than have tons of followers and brief, fleeting comments for the sake of comments type interactions.

    I do hope you’ll keep checking in, but if not, I understand!

    • Thanks Rachel, that is a wonderful comment – and all so true. I really like the community I read, and think there are some really awesome people I have met. πŸ™‚

  7. Really enjoyed reading your pet peeves! Many of those things bother me as well – I started reading running blogs as a source for inspiration when I embarked on my running journey, and sometimes found my way to certain blogs when I was looking for real-life reviews of products I was thinking about buying (I think that’s how I found your blog, as a matter of fact, when I was researching about which GPS watch I wanted to buy!). But later, as many blogs seemed to go the way of endless sponsored posts, I got tired of reading 5 different posts about Product X as it made the rounds through the big running bloggers, and little by little I began unfollowing most of them. Blogs like yours (and T-Rex Runner :-)) are among the select few that remain in my Feedly! I get the need to take a break – I haven’t written a blog post (for my business) in almost a year – but just letting you know of another reader that will be around to read your posts when/if they do pop up from time to time!

    • So true – it has been a bit since a parade of near-simultaneous reviews hit my reader. Those tend to be ‘site weed-out’ moments, because ANYONE can paste in the boiler-plate from the PR folks with nothing much to say … and many do. Especially if they don’t like the product!

      It sounds bad, but I LOVE a negative review in this community … because it takes significant guts to take the risk that you will never get another promo product again.

  8. Well, I for one will miss your posts if they start happening less frequently, but I think it’s completely understandable. For the past few weeks I’ve found myself struggling a little with time management and I’ve been posting less frequently. I hope that people won’t stop following because I post less often, but that’s a risk I’ll have to take. I’m simply not willing to sacrifice my other obligations and hobbies in order to make more time for blogging.

    • Thanks Lizzy – and I think that for many of us blogging is a fun hobby but not our primary concern, and it can definitely be a time-soak both writing and reading! I think like you say there is always the risk of losing people, but for others … they take what we can write when we can write it πŸ™‚

  9. You already know what I’m going to say – but I agree with each and every thing you said. In fact, although I am very busy, and don’t have time to read as many blogs as I used to and post every day, part of that is also because I don’t always like what the blogging world has become for some. In fact, I get disappointed (but maybe I shouldnt) when I feel like everything is about page views, sponsored posts, and etc. In many ways, it makes me feel old. Not old as in more mature, but just old. I still love it and value the support, but I sort of miss the “before we were famous” days.

    Not that I’ll every be famous.

    Instead, I’ve really tried to read and maintain the relationships that I feel are mutually beneficial, and let the rest just be.

    • Thanks Laura! And really, 31 IS kind of old, so I guess it makes sense πŸ˜‰

      We know the reality is we won’t love (or perhaps even like) every post from every blogger, even ones we really like. Heck, there are several of my own posts that make me think ‘ugh, REALLY, Mike?!?’ That is just life.

      But as you say, there are definitely times you can see and feel the impact of the ‘popularity contest’ side of things. Some of it makes sense … from the start I have looked at many of the ‘top blogs’ and asked ‘why’ … or even ‘WTF’ as some of them are clearly disordered handing out eating advice or serial-injury-prone and advising on training … ugh.

      But I think the key is your final thought – we form relationships online, just like in ‘real life’, and those relationships are worth protecting. And if we are spending so much time reading the latest link-bait post by someone we followed for reasons we cannot even remember, it just does’t seem worth it.

  10. When I read “leftovers” in your title, I thought, “Ewwww, thanksgiving was a long time ago. Don’t eat that crap!” Lol. Of course my head is in the refrigerator.

    I’ve reduced the number of blogs I comment on and several I used to have in my Feedly for the same reasons you listed. I’d rather try to be meaningful than popular, I guess. Although that doesn’t mean I AM meaningful, but I do try πŸ˜‰

    • Yeah … we were ‘done’ with the turkey before it was gone πŸ™‚ That’s what happens with a 21-pound turkey for 4 people, when one isn’t a turkey fan, another eats mostly fruits and veggies (me), and three don’t like the same thing over and over again (all BUT me) πŸ˜‰ haha

      And I totally get what you are saying with the ‘meaningful over popular’ – both reading and writing. All I know is I have met some great people through reading and writing blogs … and that always makes it hard to ‘let it go’ πŸ˜‰ Let’s not forget how you and I met, after all … haha

      • haha – so true. And also a reminder (which at our age we should know better) than context doesn’t travel well over the typed word πŸ˜‰

  11. Your gratitude points were awesome as always but I admit that your pet peeves made me laugh out loud. I have had similar thoughts many times. Hashtags drive me bonkers- I use them but don’t think I am using them right. Half the time I make stuff up. The “clean eating” stuff really irritates me. I get it, they eat healthy produce and organic what nots- just let me eat my pizza, dang it. And the ones who post all about their green and healthy food but then post about all the alcohol they consume in excess in a night? Mixed messages, much?
    Venting aside, I always look forward to reading your posts. I don’t always comment because I sometimes feel I have nothing worthy of contributing. But, if cutting back is what you need, so you can do other fun things, than I wish you the best of luck and I will keep my eye out for what you will do in the future.

    • Thanks Fallon! You made me laugh with your comment! πŸ™‚

      I know I complain to a couple of blogs that I miss them having a ‘like’ button, because sometime I have nothing to add but want to say ‘good read’ without being one of those people who just adds a ‘nothing’ comment …

  12. I think that being a “blogger” must take an enormous amount of time and forethought. Even though I missed your posts when you took time off, I appreciated so much that you did so. Its really hard to be creative everyday and respond to every comment/criticism.
    I follow only a few blogs (4 or 5), and I enjoy them because I have only a few that I do follow. I always read those, and then choose to respond or not–but I read each post all of the way through.
    You put so much of yourself into your posts, and it takes a lot out of you to do so on a daily basis.
    If you want to take a break, a new direction or just reduce the number of posts, those of us who follow you–will keep following you–on your schedule!
    That’s your choice, I’ll be here ready to read whatever you do share, when you choose to share it!

    • Thanks so much Clare … it definitely is a lot of stuff on top of the rest of my life πŸ˜‰ And I always appreciate your support and the wonderful and thoughtful comments you leave.

  13. Pet peeves 3, 4, and 5 – yes, yes, and yes! Along the lines of 3, I hate when someone random (clearly we have none of the same interests) follows me in hopes of being followed back. Please be genuine in what you do.
    #4 – I find it even more irksome when i try to open a site like that on my phone! I find it frustrating and can’t help but feel like some bloggers are just turning into sellouts when i have to X out if repeated boxes just to read a post. Or if every post is a sponsored/giveaway post for something else I don’t need, or already have.
    #5 – Link ups especially! I stopped following a couple bloggers who seemed to only do link up posts every other day. Where is the original content when your posts only exist to link up?!

    • haha – I always find when I have a hashtag on Instagram I get random likes and follows … I mean, I had a ‘bloody nipple’ shirt with #ouch … got new likes and followers. Weird!

      On #4, because I call my iPad my ‘90% computer’, and seem to always have it on and in front of me, I definitely notice irksome things like this. And I definitely feel bad using Michele as an example, as she is a really nice person and I like her content … but I have always bugged her about this because I’ve encountered it increasingly over the months. Oh well, I do say I try to be honest πŸ™‚

  14. I’m a new reader. Actually, I would see you comment on some of the blogs that I regularly read and think “That guy is not afraid to say what he really thinks!”. I agree with many of your blog pet peeves. I get that some people use their blog as a way to make money and are all about the page views, sponsored posts, ambassadorships, link-ups, whatever. And that’s fine for them. But I’m probably not going to read that. I think of my blog as a public diary – and the blogs that I still follow are written by people who have something original/personal/worthwhile to share.

    • Thanks, Sarah – I definitely try to at least be polite in challenging others … hopefully I succeed most of the time πŸ™‚

      And the whole thing on monetizing blogs is very tricky … on the one hand I get it, but on the other hand when it negatively impacts the quality of the content, don’t be surprised when people are not engaged anymore. And along those lines – I have seen people still hang around, making very small comments just to be seen, as if hoping that they will grab some attention but not really having anything to comment about! Ugh!

      Thanks again for the great comment!

  15. I am still a kind of “new” reader here. I totally understand where you are coming from. You gave me some really great advice on night running which I really appreciate! I think blogging can be very overwhelming. Especially if it’s not your full time gig. I have pulled back a lot from reading and posting on my own. Following bloggers on other social media has been great! You can stay connected without being tied down to the pressure of reading and commenting on everything. I have stopped reading some blogs that have become all about sponsored posts. I’m sorry but I am not here to read ads for shit I could care less about. It’s sad to me when a blog I loved for the personal touch becomes all about merch. Reviews are fine but in moderation.

  16. I have to say that after your month long hiatus, I was so glad to have you back posting regularly. You are one of my favorite bloggers because you always put out thoughtful and honest posts out and I just think you are a great guy, but I also know you have a full and busy life outside of the blog but you can bet I will keep up with you regardless of whether you are posting over here regularly or not.

    I agree with a lot of what you have said but wanted to talk about #5 more. I love that I have an amazing group of people who actually want to read what I write and comment to me about it so while I may not get to responding within a few hours of my posts going live, I respond to every single comment I get because I truly value what people are saying to me. As far as deleting comments, I have never deleted a comment. Something would have to be pretty offensive and/or inappropriate for me to do so. I am a big believer in everyone being entitled to their own opinion as long as they aren’t A-holes about it! Lastly, I have seen a lot of these β€˜Thinking Out Loud’ posts but have never done one. I have participated in a handful of link ups before and while I like them, I am always late to the game to sign up and the thought of doing one every week just isn’t appealing to me at this stage–but to each their own!

    • Thanks Sara! I always appreciate your support and all of your comments – and also your blog, which is one of my faves!

      And you know I agree with you on everything for #5 … and seriously, as someone who values ‘her boys’ more than anything else in life, you know our thoughts and values align very well! To comment a bit more (since I can never shut up):

      – In terms of not replying to all comments, I don’t hold that against anyone – I found looking back through posts that I had missed a few (ugh)! It happens, and sometimes I see people who only reply to comments that are more than just a simple ‘great post’ (whereas most of us will at least say ‘thanks’). So no problem.

      But it is like that friend when you are young (high school, college, just out) who never seems to have money or their wallet when you’re out for lunch, but is showing off their new shoes/watch/whatever … and after a while you start thinking ‘hmmm … why is it they have no money when it comes to me paying for their $10 lunch, but can seem to buy a new $100 item each week? Then you start watching – and maybe they are using all of their friends, but maybe it is just you they take advantage of. Either way you might end up changing your behavior. Know what I mean?

      – And I totally agree with you on comment deletion and link-ups. I’ve done link-ups several times, and they can be great fun – or rote exercises. You can guess what I feel I’ve been reading lately πŸ™‚ But it is interesting – today I look around and I am loving the TOL posts I am seeing … so I am going to be a narcissist and claim full responsibility for the reinvigoration of that particular link-up! yay me! haha

  17. I am a new reader and didn’t know about this challenge – sounds like a cool one, and a great way to make more connections.

    But YES to only reading the blogs where people are being themselves (good friend, rather than popular). Sigh. I have seen so many of my fave blogs turn in to product placements and other junk and I miss the old days of sharing stories! And being a good friend!

    And yeah on the commenting. I am looking for new blogs now, because of what I mentioned above, and it’s like… if I comment a few times and you never respond or reach back out to me, I am probably going to drop off. I want to develop relationships!

    • Thanks Kim – it is a tough thing when a blogger decided to try to monetize. There will be changes, but how deep they go and what happens to the blog depends on the blogger, and sometimes it is sad to see the impact.

      Oh well – it is certainly not just running, I have seen blogs that focus on tech products turn into sites that basically chase Apple rumors and report the same thing with slightly different titles a few times a week because they know it will bring clicks. Sad.

      • Ahh, good point! Of course, I can’t think outside of running, so I am happy you brought up that it’s happening all over the place!

      • But at the same time … just to contradict myself, there is a BIG difference between a tech site writing about the latest video game console and figuring out how to maximize their exposure and ad revenue, and a running or healthy-living blogger who is journaling their personal life experiences.

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