WordPress 108: Liking, Following or Not

following

So here’s the deal. I upload my 600-word article on my WordPress dashboard, use the proofreader to make last-minute corrections, and then publish. Fifty seconds later, my phone beeps; so-and-so liked your post. I’m a slow reader, but even if you’re a pro at speed-reading, you could not have read my blog post that fast. Haba!

The ‘numbers’ game, no longer holds the same fascination for me as it did two years ago when I started blogging, and yet, I’m in awe of the numbers. The number of people who engage my posts by liking, commenting, sharing, or leaving a message via my contact form is one way I measure the effectiveness of what I do—entertain, inform, inspire, or provoke thought.

I cannot ignore the numbers. When someone stumbles on my blog, he may not know what to read. If the Top Posts & Pages widget on the sidebar does not woo him, the number of likes and comments may resolve his indecision. In that sense then, a fake like is better than no like.

One evening between 8:42 and 8:44, my phone throbbed with the force of too many notifications. After the climax, so-and-so had liked nearly fifty of my blog posts. I was not flattered. It is like a man telling me how intelligent I am while staring at my chest; it just doesn’t add up.

Okay, I understand that sometimes a like on WordPress is like a poke on Facebook. It’s another way to say hello or get your attention—oh boy; that was one long poke! It is an invitation to come out and play, which I honour by visiting the Liker’s blog, as time permits. It is not an indication that so-and-so has read and digested your writing. Hmmm, very well then.

In the digital space attention is a

But there’s a nagging ring of deceit to this thing, this game of like tag. So far, I have been unwilling to like a blog post that I did not read or appreciate, as if my like has a price tag, as if anyone would know. If quality feedback is important to a blogger, then this promiscuous liking distorts perception; it certainly feeds ego.

In a way, social media is about numbers, number of likes, comments, follows, and shares, because no one wants to have a conversation by himself.  The problem with the like button on some social media sites is that the conversation with others may be illusory.

This post would have been unnecessary but for an encounter on WordPress, involving likes and follows. After reading a blog post I enjoyed, I liked it. In response, the blogger who only recently followed me informed me that a like without a corresponding follow was an insult. See me see wahala. Are we now back to high school?

Following a blogger on WordPress means that new posts from the blogger will appear in my Reader or I will receive an email notification when they publish a post. It seems dishonest to have my Reader flooded with hundreds of posts, which I will not read, but like. To me, a follow is a commitment to read your posts.

I am commitment shy. In a world awash with information, but limited time, you and I cannot read every blog post. If yours is a niche blog about DIY, for example, it would be spurious for me to follow your blog because I don’t like DIY and don’t want to get better at it.

Perhaps I will throw this textbook idealism out the window to monetize my blog or market any book I may write in future. Time will tell.  First-world problems, heh?

Be relevant

Still, the highest compliment I could pay you isn’t necessarily to follow you, but to read and engage your writing. It is the highest compliment you could pay me too.

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2015

 

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Wat De Brouhaha?

100th post

 

After I finished writing, A Portrait of Success, I opted for the WordPress proofreader to scan my post before publishing. It underlined brouhaha in blue because it is a cliché. I didn’t know that, maybe I should have. How else would I have known about such a word if not from reading it a thousand times on the web? Brouhaha, even saying it sounds like a joke.

Okay, because I’m a junior at Grammar Police, because I laugh and laugh and laugh at the (autocorrect) spelling mistakes of friends, a cliché cannot be found on my blog ever! A passive sentence yes, a cliché, nooo!

I ran to my trusty friend, Google, and typed, synonyms for brouhaha1, while trying not to laugh. Here’s what I found and my comments.

babel

So, the Tower of Babel still haunts us  . . .

coil

Reminds me of snakes and snakes don’t brouhaha.

commotion

I go to YouTube and listen to Madonna, I’ve got the moves baby, you’ve got the motion, if we got together we’ll be causing a commotion. After reliving my youth, I decide I’m too adult for this synonym. Next please!

conturbation

No way! Even if it’s the last synonym on earth. Tufiakwa! It sounds like – – – – – – – – – – – -.

flutteration

I see. I see butterflies in flutteration. Come on, get real! Even MS Word flags this one and gives me flirtation, floatation, and literation as options.

hubbub

Has an “amazing” 165 synonyms including bobbery, charivari, feery-fary, and shivaree. I think I can write a poem!

jumpiness

Reminds me of sokugo2 in Cyprian Ekwensi’s Burning Grass. Nah, nah, not a good match.

kerfuffle

I think they made this one up. Someone shuffled into the office and to meet the quota, the editor wrote kerfuffle!

moil

Means to work hard. Just had to share, who knows when you might need to moil to write a post. Of course it’s archaic, but some of you are in your mid-eighties!

nerviness

Laughing gas will do that to you!

ruckus

Could have used this, but isn’t it a cliché as well?

tumultuation

Sounds like something they say from the pulpit in church.

turbidity

Water swirling round and round and round and round and round and round and round and round. Are you dizzy yet?

twitter

I read that for every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction, plus a social media overreaction. What the brouhaha! Figures doesn’t it?

zealousness

The reason Sunday after Sunday I’m still here. Um, I’ll save this one in my brain, thanks!

 

My 100th post, how time flies! I couldn’t have made it without you, and that is no joke. Thank you for flying with me.

 

Take lemons, make life & jump for joy!

 

timi

 

 

 

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2014

 

1. Synonyms courtesy of Thesaurasize: http://thesaurasize.com/brouhaha

2. Sokugo: a wandering disease that causes one to undertake a restless journey at its onset. Described by Cyprain Ekwensi in his book, Burning Bush.

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

What Should I Write About?

EB WHITE QUOTE

This question never leaves me. Suspended in my subconscious, I answer it every moment, every day. The events of my life and yours, past, present, and a future I envision, are being stored somewhere in my brain cells. To write, I start with a title, which provides direction. Developing the story resembles opening a wardrobe and sifting through clothes, pulling one and then another from the rack, admiring, discarding, until you find the perfect outfit for the occasion. Most times, my wardrobe is full, so full that choice is the problem.

Another problem arises from the opinion of others. How many times have you asked someone, what do you think I should wear, and they picked an outfit that was just so not you? Or asked the question that makes the people we love dance around the truth—how do I look?

But, input from external sources also comes without me soliciting for it.

“I definitely think you should write about it,” Toyin said quietly.

“Mmhmmm.”

“This is an issue that touches the heart of the nation. Can you just imagine . . .”

She was right. Newspapers and social media channels brimmed with the controversy over section 29 of the Nigerian Constitution and legitimising child marriage. I had skimmed a few articles but had neither researched the issue nor signed the child-not-bride petition. Like her, I was upset, unlike her, I had not yet reached boiling point. A couple more friends called. I felt the steam from their whistling kettles, so I caved in. Between midnight and 2 a.m., I wrote an opinion piece centred on an imaginary conversation with my daughter in 2025. It had many holes that I could not fill.

That Friday, I stumbled on an elegant piece written by a lawyer. Wading through the tide of emotion, he separated fact from fiction and proposed platforms to channel the wave of mass hysteria. Hearsay and conspiracy theories belong in fiction novels, and so, I was relieved that Sunday was still faraway. I would have sent my article to the recycle bin, but for a few sentences I felt I could use in a future post.

I have not let people convince me to use my “voice” to “talk” for them since then. Although I read political articles, I rarely write about politics because I don’t have the resources to carry out investigative journalism that would result in balanced pieces.

When a man is in doubt about this or that in his writing, it will often guide him if he asks himself how it will tell a hundred years hence.                              – Samuel Butler –

My blog gives me freedom to wear anything I like from my wardrobe. Four criteria guide my choice, inform, entertain, inspire, and provoke thought. Oh, and try to keep it short!

Someone accused me of misleading readers since the tag line of my blog, because life happens to all of us and sometimes we get a second chance, isn’t reflected in the posts I publish. Perhaps he is right, and only I see the redemptive theme woven in my stories or maybe, you see what you want to see depending on the strength of your lenses.

So, what should I write about? Anything that catches my fancy, which I think will add value to you. Including this piece, which on the surface isn’t about redemption, but if you reflect on it, a large chunk focuses on wrestling my voice from peer pressure and speaking a language I understand. Second chances? Maybe, maybe not.

Every creator painfully experiences the chasm between his inner vision and its ultimate expression. The chasm is never completely bridged. We all have the conviction, perhaps illusory, that we have much more to say than appears on the paper.  – Isaac Bashevis Singer –

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2014

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Returning, Blogorophobia, and the Gourd of Friendship

timi tattoo ink

July. The month rolls in gently. I trace my footprints from last July until now. Small, hesitant, and then larger and bolder. Yours criss-cross with mine. I smile and laugh. I cry, but not for long. I cannot tell my story without telling yours too. This is what blogging has meant to me. So, what next? I narrow my choices, but refuse to sign the dotted line. Fear? Maybe. Hope? Maybe. Fluid like water, I look at the sky. In the meaning of the shape of the clouds, my answers are there. Tell me, how have you been?

My first weekend away from blogging, I was attacked by intense “blogorophobia”— the fear that you’ll lose your readers because you’re not blogging. While others slept, I stared at my monitor. Insecurity and desperation have only produced compromise in my life.

***

Rewind plot to earlier in the week, to that conversation with a friend.

“When will you start blogging again, so I can read your blog?”

“Oh, in about three weeks, but I’m reblogging stuff I like, you should read those.”

“The reason I drop by your blog is to read your stuff.”

“Really?”

“Whatever, don’t stay away too long. You know how fickle internet relationships are.”

 

Did I know?

Two more people shared similar sentiments that same week and I felt like the mother who on dropping her child at day care for the first time, experiences severe separation anxiety.

***

I went to bed without writing. Anything of value, that is. I remembered that when I left my son at day care for the first time, his cries followed me all the way to work. That as I immersed myself in reports and meetings, his voice could not compete. And when I returned to get him, his tiny arms clung to me and mine to him, as if our being apart had taught us to spell together differently. Thereafter, our parting became easier as we learnt to trust.

My stats did not nosedive. You visited and left comments. I visited you and sometimes I left comments. Internet relationships can be fickle, but you, yes you, you’ve hung around longer than most. It seems fitting then that I leave you with a poem by Richard Ntiru1.

 

The Gourd of Friendship

Where is the curiosity we’ve lost in discovery?

Where is the discovery we’ve lost in knowledge?

Where is the knowledge we’ve lost in communication?

Where is the communication we’ve lost in mass media?

Where is the message we’ve lost in the medium?

And where is the community we’ve lost in all these?

It is easy to go to the moon:

There, there are no people.

It is easier to count the stars:

They will not complain.

 

But the road to your neighbour’s heart –

Who has surveyed it?

The formula to your brother’s head –

Who has devised it?

The gourd that doesn’t spill friendship-

In whose garden has it ever grown?

You never know despair

Until you’ve lost hope;

You never know your aspiration

Until you’ve seen others’ disillusionment.

Peace resides in the hearts of men

Not in conference tables and delegates’ signatures

True friendship never dies-

It grows stronger the more it is tested.

 

See you Sunday?

timi

 

 

 

 

Take lemons, make life, and then jump for joy!

 

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2014

 

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

  1. Ntiru, Richard, The Gourd of Friendship, Poems of Black Africa, ed. Soyinka Wole (London: Heinemann/AWS, 1975), 169.

Image credit: tattoo ink painting by Mina van Berkum

Taking Stock and Resting

Rest

The first six months of 2014 on WordPress have been good. I’ve grown as a writer and you’ve helped me along the way, thank you so much. Now, it’s time to take stock. So, I’m taking a break from posting my stuff. I’m going to rest, but I’ll introduce you to some writers and blogs I enjoy starting this Sunday. I hope you’ll stay and show my friends the same regard you do me. I’ll be around in the comments, and you can reach me via my contact form.

Connecting with people is one of the high points of blogging for me. Lately I’ve had many likes and follows, and I  haven’t been able to connect with my new blogger friends. I’ll use my break to meet you and catch up with old friends on blogosphere. I’m also going to (finally) read the books lying on my coffee table and enjoy the sun.

See you on Sunday.

timi

 

 

 

Take lemons, make life, and then jump for joy!

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2014

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

WordPress 107: How I Write My Blog Posts

creative process

I can scribble on the bus, at a party, or in the kitchen, but when it is time to pull my thoughts together, a chair and table lend seriousness to what I do. Although writing brings me satisfaction and can be fun, I do not write for fun. Familiar sound is unwelcome. I cannot let anything or anyone I know compete with the voices in my head. But the strangers at the café? Their conversation is a tunnel guiding me to the place where thoughts reside.

I don’t understand creativity, the neuroscience of it. To write my blog posts, I need an idea or two, or three. Don’t believe me? Just ask Neil Gaiman.

 

Happy now? So, here’s how ideas and words cross-pollinate and become blog posts on Livelytwist.

 

Inspiration

creativity dream

Words are the last thing I want to see for I have just spent four hours editing a manuscript. I drag myself to bed at 2 a.m. Ants crawl in the space above my eyes and Paracetamol has had little effect. I hear the words, “Six is just a number,” and understand the meaning, but I close my eyes and snuggle deeper under the covers. I hear the first line, the second, and then the third. I grab my laptop. The words are coming faster than I can type, a deluge. Like one possessed, I write until 2:30 a.m., 900 words of dialogue, and then I reread. I laugh, yawn, and sleep. Later, I email a friend.

“Naughty, naughty, naughty. This will get you in all kinds of trouble,” he replies.

I wish everything I wrote came to me by inspiration. I also wish I played the lottery yesterday and won a million Dollars. Instead, I get dressed, go to work, and collect my pay cheque at the end of the month.

 

Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous. – Bill Moyers1

 

Blood, Sweat, and Tears

creativity mechanically

Saturday, one day before publication. Nothing, nothing at all. Experience tempers panic so its waves do not break on my shore and retreat, making everything wet. I pound away at my keyboard like a blacksmith hammering metal sheets into shape—delete, cut, copy, paste. I surf the internet. I read other blogs. I watch TV. I pray. I flip through my T.B.D.L. notebook. I leaf through my experiences and run through my imagination. I write, one sentence at a time, like a child learning to walk. I visit the thesaurus. I employ literary devices. I pull words from the well in me. I push until I reach 500 words. Eureka!

Sunday, I upload and publish. I hold my breath until I see the first like or comment. Then slowly, I exhale. The best writing advice I’ve ever received? Just start and inspiration will find you.

 

The trick to creativity, if there is a single useful thing to say about it, is to identify your own peculiar talent and then to settle down to work with it for a good long time. – Denise Shekerjian, Uncommon Genius: How Great Ideas Are Born2

 

The Force of Belief

creativity belief

Something I hear, see, read, or experience captures my attention and moves me deeply. It stews in my mind for days, weeks, months even, and I read what others have to say. I examine my life for inconsistencies as conviction takes root. I determine to do better because what I write will change me. When the thoughts crystallise, a title is not far off.

I write with what I hope is restraint, in a measured tone. I know it will stir readers for it is the force of conviction on paper. It alienates or binds. Only in my response to comments, do I try toe the middle ground, to be gracious. I wrote, I am not What I wear and Other Lies we Tell Ourselves, this way. In a world of muddled grey, black or white can bring pain or gain.

 

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people. – Steve Jobs, I, Steve: Steve Jobs in His Own Words3

 

All this is theory as all three elements are at play when I write, sometimes, one is more dominant than the other two and vice-versa. Some days it is hard. Some days it comes easy. Always, it is rewarding, like chocolate cake after lean meat and vegetables.

So, how do you write, or draw, or make music, or do what you do?

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2014

 

Image credit: cartoon figures from Microsoft

The Creative Process, adapted from Julia Quinn’s photo: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151963920732054&set=a.59952827053.71263.42811462053&type=1&theater

  1. http://explore.noodle.org/post/53323730990/bill-moyers-pair-with-this-vintage-guide-to
  2. http://www.amazon.com/Uncommon-Genius-Great-Ideas-Born/dp/0140109862/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1403991437&sr=1-1
  3. http://www.amazon.com/Steve-Jobs-His-Words-Their/dp/1932841660/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1403993785&sr=1-1&keywords=I%2C+Steve%3A+Steve+Jobs+In+His+Own+Words+%28

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

Statistically Speaking

stats

I am drawn to my WordPress stats page at least once every day although the stats do not tell me things I am curious about like how old my readers are. I know a twelve-year-old girl who reads my blog occasionally and a man of fifty-one, who claims to have read everything on my blog. Are the rest of my readers older or younger? My stats do not also tell me if I have crossed gender barriers with my pen. Who reads my post more, men or women?

 
I know no one in Brazil and Azerbaijan is a place I must locate on a map, yet my words have gone where my legs could not go. My words have travelled over Congo, a place I visited in Wilbur Smith’s The Dark of the Sun, and touched down in the United Arab Emirates. At least one person in every continent, in 105 countries, has viewed my blog.

livelytwist country views

I have heard it said that Nigerians don’t read, and that the average Nigerian’s appetite for literature lies in entertainment (Nollywood gossip), politics, and religion. I think I have done my part to debunk that claim. My highest blog views are from Nigeria, closely followed by the United Kingdom and the United States. Mind you, nearly 5,000 views in a country of 150 million people is a drop in the ocean, but I’ll take that drop, thank you!

 
What brings people who I have never met to my blog? I’d like to think that although I don’t know what gnaws on your mind at night, my words do. More likely, search engine robots pull you to my blog when you search for words like Akpos or Body Magic. If Akpos is unique to Nigeria, then majority of the seventy percent of viewers from Europe and The Americas are Nigerians. It makes sense as my Naija experiences colour my metaphors, making me feel proud that I’m also exporting Naija culture to non-Nigerians.

 
Was it my smiling Gravatar or a comment I left on another blog that brought you here? If so, I’m never changing that photo! If Facebook brought you here, I am not surprised for people share my posts on Facebook more than on any other social media platform.

 
I wonder if you stay after you land on my blog or if you leave, bookmark the page, and return later. If you stay, what do you like to read most? When I read a book, I try to find someone I know or myself in its pages. Is the protagonist’s failure like mine or is his success worth aspiring to? Does he walk with a limp so I can catch up with him?

 
I think the best stories are about the human condition, which would explain why stories about my or another’s insecurities served with wit, are the most viewed, most shared, most commented, and most liked posts on this blog. Posts like The Body Magic, I am not Looking for Love, I am going to Work, The Measure of a Man, Any Comments, and Six Degrees of Separation. Perhaps vulnerability exposes authenticity that makes you stay beyond the polished prose.

 

statistically speaking

Now I know what drives traffic to my blog, do I write another Akpos post? Now I know which posts attract the most views, comments, likes, and shares, do I stop writing posts like, Grow Up Mikey and Our National Pastime, because they performed poorly at the box office?

 
I cannot confine myself to the prison of writing for stats; my mind is bigger than that. However, I realise that my stats are my friends and they are relevant to the degree that I can make right inferences, which affect my writing and ultimately enhance your reading pleasure. So please fill in the gaps and tell me what my stats page won’t: who are you, what brought you here, and what will keep you coming back?

 

©Timi Yeseibo 2014

 
Related posts from Livelytwist:
https://livelytwist.wordpress.com/2013/11/10/what-brought-you-here/
https://livelytwist.wordpress.com/2014/01/12/wordpress-106-writing-and-perception/

 

Image credit: illustration from Microsoft

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Timi Yeseibo and livelytwist.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.