Listography – Top 5 Keyword Searches

There’s a fun Listography going on over at Kate Takes 5 this week, where bloggers are doing posts about the top Keyword Searches that have led readers to their blog. I’ve never done a listography entry before, but this seemed like a nice easy one to start with (much less daunting than the 5 Worst Dates posts that folk were doing last week…).

Excluding variations on my name, DorkyDad’s name, and the blog name, my top 5 searches are as follows:

1. Older Husband. Hmmm, what a shocker! That’ll be because of this post, which was originally published in the family section of the Guardian. I’ve been so touched by all the lovely comments on it, and I’m really chuffed by the number of people in similar relationships who have read it and said that it has been helpful.

2. Kids Photography. Well I’ve posted about kids a few times, and posted about photography a few times, but the only article on here which is about kids photography is this guest one from Sylwia Presley, which came about as a result of the BritMums blog swap. So thanks Sylwia and thanks BritMums!

3. Slam Poetry. I think I’ve got DorkyDad to thank for this one, with all his guest posts during the Slam Poetry World Cup.

=4. Being an Uncle and Lentil Quiche. Two more guest posts that have proved very popular. One is a wonderful post about being an uncle by my friend Adam Ramsay (who also blogs political stuff over at Bright Green), and the other is a delicious lentil quiche recipe from my friend April.

5. Peppa Pig. The number of people searching for Peppa Pig related terms online is very reassuring. Good to know I’m not the only one with an obsessed toddler… I wrote about Peppa Pig back in July. It’s now October, and the love for her is still strong in this house…

Some of the other, stranger terms that people have searched for and ended up on here are:

Sweaty the Jester * you say tomato i saw tomartato * foil wrapped sandwich * it’s all about the dorky dorky dorky * your difficult tim * perfect travel sandwich * i eat peppa pig for breakfast * mum in graffiti * my husband + mini skirt * drinks named after sharks * the perfect raccoon * old letters from paris lovers * ways to rejuvenate a midsize town * child fingers stuck in freezer * i’m in love with ben and jerry’s * fashion disasters for teens * is it dorky to take my boyfriend a flower at the airport * paris in fancy letters * what is night gatoring

Thursday’s Top 5 Good Reads

For reasons that will soon become clear, I’ve not been posting very much recently (don’t worry – all is well – just busy!).

So in lieu of one of my rambles, here’s a rundown of some other blogs that I’ve been enjoying recently, some of which you might want to check out. If nothing else, it gives you an idea of how eclectic my interests are!

1. From the Dakar Side of The Toon

My old university friend Steve is now living in Senegal and working for an NGO. It doesn’t always make for the cheeriest reading – his post about being on a plane with someone who was being forcibly deported made me sit at my computer and weep – but he’s written some brilliant stuff, and even when he’s dealing with really difficult issues, some of that inimitable Morpeth humour shines through.

2.  Dummy Mummy

I think I have a bit of a blogger crush on Dummy Mummy. I’ve never met the woman; don’t know what she looks like, or any details of her life, other than what’s shared on her site. But more than any other parenting blog I’ve yet found, her posts often touch a real nerve with me. I also love the fact that she just keeps her head down and writes, and doesn’t seemed to be involved in the crazy cliques or jostling for a high position in the rankings. If you haven’t found her yet, then check it out.

3. Some, Some and Some

Becky is a friend who I met at High School. I was lucky enough to attend her lovely wedding just after I’d started uni, and then we lost touch for several years before finding each other on Facebook again. This is her blog about baking and God… and while I’m neither a great cook nor terribly religious, I still love reading it. She may be one of the nicest people on earth, and it shows in her writing.

 4. It’s the Party Line and I’ll Cry If I Want To

I don’t think I can tell you who writes this, because she’s all grown up now, having left behind boozing and swearing (ahem) to become a teacher, and she might not want her pupils to find it… She doesn’t post often, but for insightful and intelligent rants about politics, Scotland, and the state of society, this is the place to go. I wish my modern studies teacher had been this feisty.

 5. 12 Books In 12 Months

As the name suggests, Ali is trying to write 12 books in 12 months, and this blog charts her progress. It also features guest posts and lots of good chat about the Edinburgh poetry and literature scene. This week she is testing a Kindle and posting her thoughts… well worth a read.

Although I’m not doing as many proper posts just now, I’m still putting the occasional snippet up on the DorkyMum Facebook page. Please head over and like it if you haven’t already. Thank you so much! 

The Rise of Slacktivism

This post could also be called ‘Why I don’t like the like button (but I use it anyway…)’

It has been quite a weekend. The video showing Barack Obama’s awesome humiliation of Donald Trump at the White House correspondents dinner has 30,000 YouTube likes. So far, Osama Bin Laden is dead has 25,000 Facebook likes, although I’m sure that number will rise exponentially over the next day or two. And the big winner is Pippa Middleton, whose Ass Appreciation Society, also on Facebook, has nearly 130,000 likes.

There are many problems with the like button, the main one being that it makes us all (and I include myself in this) lazy. Like doesn’t always just mean like, and it doesn’t really take a lot longer to type, “I read that article too, and I completely agree with it!” or “What a great photo – you look lovely”. I remember when I used to write letters to distant friends – real letters than needed to be put in an envelope and posted. Then we stopped writing and started emailing. Then we stopped emailing and started writing on each other’s walls. Now there are people who I communicate with entirely through likes – they like my status update, I like their engagement announcement – but there is very little two-way conversation to remind each other what we actually, erm, liked about each other in the first place.

There is a distinction to be made, though, between those everyday likes of comments and photos, and the public liking of pages. Here, I believe the like button is at least valuable as a communication tool, an online word-of-mouth. If I see that a friend has liked a page and it sounds interesting, I will visit it myself to check out what campaign, band or cause they are supporting.

What’s important to remember is that clicking the like button is still no substitute for real activism. Having a large number of fans that you can communicate with is a great thing, but only as a means to an end, not as an end in itself. Unless those people then turn up to your events, or buy your book, or donate to your charity, they are fairly meaningless.

The recent Edinburgh sensation Jack Draws Anything – a lovely wee guy in raising money for the Sick Kids Hospital – reported 500 new fans in four hours after celebrity supporter Russell Howard mentioned him on his Good News show and posted a link on his Facebook page. That’s genuinely good news – but it will be interesting to see how many of those 500 fans also take the extra time to visit Jack’s website and make a donation. (I hope they all do!).

However. For all those genuine problems with the like button, perhaps if I’m honest, the thing I like least it is that it brings out my competitive side. I can’t tell you how much it thrills me that the Scottish Greens have over 1000 likes on Facebook, while the Scottish Liberal Democrats have only 37. (37!!) I am also desperate for DorkyDad’s poetry page to get 200 likes (at the moment it has 170…), and it goes without saying that I will be miffed if I post this article and don’t get any likes. It’d just be quite nice to get some comments too.

(In the time it has taken me to write this article, both Pippa Middleton’s Ass and Osama Bin Laden’s Dead have gained over 1000 fans. The Scottish Liberal Democrats still only have 37.)

Bye Bye Beatbloggers?

I was hugely disappointed to see the news yesterday that the Guardian Edinburgh blog is coming to an end. The two beatbloggers, Tom Allan and Michael Macleod had done a great job with the blog, and for many people in Edinburgh it had become their main source of local news.

Judging by the online comments section following the announcement, readers of Guardian Cardiff and Guardian Leeds feel the same way.

In Edinburgh, the blog covered local politics in an entirely non-partisan way, and went into the detail of decisions made at Council level in a way that no national newspaper ever could or would. For the first time in the ten years that I’ve lived in the city, local politics felt accessible and relevant

Beyond that, the blog led to much better arts coverage in the city, gave local campaigners a voice and a platform to reach wider audiences, and even gave local photographers the chance to showcase their work through the regularly updated Flickr slideshows.

In short, the Guardian Edinburgh blog felt like news as it should be – relevant to local people, regularly updated, and diverse in its coverage. I was hopeful that at the end of the blog ‘experiment,’ as the Guardian are now calling it, the local sites would be expanded to include other cities. Instead it looks like financial decisions have come before editorial ones, and that is a real shame.

Twitter campaign has already been started to try and save Guardian Cardiff, and a crowd funding proposal has been put forward in Leeds. It would be great to see a similar campaign of support in Edinburgh, as the ultimate illustration of how successful the three blogs have become at engaging their local communities.

Edited to add that there is now a SaveGdnLeeds hashtag on Twitter too, as well as a more general SaveGdnLocal one. And the first Guardian Edinburgh beatblogger Tom Allan has put forward his thoughts.