8-month Anniversary

It’s been eight months since my friend Andy first floated the idea of creating a web log. Initially, my plan was to create a hybrid of Plastic and Friendster; that is, a site where my buddies could share interesting articles they’ve read, and then other friends could rate the articles and comment on them. Conceptually, I think this idea is still sound; practically speaking, eh, not so much.

So, back in April, Andy introduced me to the wonderful world of Movable Type, and I’ll been scribbling away here ever since. At some point along the way I created Plugs, a somewhat bastardized version of my original grand vision. Ted blogging as a babyJudging by the recent string of posts from friends, about everything from kitty insurance to on-line restaurant reservations, Plugs has finally caught on. You know when Meg Leary is asking for a username you’ve hit the big time.

Still, Turkeymonkey is my first web mistress. And you never forget your first. Now, on the eve of our three-quarters-of-one-year anniversary, seems as good a time as any to take stock. After the jump I’ll share a few of the things I’ve learned as an infant blogger.

1. Google knows all and sees all. I was floored when, after the site was only up for a week, it started showing up in Google. Even better, it’s now claimed the #1 spot when you search the word turkeymonkey, finally usurping the 1995 computer came “The Adventure of Smart Patrol.” To be perfectly honest–and boastful–nearly everything that comes up when you search that hybridized word is somehow related to this site. Which leads me to …

2. Once your site is fully Googledexed, the spammers come a callin’. In the last month, my site has gotten a deluge of spam comments–all strangely for pharmaceuticals (from Altivan to Celebrex to Cipro). I’ve now installed a blog spam blocker, but at least two or three random comments get through each day. Among them are …

3. Complete strangers have found the site by searching random terms like “maltitol laxative” and “belize honeymoon.” Last week I had a pleasant exchange with someone named Nils, who was looking for restaurant recommendations in Belize. And recently the following comment appeared on the blog:

Name: Marty
I can’t believe this is the only site I can find when I search for anything negative about maltitol! Surely other people have experienced similar reactions…flatulence so disgusting I can’t live with myself after eating an ice cream bar with 7g of the stuff. It took a while to weed out just what was causing this anti social reaction. Suspected it was one of the ‘fat replacers’ and tried different products one at a time. Whew. Either something died in there or it’s maltitol!! How bad? Had to burn incense all night to hide the odour from my room mate.

Or take this comment, posted a few months ago:

Name: Drakandriana
I think that the sex bracelets are a great idea. Just the other day my boyfriend broke my green one and we had a hell of a time, just before daylight!!! I gives you an opportunity to try different things also.

(You think that I was intentional?)

4. When you create a blog, your family discovers it in a hurry. Maybe it’s just that they’re all out Googling our surname, or maybe it was my dopey decision to put the URL in my email signature for a week. Whatever happened, I noticed that my family was casually making jokes like, “Oh, where is your wedding band? I heard it looks like a gasket.” Given that I’d only made this analogy on the blog, it was obvious the jig was up. And when my brother gave the URL at my wedding reception–in his best man speech, no less–the jig became a kind of joke. Which is okay, I suppose. A spike in pageviews more than makes up for momentary humiliation on the best day of my life.

5. Plus, after 20 years of trying, it was clear that I’d finally found a way to unnerve my brother. All of Dougs little jibes about turkey cones, and wearing my mom’s jewelry, and my mole — no, I never forgot ’em. And with my ethically questionable decision to post pictures of him and his daughters, well, I exacted some sort of perverse revenge. Which wasn’t my intention, of course. But hey, it weirded him out for a few days. I’ll take what I can get.