My favourite blogs

I’ve recently been in the mood to read blogs – not books. And since I didn’t know where to go for new ones, I decided I would reread my old favourites (is that even a thing?)

I remember when LiveJournal became a thing – we’re talking pre-Facebook now, maybe 2005. I was finishing off school. I had moved to Ireland then to live with my father’s side of the family, from Russia — leaving all my school friends behind.  Then I somehow found out that many of them are on LJ – and I was so excited, I literally couldn’t sleep. You know that feeling of dopamine, or whatever sweet chemical, the sort that you get on Christmas morning when you’re five years of age?

Since that time, blogging/reading blogs occupied a pretty important role in my life. Hobbies, even jobs, came and went, but blogging was more or less a constant.

I thought about what blogs I like and don’t like. Here are some things I do and don’t like in personal blogs. Let me know what resonates with you.

I don’t want advice

That’s probably a pet peeve. I’ve written at length that most advice online is either

  • a fact – and blogs aren’t the best for facts
  • a sales pitch – which may not be a bad thing, but often it is
  • isn’t applicable to everyone. One size doesn’t fit all.

In all cases, the blogger has no skin in the game giving me advice. If Medscape gets the dose of metoprolol wrong on their site, they will suffer reputational damage. If the author of a blog tells me that eating kiwis within 10 minutes of exercising is going to lead to some insulin/cortisol magic – and they’re wrong, it’s inconsequential for them.

I do want the author to share their experience

And if the author can be emotional and even curse. I don’t particularly want them to tell me about their tampons, but it seems that experience-based blogs are the most interesting. (Not really my own forte.)

As a derivative of the author’s experience, a how-to is good, but that’s not the same brand of preachy advice as in the above point.

I don’t want life lessons or rules

By and large, people’s conclusions – especially if they sound like generic common sense – are pretty useless. I am much more interested in opinions, thoughts and emotions — bias and all. I really don’t like it when people, or news outlets, say they are “unbiased”. They just look like they lack the insight into their own inevitable subjectivity.

I want (a) character

A blogger is basically a book character that updates him/herself every day — to me, that is. Or maybe a cartoon character, depending. I want to engage with them the same way I did with those addictive characters like Nick Carraway,  Jane Eyre, Andrey Bolkonsky, Scarlett O’Hara, Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot and Harry Potter. I care what happens to them and what they think and building up that puzzle of who you are is the best fun.

I don’t want the blogger to be politically correct

I also don’t want you to drink decaf coffee, down alcohol-free beer and have orgasm-free sex. There is nothing correct about opinion. Obviously, don’t be hateful, but political correctness is not an excuse for being bland.

In addition, I will never understand a person’s values if you don’t express some negative opinions. All those value statements at the back of corporate cups are meaningless. Why? They don’t alienate anyone. Nobody tattoos Procter and Gamble on their ass, but a brand that stands for something (and inevitably has at least theoretical enemies) has a chance of being meaningful.

I do want pictures

It helps to relive the experience. The pictures should be taken by the blogger. They don’t have to be beautiful, but they have to be relevant either to the story or to you. Funnily enough, Instagram never did it for me – it seems that writing something down is so much more personal. And when a lot of my blogging friends moved to Instagram, I really didn’t get it.

So who are these wonderful bloggers?

Friends of friends and their friends – all people I like in some way. Friends of former classmates, etc. It seems that the network effect is pretty important. And not in the sleazy marketing way, but literally, knowing that my friend Anna reads her friend Mary’s blog tells me more about Anna – and I want to understand her better (welcome to a cozy echo chamber). It’s probably not a good idea to bash Discover, but I do find it sort of bland.

But I am really on the hunt for more! 

Please recommend bloggers you like. They don’t have to be anything like the above. I am really lucky to have some amazing people commenting, so please do let me know who you’re reading.

18 thoughts on “My favourite blogs”

  1. I have a few that I look forward to reading and hope to see daily. Listed in no particular order.

    The Last Refuge: The news on this one for me is written in a way that allows me to enjoy and if interested they offer links to further reading on the subject. They break down the world political stage into an understandable concept that really brings the daily happenings home.

    Dr Martina of Thinking Clearly: Not an emotional blog and is deeply thought provoking. Not provoking as to cause irritation but causing new thought processes. I enjoy this one very much. Well written for philosophical questioning and sharing with a scientific background kind of approach to offer footing for further study and/or commenting.

    Duke Miller of Tin Hats: Darkly drifting with acceptance for the human condition kindly wrapped in a slightly cynical package that allows for personal experience without getting dirty. I love stories of darkness without a simplistic happy ending. I find peace with the world here.

    JT of Tin Hats: Feel good articles that bring personal experience and compassion with a slightly liberal bend (NOT the violent kind) promoting kind humanist ideals. Of course I don’t know these writers. I think if JT was a personal friend of my family, we would love her very much. Always a pleasure for me to read.


  2. There’s an edginess to your posts of late; as if you’ve rolled up your sleeves and are now sitting on your porch sharpening your axe squinting at passers by — “Axe was dull, you got a problem with that?”

    Blogs I read? Hmm, hundreds over the last 10, 15 years, sure. But they come and go.,, are sites I read though. I read and have a weekly habit of checking the Arctic Ice Extent and the Keeling Curve. And of course multiple twitter, fadebook, linkedin, G+ accounts… Lots to read there too.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Over the years, there have been a few no doubt. I think I still follow Microsoft Research and NASA. No help there I’m afraid.

        No one likes a dull axe. Clean cuts are the best. Keep a whackin’ Doc!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m not going to be all coy, humble and/or politically correct: you can make my blog ( one of your favorite blogs to read. It’s all real. I’m real… I think… unless compensating or using some other coping mechanisms Psychology has made available to me. 🙂 So, it’s a good start, right? But, I don’t really swear unless absolutely livid and/or can’t control the power of my depression (although my therapist says I don’t seem depressed because I show symptoms of Bipolar Disorder). 🙂

    I can’t recommend any real, from experience, blog off the top of my head as I’ve been reading a lot of writers’ blogs. I’ll get back to you when I think of something.


    Liked by 2 people

    1. I really like your blog.

      I wasn’t particularly invited to comment on this, but hey. I know there are certain advantages to doing long posts, but I think your kind of blog is probably better off with shorter posts. I would also love to see more photos of you in it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much, Dr Martina. 🤗 I had hoped you at least wouldn’t dislike it. And thank you for the suggestion. I was thinking of short posts because the long posts tend to take me forever to complete. I have decided to add a category called “Shorts” and I hope to start as soon as I have finished the introduction to shorts. I just hope I can find photos I can include… that I won’t be embarrassed to share. 😊💖

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, I forgot to say: I agree with you 100%. I don’t like those generic advice like life/situations is/are easy and, like you said, one size fits all. This blog post of yours hit the nail on the head. Cheers to you!

    Liked by 2 people

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