This week I am featuring my About Page. I sound quite nice and even reasonable on this page. Really I wanted to write ‘stuff this’ in capital letters and let that suffice because it perfectly sums up my thoughts on ordering tea in a New Zealand cafe: ripped off.
In Tea by Leaf I wanted to feature the cafes that make good tea rather than the cafes that don’t care what they serve up. This has proved difficult for two reasons. One, finding a cafe that serves good tea is difficult and two, I don’t travel out of my area every week or even every month and, while there are a lot of cafes where I live, there are not enough to keep a blog alive. Besides – too exclusive.
One of the worst experiences I have had with tea was at a popular Westshore cafe. I don’t like to name the cafes where I am offered bad tea at $4.50 – $6 a pot because sometimes you can get a good cup at the same cafe – it depends who makes it. Anyhow this cafe, in Westshore, used loose leaf tea. I was impressed. I ordered a pot and tentively asked the girl to make it strong. Little Miss Up-Herself threw me a sour look so I knew what was coming – about five tea leaves doing backstroke in an olympic size pool. Naturally I took the pot back to it’s maker. Then I asked the tea maker if she would be so kind as to brew another – stronger this time. Well this little madam did not make me another pot of tea. She merely packed as many leaves into the teapot as could fit and dumped the abomination on my table. By now the water, or what was left of it, was tepid. I got the message. I think. Anyhow it was shortly after that unpleasant experience I began this blog.
Like asking for my tea to be made stronger at a cafe, blogging is an eye-opener. At first blogging seems like a really friendly activity. Bloggers, at first glance, appear enlightened, community minded individuals, supporting each other in the vast blogging world. Most of the time it is not like that. Blogging is a desperately competitive sport where some bloggers seem to be on steroids.
The stats are interesting. Thanks to Jacqui Murray’s advice over at Worddreams I began to check my stats. Jacqui writes an informative blog for writers and bloggers where she promotes her own tight-plotted, well researched fiction. Jacqui is also one of the most ethical bloggers in my reader. There are others as well. What I found in my stats convinced me not to be too impressed by the amount of likes and follows on other blogs – or my own. I have seventy followers but hardly ever nudge over ten views. Once I got one like and no views. Yes I know who you are and I see you liking other blogger’s posts – the same bloggers I follow. You will notice I have removed my blog roll from my page.
You see a lot of fellow bloggers don’t even read your post before liking it. That is because WordPress sends you a message which reads … well you know what it says. (So and so thinks your post is awesome… you might like to go check out their blog) That becomes the sole reason for liking another’s post – the hope they will like your post in return. It’s sad. Believe me, you are missing out on all the awesomeness when you do not read other’s blog posts.
Recently I had a fellow tea blogger contact me by email. She may have liked one of my posts – just the one mind – before she wanted me to help her in some way. Well, the way she put it: ‘we could help each other’. Fellow Tea Blogger [not actual name of blog] wasn’t sure how we could help each other at that point. I did reply but FTB has not replied to my reply. In my reply I suggested, and I thought it a good suggestion, that I link to the post where FTB is interviewed by a journalist. That’s when the love evaporated. I thought this a shame because I think my blog has a lot to offer and I could see us combining to make one fantastic tea-blog and I was even starting to make plans … but communication ceased. Kind of annoying.
I do have one criticism of this other tea blog. It’s a little ruthless. It names the cafes where Fellow Tea Blogger is served a terrible cup of tea. It’s not like FTB is getting arsenic in her tea or anything – it’s just bad English Breakfast. I am married to a small business so I know how fragile a customer base can be. Potentially destroying a cafe’s reputation simply because you don’t get a good cup of tea is not my thing. Maybe they make great coffee and bagels? The idea behind my blog is to promote tea not to shame particular cafe’s. Although it is tempting.
Other bad experiences I have had on WordPress include finding my exact blogroll on someone elses blog – too much of a coincidence. If you love me that much why don’t you like ANY of my posts? Then there was that time I was offered an award. I was not told what it was in particular about my blog that attracted the honour and I truely doubted this blogger thought my blog worthy of recognition.
Worst, by far, was the time I followed someone’s blog and it was really good. This blogger lived in one of the tea growing areas in Northern India where political upheaval had been reported. Her last post showed photographs of large groups of people on the move – they looked like refugees. She also wrote the troubles were moving closer to her home and she was scared. Then the blog disappeared. Later that week, in my newsfeed, I read how the Indian government had shut down the internet in that area. I found myself feeling concerned for this person and I still wonder what happened. Apparently bloggers were being targeted by the authorities.
Tea and blogging is not without it’s annoyances. You’ve just got to press on regardless of the feedback or lack of it. Also to make money from a blog you need 500 likes, probably fairly consistently. I read that somewhere – sorry I can’t remember where but if you have conflicting information please weigh in.
If you think about it, when you are not acting ethically, then you are probably ripping someone off.