Friday, 20 April 2012

Paris is a Person, not a Place

Who is the filthy one?
Here is a person who, when I asked if I might interview him for my blog replied, "I'll be on your filthy blog." I couldn't be happier that he did, though I could debate how filthy my blog is compared to someone who runs over his own groceries.

I haven't been following Paris long, but he has made me giggle, chuckle and guffaw. His blog ranges from daily anecdotes (see picture) to current events. You can find his blog at and he's on Twitter (@tfphumorblog) and Facebook.

I began by asking about Paris' relatively recent decision not to write his posts in advance.

When I first launched the blog I needed every post to be a perfectly constructed story. Each word was scrutinized and manipulated for jokes to be most effective. I would rewrite posts ten or more times before publishing. Then I realized that seeking perfection was causing me to only post when I had a great idea—which was almost never. I would only write once a month. I knew I needed to build improv muscles if I wanted to really commit to this thing. I challenged myself to write every day in January—not to hit home runs, but singles and doubles every day. It was very difficult, but I believe I succeeded. Then I just kept going. Now I'm in month four without a miss, I'm proud to say. And I hope I don't come off like a douche, but I don't think I've written a bad post yet.

For example, I have NO idea what I'm going to write about tonight. Let me do it now—hmm—oh, I just found some weird bite on my inner thigh. Okay, I just took a picture of it. It's super gross. This will be a great post. There, now you have insight into my writing process. Brilliant, no?

Have you gotten many disgruntled replies from people who don't appreciate your brand of humor?

You know, I don't think so. I'm pretty good at denial though (it's my favorite go-to), so I may have blocked out a nasty response or two. Since people generally find blogs on their own I don't think hate-mail will really be an issue, as people who dislike me will probably migrate somewhere else. And I'm so confrontational, I would attack somebody who attacks me. I wouldn't be able to let it go without eviscerating the person through my keyboard. It's not a healthy strategy at all, but it's how I'm wired up. Also, why I'm in therapy.

Where do you turn for the pictures that accompany your posts. Some, obviously, are taken by you (you might want those bites looked at) but others are likely not.

I steal them. This is a horrible practice, as I'm breaking copyright and fair-use laws, and something I really need to change. Bloggers are notorious for this, and it's really a shitty thing to do. You're using somebody's property to entertain without crediting them or compensating them. I'm trying to phase that out as my blog is becoming more popular, because at some point I will receive a letter from a publishing firm demanding I remove images.

Please don't rat me out just yet. If you are going to steal, Google Images is your best friend. I'll see you there.

Are you invited to other blogs often? Are they usually acquaintances? Where did they find you, or you them?

I've had a lot of guest posting opportunities. I used to say yes to all of them. Now, I'm more selective, and I just don't have the time to write for some sites. They usually find me because they read one of my posts, or somebody retweets a story and they check it out.

Heh, like me! How have most of your readers found you? Through the blog itself or facebook/twitter/other?

This is a really long story, and I plan to write it very soon. I used to be #1 on Google for "funny blogs" "best blog" and a few others. I studied SEO for years, and knew a few tricks to artificially inflate my rankings. I would get 60% of my traffic each day just from people searching for blogs. Then, recently, I got spanked by Google. They busted me for some of my link building practices (along with thousands of other sites), and I'm nowhere to be found by searching. I freaked out when this happened - imagine going from #1 to nothing. My traffic plummeted like 80% in one day. I have advertisers. They pay to be there. So, I took to Twitter. I had no idea how to get followers. I learned everything I could about Twitter in a few days, and developed a strategy. Now, I'm closing in on 10k followers, and my traffic is stronger than before. Twitter is the only reason I keep getting new followers. I still have like only one of my friends who uses Twitter. I wish everyone used it, as I never check Facebook anymore. Twitter rocks.

I won't argue with you. My Facebook is woefully under-utilized as I pummel Twitter. Your posts are often very short. Is that intentional? Give a good punch and get out? Or do you occasionally wax poetic when you get on a good roll?

I try to keep each daily post to under 500 words. Let's face it - we have short attention spans. Plus, I have a day job. I can't crank out the 2000 word posts like I used to. I kept noticing TheBloggess did incredibly short posts. But they're always awesome. I tried to do in 400 words what used to take me 2000. It's actually harder for me to be shorter, but that's also a muscle I'm trying to build. Can I be as effective with less?

I'll answer, yes. I have a flash fiction bent, so I agree with the 'less is more' theory. Have you ever had guests on your blog? Would you ever consider hosting someone? Who would be ideal?

I have had a guest. One of my favorite people on the planet is Rachel Thompson, author of Mancode: Exposed a few other books. She's funny as hell and a good friend, so we've teamed up to write a column called, "Rachel and Delfin Argue (About You)." Basically we both riff on a topic and take opposing viewpoints. Honestly, I kind of don't want anyone else on my blog. I'm such a control freak and I'm way too insecure to let someone into my domain. Since my blog is called ThoughtsFromParis, I want to keep it about me. Which, as we know, is the most fascinating subject in the universe.

Yes, I saw a post mentioning the column. I'm sure the pair of you will go far. Thank you so much for sharing insight into your blogging process. I promise to keep my fingers out of it, instead taking the copycat route.