The Day The Blogging Died

Today sort of sucked.

I woke up to discover my blog was gone. It took me three hours to reach my hosting company who then said “sorry, can’t help you” and I was once again stuck in the vortex of not having a permanent web guru. Then in the middle of the day, the error message changed and a few hours later, BAM – we’re back.

I have no fucking idea what happened.

Strangely, I learned that TransGriot, the blog of Monica Roberts, also disappeared today. Then reappeared mysteriously.

Monica uses Blogger hosted by Google. I use WordPress on a self-hosted site through Name.com. So it would be incredibly odd that we experienced the same technical glitch.

What we do have in common is being LGBTQ bloggers, being women, being nominated for GLAAD awards (Monica won in 2018) and having some recent high profile chatter. Monica was profiled by the Daily Beast for her relentless commitment to raising the visibility of trans folx who are murdered in the US. I got an unusual degree of shit and pushback for this recent post about Pittsburgh’s Progressive History project. I’m used to getting booted out of Facebook groups by people who conflate “political” with “partisan” and have smoke coming out of their ears when they read terms like “white male privilege” but did it lead to my site being attacked?

Who knows? When I asked some LGBTQ folx about the odd timing, I got a dismissive response (from people who don’t blog) and a “we have bigger problems to deal with” by those who do.

I am feeling vulnerable, for sure. But I’m also an experienced blogger who has been through all sorts of technical issues and problems. I’ve never had anything like this happen.

I’m feeling vulnerable as a blogger because I am at the mercy of everyone. I just switched webhosting companies and have to switch again because Name.com has wretched customer service. Then there’s the endless search for a webmaster. I’ve been through dozens of people. I have money to pay the going rate and my needs are pretty modest – that’s the problem, because I am too small to be profitable for anyone. So I end up dependent on volunteers and friends of friends who help me out, but refuse to take on a permanent gig. My inbox is filled with excuses for not getting my work done – usually some combination of family issues and bigger clients having emergencies. People get the flu a lot and have migraines and a million excuses that anxious small businesses use to juggle a craptastic clientload. It sucks for everyone.

My biggest piece of blogging advice is to never, never, never get a customized theme. Always use a prefab template that you can fancy up a bit. The switch to a custom theme was perhaps the single worst blogging decision I’ve ever made. It is pretty, but it absolutely useless to me even with some decent skills. Never hire a graphic designer, hire a techie. No one cares about your font. They care that your site is running.

So I’m really quite miserable and anxious. I appreciate the supportive response from a lot of people. I can use this opportunity to remind you that investing in the blog helps us pay the bills, but honestly – this problem is about the lack of a technically skilled professional who wants to work with someone for five hours a month, not a lack of funds. I hate depending on people to volunteer or fit me in or turn me into a project. I hate not being able to control my own creative work. And one day, I will be able to afford switching back to a regular blog theme and have full control again.

Until then, I’m silenced. Until I’m not. Who knows?

PS: please do not send suggestions unless you know a WordPress webguru who is taking new small clients and isn’t going to drag me into the migraine/yet another funeral/family emergency/broken laptop vortex of excuses for chaos. I really am bitter …