Monday, September 16, 2013

Helping Dr Ada

I first came to know Dr Ada a decade ago when an unfortunate timetable clash left her first year course on runic studies vying for attendees with my own series of lectures, Professor Mise's Introduction to Pure Mathematics. Attracted by my charm, reputation, and pedagogical skills, 354 of the young First Arts Students chose to attend my lectures. Five students signed up for Dr Ada's course, no doubt lured by her charm, reputation, and pedagogical skills.

An inevitable, one-sided coolness developed between us despite my frequent macaron gifts to her (I was ever the peacemaker!), and we had quite lost touch until her personal assistant contacted me this summer with the surprising news that Dr Ada had resigned her post and set up her own blog. She was hoping for some hints and tips for this, her new venture.


Dr Ada's Guide to Leaving Academia

Who better qualified to help than myself, I reflected immediately. By then, I could boast as many as seven regular readers, I had self-published extensively on blogging mores, Yvonne from Yvestown had once commented on a post of mine, and my blog statistics had led me to suspect that one of my subscribers was from New York. New York!

"Certainly, my dear," I told Dr Ada's assistant, and promptly forgot about the matter until Dr Ada herself called to my house recently on her motorcycle tour of Ireland.

It is difficult to let someone down when they have apologised so abjectly for their clumsy fall into your marigolds, and so, once Dr Ada had left, marigold petals still in her hair, I set to ponder how I might help her improve her blogging technique.

The first thing that sprang to mind was that her posts contained no images. Compare that with this present post, which I have illustrated with a photograph of Dr Ada's blog, depicted in my own celebrity kitchen.  Yes, the photograph is a tad out of focus and the laptop screen is crudely cropped to conceal my real name, yet the image serves to break the monotony of the paragraphs of text.

The chosen illustration need not necessarily be of a laptop in one's celebrity kitchen. A large, vintage copper pan, proposed tiles for the swimming pool, two candidate sequined scarves for wearing to the launch soirĂ©e: any old thing will do. Whatever is to hand.  

Note, however, that one cannot be entirely cavalier in the choice of image. When Dr Ada states,
The sidecar held up well: its occupant complained only once, when I took a series of spectacular hairpin bends con brio (as the advanced driving qualification demands)
the reader would expect to see a series of stills from the police speed camera.

The other major piece of advice for Dr Ada is, of course, that blog posts should be brief.  This will present a challenge to someone who is used to producing wordy, banal papers in the area of heiroglyphological research, but Dr Ada must bear in mind that her typical reader will simultaneously be skimming five other blogs, making a pudding that includes agar agar, eating buttered toast, and keeping ducks.

Again, taking the present instance as a case in point, there is no chance at all, its lucid eloquence notwithstanding, that any reader would ever reach the end of my post.      


26 comments:

  1. Mise - may I be the first to say that you are completely bonkers - which is why I love your blog.

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    1. Thank you, and all your kind seconders, Elaine; I'm glad you made it down to the comment box.

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  2. I went into one and glazed over after the first sentence when Maths was mentioned !! XXXX

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  3. I myself am too busy at wok to follow the ins & outs of this but yr phone case is v cool.

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    1. Thank you, Brendon. Something similar might win you some respect on the bus.

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  4. I'm with Elaine and co. Your posts are wonderful. Dr Ada has made a wise choice!

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  5. How do I get pink flowers in my browser? It isn't Safari that's for sure.

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    1. It's the Cath Kidston theme in Chrome, Jessica. I like Safari too but it lacks pink.

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  6. I am sure that Adelaide (as she was known then) and I were at school together. If this is indeed one and the same person then I happen to know that she was allergic to egg white and nuts. This may account for the coolness you allude to.

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    1. Excellent, I shall be busy awhile googling recipes for pecan meringues - so light and cheap to post to her in the UK.

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    2. Is that you, Lucille? Do not think that I have forgotten that incident with the pavlova and the egg whisk in home economics.

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    3. Good grief Adelaide, can we not let bygones be bygones? Anyway, as I recall it, you were short of mixture because you only brought one egg in, and I let you have some of mine.

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  7. Ah get away with you - blog posts should only be brief when addressing the subject of digging for potatoes in Nailsworth. As for the rest, be as gobby as you like, I say.

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    1. You're only saying that, Tom, to give yourself leeway to tell us at length about your holiday.

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  8. Perhaps when you finish with Dr. Ada you will become a "Ms Fixit" for errant bloggers. I fear that I have far less to say than I anticipated. I do have a random thought or so... Occasionally a rather nice photograph or two. If only I were as witty and sharp in blogland as I am in real life.... (Sigh)... Maybe a macaron would help?

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    1. I think flowers and good humored optimism are your specialities, Susan, and who could ask for better than that?

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  9. Oh I love Susan's Ms Fixit idea.
    Is Dt. Ada your twin?

    Now that you have word verification I'm afraid you must revise your blog tips. I have consulted them often, and now I'm lost. I'd appreciate tips on replying to comments--is it bad form to not replyy to everyone every time (comment: "beautiful!" what can I say but "thanks".)

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    1. I think it's nice to reply, Jen, especially if they are trying to sell you something, which must be a depressing job. I wish I were a better person and always replied myself. I do try.

      As for 'beautiful!', you could visit their own blog rather than reply, and leave 'beautiful!!', see if they come back to your next post with 'beautiful!!!'

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    2. down the rabbit hole we go

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  10. You girls (Dr. Ada is included in this remark) kept me up until 2 a.m. reading about your shenanigans in the sidecar and elsewhere. At my age I am not too concerned about beauty sleep, however, and would rather be kept awake with your witty and amusing repartee than by insomnia. When I did fall asleep I dreamed of planting marigolds in the ruins of Persepolis.

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    1. You honour us with your non-sleeping hours, thank you! May your unconscious marigolds bloom fitfully.

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  11. The comments on this post are even more entertaining than the post itself. Goes to show your readers have great senses of humour. I struggle with picking pics for my posts all the time though, so when that happens I just keep hoping that my 'lucid eloquence' will keep them reading to the end.

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    1. Well, I would just like to say that I found the post itself quite diverting, Ms Happy.

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  12. Hi, I'm new to the blog world and finding my feet. I'm delighted to have found your blog. I'm hooked already:)

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