In the novel, It's My F---ing Birthday, the protagonist, a single an bitter High School Art teacher starts an annual journal on her 36th birthday. She does a year-in-review to learn from her mistakes.

Monday, March 17th will mark my one year "birthday" of my foray into the blogging world. I started my blog, Bad Momma as a learning tool. To celebrate my Bloggin' Birthday I have decided to reflect on the past year. This is what I have learned so far:
1. To Have a Friend, You Must Be a Friend
Not only was this a favorite piece of advice from Mom, this is the first suggestion from seasoned bloggers on how to gain friends. The best way to get noticed is to comment on other blogs and to join groups. The Mom Salon - Mombloggers Club is where I made my first blogging friends. I recently joined Cre8Buzz where I have been making lots more. I also joined in on 5 Minutes for Mom's Ultimate blog party and my readership skyrocketed for a few days! I learned it does pay to join in on the games ( if you can find the time ).

2. Laugh and the World Laughs With You
I have found that my best blog reactions have been to humorous entries. I have another blog, Color Me Bitter, which is the place I use to complain. I never get comments there.

3. My Space Is a Scary Place Where You Can be Vulnerable to Stalkers

4. My Space Tom is not a Stalker.

5. Statcounter is a Great Tool
Midway through my blogging year, I installed Stat Counter, which is free for the bare minimum service. It is interesting to see how visitors are finding you. You can also find out what key words are being used.

I found that Sea Monkeys seem to be making a comeback and many guests come to me via this post.

I also am happy to report that I am not the only person to mistake Clorox Wipes as hand & face wipes. This is one of my most popular posts in word searches.

The most disturbing string of search words " how to quietly break a car window" leads what I assume to be aspiring thieves to this post. I am a bit alarmed that this is a popular search.

6. You Don't Have to Be a Great Writer
Keeping it real and striking a common chord is more important than being a great writer. I was intimidated at first, knowing that a few of my blog friends are professional writers. So far no one has been critical of grammar or spelling mistakes. Posts can be corrected after they are published. A bigger priority is to post when you are inspired and to keep your content fresh, so that your friends keep coming back to visit.

7. Anything You Say Can & Will Be Used Against You
Your blog is not a private diary. You should assume the worst; anyone can read your blog, including the people you write about. Even though most of us use pseudonyms, it is not impossible for others to find out your real identity. People have lost jobs over blogs. Jen Lancaster reveals in her book Bitter is the New Black how she lost out on a job when a rival "outed" Jen's blog to the future employer. College students are warned that employers have been known to use MySpace and Face Book in background checks.

8. Blogging is Addictive
My blog has turned out to be much more than I expected. Not only is it a tool for learning, it has been a great way to keep track of events in my life. I also have "met" a lot of very nice Bloggers and am having a blast. Somehow my life seems so much more interesting when I put it into writing. I am struggling with striking a balance and need to make sure I am not neglecting my "real life" duties.

What I Want to Learn:

Friend requests : What is the protocol for dealing with unanswered friend requests? At what point do you retract your unanswered offer of friendship?

How important are rankings? What benchmarks are helpful? What stats should I strive for?

Links to other Blog Friends - Should I take the initiative and add links to the sites of blog friends or should I ask first?

Thanks for coming to my party and for helping to make my first year a great one! In lieu of gifts, please leave me your best advice on how to become a successful blogger or an important lesson that you learned.

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