Freshly Pressed

9 Jan

If you’ve never heard of Freshly Pressed, it’s a feature on WordPress that promotes blogs. Each weekday WordPress selects and posts about ten new blog posts on the Freshly Pressed section of the WordPress.com homepage to entertain, enlighten, and quietly taunt you for not yet having been selected.

Being Freshly Pressed is an honor.  It is to Bloggers what Heisman is to football, Emmy is to actors, and Playboy is to Lindsay Lohan.

It is highly coveted because you get a lot of traffic to your site when you’re sprawled across the WordPress.com homepage like an open buffet.

Like many other bloggers whose blogs are hosted by WordPress, I hoped to one day be Freshly Pressed.

And last week, I did.  I received an e-mail notification from an editor at WordPress that my post “Why Snowboarding’s Not So Gnarly,” a parody about the dangers of snowboarding, had been promoted to Freshly Pressed.  “You are now part of an elite group  . . . be proud!” said the e-mail.

I was proud, especially when traffic came pouring to my site— nearly three thousand hits in two days.

Readers flooded my comment section with positive feedback while I reveled in the glory.  Until, that is, the negative comments started rolling in—backlash from snowboarders angry with me for poking fun at their sport, worried that I would discourage people from snowboarding.

I was surprised by their serious and intense reactions.   I wrote my post with no objective in mind, other than comic relief to help me process my feelings after my son injured himself on his snowboard.  Writing the post helped me deal with the hurt, guilt, anger and fear my son felt when I handed him the hospital bill.

I tried to keep an open mind when replying to reader comments.  I used the comment section as a forum to promote freedom of speech, allow readers to express themselves, and poke fun at them some more.  When one guy wrote, “What a collection of senseless words” I respectfully replied, “Tghg kprdyddgh.”

A few people made hateful and hurtful comments—a few so unspeakable I removed them from my site.  Apparently WordPress only censors sex, not cruelty.

When I read such hostile remarks my heart sank and my blood pressure rose.  I am a person who hates conflict.  That’s why I write a humor blog and not Ashton Kutcher’s tweets. It was enough to make me wish I’d written about something less controversial than snowboarding, like immigration or gun control.

Others took the time to write heartfelt words about their passion for snowboarding and provide useful information about snowboard safety while they ripped my post to shreds.

A few snowboarders wrote essays longer than my post, filling my comment section with more opinion than an Op Ed for the New York Times.

I don’t begrudge readers for speaking their piece. The beauty of blogging is that it provides a forum for readers and writers alike to speak their minds, expand their perspectives and make informed decisions. I always welcome other opinions, even if they’re wrong . . .

Becoming Freshly Pressed has helped me understand that as a writer, I have a responsibility.  I’m just not sure what it is yet.

I do know that as my readership grows, so will my comment section, for better or for worse. If I’m going to succeed in this business I’d better toughen up.  Otherwise, I may find myself demoted to . . . Freshly DE-pressed.

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53 Responses to “Freshly Pressed”

  1. Debbie Abrams Kaplan January 9, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

    Congrats on getting selected! Comments can be AWFUL. Good not to take them too seriously (unless they’re positive – those you SHOULD take seriously). I have some writer friends who won’t read the comments section, because people with nothing better to do take it upon themselves to just be mean. And that helps no one.

  2. Main Street Musings Blog January 9, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

    Thanks, Debbie. And I appreciate your validation.

  3. Katie Morton January 9, 2012 at 3:55 pm #

    Hi Lisa,
    I have a terrible time letting negative comments roll of my back, so I know what you mean. I gotta tell you, anyone who took issue with your snowboarding post A) takes themselves WAY WAY WAY too seriously and B) can’t take a joke. I laughed at your post because it was funny. The end.

    • Main Street Musings Blog January 10, 2012 at 1:03 am #

      Thanks for your comment, Katie. I’m trying not to be too sensitive. That reminds me of an old New Yorker cartoon. A man and woman are eating breakfast. The man is staring at his boiled egg and his wife says, “Don’t be so sensitive, Henry—break your egg!”

  4. Audubon Ron January 9, 2012 at 4:27 pm #

    Congrats on being freshly pressed. Not in a million years do I ever expect such accolades or attention. From experience I have learned surf boarders (having been one once) are a cut above snow boarders. Neither one to be something to exactly write home about.

    My beach, my sand, my wave!!!

    And, thanks for your continued input through my spiritual journey.

    Ron

    • Main Street Musings Blog January 10, 2012 at 1:05 am #

      Thanks Ron. It’s fun to be a part of your spiritual journey.
      P.S. I think you should post a photo of young Ron on his surfboard.

  5. Jen and Tonic January 9, 2012 at 4:43 pm #

    Like I said on Facebook, keep their head injuries in mind ;)

    I read some of the comments and was blown away by how angry and defensive some of these people were. I snowboard, and found the humor in your piece *because* of it. I didn’t find anything you said to be overly offensive or uncalled for.

    Congrats on being famous enough to be publicly criticized!

    • Main Street Musings Blog January 10, 2012 at 1:11 am #

      “Famous enough to be publicly criticized!” I love it! Thanks for your validation, Jen, much appreciated.

  6. Lisa L January 9, 2012 at 4:54 pm #

    Wow, Congrats Lisa! And, don’t let the wacko’s get you down! ( There are many!)
    Keep up the good work, and keep us laughing!

    • Main Street Musings Blog January 10, 2012 at 1:12 am #

      Ha! I think we must have dealt with a few of those wackos in college, right? Thanks for your comment, and your encouragement!

  7. morristownmemos by Ronnie Hammer January 9, 2012 at 5:14 pm #

    As I said in one of my blogs, “We never think of ourselves s salespeople, but we are!” Any time you put yourself out in the public you become a target for anyone who doesn’t like your POV, humor or chocolate chip cookies.

    Salesmen, telemarketers and dog trainers are always being rejected, and have to learn that it’s not personal, but what they’re selling that is being rejected.

    As for us, your readers and fans, we love you, your writing, humor but can’t speak first hand about your ch.ch. cookies.

    Ronnie

  8. Life in the Boomer Lane January 9, 2012 at 5:32 pm #

    Any time we put ourselves out there, we are open to whatever comes our way. I always think gratuitous negativity of any kind says nothing about the object of the negativity, but everything about the speaker. You’ve written something to be proud of, not because the Freshly Pressed Gods think so, but because you are a really good writer and all of your posts are a joy to read.

    • Main Street Musings Blog January 10, 2012 at 1:23 am #

      You make an astute point about gratuitous negativity. Thank you for your sincere comment and compliment.

  9. DiatribesAndOvations.com January 9, 2012 at 6:46 pm #

    My blog is very therapeutic to me. I learn from the (little bit) of research that I do for my posts but even more from the comments that I receive. I’ll never forget my first “hater” (I blogged about it), but I have a new respect for those that comment. It takes thought, time and energy to submit a comment to a blog (good or bad) and I appreciate them all. I even learned that I might have been wrong once.

    I hope I get freshly pressed some time, too.

    • Main Street Musings Blog January 10, 2012 at 1:25 am #

      True, we can gain some interesting insights from comments both positive and negative.

      I hope you get freshly pressed too :)

  10. sportsattitudes January 9, 2012 at 7:51 pm #

    Isn’t that a rush when you open up your site or mailbox and see it literallly crying for help! I have been blessed…lucky…whatever to experience the feeling on two occasions and hope I get the chance to do it again and again. The best part is once the views die down and the impact of the post soaks in…you are left with those who honor you by having taken the extra step to subscribe…and then comment on your work thereafter. This is just the first of many times you’ll be honored for you work here and elsewhere, Lisa. There is no doubt about that.

  11. sportsattitudes January 9, 2012 at 7:56 pm #

    Sorry for the typos above, Lisa. Not like me to lose concentration before the post comment button gets hit…but I’ve been “sitting a tad too long” (shameless plug for new post…).

    • Main Street Musings Blog January 10, 2012 at 1:29 am #

      I think we bloggers can relate to a lot of similar experiences, which makes it so nice to be part of a shared community. Thanks for the nice words. I look forward to your next post. Based on the title, sounds like I might be able to relate to that too.

  12. Paprika Furstenburg January 9, 2012 at 9:22 pm #

    I thought you handled the negative comments masterfully and I hope they didn’t dim the spotlight of being Freshly Pressed. It’s fine for someone to express a difference of opinion in a mature way, but to be cruel and insulting is uncalled for.

  13. Huffygirl January 10, 2012 at 2:24 am #

    Lisa, I loved your snowboarding parody enough to subscribe (something I don’t do often) and share it with a snowboarder friend. I’ve had a few negative comments on my blog, not many, and finally realized I could use the “edit comment” and “trash” options that i had never touched before. I don’t use them often, but after all, it’s our blog, featuring something that we took a lot of time to write and for most of us, not getting paid to do so.

    I’ve also found over time that the critical commenters often do not understand satire. They staunchly defend their position on why _____ is so wonderful, not seeming to understand that it’s a parody. Good luck fielding your comments, which it seems you have done swimmingly.

    • Main Street Musings Blog January 10, 2012 at 5:59 pm #

      Huffygirl– I too made the executive decision to use the trash option several times on this one–the comments were that hostile. And I agree, some of these folks get so caught up in themselves they can’t see the forest for the trees. Thanks so much for your supportive comment.

  14. earthriderjudyberman January 10, 2012 at 2:42 am #

    My first foray into print in the 1980s, “The Syracuse New Times,” I quickly understood that each person might take away something different from a story. Something unintended. Something misunderstood. At times, I had to laugh when I realized that I was being skewered from two different directions. Made me wonder if they really read the story. Don’t be discouraged. I found your snowboarding parody a real hoot.

    • Main Street Musings Blog January 10, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

      Thanks for your encouragement. The mixed reactions to this post taught me that everyone interprets what they read a little differently based on their personal experience. While there’s no right or wrong, I can only hope that if their perspective differs from mine they’ll share their thoughts in a sensitive manner.

  15. Sherry Stanfa-Stanley January 10, 2012 at 4:10 am #

    I was thrilled for you to see the surge in your comments, but then flabbergasted at the negativity of a few.

    The posts was clearly written in your usual great tongue-in-cheek humor. Those who can’t take a joke shouldn’t bother to come back. The rest of us enjoyed a good laugh and look forward to more.

    Carry on, my friend.

    • Sherry Stanfa-Stanley January 10, 2012 at 4:10 am #

      Oh, and congratulations!!!

    • Main Street Musings Blog January 10, 2012 at 6:14 pm #

      I was flabbergasted too! I think part of the problem is that my regular readers expect my satirical style, but Freshly Pressed brought a lot of new readers who didn’t expect it. That said, I think it was pretty clear that it was a parody, and you’re right, some people just don’t appreciate the humor in it and I’m sure won’t come back (which is probably best for my blood pressure!) Thanks for the supportive words and the congrats. I will carry on!

  16. thelaughingmom January 10, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

    OMG, I just read over the comments. Shocking how disrespectful some people can be. Being Freshly Pressed is about the writing. When I read the first few paragraphs, I thought to myself, “Man, she is such a great writer.” You are right, as your audience broadens, so will the critics. Keep in mind the critics were targeting the opinion not the writing. (by the way, you can’t mask the fact that snowboarding is dangerous!) You handled them brilliantly.

    • Main Street Musings Blog January 10, 2012 at 6:21 pm #

      Good point–I would have gone from disheartened to crushed had they criticized my writing! I appreciate your kinds words.

  17. Dawn@LightenUp! January 11, 2012 at 1:06 am #

    Aw. Chin up, Lisa! I have yet to receive a comment like that, but then I have not been “Freshly Pressed,” although I have been featured on BlogHer a few times.
    I used to work as a photographer and reporter for a daily newspaper. People can be mean, stupid and SPECTACULARLY miss your point. It’s a HUMOR BLOG, for nut’s sake!!
    Hang in there, my dear!!

    • Main Street Musings Blog January 11, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

      Thanks for your encouragement, Dawn. I liked learning something about your professional background, too. :)

  18. funnyortragic January 11, 2012 at 3:46 am #

    You know, some people don’t have a sense of humor, or they think they do, but only when it’s not about something they care about. And those people don’t really have a sense of humor… So don’t fret, funny lady. Don’t sensor your funny self!

  19. Hope Varnes January 11, 2012 at 4:46 pm #

    Congratulations! You post just made me smile. Yep, people love to criticise because it’s easy to do and I suppose it makes them feel better.

    I hope one day my blog will get the same honour, but I’m not sure I’ll have the stomach negative comments.

  20. Main Street Musings Blog January 11, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

    I hope you do too, and hopefully yours will come without any flack!

  21. Meg at the Members Lounge January 11, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

    Your snowboarding post was funny! Careening down a mountain on skis was enough for me once upon a time! (First time commenter, popping over from Ducks Mahal!)

  22. Joe Pflueger January 15, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

    Well written piece here. I’m sorry I missed the snowboarding piece, but I’ll go back and read it here in a bit. My knee jerk reaction comes in the form of: why would snowboarders care if this discouraged others from trying the sport? Aren’t the hills crowded enough? Of course I’m one of those ones that appreciates room to breathe and even solitude. I’d be all for a piece that discouraged more people from enjoying the outdoors, MY outdoors.

    Then I remember people’s advice to me when I mention that I want to be a humor writer and they know my natural avoidance of confrontation. They always say, “If you want to make it in comedy, you can’t be afraid to offend people.” And I see some truth in that but at the same time I think, you don’t NEED to offend people. It helps draw attention, sure, but I think we can be more creative at drawing an audience than simply tossin’ out offensive remarks.

    Turn what criticism you can into a positive direction to go and leave the rest I guess. I’m still surprised at the reaction since I heard all snowboarders are illiterate. WOAH, How’s that? Really though, I’m jus’ kiddin’. Sometimes that isn’t apparent in the comment section. I respect those with active hobbies while I sit here typing away.

    My content rarely dabbles in offensive material, but when it does, it’s not without purpose. Read my short pieces, I’m always curious of how people take them. The humor shorts (http://pflueg.blogspot.com/p/shorts.html), in my opinion, should not really offend anyone. The current events pieces (http://pflueg.blogspot.com/p/current-events.html) are slightly more controversial but still pretty light.

  23. timkeen40 January 15, 2012 at 7:27 pm #

    I can not solve your dilemma, but I can offer this, the writing world according to Tim Keen.
    You do have a responsibility as a writer – to yourself. If your blog was meant to be humorous and meant as no disrespect to the snowboarders, then so be it. You can not pander to the ramblings of a few over-passionate, misguided zealots who wake up every morning waiting to offended by something. If you write anything and let enough people read it, someone will find it offensive.

    Keep up the blog. It is a great site and congratulations on being freshly pressed.

  24. Rob Rubin January 17, 2012 at 6:27 pm #

    Yes congrats on the freshly pressing. Perhaps one day my little humor blog will be bestowed with that honor as well. But I think the real reason it isn’t is because WordPress is scared of me. They are scared of the sheer volume of traffic that will flood my site should they select me that all other blogs will get nothing while the entire WP community reveres my every word, period, and semicolon. Their stat counters will go berserk and will not be able to keep up. It will be the end of WordPress as we know it.

    Ok, so maybe a little reverse psychology might help.

    Anyway, congrats again. I promise not to be one of those drive bys that only comment on fp posts in hopes of getting more traffic.

  25. Roshni January 31, 2012 at 10:04 am #

    Hey, thanks for visiting my blog. Congrats on being freshly pressed!!! I loved this post, especially because I didn’t really understand the concept of being freshly pressed! I hope to be given that honour someday, too! :)

  26. simonandfinn February 14, 2012 at 9:49 pm #

    Really interesting post – among others on your site. Your sincerity really comes through here, I can only imagine it would be hard to see those kind of comments you mention but there’s so many different kinds of people and perspectives out there. That said it’s always a shock when people think so very differently.

  27. Browsing the Atlas July 4, 2012 at 8:30 am #

    Wow. Thanks for this behind-the-scenes look at what I would have thought would be nothing more than a high to revel in. I’m glad you didn’t take the negative comments to heart too much. It is incredible sometimes to see how differently people read and interpret things. I hope you get Freshly Pressed again and have a better experience.

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