petite anglaise

March 30, 2005

mort de rire?

Filed under: french touch — petiteanglaiseparis @ 12:04 pm

I recently discovered skyblogs. To my horror. These are for the most part teen blogs and are hosted by shouty French radio station Skyrock. The mothership’s homepage has so much busy flash animation (advertising) that I can’t actually look at it for more than five seconds without triggering a migraine.

It sets the tone nicely for what is to come.

Imagine if you will a blog written entirely in mobile phone textspeak, littered with a few low resolution photos uploaded from a cheap cameraphone, and you are getting to the essence of what skyblogging is. Indecipherable unless you are a teenager yourself, or happen to have a teenage translator to hand who understands all the slang, verlan (backwards slang, or sometimes backwards backwards slang – meriting of a post in itself one day) and teen cultural references whch are thrown into the mix.

The following text was lifted from p-a13 and I reproduce it here along with my attempted translation into French, and then English:

voila sa c théo 1 gro pomé du bahu lol!!! g d cone mdr!! c mon meilleur pote il tro s1pa on c clate tro o bahu enssemble top d lire mdr!!! a+ mek by !!!

Voilà ça c’est Theo un gros paumé du bahut. LOL!!! Je déconne MDR [Mort de rire]!! C’est mon meilleur pote. Il est trop sympa. On s’éclate trop au bahut ensemble. Top délire MDR!! A plus mec. Bye!!

This is Theo a fat loser from school. LOL!! I’m joking LOL!! It’s my best friend. He is too nice. We have too much fun together. Top fantastic LOL!! See you soon mate. Bye.

Other sites abound which are completely beyond my limited translation abilities. Especially those written by French teenagers with North African parents or grandparents, who use a smattering of Arabic words or French/Arabic hybrid slang in addition to French textspeak. At least I imagine that’s what they are.

The skyblog community is so vast that the volume of traffic the most popular skyblogs attract is phenomenal. Take this graffiti blog, for example, where visitors can leave their name and colour preferences and the blogger will create and publish a personalised tague . The site has seen a staggering 132,000+ visits since its creation in February 2005 and the most recent entry attracted 17,462 comments.

However, closer inspection reveals that many of these are a new form of comment spam: fellow skybloggers promoting their own blogs. I suppose I’m as guilty as the next person for having left the odd strategic comment on a high profile site in the hope that I might pique the curiosity of a few of their visitors. Dooce‘s daily photo entry is basically a competition to see who can comment first (unfortunately this paves the way for meaningless comments in the vein of “cute photo!”), as apparently pole position on her comments page translates into a not insignificant number of hits on the statcounter. But skybloggers are even less subtle: no beating about the bush, no semblance of interaction, just the blog address.

Vierge Insolente, who from her picture looks like an all too familiar patchouli scented gothette, is one of the few skybloggers I have found so far who forms actual sentences with grammar and punctuation. In her recent farewell post she laments the fact that being in the skyblogs top ten means that no-one actually reads what she has to say any more, most simply dropping by to leave ads in her comments box.

Ce n’est plus personnel, c’est ennuyant… Ne plus être livre d’écrire ce que l’on veut à cause d’une certaine célébrité. Ce n’est pas un avantage d’être dans ce top 100… Du moins dans les 10 premiers. Tout le monde se fout de ce qu’on peut bien écrire, les gens sont un peu égoistes au fond, genre je te balance ma pub et j’en ai rien à faire de tes trucs…

I hope that this isn’t where the rest of the blogosphere is headed. It takes me long enough to delete my trackback spam, without having to start filtering mindless ads from fellow bloggers as well.


  1. Il s’en faut de beaucoup que skyblog infirme ce qu’on pouvait déjà penser de skyrock… Enfin la blogosphère est un peu comme l’auberge espagnole, il suffit de chercher ce qu’on veut y trouver ou de l’apporter soi-même.
    (Je ne sais pas si les espaces-blogs des grands journaux sont radicalement différents, je n’ai guère été impressionné par ceux du Monde, mais c’était plutôt dans le genre politique.)
    La photo en haut de votre blog me donne de la nostalgie Рmalgr̩ la Tour Montparnasse.

    Comment by zayezzift — March 30, 2005 @ 12:58 pm

  2. That’s pretty much like teens speak here when they send text messages to eachother. I have tried it, but I find it a lot easier to spell out the words on my phone. It has predictive entry so it second guesses what you are spelling.

    Comment by Andy — March 30, 2005 @ 1:26 pm

  3. Forgot to add, didn’t see the ads on the skyblog site… Only did once I used IE… :wink:

    Comment by Andy — March 30, 2005 @ 1:28 pm

  4. Sadly I don’t have firefox at work. Wonder when corporations will start moving over?

    Comment by petite — March 30, 2005 @ 1:34 pm

  5. I don’t get comment spam. My blog is obviously not popular enough. Et ben… :roll:

    Comment by witho — March 30, 2005 @ 1:37 pm

  6. Can you not be very French and chacun pour soi about it and unilaterally move to Firefox, or would that be frowned on by the powers-that-be?

    Comment by Iain — March 30, 2005 @ 2:36 pm

  7. There was an article in the Sydney Morning Herald recently about one of our larger wineries moving their whole company onto Firefox… I was chatting to our CEO this week and extolling its virtues in the hope he might be insipired, he had at least heard of it… but the IT Manager isn’t ready to leave the ‘security’ of the familiar


    Comment by deeleea — March 30, 2005 @ 2:45 pm

  8. all three of my kids have friends with skyblogs – i’ve no idea how long they’ve been around for, but they get kicks out of them. i agree that the text-speak is pretty bad, but most of the photos on the skyblogs that my kids frequent have been taken with a digital camera.

    todd started one of his own as did tatiana until they grew bored of them. i’m waiting to see how long todd’s blog lasts.

    one good thing about skyblogs is that photos are automatically sized down, but they are definitely aimed at younger bloggers.

    and no pop-ups for us, either.

    Comment by zed — March 30, 2005 @ 3:07 pm

  9. I’m one of Todd’s biggest fans actually.

    Comment by petite — March 30, 2005 @ 3:56 pm

  10. Poor Todd… Posts about the hindu sacred animal which most resembles his genitrix, and all he gets are comments from her, and a madame.

    Life is so unfair,
    even in the blogosphère.

    Comment by Mathieu — March 30, 2005 @ 4:47 pm

  11. Hi,

    I discovered your site some days ago and I really enjoy reading it. At last an interesting weblog ! (it’s quite hard for me to find something interesting in the BlogWorld. Most of people talk only about their job or how much they enjoyed the coffee this morning…).
    Anyway, you have a new fan in your club.
    Ã + :grin:

    Comment by KitKat — March 30, 2005 @ 4:49 pm

  12. Trackback spam…a sure way to wreck my Saturday morning. I don’t seem to get much of it until the weekend arrives.

    Comment by Bob — March 30, 2005 @ 5:57 pm

  13. Silly computer crashed while I was posting the comment, so I apologise for multiple commenting.

    I read somewhere that the vast majority of bloggers are these phatic teenage nonsense mongers, so it’s not like it’s a new thing. Most flickr comments are about as lame as “cool pic” too.

    It’s an identity thing I think, the need to express your individuality while simultaneously sending a big “I belong!” ping to the world. Hell, I still do it, although, I hope, in slightly more subtle, eloquent ways. Isn’t that we all want? To be quirky, but not enough that we no longer fit in?

    PR and blogging seems to be on the rise too. I was reading stuart murdie’s post about how select bloggers were issued with new Nokia phones, on the condition that they blogged about them. I think my amusingly tiny stats would get me a very crappy phone.

    Comment by EasyJetsetter — March 30, 2005 @ 6:04 pm

  14. Did anyone else see that some teenage skybloggers were excluded from their school for comments they made on their blogs? There was an article about it in Metro – i’ve summarised the basics here: [blantant plug for my own blog :wink:]

    Anyway, after reading your entry Petite, I was suprised that the teachers could understand what they had written!

    Comment by aEuropean — March 30, 2005 @ 9:06 pm

  15. A whole generation of kids (myself included) was raised on AIM and post music video MTV. Language is dead, unfortunately. And I say this as an english major. lol, jk, ttyl..yeah…right..

    Comment by owen — March 30, 2005 @ 10:22 pm

  16. Le plus “drôle” sur skblog c est les caricatures de blogs de skyblog … !

    The funniest it’s the caricatures of skyblog !
    Désolée pour mon anglais, si quelqu’un sait mieux traduire, merci !

    Comment by lavomatic — March 30, 2005 @ 11:47 pm

  17. Firefox is great for weeding. Wonder when it’ll work on the spam.

    PS. Hey, I’ve just noticed. Where did I go?

    Comment by Watski — March 31, 2005 @ 2:50 am

  18. So Skyblog is the francophone Livejournal? Ick.

    Dooce’s comments are simultaneously hilarious and disturbing: Some of those “first!” comments have dreadfully early timestamps, and while I do acknowledge the existance of different time zones, I have this mental image of hunched-shoulder, red-eyed zombie-bloggers frantically hitting refresh at four in the morning, hoping for a spot in that elusive top ten.

    Oh, and not all teenage bloggers write like that.

    Comment by janna — March 31, 2005 @ 7:08 am

  19. Hello petite, have been meaning to post a comment for a while now. I love your blog and check it religiously every day. It’s the only blog I feel is worth reading, perhaps because our situations are so similar. I’m an expat who’ been living in Switzerland for the last 12 years with a 3 year old son, and your observations on expat life and bringing up a toddler are spot on. The similarities don’t stop there, I went to York universtiy and lived there after graduation for six months before moving here. Oh yeah, and I also had a French pen pal. Mine went on to become an enard and gradauated second in his year and is now a Consiel d’Etat working in Paris. Grrrr, can’t think about him without massive feelings of inadequacy. On the other hand, he’s just separated from his wife and two kids, so that’s all right then.

    Since my wife isn’t Swiss I’m now facing a dillema. To integrate or not to integrate? Should I send our son to a Swiss school. It’s not really fair to him to put him in an international school if we’re going to be staying, but on the other hand I don’t want him to learn to be a swissie. Yes, I admit it, living here for so long has giving me a healthy dislike of the Swiss. In fact I was toying with starting my own blog, Why I hate the Swiss, but I fear it would take up all of my time. There’s just so much to hate :)

    Anyways, keep up the good work, and don’t worry about tadpole by the sound of it you’re doing everything right.

    Cheers, Vinny

    Comment by Vinny — March 31, 2005 @ 7:46 am

  20. is it only me, or is that graffitti site the most despressing site ever? yuk yuk yuk yuk yukkkity yuk.

    Comment by vit — March 31, 2005 @ 8:23 am

  21. Well it’s not just teenagers who spam each others’ blogs. I once had a colleague post a comment with only the link to her site and about a hundred “keywords” (great translator, good translator, excellent translator, great translations, good translations, blah blah) – do spiders (or whatever their latest incarnation is called) actually crawl blog comments for keywords?

    Comment by céline — March 31, 2005 @ 8:33 am

  22. I think I prefer Tadpole’s ‘graffiti’.

    Comment by petite — March 31, 2005 @ 8:33 am

  23. Céline – they did, but I thought google had taken comments out of the equation recently, to help take action against comment spam throwing out their search results.

    Having said that, it doesn’t seem to have worked. In response to my post about search terms recently, crinkly bee mentioned “Barry from Eastenders hair” as a search term on his site. And I’ve had several searches a day arriving chez moi for that very search term ever since.

    Am I missing something, or is it the new ‘in’ cut at Toni & Guy?

    Comment by petite — March 31, 2005 @ 8:42 am

  24. C’mon petite, DON’T try to make me believe that you didn’t submit your name to the grafitti site!

    Comment by sammy — March 31, 2005 @ 9:37 am

  25. I think I would have had to register with skyblog in order to comment. And I’m probably too old.

    Comment by petite — March 31, 2005 @ 9:49 am

  26. I know I am being the hippie linguist, but honestly, there’s no such thing as language “dying” just changing.
    This article deals with this issue a little – but really, you are all living proof that there are articulate people writing on the web.

    Comment by EasyJetsetter — March 31, 2005 @ 10:42 am

  27. Petite you are positively educational! My French class the other week was all about verlan etc so I’m going to take your extract and translation in this week as a “live” example if that’s OK. Mind, I did think that perhaps getting us to communicate in standard French first might be more achieveable than expecting us to be able to do it backwards…

    Comment by Hope — April 3, 2005 @ 7:36 pm

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