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.