The State Of Blogging – A Stream Of Unconsciousness

This is a different type of post. I may link to other posts and articles to share what they have to say but overall this is my thoughts and beliefs about the current state of blogging. It’s not a rant… well, not really anyway. It’s more of a manifest statement, a stream of unconsciousness that’s either true or not for everyone else… but definitely true from where I’m sitting.

state of blogging

First, let’s talk about why I think I’m qualified to write about such a thing. By some standards I can’t even call myself a professional blogger. I don’t write from the perspective of someone who’s made a lot of money from blogging. I certainly haven’t worked on making blogging a career.

Actually, I used to make a nice chunk of change from this particular blog. At one point I was making almost $600 a month from advertisers… paid ads if you will. Then the evil Google decided it didn’t like the ads I was running because they had little to do with the main topics of this site, took away my page rank (remember that?), and… well, so much for that. They’d taken away my ability to earn money from Adsense before that, so making $600 a month was outstandingly fun.

Beyond that… Next month I’ll have been blogging here for 10 years, and in February I’ll have been blogging in general for 13 years. I’ve written over 5,000 blog posts for myself and others, and I’ve read tons of other blog posts and left tons of comments (understanding of course that there’s no weight in writing so the use of “tons” is an incorrect synonym; I did say stream of unconsciousness, right?) over all these years. Thus, I’m as qualified as anyone else to give my thoughts on this grand topic.

Let’s start with this: in general terms, blogging is bigger than ever before. In 2011 it was estimated that there were between 150 and 173 million blogs. A company called Mediakix has estimated that as of 2017 there are 440 million blogs; not too shabby if you ask me.

However… not all of those blogs are “individual”; that is, not everyone is blogging in their own space. Lots of blogs are on sites like WordPress.com, Tumblr, and Blogspot. Some people use Huffington Post and Medium for blogging. There are a few people who use Facebook and LinkedIn as their blogs as well. Still, that’s a lot of people sharing “something” with the world… not including those who have given up blogging but haven’t shut down their blogs.

So, there are a lot of blogs; are there a lot of “actual” blog posts? That depends on who’s counting.

Back in the day, a blog post could be as short as 100 words or as long as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is tall. The world was told that almost no one would read a long blog post, so few people tried writing them. It might have been true at the time; the first post I wrote that was more than 1,000 words was 9 months later, when I was ranting about a collection agency I was having problems with. It only got a couple of comments, none from anyone I knew already; so it’s possible that long posts were hated back in the day.


Back then, all search engines cared about was seeing something new on a consistent basis. I tell anyone who’ll listen that this blog used to be in the top 100,000 websites in the world… yup, this blog! 🙂 I was also producing more than 300 blog posts a year… most of them between 400 and 700 words… and the most popular post I wrote was less than 200 words.

Now… the average length of blog posts is around 1,130 words… and that’s considered low sometimes. The search engines (okay, Google,, because other search engines seem to like me better) like long form content, and that’s the type of articles they’re going to send most people to if they’re looking for something. But even that’s not enough these days.

The big G expects that every post someone puts up is going to be “authoritative“. The problem with that is that I was the first to actually tackle the question as to what an authority blog was (check out that previous link). I just wrote that post in February; the world was doomed before that (okay, exaggerating…).

I’m not going to lie; some of those longer posts are actually pretty fantastic. I’ve written a few of these myself; I’m fairly proud of one titled 31 Big Mistakes People Make Blogging And In Social Media, which got tons of views and comments (I seem to be fixated on the word “tons” today). I also had to realize that I’m no Neil Patel, who writes monster posts all the time… and I’m good with that.

So… I could decry the state of blogging as more of a slog than a pleasure when compared to the old days, when all one had to do was produce content to gain the good graces of search engines. A lot of my old content is considered useless by today’s standards. Even though I’ve removed a few posts here and there, going through almost 1,800 posts over the course of almost 10 years is a bit overwhelming, especially since I have other things to do.

I’ve been told that some of that older stuff is what holds this blog back; maybe, maybe not. I’ve had to reconcile myself with the belief that I’m more of a “thought leader” (that’s what they call people who have opinions they want to share these days) than an educator… which means Google will never be inviting me to the party… even when I do write something that’s technically helpful.

That post by the way doesn’t show anywhere within the top 250 searches unless I add quotation marks, and then it shows on someone else’s Pinterest account; what’s that about? It also came in at 1,151 words; come on Google! BTW, as a point of comparison, I’m in the top 150 on Bing without quotation marks; with them I’m at #8.

local bloggers

Still, you know what I’m seeing? I’m seeing other people, a lot of other people, who are blogging for the sake of blogging, the fun of blogging, the sharing of blogging. For instance, there’s Karen Tashkovski, a local (for me) blogger who shows off her sense of style and reviews art presentations around the city; not many words but I like the look of her blog. There’s another buddy of mine named Chris Malone, who puts his own personal spin on local stories and has this weird obsession with apple fritters (which I’ve never had lol). One other local blogger named Ben Ingber writes mainly about technology and sci-fi entertainment, and his opinions on these things are as valid as anyone’s. None of them are highlighted on Google anywhere unless you look their names up specifically, yet each of them still enjoys the process of creating when it comes to blogging; good for them! 😉

I wanted to see what a few other people were saying about the state of blogging these days… just to see if I was alone in my thoughts. Let’s start with Casey Marley, who wrote a post on a blog called The state of blogging in 2017 where she says:

To me, blogging isn’t dead. It’s a communications method that, if you’ve noticed in the past 10 years, is rapidly replacing print. Just like the way we use Facebook and Instagram has changed since 2007, so is the way we should look at blogging.

Next we have Grace Bonney, who wrote a post on a site called Design Sponge who wrote an article titled State of the Blog Union 2017: How The Online World Has Changed where she says:

Larger network-style blogs tend to be, at least currently, operating under the idea that providing the widest range of content to the widest range of people is the best idea. I have my own theories about how this is poor advice from venture capitalists who just want to see the most “key demographics” covered as possible, but what it sometimes leads to is a site that feels disconnected and confused. Strong core voices can get lost among aggregated content (usually pulled in from sites that are also in the brand’s network), but in general this “more is more” mentality seems to be ruling that niche of blogs.

You know what? That’s pretty much it, because every other article I found on the state of blogging in 2017 was more of a tutorial than an exposition… and most of them said the exact same thing! That’s the main thing that’s missing these days: personality, and having a real reason to read other people’s blogs.

I like learning new things as much as the next person. I also like seeing what people have to say about this or that. I’m the guy who went against the grain in saying that sometimes commenting only on blogs in your niche might not work.

I don’t only want to read blogs about blogging or writing. I don’t only want to read blogs on leadership. I want to read about many things, learn about many things, have fun with many things… and hope that I’m not alone on this venture.

I guess I’ll find out how many other people agree with me on this point. I know Google won’t be sharing it, so I’ll do it myself and hope that others see it, think about it, share it, comment on it, and then go off and do what they do. Go ahead; be more like Holly! 😉
 

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18 comments on “The State Of Blogging – A Stream Of Unconsciousness

  • There are many ways to blog. I’ve been blogging since 2010 and I have primarily blogged for my flooring business. I have been writing long epic posts before they called them that (since 2011 for me). I did that so that I could fully explain the answers to my customer’s questions. As it turned out, they ranked well,and then I started doing more of them that way. I think it was around 2013 where they started to really write about how important it was.

    I would have people tell me they liked shorter blog posts, but that didn’t seem to be consistent w/ what my customers were telling me…the ones that called me and scheduled appointments.

    Things have changed a lot over the years and now everyone is monetizing or trying to. I feel like I’ve been way behind on that one not even realizing it was possible. But, at least I am up to around $2,000/month on my flooring blog.

    But, all that aside, it depends what your goals are (and that may even shift over time).
    Rich Witt recently posted…7 Things that may surprise you when you inherit a houseMy Profile

    Reply
    • I think by the time you got into the game there was a bit more long form content Rich. Back when I started, it just had to be any kind of content for one to stay ahead of the game. You did it the right way because of the way you were explaining things; I occasionally got into that later on but in the early days I was more concerned with output on as close to a daily pace as I could.

      Reply
  • Hi Mitch, I do try to read a variety of blogs and comments on different ones. I have a few favorites likes yours but I do like reading new ones and learning different things.
    I just read something recently that you should not get rid of old posts, better to update them. Something I must work on soon. A year end project for sure. I had gotten rid of some a year ago when I redid my site with a new theme.
    SEO and social media changes so quickly now!
    Lisa Sicard recently posted…How to Create an Appealing Facebook Live Video TodayMy Profile

    Reply
    • Lisa, the reason I got rid of some older posts is that there’s no way to update them. For instance, it made no sense keeping a post talking about WordPress. 2.7 when we’re up to 4.8.3 lol I also had a bunch of other posts that weren’t related to anything… just posts where I liked something and wanted to write about it… talk about streams of unconsciousness lol

      Reply
  • Rasheed Hooda says:

    Dude! You never had an apple fritter? What a waste of 60 years. Lol

    I have always enjoyed your writing. I like your style, and I like your “thought leadership.”

    I don’t read everything you write, even on this blog, but my intuition drags me on to the ones I’d like, and the ones I’d comment on.

    Reply
    • Thanks Rasheed. You don’t have to read everything I put out; heck, I think I miss at least 25% of people I follow regularly, some of those 50%. I do check in though, and I have lots of interests which makes it worthwhile.

      As for the apple fritter… what can I say? lol

      Reply
  • Hey Mitch, I’m sure that the amount of blogs out there has grown, but I’m not sure that they’ve grown in quality. If anything, the reverse is true.

    As you would probably remember there was a time when I was everywhere in the blogging world leaving a trail of comments wherever I went. That drummed up a lot of traffic but most of it was just the bloggers returning the favour or trying for their portion of link juice. Not much in the way of generating revenue at all!

    That being the case I decided it wasn’t worth the effort. Your’s is one of the few blogs I comment on, unless I see something interesting in the Commentluv link left by some commenter.
    Peter recently posted…Affordable Wedding DressesMy Profile

    Reply
    • I appreciate that greatly Peter… even if we share posts we like a lot with each other. lol I still find commenting works pretty well for driving traffic. If anything, I’d probably counter my main piece of advice in the article and say that you should find at least a couple of niche related blogs to comment on and hope to drive some of those folks your way… although I’m also thinking that at least one of your niches probably doesn’t have many people blogging about it. 🙂

      Reply
  • I’m a professional writer; god save us from becomming professional bloggers. Rich Witt seems to have hit the right mix; he’s got a flooring business, blogs about flooring, and makes money.

    I really don’t care what Google thinks of my content; until they pay me $150K/year to write for them, they’re not the boss of me. Seriously. And if you think about it, I’m not sure they really want to be. I believe they are trying to programmatically weed out spam and worthless content, but their algorithms still need work.

    Okay, maybe they’re just evil. Maybe I’ll earn that last $4.93 cents, or whatever, in the next 237 months, and they’ll finally have to cut me a check. Or they’ll just raise the minimum payout again.

    You know, people are still blogging about Pagerank? Still offering their services, “guaranteed” to increase your Pagerank? Pagerank had been dead (or mostly dead) for months before you clued me in that I was playfully chasing a metric that was going nowhere fast. Now we have Alexa, still pretending to matter, owned by a company that calls their voice assistant Alexa so as to confuse everyone. “Alexa, tell me how I can rank better than you. I mean…with you. Whatever. Send me a chocolate cake via Prime Now.”

    440 million blogs? I’m surprised that number hasn’t swelled to exceed the number of living, literate adults and teens on the planet, yet. How many blogs do I have? How many more have I started and forgotten? More important than the sheer number of blogs out there is, “Just how many blogs can any one human READ in a lifetime? And why would anyone read MINE?”

    Oversharing isn’t just for “TMI” anymore – it’s simply a glut of noise. Even if it’s mildly interesting, somewhat entertaining noise, it’s still competing with all the other noise out there, all 440 million keyboard-clattering, desperately clamoring blogs, many of which start out promising and end up being the writerly equivalent of “Hello, World,” only to be abandoned when the writer discovers that other skills are called for – like, ew, Marketing.

    I’m still determined to dominate the no-niche niche. It’s going brilliantly. I do have a lot of competition, it seems, from India. They write a lot of short stories there – it’s not all business or what they had for breakfast or schlepping the latest apps from iTunes. They have a LOT of aspiring writers and poets. This is the crowd I’m hanging out with, lately, and loving it. My Tribe, if you will.

    How long should a blog post be? I’ll give you the same answer I’ve been giving since the 1990s: As long as it needs to be – no more, no less.

    I only hate long posts when they’re a slog to read. Search engines aren’t readers. Search engines are a tool, in every sense of the word, and only important to help real readers FIND you.

    Oh, we’re back to “authoritative,” now, are we? Shall I turn THIS reply into a blog post, now? Good thing my blog is a personal blog; I guess I’m an authority on me, and on what I think or feel about everything else.

    Does that make me the second? I’m not gonna lie, Mitch – I trust you completely, but every time you write “I’m not going to lie” I wonder if I’m tetched in the head and ought to have been questioning your veracity in every other instance.

    Longer posts… I’ve been writing long-form comments since before you were born–okay, maybe not that long (I was hanging out in that Facebook group, “I was on the Internet before you were borh” this morning, and it’s made me feel curmudgeonly), but it sure feels like it. Posts? I once wrote on that was nearly 8000 words, and that was just a thank-you post.

    I’m not going to lie; some of those longer posts are actually pretty fantastic. I’ve written a few of these myself; I’m fairly proud of one titled 31 Big Mistakes People Make Blogging And In Social Media, which got tons of views and comments (I seem to be fixated on the word “tons” today). I also had to realize that I’m no Neil Patel, who writes monster posts all the time… and I’m good with that.

    You can have the best of both worlds when it comes to recycling evergreen content vs. starting with a fresh slate. Do what I did: start a whole new blog, but cross-link extensively. Keep the old content around for the search engines to love, but put up some prominent links to the new stuff and hope they’ll follow you like rats and children follow the Pied Piper.

    We can decry the state of blogging or extol its virtues; apparently, the Internet zeitgeist is calling for a good decry – so I’ll pass the tissues and mull a rebuttal. Or some whine. I mean, wine. A good rebuttal in the fall calls for a good mulled wine.

    Please never forget that you do have other things to do. Blogging is fun, maybe it’s even lucrative for some people, some of the time, but it is not life. You only get ONE of those. Don’t let the blog be the gambler’s equivalent of one more hand of poker or one more spin of the roulette wheel. Go for a walk. Hang out with mom and the most wonderful wife in the world, and watch a good Disney flick.

    I hope you’re right about the return of blogging for the fun and sharing. I’ve been combatting my TBB (Total Blogging Burnout) with a deliberate effort to rebuild a sense of community with like-minded bloggers who aren’t JUST commenting for a @#$% backlink. (They’re welcome to drop a link if they also leave a comment that shows they read something I wrote – as opposed to their bot reading it and barfing up a MadLibs version of a comment with a few relevant keywords.)

    Good Lord, Mitch – I’m as stunned as Rasheed. You’ve never tried an apple fritter? You LIVE in the BIG APPLE, FFS. Try an apple fritter. Or don’t – it can’t possibly be good for you. Oh, but you’ll die happy…

    You write, of a local blogger, “his opinion on these things is as valid as anyone’s.” Well…duh. What makes for a good blog really isn’t anyone’s authority, when it comes right down to brass tacks, Mitch, and you know it. Hello…Breitbart? (Yeah, forget about the word “good” for a second; let’s talk “entertaining” or “appealing to a particular audience.”) You write with one finger on the pulse of your audience, and you’ll be a successful blogger. Even if you build a blog that basically calls them all sheep, because they’ll be convinced you mean “those other sheep.”

    “That’s pretty much it, because every other article I found on the state of blogging in 2017 was more of a tutorial than an exposition… and most of them said the exact same thing!” Is that you, throwing down the gauntlet? I get it. This is something that’s been missing from blogging since, oh – what, 2010? This concept of riffing off other bloggers. Like, we have to be careful to parrot them, pointedly ignore then, or vague-blog our disagreements with them. There’s no more back and forth tennis match of blogging. No more sending the audience here and there, asking them to cheer for one team or the other (what’s left of it is just nastiness, for the most part – I’m talking more of a witty repartee). Fine. I’ve now written more on this one comment than I have on my entire 2017 Misbegotten NaNoNovel, so maybe I’ll take you on. Or take you up on that, I mean. En garde!

    PERSONALITY??

    Heheheh…don’t feed mine after midnight.

    You don’t just want to read about writing and leadership? For years, those “authoritative bloggers” have been telling us “stick to your niche or risk social death!!” I have been saying, “Nanny nanny boo boo” for about the same length of time. I hope people who read my blog like, or can at least tolerate, a little variety. Because if I have to stay on topic, I’ll run out of things to wrie and bore MYSELF to sleep. They tell us writers to “write what you know.” Good advice, SORT OF. I’d urge writers: “Write FROM what you know. Dig deep into the well, draw from it, but make lemonade or soda or tea – water’s good and life-giving, but deadly dull if that’s all you’ll ever get to drink, ever again.”

    “Go ahead; be more like Holly! ??” Heh. Don’t mind if I do. Thanks for setting me up to be “the good kid,” Mitch. I may be an only child, but I know the pitfalls inherent in this dubious honor! 😀 Like, now everyone’s going to expect me to write blog posts in their comments sections!
    Holly Jahangiri recently posted…Reasons NOT to Start Bullet JournalingMy Profile

    Reply
    • This is one of the best comments I’ve ever seen… heck, it’s the best outright… no lie! lol BTW, “which” midnight should we not be feeding you after? 🙂

      I’m going to do a “you” and comment on most of your paragraphs, just to show I actually read it all (of course I did!)

      When it seemed like we could actually make pretty good money from Google I enjoyed playing that game. The thing is, the decrease in payment didn’t happen gradually; it dropped in one month and that was that. I was able to work my way back up to around $150 a month and now even that’s dwindled to possibly making it once every 2 months… almost all from the same website. Personally, I like the idea of writing whatever and however I feel because at least DuckDuckGo loves me and Bing likes me a little bit.

      You threw me a bit here; I didn’t know Amazon owned Alexa… I mean both Alexa’s. What’s the point of that, since Bezos isn’t necessarily a tech guy? Pagerank; pffht!

      The thing about chasing and competing with other bloggers is that, for the longest time, I was winning that game… at least this blog was. I can compare the number of comments to the last year’s post with the number I was getting back in the day (before there was Google Analytics) and I was crushing it. These days the thing I crush is the amount of spam and fake comments… how come none of those folks ever think to try writing a non-generic comment that might make sense on at least a few blogs instead of trying stoke the egos of those bloggers who don’t know better? By the way, if the big G is killing me here in the good ol’ U.S. then why is this blog doing so well in India? Do they have their own search engine that supersedes G there and makes me feel a lot more love?

      I need to just write more, and I certainly have enough blogs to put things on that don’t fit here or any of my other more niched blogs. Lately I’ve worried that most of what I want to write about are the adventures with Mom… but I also don’t want to invade her privacy to that degree, even though she’ll never read it, no one who knows her will ever read it, and nothing I say is going to surprise anyone who does read it. Writing’s supposed to be good for the soul, getting it out of your head so you can concentrate on other things. I certainly could use a lot more of that these days; we’ll see if I take myself up on the challenge.

      “I’m not gonna lie”; I’m surprised it’s not a southernism you haven’t picked up as long as you’ve been living in Texas. Sometimes I fall back into that vernacular, which is why you and I had those intriguing discussions regarding those sites and programs that decipher grammar. They’d either have a field day with me of faint from the effort. lol

      Let’s talk food for a moment. I didn’t even know apple fritters existed until I read Chris’ blog. I may live in the land of apple but not only have I “not” seen everything, I have an unusual disregard for things with hidden stuff in them… or partially hidden stuff in them. I don’t eat muffins or danish… yuck! I’m really not sure what a fritter is since I’ve never seen one live, if you will. At least I don’t know if I have; maybe it’s been next to cake or cupcakes… which will have more importance in my life. 😀

      That’s all I’ve got for now; I’m hungry and thinking about food… particularly pizza! lol I’m always glad to include you in something that others could relate to and you never let me down. 🙂

      Reply
      • Rasheed Hooda says:

        Mitch,

        Just go down to a donut shop, and ask for an apple fritter. Too bad y’all don’t have Shipley’s up there. Dunk in Donuts doesn’t make the best apple fritters.

      • Dude, unlike down south, we don’t have a lot of donut shops in the area. We have lots of soft serve places, which they didn’t have in Memphis so I’m thinking y’all don’t have them either. We have bakeries that makes all sorts of things, but donuts are secondary.

  • Why, thank you, Mitch! They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery; I cannot disagree, if it means you writing long-form comments back to me!

    Good question as to “which midnight.” Probably the one in which I reside, though to be on the safe side, perhaps we should go with GMT?

    I don’t see how the search engines, any of them, can NOT love you and me. We give them so many lovely words, expressing authoritative ideas – not tepid, bland, colorless regurgitations of others’ ideas. Phooey to Google if it doesn’t love us!

    As for Amazon and Alexa, I’m not sure what their strategy is, there. They bought Alexa Internet (which used to also be a search engine, and apparently was the backbone of the Wayback Machine, way back when). en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon_Alexa and en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexa_Internet give a few clues.

    Oho! “The thing about chasing and competing with other bloggers is that, for the longest time, I was winning that game”!? Therein lies the answer – you enjoy winning. I think I enjoy the pursuit. For some reason, each time I’d get on the graph with Alexa, that’s when I’d kill my blog. Caring less, these days, I think is leading back to better writing. Not necessarily more popular writing. That said, I also enjoyed being the “queen of comments,” not only in the sheer numbers of them, but in the length and, I hope, quality of them.

    I think that the bloggers of India, like bloggers in the Philippines, have always understood the importance of community online. And they like your blog because you’re real, you give good advice and info, and you respond to their comments. Perhaps you check out their blogs, too.

    When it comes to writing about your mom, the only thing I’d urge you to do is be honest, be loving, and be fair. Honesty will help those who are living in the same boat. Loving will reassure those who are boarding your mom’s boat. And, together with loving, fair will let YOU sleep at night. I’ve always told my kids that their story is theirs; mine is mine. We’d never describe our memories in exactly the same way, and that’s okay. That’s what it is to be human. All I ask is that they play fair.

    Writing is therapeutic, so don’t hold yourself back by worrying what anyone will think. I know you’d never deliberately hurt your mom or anyone else that you love. They might feel embarrassed (e.g., by the photo of the “hat”) but there’s nothing mean-spirited there, and the rest of us see a loving son who needs a community of people he can share with and laugh with. Your mom would understand that – or would have, at some point. It’s okay, and I think you know how to walk the tightrope between honest and invasive.

    Oh, I’ve heard “I’m not gonna lie” – it’s just a variant of “to be really honest,” as if there are degrees of honesty. I read, years ago, that using the phrase immediately calls your credibility into question all the times you DIDN’T preface your words that way. It makes sense, psychologically, so I have worked on not saying that, as well as reducing the use of my personal favorite “crutch word,” “actually.”

    I try never to let you down! You might have to smack me with the proverbial 2×4 to get my attention, sometimes, but I always enjoy our conversations!
    Holly Jahangiri recently posted…The Road to Hell ( #NaNoWriMo2017 )My Profile

    Reply
    • First, I’m wondering how many people who might read this understand the midnight reference lol

      I still love the Wayback Machine, as it’s helped as recently as a couple of weeks ago when I was trying to track something down. It’s amazing how many things are owned by so few these days; whatever happened to the word “monopoly”?

      I do enjoy winning, although these days I just want to be a part of the game. When this blog was still relatively new, I felt more like an influencer because it was highly ranked. Now I feel like the former athlete who isn’t in the Hall of Fame talking about my few great days as a player… no one wants to hear it except my grandkids… but I don’t have any grandkids so no one wants to hear it at all. lol

      With that said, I’m still writing because I want to. I’d actually like to figure out a big part of the “making money online” thing so I didn’t have to work so hard trying to find business in my chosen field… because it’s hard getting that lot to even talk to me. I’ve been told by many that I can’t make any money without an email list… I can’t imagine what to do with an email list when I don’t have a targeted product to entice them with. Luckily, because I feel I have things to say, even if the masses aren’t listening, I keep on writing while living in my own mind of privilege… since that’s the only place where I actually have any privilege.

      Enough of that. By now, if our conversation hasn’t encouraged more people to visit your blog, then we’re out of luck. The best we have is Rasheed working hard to get me to eat an apple fritter; how come I can’t get him to encourage me to eat more chocolate cake? 😀

      Reply
      • Rasheed Hooda says:

        Nobody should need encouragement to eat chocolate cake. Heck, I M not a big chocolate fan, and You can put a chocolate cake in front of me, and it’ll be gone in no time flat.

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