I spent some time over this weekend futzing with my blog; deleting dud sidebar links (R.I.P. AussieBlogs), adding some new ones, adding some links to my favourite picture posts etc. Tarting and fluffing, basically.
I also happened across a pretty cool set of blogging tips and links called 31 Days To Better Blogging, on a site called ProBlogger. It was an exercise whereby for the 31 days of August 2005 they posted links to tips about blogging written by a variety of bloggers. ProBlogger is primarily aimed at helping people who are interested in blogging as an income earner, something that I'm not into myself, but the majority of the tips are good general blogging tips useful for amatuers (like me) and professionals alike.
Afterwards I did some blog surfing at Globe of Blogs and enjoyed discovering some blogs from far away places. Quite a few of the blogs seemed to have been started and then abandoned after less than 6 months of blogging, something which seemed surprisingly common.
All this got me to thinking about blogging; why people do it, why I do it, why some people seem to be so good at it (and why others, well, frankly aren't), and why some people take a stab at it and then disappear without warning.
The easy questions to answer are the ones about myself. I started blogging pretty much on a whim, and after spending a while haunting the comments of some favourite reads like Freakgirl and Lots of Co. Years before that I used to read some classic 'journal' websites, most of which are now long gone, and I became fascinated by the glimpse into these people's daily lives. Long story short, I thought Why not? Maybe it's fun?
Well, it is. I can see why some people start and then pack it in though. I nearly did about 5 months or so in, when it seemed like I was talking to myself only for a while there. I added a hit counter and discovered that surprisingly I was getting some hits after all. One or two people left me a comment, and then once this became a little bit more interactive my enthusiasm really took off. I think comments are probably one of the reasons that blogs have taken off so much in the past year. It becomes less of an excercise in onanism and more about communication. It's a double edged sword though. I've written some entries that I think are great and they garner no comments at all, and then some entries I think are pretty ordinary and the comments go up to double digits. You just can't estimate what will appeal to readers, and I'm glad I don't try. I would hate to get that self-conscious.
Once picture posting became easier my enthusiasm for this took off even further. I really enjoy picture posts on other people's blogs, it's fun to see these little slices of their world, and I love putting my own pics up.
I have gotten so much more from this blog than I ever anticipated. I've made some very cool new friends, both cyber and now 'real world' (so to speak). Through the medium of the comments I feel a connection with people from all over the world. You guys make me laugh, sometimes make me sad, and frequently make my day. I have a fun outlet for self expression, and something that sometimes brings a bit of mindfulness to my day, a bit of reflection. This has also made me take a stab at improving my photos, and given me an outlet to share the ones I like.
So thank you all, for stopping by and for dropping me a comment every now and then. Those of you who have your own blogs, what is it that keeps you coming back to the keyboard?