Tuesday, October 04, 2005

What Is The Sound Of One Blogger Blogging?

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?


harry said...

Just one more hit.
Just one more.

I can stop any time I want...

The Other Andrew said...

So you're a Hit Whore... who knew?

Sunshine said...

Profuse voyeurism and uncontrollable verbosity. :)

Michael said...

Well, you're just the sweetest thing, aren't you? First calling me "crushtastic" and now this? You're gonna turn a boy's head, Andrew.

I find that my most effective blogging skill is to post pictures of hot men.

I really have come to enjoy the experience, although I was very self-conscious when you first barged in on my lil' exercise in onanism (loving you for using that word). I think I've learned a few things about myself, but more importantly, met some super keen folk from parts known and unknown. People I now consider friends. People I may just feel up in a playful moment.

Larry said...

I blog for the booty.

freakgirl said...

I blog because I need attention. :)

The Other Andrew said...

Michael, I always knew you were hella funny from the comments we both bounce all over together. When you started blogging though, you just ratcheted my estimation up a bunch of notches. If I could take your blog home and cuddle it, I would.

Freakgirl, I think we proved that you are attention worthy with your recent post that bought all those lurkers out of the darkness!

Larry, I love your blog... and I'm sure that a mighty fine booty it is too! :-)

Sunshine, how aptly named you are!

duane said...

It is really weird that you posted this, and I read this today, because I have been thinking about this recently. I am literally one step away from being obsessed with comments, and mostly, because I don't get that many. I do get my regulars (which I love), but I feel like I am not out there, which is the reason I started the blog. Sometimes I wonder if it is because I am not a "blogger" blogger (you know, of the blogspot fame), and sometimes I wonder if it is because I used my name, who knows! All I know is I have those thoughts of, "what does it take to get people to comment?" "what is it that people like?", etc. And, I read some people's blogs that are super popular, and wonder what makes them so special... some of them just aren't, and they get tons of hits/comments!?!?!

And I agree about great posts. There are some that I really put a lot of time into, and ones that I actually enjoy, and then nadda. Nothing. But, a picture of Jake Gyllenhaal, and the boards light up. (and why not... it is Jake GyllenhaaL!!!!!!!)

I guess I would be happier if I knew that people were really reading, which is why I have definitely been making more of an effort to comment insightfully myself. Thanks for the link, btw. You can always count on visits and comments from me!!!

The Other Andrew said...

Duane, I don't think I have actually dropped a comment on your site yet, but I do read requently! You're very sweet.

Commenting to me is one of the best things, and I also like to comment on other people's blogs. I think one of the happy offshoots of that is that it can increase your traffic somewhat. I've found quite few new blogs through commentors. It took quite a while for me to start getting comments, but once it starts I think it builds its own momentum. People come back to read the comments as much as they do your posts. Some sites, like Freakgirl's, have a really active comment community, so it becomes almost like a forum.

As to what posts encourage comments? Who knows? I think comments where I do a bit of soul baring often get more comments, where posts about local media don't. Good pictures often get comments. If you read the links on that ProBlogger site that I linked to you might get some ideas. Some of the ideas about encouraging return traffic were quite interesting and thought provoking. I just plod along doing whatever I like, and try not to get too self-conscious.

BTW as a fellow Jake fan - keep posting those pics my friend! :-)

wingedman said...

I know exactly what brings people to my blog: hot men. They can bitch all they want about my blog being mildly NSFW but they keep coming back anyway.

Also, a little bit of local gossip/titillation helps. A while ago I had quite an orgasmic post about this aerobics instructor I fancied in my gym.

OH man! I got hits and comments from complete strangers and someone ended up telling that guy and he read it. Mortification abounds.

Thanks for the links to the ProBlogger site...absolutely useful!

The Other Andrew said...

Wingedman, keep posting the hot guy pics! :-) Actually, eyecandy aside, I'm really enjoying your blog.

Glad you found the ProBlogger link useful.

duane said...

Andrew, I must say a big thank you... cause I feel renewed in my sense of blogging. Blog on blog brother, blog on!!! =o)

And there a new Jake on there for ya!