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Monday, 8 August 2011

I would do anything for blogs, but I won't do that*


I thought I'd write a really tedious post about blogging. Are you okay with that? I had a conversation about blogs the other week with Driftwood, and this week I read Sue's post about online decluttering and a brilliant one by Eleanor, talking about how blogging has changed, and how money is increasingly involved. There's an increasing concentration in Blogland on how high your blog ranks, how influential you are. It seemed a good time to outline my own little blogging manifesto.

I know you don't really care. But as Ali has pointed out, no-one is around anyway, it being summer and you all having better things to do than sit in darkened rooms hunched over a screen. (Though it looks like I don't.) Anyway!

1) If you leave a comment, and Blogger gives me your email address, I'll email you back. Blogging wisdom says this is a big no-no. Blog popularity charts and PR people look for high engagement, which means everyone chatting animatedly in the comment box. Now I love comments - who doesn't? - and as you came over to my blog to find me, it seems only polite that I come and find you in return. (If Blogger gives me no email address I respond in the comment box, but I do wonder - does anyone ever come back to check?) A lot of my favourite bloggers do it this way, and I don't actually mind if that means my blog doesn't rank quite so highly. Some of my best blog friendships have been forged in my email account.

2) Being a popular person on Twitter also means A Great Deal to rankings. When I try to give out my email and blog url to people at blogging events, people look at me as if I've tried to hand them a Victorian calling card. "But who are you on Twitter?" they ask. Follow me by all means - the link is in the sidebar - but you won't find me constantly updating.

I read a very interesting thing online the other day, lamenting that people were throwing out all their best work in snippets on Twitter when really you wanted them to sit down and write a lovely blog post. I agreed so hard that I clicked away and read blogs and lost the link.

(I do find myself strangely drawn to Pinterest. The things linked to on Pinterest are fascinating, and you can make snarky comments. (This is my absolute favourite board.))

3) I don't mind the odd review on a blog if it's done well. We've established above that I do little to boost my attractiveness to PR people - I turn down most PR approaches. But I reserve my right to say yes to something I do fancy, and I'll always be honest about it. I've got the opportunity to sign up with an ad agency at the moment, but I'm letting it pass because I don't know if I'd be allowed to turn down ads with highly photoshopped women looking flawless on them. I've got a big bee in my bonnet about advertising images and their unrealistic portrayals of women. I'm bringing up daughters over here.

The important thing to me is choice - I choose very carefully, because this is something I do for enjoyment. And though it's my blog and I could just do as I like, it's also important to respect you.

What do you think? Feel free to chat animatedly in my comment box about this. Or you could go read Eleanor's post, which I linked to above, which is fantastic and probably a much better use of your time.

38 comments:

  1. I adore pinterest! Lovely post Coffee Lady, if I was looking for blog popularity I'd have hung up my hat years ago (6 years blogging and only 26 followers is, apparently, less than stellar) but I love it. And I love the people I have met and the circles I have access to from home. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  2. Although not exclusively, most of my favourite bloggers are not on Twitter, or, like you, only update intermittently. I think that its true that there is a lot "lost" n the micro-blogging that twitter provides.

    oh and I love pinterest. I am addicted. But oh well...there are many worse things on the internet I could be addicted to.

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  3. OMG that Pinterest of Kim's is so funny, how did I not know about it until now?

    I'm still desperately missing your snarky remarks in Lushy's commentboxes. It's just not the same blogland any more.

    P.S. I may not always comment, but I'm always here.

    P.P.S. But not in a creepy way. In a friendly way.

    E x

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  4. A number of my favourite bloggers are discussing this interesting thread this summer. There is no doubt that the community of bloggers that started 3-4 years ago has evolved, become larger and not so tight knit. I don't see that as a bad thing because a small tight knit group could be an exclusive and excluding clique. In a number of cases - including Eleanor and Mary - the confidence that has been gained as a result of blogging has led onto other projects which have taken priority. There is also the issue that as a blog gets better known and has more readers the writer has to make choices about responding to readers or writing the blog that they read. I hate having to make this choice and try very, very hard to maintain a correspodence with readers but fail frequently.

    I think that there are two types of blogger - those who love the images (and Pinterest) and those who love the words (and Twitter). I love Twitter which I find a fascinating writing medium quite different to blogging. I have no interest in Pinterest. There may be people who are active on all social media platforms but the rest of us make choices.

    And now, having spent half of my precious lunch break on this comment, I will go and eat my sandwich.

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  5. I am not even going to look at Pinterest, or I will never get away from my computer.

    Great blog post, I wholeheartedly agree. I had ads on my blog for a while but I didn't like the clutter and tbh, they didn't make me more that 3p a month.

    As to reviews - I like them but only occassionally. If a blog is full of reviews, it can give the impression that the blogger is in it for the money rather than the fun of blogging.

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  6. My comment is on commenting which can be a little of a red herring.

    Sometimes a post is so moving or insightful or deep...that anything you might add seems trite or inappropriate. Maybe we should have a 'Read With Great Interest' button instead of a 'Like' button as the standard? It is hard to press 'Like' when you have just read a post about a woman having fantasies about giving her child up or someone in deep depression.

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  7. My blog is so random and sporadic that I will NEVER have to worry about being courted by advertisers. WHEW. What began as an exercise in self-soothing has become a route to many beauty-full friendships - and staying connected to those friends really is the only reason I still occasionally blog.

    On the other hand, if I were to magically discover something that would make me marketable, then who knows...

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  8. These days, I find I cannot be bothered with blog rankings and engagement. I'd much rather chat to my favourite folks as an email conversation after a comment.

    Pinterest I love. Even if it does make me a bit wanty. As an interesting side note, one of my photos got picked up by a lady who is big on Pinterest and her pin netted me 1,888 visits in a SINGLE DAY. Now ask me how many comments that traffic generated. One. Pinterest - fun to look at, a great filing system, but it doesn't help me engage.

    I'm not keen on twitter - everyone trying to be wittier than everyone else with the funniest one liner. Feels like one big in-joke that I'm not in on.

    But that's just me. To each his own.

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  9. I don't have a blog but I do read quite a few and in my view, since it is your space it is up to you to do what you want.

    Twitter, I haven't joined and doubt if I will and Pinterest doesn't pinterest me at all. (see what I did there?)

    Now I shall have to click on the links you've given and will probably end up following even more blogs.

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  10. Oh, the Pinterest and the wantyness.
    Not so fun...tho I do love Pinterest.

    I feel as you do re my blog and was very uncomfortable last year at BlogHer (a company I work for!) with all the talk of monetising and stats.
    There were hundreds of women blogging as business and I remember one particular lunch at which Poppy and I felt like antiques.
    "We write personal blogs," we said and no one could imagine what good could possibly come of THAT.

    ...and so much good has come of just that.

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  11. HerMelness - I don't think I even have a 'like' button. Oh dear.

    Toffeeapple - I like what you did there. Very good indeed.

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  12. As usual you've stated my opinion better than I could have done so myself - are you actually living inside my head? Should I be concerned?

    I'm doing it all wrong too, apparently. I very, very rarely go back to look at comment boxes and quite honestly, I don't often leave comments on blogs where that's the norm - I look at a lot of blogsand only my very favourites would merit a rereading of any single post!

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  13. This was very interesting, thank you. I was relieved to hear that it's generally quiet over the summer- we hardly have a huge following at the best of times, but it was feeling very empty! As a relative newbie to blogging, I find these discussions very educational. I'm on both pinterest and twitter, but I'm there pretty sporadically, partly because there just isn't enough time in the day, and partly because I have an old-school mobile and am not that frequently near my laptop! Laura x

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  14. blogging - the more I think about it, the less clear it becomes.....

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  15. I thought it would be fun to have a blog as a place for all the random things I tend to write in my head anyway, but my goodness! Apparently to do it correctly it must become like a J.O.B. and I already have one of those! Admittedly I have issues with sitting still so between the writing, reading and commenting, to then add tweeting, Pinterest, Facebook, etc. I'd go mad. The fun surprise, though, has been how regular readers become delightful new "friends"!

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  16. I had a bit of a moment today when I was going to blog and I thought "what's the point". It just feels so indulgent, as if anyone gives a rat's arse (which is just how it should be). I feel quite sad about that because it has been an interesting hobby.

    As for Twitter, well that's a massive time suck. I would just like to use my time differently. Plus, despite having 1'700 followers I usually only ever chat to about three people on there.

    Blogging, particularly parental blogs, does seem increasingly like it's all about what you can wangle for free. And most of it's tat. Was amused recently by someone pouting about not being invited to a kids's festival. Jeez - what did people do before blogs? Pay for stuff themselves? Perish the thought.

    *waits patiently for lovely email in inbox*

    PS. Am not really as grumpy as I sound today!

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  17. Very thought provoking post. And very thought provoking comments. Popularity, followers, commenters, monetising, freebies, tweeting, pinning -I don't know, I just like composing a pleasing (to me) post and receiving some sort of feedback.

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  18. I'm Crayon - yes! Who needs another job!? The friendships are, for me, one of the truly lovely things.

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  19. This made me chuckle! I seem to have unwittingly dropped out of blogland this summer - not planned, but am enjoying a break from my blog. I couldn't care less about statistics and ratings, and twitter and facebook for that matter, it's all to unreal. I do enjoy getting comments - and Ive made some lovely real-time and virtual friends from my blog. I try to reply via email to comments, but sometimes run out of steam...and time...or am just slack! Never go back and re-visit a comment box, so just don't get that whole thing of a dialogue in the comment box. But maybe that's just me. And reviewing stuff and pr things...no thanks, leave me out. I'll shut up now! It's so interesting reading what other people think!! Thanks for a provocative post!

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  20. I have written my blog for a long time and still, truly, have no idea about stats etc. Eleanor's post had already struck a chord and now yours does too.

    I love the conversations we have in the blogging world and also on FB - Twitter is waaaaay too fast for me - and I do love pinterest.

    A friend just addressed the crowd at Blogher and was filmed for an Australian news show. I know her well and know she was speaking truthfully when she said she had no desire to pimp out her blog with advertising. Having said that she has been sponsored for various things and is completely transparent about it.

    My world would be an emptier place without blogging and my blogging friends.

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  21. A very interesting read.
    I agree that blogging styles have changed. I haven't really evolved with it, but I have changed in other ways in terms of frequency and content. I have made a small group of friends out of it and have actually met some of them and gone on to develop great friendships. I am the richer for that.
    I love all the gloss of pinterest but for something that was designed to develop community (or so it says), it doesn't really engage people with others.

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  22. We mute the ads on television or watch the ABC which is government funded and therefore ad-free. So there is no way I could ever justify having ads on my blog. (Besides which, mine is a family chronicle, a personal outlet and has a tiny readership!) I gave up on twitter because it felt too noisy for me, thoughts pinging out at me nonstop. Facebook is fun and is probably sucking rather more of my blog-energy than I'd ideally like. And I come back and check comments if I feel I've left a good one! But not if I've left a comment which is more along the lines of I was here reading your blog and enjoyed it while I was.

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  23. Smilie you are right about Pinterest - it doesn't build community as well as it could. I really only engage with people I know well from - guess what? - blogging!

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  24. Twitter? What's that then?

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  25. I stopped tweeting when I realised absolutely no-one was listening. There is only so much battering one ego can withstand. Also, the less popular my blog has become, the more I am enjoying writing it. These things are correlative (that's a word, right?) not causal.

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  26. oh dear I am new to blogging but am I really supposed to have a manifesto about my blog and "what it stands for"?! It's the inane ramblings of my head, a reminder for me to stop and enjoy the simple pleasures. Life is stressful enough without adding yet another popularity contest into the mix. As for Twitter.....couldn't understand half of it, I felt I was reading computer code half the time LOL

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  27. I decided very early on when I started writing my blog to amuse myself and if anyone else liked what I wrote then they were welcome to read and even comment which like you prefer to reply in an email.
    Fortunately I have always done my own thing and don’t have anything to promote or sell which makes blogging even easier.
    Twitter dare I say seems the perfect vehicle for shallowness. I get very cross when I hear reference to it on the news.
    I wax and wane on Pinterest….I think it’s a great place to deposit lovely images but very tiring to write about each image so now I just make the minimum mark, usually a . and again only pin for my own pleasure, mainly old pots and anything painted in Farrow and Ball….

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  28. Mmmm.
    Can't do twitter, do not understand it. Don't get it. No thanks.
    Haven't looked at Pinterest as I'm worried I'll get sucked in and even more time will be spent wasted while I am supposed to be emptying the dishwasher and engaging with Smalls.
    Facebook is a nono- if I wanted to still be in touch with people, I would be.
    Blogger- yes. Like it. It records some of the crazy stuff we (the Smalls) do and even though I am fairly sure very few people actually read it, many of the people who do read and comment are good friends and I wouldn't want it any other way.
    Thanks for this. Ax

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  29. My blog is a hobby and as such I find as much time for it as fits in around the rest of my life - I guess I'm lucky that it is a hobby, if it was more I'd probably feel the need to do more about it and I quite like that I can dip in and out of it

    That said I am having an internet detox - deleting a lot of things that I don't really need to do and clearing out - its quite refreshing

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  30. I just read Eleanor's post earlier and now yours.
    As you well know I don't have a blog yet read them (aprox 20) every day and I LOVE the fact that when I enter one of them, especially a few, I feel as if I were walking into a friend's home, sitting on their sofa and chatting.
    I know zero about stats, ads, twitter or Facebook ... they don't appeal to me. Pinterest does but it's quite dangerous, once you go in you don't know when you'll be out.
    Anyway, what I'm trying to tell you is please don't change.
    Grazie.

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  31. So well put. I never think to go back and check the comment boxes... who's got the time? If there is something to say I'd much rather email one to one. And Twitter... well, I'm there but not that you'd notice!

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  32. Lynda - you don't want to know. Really.

    Paola - aww. Thanks. I'll try not to change - and if turning up here and moaning counts as 'not changing' - you're on. You probably understand more about blogs than any of us.

    Bitsy Beans - believe me, you are not alone...!

    Megan - I think that's a really good point. Too many readers can make me feel a bit edgy - what are they here for? What do they want from me?

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  33. I have really enjoyed reading your blog entry. I'm with you on reviews too. Do it and be honest, not just for the freebie. Soem of my faovurite blogs have fallen into this trap and I don't enjoy visiting their blogs as much as I used too.

    Blogging for me started of as a hobby, to record my veg growing and cooking ventures. When I first started blogging about these, I hardly had any comments or followers. It was only after 6 months that I started getting both. My followers have increased without me canvassing for them. I note these days some bloggers offer giveaways, which you can onl win if you becomes a follower of their blog. I'm not keen on this way of increasing the status of your blog. I have always felt humbled that people followed my blog as their personal choice. My blog does not rank high anywhere either, I do it for myself as a hobby, but i have to admit I do get a kick now when people comment; and even when they join.

    I hardly use FB, and am not on twitter either. I am not saying 'never' I would if the right reason presents itself I may sign up, but that time has not come. But right now i am content with the blogging. Like I said its a hobby, if it evolves into more, I will think about it. But its certainly not a popularity contest or high ranking pursuit.

    Once again, a very refreshing read. Thank you.

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  34. I adore to debate in my comments section (though i don't always manage it) and i talk a lot of rubbish on twitter. However, my blog is fairly unpopular and has base jumped down the rankings since i started. I have to remind myself tat I do this as catharsis, for the love of writing. But it's difficult not to desire more readers, and more comments, and more offers of free stuff even though i don't do reviews. Gosh I'm a cake and eat it girl!

    M2M

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  35. I have similar thoughts to M2M in that I'm happy with my blogs(I have 2!) until those darned lists come out then for some unknown reason I become this demented soul yearning to be on them. Thankfully by the time I've worked out what I'd have to do in selling myself, the urge has passed and I go back to 'normal'. Great to find you BTW. It was via a tweet from M2M!

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  36. TBH this blogging stats stuff goes over my head a little. I think these lists/popularity contests whatever they are, are just imo rather unimportant in the scheme of things that really matter in life. I do understand how easy it can be to kind of get dragged along and get down if not a *list* or whatever, but I shall always maintain I have had some super experiences through blogging, infact has enabled me to meet you not once but twice :) I just think people should blog for their own reasons, I love the pr relationships I have, but it certainly is not the be all and end all, I don't bow to them at all, and like you, turn down many opportunities, but the pr/blogging relationship is a small area of my blogging that I enjoy. I don't like the idea that if one does reviews/works with prs you are selling out, if it is done passionately and genuinely then I am all for it, Good post love xx

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  37. I started my blog as a form of creative outlet and relaxation - and as a window to the outside world with a tiny baby. When I began I didn't fully understand the point. Why gaze at a hand-knitted sock? Why would you want to? At the time I was making next to no jewellery. Things have changed. In the last two weeks I have rather enjoyed being free of twitter, my blog and my inbox. Ratings baffle me. Twitter still baffles me. If I sit and follow it for more than ten minutes I feel exhausted. In reality these technologies can all have wonderful benefits, but the best result of any of it - my blog, twitter, anything, has been sitting in a cafe with you, in real life, chatting; my children building a sandcastle with another blogger's children; having Val round for pasta and meatballs tomorrow; sitting eating cake with Alice. The business side is all very well. The friendship side is the best thing though. It's worth a thousand opportunities to 'monetise'.

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  38. I sometimes get asked to review stuff but its usually totally unsuitable. The thing I hate most is people wanting to be a guest blogger. I mean...why?

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