Thursday 13 - 13 things I've learnt as a 3-month old blogger
1. Blogging is hard hard work.... it requires effort and some level of commitment to keep at it. It takes up more time than what I initially thought it would...linking to posts, inserting pictures, writing meaningful posts. Blogger's help function isn't really very comprehensive and a google search isn't very helpful if you can't narrow down the focus. I stumbled and struggled a little to get started even though I grew up with computers and the internet.
2. Blogging is a two-way street. Participation in other blogs through commenting is important because it shows appreciation for other bloggers' opinions/posts. That said, I do comment only when I feel I can offer something of value that is relevant to the type of issues being discussed. Or sometimes, if the author explicitly asks visitors to say "hi" . I now spend half my "blogging time" reading other people's blogs, learning about what I like and what I don't and appreciating other bloggers' efforts to engage their audience. Respect begets respect, right?
3. That I dig the comments people leave me. Seriously. I've never been the attention-seeking sort but this fuels my narcissistic side somewhat. To think I wanted to disable the comment function...what was I thinking? Of course, people have been nice so far...
4. Succeeding as a blogger is like most things in life - it takes time and practice. I can only get better at it. If I keep at it.When I read about the demise of the world's oldest blogger, I knew that this shouldn't be an excuse..given life expectancy rates, I have a good 80 years to get better at this, right? Blogs are a work in progress. Always.
5. That I need to make the effort to be objective. Sure, it's my blog and I should be able to express my opinions. But I should also be mindful that there are others reading who may not agree with me because our social realities are different. Culture. Religion. Age. And a whole load of other things.
6. That after reading so many blogs, I want to be REAL and be able to relate to people's life in a meaningful way. I did put some thought into last week's post about 13 good things about the economic downturn but it could be better if I wrote it in a more personal way..it could have been a good dialogue for discussion especially since it is something that is affecting everybody. See #12.
7. That I should include relevant links in my posts. This can sometimes help readers understand your posts and add credibility to the issues you are addressing. This is something I'm doing right now in this post..:)
8. That it is not quantity but the quality. Blog readers have discerning tastes...afterall, there are many blogs to pick and choose from so they definitely expect content of a certain quality. To a certain extent, I think blogging is really about reinventing journalism. In the internet age, you don't need to be a good writer to blog. There are a lot of blogs that offer visual stimulation/inspiration like the photo memes I discovered this week - Ruby Tuesday, Mellow Yellow Monday, Scenic Sunday, Shadow Shot Sunday and Skywatch Friday. Interesting stuff that I intend to try out.
9. I should be more focused on my blog posts. I find it confusing when some bloggers cover many things in one post...sometimes I get so lost, I give up reading altogether. My intent is not to be a prolific blogger but to be a proficient one. Does this make sense?
10. That I still don't understand a lot of things that are associated with the blogosphere...Twitter (I really don't get this phenomenon, am I missing out?), Technorati (this is supposed to help my blog get noticed and searched but is it necessary?), Trackback (how does this work?). Honestly, I still don't know how to link a direct URL within a comment box.
11. That there are a lot of blog tools available for FREE. But what are the tools I really need? I don't want to focus on all the bells and whistles and create a beautiful blog with no real content. So at this time, I'm still trying to fine-tune and narrow the scope of what my blog should be about.
12. It is important to be yourself. I realized that the blogs I gravitate to are not those who write in the impersonal, third person voice but those who are excited, engaged and sometimes enraged about things in life...because that's life..Some of these bloggers are people like Aimee McEwen whose blog is really a reflection of her fun, artistic side (I can feel her excitement as I read her posts and her original artwork is amazing), Kirsty Wiseman, who is able to describe her daily living and artistic pursuits with wry Brit humour (she's really funny and she writes very well), Nic Howard, who blogs about everday living and scrapbooking in New Zealand (her layouts are true to life and she's funny too). And through Thursday 13, I've discovered Anthony North who writes about everything with "an offbeat style" while retaining "a high level of rationality" (his own words) - his writing is profound and I haven't left a comment because I honestly don't know what I can add! And also, I did like Rian Fike's piece on squids - I find his blog fascinating and in his own words "completely controlled by chaotic creativity". That said, I am still defining who I am and trying to find my own voice in the blogosphere. When I first started, it was just about having a channel to take part in creative challenges, now it has evolved and I want it to encompass my other interests as well.
13. That I've made some "mistakes". (a) Like not responding to comments. Because behind every comment is a real person, with opinions and feelings. If someone took time to write something, I should at least let them know "hey, I hear you!". (I started doing this just this week...after I discovered I could redirect the comments to my email account and respond directly to the commenter...I know I know..you must be thinking "duh"! So, I'm on a gentle learning curve...appreciate some help here.) Right now, the comments are manageable but I'm wondering how this is going to be possible when the numbers increase?? (b)Not subscribing to a whole list of other stuff (see #10 & #11) which is a chicken and egg thing. Help! (c) Not choosing a fantastic blog address that tells readers exactly what it is all about but instead chose one with my initial and last name (yeah..boring..)..this I think I can salvage when I can finally think of a fancy all-encompassing name for a blog.
Thanks for reading my list. Please feel free to share with me your experiences on blogging, I'm keen to learn! Check the rest of the Thursday 13 participants, they have interesting things to share! Pin It