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 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 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


milkcan said...

Loooooooooooove your list of learnings! All stuff that is true for me too!

Angel said...

Wow! I love this list! I am officially on my third month as a blogger. I am loving it though. I just wish a few more people read my blog. I like comments to! I read and smile at all of them. Shameless blog plug! Go look at mine please?

Jen said...

I agree with each one of these. I started my blog to document 'life' for those close to me and then I started TT and I am hooked. That's when I realized you needed to read AND comment on other people's blogs too. Also, I love getting comments on Thursdays. Thanks for coming by! Take care.

Journeywoman said...

Great list. I don't always respond to comments (in fact hardly ever) but I always go back and visit the blog and comment on something there.

Keep going!

Brenda ND said...

Super list. I really think rule 2 is important. Thanks for sharing.

Fidget said...

I have a hardtime reciprocating comments. i go and read but dont know what to say. Ive been blogging for almost 5 years and I'm still working on that

samulli said...

Wow, you learned a lot of things in only 3 months. Seriously, it took me way longer to grasp some of that suff, and some of it I am grappling with to this day.
Twitter: I don't get it either, I just hope it will go away again as most of these fads do sooner or later.
Technorati: that was one of those fads, about 2 or 3 years ago it was everywhere, but today almost nobody I know pays any attention to it anymore.
And don't worry, we all make mistakes in blogging every day. Nobody is perfect. And once you managed to not do the things anymore that you recognize as mistakes today, you will have found out about a whole lot of other things that could/should still be done differently. The learning curve never ends, which is what keeps blogging fun. (at least that's what I tell myself LOL)

☆Willa☆ said...

welcome to the blogosphere!!!!
thanks for visiting my Thursday 13,have a great weekend!

Anonymous said...

Girlfriend, we have all been here. I am on my third blog--I left for over a year. I did not know what my blog friends would say or do. I was welcomed back w. open arms.

Just keep stumbling thru and you will get there.

Thanks for coming by!

Anonymous said...

I really like the "real yvonne" voice in this post! You've picked up on a lot of the questions I have had along the way since starting my blog 4 months or so ago. I really like the way you weave things together in postings like this...looking forward to reading yyam!
p.s. I don't know how to make a link in a comment yet either :)

anthonynorth said...

Some interesting reflections on blogging. Enjoyed them. And as someone who's been at it two years now, I can tell you it doesn't get easier, or less rewarding. And that's the key - you can get so much out of it.
I think I'm addicted for life.

Lucy Edson said...

I enjoyed reading your comments on blogging - very thought provoking!

The thing I agree with most is if someone takes the time to comment you should respond - either by email or by visiting their blog. Not directed anyone, of course, just my thoughts. :)

You are doing a great job! I have been blogging for just over a year and it is definitely addicting!

gypsy said...

Your list was fun to read, refreshing and thoughtful. Thanks for sharing!

adrienia said...

Wow really make me think twice of blogging ... Good infor :-)

PopArtDiva said...

You've learned a lot of important lessons in just 3 months!

I especially agree with #5 - I know that controversial posts get more traffic but, like you, I try to keep the sensibilities of my readers in mind.

I have one blog where I do my griping and complaining - The BRAT in the HAT™, and even there I try not to get too nasty - just a little snarky with humor, or at least I hope that's how it comes across, lol.

That blog is sort of like my free therapy, hehe. That was the one you found via the TT this week and thanks for stopping by!

Gayle...... that,s me said...

Thanks for some great insights and information about blogging ! I too am new to it (about 4 months ) and have to think hard about what, how and when I blog..... I am wondering if a time will come when it just happens "naturally " and I feel totally relaxed with what I,m posting. Your blog is great , interesting and informative, thanks for sharing.

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Thanks for visiting my blog and taking time to leave a comment. I really appreciate it. Have an awesome day!:)

Cheers, Yvonne.

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