Monday, March 8, 2010

Blog Boggled: Bugged By Blogs (But Not Yours)

             Maybe I should call today's post Blog Buggled.  There are certain things I find on blogs that I kind of wonder about, and in some cases am somewhat annoyed by.  I want to be careful here because I don't want to offend any of my friends and regular readers, but for the most part what I'm talking about doesn't apply to you anyway.

            There are certain blogs that kind of bug me.  There are certain things that some other bloggers do that I think they could do better.  And there are some blog things that some site operators could fix to make their sites better.  I pose all of this not to be unconstructively critical, but mostly to gain insight as to how I can make my blogging experience work better for me and how to make my blog better for you.

            I have no doubt that some readers are annoyed by or even extremely dislike my blog.  Most or all of those will probably not see this post, but if you are reading this and fit one of the categories to which I just referred I would like your suggestions as to what you think I could do to make this blog work better.  Even if you are a regular reader and kind of like what I do here please feel free to give me your input about what you think I could do differently.  Honestly, I won't be offended and would highly welcome any suggestions you might like to make---I would consider your input a compliment in that you are taking enough interest to help me become better.

            So this brings me to my first issue--blog length.  I try to make each post about a thousand words long.  Sometimes I will shoot for shorter, but I try not to go much longer.  There are a few gifted blog authors from whom I will tolerate a fairly long post.  If a blog post is really long, then I hope it is really interesting.  Complex or technical posts can become pretty difficult to stay with in blog context and sometimes when I get to a post like this I might have to back out and move on to something else.  There are plenty of exceptions to this, but generally speaking a really long blog post doesn't work well for me.

           Likewise, a really short post can be kind of a waste of time.  A question, a writing prompt, a pertinent announcement, or something that is thought-provoking can be cool.  However, just to post that you couldn't think of anything to post is, well, why did you even have to bother telling us.  As a writer you should probably be able to come up with all sorts of ideas.  I don't think I would want to announce that I'm not creative.  If you can't say anything, then don't say anything.

         And what's the deal with the pity party blogs.  Okay, so you're not feeling well--go ahead and mention it and then turn it into something relevant to that post.  Do we really need to have blogs where the whole purpose post after post is to tell us how bad your life is, how bad you feel, how sick you are, or any other continuous thread of negativity where the world never gets better.  Who wants to hear about that?  A lot of people I guess because some of those blog have a lot of followers and get a lot of sympathetic comments on every post.  Well, not me.  I've started following a few of these negative blogs and had to drop them after a while because they really started bumming me out.  Those blogs bug me.  I want to be uplifted, enlightened, or entertained by the things I spend my time reading.

       These are a few of the blogging approaches that kind of bug me.  I'll look at some more in future Blog Boggled posts.  What do you think?   Am I being unfair?  Do you agree?  Does my blog cover too much territory or do you like to see variety in a blog?   In your opinion, what makes an exceptionally good blog and what makes a blog bad?

26 comments:

  1. I *think* that maybe some blogs annoy people because people in general cannot and should not tried to please everyone, every time. It's not possible.

    I totally understand what you are talking about. But, I try to look at each blog as an extension of the person's personality. Some like to blog with the tagging, with linking, a question or full content. They need to enjoy blogging, even if the blogger is selling something.

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  2. I don't think you're being unreasonable. No one wants to read something that brings them down.

    Sorry, my posts aren't usually very long, but I do try to make a point.

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  3. Blogging is a very personal expression of writing. Each of us approach it for a different reason, so what may appeal to me may not to you and vice versa. I think the uniqueness is what makes blogging so fun.

    But I do think there are a few basics that can help bloggers be more affective in communicating their messages. I agree that too long of posts tend to detract. In today's busy culture, most people want things fairly short and to the point.

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  4. Thanks again for a most interesting topic. I personally love your blog as it is, it is very informative no matter what you write about, it is easy to understand and also a hint of humour.

    Some people ( like myself) write about their life expereineces, there was an awful time in my life years ago but have come to terms with that, but at certain times of the year the negativity rears it's ugly head, but on the whole I am as positive as I possibly can be.
    To be able to put one's feeling down in print gives a person a sense of relief. I can only speak for myself though I admit some do go on about their ailments over and over again.

    Well I have had my say so I'll get back to practising my tambourine for my visit to Nashville in June.

    Have a nice day.
    Yvonne.

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  5. Sometimes I go from one writing blog to another and am just amazed to see what all is out there. I mean thousands and thousands of blogs just on writing! I can tell pretty quickly if it's a blog that I'll like or not. I have my own list of what bugs me. Yours I like because there are too many women bloggers and not enough men. Plus you have a different take on things sometimes, probably due to being male.

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  6. I am new to the blogging world, so I am not sure I fully understand it yet or am qualified to comment.

    I am a believer and a pastor and I started my blog (see my archives Why I Blog) for a number of reasons, but primarily to encourage fellow believers with scriptural insight, expose people to books, Theologians, pastors, etc. That will not appeal to everybody, and I finding to only a few.

    So, I think each blogger blogs as someone said, an extension of who they are and for the purposes the prompted them to begin blogging.

    As a result, like will beget like. We will read blogs that we don't like, don't appeal to us, we don't find interesting, etc so we don't read them nor follow them.

    I think your blog is great and really couldn't offer suggestions. Your posts are interesting, well written and thought through. For me they are alittle long. But that is you and it is what you want to accomplish.

    I agree, that there are some "bad" or undesirable blogs, "downers, complainers, whiners, arrogant, rude, crude, and generally socially unacceptable, so I don't read them or follow them.

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  7. I either want to be inspired, entertained, or enlighted by new knowledge or something to think about.

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  8. Writing is subjective. That includes blog posts. My prayer is to give my followers/readers what is given to me.

    If it can encourage, challenge, or strengthen the audience- halleujah! To God be the glory! I am merely a vessel. Sometimes that will not appeal to everyone, Jesus didn't why would I.

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  9. Blogs are so very personal. And each blogger does so for different reasons. I think we need to do what works for us. Those who follow will either continue to do so because they are getting something from it, or they'll leave because they're not. I learned a long time ago I can't control what others do. I can only do what I can. I do write about personal things on my blog, so I hope it's not one of the whiny ones you were talking about.
    karen

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  10. Teresa -- You are one of the ones who do it right. You're concise, honest, interesting, and you don't always dwell on the same things. We check out your blog to see what new surprise in store for us.

    Alex -- That's what I want if a blog is really short-- relevance. Or like when you posted that video the other day. It was totally cool and new to me and I hadn't seen it anywhere else.

    Jody -- You're right and your post today was right on the mark. I really like that there are blogs to appeal to every taste. You always seem to have something informative on yours for what I'm interested in and you do a real good job of filling that niche.

    Yvonne -- you are always so kind in your comments and this is reflected in the personality of your poetry blog. You have shared some of your pain and sorrow with us, but in a way that helps the reader relate and grow. You don't wallow in negativity and try to bring us down in it. Instead you turn it into a universal poetic beauty, and often wit, that can have meaning to all of your readers.

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  11. Karen -- There are a lot of women bloggers compared to men aren't there. But I kind of like that. A lot of times the women are more conscientious about maintaining an actual ongoing relationship and giving feedback. The men commentors that do this are very good and loyal, but there are that many it seems--at least in the writing blogs. There really is a lot of blogworld to choose from and a lot of it--like yours--has a lot of worthwhile and helpful content.

    Gregg- And you are one of the male bloggers to whom I refer above. You offer thoughtful comments that are very helpful. And the content of your posts is thoughtful and interesting.

    Diane -- I with what you say and your blog certainly demonstrates your philosophy. There is variety that is fun and informative. You link us to other blogs that are worth discovering. Your not stuck in any rut for sure.

    Tamika -- The appeal of blogs can be extremely subjective, but I don't understand self indulgence. Your posts are nice because although they are often very personal, you bring up themes that are universal and make the reader refect upon themself or feel inspiration. You capture us with the topics that you post.

    Karen -- You are definitely not one of the "whiny ones". You write memoirs from the standpoint of telling us about your experiences and how you overcome adversity. You deal in themes of hopefulness and looking within ourselves to see how we can become better. I never get the sense that you are dredging for sympathetic readers who are going to sob with you at some sorry pity party. You are like a good journalist who keeps the story moving and doesn't get bogged down in a point. Unfortunately, I think there are some blogs that do get bogged down like that and I just can't stay with those. Yours I'll keep reading because you keep it interesting and pose meaningful questions.

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  12. Brevity is the soul of wit, or so I've heard, so I try to keep my blog posts to an under-five-minute read. However, I don't post one-liners and I totally agree, saying "I just couldn't think of anything to post" is a waste of my time as a reader. If you can't think of anything to post, DON'T.

    Pity-party blogs and one-line blogs... make me wanna say "hey man, that's what Facebook and Twitter are for."

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  13. That is a tough one. I believe it is a different strokes kind of thing. I don't want to be brought down, but it is soothing to find you are not the only one getting blasted. I want quality, but not always quantity, but that's because I like to jump around a lot and see what's out there and reading short posts allows me to read more. I would have to say, it is very individual and thankfully there are many individuals providing many, many options.

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  14. I prefer shorter posts, more in the fewer than 500 words range. I'm not sure mine are ever that long. Maybe every once in a while. But I'm accustomed to writing marketing info, so writing short is more natural. Yet I write novels. Go figure :)

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  15. I agree with much of what you've said. I prefer short posts because I visit so many of them :)

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  16. I echo Diane's comments. I want to be entertained, learn something, or walk away with a warm gushy feeling. Or a good laugh.

    Stephen Tremp

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  17. B.Miller-- That was a good one! Indeed why waste blog space with something you could post on twitter or facebook. If people start using that abbreviated code language in their blogs then I'm in trouble. I'll to get a Dictionary for Twits. You've been off to a good start with your blogging.

    jd -- I do a lot of that jumping around too. I'm just disappointed when I've wasted time going to a post that was absolutely pointless. I realized that I don't follow your blog--well now I do. Looks like you only post about once every 2 weeks or so.

    Carole --yeah, your posts are usually short and to the point-- either funny or something to dwell upon. Various blog posts are indeed to product of what the writer is used to writing.

    Jemi -- Now there's an understatement! You do get around. Sometimes I'll go to comment on a post that I figure nobody I'm familiar with will have seen and there is your comment. You must be commenting on several hundred blogs! I appreciate the comments you leave on mine.

    Stephen -- I'm right there with you too-- that's what I want from a blog. Your posts always seem to be just about the right length for me, very readable, and a variety of interesting topics.

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  18. My blog can certainly be improved so I’m not in a position to give advice, but I can tell you that my favorite blogs offer humor, writing tips, delve into topics I know nothing about, or offer an interesting glimpse into the life of the author.

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  19. I guess it all comes down to what someone is blogging for. Does the blogger write to entertain, inform, or just for a spot to spout off. I have done all 3, but I try to have a slant on the entertain.

    When I visit a blog, where the post is long, I just scan it. If the subject is something I am really interested in, I will read carefully.

    There are some subjects that even my favorite bloggers like to write about. When they do, I will skip over that post. I have never criticized their need to post on that subject. It is their blog.

    Not everyone has the need or desire to gain followers, popularity or whatever. They blog because they wish to.

    What I dont get is the facebook thing....where people write about sitting on the back porch, or what they will eat for dinner, or what pair of socks they are wearing today. Even if it is a good friend, sorry, I don't care about how many sheets of paper towel she used today!

    Sig

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  20. I don't think blogs can please everyone due to varied tastes and reasons for reading different blogs. That said, busy blogs, long posts, music, and blinkies make me quit following a blog. (or not read as much) Short and simple is key for me. :)

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  21. How interesting that we should blog about the same subject today!

    I like to keep my blog fresh and interesting so I never stay on the same topic for too long. At the same time there is always a theme that runs through my blog because that's the reason why it exists. I believe in being relevant no matter what.

    I've just arrived here at your blog so I'll be looking around some more before I can answer your question about giving comments and suggestions.

    Best, Jai

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  22. Jane -- I think of you as pretty much of a pro at what you do. I think you're well qualified to give advice. And you are good about giving comments.

    Sig -- I think you and I think alike on a lot of the aspects of blogging. However, I was considering maybe now and then recounting my entire day from the time I wake up until the end -- not a good idea? I guess maybe some people wouldn't get the joke if I did that? I am a big fan of the way you post.

    Sherrinda -- so glad you visited and that I found your blog. And all I'll say about your comment is yes, yes, yes you make some good points and I won't say much more than that.

    Jai -- I love it when I run across a blog post that has a commonality of theme on the same day as mine. It gives us something to exchance. Thanks for visiting and commenting. I enjoyed reading your post.

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  23. I worry about blog length as well, so I limit mine to two pages on Microsoft Word. In addition, I try to break it up in some way, either by using italics, all caps, and bold from time to time (Which I'd never do in more formal writing). Since I often write about substitute teaching, I add snippets of conversation, which I separate with spaces, trying to make it more visually manageable.

    In December, I came across this post, which people may find helpful:
    http://writerunboxed.com/2009/12/18/5-things-that-make-me-stop-reading-websites-blogs/

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  24. I have been fascinated to read the comments of "what" and "why" people blog....all so different and yet so alike in many ways.

    I like your blogs Lee because they inform me about you, your passions, likes, dislikes, your abilities, your writing skills, your sorrows, and joys, your early years, ...your family...your hopes for the future...and I think we should all aspire to these things in our own blogs.

    Your blogs also make me think... question...want to reply (and I often do) and I appreciate your comments when you get back to me.

    I only have two men who follow my blog...but I'm very pleased that they do, because they come at things from a different perspective which is interesting.

    I'm probably one of your oldest followers(well into my seventies now)...but blogging keeps my mind active...keeps me up with what's going on in the world...my world....your world....and the great thing is that in the scheme of things we are not all that different even though we are countries apart...years apart.

    I'm not a writer, but I love the use of language and appreciate all the styles of blogs I read....but I'm discriminating...and PUFF you're gone if you don't measure up

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  25. White Dove -- There is little I can respond to what you have just said other than I am in agreement with many of the things you have said about blogging. I disagree when you say you are not a writer-- you are writing and we are reading so I guess that does make you a writer.

    That was by far one of the nicest comments I have ever received. Thank you.
    Lee

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