Sunday, December 17, 2006

Blog To Blog

I have been conversing with a friend about blogging. He complained that he has so few people coming to his blog and asked how to increase traffic. I gave him the usual advice and then added the following: don't post for comments, post because you have something to say. If you have something meaningful to say and people connect with it, they will come back to your blog and they will comment. Second, I told him to go to other people's blogs and read with interest, read because you want to hear what those people have to say. Then, when you comment on someone else's site, do so to make a connection.

A few more words about comments. I urge people to filter them somehow. When reading someone's blog, it is equally entertaining to read the comments. Unless the comments are redundant and tend to be continually annoying. There is one blogger who posts cheesecake pictures of herself along with serious and intelligent postings. As a result she gets the expected comments: "hey're so hot" along with the intelligent sincere responses. I have asked her about this and she has responded that it is part of her blog experience. I suspect ulterior motives. To each their own.

In the old days of AOL, I used to surf through the profiles of members because it was interesting to see who was out there. I do the same thing in google. I type in key words and see who is out there. For instance, "writing, blogspot" or "Michigan, blogspot". As a writer, interest in people is what makes me who I am. If you're not interested in people, how can you seriously approach dealing with character.

In the next couple days I want to publish links to people's postings who have written about blogging. Observations, me links to postings you may have made, regardless of how long ago that posting may have been. I'm interested and I think other people are.

also, remember..if you are participating in WEIRD ADDICTIONS, send me link by Thursday


Avery DeBow said...

I started blogging to generate interest in my novel, and then found myself weirdly hooked on writing new entries. It's partly educational, and partly self-promotional, for sure. But, what I'm coming to realize is (and I should have known this all along) I love to 'hear' myself 'speak.' And this is far better than my previous habit of writing snarky comments under an assumed name in the public forum section of the local newspaper.

What sort of blogging entries are you going for? How-to? Or more like the "Why I write" type?

Stewart Sternberg said...

I think both, Avery. The conversation was begun by writers discussing whether or not it was beneficial to them and their craft to post on a blog.

Some of the conversation has been about comments, audience, motivation. Some has been about using a blog as a marketing vehicle. My plan is to post several opinions and step away from it...letting people comment and draw their own conclusions.

Anonymous said...

Great idea. I've sent a couple links to my posts about blogging.Thanks for asking.

SQT said...

I blog for fun and to meet new people. I chatted on blogs for about a year before starting my own.

I decided not to do a "mommy" blog because I didn't want to put myself or my kids out there too personally. I'm very happy I did it the way I did.

I like to have new people come and comment and just have fun with it. Though I won't link to sites that are too "adult." The last thing I need is for my kids to accidentally click on a link with some pornographic content. Yikes. I link to people I like to visit and that's about it.

Christina Rundle said...

Blogging, well, I started blogging because LKH did. (One of my favorite writers) The last blog account I had, I was part of a writing community and it was fun talking to other writers. I switched to this one because there were no advertisements taking away from the blog itself, though I miss my old group who don't visit this way.

Now I post because it helps me to keep up with what I did the last couple of days or months, which for some reason I'm always forgetting.

I agree with SQT about who I link with. I have no idea the age of people visiting and I try to keep that in mind. That is also why I filter my comments so that I don't have someone who is just vulgar leaving nasty messages.

mist1 said...

Do people really read all the comments?

SQT said...


I do. I like to read what people have to say.

Susan Miller said...

My opinion is whenever you start becoming discouraged wondering "why isn't anyone commenting?" then you blog like you would live, which is give what you want to receive. If you want comments then you have to give comments.

There came a point for me that I stopped searching ramdom blogs because I had a list of "blogs I cherish" to keep my mornings busy. Now I simply read those, take note of referrals and check out blogs of people that comment on mine.

We're all here for different, validation, telling secrets, exhibition, voyeurism...I say just stick with why you started. Mine was self discovery with some definite need for validation.

JR's Thumbprints said...

Blogging's acronym is sometimes identified as "Big Load of Garbage," but I'd like to think it's whatever you'd like to dump out there. One man's garbage is another man's treasure.

ShadowFalcon said...

I agree the comments can make a post more interesting. But you have to admit sometimes silly comments can be as valid as serious ones.

My previous blog didn't offer the comments option, it never stoped me writing though. I think I blog to give me something to smile out in the morning.

I read other blog just cos I'm curious

Stewart Sternberg said...

gem..thanks for the email..I will use those links in posting...

sqt..I was going to do a mommy blog, too..but it had more to do with garters and...nevermind

christina, we're on the same page. I've had to delete an occasional comment, and I'll bet if I didn't stop anonymous ones or at least have the word verification, there would be more.

mist...I actually read almost all the comments people make on your site, which is a helluva LOT. I also read all my comments.

I love silly comments Shadow, their like quick kisses on the cheeks as people pass through. What I don't like are comments that are denigrating, or as pythia would have put it: masturbatory.

Sue..thanks for the comment..I am glad then to be on your cherished list.


Sheila said...

I like to read what other people have to say as well. I don't filter my blogs yet, because a few people I know like to comment once in a while but don't have blogs themselves and I want to keep that option open to people. I know who you are talking about in your post. She was my creative writing teacher and she is very big on the censorship issue. Some of the comments I read on her blog are downright terrible. I can't believe people sometimes. But that is for her to deal with and I still write my sincere comments and wish her the best. I think though (because I am extremely oversensitive) that if people started leaving harsh comments on my blog that I might have to start filtering. But so far, so good.

Stewart Sternberg said...

Censorship is a funny thing. I personally am a strong advocate for freedom of speech. I may hate what people have to say but I will fight for their right to say it.

However, that freedom doesn't extend to a person's blog. For me a blog is owned by that person, so therefore it is a matter of privacy. If someone says something offensive, I am certainly going to delete it.
As for your former teacher, hey, more power to her. People have a right to run their blogs as they see fit. People may choose to visit a blog, if they don't like what they see there, they may choose to not return.

Me? I pay everyone. SQT, what did I give you last month for visiting here..Thirty bucks, right?

SQT said...

Me? I pay everyone. SQT, what did I give you last month for visiting here..Thirty bucks, right?

Err, I thought that was confidential...

I haven't started to use comment moderation yet. Fortunately I haven't had to. If I start getting a lot of spam or otherwise objectionable comments I will. But until then I'm happy to let everyone comment.

James Burnett said...

Interesting post, Stewart.

I started blogging, mainly because the newspaper I write for asked me to. They said they had read my blog at my last newspaper and thought I could duplicate the vibe at my new place.

I thought about it and was inclined to say no, 'cause it's so much more work on top of what I'm already doing in my daily reporting.

But since I'm a reporter and not an opinion writer, I couldn't resist the forum to share my opinions. Plus blogging is fun for me. I find it cathartic.

I'm with you to the freedom of expression, to a point. Anyone can say what they want, but I don't know that they should be able to say it on my blog.

For the longest time I didn't use comment moderation, and most of the time that worked out. I got the occasional spam comment, and the occasional looney. But then I drew the ire of a local anonymous blog "terrorist" here in South Florida, who likes to pick fights on folks' blogs and goes on outrageously mean and unneccessary racist and sexist rants.

The problem was I could go for three or four hours or an entire work day and not see my blog till I got home in the evening. And by then his comments had been sitting on my blog marinating for hours. It wasn't that my feelings were hurt. It was that his comments were just out of line, plain and simple. He crossed the line of courtesy. And my blog is affiliated with a "family" newspaper. So I figured I couldn't risk his profane comments sitting there for hours in between times when I had a chance to monitor things.

Finally, in order to block this guy I was forced to turn on comment moderation.

Anyway, I'll stop rambling. Again, good post.

BTW, I also try to read every comment. Of course, I don't get that many so it's not that difficult.

lee said...

blogging -why? hmmm...I think for amusement.

C said...

Good point. I also like to read about people because I am looking for a common thread with them and also to find out why people think the way they do.

Ormondroyd's Encyclopedia Esoterica said...

rI started blogging as a way to warm up for daily writing sessions, blowing the gunk out of the pipes as I fire up the diesel, and as a supplement to the volumes on my web page, for unpublished but diverting scraps, etc.
... and I always read the comments on other people's blogs! Sometimes the comments are the best part; there are little treasures buried in the comments at "Making Light"
that are pearls beyond price, many by the late lamented John M. Ford, whose throwaway comments often were better than most literary magazines. Maybe someday these happy few will be collected like anecdotes about the Algonquin.
And the comments at "The Washington Note"
are sometimes fractious "inside baseball" but more often deep, deep, deep intuitions of what's going on and what's going to happen next...
With writers' sites the comments vary in quality. Peter David's has a lot of good give-and-take, but some other more famous writers (who shall remain nameless) have a more intimidating mien, I guess, which sadly makes the comments less interesting, with too many "LOVED your last book-- it showed me that the sun really does shine out of your ass!"
I'm always ready for tips.

Ormondroyd's Encyclopedia Esoterica said...

Stewart Sternberg said..."sqt..I was going to do a mommy blog, too..but it had more to do with garters and...nevermind"

You'd have been amused by a conversation I had with my much younger (20-something) cousin. She was explaining to someone what "MILF" stood for and I realized that at my age, why not just shorten the acronym to "ILF"?

ing said...

I like this forum because only a couple of good friends know who I am. Here, I can write what I like without worrying about hurting my mother's feelings or letting my boss know that I had a hangover this morning or whateva'. I also enjoy not having to write perfectly. I try to do a good job of it, but it's nice that here, I don't get slammed for typos and stuff. The anonymity makes it easier for me to be sincere.

ing said...

P.s.: Don't forget about DILFs.

Stewart Sternberg said...

DILF????? oh my.

you know, c, your comment is the secret of literature. You said that you come to get to know or learn more about people. As I said to someone in another comment, the secret of blogging is perhaps the secret of creating character, of giving readers the insight and the sense that they know the blogger, giving them something with which they can strongly identify, with a touch of escapism.

There are no new stories...I said to Avery in a comment...people read more for the characters. So too blogs.

When I started blogging I had no idea where I was going. I merely knew that I wanted to talk about writing, to publish some of my writing. But as I got into it, more and more of me began seeping in. I think the SIX WEIRD THINGS...was unexpected for me. I opened up my eccentricities but also some of my vulnerabilities.
The posting on Jon was that way too. I havent spoken to him in a couple weeks, wanted to make contact but to do it publicly.

Okay. I'll shut up.

Irene said...

I find delight in posting comments that could possibly help make bloggers feel a little bit better or happier about themselves. I always feel cheered up myself afterwards. =)

Thank you for visiting my blog! I thoroughly enjoy reading yours. It is educating, entertaining and wonderfully well-written.

Keep at it! =)

Charles Gramlich said...

The point you make about "connecting" your commentary to other people's blogs is right on. I think I've been generally doing that, but at an unconscious level.

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

Sometimes I get annoyed by people who leave comments without really reading my post. I have to admit though, that I don't think many visitors "get it" that I am an Intergalactic Gladiator (wink wink)even though I still write about my home life occasionally.

OK, so who's the blogger who posts the cheesecake photos?

Helen said...

I deleted my comment earlier because I decided that I had more to add to it. I just wrote a post about blogging, and it should be the first post you see on my blog, if you visit it (unless I post anything more soon). The post is called Confessions of a Blogger.

Cat said...

My misdirected communication post has quite a bit about blogging and some problems it can cause.

I ask how private your blog is here and I got some interesting responses.

Just a few ideas! I'd love to see a write up about either post in your opinion.

SourDad said...

Thanks Stewart and others for the comments on comments. I am new or actually returned to blogging. I started my blog, but I stopped, and months later I looked at it again and I was really bummed out that I hadn’t kept up my journal. I blog partly as a writing exercise: learning to write from another persons POV; I blog about myself and our family through my kids eyes. I'm having fun, but not getting the traffic or comments I'd like. As a POV blog (if I may coin a phrase) I'm trying something that I guess it pretty different, and as a result I've bee told that readers aren't sure how to comment. Any suggestions.