I follow about 94 blogs through Google Reader, and another 10 that don't have feeds. Some of them are things like LOLcats, many are news blogs of one type or another, most are people's personal journals. Of those personal blogs, many update only sporadically, and a few are people I happen to know in "real life".
I also read a lot of Just-Plain-Stuff that I find here and there. One thing leads to another, you know, that sort of thing.
I have several regular readers (I haven't the faintest idea why), only a few of whom have been known to leave comments.
A few things I've noticed about bloggers:
- Many people with personal blogs start out innocent enough, doing it for themselves, then they find out that if they build up a readership, they can make money! Several of the blogs I had followed for years turned into books. Others don't get a book contract, but they start selling advertising space. And then next thing you know, either they stop blogging (book), or the tone and content changes (advertising).
- Many of the old blogs I had enjoyed suddenly had a post saying, "I'm moving to Facebook! (...or Twitter) Follow me there!" and the blog abruptly died. For about half of them, the owners got disenchanted with Facebook or Twitter when they discovered they didn't have the control over their time that they'd had with a blog, and they came back.
- Many blogs just plain peter out, like the bloggers can't think of anything more to say. That's sad.
- With other bloggers, their life suddenly gets interesting, and they think they don't have time. That's even sadder ... just when things get interesting.
- A lot of bloggers pretend to be something they're not.
- A lot of bloggers flat out lie.
A few things I've noticed about blog posts:
- "TLDR" means "too long, didn't read". Yup. My posts are sometimes long, and I know a lot of people won't read long posts. I don't care.
- Too many posts a day will make people not pay attention. Yup. I often do that too. But again, I don't care. That's one reason I don't subscribe to feeds from many of the good middle-eastern blogs - several have multiple members, and you can get buried in posts. Instead, I visit once a week or so and skim, or more often if I know something interesting is happening.
About blog readers:
- People take things personally. A few months ago I wrote about people who try too hard to be BFFs, and end up turning folks off, and it came from thinking about a guy I used to work with, and a few Mensans, triggered by something I'd read somewhere. I was very surprised when TWO of my blog readers whom I know personally asked me if I was talking about them. Many bloggers have gotten in worse trouble for that kind of misunderstanding, when someone read something and thought they recognized themselves.
- Other times, when a blogger DOES attempt to address some cautionary tale to someone in particular that you know will read it, without naming names, hoping they'll see themselves and "get it", it's really funny how they never recognize that it applies to them. Exactly the opposite of the above point. So if you think something here was addressed to you, you're probably wrong. If you think it wasn't, maybe it was. But mostly it isn't. Mostly I deal in generalities, thoughts that wandered through my head. Maybe you kicked it off, but probably not. Even if I say "a blogger", remember that I follow about 100 bloggers. I'm amazed at the coincidences that crop up constantly.
- Most readers never leave a comment.
- There seems to be some kind of convention that all comments on personal blogs must be agreeing/positive/encouraging. Bullpoopy. Fire away. I've been banned from a few blogs for telling the blooger what I thought they needed to hear as opposed to what they wanted to hear, like that they'd find life a lot easier if they quit drinking, or if they're really looking for a nice girl, maybe they should try someplace other than a bar, whatever. Back on AOL Journals, in about 2005, before the economy tanked, I had one occasion when the supporters of a gal who was blatantly soliciting, and GETTING, expensive gifts from her readers, came after me personally because I simply asked, "Have you applied for any jobs?" The spam was incredible. I have learned that people don't want and don't appreciate constructive criticism, but I won't support something I can't agree with, either.
What are your thoughts on blogs, bloggers, blogging? Is personal blogging (as opposed to "special topic" blogging) going to be around for a while, or have you, like I, seen blogging dropping off? (That list of "blogs I follow" over there on the right is woefully out of date. Half those people aren't around anymore, but I keep the URL and keep visiting just in case they decide to come back.) Given that a lot of people use anonymous blogging as cheap therapy, will Facebook and the like fill the role?
Over to you....