Monday, January 25, 2010

Blog Boggled: First Impressions

        Do you remember when you first met your blog?  Was it love at first sight?  Or did it take some time for you to get know and understand and fully appreciate your blog?   Are you still in the courting stages?  Or do you now just take your blog for granted?  Even worse, is your blog beginning to annoy you, become a burden to you, or just isn't the same blog you fell in love with in the beginning?

        I'm still happily married to my blog (note to my wife-- please don't be jealous, my blog could never take the place in my life that you occupy) and I'm trying to keep my writer-blog relationship healthy.  But maintaining that relationship is ongoing work and takes a great deal of time and patience.   A blog is an investment of talents, emotions, and time.

       As I continue reading other blogs, I continue to find others posing the same questions and pondering the same thoughts that I have been looking at over my past several Blog Boggled Mondays (if you have not been following, you can search back through my archived articles for other articles about blogging).  There are several good posts that others have done, one of my favorites being a series of excellent posts by JODY HEDLUND, who has several really fine posts on the subject.  Today KATIE GANSHERT is supposed to be posting her take on some blogging issues -- you may wish to check out what she has to say.  There are many others who have discussed this same issue and if you are one of those please give the link to yours in the comments to this post or direct us to other sites on the same topic.

        Blog Science is how I've been thinking of it.  That is a study of how blogging works and how it relates to the human mind.  In addition to science it is also art.  There is the literary aspect of the written blog and the visual artistic aspect of the photo blogs and the other visual art blogs.  There are culinary blogs and craft blogs, mommy and daddy blogs and grandparent blogs,  cat blogs and dog blogs, and now here I'm talking about blog blogs.  There is no end -- you name it and somebody will blog it.  The real question that many of us want answered is who will read these blogs and what will keep them coming back.

         Like when meeting someone for the first time, blog first impressions have a big impact.  Something either catches your eye to attract you, repels you to make you look elsewhere, or makes you feel so indifferent that it makes little impact.  And it's different for different people.  Initially most of us are drawn in by some sort of visual stimulation -- pictures, colors, fancy borders and wallpaper, movement, sparkle, and so on-- but once you get past that does the blog really have anything to offer.

          Personally, yes I'm captivated at first by glitz and gimmickry, but once the novelty has worn off I want there to be something there to keep me interested.  If I'm looking for information, that's what I want.  If I want something to read, then give me something to read.  When I pick up a book to read, I don't expect fancy borders on the pages or pictures everywhere unless that's part of the purpose of the book.  I'm not condemning anyone's blog because I am amazed by some of the things I see on some of these sites.  Granted I'm easily impressed when it comes to technology and I don't know how to do a lot of this stuff I see, but I haven't found anything I'll sit and look at for hours because I am looking for content to feed my intellectual curiosity.  If you grab me, then you need to hold on to me.

           I will continue to explore this in future posts perhaps, but I really want some opinions.  What grabs you when go to a new blog and what keeps you coming back?   How does a blog win you over?  Do you still like your blog?  How has your blog changed from when you first started it until now?  What kinds of changes would you like to make to your blog in the future?  What kinds of changes do you think I should make to TOSSING IT OUT?   Say whatever you like.  I want some real honest information, so get tough!


Update:   Robyn Campbell also asks why we blog on her post for today.

17 comments:

  1. I haven't been reading your blog very long, but I like what I've read so far. What captures me with a blog is the voice of the blog writer. If it's blah or negative, I won't be back. Yours is neither. So I'm here :)

    I still like my own blog. I would like to change the appearance but I'm not a techie type. In fact, sometimes I'm so untechie that I fear if I mess with it, I'll lose all sorts of things. So I live with the standard green template.

    Sigh.

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  2. First of all, thank you for your comments on my blog and visiting my site. I do like my blog but I think it could use more work maybe some little things. I am not technically savvy so it takes time plus I have two small children so my time has to be divided.
    The first thing I notice on blogs is the sparkle--how does it look (I am an interior designer by day so this adds to my wanting to see pleasing visuals) but I am looking for content --is it interesting or informative. Most of the blogs I follow have either helped in the emotional/supportive sense or have provided information to help further my writing skills. This to me is the most important-- can this blog help me or can I help the blogger.
    Thank you again for visiting and take care.

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  3. Good questions. I started blogging 6 months ago on Vox, then went to blogspot, not sure which I would prefer. Blogspot seems to have more options and although I still keep up my Vox blog I love love my one on blogspot, use it the most and keep refining it as an author, publishing blog. Since I started, I changed all kinds of things about it. Every morning I go there and say to myself, "Ooo, hello lovely blog, good morning!" Or something to that effect.

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  4. Information and interaction bring me back to a blog.

    I hated my blog for the longest time. Love it now! Standard daily posts really helped me there.

    And men like things simple, so I can see why a lot of pretty extras don't appeal.

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  5. I like blogs that mix it up with different topics and material. I have four topics I blog: my writing and self-publishing experiences, theoretical physics, promoting and marketing, and miscleeaneous.

    I also like passion in a blog, and people who reveal what makes them tick and what is hurting them in the inner being. I like that honesty and openess. Example: your Christmas blog really grabbed my heart. That was an excellent blog.

    Stephen Tremp

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  6. Usually a title will grab me first. Then if the first paragraph doesn't interest me I usually leave and go somewhere else. I also like pictures on a blog. They don't have to match the post, just beautiful and interesting pictures. Take Elizabeth's at Mystery Writing is Murder, she always has a painting at the beginning of her post, usually a painting of old masters. Something about pictures draws my eyes to the site. Good post!

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  7. Being new to reading your blog I find them bery interesting and many thought provoking.

    When I first met my blog it was because I wanted to express my thoughts and life expeiriences.
    Well it took a year before anyone even commented but believe it or not I am still at the learning stage. I enjoy writing but I think reading other people's blogs about their life styles and everyday life
    is most pleasurable.

    Yvonne.

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  8. Lee, what a wonderful post. I absolutely love it. And thank you for including a link to my blog.

    My blog has changed (I hope) because I have grown and changed. I have learned so much over the past 10 months. And I hope my blog reflects that.

    I love your blog Lee. I always feel at home here. And I always know when I pop in, there will be plenty of good reading waiting on me. I don't think you need to change anything. Your posts are so informative and comforting too. I'm very thankful that I found Tossing it Out. Thanks for all the thoughtful comments you make over at my blog too. I appreciate them more that you could ever know. :-)

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  9. Interesting questions Lee. I think personality pulls me to a blog. Not any one personality type - but a personality I feel I can enjoy - someone I would like to be friends with in "real" life. :)

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  10. I love to see the flashy designs, but that alone will not keep me coming back. I look for substance. As far as my own blog goes, it's hit and miss. I don't expect perfection from myself, because blogging should be fun. If it becomes a chore then something's wrong.

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  11. This is such an interesting question. I think my reason for reading a blog is the same as Jemi's. It's the personality that pulls me in.

    With my own blog, I think I really started to enjoy it once I let myself start blogging about things that interested me, instead of sticking too narrowly to reading and writing.

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  12. And I also agree with the above commenter L. Diane Wolf who mentioned interaction. That's crucial to me. I stop commenting on those blogs when the person never responds or acknowledges or comes to visit my blog or basically ignores me altogether. I figure, Okay, you don't want to know me, so goodbye. I know it's self-serving, but I'm here to be part of a community (writers) and so that's what I look for.

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  13. Nice Post....well for me Blog was not the love at first site...i was introduced to this world 2yrs ago by my friend...but that time i was too busy with my family and baby that couldnt realise the featues of blogging....still i m finding ways to get more friendly with the blog...hope to continue the journey with full love and determination...

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  14. KarenG -- you and L Diane are so right about the interaction. And you having brought that to my attention I've realized that I neglected to interact with yesterday's comments! I usually am more attentive than that-- I guess between my excursion to Costco (you can read about it on my post for Tuesday 1/26) and a marathon church business meeting last night I missed interacting.

    So dear readers let me thank you all for your excellent comments:

    Carol -- thank you. I am not a techie either but I like the simple standard template like you and I both have. I was planning on talking more about this next Monday.

    Christine -- glad I got to visit. I think women are more attracted to the sparkle. I'm sure your home decorating would be vastly different than mine. But we both agree that ultimately content is what counts. That should be the blogs primary motivation --- if, that is, it is informational.

    KarenG -- Sounds like me and my blog each morning. It's like having a child to take care of. I did look at you Vox site -- I admire those like you who have multiple sites to maintain. Vox looks more complex than Blogspot, but probably because I am not familiar with it. Looks great though.

    L Diane -- as I already acknowledged above, I agree with you that men like simplicity. A couch and a TV set and maybe a small table to set a beer on -- that's men. Women come along and add pictures, knickknacks, throwrugs, candles, and a coaster to put the beer on. Bless 'em -- women can take what would look a spartan prison cell and turn it into a thing of beauty -- I guess that's why women are better looking than men (well in my opinion at least)

    Stephen -- first of all thank you for your kind words about my "Christmas Blog", which I guess you are referring to the post of January 12, I really liked that one and was hoping for more feedback. Your comment means a great deal to me. But,yes, I also like eclectic content in reading other blogs and definitely writing my own blog. I don't want to be confined to the same topics all of the time.

    Judy -- I do attempt to come up with catchy titles. I fall short in the picture department. I'm somewhat hesitant to pull pictures off the web because I'm not sure about the issues involved in using those. I need to start using more of my own personal pictures. I've gotten really good responses when I've done that.

    Yvonne -- I also enjoy some of those personal glimpses into the lives of others -- to an extent. I plan to discuss this in a future post.

    Robyn -- comments like yours are what lifts us all up and want to keep blogging. I really like it when I can find a reason to link to other blogs and I was so happy when I saw your content yesterday so I could have the excuse to link to your post.

    Jemi -- exactly. Being attracted to a blog is the same as meeting someone and wanting to establish an ongoing relationship. Sometimes you connect and other times it's just not there and avoid revisiting.

    Elizabeth -- Yes substance is ultimately the most important factor. And the fun factor should be there for the writer and the reader as well.

    Belle -- agreed. If you don't keep interested, it's hard to keep your heart in your efforts.

    Thanks to everyone for reading and hope you will continue to do so.
    Lee

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  15. Well, I was in love with my Blog at first, but after a little while things got stale, so I started seeing another Blog - a blonde Blog - on the side.

    Eventually, my first Blog found out about the other one and filed for divorce. It was a pretty nasty break-up; things got ugly and we both hired sharks dressed up in lawyer suits. Well, in the end, she got all the photographs and I kept the text and comments, so I guess I came out of it in decent shape.

    After the divorce, the second Blog moved in with me, but before long the honeymoon was over and we both started getting on each other's nerves. But when I say "honeymoon", that's not to imply that I married this second Blog... I wasn't going to make a mistake like THAT again! No, sir!

    Well, she has since moved out, and although we still see each other from time to time, I'm now looking for a younger Blog with bigger bells and whistles. I guess it's just the nature of men and Blogs.

    ~ "Lonesome Dogg" McMe

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  16. Stephen T McC -- wait a minute-- I see you still with both of your blogs. I think you are practicing Blog Bigamy. Or would that be blogamy?

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  17. `
    Ha! :o)
    Yeah, it's called "blogamy".
    But it's acceptable in my
    religion, Blogonism.

    ~ "Lonesome Dogg" McMe

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