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Monday, January 4, 2010

Blog Boggled: Tending Your Garden

          Do you see your blog as a living growing thing?  Think about it.  It starts with a seed--a germ of an idea or some plan of action, one part of your business platform, or just a way to express yourself or vent your gripes. You plant your seed in the blogfarm and stand back and wait for something to happen.  But wait!--You don't see results and growth unless you do something.

          A farmer doesn't just throw out a bunch of seeds and leave them to start growing.  The land must be prepared and the planting planned.  After the seeds are in the ground, the plot must be watered and weeded. Perhaps growth will need to be trimmed, thinned, and pruned.  A garden requires attention and work. And so does your blog or any other writing endeavor.

         I saw this in action over the past couple weeks of my vacation.  As some regular readers of this blog may recall, I had set a goal of reaching 100 followers by the end of 2009.  Didn't happen.  Close, but no cigar.  When I left my blog on auto-post 2 weeks ago I had about 80 or so followers.  Now it stands at 96 followers as I write this.  Mostly there was no activity because I was not as attentive to my blog as I had been over the past few months.  There were, however, spikes which can be directly attributed to active work on the pursuit of gaining followers.

          Most hotels that cater to business travelers now have business centers that provide computer access to guests.  I was fortunate to be at one such establishment on the first few days of my vacation.  The Staybridge Suites Hotel in Eatontown, New Jersey offered a comfortable area in the lobby area with 3 computer stations that had very fast internet access.  For five days I was not only able to tend to my blog, but also to take time to seek out new blogs on which to comment.  During this period I added a few more followers as I tended my garden.

         At a few of the social gatherings I attended, I handed out business cards that I had had printed up at my local Staples before embarking upon my trip.  I made every attempt to explain thoroughly about my blog and the process involved in signing up as a follower.  This also brought a few more followers.  I am hoping that some of the other card holders will sign up later.  Those are seeds planted on my blog farm that might take root eventually.

        Now this brings me to the problem that I think many non-bloggers may encounter:  I think they sometimes don't understand the sign up process or lack the patience to follow through.  Some people have told me that they didn't understand what they were supposed to do after they clicked the "Followers" button.  Then there are those who tell me that they don't have the time.  These are often the same people I see playing FARMVILLE on FaceBook with great intensity.  They are too busy with their farms to indulge me, while I am too engrossed in my Blog farm to do whatever they keep asking me to do with that Facebook Farm stuff. Give me a break!  And I'm not going to play MAFIA WARS or any of those other games either.

        And I'm still posting daily.  Cultivating, sowing, and harvesting in my blog farm.  Somewhere during my vacation time I passed the 100 post mark and now I'm working toward my next 100 posts. Some of the followers probably don't read my posts regularly, if ever. While others have surprised me.  My dear friends Jim and Deb Dunlap in Maryville called me while I was in Tennessee because they had seen on my blog that I was in town. We had a great visit and they told me how they read my blog fairly regularly.  This really made me feel good and that my work is not totally in vain.  Likewise for all of the wonderful readers who comment on my posts.  It's work and if I don't work I don't see the results.  And I appreciate the work that the readers put in with their comments.

           How about you?  How much work are you putting into your blog?  What is the harvest you are expecting to reap?   Have you printed up business cards or done anything to call attention to your blog?  Have you found that non-bloggers sometimes have a difficult time "getting it"?  What do you think of FARMVILLE and MAFIA WARS and all those other Facebook diversions?


  1. I love comments on my blog, but I don't in my mind expect it. However, I absolutely love meeting the people that way.

    I guess I thought "following" meant you read it, I didn't know that you were expected to comment, if that is what you mean? I learned something today.

    Anyhoo, good post.

  2. Hi Teresa,

    No--at this point in time "following" to me is just numbers--reaching that magic 100 number. I would like to think that readership comes with it, but realistically I know that all "followers" don't continue to read. When I receive the commments, it is a validation that someone is actually reading, pondering, and giving their own thoughts about what I have said. I would compare it to having 100 people in my audience if I were giving an oral presentation and afterward noone applauded, asked questions, or came up to me later and made a comment. Was anybody paying any attention?

    Please don't take me to be insensitive when I say that followers are "numbers". I'm just being realistic I think. I know that there are the faithful diligent followers such as yourself that are contiuously there to inspire me to keep writing. But also there are the others who may pop in occasionally, perhaps without saying anything, or even those who stopped by once and might eventually drop by again. All "followers" play an important role.

    Over the holidays, I was not able to tend to the blogs I follow, but I did read many without commenting and I am going back to see what I missed with the others I skimmed over.

    Thanks for being there so much of the time, Teresa.


  3. I've never been able to understand those games on FB. My wife tended a little green patch, or something, for weeks until she got tired of it. Me? I don't have the patience.

    I'd rather blog-farm, thanks. (Nice analogy, btw.)

  4. I find that a lot of people that are new to blogs do not understand the follow button. I know countless family and friends that read my blog but don't follow.

    I would love to have 200 followers by the close of 2010!

  5. It's more difficult than I imagined.

    Because I follow many blogs, I spend a lot of time on my 'dashboard' sifting through the list of new blog posts. I try to read and comment on as many as I can but that takes time, time away from my writing.

    Also, I try and write a new blog post everyday. That takes time figuring out what new topic I can discuss.

    When I get a blog award, that takes more time.

    When I see new blogs, I click 'follow' thus increasing the blogs I have to read.

    I constantly change the layout and add blog button.

    My 24 hour day is taken up by blogging. My reviewing and editing and writing work is getting pushed aside. I guess I still need to find that balance

  6. >>[How much work are you putting into your blog? What is the harvest you are expecting to reap?]<<

    Actually, rLEE-b, that is the question I want to ask you. I see how much work you put into this Blogging thang (far more than I do), and how you network by visiting other peoples' Blogs and post comments there, and how diligently you work to acquire new Followers to your Blog - even to the point of printing business cards for your Blog.

    I see all of this and I wonder: Why? What is the Endgame you have in mind? Is it just to have as many Followers as possible and go on Blogging endlessly?

    Because, perhaps I don't have the necessary vision, or lack an understanding about some ultimate reward, but I don't see what all of this can achieve.

    What I mean is, there are millions of Blogs out there; ours are just two drops in the Blog Ocean. I Blog just because (as I've said before) I need some sort of creative outlet in my life, and I hope to inspire a small handful of people to think about God. But, realistically, I know that all of my Blogging isn't going to lead to any grand end result. I am under no delusion that my Blogging is going to lead to some book deal, or a job offer to write professionally for some publication, or anything like that.

    So I don't see where it makes much difference whether I have 10 Followers or 110 Followers. And I don't understand why you (or anyone else) would work so hard at this. Don't misunderstand me, I don't think there's anything wrong with that. If it brings joy or happiness in some way, I'M ALL FOR IT! It's just that I don't "get it"; I don't quite see the point of working at Blogging as if it were a business. So, to toss your question back at you: "What is the harvest YOU are expecting to reap?" Just curious, Brother.

    ~ "Lonesome Dogg" Stephen

  7. I started my blog back in 2007 and I didn't get one comment until last year, I have now got 69 followers, they come slowly but I appreciate every single comment I recieve. I have among those 69 who haven't written or commented in quite a while, perhaps they have stopped blogging who knows?
    But the ones who do bother are worth their weight in gold.


  8. Very interesting post. I have to admit that I had a poetry blog before this one and had many followers but being a single parent of 4 plus work, classes and just life in general I ended up shutting it down only to reopen another one due to the massive emails and queries I received from my online friends. I don't have many followers now but I'm content with that. I blog to practise my writing, challenge myself with new ideas and participate in writing prompts. I love to comment as well as receive comments but I don't invest as much time as I used to in cultivating my new blog. I don't expect ppl to be faithful in commenting because there's life outside the blog. However, I love to read about people all over the world---their perspectives, experiences, talents, etc.

    How long will I continue? Who knows. I take it each day. Congratulations on your growing list :) Not familiar with Farmville and I hate Facebook but I like Mafia Wars...

  9. Interesting post, Lee!

    I don't know that I have a specific blog plan. I enjoy writing my posts and seeing how people respond. I enjoy visiting the blogs of people who drop by mine. I don't have a specific number in mind though.

  10. Me again! No I don't think numbers are important to you.

    I have an obsession which I will confess now and that is I check my site meter wayyyy to much. My daughter told me to STOP it. If "they" won't comment, then I want to know they are there. :)

    I think it matters to most of us that what we write on our blogs matters to others, but maybe that's just me? YOU have a wonderful blog with meaningful material. I hope I wasn't rude. I am new to the blog mania world and don't know my manners yet. :)


  11. Teresa -- I did not take anything you said as rude, only wonderful because you said it. Why even if somebody did say something rude in a post I would be grateful that they at least said something.

    And as far as checking your site meter, it makes total sense to me. One of the first things I do is look at Analytics to see how many hits my site got the previous day and week. I think it helps us figure out what's working and what isn't. Thank you for your always kind and fine input.

  12. Simon -- Time is valuable, yes! Even though Christmas may be over, we need to keep saying "Hoe, hoe, hoe!"

    Tamika -- I think you'll get the 200 the way you're going. It always amazes me how many comments you get.

    Ann -- You and me both! What are we going to do about balancing time? There's never enough.

    Yvonne -- you're probably right about the people who stop blogging. They don't have the persistance and determination that you have had. Keep at it!

    Life, Uncharted -- You had a support system which nurtured you back into production. You have something valuable to offer to others and you are providing a service. Don't stop.

    Jemi -- nothing wrong with having a good time. You don't have to have a plan unless you want one.

    And finally--
    Stephen --Thank you for providing me my topic for next Monday's installment of "Blog Boggled". You got me started in this Blog world and I will address your comment next Monday. You are such an inspiration-- is that a good or a bad thing? Well no matter-- you can expectorate to hear more on this subject then.


  13. I just barely started officially following anyone. It took me almost a year to figure out how to do it because I never had time to put into it. (I would just bookmark them, which became a bit hard to keep track of.) I'm hoping to change that for this year, and I've almost doubled followers since I started putting in the time. It's been fun, and I've "met" some lovely people.

  14. Hey! You have a great blog here!! Thanks for your visit to my blog :)
    you are right a blog needs care and one should keep posting but only when the words pour out from within!!
    A very happy new year to you!!!

  15. rLEE-b ~
    Ha! Thanks. I appreciate the wordplay in your response and the Insider Lingo that seems to roam back and forth from my Blog to yours, etc.

    I'm looking forward to next Monday's installment of Blog Boggled because I truly am curious to get your view on this.

    And let me add that I hope you didn't take even one word I wrote as being smart-assed. I know there's always a danger of me being misinterpreted due to my S.A. reputation. But I was being 100% sincere in what I wrote.

    You are a smart guy and I definitely respect your intelligence. Therefore I was genuinely questioning myself and wondering if it is possible that Lee is seeing some truly meaningful potential for this Blogging game which I have not considered and completely overlooked. So, mine was an honest, respectful question. And I hope that's how you understood it.

    ~ "Lonesome Dogg" McMe

  16. Stephen---

    I certainly didn't take anything you said as being smart-assed in a bad way because I know that you are a "smart ass" being a mensa donkey and all.

    I too am looking forward to next Monday's post. Now I have to come up with something....naw just kidding--I have my defense prepared and will just have to wait to state my case.


  17. Well this was by far one of the most interesting post and comments I have read for a while (although I have only been here a month). Made me think, it did, and I like when posts provoke my thoughts in a positive way.
    I am also curious to see what you have to say in answer to Stephen's comment, do you have an 'endgame'?
    I have little goals, too, but while you are reaching your 100 posts, I am reaching my 10th : ) and as many followers!
    I have no endgame planned, what so ever.
    And good on ya for posting everyday! Impressive, but hard for me to keep up with all the happenings : )

  18. Undertaker,

    Thanks for stopping by to comment. I've enjoyed what you've been posting so far. And no plans or goals are necessary. It's your blog and you can do whatever you want. But just keep on posting and if it's good people while read. And if you're having fun and nobody reads then that's okay too.
    Stayed tuned for next Monday's answer to Stephen's burning question and stay with me between now and then-- you might see something else that you like.

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  20. When I first saw the previous comment from PeterSteel, I thought it was just some obnoxious blogger spam. But then I thought about it and ventured to the website. I am not interested in what Peter has to offer, but his tactic provides an example of what I am talking about in this post. Peter has apparently done a search for "tending your garden" because this would have something to do with his topic. He is tending his own blog garden by reaching out to find more blogs in his interest range. Sometimes it works the right way and sometimes it doesn't, but if you actively work at it you at least get some kind of result.


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