The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Blog Boggled: Me, Me, Me--How About You?

           I've really been milking Alex J Cavanaugh's  Blogging Idiosycrasies Part Two and Blogging Idiosycracies Part One, but it's a topic that I too enjoy examining and it's what I frequently post about on Monday's Blog Boggled feature.  I'm a student of blog science and if you are a blogger then you should be as well. 

          Aren't we all a little curious about why people would want to visit our blog?  What would bring them back again?   Why they would follow?   What we can do to keep our blog posts interesting enough to keep readers coming back and leaving comments?    How important is blog content?

          The topic of talking about oneself as blog content was one thought that arose in the comment section of Alex's second post.  This is what I want to address today.   Is blogging about oneself merely egocentric information that no one else wants to hear or does it have relevance?

          Let me cite the following from that comment section: 

         L. Diane Wolfe said, "I try not to talk about myself all the time. Those who do seem egotistical and it becomes annoying."

         To which Alex replied, "Easily annoyed, Diane? Yeah, I couldn't talk about myself. I wouldn't know what to say."

          I would agree and disagree with both statements.   I really enjoy when L. Diane Wolfe tells about where's she's been and what she's been doing.  I want more information about book promo events or speaking engagements.  I think those of us who read Spunky's blog think of her as a friend even though most of us don't know her in real life.  When she relates anecdotes about herself it allows us to feel that the friendship is more real.   Learning about her life as an author, speaker, and motivator is something that we can learn from as well.

          Likewise, I wouldn't mind hearing more stories about Alex's life.  Especially when the book promo begins I hope he will keep us filled in on some of the things he encounters and the people he meets.  Those of us who are interested in becoming authors want to know more about the process of writing, publishing, and promoting.  Tell us more, Alex.  

         Patricia Stoltey expressed this well when she said, "I like to know about a writer/blogger's life and interesting things about his environment and experiences, both personal and writing-related. And I like hearing how a writer is promoting his work, new small publishers, and agent searches."

           As far as the sentiment of bloggers who talk about themselves becoming "egotistical and annoying", I don't think L. Diane really meant this as a blanket statement which really encompassed all.  Not to be overly presumptuous, but I think I know what she was talking about and she didn't have most of you in mind.  She would probably have a similar view as Patricia--at least that would be my guess.

           I can think of some wonderful examples of bloggers who often talk about their own personal lives.  Ruby from Blabbin' Grammy gives us homey recounts of what's happening in her life.  Many of us find her writing style to be engaging and it's like a daily serial that readers can really get involved with.  Gosh, I feel like I know her and even like she's a relative or something.  Style combined with content counts on this blog.

           Then there's the wonderful poet Yvonne from Welcome to My World of Poetry.  Many of her poems have to do with things in her past or her present activities.  She is another blogger whom many of us have come to love because we feel like we know her.  She uniquely passes us this personal information through her cleverly written and often heartfelt poetry.  Even her award presentations and best of lists are delivered as poems.  I for one truly enjoy my regular blog visits with Yvonne, not to forget that she is an amazingly prolific and thoughtful commenter.

             There are so many other wonderful blogs where the authors talk about themselves, such as Karen Walker's Following the Whispers,  Teresa at Journaling Woman,  Diana at Welcome to My World, and many more.

             Then of course, yours truly blogs about himself often.  I hope I haven't bored anyone with my stories about my past and anecdotes about current happenings, my lists of favorite things, or any of the other information that I reveal about myself.   My intent is to entertain and to share some of my knowledge and get feedback about the knowledge that you have that relates to what I've talked about.  It's like a conversation on a train with a stranger--sometimes random and pertaining to wherever the conversation happens to go.

            There are many blogs out there and many blog friends to be had.  Personally, I do agree with what L. Diane Wolfe said about some blogs being a little annoying, or perhaps it might be better to say not interesting to me.  If I don't enjoy the writing style I will more than likely soon be gone. If there is nothing for me to relate to then I will likely lose interest.  But, let's face it, there is something for all sorts of tastes in the world of blogging and I'm not going to judge what someone else wants to read.   One the other hand, I know what I like.

            What kind of content appeals most to you?   Do you like to hear about a blogger's personal life and interests?   Does writing style and originality trump content?  Or will good content keep you coming back even if the blog posts are poorly written?  Do you like to write about yourself?  Why or why not?


  1. I personally love to read about other people, their lives,where they live, the past the present and the future dreams they have. I think most of you know everything about me as my poetry mainly consists of my life's expereiences. There is one episode I have not written about and that is an unhappy relationship I encountered when I moved back to the UK, I have poems written about it, when the time is right I will blog them.

    Most interesting subject Lee,
    Have a good day.

  2. Very interesting post. I do like to read about other blogger's lives. I like to go back to blogs that are well written and that leave you with a pleasant feeling. I love humorous, educational, intellectual and inspirational posts. I like blogs with neat pictures too. Personally, I prefer not to disclose much of my intimate life, but I do include in my posts personal and professional experiences. About my interaction with the world.

    By the way, thanks for commenting on my latest story :-)

  3. Subtle prompt to get me to blog about myself, Lee? I'll work on that.

  4. I sometimes also feel like a student of blogging science or maybe even a professor of it since many people ask me daily for advices on successful blogging. I follow the number of my readers daily so that I could study what was good and what was wrong and what does the public like to read. For example when I see that I had just 500 readers per day (I usually have between 800 and 1800 daily) I know something was wrong. People usually don't like reading about animated movies over at my place and such posts generate the lowest number of visitors.

    I like when bloggers blog about their personal lives if they have style and talent for writing. Like you for example, because with your narrative talent you always make stories about your life interesting even if the topic is minor. I'd also like to find out more about Alex, but he's a tough nut to crack and I think he won't share too much about him :))))

    There are, also some people who can go too far in blogging by publishing too much about their personal lives or revealing personal opinions they probably shouldn't be proud off, but hey, who cares, we don't have to read them, do we? :)

  5. LOL! Did I say that out loud?
    Guess I do need to clarify. I like reading about others. Karen's blog is a favorite of mine and she always shares about her life and feelings. But there is a fine line - when the sharing turns into BRAGGING. That is a total turn-off. Or when it's the equivalent of a five-year old screaming "Look what I did!"
    A business partner of mine had a great saying - People don't care how much you know; they want to know how much you care.
    BTW Lee, you never cross that line!

  6. You ask some really great questions. I have no idea why people come to my blog. However, recently I've been told in a comment that I'm egocentric and high on myself so that makes me wonder why even further. I try not to talk about my life much at this point because I love talking about writing but I think little bits of me get in there. I can't help it.
    You made me think here... thank you.


  7. If the blogger is interesting, I find it interesting to read about him or her, sure ... as long as it isn't always about "me", lol. I mix in a bit about The Old Silly in my posts, but try to keep it well blended with lots of other stuff of interest and/or value to the readers. A blog shouldn't just be a self-promoting advertisement, but a place where readers are drawn to the posts for reasons that enrich their lives, hmm?

  8. Wow, maybe I should start blogging on the weekend again. I missed a whole conversation where me and my blog were mentioned. Thanks so much Lee and Diane, for the kind words about my blog. I blog about my personal journey because the very first time I wrote an essay about a part of my life, I received many emails thanking me for sharing. People like to know they are not alone in their feelings. When I share parts of my life and how I handle things, I am hoping others can empathize, relate, whatever. And if they are helped along the way, that's just great. So I do want to hear about your life because perhaps there's something I can learn from it. Or just not feel so isolated.

  9. Yvonne -- I hope you didn't mind me using your blog to illustrate my point, but I think it's a great example of personal content we are drawn to read because of the unique way which you present it. You do a really good job.

    Doris -- I think all of those things you mention are important for creating interesting blog content. The way you apply your personal experience is good because you make it applicable to a story that will move us or make us consider related incidents in our own lives.

    Alex -- Cool! I don't think I'm the only one who would enjoy that.

    Dezmond --- I think part of your draw is that you sound authoritive, credible, and reliable. Your presentation is entertaining. I think we mostly have learned about you personally through your comments, which contributes to the argument for reading comments.
    And you are right: We don't have to read a blog if we don't like it. We can always change the channel--there are plenty of options out there.

    L. Diane -- Thank you for your kind words for me. I hope you didn't mind me using you in this, but your quote made good copy for the topic at hand and I know readers do enjoy hearing about what you are up to. Your blog has great balance. I knew pretty much what you were saying. I am especially annoyed by the bloggers who come across as egotistical and pompous and don't acknowledge comments they receive, unless you criticize them and then they become angry or defensive. I've come across a few blogs like that and those are the ones that illustrate your business partner's observation very well.

    Clarissa -- I think readers come back to your blog because you provide helpful information with a good presentation. I don't why someone would have made that comment, but I don't think you need to change much about what you are doing.

    Marvin --The blend and the balance gives your blog the special personal touch that tells us that it is you. I don't think most readers want some dry account of how to do something or reportage. The friendly blogs involve personality and relationship with a dose of learning and experience. The textbook and reporting blogs are out there I guess if we need them but they're pretty darn dry. Of course, if the blogger does have something to promote or brag about, I think that's totally acceptable as long as they're nice about it and don't do it everyday.

  10. Karen --I was hoping you would catch this because you are such a great example of a writer who has used the memoir genre in her blogging and published work. Most of us enjoy reading biographies and books that present personal stories in interesting ways. It's enjoyable to meet somebody with a good story, or listen to friends or relatives who spin a good tale about their lives and things that happen to them. Nearly all fiction is about people and if we would want to read about people who don't even exist why not real people. If it's presented in an interesting and entertaining way a written acount of any human activity can become engaging reading.

  11. Lee- I'll confess right up front to being a girl who can be 'me, me, me' but I really prefer READING blogs where I get to know people, too.

    From time to time I ask questions, and i try to get a conversation going (I think you do a great job with this when you do your debate topics) but MOSTLY the conversation is bigger... I share... I go to people's blogs and see what THEY share. And over time I feel like I've really gotten to know people.

    There are some blogs I read that are less personal--that have good links or advice. And I respect those bloggers. But those friendships form SIGNIFICANTLY more slowly than they do with the people who put themselves out there. Even FABULOUS advice blogs (take Elizabeth Spann Craig) get the point across better because she starts with a little personal story, then relates it to writing.

    I happen to think the trick (for meeting what I enjoy, anyway) is presenting not JUST you, but your take and interaction on a topic... so you give us some content, but also some heart.

  12. I love the variety of it all. Personal content, stories, poems; I love diversity. Do I write about myself? Well not to the depth I feel. That is when I mask an emotion with a story.

    Am I voyeur? Oh yes, I love reading about people. It helps me paint a persons picture through words.

    Why do people visit my blog? Have no earthly idea. But I am glad they do.

    Nice post and great questions. :D
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  13. as for me, i wrote this a long time ago:


    Writing is my salvation...
    in a manner of speaking.

    It is the only way...
    that the voice of my heart can be heard...

    and understood.

    as for what blogs attract me?

    those that write...write from the heart. i love reading genuine people. Yvonne exposes a lot of herself in her poetry and i love reading her! the other side of that is i enjoy thought provoking posts such as yours. although some say they don't like exposing their real selves...i think/believe that another writer is able to read "into" or "thru" those fronts or facades at times. how can a writer separate themselves from what they are writing unless it's fiction? but even in that case...surely he/she is slipping into the personalities involved. don't you think?

    this one can only write real...

  14. This is a great post with some fantastic questions. I have been told over and over by other bloggers that they like to hear about my life, background, and experiences - I have been told more than once it makes me "more real."

    As a result I periodicaly "force" myself to share personal items about myself. Of course, you many not know this, but I am very open and transparent and certainly would share with anyone almost anything about my life if someone truly had an interst. God has been good to me and blessed me immensely and I have done, seen, and experiences so much that the vast majorith never will.

    But the object of my blog is Him, Jesus the Christ and Him crucified. So it is not about me.

    I like it when other bloggers share about themselves. It is interesting to learn about people.

    As far as what kind of content appeals to me most - if you have perused my blogroll you will find it is mostly biblical, theological, and pastoral contents that appeal to me. However, I find blogs like yours, Bombastic Bandicoot, Welcome to my World of Poetry and a few others which are not theological but becasue of their wonderful content appeal to me and I add them to my blogroll hoping others will like them also.

    Yes, to answer your question I like to hear about a blogger's personal life and interests.

    Does writing style and originality trump content? First, there is no such thing as originaltiy, Solomon told us there is nothing that is new under the sun - so most are really not original. Style can sometimes be a deterent. Content that is fun, interesting, arresting, benefical, challenging, or motivating is always better than style. I go back regularly to about 50 blogs becasue I like the blogger or the blog, it is good content that keeps me reading the full blog and commenting. If the content is uninteresting then I don't read it that day nor make a commenht but I will go back the next day.

    I don't mind sharing about myself to answer your questin when asked, but I like to write about theological, biblical, spiritual and edifying issues.

    As usual, good blog and great questions.

  15. I guess I like a good blend. I want to know the person but also want to come away with some good information or feel like it was worth my time to read. Not sure why we fluctuate around the blogs. I think there are only a handful I read faithfully each week.

  16. thanks for the compliments, Lee, and it's true what you say about how reading what people write in their comments can help you get to known them better. If I remember correctly there was even one of your friends who said that at first he thought I was some superficial movie junkie :) when he took a quick look at my blog, but that he profoundly changed his opinion after reading my comments on your posts.

  17. This is a "What's in it for me world." That's not to say this is a selfish attitude. People are busy and I think if they visit a blog they should be able to walk away with something that is useful and practical.

    Sometimes its fun to have fun, like with L. Diane Wolf's Sunday Sillies. But I also know that consistanly visiting her blog will help me develop into a better writer and promoter because she offers so much valuable advice, experience, and wisdom.

    Stephen Tremp

  18. Good post. Lots to think about. I shy away from writing about myself, for I don't want my blog to come off as 'me centered'. And yet, I've had followers asking for more details about me. So I try to write more about my life, what I am doing and what I think about stuff and how it relates to writing.

    My goal is to have a friendly, helpful, and encouraging blog. I've had so much help along the writing way, and I'd like to bless others in the same way.

    BTW - like the balance you have with your blog. Thanks for making me think, and for the links.


  19. Oh I definitely like to hear about other peoples lives! Mine seems dull in comparison yet I also feel that a blog is somewhat personal, a type a journal so to speak. So I sort of expect people to talk about themselves! It makes life juicy!!!
    Love Di ♥

  20. Hart -- I agree that it's more difficult to find any emotional attachment to a blog that is sterile and mostly just informational, and I feel less loyalty to a blog like that. Like is often done with public speaking, an icebreaker is a good way to start a post to warm your audience and come across more friendly to them.
    Content with heart is better for establishing a blog relationship that makes readers feel compelled to come back.

    Jules -- I also like diversity--too much of the same thing can get old. The right kind of writing style can convey much about the writer.

    Bud -- I think you're right about realness. If a blogger comes across as open and honest, I think they some across as someone you can trust and want to be around. A blog that feels cold is certainly less inviting.

    Gregg -- I do understand what you are saying about the purpose of your blog. Talking about yourself can be appropriate in the same way we might get to know our pastor at church. Then of course there is always the personal testimony which is often used among Christians when they are trying to tell others about Christ.

    Terri -- Yes, a good blend is necessary. Even if the blog is entirely autobiographical there should be something that the reader is able to relate to in order to be able to relate the writer's life to their own.

    Dezmond -- Yes I remember that incident. This is why I think one should read and respond to their own comment section and if possible read as many comments in other blogs as they can. I've discovered so many great blogs by doing this.

    Stephen Tremp -- Blogs can be great places to learn and to get links to good resources. I like those blogs that do that and still are able to entertain.

    Karen -- I think that much of the blogging experience is not so much about "you" or "me" as it is about "us". The community is the best part.

  21. Diana -- Good journal blogging is personal and yet intended for others to read. I enjoy reading something that may have in reality been boring but the writer makes it seem interesting just in the way they write about it. Identity is an important aspect--to be able to read something and think, "oh yeah, I do the same thing" or "hmmm, I never thought about that in that way" or something with which you can draw a comparison is pretty cool.

  22. Even as a kid I loved reading biographies & autobiographies. To read about another person's life is always fascinating to me. I also enjoy reading & learning about bloggers in other countries.

  23. I, too, enjoy learning about other writers’ lives. I’m always amazed and humbled by the number of talented bloggers out there and wish I had time to visit them all every day. I especially enjoy blogs written with humor, insight and honesty (which is why I come back here as often as I can).

  24. I never thought about it, but I do like to hear little stories and stuff from writers (or other bloggers). I rarely post something like that myself. Interesting.

  25. Lisa -- I think most of us enjoy biographical stories for various reasons. I recall being very inspired by Benjamin Franklin's autobiography when I was younger and applying some of the things he did in his life to my own.
    I also recall how when I was a kid we would often get pen pals from other countries to exchange letters with. Blogging is much better than having a pen pal.

    Jane -- That's why blogging can be so addictive. There are so many great bloggers to meet who have so much interesting information to share. Thank you for your frequent visits to my space.

    Holly-- You probably post more than you are aware of. Everytime you post a story that uses pronouns like "I" or "my" you have told something about yourself. Maybe you are not as overt in telling about yourself, you still reveal something about who you are.

  26. Phew, these are some long comments. Great post, Lee. I liked the examples you published. I think we all enjoy hearing a little something about each other, but like L. Diane Wolfe, I always thing, who wants to know? Is this boring? Maybe a good mix of writerly posts, contests, stories, mixed with a little personal anecdote is one way to go..:)

  27. L'Aussie --- My opinion is that if I like the way it's presented and it reads well I don't mind hearing people talk about themselves and their thoughts, so long as it's not overly inane. But I agree with you that a good mix of content helps keep the interest level high.

  28. You know, what Diane said is true for me when the blogger talks constantly about accomplishments but doesn't share bits of life. That does get tiresome. We can share thoughts and experiences without sacrificing our privacy or that of our friends and family. And I say this knowing full well I'm going to promote my book on Wednesday's post. So it goes.

    Thanks, Arlee, for the quote and link above. You were the wind beneath many wings with that A to Z Challenge. Thanks again for all the work you did.


  29. I'm all over the map when it comes to reading content in other blogs, articles and even opinion pieces. I find it interesting to hear personal stories and if they are well written oftentimes I will relate to the content on my own personal level. As for me, once in awhile I will share a remembrance or daily musing, but the nature of both of my blogs tends to be more of a news style.

  30. Patricia -- Thank you for those kind words here and the one's you left on Alex's blog about A to Z. I know what you're saying about the personal stuff. That's why I prefer to delve back into my past and make a story out of things. I try to relate an experience I've had to something I think people might enjoy hearing or might be able to relate to.

    Paula-- I'm kind of like you in my reading approaches. I enjoy reading about personal stories if they are well written. If it's just an "I did this, and then I did that, and my kid did something, and I watched my cat do this", then forget it--I usually don't care if you didn't make it into an interesting account that entertains and enlightens me.

  31. Hi Lee .. I love the mix .. I visit various blogs and just love what I read - but can't do too much self-interest or self-promotion .. but if it's done in a fun and light way - then it's great ..

    I like learning from others on their chosen paths .. if I get bored = I don't visit or comment! .. but I'm here!! Hilary

  32. Hilary -- I'm late responding, but i'm glad you left a comment.


Go ahead and say something. Don't be afraid to speak your mind.
I normally try to respond to all comments in the comment section so please remember to check the "Email follow-up comments" box if you want to participate in the comment conversation.

For Battle of the Bands voting the "Anonymous" commenting option has been made available though this version is the least preferred. If voting using "anonymous" please include in your comment your name (first only is okay) and city you are voting from and the reason you chose the artist you did.

If you know me and want to comment but don't want to do it here, then you can send me an email @ jacksonlee51 at aol dot com.