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Monday, February 6, 2012

Empty Page

A Letter To PonderImage via Wikipedia (if I were a woman I might look kind of like this)         As I open up this empty page, I do so without any real idea of what to write about.  Then as I ponder the possibilities I start to wonder--what do the people who happen upon my blog want to find?  I consider what I look for when I'm surfing through the blogosphere.  There are a heck of a lot of blogs and a ton of different topics.  What am I looking for in blogs?

         Information:  I like to find interesting facts.  Facts about places, people, and things.  Ephemera.  Hard truth.  Behind the scenes stories.  If it looks like I might learn something, I might hang around a blog for a while.

          Style:  Simplicity, that can be convoluted and deep in thinking, but presented for a dummy like me.  Expanding my vocabulary is fine, but if I have to stumble over too many words the reading might get tedious for me.  Likewise, if it sounds like a blogger is writing like a professor writes for academia, then it might become too much for me, especially if it's a long piece.  If it has footnotes I'm fairly sure that I'm in the wrong place.

         Quirkiness;  There are some blogs that are really weird in content, but it's an intelligent weirdness.  Other blogs shine in the delivery of humor, visual art, or entertaining literary devices.  Keep it short though.  In  blogging--especially the type of rapid social blogging as occurs in a blogging event like the A to Z Challenge--we'll read your book at another time.   Right now, don't bother me--I'm blogging.

          Friendliness:  Some blogs are so inviting.   It's easy to get to know the blogger and ties are established. Those are the blogs I visit repeatedly.  I may not visit every day or even every week, but I know who you are and you'll see me on occasion and I'll see you.  The community of bloggers is so cool.

          So I filled the page with my wondering about what the best thing to fill blog pages with is.  What do you look for in blogs?   Which one of these or other categories does your blog most fit into?  How would you describe Tossing It Out (that's the blog you're reading now in case you weren't looking)?   What would you like to see more of on this blog?  What things on this blog have you liked the least (be honest!)?






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42 comments:

Miranda Hardy said...

I think the person needs to be inviting, more than anything else. If the person is interesting, then I know the posts will be too.

Rebecca Bradley said...

I like the blog itself to be easy to follow, rather than me finding it difficult to figure out where I'm supposed to be looking. After that, it is, like you say, a mixture of things. Sometimes I like the voice of the blogger other times the information their imparting. I get easily fed up and move on however if there is absolutely no feedback from someone after you've taken the time to read and comment. There's no personal comment in response or comment on your own blog showing they followed where you came from. One or the other, I'm not fussy, as long as they interact. That's what blogging is about for me.

welcome to my world of poetry said...

My day wouldn't be the same without reading "Tossing It Out". I found you through another blogger way before the first A to Z. Little did you know what you started when you announced what you were going to do.

Yvonne.

Jenn June said...

I really do enjoy the personal blogs. My favorites are the ones in which the authors share info about themselves and also share their passions - whether their passion be poetry, photography, writing short stories that can be shared in posts, etc. I get bored with the academic or strictly factual blogs. If I don't know 'who' you are, then I'm less likely to read your blog to glean factual info and/or statistics. I can find a million sources for that type of thing on Google. If, however, I've already gotten to know a blogger, then they share a post based on facts about something I previously knew nothing about, I find that very interesting. To me, it's like sitting with a friend over coffee and having them share knowledge with me that I didn't previously possess, which I consider to be a wonderful interaction.

Anywho, that's just my opinion. There are at least 1168 more to be shared here that may or may not differ from mine. That's what makes the world go round. :)

Li said...

I just don't have a hard and fast rule. I follow all sorts of blogs, from humor to fact-filled to reviews. The one thing I avoid like the plague, however, are blogs that give off a negative vibe - constant ranting, complaining, name-calling, finger-pointing etc. turn me off completely. (I suppose that's why I don't follow any politically themed blogs.) I do like personal stories - especially from childhood. Those are fun :-))

Journaling Woman said...

I'm eclectic in the blogs I read. And I don't mind if they're long posts(but not rambling). That's probably why I don't get around to as many as I should. But I like to linger,read and learn.

Teresa

Mary@GigglesandGuns said...

Tossing It Out is like having coffee with friends. You never know where the conversation will go but you're glad you dropped by.

farawayeyes said...

Interesting always interesting. No wonder the 1000+ followers.

YeamieWaffles said...

Friendliness is definitely something you should strive towards in your blog man and provide it extremely well. Honestly, despite your views being a good 20 times mine you've been nothing but welcoming to me man and I appreciate that a lot. Keep it up Lee!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Don't bother me - I'm blogging. Now that's funny!
I like a variety of blogs. I guess a blogger's personality needs to shine in order for me to keep coming back. And obviously there is a lot of shiny people out there.
And I won't ever use footnotes, Lee. Promise!

Retired Knitter said...

I pondered this very same question last week - and I listed a few things that I looked for in a blog.

But, in truth, sometimes in jumping around and landing on an interesting post - I pause, I read, I scroll back a few posts and read those, and then I find myself hitting the "join" button. And it is not so objective as fitting into my criteria.

Sometimes it is just that one post that invites me in and encourages me to look back. You never know who will read each and every post you write and when that reader will feel some connection to your content!

So write well each time - and put a little passion into it, put a little of you into it, put a little zip into it - and you might just snag a new blogging friend.

Arlee Bird said...

Miranda -- Inviting is always a good start. Then I'm softened up for what I might find in the blog if I disagree.

Rebecca --Simplicity is a big help especially when I'm trying to get through a lot of sites. Interaction is important, although I feel that I've been falling short in that lately due to having too many things happening.

Yvonne- You have been a loyal reader here and many other places and I know that you are much appreciated.

Jenn -- I agree that it mostly comes in the presentation. Sometimes bloggers get a little more personal than I need, but I like getting to know the bloggers who I visit. Facts and education are good so long as they are presented with purpose and in an entertaining manner.

Li -- I have very similar tastes. Sometimes rants are okay, but I tend to shy away from vitriol that goes against my personal beliefs.

Teresa -- My problem too. I'm getting more and more behind because I do tend to read and think about content which prevents me from getting around to as many blogs as I might if I were just skimming and leaving terse comments. Rambling can be difficult and if someone is going to write a long post, please break it into readable paragraphs and sections.

Mary --Compliment accepted. Thank you. And I've got my coffee.

Far -- Thanks. Of course if all of those followers were reading and commenting on every post I wouldn't be responding too much.

Matthew -- I love your comments! It's the bloggers like you that boost my spirits.

Alex -- You've mastered the skill of friendly and inviting blogging. I'm not sure I could keep up with the comments like you do. And no footnotes unless they're used for a comic or novel effect.

RK -- You summarized it very well. The other day I ran across the blog of a college student--a newer blog with zero followers. I disagreed with the content of the post I read, but it was written in such an inviting way that I scrolled down and read some other posts. I liked the style and could see potential future for good blogging. And the posts were short and simple. I became first follower.

Lee

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Lee, I'm with you on the footnotes. :)

I "follow" blogs for a variety of reasons - for info, for humor, sometimes it's just a "gut thing" meaning there's just something about it I like.

I do like simple, uncluttered pages. I also like when the blogger takes the time to resp to comments.

Karen Walker said...

I want to know what is happening in the world of the people I have come to know.
Karen

Suze said...

Lee, what a great post. I feel like I learned a ton. Really enjoyed it and got a lot out of it. Thank you.

cleemckenzie said...

Yes, all of that, and then there are those bloggers you simply connect with. It's something that seems to make you want to "know" the person behind the words, or maybe they open new worlds to explore.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Most of all I think a blog post needs to be short. I can't stand it when a blogger expects me to spend more than three or four minutes reading what they have to say.

And then there's those blog posts that are not only LONG but also invite some real CONTEMPLATION on the subject matter.

Now that's just going WAY TOO FAR! Arrggghhhh! Don't get me started...

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

kirstenlopresti said...

All of the above. I follow a great variety of blogs for different reasons. Some have great information, some are just written by people interested in the same things I am that I've struck a conversation up with.

Arlee Bird said...

Madeline -- I'm with you on all of these points.

Karen -- When you've gotten close to blog friends it's nice to keep up. I get concerned when I stop hearing from a blogger that I am used to visiting and who leaves regular comments.

Suze -- Wow, and it all started because I had an empty page and was trying to decide what to write.

C. Lee -- I've found many of those intriguing types who make me want to know more and keep coming back to see what they say next.

StMc-- You are so funny! You're still my friend no matter what. And wait until you hear my dream that I'll be recounting this coming Thursday. You were the featured character.

Lee

Arlee Bird said...

Kirsten -- Yep, me too. I try to mix it up on the blog types that I read, but lean toward the ones that I can relate to the most.

Lee

L. Diane Wolfe said...

What I like here is you always have something just a little different. Not weird - just unpredicted sometimes.

Anna Smith said...

As a fairly new blogger I've been asking myself the same questions quite a lot recently and I agree with what you have said. What I've learnt is to write about what I enjoy - dreams, movies, learning and the odd ramblings. So far my fave part of blogging has been commenting with like minded people. I love it when I see familiar faces on different blogs :)

bridgetstraub.com said...

It's so nice to find familiar faces on the campaign, even if we are all doing this to look for new readers. I like a blog that captures my attention, but like you, that can come from a variety of topics.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

I'm an eclectic reader and blogger, and follow a diverse bunch of blogs. As diverse as they may be, though, they have something important in common: they foster a sense of community and connection. My favorite blogs are filled with intelligence, humor, and inspiration, all delivered with a personal touch, and that's the same sort of thing I strive for with my own blog.

Only things that really turn me off in a blog are too much negativity and too many ultra-long ultra-dry I-might-as-well-read-this-in-an-encyclopedia kinda posts.

Arlee Bird said...

Anna -- I agree that the community is a big plus factor in blogging. It's a good way to network.

Bridget --Part of the joy in discovering a "new" blog is introducing it to the other members of my blogging community.

Susan -- I'm with you on that, Susan. I don't like to write or read about the same things all of the time. Surprises can be fun.

Lee

Southpaw said...

I pretty much like what you said.
-content, inform or entertain
-style, easy to read the content and the visual appeal of the blog
-the friendlyness

These are things I love to find in a blog (and hope to attain in my own).

DEZMOND said...

you know, when it comes to simplicity, which I also love like you do, Lee, you can usually judge how good a writer someone is based on how simple it is for him to write a simple post but to make it concise, informative and easy to read. At least 80% of the blogs belonging to writers don't have that. And I always wonder if they can't write an interesting, simple, concise and meaningful with a topic and point, how can they hope to write a whole book?
You're not in those 80% Lee :) And you know I love friendliness at sites too!

tfwalsh said...

I love discovering new things on blog - learning new things. I'm particularly fond of blogs talking about writing conferences they attend and what they've learnt there.. being in Australia means I miss on many of them in the US.

Stephen Tremp said...

I think you should experiment. With new backgrounds, that is. Try different ones. Maybe open up a second column and mix and match your side stuff. Change is good. I tried a new background for the A to Z Challenge on January 30th. Bold. Daring. Kinda strange. So I changed it back. But I'll probably use it again during the challenge.

Empty Nest Insider said...

I enjoy blogs that make me laugh, cry or say "Why didn't I think of that!" Some blogs may start out slow and then really grow on you. I also like a little "quirkiness" thrown into the mix! For A to Z, the shortest posts are the easiest ones to follow regularly. Julie

Tracy Jo said...

The blogs I am attracted to are simple, smart, informative and funny. Which basically describes yours. :-) I love it when someone's personality comes through and you can feel the emotions.

Arlee Bird said...

SouthPaw -- New slogan: "Let's make the blogosphere a friendly place".

Dezmond -- Thank you for those kind words. I agree with your assessment about making a blog readable and friendly.

TF -- Shared experiences can be good when we can't have the experiences ourselves. Learning is a good thing too.

Stephen Tremp -- I'm always a bit afraid to start messing with my page. Last couple times I did that I got bogged down in trying to fix what I did. Maybe I'll experiment after April, but I can't afford the time now. I need to get more comfortable with the tech stuff.

Julie --I with you on all accounts. Short posts during April are important. For that matter, learning to express oneself concisely is a good thing.

Tracy Jo-- Why, thank you! I think the same way.

Lee

Maurice Mitchell said...

Cool guidelines. Pretty sure I violate at least two of these. :)

Karen Peterson said...

This is always a tough question for me. Some people say they like reading my blog because I'm funny. But what about the days when I'm not feeling funny?

And then I remember that I should just be writing for me, and if anyone else gets anything from it then I should be glad for them or worried.

klahanie said...

Hey Lee,
I look for variety in blogs. If one can do an assortment of genres, then they have my attention. Even though you do not have the thrill of me frequenting your incredibly popular blog, I appreciate that you are one who likes to try out different styles of writing And very clever, asking a question at the end of your article to hopefully illicit a comment from your growing legion of adoring fans.
I also appreciate that you take my satirical outlook at the A to Z thingy ma jiggy, with good nature.
Take care and happy blogging.
In kindness and a bonus letter 'Zed' or I guess you might say, 'Zee', your way, Gary over at his shy, humble, unassuming and non self-promoting site....

D.G. Hudson said...

What blogs catch my eye?
- blogger provides interesting content and/or-images

-site not too cluttered; site holds some interest for me (e.g. writing, subject matter, reviews)

-blogger is friendly, replies to those commenting. It's like saying Hi!

-promotion expected on author sites but subtle works better

-tolerance

Diversity keeps it interesting.
I think your blog is fine, Lee. Maybe a few more photos?

Arlee Bird said...

Maurice - I wouldn't say you violate any of these. I think your blog is one where anyone could feel comfortable.

Karen -- I often feel funny, but not in a humorous way. Seriously, though we don't have to keep people rolling in the aisles with every post and don't even have to be entertaining. Honesty and sincerity it the most important thing. If we don't maintain those standards people will eventually catch on and be less likely to visit.

Gary --Variety is the salt of the earth or whatever it is. I can't read the same kind of blogs all the time anymore than I could write about the same stuff in every post. I'm like a little kid--short attention span and a continuous need to be titillated. For me education counts as titillation.

Lee

Arlee Bird said...

D.G. -- That's my checklist. I put more photos than I used to--I used to not put any, at least not very often.

Lee

Susan Kane said...

I'd say that I am on your page, quite literally. If the blog I am trying to read is dense with small hard to read font, then I don't finish reading it.
If the blog is 'high level language' I don't read it. If the blog uses objective language, I don't read it. If there is a lack of sincerity and commitment to the idea, then I don't read it.
Basically, what you said.

Naila Moon said...

I have an eclectic taste in what I like to read. I like friendliness and fairness. I will tolerate a rant on occasion but most times do not prefer the negative.

I am just getting to know you so I can't speak about your blog too much except that the A-Z I think will be fantastic!

Thanks for coming by and being my 101st today. I am truly grateful!

~Naila Moon

http://yaknowstuff.blogspot.com/

Arlee Bird said...

Susan -- When I find one of those densely packed with words huge paragraph block pages I will sometimes tell the blogger how difficult it is to read their page. I've never gotten a response from these comments, but I don't continue to visit those blogs either if they stay that way.

Naila -- Glad to have been 101--that's a cool number. Rants can be fun unless they are downright vicious or rude.

Lee

Paula Slade said...

I pretty much like the same things in a blog as you do Lee. I also am drawn to the personality of the blogger.

I enjoy you're blog because it is eclectic and you cover a variety of interesting topics. I particularly enjoy stories about your life.

I also enjoy your dream blog, as it is very different and thought provoking.

Can't say this blog has any negatives. For me, I'm not much into the blogging challenge, as I just don't have the time, but it works beautifully for many other folks.