The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

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

Friday, April 24, 2015

Update! (Elements of Blogging) #AtoZChallenge


Slacker Bloggers

        One thing about blogs that really annoys me is when they aren't kept updated.  This is especially true when the URLs are posted on social media profiles such as Twitter for example.  If an interesting sounding Twitter account recommendation comes my way and I see a blog URL listed, I often don't bother following them if I go to the blog address and find that they haven't posted for six months, a year, or even more.

        This is true for any place where a person advertises their blog URL whether it be FaceBook, a business card, or even an author's recently published book.   If you aren't going to keep your blog updated then don't advertise your blog link as a place for me to go visit!

         Exceptions to this might be those blog owners who are essentially using their blog page as an informational web site to provide contact details, biographies, or any other strictly business facts that might enlighten visitors who just want additional information.   If this is what is being done then the page should not be referred to as a "blog".   Using this terminology for a static site is misleading.

The Blogging Commitment

        Anyone who decides to become a blogger should accept the responsibility to keep their site updated.  When I go to a blog that doesn't have any posts for a month or more it leads me to question the professionalism of the blog owner and wonder why that person blogs.  Especially if the most recent, now months old post is open-ended leaving the readers to expect a new post to come soon.  That's when I have to ask, "Where is that post?"

         Life can get in the way and a blogger is entitled to change his or her mind about their blogging agenda, but that's when some sort of finalized post should be put up.  At least tell us "Closed Until Further Notice" or something of that nature.  And then be sure that you don't have any promotional material or on line links that are directing people to your dead or sleeping site.

Blogging Consistency

          You don't have to post every day or even every week, but you should make it clear when visitors can expect to see posts.   If you only post every first Monday of the month then make that clear.  If you are one who doesn't like being confined to a schedule or merely blogs when the whim strikes then you should make that clear to visitors as well.

         Personally, I am not at all impressed when I visit a blog where there has only been sporadic activity and when it does happen the writing is banal and of little interest to readers.   The worst are the bloggers who admit that they have been slack in posting and then mention something about their uninspired state of mind--"goodbye that's all I can think of today, see you when I feel like posting again."  If that comes from an author especially, do you think I want to read that person's books?

The A to Z Test

        During the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge we see some of this blogger reliability exemplified.   So many blogs are stricken from the list during the month of April because they aren't able to keep up.   With the exceptions of sickness or other unforeseen life circumstances, most of the bloggers who get booted because of inconsistency of blog posting are just blogging like they normally do.  You can look back over their older posts and see the evidence of inconsistency everywhere in their blog history.

        Part of the A to Z goal is to instill good blogging habits like consistently posting content of reasonable quality.  Those who fall behind due to old bad habits need to coerce themselves into building blogging muscle and creative mind stretching.

       If you keep up the daily A to Z pace then you are either blogging in your usual professional manner or you are working towards that goal.  If you fall behind but are catching up, then you know you have what it takes to be a real blogger with a professional attitude about the craft of writing and now you just have to start pushing yourself a bit more.

      For those who dropped out or never responded to the communications of the co-hosts, maybe you need to reassess why you have a blog and whether or not you should continue to have one.  While you're at it you might want to take a good look at everything you do in life and how well you are doing at those things.   Blogging is a responsibility that to a great extent mirrors your character.

        Finally, if you are one of those people who has a blog that is rarely updated, please don't share that link with us.   I might go to read your out-dated post one time, but if it's still there when I return later you've lost a great deal of credibility with me.

        Do you think I'm taking blogging overly serious or would you tend to agree with what I've said here?    Do you blog according to a certain schedule?   Do you take any action if you know you won't be posting for a designated period of time?  

100 comments:

  1. If someone signs up for the Challenge then they must know what it entails. To hop out of it because they can't keep up is not a good thing. As tou say unforseen circumstances do happen.
    A good point you have raised here Lee.
    Yvonne.

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    1. A commitment is a commitment and A to Z is just that. It's not like "Follow Friday" or something like that.

      Lee

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  2. Speaking about the AtoZ, it's not that hard to make a post for 26 letters if you get a theme or an idea... pre-make them in advance. Set them up and let do what the challenge is. Make them short, make them clear so we as new visitors know in the title like; #AtoZChallenge .... Make your post short, have an image... I only stick around if I find the letter is current to the day or day before... and good lord make it something interesting, fun and can hold my attention. I get it you are a writer, you have a book, you need to sell it..your site is full of your products... but many start with the sell, then the letter of the day... I have found so many new sites, so many interesting people and cool post I plan on visiting after...

    Now I am not saying your posts are not interesting, you can write what you want on anything you want... there are 2000 sites to see and I want to see them all... find what makes you, you.

    Lee, you hit a lot of my thoughts, it's a challenge... it's great people follow up and finish. So many people who quit cause their not getting the attention, don't make the effort... it's not come to me, look at me... it's a building process.

    Maybe next year, everyone has to pre-make their post, then sign up, share a post that just says "we are ready"... and we send out the minions/helpers out for the first couple of days... if not on "A", remove them...

    Jeremy

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    1. Jeremy, I must really hit your hot button to get this long comment. You make some very good points.

      Bloggers should look at A to Z as an opportunity to show off their blogs and blogging skills and not display their inadequacies as bloggers. And if they have a good reason for not keeping up they should post a notice and bow out with finesse and professionalism.

      Lee

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    2. A to Z Challenge is a great thing, people can be part of this great thing... I have stopped by so many places on the master list and it's been frustrating to be on the letter of the day... and seeing letters six days ago. All promises to catch up and never do... friendly reminders and lack of response.

      So many of us are having a good time, making connections/friends and these few 100+ are time wasters for those who want to show support, our main site has so many helpful instructions, support and good people to answer questions [year round]. This is not a new issue, it's the excitement to sign up and stagger with the hopes someone clicks in.

      I am proud to be a host, participant and friend to anyone who stops by to see my site... really honored to see comments and a shout out to you for keeping your wits... Hail to the chief!

      Jeremy

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    3. thanks, Jeremy, for your longtime association with A to Z and for being such a great friend to all of us.

      Lee

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  3. I am struggling blogger because of health issues blended with life issues. I have to really make a commitment to my readers to blog. I am working on becoming more consistent but it is hard. I don't know when I will be able to write or blog because of my struggles with pain and illness. Do they have resources for bloggers who cope with illness? Thanks.

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    1. Mary, I don't know about resources like you mention. A case like yours is understandable, but you might want to put a message of explanation in your header or at the beginning of your blog if you are trying to establish a regular readership following.

      Lee

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    2. I'm in a similar situation to Mary Hill, trying to blog and write but coping with health issues. I committed to A to Z and survived - just - but came out of it unable to maintain such a pace. So now my only commitment is to the monthly Insecure Writers Support Group post. And if another post sneaks in, then I write it. Juggling 'spoons' means having to do only ONE thing well per day.

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    3. Roland, understanding ones limitations and adapting to those is the most honest way to deal with one's own situation. You are the best judge of your accomplishments and what others say doesn't matter if they don't know what's happening in your life.

      Lee

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  4. This is such an important post because it really helped me introspect why I blog and what blogging means to me. You have been a wonderful host and guide for the #atozchallenge 2015. This was my first but I am sure I will do many more.

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    1. Pooja, thank you for your encouraging comment. If A to Z helps a few bloggers then we've helped a lot of bloggers.

      Lee

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  5. Hi, Arlee! This is a great topic. I take my fun seriously. My philosophy is that visiting my blog and experiencing one of my posts should be as much fun for you the reader as it was for me the author to compose it. At its best, blogging is an art form, and that's what I strive for. I don't publish every day, it's more like once a week, but when I do, I try to give readers their money's worth. I try to make every post something special, something memorable, something that gives readers something to smile about, something to think about, or a great new/old song to play in their heads all day. I put a lot of time, work and research into every post and, like you, feel cheated out of my time when I encounter a blogger who phones it in day after day or frequently complains about being bored and uninspired. People who are bored should not be blogging. As you recommended, conscientious bloggers who have lost their muse should post an announcement stating that they need to take a break for a while and resume blogging when they have something interesting to show and tell. I have three years worth of fresh post drafts in the can and waiting to be published. Therefore, the only times I need to suspend my blogging activities are when I travel on vacation or move from one residence to another as I did last month.

    Thank you for discussing this important topic, Arlee. Have a great weekend!

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    1. Shady Dell Knight, As a newer follower of your blog, I'm impressed by the quality and the depth of your content. When anyone visits your site it becomes obvious that you post regularly long posts that take time to digest. And you reply to comments very well. Your site is like an actual visit to Shady Dell where we can sit back relax and chat and when we're done we know you'll be back in about a week.

      You're doing a great job.

      Lee

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    2. That's very kind of you, Lee, a great compliment coming from a blogger of your stature. Thank you!

      Delete
  6. Call it like it is, Lee!
    Never apologize for not blogging. Usually the people who do start every post that way.
    I'm all about schedule. It's hard to follow a blog when you have no idea when posts will appear.

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    1. Alex, I think this is one of those topics that need to be brought up periodically.

      Lee

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  7. I blog on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday...I think you should set a schedule you can maintain. Daily is exhausting. But I try to read all the blogs of those who read mine and getting around to everyone every day is just too hard during A to Z. That extra day in between and the weekends give me a chance to keep up!

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    1. Stephanie, I started out with daily postings, but I had very few visitors or comments so it wasn't too difficult to just put up the content. I have a difficult time visiting back everyone and working on maintaining the list clean-up at the same time.

      Lee

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  8. Oh boy...dare I comment on this one? In my defense I have never missed an A to Zed post (and at 6 AM Atlantic) and this is my fifth one. However...I am a sporadic blogger. I admire those who keep their schedule and at 63 years old I'm probably not going to change my feckless ways. I don't use my blog to sell myself or anything else - it is a way to write and connect with others. So, shaking your finger at me will probably not get me to change this much. In my professional life I am constantly irritated at organizations who have websites that are out of date so I understand the frustration. Blogging is simply not the most important thing in my life and it must take its place in my rather fullish list. I am prepared to take the consequences so why does it bother others?

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    1. I totally understand how you feel. My thought is that if you are content with your blogging style then you have found the right one. If you are unsatisfied with the number of visits your posts receive, the number of comments you get, or the number of followers you have then you need to evaluate your blogging style. We all have different aims in blogging as well as everything else we do. If the blogging feels right then it probably is right.

      Lee

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  9. I update my main blog everyday, sometimes twice a day. I believe that I do owe to my readers to keep the content fresh and current. Granted even if I am talking about a game from the 80s or a vampire film from 70s.

    I have some secondary blogs that are the "overfill"; things that don't really work for my main blog. Those get updated far less frequently.

    I like to take this seriously, but it isn't my day job. Or even my "night" job of writing. But it is essential to my writing job.

    --
    Tim Brannan, The Other Side Blog
    2015 A to Z of Vampires
    http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/

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    1. I think you've pinpointed what I'm getting at.

      Lee

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  10. Some folk use blogger as more of a personal journal, like myself.
    However, I agree with you that if you are going to link up your blog or join a challenge such as the A to Z then you better stick with it. If I had a "Professional' blog then I would be much more inclined to keep up with it as it would be a determining factor in my sales and credibility.

    Being an ambassador has let me see the non-blogging side in a new light. Some blogs signed up for the challenge but never even posted. Their last blog post was in January. There were too many of these to all be a coincidence.

    Bushman
    2015 A to Z Challenge Ambassador
    @jwb81074

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    1. A to Z is a responsibility and requires commitment. You know the frustration of encountering the slacker bloggers in an event like the April Challenge and can understand what I'm getting at here. This post mostly is my rant that came about from cleaning up the A to Z list.

      Lee

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  11. I too hate it when I go to a blog that sounds interesting, only to find it hasn't been updated in forever. I may not blog every day (except this month hehe), but I do blog several times a week. I don't have any set days scheduled, instead just blogging about what was going on during the week, something I found interesting, a new recipe, something homeschool related, etc.

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    1. Schedule is not a requirement in regular blogging if that works for you, but a certain amount of regular activity shows visitors that you have a blog where they can expect to find something when they choose to return.

      Lee

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  12. This is the way I feel about my blog. There are two people who I know will faithfully read my posts, no matter what. That would be me and my greatest supporter, my husband. I have a feeling that there isn’t any other single person who is waiting with bated breath for my next bit of pearls of wisdom or that it will change their life in any way if I am not expounding that day.
    WAIT! Don’t stop reading yet.
    What I love about this challenge is that I re-discover how much I like to write. What I love about writing is the journey. This challenge puts me back on track to do something that I love.
    I can’t tell you how much writing changes my outlook on life. Well I can tell you, or write about it. :) Thanks for this challenge!

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    1. Your comment is the kind that I like to receive. I will share this one in a later post.

      Thank you!

      Lee

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  13. I agree w/ you 100%. And that's, as you know, one of my biggest pet peeves about A-Z. I see the same bloggers sign up and then they bail halfway through, year after year. Just stop signing up if you can't make a commitment. I have tried an every other day schedule but lately I haven't done anything or gone anywhere or taken any pictures/done crafts so I've slowed down a little but I hope that changes now that the weather's getting better.

    I also get annoyed when I don't get reciprocal visits/comments from people that I am following when I comment on every post.

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    1. It is nice to get a visit back if you've visited another blogger. I'm sometimes bad about this I will confess. I do try to do as much as I can.

      Lee

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  14. I agree. It's far worse to have a static, out of date site than no site at all. If you can;t keep it active, shut it down.

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    1. Dear Lady Wolfe,... even if we did stop posting ... we would leave our blog running ... it is a great resource site for "hard to find" Monster and Horror topics... Thus, a sort of "Archive"...

      Delete
  15. You are correct, Lee. It bothers me too when I go to a blog and find a post a year or so old. I realize that I can only blog once a month on two separate blogs, Adventures in Writing and Camping with Kids. And that's why I couldn't take the challenge with you.

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  16. This might be one of the most politically charged blogs you've written on Tossing It out recently. (Only slightly kidding.)

    Authors who aren't actually bloggers, don't even understand the difference. So if there page is static with information, I just accept that they don't really get "blogging." Often the link is to their "website," which maybe has different connotations (and expectations). And maybe that is what it should say if it doesn't.

    On blogging. I've gone through times when I've blogged consistently, albeit never on a "schedule"... Battle of the Bands being the exception. In 2010 I blogged a lot. The next couple of years... not nearly that much. I think it very much reflects just how sick I was. Although I was also sick in 2010, but really needed "something" to keep me in this world feeling productive.

    The A to Z is hard. Not so much writing 26 posts, but the level of visiting the blogs of others that I feel is required to really participate in the event. In 2014 I wrote all of my posts before April, and I was still exhausted by mid-April. Now maybe other people don't put that sort of expectation on themselves and just do what they can (which might be healthier), but I feel like if I'm going to participate than it requires a level of commitment. I knew I didn't have it in me this year, so I just didn't do it.

    All that said, I've let my TV blog just sit there. Not doing anything. No closed sign or nothing. Maybe I need to get busy there again.

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  17. Sometimes things happen and folks have to let it go for awhile. I appreciate when they post something to that effect i.e., "Just had triplets. Back when they're potty trained." :-)

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  18. There's been a few times I've taken blog breaks and I always put up a post saying so. Since I want my website and blog to be a place where people can find me, it's important they know when I'm taking a vacation from blogging.

    ~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Member of C. Lee's Muffin Commando Squad
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

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  19. I'm definitely not a prolific blogger, but I post at least 2 a month unless life is too hectic.

    I understand the frustration to click on a blog that hasn't had a post in years when they've signed up for this challenge.

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  20. One thing I have noticed is the more frequent you post material to your blog the greater the number of hits your blog gets. So if visitor numbers are important short regular posts are better than one huge post at less regular intervals. Its the returning to a site a couple of times only to find there is nothing new that can put folk off. I follow one site that only adds a new post once a year but I know that and keep an eye on it but the visitor and follower numbers are very very low as a consequence.

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    1. Some bloggers have no idea about blogging or what they are doing. They might not even know whether or not they get comments. Then there are those who apparently don't care about comments and just write posts for reasons only they know.

      Lee

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  21. It's so frustrating to click on an interesting-sounding link and then discover the person never started the Challenge, or dropped out without writing an explanation. I understand someone writing a post to say life got in the way, or just that s/he's giving up, but don't write a post talking about your awesome theme and then only write a few posts before dropping out. How much planning actually went into that theme you were so proud to announce if you only wrote a couple of posts for it?

    My guess is a lot of these people just sign up and then never visit the A to Z site for tips on how to handle the Challenge and finish successfully.

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    1. I think you are correct about your last point, Carrie-Anne. There are many bloggers who just sign on to any Linky List they see. They are apparently doing this to get more followers, but I think they are idiots and tend to avoid them.

      How we blog is a look into how we do everything else in life.

      Lee

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  22. You make an absolutely fantastic point! I will stop visiting a blog if I've gone back twice and not seen a new post in over a month. There's no way to tell if the blog was abandoned, if the author died, or what's going on. A simple message noting why there's a delay can go a long way, but people on the web have short attention spans and will forget people who fail to show up.

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    1. J., An update is the least any blogger can do if they have a problem staying current. If they are merely an irresponsible blogger then they should notify visitors of that point as well.

      Lee

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  23. I agree with your A-Z assessment. If you are going to undertake something, then follow through. Unless of course, as you say, something tragic happens. Time and unforeseen circumstances befall us all, so it happens. I also agree, if you normally keep a blog, keep it updated. I always make sure the casual person making their way to my blog knows it's a weekly thing. The heading of each of my entry spells it out. "R.a.n.t. for week...." tells you it's a weekly blog. I at times do more than once a week, but usually at least once.
    Also think if you are doing the A-Z, it's a good idea to use it for what it's intended for. Meeting others, reading other blogs and keeping in touch. I'd like to think I've met some great people doing this and have been really enjoying their blogs. I appreciate those who respond to my comments and who comment on my own. It's been a lot of fun so far! I'll be back next year for SURE!!!! It's awesome connecting with others in the blogging community.

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  24. We have very little "professionalism" at my Blog... but update at least every day and some days , quite a few posts... we do not "advertise" (and will Not touch "Face Book")
    ... indeed , our posting habits are very "Sporadic" Often several time each day... (regardless of whatever "Life-issues" that we are dealing with Here...
    Great post, good Sir and All very valid points....
    Sorry as hard as we try .. we do not think of ourself as a "Professional Blogger"... still (after 3 1/2 years) not really sure how or What we are supposed to do ... mostly we post to share with others the people that we know in Life , care little for these "topics"....
    We do (most of the time at least Try our best)...
    We hope that my little "Crypt" meets with your approval... drop us a comment sometime to let me know if we are doing poorly or well....

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    1. At least you keep current postings. No one can accuse your blog of being missing and out of action.

      Lee

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  25. Lee :
    (Q) Do you think I'm taking blogging overly serious or would you tend to agree with what I've said here? (A) I totally agree with what you've said here. My minion experience has really showed me the light! I wondered why some added their name to the link tool? (Q) Do you blog according to a certain schedule? (A) Before A-Z, I posted between two-three times per week, (no certain day) but I have thought of 'feature' type posts that might be better scheduled to the same day every week. (Q) Do you take any action if you know you won't be posting for a designated period of time? (A) In the past I have, but I'm thinking a periodic update might still be a good thing/ habit, especially regarding health issues/surprises.

    Great post!!! Thank you, (smile).

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    1. Good for you! At least you get my message.

      Lee

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  26. Yeah, I can sort of forgive someone who maybe blogs once a month, but there isn't really a reason to follow. Once a week seems relatively current. If I go to a blog at it isn't recent, then the last post better explain some hiatus and give an expected return or I am probably going to bypass it. Then again my Twitter account gets ignored for months at a time, so I might be the pot calling the kettle black.

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    1. Twitter is pretty random anyway whereas blogging would be expected to be on a schedule since more time and care should be put into a blog post. But then there are those for whom a blog post is little more that an oversized tweet.

      Lee

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  27. I've had my blog on a consistent schedule of MWF for a few years now though I'm considering going just MW this summer because I have a lot of family things going on.

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    1. I've been cutting back during summer and it does make sense. There are less visits during the summer and people are busier doing summer things.

      Lee

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  28. I'm loving the challenge and deeply grateful to the organisers and everyone taking part. It's teaching me to trust that the right material does come up every day if I set the intention to write regularly.

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  29. I completely agree with you Arlee. I hate when I go to a blog and the last post was months ago. And if you are signing up for a challenge, then don't quit after 5 posts...geez. I bet those people who do that are also habitually late to everything. It's a lack of caring and respect. I don't post on a regular schedule in regards to my medical updates, but I do post every Friday with the Celebrate the Small Things bloghop...I find that posting every week keeps me aware that I do have a blog and it is a responsibility. If I ever need a break, go on vacation, or decide to stop blogging, I will address that in a post out of respect for anybody visiting my blog.
    Katie @TheCyborgMom

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    1. Katie, that's exactly what I'm saying. A blog can be affect by one's life, but it also reflects one's life. When a person decides to blog they are putting themselves out there for the world to see and we see what kind of person they are by their blogging habits. You are doing it the right way.

      Lee

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  30. I started blogging again because of this challenge. I abandoned my blog for far too long, but I had not previously connected with other bloggers. I only shared each new post with my friends, so I hope I didn't disappoint too many visitors. Participating in this has reminded me how much I enjoy writing and it has also given many great ideas about posting more regularly.
    Thanks for being such an excellent host, Arlee!
    Elizabeth @ Liz's Random Ponderings

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    1. Bloggers like you make A to Z worth doing. Thanks for telling us this.

      Lee

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  31. I agree that you both take blogging way too seriously but that people need to post something regarding their inactivity. I've come across blogs where the last posting was 6 months, a year ago and guess what? I worry. Yes, I worry! I don't find it irritating, but I worry. I think, "oh no! Why did she stop blogging? I hope she's okay..." If it's one of my fellow blogger friends, I contact them to make sure they are still alive and kicking, like Old Kitty. She's doing dandy, she's just in the middle of moving and stuff and she misses blogging too!

    Elizabeth Mueller
    AtoZ 2015
    My Little Pony

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    1. There is that side to it and I'm the same way when I know something about the blogger and their normal habits.
      The big annoyance comes when people are using the link to their blog in their promotional material such as Twitter and there's nothing happening there when I go to visit. Why continue to use the blog link and waste people's time? If you're not going to blog, don't advertise the link to what you're not doing. That's irritating to me because it's inconsiderate.

      Lee

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  32. Do you think I'm taking blogging overly serious or would you tend to agree with what I've said here? I think that being in your position you take it more seriously than I do. If I visit someone who isn't keeping up, I don't go back. Irritating but not maddening. I think I am more upset about people who don't respond to comments or don't comment back.

    Do you blog according to a certain schedule? I blog several times a week, sometimes daily. Sometimes I get side tracked doing research for a blog post and then I might post only once a week.

    Do you take any action if you know you won't be posting for a designated period of time? So far, that hasn't happened.

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  33. I agree with what Jan Morrison. I understand the irritation of going to a blog and nothing was posted for a while. I do not take it seriously like you do. I have no financial gain to come from it and I have a few of my loyal followers who have stayed with me. I'm one of those sporadic bloggers. I blog in spurts and the thing is I don't know when I will write next. My life changes day to day. literally.

    However, I have been trying to be more consistent and I think the AtoZ challenge jumpstarted my motor..how long will it rumble is the question. It all depends on what life throws at me. I know everyone is going through their own obstacles. But I've had to live day by day for all my life. Most of the time blogging is not my priority.
    I subscribe to a blog if they have a subscription button. I don't have to go looking for it because when they post I get an email. When they don't I don't worry about it. I used to end every post with "until next time, whenever that may be." I guess I need to start that again.

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    1. As I've said repeatedly (or at least I feel I have), bloggers blog for differing reasons and have different expectations regarding the outcome of what they are doing. My way of doing it may not conform to another blogger's way of seeing the activity. You got to do what suits you best and accommodates your social networking needs.

      We all live day to day, but for some--like me in my current status most of the time--there is more predictability that permits more consistent blogging habits. I understand that life gets in the way and we all have priorities. Blogging is not my priority either, but for now it's a big part of my life since I'm retired and don't have that much else happening right now.

      Subscribing is a great way to follow certain blogs and I have subscribed to many. However I can't subscribe to all the blogs I follow and keep my mailbox in realistically manageable proportions.

      Actually your tag line is pretty good. I used to close with variations using "tossing it out" and now I've stopped in favor of just leaving questions. I think a tag line gives your blog personality and that one is rather clever I think. You should try it at least now and then. It gives readers something to remember you by.

      Lee

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    2. Thanks for the response and understand. I think I may have read more into what you were saying and I apologize. I plan to use the tag line..Thanks again!

      Delete
  34. I do so agree Lee, ending up at a blog which hasn't been updated since the dinosaurs does get annoying. I rarely stop blogging but on the couple of occasions, I did let my readers know I would be off line for a while. In fact I blog every day but Sunday anyway so from that point of view, A to Z is easy for me. It's keeping up with the visitors which I find hard work especially as more and more people visit these days.

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    1. Jo, you are consistent and reliable. We can count on your blogging abilities.

      Lee

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  35. Hi human, Lee,

    A thoughtful and provocative article by your good self. The blog site I share with my human is totally up to date. As for blogging and a routine, well you understand that life gets in the way. In fact, my human and I would much rather put up an article when it feels right. No pressure, no worrying about follower totals which mean dick all, anyway.

    Blogging respect is always correct. However, there are no rules and blogging should not, in my opinion, be taken too seriously.

    A passing note about your A to Z. You might not realise this, good sir, but I have received a number of emails from bloggers who struggle with this challenge. They feel guilt and pressure about the whole thing. That is most unwarranted. I do hope that this is the last year of a well-meaning concept that really has become overly tedious.

    Thank you and have fun with the last few letters. Pawhaps do us favour and don't have those never ending reflection pawsts.

    Pawsitive wishes,

    Penny

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    1. Dear Penny
      What may be tedious to you is also exciting and fresh to many others. I, for one, am hoping this challenges happens every 6 months rather than just once a year. If you feel you can't keep up or feel that it's too much pressure, sit the next one out. But don't bring your negativity to the party.

      Delete
    2. Gary, different people blog for different reasons and my post is not the all encompassing post that includes all bloggers, but just the ones who are using their blog for platform building or some "professional" purpose. If a blog represents something about image in the manner similar to a resume or promotional materials that are career related then that blog needs to be handled as such.

      I agree that some bloggers are in it for the fun, the forum to vent or express their inner selves, or some other personal manner and they don't need to be held to any higher standard of blogging. They can just blog as the whim strikes them or whatever.

      A to Z is something that many people enjoy and they should not be condemned or criticized for wanting to do it and enjoying themselves.

      Frankly, I find the crying and complaining about the A to Z Challenge to be incredibly egocentric and sad. There are things that I don't like that others like but I don't make a concerted effort to spread negativity about the activities or those who like doing them.

      I think I'm due for some apologies from you as well as any others who might be speaking negatively about the A to Z Challenge, an endeavor that strives to spread positive messages and encouragement to those who enjoy blogging and want to become better bloggers.

      And for any who are complaining to you about pressure or guilt pertaining to A to Z I wish you would direct them to me rather than all of you commiserating about how bad it is because some people are trying to be positive.

      I try to be positive and when I read the rants and complaints about something to which my name is attached it hurts me and even can bring me a bit down. Would that be a better thing. Would you rather me fold this Challenge and instead blog about how miserable I am, how defeated and hopeless my life is, or maybe even not blog at all unless I had something to complain about.

      My Challenge to you, Gary, and to anyone else who dislikes A to Z is to come to me directly and discuss this like rational beings instead of posting negative comments all over the place. Thank goodness you actually posted this one here for a change.

      So what'll it be all of you naysayers? Do you want to enter into positive dialogue or just keep on bitching about the Challenge and everything else in life for that matter? I'm like the rest of you--just trying to get by and feel good about what I'm doing. Over all I do feel good. Convince me why I shouldn't feel that way. That's my Challenge to the ones who don't want to participate in the A to Z Challenge.

      Actual positive human wishes,
      Arlee

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    3. Mary, thank you so much for your enthusiastic support of A to Z as well as your positive outlook. The world has enough garbage in it to bring people down and A to Z isn't one of them. The disparagers of A to Z need to take a good look inside themselves to understand why they would want to ruin the harmless fun that others may be having. What is it within them that causes them to feel pressured, guilty, or upset in any way about A to Z.

      Under the current circumstances I don't see A to Z happening more than once a year as it is very labor intensive and time consuming for those running it not to mention for many of the participants. But never say never! Every 6 months might be a reality someday, not in the way that we currently do it, but perhaps in some other fashion. Who knows what we may see in the future of A to Z?

      Arlee

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    4. Good for you Lee! Even though I can be one of those dreaded slacker bloggers I love the A to Zed challenge and think you and all your helpers do a brilliant job. If there are those who don't appreciate it ...well why do they take part for heaven's sake? I think it is a measure of your success that there are naysayers - there can be no other logical answer for why they take their precious time to bitch and moan but that they are jealous! Please take cheer dear guy -your endeavors are fullsomely appreciated.

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    5. Thank you, Jan, this is a good sort of comment to wake up to this morning. For the most part, I think if we looked deeper at those who complain about the Challenge we would find that they complain about a good many things. Encouragement from you and others is welcomed by me and the rest of those who appreciate opportunities like the A to Z Challenge.

      Lee

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    6. The A-Z is a great way to flex those blogging muscles and make new connections. Even though it's a bit gruelling, I look forward to the challenge! ☺ People who don't like it are free to decline participation, but that's no reason to shit all over it with their negativity! You and your co-hosts, minions et al are doing a fantastic job with this, Lee! Kudos all around! (But please, once a year is plenty.)

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    7. Thank you, Debbie, you are always so supportive. Sometimes the voices of negativity stand out, but over all they are drowned out by the crowd of positive voices like yours.

      Lee

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  36. I have to agree, although I have been guilty of not keeping up with my own blog before the challenge. I signed up for the A to Z Challenge to help me blog more consistently, that way I know I can blog more on a daily basis after the challenge is up. When I started blogging around December, my goal was to blog 2-3 times a week and there were times when I couldn't do that. But through doing this, I now know that I can preset posts if I know I'm going to be busy during a certain time. I have struggled with keeping up with visiting other blogs though and have been working hard to do that. I do reply to my comments and visit blogs of those who commented on mine.

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    1. Megan, soon after I began that first A to Z in 2010 I began to realize the value of the Challenge to bloggers like you. This Challenge is a classroom for some and a place where the seasoned bloggers can help out the ones still learning. A to Z is intended to be a positive community of people with diverse interests coming together through the common interest of blogging. We can help and support each other while at the same time learning and being entertained. It's pretty cool when something like A to Z comes along to span the globe and bring so many people in contact with one another.

      Lee

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  37. AMEN! The challenge isnt difficult if you simply plan ahead. I had one blogger friend tell me she wanted to participate but didnt because she felt she couldnt come up with something for each letter. What happened to imagination? I tend to be a lazy blogger when it comes to interaction with others, but it's something I'm working on. But I will ALWAYS find something for the topic for each day to post about.

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    1. Mary, I've said it already and I'll say it again--blogging is a reflection of who we are and how we tend to do things in our lives. A to Z can bring out the best in bloggers and that is something to be lauded. It can also reveal some of the worst and if those bloggers don't learn something from this and take action to improve then it's not for our lack of trying to encourage them. Becoming better at anything we do is ultimately our own responsibility.

      Lee

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    2. Hey Lee.. Just an after thought that I had - but what about a weekly email/newsletter that goes out to everyone that signs up for the challenges. Just a little something that gives a great pep talk and perhaps some writing ideas? Maybe this would help with retention and participation?

      This is my first year of participating - I've only been blogging since October. The A to Z Challenge has been a lot of fun not only for me, but for my readers. Lots of guesses and suggestions of topics for next letter in comments they have left, etc. It's given them a reason to come back the next day to see what I'm writing about. Thanks for the hard work and dedication that yourself and other admins have put in to this challenge.

      Mary

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    3. That is a possibility to consider in the future.

      We do currently have regular postings at A to Z Challenge Blog and the A to Z Facebook page is always open for community exchange and chatter. If you don't follow these now I would recommend that you do so in the future.

      Lee

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  38. I have found blogs and when I visited I noticed they were 2 years old. I wonder why they left and I think, for them, they got bored and went to the next "fad". It's a shame really. I know some bloggers feel zapped and need some tlc in words to get them motivated...maybe I am naïve but I don't mind that too much at all. I think many people think the A to Z sounds great but they have no idea the dedication it takes so they fall off the wayside. As you mention, others become ill or something happens and they must deal with that crisis so that is aok. One thing I can be blamed for is not having a schedule I guess:) Oopsy! I write for the IWSG and for film things but I also place cards on my blog which I normally do on a Sunday...but sometimes it may be a Monday:) So I falter in that I guess

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    1. I'm not going to knock anyone for giving up blogging or the A to Z. People have to do what they capable of doing and what they feel is right for them. My problem is the pretenders. If you're going to do something then do it and if you're not be honest about it.

      The way I see it, A to Z is like a marathon or an Olympic event. Some people will win and some lose. Some will do better than others. A to Z is also like a training camp for those who want to compete more seriously later. It's like going to blogging gym to workout to build blogging muscle.

      We should all blog in the way we want to for the reasons we want to, but we should be honest about all of it.

      Lee

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  39. Sure. I'm with that. My blog really is just an on line journal without much of a focus except for commenting on the daily absurdity of coping with having four sons and being a person who tends to see the irony in just about everything. But even still I keep it updated, at least a few times a week. I rarely lack for things to rant about and dammit, if I can update my blog with a job and four kids - anyone can.
    Happy A-Z
    www.gvpeasachantrant.blogspot.com

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    1. Joanne, I like your spirit. You tell it like it is because you're telling it true.

      Lee

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  40. I agree with your points, Arlee. Being a blogger is a responsibility and keeping the readers informed is the right way to do it. I normally blog as I come up with stories or creative poems but taking part in this month's challenge has made me realize that isn't too hard to blog every day. So I do plan to continue the pace. :) Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Eloquent Mind, a mission is accomplished when I hear wonderful stories like yours.

      Lee

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  41. I tend to agree with you. On my A - Z posting, I give a shout out to 5 other A - Z'ers each day. What I find is that many of them have old posts and/or have not even started the A to Z challenge. It's kind of embarrassing considering I may have sent someone else to view an outdated site.
    @dino0726 from 
    FictionZeal - Impartial, Straighforward Fiction Book Reviews

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    1. Yeah, I'm sure I've done that more than once on my blog. We try to help others but they aren't even helping themselves. That's an almost futile mission to undertake.

      Lee

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  42. I took about a yearlong break from blogging while going through a stressful lawsuit. It was a huge mistake! I had a small but faithful audience that drifted away and hasn't returned. When I started blogging again, I was writing to no one all over again.

    I had been blogging consistently for a while when I ran across the AtoZ Challenge. I decided to do it no matter what. I worked on most of my posts ahead of time, and I think that helped a lot.

    It's been a real pleasure to participate in this challenge, even though life has thrown some curve balls this month. I really appreciate the example set by the organizers and volunteers...you inspire me.

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  43. You are a stern taskmaster, Lee! ☺ I agree that if a blog is dormant for a long time, why promote it? That said, I take the occasional blogging hiatus, but always announce it. I leave people with links to peruse and use the "Tweet Old Post" plug-in to keep the website brand out there. (I do that even when I'm active, but stopped it for the A-Z. That would be way too many posts.) Schedules and structure aren't my favourite things (A-Z excepted) and I post when the muse moves me, but that's generally at least once a week, sometimes twice or even three times. Blogging is not my "job" (I have an offline business), but rather my passionate hobby and life offline will always take precedence. Well, not in April.....;)

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    1. I mentioned in a post a few years back that I treat blogging as my job, but really that's just because of my philosophy about my own blogging and what I am trying to achieve with it. Not every blogger is looking for the same results and they should blog in the way they feel most comfortable.

      Lee

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  44. Oh Arlee you are a hard task master, but good at it... I am guilty of updating sporadically - I just don't think enough people will be interested in what I might want to say between May and March. For the last three years the #atozchallenge has stirred something in me and I'm yet to fall behind during April - Certainly my blog reflects my life, unorganised, undisciplined, moments of great energy and apathy.... It's valuable to have good examples to follow, thank you for being one.
    Reflex Reactions

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    1. Ida, I love your honesty. Don't think people won't be interested--you are a writer. If nothing else make up your story, but better yet just write it as it is and make it interesting.

      Lee

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    2. I would like this comment if there was a like button - Thanks Lee

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    3. To my knowledge Blogger doesn't offer 'Like' buttons. Too bad since people have mentioned this. Unless there is a "like" button that you know about and if there is please let me know about it.

      Lee

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  45. «Do you think I'm taking blogging overly serious or would you tend to agree with what I've said here?»
    —The former.

    «Do you blog according to a certain schedule?»
    —Nope. As the whim takes me. Generally I blog most days in a week, but I may miss quite a few if I'm under pressure, or whatever.

    «Do you take any action if you know you won't be posting for a designated period of time?»
    —When my laptop went down a couple of weeks ago, I used my smartphone to post a warning that I wouldn't be online much for a while, and why.

    You seem to be concentrating on blogs as a commercial thing, or a way of publishing. That's fine for those that want to do it, but it sure ain't the only reason. I mean, really, this?:
    >>>>>
    Anyone who decides to become a blogger should accept the responsibility to keep their site updated. When I go to a blog that doesn't have any posts for a month or more it leads me to question the professionalism of the blog owner and wonder why that person blogs.
    <<<<<

    Responsibility? Professionalism? I'm trying to *get away* from work. You say you have a question; well, I'll answer it. Why do I blog? For me and most of my friends, blogs are *social* media. That's "social" as in "social event" and "socializing", not as in "social criticism" or "academic society" (I already have enough of those). I think of my Friends Page (LiveJournal) or Reading Page (Dreamwidth) as being like a coffee shop, or a public park with a lot of benches where people I know hang out. If I hear an interesting conversation I can join it, or not. If I have something important or funny or interesting to say, or relevant to interests I know a bunch of these people share, I can say it. I blog for relaxation and social contact, especially with friends and family in distant places— not for business.

    Take a look at the Wikipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog . I'll quote a paragraph here to accent the diversity of blogs, and what the word really means as people use it; it's a lot broader than you think:
    >>>>>
    Many blogs provide commentary on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries; others function more as online brand advertising of a particular individual or company. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, Web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability of readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important contribution to the popularity of many blogs. Most blogs are primarily textual, although some focus on art (art blogs), photographs (photoblogs), videos (video blogs or "vlogs"), music (MP3 blogs), and audio (podcasts).
    <<<<<

    Regards,
    Dr. Whom: Consulting Linguist, Grammarian, Orthoëpist, and Philological Busybody

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    1. What you're saying is basically what I've said in my many posts about blogging. And the Wikipedia article sounds like it could have been compiled from many of my blog posts about blogging.

      I agree that there are lax bloggers who are just in the game to blab as the whim strikes them. They have no aim or purpose other than just talking to be seen by anyone who might see them.

      Yes, I'm talking mainly about bloggers who have business intent, are blogging for platform, or want to be seen in some sort of serious capacity as a blogger. The hobby bloggers and the whimsy bloggers are another realm and good luck to all of them.

      My other concern was the folks that sign up to an event such as A to Z and then don't play "by the rules". There is a schedule and an element of competitive challenge so to speak. Participants expect to see others participating as expected or to be kicked out. Visiting the deadbeat bloggers, the ones lacking initiative, the uninspired, the irresponsible, the opportunists who just to get visitors to their site without playing by rules, and any other blogger who wastes the time of the serious participants is annoying and frustrating. Some of us are trying to achieve something with our blogs and our social media interaction. It's like any other interactive activity--play along or just stay off the playing field.

      There's room for all kinds of bloggers and to each their own. None is inherently any better at what they are doing as long as they are playing according to the rules they set for themselves and stay out of the way of the others playing in the ways they want to play.

      So what I said in my post is exactly right according to the parameters I'm setting. And what you've said works for you and your friends. So over all one camp doesn't matter that much to the other camp and that's the truth of the world.

      Thanks for dropping in to express yourself.

      Lee

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    2. Thanks for the reply.

      Not everyone who comes here knows what this blog is about! You seem to equate "mention" with "advertise". I came directly to this post because it was linked on a friend's (social) blog, and only slowly figured out (part of) your blog's purpose. Some parts of your post mention it, but a lot of it just talks about "blogs" in general, applying your criteria for this blog and commercial blogs to *all* blogs. Have a look:

      >>>>>
      One thing about blogs that really annoys me is when they aren't kept updated.  This is especially true when the URLs are posted on social media profiles such as Twitter for example.  If an interesting sounding Twitter account recommendation comes my way and I see a blog URL listed, I often don't bother following them if I go to the blog address and find that they haven't posted for six months, a year, or even more.

              This is true for any place where a person advertises their blog URL whether it be FaceBook, a business card, or even an author's recently published book.   If you aren't going to keep your blog updated then don't advertise your blog link as a place for me to go visit!
      <<<<<

      Again, "mention" ≠ "advertise. I have a lot of friends whom I see on both blogsites and Facebook.

      >>>>>
      I agree that there are lax bloggers who are just in the game to blab as the whim strikes them. They have no aim or purpose other than just talking to be seen by anyone who might see them.
      <<<<<

      That's pretty harsh for those of us who aren't blogging for customers or participants or programs. Kindly don't judge us by criteria we never signed on to.

      Obviously (I hope!), I'm not criticizing your blog, or criticizing you for your judgements of *bloggers whose purposes are the ones you describe*. But the inclusion of *all* blogs is careless, and the assumption that everyone who blogs is in it for purposes comparable to yours is simply incorrect.

      Regards, and success to your A-Z challenge,
      thnidu

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  46. I think the challenge is great. This is my first year for the challenge and of blogging all together. I love a good challenge! I signed-up because my goal it to be a professional and perfect my writing. I was very discouraged as I fell behind on my posts and with that my link was removed, understandable. But I am still attempting to finish out the month and visit the remaining blogs on the list. I have enjoyed the people I have met and the blogs I have discovered.

    Live.Wag.BARK!
    http://livewagbark.com/

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Lee