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This blog is part of my life journey. I've got places to be and people to see along the way. Hope you'll join me and maybe join in the discussion...

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


Friday, June 6, 2014

The Results Are In...Kind of

Thomas Edison, half-length portrait, facing le...
Thomas Edison, half-length portrait, facing left and looking down into glass, experimenting in his laboratory (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

          If you've been following the last few posts on this blog then you might be aware that I've been doing some informal research.   Nothing too scientific mind you and my findings are a bit sketchy.  In fact I wouldn't say I came to any clear results regarding my three posts.

        To recap, I was attempting to get an idea about why people like what they like.  I focused on three categories:  literature, music, and movies.   If you missed any of these posts and are curious you can follow the links in the previous sentence.  Check out the comments if you visit any of these posts or missed the comments on your original visit--there is some excellent insight provided, especially on the posts about literature and music.

          The main finding of my recent research is that it's difficult to do much accurate research in a blog post.  Asking for thoughtful contemplation to questions requires more effort than most people are willing to engage in.   On the music post there was the added effort of listening to at least a part of three song clips.  The literature post invited visitors to actually read a story over twenty pages in length in order to answer my questions to the fullest extent.  Not many were willing to indulge me in any of this.

         Of course I am not surprised as I'm aware that most bloggers are hurriedly skimming through posts that they hope will be short and easy in order to cover as much ground and leave as many comments as they can in the quest for good social networking.   Looking at my stats I can see that most of those who dropped in on my posts rushed away probably because the posts were too complicated.   This has become a standard on many of my blog posts and I'm fine with that.  I'm also pleased that a few will at least provide me the courtesy of saying something even if it is not completely what I was looking for.  I value every comment--simple or complex.

         To give some perspective let's first consider the post on literature. There were 47 comments with 28 actual visitors weighing in with comments of varying degrees.  Of the other 19 comments 10 were by me while the remaining nine were additional comments from those who had previously commented.  Some of those comments were quite lengthy.  Or as fortyandfantastique humorously said: 
I feel like I have just completed an essay test! Not that there's anything wrong with that, professor Arlee. Keep "tossing it out"... I like this essay test blog format, sir :-)

         On the post about music there were 45 comments from 18 visitors.    Nearly 20 lengthy comments were left by me. I usually cluster my replies, however on this post there were so many long complex comments that I was left to respond in kind.    Stephen T. McCarthy  alone left eight very long and involved comments.   What this amounts to is discussion where my questions were answered and the commenters added their own thoughts.  I'll gladly take 15 long thoughtful comments over 100 short one liners any day.  But don't stop leaving the short comments if that's all you have time for or all you want to say.  All comments are welcomed and wanted.  I'm just saying that if you're ready to engage in discussion, this blog is a site where it is welcomed.  

           So, my conclusion regarding my research project is that though I received some fantastic feedback from a relatively small sample of population, there is certainly not enough to come to any scientifically accurate conclusion.  For that I would be better served by a somewhat lengthy multiple choice survey questionnaire from a few hundred respondents along with some additional long answer respondents.   Not having that research available, in my next few posts I will suggest what I think the data that I did receive shows and provide my own theories about why people like what they like.  This will culminate with my post of next Friday June 13th for the "Then and Now Blogfest" when I will give some of my thoughts on movies.  If you're not signed up for this movie themed blogfest then click on the link to find out more.

Battle of the Bands Results!  

         While there may not be any clear results from my recent research, the one thing that is clear is the voting on my most recent Battle of the Bands post (click the link to find out more about that Battle).

          This was a very difficult Battle in many ways.   As I somewhat expected the musical selections were not the favorites of many out there, but this was a necessary aspect of my "research".    Let's face it--a lot of people are not interested in classical music. I'm striving to change that, but it is a common attitude among many people.  Personally I thought the match ups I offered in this Battle were some of my best yet, but I've gotten used to the fact that what I think is "best" is often the least popular generally speaking.

         There were some harsh responses to the music, with a surprising number of Julie Andrews haters. I didn't expect that!   A good percentage of voters did not care for the classical rendition of the melody as written by Alexander Borodin.  And yet there was a near perfect balance in the votes that makes this about as close of a three way contest as anyone has offered in these BOTB posts.

          My vote would have caused a tie no matter which of my favorites I would have picked.   It was close for me since I thoroughly enjoy all three versions of this tune.  Gloria Lynne's jazz take on "And This Is My Beloved" is outstanding to be sure, but it's my least favorite of the three.   As some of the voters indicated, the Julie Andrews version was very moving and I was in awe of this version from the first time I heard it.   But in the end, the original version for string quartet as written by Alexander Borodin is the clear winner for me.  This is a hauntingly beautiful piece that I have listened to over and over again and will continue to listen to repeatedly

Final Tally:

Julie Andrews    5 votes

Gloria Lynne      6 votes

Original Borodin Quartet     6 votes

        Does the outcome of this contest surprise you?   Do you enjoy receiving lengthy comments on your blog and engaging in discussion?     Would you rather have a lot of short comments or a lesser amount of longer comments that display some interest in a topic you've written about?

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  1. Here's a mostly irrelevant short one liner for you:

    A movie-related blog hop? I'm in!

    Empire's 5-star 500

    P.S. Regardless of what your evidence might suggest, I always enjoy your much longer blog posts. It shows you have much more time for your audience!

  2. Sorry, just had to leave you a one liner there!
    Some people have a very small group of friends they socialize with and thus have time for lengthy discussions online. Some don't have time but for a few short comments. And some of us have more friends than we know what to do with, and thus, our shorter comments reflect that. Because despite my clones, there are only so many hours in a day.)
    Missed the music one. I was probably on vacation at the time.
    Have not signed up for the blogfest. I don't think I have. Crap, I better go look...

  3. I like comments no matter how long or short, but since I mostly post crafts and photos, there's no need to leave lengthy comments.

  4. I just like to get comments. I do enjoy it when there are long ones which means the commenter has thought about what I wrote, but then my blogs are not as thought provoking as yours are Lee.

    Yes, I was surprised at the outcome of the voting. I too was surprised at the Julie haters. My hubby being one of them.

  5. Ed -- I have time for the audience unless I get too many comments, then it gets difficult.

    Alex -- There is a place for the fly by blogs where there is no engagement and I appreciate that. When the subject matter and discussion starts getting deeper and takes more time then a lot of bloggers are less willing to make that investment. It's not so much a matter of the number of "friends" quantitatively speaking, but the quality engagement of similarly minded bloggers who not as concerned with the social media. I'm torn between the two realms as I see the value of numbers from a marketing perspective, but I'm more interested in more intimate exchange. Besides trying to deal with numbers requires a more consistently fast computer than I have or spending more hours than I care to with my computer as it is.

    JoJo -- I want as many visitors commenting as I can get but I just know if my post is too complicated a lot of visitors can be overwhelmed and say nothing. I'm thankful for the bloggers like you who always manage to find something to say. You're right about many of your posts. What else can we say but relate our amazement and appreciation for the wonderful things you create? Not much discussion on that except a compliment.

    Jo-- I'm not a huge Julie Andrews fan, but I appreciate her singing. I was pleased to see the classical version to pull ahead to tie with the jazzier version. And I love all comments. Thank you for being one of those who almost always stops by to say something.


  6. As you say, I will take any comment on my blog bits. I MOST ENJOY the longer comments that engage conversation. Stephen is great at these and I think he has responses sent to his email so that he knows if you comment on his comment. He then tends to come back and comment again. MOST PEOPLE do no do this. They leave a comment and forget to ever come back. As I have cut back my blogging time, I have become EVEN MORE GUILTY of this than I was before.

    Even though I didn't like Julie Andrews version of that song... it doesn't mean I dislike every thing she sings. If I didn't make that clear, I wanted to take a moment and wipe the screen.

    As for likes/dislikes... I think the only thing you will ever KNOW to be true is that we are all different. The musical tastes in the blogosphere range far and wide. Some of that is natural stuff (like age differences) because we all tend to really like the music with which we grew up. As we get older, we tend to always like that music and then add in other things. But there will always be music that just doesn't grab us. We might not Hate It, but we will never love it either.

    If I thought I could find it on YouTube, I would give this to you on a HERE'S TO YOU, but I am pretty sure it isn't there. I think of the scene from the movie Pretty Woman when he takes her to the opera for the first time. She has no idea what to expect. And he says (something like) people who love the opera will always love the opera. It will touch them in a way that they cannot even describe. Others might come to appreciate the opera, but it will never reach their soul. And what he doesn't say is that there are those who will hate that music and never even reach a place of appreciation.

    And that is the case for all subjective things. Art, music, literature. Some we will love, some we'll appreciate, and others will be hated. But we shall never have agreement on what pieces fall into what category. And that keeps people interesting.

  7. BOIDLEE ~
    What?! The research is already concluded? Heck, I didn't even get a chance to weigh in on the movies post you did, and now you're saying the research project is done?

    No fair! I was robbed!

    ROBIN, thanks for the shout-out!

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  8. Taste is definitely subjective, and writers are hard to pin down, Lee!

    I love getting lengthy comments if it's about the topic and repeat commenters are the kind that make it a conversation - albeit a virtual one.

    Will check out the bloghop. . .

  9. Robin-- Interesting about your reaction to the Andrews version. I wouldn't call myself an Andrews fan, but I don't dislike her either. But this song that I presented is one of the best things I recall hearing her do--it actually surprised me and give me a new respect for her talent. As far as taste--and I will be discussing this more next week--I understand the subjectivity thing, but I wanted to go deeper to understand more about this. I guess my real ultimate mission is to cultivate a greater appreciation for classical music and a bit more of an open-mindedness toward some of the 60's and 70's music that I like and a lot of listeners seem turned off by when I use them on my BOTB posts. I seem to see a lot more "I don't like that" comments than I'd like to see. IN regard to following comments and conversation, this is something I always do but realize that most probably don't. Sometimes I reply to a comment left on my blog with a knowledge that the person I'm replying to is probably not going to see it. I mostly do it for me and for those who are following the conversation. I know this is one reason why I don't get to more blogs, but I'm not a fan of hit and run commenting. If I leave a comment I'll subscribe to the thread to see if the blogger or any other commenters have anything to say about my comment and if there is then I'll get back into the conversation if a follow-up is required.

    StMc -- No worry! The research is never done. And you can still jump in on the movie post since I won't be addressing that until next Friday. That's a blogfest that should interest you. You should sign up.

  10. DG -- The subjectivity of taste is obvious, but where does it come from and how does it develop and when it does change, why does it change? I look at my own tastes and see an evolvement. Not sure what you mean by "writers are hard to pin down".

    When a discussion happens it makes me feel like my blog post had some kind of substance to it that stimulated interest and thought. To me that's the reason why I write.


  11. By 'writers are hard to pin down', I mean writers as a segment can be undependable as far as stats. Writers seem more adaptable than most to growing and changing our perspectives, likes and dislikes based on continual learning. I know that is a generalized statement, but that's the best I can come up with now.

    I have changed my estimations of several authors, as I judged them previously by my younger self's choices; a few decades later, I read other work by same authors and I think, hey, this guy isn't all bad. I misjudged their writing before as I had different parameters to compare them against. I could apply this explanation to movies as well, and music. (there's your followup comment)

  12. The outcome doesn't surprise me. Obviously people have different reasons for blogging and visiting blogs. I had a very mercantile reason for starting as a blogger. I write book. I want people to know that and to buy my books.

    However, I do linger over posts that offer up information, and I long for posts that aren't about writing and new books.

    Comments that reflect people have read my posts are greatly appreciated. I don't care how long they are. I just don't like finding. "Great post. Glad you posted that. etc."

    But frankly I've been slack on offering anything of substance for a while. I'm looking forward to changing that. If or when I do, it will be interesting to see how many current visitors leave comments that say they've read what I wrote.

  13. DG -- Thank you for that follow-up comment. As a statistical sample I agree that the population who consider themselves as "writers" generally might be more open to learning new ideas with a greatness propensity to adjust some of their thinking. On the other hand many of the genre writers in the blogging community in which we are generally engaged have other interests such as promoting their own books or the genre in which they are interested. Some of those blogs don't delve with much depth into many topics and often are more populist in the things that interest them. I'm making a gross generalization here, but I have noticed this about many blogger/writers. If you visit an ideological or political site you will usually see more complex posts and a goodly amount of engagement in the comment section with nearly all comments being somewhat lengthy. In regard to changing estimations, I've found that to be true as well. I guess a lot of that comes with age and increased knowledge. Also, having kids I think can have some effect on the way we view the world.

    C.Lee-- When I receive a comment I'd like to have at least some clue that my post has actually been read and the commenter hasn't just left something obligatory to try to get me to reciprocate. If you change your approach to blog content I'll be interested to see how that goes. My comments often drop in numbers when I get somewhat deeper posts, but those comments get better though they are fewer.


  14. I don't mind short comments on my blog if the content indicates the visitor actually read my blog. I love the longer comments where I actually learn something interesting about the person. Sometimes I leave short comments because I don't want to share my true opinion about something. Does that make sense? I try to stay off soapboxes.

  15. I'm sure you know that I'm generally down for the more in-depth stuff, but this past month has been incredibly busy, and it looks like June will be the same.

  16. Dude,

    I beg you! Make your posts shorter! And when it comes to Blogfests, make them STOP!

    Yes, it's a hectic, fast-paced world in blogland. I would like a lot of shorter comments on my site. Did you know that I get a huge amount of comments and for the first time in ages, I did not give back individual comments back to each person who kindly graced my obscure yet strangely popular blog. How did that happen?

    I missed your battling band blog hippety hoppety. Forgive me and have yourself a real nice weekend. You hear?


  17. Susan GK -- Sure I understand and I also watch what I say depending on what blog it is.

    Andrew -- The end of June, all of July, and the first part of August will probably see major online cutbacks for me.

    Gary --But this was a relatively short post and it was easy reading I think. Bottom line is I write what I am inspired to write and I suppose people comment accordingly. I couldn't resist the movie blogfest. And besides someone asked me to do it so I thought I'd be a nice guy and do it.


  18. I missed these posts, I'll have to go back and take a look at them-the story one has me intrigued, lol :)

  19. I missed out on this survey of yours but I'm guessing that a survey would need to be conducted simultaneously on a cross-section of blogs otherwise the only feedback you'll get is from people who are pretty much on your wave length. It would be a bit like me asking my close friends their opinions on an issue and putting the results forward as conclusive evidence. That's my take on it, anyway.

    As for comments on my blog posts, I don't mind if they're short or long but the ones I don't care for are those which show clearly that the writer has not bothered to read my post. Weird but I get them occasionally... and of course the spam ones. They make me livid!

  20. I missed out on this survey of yours but I'm guessing that a survey would need to be conducted simultaneously on a cross-section of blogs otherwise the only feedback you'll get is from people who are pretty much on your wave length. It would be a bit like me asking my close friends their opinions on an issue and putting the results forward as conclusive evidence. That's my take on it, anyway.

    As for comments on my blog posts, I don't mind if they're short or long but the ones I don't care for are those which show clearly that the writer has not bothered to read my post. Weird but I get them occasionally... and of course the spam ones. They make me livid!

  21. I listened to the Borodin string quartet when you posted it Lee and loved the 8 mins or so of it. I didn't listen then to Julie Andrews or Gloria Lynne but am interested enough to have now listened. I loved the Gloria Lynne version. Julie Andrews is incredibly talented and her version was excellent. I loved the Borodin most - I remembered it.
    I love all kinds of music, classical, blues, country, jazz ..I also like silence when working.
    Re comments- always so pleased when I get appreciative comments, long or short it doesn't matter as long as they've read it and it's given some pause for thought. I learn from others' comments - and of course always respond. I know only too well how busy many of us are ..
    Garden of Eden Blog

  22. >>... "Bottom line is I write what I am inspired to write..."

    Bravo, BROTHER LEE!

    That is PRECISELY the same thing I've been saying for years... albeit I say it in a less succinct and more long-winded way.

    The reason I have resisted following the many suggestions I've received over the years from many followers / readers / commenters about how to improve my blog and get more readers is because... I WRITE WHAT I AM INSPIRED TO WRITE ABOUT, AND I WRITE AS MANY WORDS AS I FEEL INSPIRED TO WRITE!

    Anything other than that and I would not be true to myself (as Shakespeare told me to be).

    The bottom line for me is... I am far less interested in "marketing" myself than I am in expressing myself, honestly.

    Anyone who doesn't want to read and comment on what I write because my blog bits are too lengthy... well, that wasn't a person I was targeting anyway, and even if my blog bits were shorter (leaving out crucial information), that person still wasn't someone likely to be interested in what I have to say.

    I'd rather be a little-known blogger working on my own terms, than be half the blogger I think I could/should be but with a huge readership consisting of people with MTV-video attention spans.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'


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.