Have your blog reading/commenting habits changed?

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Nathan Bransford
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Have your blog reading/commenting habits changed?

Post by Nathan Bransford » March 31st, 2010, 2:04 pm

Running a blog for a few years has been an interesting process for me, especially seeing the way the comment section goes through phases. The first regulars give way to the second group of regulars as the first fade away, and so on.

Have your blog habits changed over the last few years? Are blogs on the wane as people move on to social networking sites and other web content?

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Re: Have your blog reading/commenting habits changed?

Post by Kaylabirdy » March 31st, 2010, 2:13 pm

Being a "reporter" for a regular weekly gaming blog, I find that the comments and feedback for what I write is very much reflective of the game itself. If the game is doing well and is receiving regular updates and content, everyone is happy and usually don't feel the need to reply to my blog. If there is an upcoming new release, everyone is excited and I get tons of "what's it going to be? Do you know anything we don't?" and "Are you excited? Because I'm excited!" comments. If the game has gotten stagnant due to lack of content, the entire mood of the commenting population gets negative - about everything! :D Needless to say, you grow to have a thick skin regardless of what people say and try to keep everyone positive when it's the last thing on their minds.

Of course, with all that said, writing reports for a game would be heavily influenced by the community that plays it. I imagine personal blogs dealing with life issues would have a much different readership profile. I'm kinda' curious if other "bloggers" feel about their readers the way I feel about mine! :D

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Re: Have your blog reading/commenting habits changed?

Post by mmcdonald64 » March 31st, 2010, 3:53 pm

I'm a new blogger, having started on March 1st. I had two friends as followers. I'm up to 40 followers in a month, which I'm happy about. I'm just now forming my blogging habits, so none have changed, but as I get more followers, I add more blogs that I follow. A first, I was reading everyone's blogs, but I've found that's impossible to read/comment on everyone, much as I'd like to.

I'm having to pick and choose what I read/comment, and I know that others are doing the same. That means my blog may get overlooked. I'm trying to figure what draws me to comment on a blog so that I can do whatever it is on my blog to get comments. So far, I've found that asking questions that are general enough for most people to relate to, but still specific enough to have people want to share their own experience, if that makes sense.

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Re: Have your blog reading/commenting habits changed?

Post by Mira » March 31st, 2010, 5:25 pm

Interesting topic.

I know what you mean - I miss the regulars that were there on your blog last year, and have faded, although I also like the new folk.

I could be wrong, but I think that blogs are still very viable, and provide something that facebook or Twitter can't, although sunny spring weather certainly competes.

But agent blogs have particular challenges, I'm sure you know this, Nathan..... not everyone is able to move on - people get hurt or mad or feel embarrassed. Some had a specific goal in joining, and if it isn't realized, they leave.

But there are lots of other people who can move on or are there for other reasons. I was thinking about what makes blogs work. I think one of the reasons your blog is very successful is you interact with the commentors. That personal touch is important.

Also, you've allowed for honest conversation about highly relevant, current, even controversial topics. I know that's a ton of work for you, but people are very, very drawn to it.

Also, safety. People need to know that the moderator is strong and can set limits in a fair way, without targeting or favoritism.

Hmmm. Am I even answering the question or just talking about why I think your blog works, Nathan? :)

Whoops. Just started rambling here about.....me. Another post, maybe. :)

Thanks for the discussion. I'm interested in what others have to say about this. :)

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Re: Have your blog reading/commenting habits changed?

Post by kristi » March 31st, 2010, 6:02 pm

I started reading your blog about 1 1/2 years ago which was my first introduction to any sort of social media. Since then, I've read a ton of writing-related blogs and started blogging myself. I don't see myself becoming a Twitter girl but I would have said that about Facebook 6 months ago and now I LOVE Facebook! I still love blogging but also like how quickly I can connect with people via FB -- it's just a different kind of fun. As I plan on becoming a published author, I think blogging will still be an important component of an overall publicity/marketing strategy. I'm hoping the Twitter rage dies down but I'm not hopeful. :)

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Re: Have your blog reading/commenting habits changed?

Post by Rik » March 31st, 2010, 6:08 pm

I've been blogging for a few years now, but I've never really fallen in love with blogs. They feel like lots of people in lots of different rooms (some padded and lockable) having lots of conversations with themselves. A few blogs are more like meeting halls where dozens can gather to listen to a sermon and then debate its meaning among themselves; even so it still feels - unreal.

Facebook is more immediate, though more cluttered. Some of the groups can be fun - there's more of a to-and-fro feeling to a good discussion group. But then I pine for the days when usenet was in its prime.

I'll not mention the twits thingy ...
To Posterity - the latest chapbook of poems from Rik Roots ($free)

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Re: Have your blog reading/commenting habits changed?

Post by gonzo2802 » March 31st, 2010, 6:24 pm

I'm like Mary, I just started blogging (again) fairly recently. I enjoy it, because sometimes I have thoughts that are just a little too big to fit in a tweet. (I'm a big time Twitter lover)

As a reader I feel more of a connection to writers who blog on a fairly regular basis. (I've noticed most of the Publishees don't have the time or inclination to post as frequent as us Wannabees, but that's to be expected) I can honestly say that there have been a couple current authors who I have picked up their books, when I probably would have otherwise passed them by, because I really like the way they think and expresses themselves on their blog.

Crud! I think, like Mira, I went off topic.

Oh yeah, I don't think blogs will wane too much ... not if the smarter authors have anything to say about it. People at large, love familiarity. The more they feel like they know you, the more they want you to succeed. Keeping up a fairly hopping blog is a good way to stay connected to the readers.

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Re: Have your blog reading/commenting habits changed?

Post by mojo25 » March 31st, 2010, 6:38 pm

I been reading this blog for about a year. I de-lurked after your agent-for-a-day contest, then began reading your blog every day. I also read other agent, editor, and aspiring writers' blogs. I started my own blog (partly because of a guest post here), etc.

I think I'm trying to scale back on my comments, however, because I'm starting to repeat myself and sometimes I'm full of hot air and I wonder why I'm commenting at all. But I enjoy reading blogs and definitely think they are still viable. I'm not on twitter, but I occasionally read twitter feeds and half the time the tweets lead to blog posts or are random thoughts about nothing, or are interesting quotes, bits of wisdom etc, but aren't substantial discussions of things. Facebook, for many people, is for family and friends.

I think after a while people become discouraged by the publishing process and have perhaps given up or are taking a break and may stop reading agents'/editors' blogs. I see very few familiar names from the Miss Snark days (3 years ago) on the various blogs. I guess there is a turnover of regulars after a year or two. (And a few people have been published and I think they move on as well.)

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Re: Have your blog reading/commenting habits changed?

Post by mmcdonald64 » March 31st, 2010, 7:24 pm

I have to confess, I don't quite *get* Twitter. Half the time, I have no idea who is the original Tweeter. lol. I'm there, have been for a year now, but the only reason I signed up was because my job encouraged it last year. They were going to 'tweet' a live double knee replacement surgery. Yeah. I know. Gross. So, I figured, it would be one bit of social media allowed through our work firewalls, and it was. For about a week. Then the surgery was done and they promptly blocked us from it. A My job has recently seen the social media light and has now opened it all, but Facebook is the big one my coworkers flock to. I love Facebook, but I have a mix of friends, coworkers, family and writers on there. I don't feel comfortable posting much about writing, and I'm sure my family/work stuff is boring to writers. It's not a great mix. My blog is aimed at the writing community.

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Re: Have your blog reading/commenting habits changed?

Post by r louis scott » March 31st, 2010, 7:36 pm

I'll stand before you with no shame or regret in proclaiming my failure as a blogger.

Oh sure, I keep it because of the name, because who knows, one of these days I could find myself living a life of leisure. Then I would have some time for it, but I'm much too anal about public posting and writing to just fling out words. I recognize that this is my style and I work with that. As for commenting, unless I have something to add, I typically just read. When I feel I have some worthwhile advice or perhaps a different viewpoint on a topic I'll comment as I always have, editing my remarks relentlessly as I go.

So, to actually getting around to answering the question, no, my habits haven't changed.

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Re: Have your blog reading/commenting habits changed?

Post by abc » March 31st, 2010, 9:59 pm

I sure hope blogs are here to stay. What would I do without my Dooce, Mimi Smartypants, Kottke, Merlin Mann, and Nathan Bransford!

Reflecting on how my habits have changed---hmmm, I don't think they have. I still read everyone I have always read and loved. Perhaps I don't find new blogs to read as much as I once did. I do know this, I certainly have kept my original commenters on my own blog since I started (in 2002!). Those two people have been very loyal.

And speaking of commenters, I do get very irked when your commenters don't actually answer your posed question, Nathan. Or maybe I'm just prickly today.

Because, really, I often go beyond answering the question and just ramble. Like so.

But still, Most INFLUENTIAL BOOK OF ALL TIME ON HUMANITY! Not on me. Or my dreams. Or my writing.

Okay, full of love. Deep cleansing breath. Wine?

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Re: Have your blog reading/commenting habits changed?

Post by Harper Karcz » April 1st, 2010, 12:52 pm

I read tons of blogs, and I'll keep reading them for however long they're around! My commenting habits are spotty, though. Since I don't have a blog myself right now (more on that in a minute), I don't have as much incentive to comment as people who are actively trying to get their blog name out there. And since I don't have much time during the workday to post comments, I usually get to Nathan's comment threads after they already have 100+ comments. So unless I have something to say that's really different from what others have said, I don't post many comments there. (Same story with Ed Ass, Jezebel, and some other high-traffic blogs I read.) I used to comment under a different name, too, so I may seem like a newbie to Nathan's blog, when in fact I've been there ever since Miss Snark initially linked to it oh so many years ago!

Sometimes, though, the blog load gets to be too much, and for a couple days I'll just read the posts that people on my Twitter feed retweet. This is definitely one way that other forms of social media have affected my blog habits. Twitter provides a useful "greatest hits" of the blog entries of the day, but I do want to stay caught up on the individual blogs themselves.

(And other times I'll wonder what I'm doing reading so many publishing-related blogs in the first place, since what I really need to do is FINISH MY MANUSCRIPT without worrying what every other author, published or pre-published, is doing with their time! I do, at least, turn off my wireless card when I settle in to work on said manuscript.)

I used to be a blogger. I did it for 10 years -- started a few months before John Scalzi. But Scalzi did everything right in terms of creating a blog he could keep long-term without making him crazy, whereas I, um, didn't? I gained a lot of readers by writing personal essay-type pieces about my life. It was great writing practice, but after a while the "personal" part of the personal essay pieces were really giving me some problems in my life. Also, since I had used my first and last name on the blog back at the beginning, many of my longtime readers still linked to me using that name. Google was full of my TMI posts. Oof. And then I got a job I really liked where things like government security clearance may or may not have come into play. You don't think of these things when you're setting up a website at age 17. Heh. So the blog went. The name went. I like "Harper" better anyway.

I decided to get back to writing fiction, but then of course I discovered Publishing / Writing Blog World, and then I started going to SCBWI conferences, and the editors there said, "You need to be blogging!" Arrrrrgh. I keep going back and forth on whether to start a blog again. I think I should, as I mentioned above, finish the blasted manuscript first.
Having just the vision's no solution
Everything depends on execution.

-- Stephen Sondheim

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Re: Have your blog reading/commenting habits changed?

Post by knight_tour » April 13th, 2010, 2:27 am

I have followed your blog for a year and a half now, and it is easily the best agent blog around. I don't comment often, because I currently live in Azerbaijan, so by the time I read your posts there are already hundreds of comments and I feel mine will just be buried.

I blog, though not every day. I try to only blog when I have something thoughtful to say, while some blogs have fluff quite often. I have blogged for around a year and have only ten followers so far, probably because I don't push my blog anywhere, except a bit on here and at AW. I could probably increase the readership numbers if I visited loads of other blogs and commented a lot, but I don't have time.

I don't feel blogs will die. I don't do any of the other stuff (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), mainly because it doesn't appeal to me, but partly because I don't have time.

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Re: Have your blog reading/commenting habits changed?

Post by Margo » April 13th, 2010, 11:48 am

I read fewer blogs than I used to, as I have learned that not all blogs are created equal. I comment less, having groked that sometimes the delete key has greater personal and societal value that the submit button. I read two blogs regularly and another occasionally, all belonging to writing industry professionals. I don't blog (it would be like crack for my ego), I don't Twitter, and I only escaped the gore-dripping horror that is Facebook after it swallowed my life whole and I cut my way out of its putrid innerds with a tiny, rusty, hopelessly dull nail file. To this day, when someone says "social networking", my right eye begins to twitch and I hear the voice of Cthulhu. Describing how human souls taste a lot like marshmallow peeps.
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Re: Have your blog reading/commenting habits changed?

Post by jenniferjbennett » April 14th, 2010, 2:39 pm

My blogging has everything to do with time. As a Mom of three and one on the way I have more time some days than others. I quit my job a few weeks ago giving myself more time to work on my book and to deal with morning sickness. My blogging has been more frequent in the last few weeks than other times and I'm trying to schedule myself time each day for writing.
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