Tuesday, May 20, 2014

150! (What do I get?)

This being my 150th post (well, 151st if you count the post I took down a few years ago when I decided it was too personal, which is a shame since it was such a good post) I thought I ought to do something special. Of course it's exactly that sort of attitude of expecting "specialness" that's bound to give me a horrible case of writer's block, and as soon as I started thinking that way, my well of post ideas instantly dried up.

It's really a shame that Google seems to be doing some sort of search blocking, as I can't do one of my old posts where I'd talk about interesting search terms that brought people here. What I can tell you is that my most popular entries are on the 2006 Comic-Con and Milhouse as an internet meme. I guess that's good as the Milhouse one is one my personal favorites.

Maybe the thing to talk about though is that while I do seem to be getting a pretty good number of hits, I don't get a lot of comments. Most of the time, the thing that I'm thinking when I write blog posts (and this goes for my other blog as well) is, "What will my readers think about this?" Of course I have no idea what the answer to that is unless someone posts a comment.

The thing that I really like about the internet is the opportunity for dialogue with people you might not otherwise have a chance to come into contact with. Currently, when I'm not online the only people I really get to talk with are a few old high school friends and people from my current church. Sure, these are all people I do want to have interaction with, but I hate limiting myself. I'm not even looking for agreement; some time ago there was a guy that read through a bunch of my posts and largely gave rather eloquent explanations of why he thinks I'm full of crap; I can easily and honestly say that that guy was one of my favorite commenters!

Maybe what I'm missing is more questions? Maybe if what I'm looking for is discussion, I should end each of my posts with a number of discussion questions. What do you think about the Second Amendment? Have you ever had a serious disagreement with a Facebook friend? Do you have an interesting perspective on the evolution/creation debate? Is this what I'm missing?

Then again, maybe as I suspect is sometimes the case, I may be missing the whole point of blogging. Maybe it's just about generating hits and doing so as simply and uncontroversially as possible. If it is, is that what I really want? Lately I've been playing around with redefining what success means in my life so that it becomes something realistic and yet achievable; how should I really define success in blogging?

You know, maybe one of the things that's especially frustrating for me is that I know a large number of friends and family are aware of the fact that I blog, and yet I get virtually no feedback from them. Maybe that's odd to say since that's sort of complaining the opposite of what I was complaining about three paragraphs ago. Still, why shouldn't I have feedback from IRL people as well? There's something maddening in the cycle of, "Oh, you blog?" "Yes, here's the address!" followed by apparent complete silence from those who feigned such intense interest. (I did have an old friend read my blog and give actual comments recently, and even though it was just a couple comments, it really felt good!)

Anyway, I don't know if I have anything of substance to add to this, so I'll just leave it off now with a few discussion questions in hope that it will spark something. How do you define success in blogging? Do you think that I should expect feedback or dialogue from my blogging efforts? What, if anything, do you like about my blog(s) and what would you suggest, if anything, would improve my blogging?


Anonymous said...

Yes, if you had more questions, you might get more response. People like talking about themselves and their opinions. Generally speaking, blogging is a popularity contest. In my humble opinion, most popular blogs produce schlock that is at the lowest common denominator level, or so vanilla and sanitized that it is no longer interesting, engaging and thought provoking. If you found the perfect formula to produce content that gets a ton of hits and comments, I’m guessing I would not be impressed. That content would mean that you were at the lowest common denominator, probably predictable and conventional. Developing a niche is much better, so continue doing what you are. You only need a small handful of people to make you strong – that is your community. And the connections are so much better. You should never expect responses to blog posts, but it is a fabulous blessing if you do get them. It is so much more important to be true to yourself, and then if you become an internet star, all the better.

Brucker said...

Yes, I should have made it clear that I'm not interested in making my blog into something it's not to appeal to a mass audience; I only wanted to know if there was something that I could tweak to encourage people to comment on what they read here if they are interested. I know I have readers, but I'd like to know what those readers are thinking.

Anonymous said...

If there are no comments, many people hesitate to comment. But if there are already a bunch of silly comments, or average comments, you will get more people jumping in.

People have told me that they don't want to comment on my own blog since they do not want to use their real name or link back to a profile (Google+, FB) because they *don't want anyone (employer, clients) to know what they think.* Meaning, they don't want to comment because they don't want anyone to know what they think. As simple as that.

I forgot to mention what I like: I like critical thinking and exploration of meaning, exploration of implications.

Brucker said...

You know, I have considered the fact that I would almost certainly get more comments if I allowed anonymous ones as I do on my other blog. I need to try and remember why I disallowed that here so I can reconsider it.

David Learn said...

Are you looking for a critique of the post or the blog; or are you looking for ways to boost both traffic and comments on your blog?

Self-editing to produce a stronger published draft would stremgthen the writing, and thereby increase the chances of commentary on your blog. The resultant tighter focus of the individual entry would mean greater clarity, and make it easier for readers to feel they have something to respond to.

One also can boost traffic by engaging in a vigorous and well-reasoned back-and-forth discussion with other bloggers.

Brucker said...

Self-editing? You mean going against everything I believe in in writing?

No, I do suppose it could help, and I have also in the past attempted dialogue with other bloggers, sometimes with even limited success. Perhaps what I should do is be reading more of other people's blogs that I find interesting, as I used to do with more regularity; even if it doesn't lead to dialogue, it's bound to be enlightening to some extent.