This Blogher 2008 session is part of the ‘What We Do’ break-out sessions, entitled ‘Pursuing Your Passion Never Gets Old‘ with panelists:
Finding your blog on a favorite blog’s blogroll is like having a walk-on part on your favorite sitcom, that you didn’t know about because you were in the kitchen having a cup of coffee and then there you are on television.
There’s so much you can do on your own that can be so much more fulfilling with community and conversation, you just don’t need the print world as much anymore. Online medium is a good fit for certain people, most active and long-term bloggers would do this anyway. Filling scrapbooks with notes and clippings from magazines, now with blogs you can do this for other people (or just keep doing it for yourself if no one bothers to read).
On ‘quitting’ blogging
Some folks are just dramatic and have secret huge issues they don’t blog about and say they are going. Kind of a fad, the very last final mythical blog post. Addicted bloggers say: ’I'm LEAVING!!! and then you come back and are like ‘oh… I forgot something, I’m back’. Bloggers drift away and stop writing (for bad and good reasons), like falling in love or other big things that you are scared to write about because it’s new and Kind of like joining a gym, must wear this dress for this wedding and you go crazy until you get there. Then it drops off again. All very cyclical, it comes and goes.
What happens when you are not inspired to write?
Some things inspire ‘novellas of perfection’, meeting people at Blogher, doing amazing things, going on trips. But sometimes you just have to power through it. Whenever you don’t feel like writing, sometimes you just shouldn’t do it so you don’t make yourself not do it more. If you don’t have anything to say, don’t post that you don’t have anything to say. Or maybe you do, if that keeps you going — maybe link to people who don’t have anything to say :) or just pull a snippet of someone else’s content that inspires you.
Dry spells and their affect on your readership
It all depends on your goals – if you blog to gain readers, then you really need to post super regularly. If you are just writing for creative expression, you have a lot more wiggle room. But obviously, if you don’t write regularly there’s much less for people to come back for.
Comments on blogs
The majority of the panelists do not use comments or only started very recently. Typekey helps keep away spam, but also can keep away readers leaving comments. Comments do wane with less new content, but to some panelists the idea of comments is just plain freaky.
Boundaries with blogging
At first blush, bloggers can forget that what they write is searchable even to people not active in the blogosphere. Sometimes they also forget that other people read their content period, you can get too personal and people (strangers and friends/family) respond to what you write. Asking more questions to very personal posts, when you just wanted to throw up a post to touch on something important. When you blog about personal stuff, you have to be aware that you can and very well might get negative feedback which might be very difficult at that particular time.
Flickr changed some personal blogging boundaries, you post personal photos of friends and events without any privacy settings — but somehow the non-blogging platform gives some a feeling of more freedom and openness.
Major life changes (career, family, etc.) can change your blogging dramatically – but do bloggers worry their audience won’t come with them? Do their new topics and posts mean less traffic and do bloggers care? Apparently not really :) Rookie Moms spoke about the problem on writing for new moms, even though their own kids are older now. Is their content evergreen meaning new moms will find value in their content? What about the moms who had babies at the same time they did? Who do they write for since they are in a different place?
It’s all about writing on your passion, if you have a kid or a husband you’re not going to keep it secret or hush hush. It’s your life and you blog about your life and what’s in it.
Focusing on traffic
Audience member says that when she focused on traffic, the passion died. Focus on writing and don’t be stressed on traffic. Let it go and look at what’s important and makes it important. It just feels dirty otherwise. At the end of the day, bloggers write because they need to write it. Most bloggers won’t stop just because no one is reading, they need it.
Wardrobe Re-mix – great Flickr group/tag where people post head-to-toe photos of themselves when they are feeling cute. Rather voyeuristic in that you go piece by piece of your wardrobe, but great form of self-expression. Major traffic driver for your blog? Probably not. But it makes people happy :) Flickr has also shown us that there is a fetish for absolutely everything world (feet, things covered in bed sheets, etc.). The great thing about the Internet is just that, there is someone out there that will be into what you write about — car pooling, kids, food, whatever.
Only 97% of blogs get more than a dozen or so daily hits? Not all traffic is good. Stay At Home Mom blog went from 40 readers a day to 5000 a day after being linked from negative blog listing. It was tough, but when the traffic finally died down to people who actually cared about her it was a great thing.
Blogging about kids, important to be honest in whatever you post about them. You can’t post everything and you can’t ‘make them characters’ on your Blog. Honesty and respect is very important.
Interesting observations on meeting a blog reader in real life – should there be some sort of protocol on how you meet and what you talk about the first time you meet? For instance, someone knowing about your menstrual flow before you really even get to learn about each other (facial expressions, jokes, etc.). How do you handle that?
What happens when you meet a reader in real world and you get the ‘ew’ factor. Many bloggers can get that from online interaction already, but some sneak by. 99% are just as cool as they are online, but there are a few crazies that you thought were cool that completely surprise you.
Not all bloggers are out to the The Next _______. Blogs are about building relationships – not the shallow bullshit ones (they can come from right at home), but about finding common ground and real connections. The Web helps us find other people who we could never geographically connect to – especially with Twitter. In a way, we see our online friends more than any other real world friends because of busy schedules, etc.
Best quote of panel: ‘Magic box no workie, do you have glue?’