A month of blogging

January 5, 2007

In my first posting, I actually wrote about blogging. My initial skepticism about blogging has softened, but I still have many of the same concerns. A few weeks later, I wrote another post about blogging, this time in reaction to an article from the Wall Street Journal about the poor quality of many blogs.

With the one month anniversary of my blog, I feel compelled to commemorate it with yet another posting about blogs. This time, I will assess my own experience.

Mr. Popular

Since I launched my blog fairly recently, and with the large number of established blogs available, it comes as no surprise that mine remains fairly obscure. Although I have registered with Technorati, I have no blogs linking to mine yet, I rank somewhere around 2 million-something in popularity (explained here), and I’m not in the apparently important “Top 100,000” yet.

Checking on visits to my blog, it averages 16 visitors per day (500 total since starting my blog). Fortunately, WordPress does not count visits to one’s own blog, which makes the numbers fairly accurate. Barring a few occasional glances, bloggers shouldn’t just go visiting their blogs without logging in. Besides inflating statistics, it takes the fun out of seeing how one’s blog is doing. (It’s almost like buying oneself a trophy at the novelty store.)

Looking at individual daily numbers, this has been my best week. In a few postings to discussion lists, I have placed my blog’s URL under my signature, which appears to have helped. Not counting today, I have averaged 36 visitors per day since Sunday. Not surprisingly, the largest cluster of low numbers appears during the few days surrounding Christmas.

Of course, I do not want to try promoting my blog like some vulgar huckster. Promotion of my blog has remained confined to “signatures” in discussion list postings, as well as mentioning it to a few people. I’m not one who likes to impose myself on people, but I do like to wait patiently for opportunity to knock.

They found me by searching for what?

This can get very interesting. Looking at “Search Engine Terms,” I can figure out how some people have found my blog. For some, the intent of the searcher seems fairly obvious, and they probably found something reasonably close to what they were seeking. Such searches include “wii interactivity,” “meldrum sasquatch,” “shakespeare beethoven dallas closing,” and “CSU library robot.” A few sounded rather odd, such as “dad vs father.” It sounds like the searcher was trying to determine the difference between the two terms, but they ended up finding my postings on “Dad vs. the Webcam.”

For today, I got two very different kinds of searches. One was for “FURTWANGLER MP3.” In a posting about Zune and iPod, I mention the conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler in passing, as well as MP3’s. However, I have a feeling that this person was seeking MP3’s with performances by Furtwängler. (Sorry to disappoint.) Someone else found my blog today by typing “Search amberlynn.” As some of you may know, someone named Amber Lynn has made a few comments to postings on my blog. My curiosity almost got the better of me when I tried figuring out how someone would get to my blog with that search. However, I figured out immediately that it might not be wise to duplicate the search after all, and that whoever tried finding “amberlynn” was probably even more disappointed than the Furtwängler fan (unless the latter was looking for performances of him conducting Wagner’s Liebestod).

But how do I feel about it?

Overall, I have enjoyed blogging. What surprises me the most is the fact that I have somehow managed to squeeze out a decent posting almost daily. Drawing from my list of “Favorite,” websites, I usually find at least one story that inspires me to write something. I have yet to suffer from blogger burnout, but I won’t promise that this blog will reach a one-year anniversary edition.

I will admit to feeling some pressure to get “something” out on a regular basis, which is probably the case with most blogs. However, at present, it’s due to time constraints instead of lack of material. I wonder if someone will post on the same topic. If they do, I won’t… unless I have a slightly different take on the topic.

As a positive, I have become better-read on topics affecting my profession. I’m not sure if I can speak impromptu on such topics without resorting to rambling after a few sentences, but it has more or less helped with memory retention. Still, I will say that my memory retention appears to have improved, especially on topics about which I write.

I also enjoy the opportunity to post about my personal life. Naturally, some details have little place in a blog, unless you’re a spoiled hotel heiress with nothing to lose. (In that case, you could probably skip the blog and go to YouTube.) Nevertheless, as in the case of my holiday postings, it is sometimes refreshing just to write about interesting things I have done, or observations about life in general.

Ideally, I prefer to write about my personal experiences within the context of librarianship, information science, technology, and higher education. In discussing life experiences in relation to those topics, I veer away from exhibitionism and narcissism. It also provides an opportunity to show that I do have a life beyond work, but that I can draw upon my personal life to ponder issues related to academic librarianship.


6 Responses to “A month of blogging”

  1. Jason Says:

    A word about comments… Besides Amber Lynn, the majority of comments on my blog have come from me. This is not to pump up comment statistics, but rather to add an extra thought or two related to a posting. I do make some stylistic changes and correct misspellings immediately after submitting a post, but some comments stand on their own and demonstrate that conversation on a topic is not over.

  2. Mark Says:

    Only you can prevent forest fires. Oops. I meant only you can put pressure on yourself to write frequently. That is what RSS is for. Now one thing every couple months might not entice people to subscribe, but it is quite easy to leave someone in your aggregator and see when they decide they are ready to say something.

    I have several people in mine who post very, very infrequently because that’s where their life is at the moment. No need to pressure yourself to produce if you don’t need/want to do so.

    And incoming search terms, oh boy, can those ever be fun. I almost think all librarians should have to have blogs so they can see the crazy searches that find their material. It might be an eye opener for some of them. I used to track them a lot closer when I was on TypePad, but I don’t so much now on WordPress. Maybe I ought to have a look again soon.

    Just do what works for you and be happy. If you aren’t happy, don’t do it.

    Best, Mark

  3. Jason Says:

    If I ever reach a point where I run out of energy to write, or if I’m at a loss for ideas, I will cut back. Having good quality postings is more important to me than just throwing something out there.

    Forrtunately, I have been pretty lucky with my blog. I find new material almost daily, and I have a list of several topics “on reserve” in case I encounter a slow day (or several slow days, depending on a variety of factors). I have also gotten “fired up” enough to write about something every day, which I take to be a good sign.

    As I say, we’ll see where I’m at a year from now. By that time, maybe I will have cut back, or maybe I will have quit. However, I have done more posting than I even imagined I would. It remains a fun “challenge,” and it keeps my brain clicking.

  4. Jason Says:

    Search terms are interesting as well. I consider librarians (especially those in higher education) as my primary audience. However, looking at some incoming search strings, I suspect that some of my postings have attracted those outside the field.

    Actually, somewhat unusual searches would make good “short and sweet” blog postings. I integrated two odd ones from the same day into my anniversary posting, but I could probably do little stories occasionally if any others come my way. Of course, comments that speculate differing search scenarios for the same terms would be more than welcome.

  5. […] at a comment written in response to my posting about a month of blogging (which has the creative title “A month of blogging”), I decided to […]

  6. Denny Says:

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