Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Blogging Talk #2

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I remember when I started blogging, I promised myself that I would never write about “blogging.” Could there be a subject more boring? God help us when the first movie about bloggers comes out. The studios love to make movies about current trends (breakdancing movies, anyone?) Warner Bros., please don’t make a blogging movie with Reese Witherspoon as a young blogger who falls in love with blah blah blah!

Unfortunately for you, the more I blog, the more I’ve become interested in the actual subject matter of blogging.

So, here are three weekend blogging thoughts, sort of a sequel to my earlier post on blogging tools:

1)

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What are these banner things? I’ve been blogging for more than a year, and I’m still not sure what most of these banners are for. Question for those who are involved in these groups:

“Does anyone actually come to your site from “Blog Universe” or “Blogtopsites?””

Blogarama? Blogwise? Bloggernity? Blogstreet? What the hell is all this crap? Frankly, I don’t trust any button that blinks on and off. And if you want more readers, isn’t it easier to just steal contacts from other blogrolls?

So, what’s the buzz, are any of these groups worth joining?

2)

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Let’s talk about readership. Recently I got an email from a new blogger saying how lucky I was that I had all these readers. While I’m honored (I mean truly honored) to have people come to my site, I was just as happy when I had three readers. In fact, too many bloggers around makes me anxious. I’m trying to be creative. Who needs all these other “creative” people hanging around making me feel insecure?

My biggest problem is that I enjoy writing. That means I’m like a hermit. I’m not used to interacting with hot blogging babes all the way from Indonesia! There’s just too many cool bloggers out there to meet and talk with. It all begins to feels like a huge party where you’re supposed to circulate yourself from person to person, making chit-chat. I’m terrible at parties. I usually talk to one person all night. I’m the type a guy who meets a woman, and stays married to her for nine years until she throws me out. I’ve already written about my total disinterest in ever having a menage a trois. Dealing with one woman is hard enough. I struggle sometimes making blogging a more intimate experience for me and for my bloggers-friends. Sometimes I wish for more interaction other than snippy comments back and forth. Maybe it’s just asking too much from blogging. It is what it is.

I recently moved my entire blogroll to a separate page and started doing a “Crush of the Day.” This has greatly lessened my anxiety. I can make believe that I’m having coffee and bagels with just one person at a cool diner, rather than in the middle of a wild party with drunken bloggers taking their tops off. I mean, that could be fun too, but NOT every day.

3)

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One problem I’m always having while blogging is remembering where I commented on. For instance, let’s create this scenario:

Sam writes a post about his beloved grandmother. I read his post and love it. I write this comment:

“Hey, Sam, your grandmother sounds cool. How old is she now?”

Sam is impressed that I cared about his grandmother. He writes a long comment all about his wonderful grandmother. And you know what — I forget to go back. I completely forget that I wrote that question. Sam notices in his stats that I never came back. He starts bad-mouthing me to every blogger in town, saying, “Neilochka is a lying phony asshole who hates my grandmother!.” My reputation gets ruined.

A few days ago, I came across two free online applications that follow your comments, so you can keep track of where you have been — Cocomment (review) and Co.mments (review). They sound like they could be useful. But I’m pretty slow in trying new things out (I still don’t have an iPod), so I mention this, hoping that some geeky guy like Kevin will try it out first and report back. The only bad thing about these “comment” followers is that, like with the cellphone, there’s no more excuses anymore for not answering back.

I will actually have to care about your boring grandmother.

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: Russian Porn: First We Shovel Snow

41 Comments

  1. Well, Neil, the trick would have been for you not to mention these new comments trackers. Then you’d be off the hook. But it’s too late for that. Unless you hop into your DeLorean and go back a few hours and don’t post this entry.

  2. 1. I’ve had a few come from Blogwise, not so much the rest.
    2. I like your blog crush of the day, seems to go with some of my recent posts. I may “borrow” that idea, like I “borrow” readers from your blogroll! 😛
    3. I’ve seen Cocomment on a few blogs and all I have to say is I wouldn’t want to alert my readers to where I comment and where I don’t.

  3. Chickybabe — Good point about cocomment. Why would you would to tell everyone where you’ve been? But I think the other comment follower isn’t open for everyone to read.

  4. Thanks Neil, at least I know I don’t have to answer your “caring” questions anymore.

  5. The comments business made me laugh … it’s just like letter writing. My mother would always say, “You never write! You never call!” And I didn’t! I’m terrible at follow up. Comments have magnified the guilt.

    And everything else in the post about blogging is true. I’m a hermit. I post and comment because I like to write. But I haven’t a clue. Not a clue.

  6. I actually clip every post I comment on in Bloglines so I can go back to the posts to see if my comments were answered. I’ll remove the clip if there’s no reply after due time has passed. I need to find more hobbies, I know.

  7. O…forgot to add: I haven’t been at this very long, but it seems that certain blogs consistently get more involved conversations going in the comments section (kinda like when you put up that post about society’s perception of obesity). I guess they talk about “serious” and “personal” topics more frequently, and there is a smaller group of readers and commenters. I’m too shy to email fellow bloggers so it’s nice to participate in those sorts of posts and get to know people.

  8. I remember thinking to myself last week that blogging was kind of like telling a story at a party. And I’ve always liked doing that.

    The comments stuff sounds interesting but I have a good memory and tend to remember where I have written comments.

  9. JackT — Wow, you’re organized. Are you like that in real life, too?

  10. Yeah I’m super anal-retentive (well, I like to call it “disciplined” haha). Super tidy desk, car, house, everything.

    With this blogging thing I have to stay very disciplined or I fall behind in reading and writing!

  11. Follow the bread crumbs…

  12. I have to agree with you, there’s nothing worse than going on a blog and seeing millions of these blog banners clustered everywhere on the page.

  13. I used Blogstreet for a while but realized that hey, it didn’t make more people visit! Sometimes I’ll get a visitor from Globe of Blogs, but it doesn’t happen very often — and there was no obnoxious button to put in the sidebar. I still have a few buttons in my sidebar, but they are for things I really care about. So, you know, they’re not obnoxious.

    The best way to draw readers is to read and comment on other blogs. If you build it, they will come. Or something like that.

    As for commenting, I’m like Dagny: I tend to remember where I’ve left a comment. Sometimes I go back to see if the blogger responded to me. Sometimes I don’t.

  14. Why not just stop asking questions in your comments? Problem solved!

  15. okay, I confess, I like your questions Neil.
    Jackt: “Super tidy desk, car, house, everything.” Forget emailing your readers…please, just move in with me.

  16. 1. i’ve seen alot of these buttons, they make me nervous, i think they’re tracking information, i never click them.
    2. i’m the complete opposite of you, i hate writing, i only do it because my kids thought it was a good idea for me to get a blog and learn how to use the computer better. i’m not really into comments on my site, whether anyone leaves me a comment or not doesn’t matter, if i find a site i enjoy, i frequent it. i have lots of sites i read that never comment on mine.
    3. if i leave a question in someone’s comments, they usually e-mail me back or i check back the next back. i’m terrible with responding to any of my comments, i think it has to do with lack of interest in my own blog, the part i enjoy about blogging is reading what others have to write about, i’m much more of a reader than a writer.

  17. I started my blog in the middle of our rain drenched Oregonian winter because I felt like I was losing it and blogging was a way to stay more deeply connected with other bloggers/writers. For a long time I just read blogs, never commented, but once I started my own my circle of kindred souls seemed to grow so quickly. My best friend/fellow bloggie Laini (growwings.blogspot.com) and I are having dinner tonight with someone(LizElayne who started Poetry Thursday) we met through blogspot. I think you get more of a window into who someone is somtimes through their writing than by sitting across from them at a cafe. But once I started blogging I will say I felt sort of guilty if i didn’t comment back on that person’s blog. Then I realized they really probably don’t care and that was that. I’m just glad this medium exists because without it there are so many perspectives and wonderful writing, such as yours, that I’d never get to otherwise.

  18. ha! (clutching stomach)..what does it TAKE to become your crush of the day, anyway?

  19. Blog Explosion has gotten me some new readers, I will say. As for the comment thing, I try and comment on the blogs I stalk regularly… it’s my way of sharing the love 🙂

  20. Some of these “Blog Issues” are so interesting. The blog cliques really crack me up, like they’re the cheerleaders of the internet world and let us read and comment but don’t feel the need to get out there themselves and interact, except with their other cheerleader friends. But why are they (their blogs) so popular? Some of them are boring yet get tons of readers/comments a day.

    I’ve googled my email/name before to see where I commented, haha. It doesn’t work very well. Usually I hope I will see them pop up on my site so I’ll remember to go back.

  21. Non-Highlighted Heather

    June 3, 2006 at 10:38 am

    It’s a good thing I don’t blog because I would be the worst blogging friend ever. I usually only have 5 or 6 blogs that I’ll visit daily so keeping track of comments isn’t difficult. I weary of them quickly and then I move onto another 5 or 6. I have commitment issues…..

  22. Am totally trying that cocomment thing. I have a horrible habit of sprinkling comments here and there and utterly forgetting to visit back for like, weeks.

  23. Supa — make sure you report back to everyone. You have been chosen as the official guinea pig. I had a feeling you would be into it. You love these internet widgets, don’t you?

  24. People read OTHER blogs??? I read only your blog Neil. You are a genius.

  25. I know what you mean, Neilochka. Trying to keep up with so many people continuously can be draining when your inclination in life is to be reclusive.

  26. I should just stop trying to come up with new blog ideas and realize some one has beat me to it. I’ve been thinking to myself for weeks “how can I keep track of my comments???” Low and behold it takes Neil to crush my dreams of ingenuity. I guess this means someones already done the work for me.

    Thanks Neil!

  27. Thanks for noticing coComment! If you do try it out, let us know if it did or did not work out for you — we appreciate feedback, whatever it is.

    Chickybabe: we have talked about allowing people to mark comments as private (can’t tell you when this features is planned for though at the moment). However, you can always choose to disable coComment for a given comment (if you’re using the FireFox extension), or just not click on the bookmark if that’s what you’re using.

  28. I shall take my geek guinea pig duties most seriously, neil.

  29. Stephanie — I had no idea that you were involved in cocomment. You’re one of the people that really makes the blogosphere special. I use your WordPress Technorati tag plugin and your HTML express course is a great way to learn some simple coding.

    Supa – Thanks!

  30. Neil: you mean you don’t remember that you commented that my blog was the best blog ever and you were going to make me your blog crush? sigh.

  31. Those cocomment things suck- they don’t work and are totally temperamental!  It’s true- I use it.  So now you have an excuse 😉

  32. Well, Neil, I’m honoured! Glad you like the plugin and HTML course — I really need to finish moving over all my “old stuff” to the “new site”, don’t I? 😉

  33. Mari — Since you have the ear of one of the developers of cocomment — Stephanie Booth — in what way doesn’t it work? Maybe they can improve the application with your input. It does seem like a good idea as a blogging tool. But then again, I haven’t used it myself.

  34. okay- well, it doesn’t seem to register comments on these types of forms, or on pop up comment forms – only on the ones that open up a new page with the comments running down the side- you know the ones I mean?  Sometimes, the little pop up login window doesn’t appear at all even in those places.  I comment a lot all over the place but on my cocomments page, I have only 7 conversations.  And none from this blog, for instance, or my own blog!

  35. Just as an added thought- it would be cool for forum users to have a tracker of your forum messages on different boards (originally, I thought that cocomment did that). It is an idea I think a lot of people would use! x Mari

  36. I don’t think I got any readers from those more-readers-guaranteed-sites. But I wouldn’t know anyway, I can’t keep track of the number of those site-likes I signed on. I do it for fun and because am trying to maitriser the web!
    Seeing your comments answered is pretty pleasing. I first saw it done at CB‘s I think. I stole the idea. And it sort of becomes like a discussion forum. It’s cool.
    Am off to see what that co-comment is about!

    Fitèna

  37. This was really nice; the stuff about you and parties and how all this attention (specifically, this version of attention) is not all that comfortable for you.  And I felt a little busted at the mention of snippy comments. Am I a competitor in a blog-banter pissing contest? I kind of am…
    I wrote a blog about blogging. Less informative, more the deep, angst-ridden type. Have a look if you like; you can’t comment, ’cause it’s in myspace. File that information under Why I Moved My Blog Out Of Myspace.

    http://tinyurl.com/h4wdc

  38. Oh yeah, leave it to me, why don’t you? And you’re just jealous of my geekness. Admit it.

    I’m not sure if I’m going to try one of those software packs just yet. God only knows what it would do.

    I find that I’m doing a decent job of checking back on some of the places where I comment. Not perfect, but okay. It’s a learning process.

  39. Mari, I’ve been having some of the same problems. I took a look at their forums, specifically the one for bugs, and it looks like they are aware of the problem and working on it. Once some of those kinks are worked out, I imagine it’ll be pretty handy.

  40. Thanks for the update, Supa!

  41. Thanks for that info Supa- I was wondering whether it was just me OR the fact that I use firefox. It will be good to see it working at it’s fullest!

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