Monday, February 22, 2010

A Blog Worth Reading

I have asked myself the question "Why Do I Blog?" a hundred times. I've written a couple posts on it. If you have a blog, you've probably written a post or two on it too.

But, have you ever asked yourself, "Why Do I Read Blogs?"?

The noblest of all bloggers starts her blog because she needs to vent. Or maybe hone her writing craft. Or find a place to share her photography. Or, maybe, offer some recipes that her family finds delicious. But in the back of her mind, finding readers is just an afterthought. I'm doing this for me, not for external validation.

Yeah, right.

In the giant blogiverse, a person (and by "person", I totally mean me. To the core of my being.) can get caught up in how many followers she has. A person can become obsessed with promoting her blog, her name, her brand. Getting coments, leaving comments, twitter, facebook, technorati, google page rank. Blogger, wordpress, typepad. Comment Luv. Widgets. Blogging Conferences.

Last Friday night I met up with Amanda from Sturgmom, In General. We had chips and salsa and waters with lemon. And we shopped at an outlet mall... I just love the outlet mall. Over dinner we got to talking about blogging and who we read. We've both wondered to each other how it's possible that some readers have HUGE followings, while their blog content is just so-so. And others, (like hers, in my opinion), are fun to read and give me belly laughs, yet her following is pretty small.

We both feel like our blogs are pretty non-specific when it comes to content. I don't know if I could classify myself as "mommyblog", "humor"or "family". I've posted a few recipes but I certainly don't classify myself as any kind of gourmet cook. I like to take photos but wouldn't call myself a photographer. Sometimes I'm serious. Sometimes I'm moody. Sometimes I'm funny. Most of the time I just scratch the itch that's knocking around in my head.

But I think the most important thing any blogger can offer to her (or his) readers, no matter WHAT their genre, is good quality reading. Honest posts that don't take me 20 minutes to read. Stories that make me laugh, but alternate with stories that show the human side of the writer. I even like to read a product review if I feel that it's coming from the viewpoint of the author and not peppered with keywords and hyperlink phrases to boost SEO.

Just as many readers exist as do bloggers. Maybe even more. Every reader has a different taste. Maybe I've just explained mine to you, and your taste is completely different. But I think one thing we can all agree on is that when the blogger writes in their authentic voice, it is apparent.

You can't fake emotion. Us bloggers are too smart for that. And, right about the time you change your writing style to try to fit your reader's taste or increase numbers or fit into some bigger collection of popular bloggers, instead of remaining loyal to yourself, we'll know that too.
So, whether or not I ever hit the big leagues when it comes to readers, I don't know. I am trying to care less about numbers of subscribers and pay more attention to the integrity of my words. I am fairly sure you'll never read a review post here, unless it's for some product that I just love and bought all on my own. I don't know if I'll ever attend a blogging conference, unless it has workshops about "Ignoring Your SEO" and "Loving Your Blog when No One Else Does" and "Only bloggers with NO advertising in their sidebars are admitted to this party". I have to believe that increasing my Google page rank will never help me improve my writing skills.

So, as for me, I'll try to be keeping it real. Maybe because I'm lazy. Maybe because I'm too dumb to figure out how to make it big (I act like I detest it but really? Wouldn't everyone want to feel the collective high-five from the blogosphere?). Maybe because there are already so many bloggers out there that whatever niche I'd fit into is already jam-packed full. But that's okay. I'm comfortable sitting here. I'm glad y'all are here to keep me company.


Meagan@Megs7827 said...

Wanted to comment and let you know I've been reading. Liked this post!

LceeL said...

I'm glad you're here to be kept company with.

Just thought you'd like to know that.

Jennifer said...

I think the only reason I would ever go to a blogging conference would be to meet other bloggers. I don't even know what all of that other stuff means.

And I call myself a mom.ME blogger because my blog is all about ME. I just happen to be a mom.

Amber Page Writes said...

Oooh, I like Jennifer's mom.ME category. I'm with you - keeping it real because that's all I have the energy to do...and because if I'm not real, who the heck am I?

Kristen said...

I read your blog because of your honesty, and your "What the heck just happened" moments. I see those coming in my future, as my sons grow.
I blog in part to vent, to share my drama, and to let that one mom out there know that she isn't crazy...because we have ALL had THAT day.
I have signed up for a book review, but its content that I would read on my own..and if they want to send me a free book every now and then YAY, I am happy comment with my opinion on it (I would do it anyway:)

Jen said...

You have a good point.

And I am going to be right there with you as a blogger with no adds.

Mama Kat said...

It is so easy to get distracted by numbers...especially if you happen to be an innately competitive person. But content is always king in blog land. Always.

Swizz said...

I feel ya. I truly do.

As a blogger with teensy toonsy numbers, and no desire to go out and pump myself up to get more, I cherish bloggers who are real.

I also cherish comments, but just because it's fun to start a conversation with lots of people at the same time. Like you just did!

In my extremely humble opinion, it is possible to have extremely good blogging skills and still have very few followers. It takes work to get those followers, and if that isn't why you blog...why bother?

Well said!

Lisa@verybusymomwith4 said...

I've totally let go of numbers, traffic, etc. I am must too busy to care. I had a talk with a former blogger who had a big site on this. She just said the time involved was not worth it.

Frogs in my formula said...

Yay for keeping it real and having integrity. Great post.

arlee bird said...

Yeah, I've posted on this topic more than once and I think about it every once and a while. Blogging is hard work if you're doing the comments and responding to the commenters. But it's kind of fun and addictive too.
I'd love to go to some kind of bloggers event and see what all these other people are like. Seminars would be okay I guess, but the other bloggers is what would make it interesting.

Stephanie said...

I'm like you, I don't know why I blog. Just for fun I guess. I'm excited to have new followers and readers but that's not really what it's about. I'm not in any competition to get the most followers or comments etc... it's just fun for me to do and I love "meeting" new people along the way! Thanks for stopping by. I like your honesty!

Sturgmom said...

This is a GREAT post (and not just b/c you linked to me)! I really do love it. I think you summed up blogging for you (and me) quite nicely. :)

Thanks for the shout out! I had so much fun Friday! Thanks for meeting me!

Kacie said...

Agreed. I read a few big blogs, particularly the Pioneer Woman, a TV reviewer who writes about Lost, and a few others.

Mostly I follow people who write about life and are honest. If it's just about what they did with their kid that day, I'm not interested.

Crunchy Carpets said...

Honestly, I don't read the bigguns. Good writing or not..mainly because I feel to distant from them and their rarefied blogging existence..real or seems to different from me.

Also I never feel like commenting on a post that has HUNDREDS of commenter's...who reads all of them?

I like to read the small blogs..and the ones that are kind enough to follow me and again mainly because they are mostly more like me.

So yeah..if we can come up with a way to be big and famous and like yeah RICH from our blogging ..but keep it humble...that would be magic in a bottle!!