September 20, 2009

Blogging Expectations

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The Weekly Geeks topic happened to coincide with this post from the blogger of Velveteen Mind. (Go read it. I'll wait.) What blogger Megan has noticed is a number of blogs disappearing after conventions like Blogher. Whether these bloggers have some epiphany while at a convention or maybe they simply suffered from blogger burnout after the excitement of the convention, I don't know. I've never been to a convention. I'm sure they can be a lovely experience but I can see how one's expectations maybe too high. From what I gathered from the post, comparison is the killer of blogs. And I suppose, when you're at a convention you are face to face with your blogging insecurities in a way you aren't online. There are probably lots of factors that will affect the experience as well.

BBAW is not a physical convention but in a way it's a virtual one. During BBAW Amy requested,

"Tell us and this is really important, in 50 words or less what you love best about your blog! And then in 50 words or less where you want your blog to be by the next BBAW!"

So, we did, but Rebecca from Rebecca Reads post stood out for me. She gave it some real thought and laid out her goals very clearly. On the subject of comparing, I felt like my goal of "more readers and comments" was like asking for a pony for Christmas! Why did I make this my goal? Is it like Megan claims the drug of stats?

When I started this blog, I wanted to discuss the books I was reading with people who had also read those books. I've come to find this is a difficult thing on a blog to do. People have to find you first (more readers) and then they must leave comments. Comments that add to a discussion started by me. I have to ask the right questions as the host- that's a difficulty. I don't want to reveal spoilers and have potential readers or authors angry with me. What is a way around that? Then there are the books. I like reading ARCs but it's hard to have a discussion about a book that came out yesterday.

What I want is to reach more people and to have great conversations about books.

That is both my goal and the reason I started blogging. I've got to work on that and come up with new ideas to do it.

BBAW didn't make me feel burnout- although I was on the computer a lot. I feel ready to work on my blogging goals. I hope you are ready to take on yours. Although I have said before that I try not to compare myself to other bloggers, I sometimes find myself wondering where I fit into the community, and where I want to be. What are my expectations? Will I be where I want to be in a year? Do "I know the difference between what I want and what I need"? Maybe I need to do what Megan wants to do and 'just run with the fairies'.

How about you? Do you ever feel your blogging expectations are too high? What are your thoughts on the Velveteen Mind post in relation to book blogging?

16 comments :

  1. I don't feel burnt out either. Like you, I'm now excited to tackle my goals!

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  2. I agree that one burning question is to figure out where one fits in the blogging community. I've been thinking about that a lot this week. But burn out? Not a chance. You just have to keep it personal.

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  3. See your blog as the beginnings of a conversation - that was some advice I read, and for me it works. To get people to visit you and talk to you, I've learnt that you have to visit and talk to them. I thought BBAW helped us achieve this on a number of levels. But like any convention, online and otherwise, participation came at a cost. My thoughts are in my combined weekly Geeks and Sunday Salon post.

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  4. I have many of the same feelings that you have. I don't really know what I want to be or where I fit in either. My post on Friday tried to start some discussion about some possible changes, but I still don't know what I want.

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  5. Oooh, that is a really good goal you have!!

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  6. Lola- I hadn't had time to really think about my goals until BBAW.

    Trisha- Yes, you can't try to be like anyone else.

    Kerrie- That's true. Sometimes I'd like to add more to the comments I leave than 'nice post'. I have to work on that.

    Julie- I'll have to check that out. I've been thinking about changes too.

    Court- Thanks!

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  7. I think it's fine to compare yourself with other blogs - I think doing that has caused me to improve my blog at times. I do think competing with other blogs can lead to burnout. I don't feel the need to compete with anyone, so I'm pretty happy with where I am right now.

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  8. I'm ready to recommit to having fun blogging. Hopefully I'm not setting too high of expectations either. Hopefully. Sometimes I get sad when I start comparing, but mostly I just try to remember to be myself and keep having fun.

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  9. I don't believe that my blogging goals/expectations are too high. In fact, my goal was to improve on my blog/life balance!

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  10. I didn't feel burnt out by BBAW, mainly because I had far too busy a week IRL to be able to participate in everything, but there are certainly times when blogging feels like it is a little more hard work. Having said that, this time last week I was having to stop myself from posting more because I had so much I wanted to talk about!

    It is interesting to me to see that other people have doubts about things like where do they fit in within the blogging community etc, because often we feel alone in that, when I don't really think we are alone at all.

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  11. I say it's okay to have the goal of "more comments" sometimes, but I like your rewritten goal of "great conversations." I think it should always be about more conversations, and I love discussions.

    "the drug of stats." I don't think there's anything wrong about being excited about stats. But I think Velveteen Mind was saying people who were disappointed when they compared their stats to other people's stats. Just compare your stats this week to your stats last year or last month. That's what it should be about, I think.

    I'm never going to compare my stats to Maw Books, for example, because I know I don't do Twilight giveaways, so I'll NEVER catch up to her. I'm a completely different blog, but we're both good in our own ways (and Natasha is an awesome blogger!!). Your blog has it's own niche so compare it to yourself.

    I think that's the point of goals, and I think that's what Velveteen Mind was trying to say.

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  12. I think bloggers often are frustrated because they have a long list of goals, and it's hard to meet them all. I'd like to expand my audience, but would also like to focus more on the local community. I'd like to read more and post more and comment on other blogs. Sometimes those goals are at odds. You've done a great job in simplifying your goal, and that's the first step in reducing stress.

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  13. Kathy- I think there is a fine line between comparing and competing.

    Swapna- That's good to hear!

    Marg- I did feel some burnout before my vacation. I think the next time I feel that way I will force myself to take a little break.

    Rebecca- That's true. I don't want to think about other people's stats but do hope that mine continue to improve. I know over the summer they dipped quite a bit but that doesn't surprise me. A blogger definitely needs obtainable goals for their blog- not the goals of someone else.

    Dave- That is true! I tend to take on more than I can handle. I need to keep things simple.

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  14. I can understand the comparing your blogs to others. I think it is human nature. I found myself doing it during BBAW and it definitely got me thinking of why I started my blog and what I want it to be. This is not a bad thing but can lead to thinking "what the heck am I doing now and how do I get there...."
    By the way, I have something for you:
    http://booktumbling.wordpress.com/2009/09/21/its-award-time/

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  15. My goal is kind of a weeny one. Just to enjoy. Honestly, I think what burns me out is everyone else's high expectations. There are some pretty agressive bloggers out there and I partly admire them but I'm also partly exhausted by them. Especially when I allow myself to get caught up in the games (yes, I think sometimes they're games). I've had to completely stop comparing myself to the bigwigs and wondering why everyone thinks they're so great. Most cases it boils down to time and I just don't have the time to put into my blog. Ooops, sorry for the mini-rant. :) Enjoy. Simple.

    I love the idea of discussing books with other people, but you're right that it is difficult. So many people want to just leave a comment about how the book sounds good without adding to a discussion. I'll admit that in a crunch I might do this too. And then there are all the other comments--should one read them to springboard their own comments thus furthering discussion? I don't do this either.

    I've found that the best place to discuss books is during Sunday Salon with open ended questions. It won't help me understand Middlemarch any better, but at least there's some interaction.

    Um--when I'm behind in bloghopping I also tend to ramble. So, there's my ramble. :)

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  16. Christine- Thanks!

    Trish- Yes, we have to worry less and enjoy more.

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