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Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Blogging: I'm Doing It Wrong (Part 2)

Another installment in my series about how I fail at blogging according to "them". Really, just trying to start some conversation on blogging wisdom and best practices.

Mistake #2: Serial vs Stand-Alone

This failure came to my attention by way of a comment. As long-time readers know (or, really, those of you who have been around for a week or more), I have an extremely strained relationship with my mother and as a result, I'm not close to my family at all. In a comment about my mother, a commenter called me ungrateful. And while I don't expect everyone to agree with me all of the time (in fact, I really value those who can express a differing opinion in a way that helps my understanding), I felt that in this case, the commenter was clearly new to my blog. Anyone with a bit of background would realize that this wasn't necessarily a case of me being ungrateful but an example of a time my mother disappointed through her lack of caring.

So, if you're still with me, here's the question I'd like to address in this post:

Do you assume your readers are return visitors, allowing you to refer to past posts, or do you write each day as a stand-alone entry, giving all information pertinent to the situation?

That's one I haven't thought much about. A lot of you who comment here seem to come by somewhat regularly. Which I <3.. I don't want to bore you by recapping my lifestory in every post. But for those who are new, maybe it's confusing if I don't explain.

 The answer to this one may depend on the purpose of the blog. I started writing for me, then there were followers, and now I write for me but I do so while being very aware of the "audience". It's like Real World, Cate's Brain. You can't show unaltered reality on those shows because the participants are aware of the cameras. It's probably the same for me on this blog.

But, what do you think? Again, I'd like to hear what you think and how you handle your blog - as an on-going journal/story of you, or as self-contained entries.

18 comments:

Shanel said...

To answer your question, my blog is my diary--- so I write whatever is on my mind that day... and if I write a lot of heavy ubber emotional stuff I try to mix it with a bit of random happiness so that my readers don't get bored with me... but I suggest that you too write what's in your heart and mind--- don't worry about the critics--- this is your space to do as you please... don't write for us--- write mostly for yourself--- it's kinda like therapy if you ask me. I don't understand people who write negative, argumentative comments... I just don't get it... ignore them sweetie.

Eternal Lizdom said...

I think that my return readers know more about me than new readers so there are things that I write that will understand in a different way.

I write for me and not to cater to my readers. Yes, I want readers. Yes, I love the connection to my "fans."

If I wanted to, I could go back through my posts and see what garnered the most comments or when I snagged the most followers and then write according to those subjects. But that doesn't work for me. Some posts don't get a lot of responses (like yesterday, albeit there were blogger snafus that I think left some people unable to comment) but that doesn't mean that I don't care about and love what I wrote, you know?

For some things, I do take the time to go and link back to past posts for the sake of history. That way, I'm not spelling it all out again but new readers can click over to other posts for the history if they are feeling so inclined.

Toriz said...

I post all kinds of things on my blog, and sometimes I explain, but other times I don't. If it is important for people to know the history of a certain subject then I usually either give a short summery, or link to a post I've done that relates to the topic. But different people have different blogging styles, and people can easily ask you why you have those opinions if they don't know. People need to realise that other people have the opinions they do for a reason, and if they don't know what it is, they should either find out what it is, or just shut up and deal with it.

Betty said...

I am very aware of my readers. This is a big reason I´m not more open about things and sometimes it´s frustrating. Because I started the blog, for just that reason, so I could "relieve" my feelings. But I´ve been burned....
Now I write for my friends and family who are interested in our lives and Paraguay.

C. Beth said...

I usually try to link back to an earlier post if something needs explaining. But if it's a small detail, or if the blog post still makes sense w/o the background info, I might be too lazy to link back.

Tortuga said...

The way I look at it, it's MY blog, and mostly I write it for ME. If I wanna refer to past posts, I do, but I try to be nice and post a link to the old one, just in case someone happens to read it. If you feel like posting in serial, go for it. If you feel like posting stand alone posts, go for it. Don't let anyone dictate how YOU write on YOUR blog!!

Traci said...

Sometimes both. Perhaps if you link to a past blog that would explain that might help. I have seen others do this. But that's probably tedious and I probably wouldn't do it. lol

Princess Andy said...

for the most part i'm just too lazy to link back if a new reader doesn't understand the comings and goings of who's who, etc.

read my freakin' "about me" thing-y.

but more importantly, you have the IP address of the douche canoe who called you ungrateful...right?

<3 andrea

TechnoBabe said...

I don't write in a way to explain or catch anyone up or clarify. I just write for that post for that time for that day. Not everyone reads enough every time to understand the unwritten and unsaid. The ones who read regularly enough get it. The rest don't. Maybe because I have had a lifelong sad history with my mother, I can usually read when someone else has the same history. Sometimes a post is about something that is very deep for me and if I have written about it previously I link to the previous post. Most readers do not take the time to read the previous post and that is totally okay. I don't have expectations about what I write and also no expectations of the readers.

Jenn@ You know... that blog? said...

Well, conundrum. I think anyone who cares enough to know will try looking back through your posts to find out what prompted you to say something provocative, but there will always be those nasties out there who jump on something, assume they know enough to comment, and do so with an amazing lack of tact and courtesy.

Personally, I know most of the people reading my blog are regulars, but that I do get new people stopping by via other blogs (which I LOOOOOOVE by the way!) and to that end, I have a few posts that I refer to as a way of explanation. For example, I created a "cast list" for the people I write about most of all. It includes my husband and kids, a few friends, and of course, Main Street. I also have a big post that Main Street participated in a while back that sums things up so well that I refer to it quite often so people can get a frame of reference. Oh, and don't forget my anal-retentive pet peeve about Blogger settings that prevent Name/URL commenting. I refer to that CONSTANTLY.

So I guess I do explain things in a way, but not always. If it's important to me to explain, I do. If it's not that big a deal that a new person understand completely, I don't.

Cate, you certainly do bring out the long-winded side of me...

blognut said...

Meh. I could go either way on that - I assume people know what I'm talking about, or maybe I include a hyperlink to a post where I've already explained it, or maybe I explain it all over again. I guess I'm useless to you on this issue.

:)

The Brown Recluse said...

I assume that only 4 people read my blog who know what I mean when I mention something in the past. I generally link back to a former entry that I mention.
I think it's a little rude to come into someone else's space and call them ungrateful. If they can't say something nice, they don't have to say anything at all. I think you handled that with class.

Margaret said...

I assume people reading my blog have been here before but you could always just link back to post where you describe the situation when you talk about her and how she makes you feel.

Caty said...

I think mine may be more ongoing...but I post all different kinds of things. Some people just criticize or say nasty things without looking at or researching the whole picture. I think it's part of some people's "make-up"

holly said...

what are these "new readers"? i have four readers: my husband, my friend, someone i went to high school with, and a colleague.

how to attract strangers is beyond me.

Melinda said...

I am pretty certain that most of my readers are return readers, and 90% of those readers are friends and family. I have no dilutions that my blog will "make it" so I guess the "rules" don't apply. When I write, I just want to write for fun.

JoyACookin' said...

I try and link back, or maybe say "as I've said (many times) before". But I haven't dealt with heavy emotional content, as I try to keep things breezy and informative. With a link, at least it gives people an opportunity to see what's been said before, especially if you don't want to get into it. It's a good way of saying 'There's more to the story than just this single thought.' If people don't want to read the previous post, then they shouldn't waste everyone's time making a comment. But at least you can then bust them in your response, if you want.

Rochelle said...

I only post two or three times a week so if I feel a need to link back in order for people to "get" my post I will. But if I wrote a post everyday like some superhuman people..ahem...I probably wouldn't - too much work!

I really can't imagine leaving a comment calling someone "ungrateful" I mean, even with personal blogs there is only so much one can know about a persons history/situation - how can we judge? But I do know that you rock! That I know fer sure.