Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pimp My Blog

preserve, 2009

blog·o·sphere / ˈblägəˌsfi(ə)r/ • n. the world of weblogs.

If you are here, you are probably a member, at least in some small way, of this club we call the blogosphere.

How is it working out for you?

I have had my ups and downs, but I think I might finally be adjusting to this new method of communication and idea sharing. My largest problem is a good one. It's you. Access to this international forum is enabling me to find too many thought provoking individuals sharing their ideas and images in blog format. I'm referring to those of you who post on your own blog and those of you who don't write your own blog, but participate by sharing your thoughts and ideas in comments sections.

I'm currently managing this forum via Google Reader and have recently implemented computer-free Saturday. As this forum of intriguing individuals grows I'm sure we will all be seeking new ways to adjust to the volume. I know that I don't want to spend so much time reading about the lives of others that the life I live begins to shrink. I want to focus on my priorities and preserve what is most important in my life. For me, spending hours per day in front of any magic screen hinders this pursuit. As beautiful as this blogosphere may be, it also has its beast of burden qualities (...thinking Oh, what about breakfast? at 11 o'clock).

I just read some interesting statistics, a sneak preview of Technorati's State of the Blogosphere 2009 report. For instance, 2/3 of professional bloggers are male. Really? This surprised me. Professional bloggers are a well-educated bunch, 75% have college degrees and 40% have graduate degrees. 72% of the 2900 surveyed blog for hobby/fun and don't make money. Optimistically, 63% say they have become more involved with what they are passionate about as a result of blogging and only a tiny 6% say relationships with family or friends are suffering.

Of course, Twitter was also mentioned. 73% of bloggers surveyed use Twitter versus 14% of the general population. I'm sure you've heard or read that microblogging services such as Twitter are replacing traditional blogging. This might be true for a few, but this article claims that statistically, it just isn't so. They say the #1 reason bloggers are on Twitter is to promote their blogs, or "to pimp their blogs" as one audience member comically stated. I still haven't really wrapped my arms around Twitter and I'm not entirely sure how it fits into my life. Am I just using it to pimp my blog? Maybe.

So...I have a few questions pertaining to how you are managing the world of weblogs.

What technology are you using?
How are you managing your time?
Do you feel you are able to comfortably participate in the blogosphere and preserve what is most important in your life?


  1. I don't tweet. It seems to me that Twitter is a mini-blog world distilled of all the reasons I blog for - to write, to make connections, and to create a thoughtful and serene space. A space that is not always deep, but definitely peaceful - which seems like the complete opposite of the chaotic noise that I imagine Twitter to be.

    But I can see how, if I were writing a blog for profit or if I were an artist trying to promote my work, then Twitter (purely as a marketing tool) would have its merits.

    I try to limit my posts to two a week, and I try to limit visiting blogs as well... It's a balance - somewhat elusive, because I find that I actually have made connections with some wonderful people, but blogging can also take up a lot of your time away from your life, like you say...

    So. No answers, really. I guess, just like with everything else, blogging demands constant re-evaluation and awareness to figure out if it is helping you grow as a person or not... and just like with everything else, if the stress outweighs the benefits, then you make changes to alleviate that...no? Especially with something that is optional...


  2. Excellent questions--ones that I struggle with also. I use google reader which works for me because a lot of the blogs I read are very image heavy. I do a lot of skimming. I usually give myself a time limit for blogging (I too have experienced the Beast of Burden phenomenon). It can be overwhelming at times, but overall I find it a great hobby and a fun creative outlet.

  3. Hi Denise, Thanks for visiting my blog/website and leaving a comment. I use Google reader too and find it really helps me time-wise. I really enjoy updating my blog and getting feedback via the comments. The pottery blogging community has really grown in the past couple years. I recently made a trip to England and met at least half a dozen of my pottery blogger friends in person. I look forward to catching up on your blog posts and viewing your website.

  4. These are good questions. I still feel like I'm trying to figure out where this blogging thing fits into my life. I started because I enjoyed connecting with people on flickr and thought a blog might better facilitate that. Time management is one of my biggest challenges, though. I try to only write posts a few days a week, sometimes writing several and scheduling them throughout the week. Although I get an amazing amount of inspiration from my blog/flickr contacts, I find that it can really zap my own creativity if I get too caught up in other people's worlds. So these days I'm trying to keep blog time and studio time very separate.

    P.S. Thanks for featuring my blog in your "inspiration" sidebar!

  5. It's exhausting sometimes, I think, especially since I maintain more than one blog. But one must prioritize and I'm learning to let blogging go if all else is swallowing me up. I'm finding it harder and harder to follow other people's blogs for the time factor too.

    I've been blogging since 2005 in various forms, use Twitter, Flickr, Good Reads, and Facebook as other social networking. :)

  6. i've been thinking a lot about this [actually wrote a post on it awhile back].

    i don't have any answers either. i prefer blogging to twitter - while twitter is fun and it's a way to quickly see what friends are doing, i like the intimacy and the pictures and the "life"ness of blogging.

    i, too, have met so so many great folks online - but also have to strive to keep a balance. i have stopped beating myself up for being unable to read, comment, look, participate as much as i want. i do it when i can, and when i have to bow out, i bow out. i also expect less comments on my blog now, so i feel like some of the pressure is off.

    good luck in your pursuit of balance and preservation and inspiration!

  7. I am not sure about twitter. I have it, use it occasionally, look at what has come in a couple of times a day. If I am honest I find it a rather empty experience which more often than not leaves me feeling splintered as I am bounced off into bizarre links and information overload. Yes, the pimping, it is everywhere, it is extra loud (maybe I should include myself here)on twitter.

    Starting a blog is one of the best things I have done in a very long time. I have written notes, stories, ideas down for years, my blog has given me another place to keep these things and one in which I can put them into some sort of order, give them shape and form, sometimes a start and a finish.

    Like you I have encountered some truly inspiring people, writing, ideas....

    BUT but I find it hard to manage my time, tihs world can be all consuming and I can pass hours and hours messing around, not really doing anything, flicking as I did with the remote control (which is why the TV went.)

    It can be incomfortable, I know when I should turn the computer off, but I sometimes don't.

    I like the idea of a computer free day.

    Thankyou for this post.

  8. No...

    I just wrote each of you detailed and very specific responses and Blogger ate them, all of them. I will have to come back and start over, but I am too distraught at the moment and need to go out on a cappuccino hunt.

    I appreciate your thoughtful comments and your patience.


  9. urgh--computer free Saturdays! I love it...as I sit here and respond to you at 11 p.m. It's true though...there always seems to be so much to catch up with/so much to read, but really putting things in perspective is important. I love your blog and your photos and may just follow your lead in retiring the computer one day a week. I like it!

  10. These detailed comments from all of you, wow, this is the kind of discussion I like. Thank you!

    Maria, You have been very successful with creating a thoughtful and serene space. I think you said it all with "if the stress outweighs the benefits, then you make changes". Wise words.

    Roysie, I like your idea of time limits for blogging. I have my Computer-Free Saturday (which was successful until yesterday...looking for a studio...back on the horse!), but it's not enough. Additional time limits would be wise, for me. I believe the time limitations help me enjoy my time more--less guilt.

    Ron, Thank you for sharing your story. Meeting so many of your blogger pals in-the-flesh must have been a lot of fun.

    Jessica, I completely agree with what you wrote about keeping blog time and studio time separate. Focusing on what you are doing, one thing at a time, is the best way to go. Something I continue to remind myself...

    Molly, When you said "one must prioritize" you summed it all up. So simple and so true. Those three words solve most problems.

    Lisa, I liked your description "..."life"ness of blogging". Typically there is so much more life in a blog post than in a tweet. I don't have it all figured out quite yet, but it's clear that tweets and posts serve very different purposes. Am I actually having a serious discussion about something called a "tweet"?! Yes, it seems so. I'm glad to know that you have made some good decisions that are helping you to find a nice balance in your life--kudos to you!

    Rachel, I am a natural when it comes to information overload. Do they have a group for such people? I might need to find a meeting. I had a similar television experience. First it was banished to the closet, but we'd just pull it out, so next it was donated to Goodwill. It was one of the best choices I've made. When you said "I know when I should turn the computer off, but I sometimes don't" it felt like I was reading my own words.

    Megan, Yes...I've had some of those 11pm evenings, trying to catch up on all of the interesting posts piled high in my Google Reader account. As you mentioned, putting things in perspective is key. I highly recommend a computer-free day. Thank you for your kind words about Chez Danisse.

  11. One of the things I really like about blogging is that it often feels like a conversation--especially when bloggers respond to readers' comments. You're a great example of this, commenting on other's blogs frequently and reaching out to your readers. Good stuff.

  12. Thanks, Megan. How kind of you to notice.

  13. you've worded my thoughts: thanks :)
    i don't twitter.
    i love giving back to the blogosphere since i get so much from it....that's my justification. I also love learning from my writing and posting (and the research that leades into it).
    yes...time spent on it concern...but.

  14. Dear Amelia,
    Thank you for your note. I agree with you. The learning and reflection that stems from writing my own words and reading the words of others makes it a worthwhile pursuit.