Monday, January 19, 2009

Where Have You Gone?

Sponge Bob reading.

I've had a blog for about three years. When I look back to early postings, an entirely different group of people made comments then. Where did those people go? Did they get tired of blogging or tired of me?

Have the people commenting on your blog changed over time? Have the blogs you comment on changed ? I know I eventually stop commenting on blogs where there is never any acknowledgement of comments, or blogs that are strictly a self-promotional tool. I don't think those blogs exist for conversation. I think they exist at the behest of publicists.

Perhaps because I have little to promote, my blog is mostly an attempt to have a conversation. Every blog has its own "voice." That's what I love about them.

Not that I mind blogs being self-promotional; they all are on occasion and should be. I certainly announce it when a story of mine appears in a zine. But what is there to say to a blogger that only lists good reviews, ms. acceptances and appearances day after day. Well, one thing is that you're mighty successful. But why should that be all you have to say?

I wonder if that should be called a blog at all though. Maybe a blag. There I invented a word. Blags can be as much fun to read as blogs on occassion. Just not much there to comment on.

And of course, there is this: web sites cost money and blogs don't. So some writers are using their blogs as web sites. In which case, how is it any different than the content of a web page which is all about the author?


Randy Johnson said...

I haven't been at this blogging thing long enough to have any turnover. Don't get that many hits yet, still feeling my way.

Most of the blogs I comment on I have been fore several years now. A few have stopped blogging and I've added some here and there, but it's basically the same.

Paul D.Brazill said...

[blagging, blagged] Brit slang
1. to obtain by wheedling or cadging
2. to steal or rob [origin unknown]

Lisa said...

"Where have you gone?", or "It's not you, it's me", or "It's not me, it's you", or...a little bit of both, in my case. I've only been at this a little under two years (I think) and there's been a change, but I think it's partly me and partly my original readers. Some of my early visitors were actively promoting the upcoming releases of books and I don't think it was necessarily intentional on their parts, but they themselves quit blogging so much once the books were published. I always knew my goal was conversation, although what I've wanted to talk about has evolved some. I comment on fewer blogs than I once did. Not at all on self promotional stuff (what is there to say?) and a little less than I once did on the strictly personal. I visit quite a few blogs with a more "serious" literary tone and I never comment there -- some I get tired of quickly because the bloggers tend toward being a little pompous and/or snarky. Some I enjoy and I learn from. I've probably lost some of my earlier readers at my place due to my shift in tone and because I post less often and that's okay. Initially I was a little obsessed with getting lots of readers (why, I can't say) and then I realized it was not so much the quantity of readers as the quality of dialogue. So at my blog I think I've lost some and gained some over time. For the record, this is one of my favorite places to read and comment. Great topics, but not so intimidating as to force me into lurk mode :)

Anonymous said...

I regularly read about a dozen blogs. I rarely comment on them. When I do it's probably because I don't want to be like a dinner guest who shows up for free drinks then doesn't contribute much to the conversation. So I occasionally try to say something reasonably intelligent, or at least something that won't get me shunted up to the attic like an old uncle that forgets to put his pants on when company comes over.

[Or maybe I'm just a curmudgeon who wants to say more than, "Hey, you kids get off my damn lawn." ]

But on this here blog I feel quite comfortable blabbing away between beers.

And Patti, blag is perfect!
John McAuley

sandra seamans said...

I only discovered blogs about two or three years ago. I have a few, like yours that I visit on a regular basis and some I read if the topic interests me.

I rarely comment because I'm not much of a talker. I'm the lady that makes sure everyone has something to eat or drink and just listens to all the conversations.

And I've found that some blogs seem to have a group of friends that carry on a conversation and I always feel like I'm intruding if I comment. And I'm with you on the blags, I usually just skip those.

When I started my blog I wanted it to be a place where people could talk about writing and markets and short stories and books. So far it's been fun and I'm actually learning to speak up.

Ed Gorman said...

Love it! Blag it is!

Todd Mason said...

I wouldn't've believed that I'd had mine up for almost two years, now. Aside from a few robots, not much change in the mild traffic.

David Cranmer said...

I had been posting/bloggin' since late 2002 but no one came to my old site. I switched over to Blogger last year and BAM! A whole new world opened. I haven't lost any old friends (commenters) yet, but I can see where the drifting of people to one's site could make you wonder what happened.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Randy and Todd-you have to get Graham to put you on Crimespot. I got no hits till I did that. Sandra,you too. You all belong there.
Those Brits always have the word first, Paul. Maybe it's the thousands of years jump on us.
Intimidating, yes.
There are some blogs where I dare not open my mouth, Lisa. Sandra-you dived into intp blogdom so well. You found an immediate role as the information provider.

Peter Rozovsky said...

I've been asking the same question with respect to my blog.

I've had shifting groups of commenters. I suspect the shifts depend on new directions the blog takes.
Detectives Beyond Borders
“Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home”

pattinase (abbott) said...

Actually a lot of the early people stopped blogging themselves-- either because their writing took precedence over blogging or their writing stopped.

Todd Mason said...

I've been on CrimeSpot for about as long as I've had a blog, but I have even less time for CS than I do for my blog.

Sandra Ruttan said...

I've had a lot of turnover since the beginning. I used to comment on people's blogs and they'd comment on mine and it was a way of keeping in touch. Then things came up, like life issues that kept those people from blogging, or things in my life that curtailed the amount of time I had available for reading and commenting and blogging myself. I do think some have hit a saturation point, and I know that if I'm pressed for time I'm less likely to comment. I'm more likely to comment here than somewhere where the blogger won't acknowledge the comment.

I'm also more likely to stay out of the arguments that crop up. I still read your blog Patti - I just don't comment anywhere as much anymore. I find myself thinking, "Has someone else said this?" or "Do I really need to say that?" and then more times than not, deleting what I've typed or moving on. I used to get a lot of grief from people who thought the only reason I was commenting was to draw attention to myself. All that garbage gets old after a while. I like blogs for keeping in touch with my friends and hearing about new books.

I find a lot of people are more likely to e-mail me now than to comment on my blog. I'm not sure if that's because they want more personal communication, don't want others involved in the exchange, or if I have some version of the cyberplague and they don't want to be seen communicating with me. Whatever the reason, I don't mind e-mail.

Cormac Brown said...

Blogs sometimes are like friendships, sometimes they go in different directions.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Sandra-You were one of the ones I meant when I said "had gotten busier with their writing." But amazing the people who have just disappeared.
Good point, Cormac.

Christa M. Miller said...

I culled a LOT of crime fiction blogs last year once it became clear that I wouldn't be selling my novel, and also when the short stories lagged. That might sound cold or like I was on the blog circuit "only" for marketing, but the fact is that I didn't really "click" with most of those bloggers, not to the extent that I have with other people. "Clicking" has always been very important in my life!

I told another friend today that I run hot and cold with fiction. The two years before last were pretty hot. Last year, major shift in priorities, including more careful cultivation of true friendships. To that end, I still read yours and a handful of others, Patti - still think of you as a friend, even when I don't have much to say. But sorry I've been a bad one to you! Hugs!

pattinase (abbott) said...

Gee, I didn't mean to guilt people into explaining their absence. I had no one in mind especially when I wrote this. And who knows, maybe I will disappear someday too, get tired or run out of things to say. Well, I doubt the latter.

Sandy said...

I started off by reading Western Fiction Review and the The Tainted Archive came up. After that I started my own blog and wound up writing what I wanted to write. Through The Tainted Archive I listened to David Cranmer's comments and wandered onto his blog and then to yours. And so it goes on. But then like everything it is a learning curve. Take Detroit - all I knew thatit was the home of General Motors and the place that produced Tamla Motown. Now I know other things about Detroit - because I've read My Home Town.
Just from you alone I've discovered Flash Fiction and Friday's Forgotten Books and participated in both and it seems that the lists for those are growing longer. It's all down to your personality I guess.
Paul: In the days of the Newgate Calender (1700 - 1815) many a blagger found himself behind bars.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yes, it's strange the trajectory that we take in the blogosphere-drifting through space and time, finding people we relate to-- from who knows where.

Kerrie said...

I've nearly killed myself in the last two weekends Patti by trying to visit, and comment on, every blog posting in 2 projects I belong to: Sunday Salon and Weekly Geeks.
I don't think it is a resolve I can keep up.

Oh, and I ticked the "Email follow up comments box." That was fatal!

But to be honest, with all the best will in the world, some blogs are interesting to read, but extraordinarily difficult to comment on. You want to let the blogger know that you read, you visited, but sometimes all you can say is Just letting you know I dropped by which seems almost pointless.

I have my RSS reader set up so that I can basically read almost all of a blog post, so I really don't have to drop in. But then I like to let people know that I am watching.

A quandary..

Sandra Ruttan said...

There's no guilt, Patti. You know, in a way I'm glad to get the explanations from some people. At least one doesn't have to worry about if something bad happened to them.

Scott Parker said...

I enjoy blogs just for the reason you state, Patti: a commune amongst folks with similar, but 100% the same, interests. Most of the blogs I follow deal with crime fiction. I don't have a chance to physically meet folks and chat throughout the day. Blogging fills that niche for me. I enjoy having conversations about this and that, things that my wife, for example, doesn't like as much as I do. Blogs are the best (only?) way for those of us scattered over the USA and the world to talk about things we all love.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yeah, my husband doesn't get it either. And my daughter particularly doesn't get it. But I have the need to talk with people like the ones on here.

Travis Erwin said...

People do come and go it seems, but a few have commented since the earliest days of my blog which was nearly two years ago.

Charles Gramlich said...

I've seen my visits increase but many of the same folks who originally visited are still coming. I've only been at it just over a year, though.

I too stop visiting those blogs those blogs that are JUST personal promotions. I do use my blog for that, but I hope I'm giving something back to the community as well. And most of my posts are definitely not specifically self promotional.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I actually have more visitors, just not the same ones. And since I have little to promote, that's not too much of a problem.

Barbara Martin said...

I have had my blog a year and a bit, with visitors staying about the same until I began writing history posts and reviews. Then the traffic increased. My posts tend to be diverse in topic bringing in different viewers at any given time.

As I tend to become bored easily I decided to post about the topics I like and hoped others would feel the same way. I am working on my writing with a view that my novels will eventually become published. Writing on the different topics, I have found, has improved my writing. Now when reviewing my fiction work I can see where mistakes, once hidden, have now come to light.

And I keep returning here, Patti, to read whatever has caught your interest. Sometimes I comment, though not often. And I consider you a friend, apart from the writerly community we attend.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Thanks, Barbara. Your feel for Canadian history makes your blog stand out. BFF as the kids say.