"It's A Small World After All" (Blogging Edition)

Blogging is fun. Among the neat effects of blogging is that, though bloggers aren’t at all alike, they tend to be “like-minded people,” despite striking individual differences.

Cases in point, from last night.

Went to an event organized through Montreal Linkup, an event organisation system with obscure ties to Craigslist. At one point Saib, one of the participants, was talking about a blog post he had read. Turns out, he was describing my ramblings (and open letter) about Montreal culture and the Linkup system. I did feel quite proud. Not that he had read my post (or that he remembered anything about it), but that the post had exactly the kind of effect I wanted. Though blogging can feel awkward in my case, and I often feel like I’m writing in a vacuum (for several reasons, feedback to my entries has been extremely limited), it leads to those situations where different parts of your life are linked.

Also present at the Linkup event was Shiraz, a fellow YulBlogger. Thanks to the Yulblog Confessions from the August YulBlog gathering, I had went on Shiraz’s blog and even used her technique of blogging different topics in the same post, right here. Before the Linkup event, I didn’t know Shiraz personally, but chances are now that we might link to each other.

Which is a major issue among bloggers. Been thinking about it myself, thanks in part to Sylvain Carle (yet another YulBlogger). And it has influenced my blogging philosophy (whether I notice it or not). No wonder network analysis has been growing steadily. (Man! Do I love putting my academic hat in the middle of my ramblings…)

On occasion, I will insert as many outgoing links in my blog entries as possible. Several reasons for this practise, including the fact that it’s easier to find links if they’re on my blog. But there might be more of a wish to get comments from other bloggers by teasing them with links to their blogs (thanks to pings and trackbacks).

Yes, posting about blogging is allegedly uncool, and linking to your own entries seems silly. But I’m having fun doing this… πŸ™‚

In fact, if you think this whole blog is lame, do comment here! πŸ˜‰

7 thoughts on “"It's A Small World After All" (Blogging Edition)”

  1. I feel like this is a trap — I can only comment if I think the post is lame, but if the post were lame I wouldn’t be inclined to comment! πŸ™‚

    I think it’s great to give people a shoutout (link) when one is referring to them or their blog. On the other hand there’s a point at which it becomes almost obsequious, particularly when people with new blogs are practically begging for incoming links. (I’ve never seen anything like that here, on your blog.)

    I think the etiquette around these things continues to evolve. Six years ago, when I first started my blog, there were not many others around in Montreal. When one heard of a newcomer one automatically pointed to it and hoped for (expected) a point back. But now, with so many blogs, and with the “community” of local bloggers representing a minority of the actual blogs out there, things are a bit different.

    Regarding comments, I’ve found that I never seem to get the comments I want from the posts that I think are deserving of discussion. The sad fact seems to be that most people who read blogs read many, many blogs, and they generally don’t dedicate a lot of mental bandwidth to any one in particular.

    As a result, I might post a fairly long and involved essay on something, hoping to spark a discussion, but I’ll barely get a comment. I think that is because (a) people agree with what I said, so they nod to themselves and move on, or (b) people disagree with what I said, but don’t have the ambition to comment because they still have 200 blogs to read before their lunch break is over. Or, sadly, they didn’t read it at all because it contained more than 500 words, which is beyond what they can handle in the 45 seconds they have set aside for my blog.

    Then I will post a short something of little consequence and get 15 comments.

    I sound cynical, but I think it’s somewhat realistic. Last year I wrote about this in a post in which I complained not about the quality of WRITING in blog posts, but about the quality of READING by blog readers. (Ironically, that post garnered 22 comments.)

    To conclude, I’ve pretty much come full circle on the issue of blog writing and feedback. In the early days (before commenting was common), the “rule” was “write what you want to write, and people will read it if they want to. Don’t expect feedback.” Then as commenting became popular, things changed and people started lamenting that they rarely got the feedback they wanted.

    Now I’m back to the original position. I welcome feedback, and I very much appreciate any I comments I get, I have learned not to depend on them as an accurate form of accounting as to the quality of the post I write nor as an indicator of how many people are actually reading.

  2. Ah! Thanks!
    This was actually very useful! Though I’ve been blogging quite a bit in the past 18 months or so, I feel rather new at blogging. Partly because I come from a mailing-list background…

    About the length of the comment, I think it’s an important point too. Long comments are supposedly the very basis of pings/trackbacks. So it kind of explains why people prefer links to comments. It also has to do with the fact that, as bloggers, we tend to write blog entries even when we comment. In folkloristics, we see it as a question of “genres” and it makes a lot of sense.

    You know, I have no idea why I keep fishing for comments. Probably because of my mailing-list activities, but there might be something deeper. Strangely enough, I really don’t think it has to do with getting people’s attention since I do get a fair bit of attention on many occasions (including as a lecturer).

    You made the comment last night that many of my posts were academic and I think that it’s a core issue for me. I feel bad about being too academic and too long-winded. I’m pretty sure these are reasons I get so few comments.

    But thanks a lot for playing along! πŸ˜‰

  3. Don’t apologize for being academic. As I also said last night, it can be refreshing!

    If you are academic by nature, and if you have academic interests, there’s no reason why your blog shouldn’t sometimes be academic. After all, I believe that success in blogging has more to do with how well it reflects the author’s ideas and interests than how “popular” it is.

    There are general interest blogs, business blogs, marketing blogs, food blogs, sports blogs, sex blogs, and even blog blogs. But there aren’t a lot of academic blogs that I know of. Perhaps yours will help break through the academic glass ceiling of blogging by having one foot in the academy and one foot in the (so-called) “real world.”

  4. I tend to agree. And I don’t feel that bad about being so academic (otherwise, I’d stop doing it). But I keep thinking that it’s a risky strategy.

    Thanks again!

  5. Although we all know that the proliferation of blogging and the Internet medium in general has positive and negative effects, let’s look on the bright side. I’ve met a lot of like-minded people through blogs, forums and interest groups and if I read through the email exchanges or analyse the amount of critical thinking a certain anonymous blogger’s experience has made me do, it can be cumulatively more than conversations I have with people around me.

    Well, I don’t think I’m THAT anti-social, but it’s just that good meaningful conversations are lacking in HK. Or there’s just not enough time to meet the right people in real life. Whatever the reason, the Internet has opened up a world of connections. No matter where you are on earth, it’s fascinating to know that there are so many people around the world with whom you have more in common than meets the eye.

    Happy blogging! ;p

  6. Quite insightful comment, asphaire.
    The “like-minded people”/”kindred spirit” dimension of blogging probably merits further consideration. At least, in social terms.
    Personally, I do tend to be a social butterfly. I see my “influence” through the “social butterfly effect” (similar to a chain reaction, or a domino effect). Being talkative/garrulous as I am, I actually get a lot of input from others. Blogging did get me to meet fascinating people, including Blork and yourself, especially when I joined YulBlog, a Montreal blogger community. As with other parts of glocalization, it’s all about doing things locally while thinking globally, and vice-versa.

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