Wednesday, September 28, 2011

One Blog Year Equates to 7 Cat Years

I spent some time this past weekend sharing a meal with a friend of mine who has been blogging for while.  I asked her how I should go about attracting followers to my new blog. She suggested I start by following other blogs.  Find people whose blog I like, follow them, and research who they follow.  Then start commenting on their blogs.  Eventually, people will find you, if the wind is in your favor.  Sounds easy enough.

Except that I'm a blog snob.

I'm not interested in fashion blogs.

Sames goes for gossip or celebrity watcher blogs.

Salty language and crass humor can make me laugh, but it gets old fast with me.

The only cute pet or kid stories I can stomach for very long are my own.

Technology and political news are too dry, even for me.

Too many pictures, and my mind starts to wander.

Looking back on my "ideal blog" requirements, I'm a little embarrassed by how narrow I sound.  Am I really so critical?  Umm, on a bad day, probably.  The rest of the time, probably not.  Which led me to revise my "ideal blog" requirements.  Scratch the entire list above and replace it with this:

I like well-written, insightful, and clever blogs on a variety of topics ranging from current events to personal development.

With my newfound knowledge of the company I'd like to keep, I set out to find my fellow like-minded bloggers.  Not being particularly high-tech, I relied on my good old-fashioned, organic search skills to find the five blogs I am now following.  I hope as I get better at this, it'll get easier.  I also hope it gets easier before I, like the bazillions of other bloggers out there, lose my mojo and give up on blogging.

Which is really where I'm headed with this post.  There are a lot of dead blogs out there, floating around like little grammatical corpses, littered along the internet highway.  It's a little discouraging, for sure, and also a little unnerving.  So I decided to do some research.  Just what is the life expectancy of the average blog?

"According to a 2008 survey by Technorati, which runs a search engine for blogs, only 7.4 million out of the 133 million blogs the company tracks had been updated in the past 120 days. That translates to 95 percent of blogs being essentially abandoned, left to lie fallow on the Web, where they become public remnants of a dream — or at least an ambition — unfulfilled."

Here's the 2009 NY Times article that little stat came from:

So the prognosis is not good for this blog, statistically speaking.  Add to it my tendency to eat, breathe, and sleep my latest obsession until sudden, spontaneous burnout, and I'd say my blogging days are numbered.  So I need to act fast, if I want to maximize my learnings from this pet project of mine.  Forget the self-improvement goal, forget the helping mankind goal, I'm on a limited time frame.  Let's aim lower and just focus on understanding the inner workings of the world of online social media before my time is up.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

About My About Me

It's not uncommon for me to use random movie/tv quotes in every day conversation.  For some, this can be mildly entertaining, particularly when the source of the quote is known.  It's like a shared moment, an open invitation to join a select clique of fellow pop-culture lovers.  And let's face it:  everyone loves to be part of something.  But if you're like me, sometimes those random quotes mean absolutely nothing to the rest of the world.  You'll know those moments when you're on the receiving end of a questioning stare or there's an awkward pause in the conversation.  But the worst is no acknowledgment whatsoever of your genius.  I say that's the worst, because it means that clearly no one is listening to you.

Anyway, when that has happened to me in the past (and I'm  not saying it happens often), I have to either keep moving forward or stop and explain myself.  Explaining definitely takes the wind out of those figurative sails.  But sometimes it's needed.  Which leads me to my "About Me" description.  If you are the few who happened to a) read it, and b) recognize it was a play on a pop culture reference, then you deserve kudos for that alone.  If you also KNEW the quote source, then I believe I may have found a kindred spirit.  Here's the original, unedited source:

The Ghost Whisperer?  Really?  Yes, well, it turns out that her opening intro was pretty easy to mess with.  And given my interest in numbers, the About Me seemed so obvious.  Well, obvious to me.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Awkward.  That's how I feel right now.  Not one to rush to embrace this world of social media, I'm clearly not what you would call an early adopter.  I like to sit back, watch how things play out, and then decide my move.  So I've been sitting and watching, and finally...I'm making my move. 

Funny how something as benign as deciding on your blog title can make you feel unoriginal, uninspired, and a total hack.  I won't go into the details, but it turns out I'm not as clever or as original as I thought I was.  And that's how this title was born.  These thoughts may not be new to the world, but they'll be new to me.  Kind of like thrift store clothes; and just like thrift store clothes, it'll be my interpretation and expression of these thoughts that makes them fresh and on trend.  Ha, that was pretty bad.  But it stays.

I read somewhere once that that truly successful bloggers are truly successful because they blog about their passion.  That passion translates into informative and interesting posts that appeal to similarly minded individuals.  With some smart marketing, a following is developed, and like they say in that old Kevin Costner movie, "if you build it, they will come."  In this case, the "it" refers to blog followers, and the "they" is advertisers.    Considering I have no followers at the moment, and I tend to be slightly Attention-Deficient, this whole blog idea might end up one hot mess.  But it's a fun endeavor.  At the very least, it's teaching me something new.

Which leads me to my first goal of the blog:  to highlight and document my life learnings.  Now, that is one loaded goal.  And I'm not going to sugar coat'll get the full gamut of my learnings.  For example, yesterday I learned quite a bit about the warning signs of when your cat is about to die.  And then I learned that if you choose to skirt the law and bury your cat in the backyard, you should go at least three feet deep or the dog might dig it up.  Another thing I learned yesterday was how to set up a twitter account and send a tweet.  I have to thank my friend Suzanne for that one...she is teaching me the ways of social media.  I still don't get what there is to gain from tweeting and following other's tweets.  Seems like a waste of time.  But I'm going to hang in there and see what informative nuggets Suzanne can impart on me.

My second goal of the blog is to put to paper (or monitor, I suppose) the deeply insightful thoughts that float around in my head.  Again, a loaded goal.  Between work, the kids, the marriage, the family, and me (yes, I deserve my own call out), I have plenty of opinions worthy of penning. 

My final, and most relevant, goal of the blog is to improve myself as a person, one post at a time. 

As you can see, I have high hopes for this endeavor.