Thursday, January 14, 2010

Blogging Is Not A Competition

Friday at the French Artists' Salon
Jules-Alexandre Grün, 1911

I have been blogging for about four years, and this is one of the most difficult blog posts I will ever write. I have had conversations with other bloggers, and many of them have come to the same conclusion that I have, but they are hesitant to express their views. So, I have been mulling it over for a while, trying to find the right words. If I offend anyone, or make anyone cross with me -- which I undoubtedly will do -- it is not my intention, so I do apologize. However, I guess there is no right way to do this, except to just take a deep breath and dive in. So here goes...

... deep breath ...

Blogging is not a contest. All of you folks out there who have a blog, you get up in the morning, you put a lot of thought into your posts, often a lot of heart and effort, and every single one of you deserves to be given credit for doing just that. I feel very strongly about this. The blogging world should be a level playing field. I have been blogging for about four years altogether, and I am really disappointed at how it has turned into a huge "clubby clique". It is starting to feel like high school where one has to be "in with the in-crowd", and it creates a feeling of exclusivity. Why is it that whenever human beings get together and start any sort of enterprise -- such as blogging -- they automatically have to create some sort of a hierarchy -- good, better, best...?

In July 2006 Technorati counted its 50 millionth blog, and it is estimated there are 175,000 new ones created every day, and 18.6 posts per second. And that was almost four years ago. Blogging has grown exponentially since then. Some of the very best blogs I have read are ones on which almost no one comments. The blogs may be well-written, well-researched, heartfelt and just plain amazingly good, and week after week, no one responds. On the other hand, there are blogs out there that get dozens of comments every day, and after a while the blog posts become mundane, formulaic and repetitive. But ... I guess everyone's style is different.

A year ago I was astonished to discover that my boring-little-blog had been chosen by the Blogger Team as a Blog of Note. There are so many more interesting blogs than mine out there, I thought perhaps it was a mistake. But I had the good fortune to meet so many new people and read so many new blogs. It was wonderful. And when I visit their blogs, I like to take the time to read them, get to know them, and post a thoughtful comment. They deserve nothing less. I read recently where one blogger said the secret to blogging is to visit as many blogs as possible and just post a very brief comment. No, it's not. It's all about quality, not quantity. I am always thrilled to bits when people comment on my blog, and their comments are two or three paragraphs long. My goodness, that is a compliment to me, and I love it.

There are all sorts of new bloggers out there, and I know it can feel intimidating at times, trying to break into blogging. I know of a couple of recent bloggers who gave up after a few weeks, and yet their blogs were absolutely wonderful.

My advice would be this -- keep blogging, keep writing about what you feel, and don't try to imitate other people. Be yourself. If you have something to say, say it. Goodness knows, I do. And whatever happens, don't be discouraged. Blogging is not a competition.



heartinsanfrancisco said...

I feel as you do about this. Although I have in the past participated in the awards thing, I did so reluctantly because it required singling out a few of many worthy blogs. I have never been a competitive person and that kind of mentality always puzzles me.

I know of blogs that regularly get huge amounts of comments, and I also know that some bloggers swear by the method you described: visit as many as possible and leave a quick comment so people will come to yours. And I can always tell when someone is doing that with mine because they often miss the point. I think if someone takes the time and effort to write a post, it deserves to be read all the way through, not "speed-read" like a tag team race. I also appreciate comments so much. Blogging is one of the most important ways I communicate with the world, and it is really gratifying when someone responds.

So there's your long comment, darlin'. Your post was well said, as always.

Cloudia said...

Excellent post, Jo!
I feel lucky that some folks like you have found me, and value the friends I have made.

Sometimes, I just leave a brief "Aloha" but I hope it doesn't come off brusque!

Aloha, Friend!

Comfort Spiral

Bruce Coltin said...

As much as he denied it, Hemingway felt competitive toward Fitzgerald. It should be all about the writing, but I'm afraid that human nature brings in that element that you are now calling attention to.

You do set a good example. And like it or not Jo, you are the mayor of your village.

Amy said...

Hi Jo, This is a timely post for me. I've been blogging for a little over a year, publicly that is. You were the first one to comment on my blog and it was very encouraging, so I really thank you for that. I've always said my motivation for blogging is mainly to exercise my voice, to share photos and tidbits, mostly with my family, but, as I've discovered, there is a very honest, warm hearted community of bloggers out there. As a result, I've become a little bolder and find that it's the writing, and the discipline that goes with it that keeps me going in this venue. And I so enjoy reading other people's stories and their takes on what's happening in our world - I'll comment if I have something to add even if it is only encouragement. You have been an inspiration to me Jo, and I so agree with you that content is the name of the game, not the competition and the "feel good" reinforcement that we knew in high school.

The Bug said...

I never have found that clique of which you speak, but I haven't worked very hard at it. I mostly just mosey along looking at other people's followers & commenters. I am THRILLED when anyone comments on my blog, but mine isn't one of those thoughtful, well-researched ones. Really my blog is a place for me to revive my creative energy. I'm not trying to be Hemingway or Bombeck (well, maybe I'm trying to be Bombeck a LITTLE bit).

I have to say that I'm ALWAYS excited to see a Jo post, even if I don't always comment - I read ALL of them!

Jo said...

Susan, I agree. I don't like to single out other blogs either. It creatives exclusivity, which means someone has to be excluded. It's not right. I refuse to comment any longer on the blogs that just keep using the same old formula day after day. What is there left to say!? You have one of the best (!!!) blogs in the blogosphere, by the way. It is always varied and always wonderful.

Cloudia, no, you don't come off as brusque, and I am always happen to read your comments. And by the way, I would love to read your book!

Bruce, my goodness, thank you! And yes, I appreciate competitiveness (is that a word?) but I detest exclusivity. It's just another form of snobbery, and I see too much of it in the blogging world.

Amy, I am so happy that you have continued blogging. I have found so many new bloggers that just gave up. It shouldn't feel like a "club" that people have to break into. Blogging has started to feel that way lately, and it's not a nice feeling. Keep blogging...! :-)

Bug, I love your blog. You have a true gift of comedy and of poetry. You definitely have something to offer the blogging world. And I hope you continue along just as you are. And you know what? The other day when I was reading your blog, my first thought was, "This reminds me of something that would have been written by Erma Bombeck!" You do have a gift.

kenju said...

Tomorrow is my fifth anniversary of blogging and I agree with you!

Mean Mama said...

Hello Jo, It has been a while since I have commented to your blog, mainly because of school and the kids. I am 5 weeks from delivery now. I am glad you wrote this post because not many people read my blog, and I thought maybe I am doing something wrong. I continue to write because I enjoy it and once in a while I get a comment and I just love that, even if it is from my Mom! I am not offended by your post at all. I think your writing encourages people to think critically! I know I have been one of those 5 paragraph people on your blog before and only after posting realized how much I wrote, then later felt bad for taking up so much room! Glad to know you don't feel annoyed by it. :)

Jo said...

Kenju, congratulations on your fifth anniversary of blogging...! And yes, I'm sure you have seen the changes I am talking about. It's very unfortunate, but folks can change it if they want to.

Mean Mama, congratulations on your new little addition...! Wow! That is so wonderful. Continue to write, continue to blog and continue to visit other blogs. You will get folks who will reciprocate. Do you have pictures of your new baby? I'm going to check them out... :-)

Alicia said...

Jo, I read your last 3 posts since they all seem to be leading to this one.

1st off, I hope that you did get rid of you headache, migraines can be horrible.

2nd. I can so totally see why you would be a blog of note! I read you everyday day during my lunch hour because you actually write. You have feelings and ideas and you ask thought provoking questions. And I can use both hands to eat my lunch while I read instead of having to keep using my mouse to scan down :-)

There is also nothing wrong with blogs that post lots of pictures and very few words...some of those are my favorites, Stine in Ontario does the Coloring with Light blog and her photos are stunning and at times make me gasp with their beauty!

I think you can tell when someone enjoys writing their blog or telling a story with photos and those are the ones I love, whether I leave a comment or not.

And always dear Jo, leave a comment if you are so inclined. I know it's like walking into a room full of strangers when you do, but else are you going to make friends?


CarlaHR said...

Hello Jo, Yes, there are an awful lot of blogs out there and I really wonder why some people start one because they really do not have a lot to say. When I first retired and discovered the world of blogging I had bookmarked an awful lot of them but have cut back to a few that really speak to me (yours is one obviously so do, please, keep on blogging). One thing I have been noticing is that some people don't seem to even finish reading a blog before leaving a comment. They very often miss the whole point, i.e. congratulate someone when there is nothing to congratulate them for or praising someone's writing when they are actually quoting (and saying so) someone else.

Whitney Lee said...

I actually started blogging because I used to love to write and my past passions had gotten lost in the daily shuffle of being a wife and mother. Someone suggested I sit down daily and write a bit just so I would have a period of time that was about nothing but me. In the funny timing of life my cousin visited a week or two later and asked if I still wrote. She decided I needed a blog and set it up for me. To be honest, I didn't even know what a blog was...
I don't have many followers and I don't get many comments, but I have learned that's not the point of blogging. For me it is a creative exercise, an exploration of sorts. And I've discovered that when you don't have many followers there is very little pressure! What I have loved most about the whole process has been finding other blogs, such as yours, that are entertaining, thought provoking, inspirational, and informative, often all at the same time.

Jennifer D said...

Well said Jo.

Jennifer D said...

I just saw Julie and Julia last night. I loved it and I was very interested in the whole blogging aspect of it all.Very interesting.

Hilary said...

Jo, I have on very rare occasions felt this clique-like atmosphere of which you speak. I only feel that way at blogs where the blogger picks and chooses who they'll reply to in the comments section.

Aside from that sort of blogger, I have never felt that this was a competitive venue. I too, was honoured with a Blogs of Note listing around the same time you were just over a year ago and I was floored to see so many people flock to my blog. The really kind and loyal folks have stuck with it.

I'm amazed daily that people find interest in my posts. I often don't have anything to say and yet wonderful people come from all over the globe to see my photos. And people are incredibly kind .. from the lengthy comment-writers like dear Shimp to the quick acknowledgers like lovely Coudia with her Alohas - and everything in between. I treasure them all. It's the thought that counts.. not how much time was spent on the comment. Or what one might perceive was spent on the post. I put a great deal of effort and time into making each one of my photo posts work the way I see fit to publish. Still, my words are minimal.

For those blatant enough to say "come see my blog" and nothing more, I simply don't return those visits. The rest.. are true blue.

Smoke said...

Hear Hear. I must admit, when I started blogging, I also hoped people would come and read me, until I found these fast post comments. now it doesnt matter, I write for myself and who ever else is interested.

Rebecca said...

Bloggers that show a deep passion for what they do and say are the ones I find myself returning to over and over again.

Because Blogging in general can take a lot of time, I made a new promise to myself that I would only comment when I truly felt I had something to say. And, I would only Post if I had something I felt worthy of sharing.

Simply put, if a particular blog puts me off or if I feel that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, then I don't return.


Karen said...

I agree completely. Well said! It is not a competition . In some instances people working in the same profession use blogging(and FaceBook) as a way to showcase their work/talents/achievements which of course is great advertising via the social networks for their business etc and of course egos can be involved big-time!... I think it gets to the point of "keeping up with the Jones's"...I would rather be Blogging because I want to - rather than "having to". Everything is so "out there" and visible in the world these days

houndstooth said...

I feel that you have to write for yourself first. If you do that well, the rest will usually follow. It always strikes me as funny about what people seem to really like when I write. Some things that I think are really great hardly get any comments, while others take me totally by surprise!

Not The Rockefellers said...

Loved this Jo...and your blog as well!
I blog to become a better writer so I love constructive comments. I also enjoy comments from folks who liked what I wrote or didn't like what I wrote( though not as much :) )
It's nice to be read and followed and it's lovely to find a whole bunch of comments on my blog in the morning...but that's not what it's about for me. And truth be told I'm pretty lax in the commenting department ( though I try to get around to as many as I can)
What it is about, for me, is developing a friendship with poets, first time writers, first-time parents, empty nesters, cancer survivors and just anyone right there on the edge of something life changing, sometimes sad, sometimes wonderful...everyone has a story, Jo, and I just want to take the time and pay attention to as many as I can.

Peace ~ Rene

Anonymous said...

Dear Jo,
I like to take a deep bow in respect of you and your writing.
Thanking you very much for this entry of yours. Please have a wonderful start into the weekend.

Margie said...

Great post, Jo!

Wishing you a great 2010.

Nancy said...

I couldn't agree more. I know we have had this conversation before, you and I, - we have to be true to ourselves when we write. It's hard to not get wrapped up in the comments portion of blogging. But we are not writing for other people - we are writing for ourselves - at least it started out that way. Somewhere along the way it gets lost and people do start competing. I have people want to advertise on my blog all the time. I tell them I don't do advertising - it is not about money, followers (although I appreciate them), it's about creativity. You wouldn't paint a picture because you think it might sell - you paint what you feel. And your painting is not everyone's cup of tea. (example) That should be what we do when we blog. Realize we are not everyone's cup of tea.

I'm going to be blogging less, and working on other things more, and I know I'll miss the people that move on. But with so many wonderful blogs, I don't blame them!

Great post, Jo.

Jan said...

I blog for myself - I have kept a written diary on and off over the years and find this a good way to put my thoughts and feelings. I've never felt I'm in a competition. I love reading yours and other blogs like sneekily seeing into others lives - like reading others diarys , there I've confessed to my guilty secret !!!

Alissa said...

Great post, Jo! Although I do think your blog is deserving of its Blog of Note status. It is far from boring! I feel about blogging, the way I feel about writing in general. I would keep on doing it even if nobody read it because I enjoy it.

Mia said...

People put themselves into smaller groups in order to feel larger. It's easier to be the most popular of 5 than 5000.

It's only natural to want people to read what you write but once you start posting what you think others want to see instead of what you want to say then you might as well call it a day. I didn't mean that to sound like a poem.

I had no idea you were one of those blogs of note. I'm glad I didn't know. I've never seen one I liked and generally avoid them completely. I guess they get it right once in a rare while.

As for the competition, I've decided to go to every blog I can and post the word "comment". Surely I'll win.

Marguerite said...

Great post! I agree with you wholeheartedly, Jo! But, I know a lot of bloggers who view blogging as a giant competition and compete very agressively. It does have a rather "high school" feeling to it! I suppose it all boils down to WHY a person blogs.
Congrats on Blog of Note, cher! Cheers!

tinkerbell the bipolar faerie said...

Thank you for saying it.

I agree that it does really depend on the reason people blog. For some bloggers, blogging is an ego exercise. For others, it is a creative endeavour - a labour of love. As far as comments go, one does reap what one sows, to a certain extent. In the blogosphere, one must know others in order to be known. Do we blog to receive recognition or do we blog as a means of personal expression? For most of us, the honest answer lies in somewhere in the middle.

jeannette stgermain said...

Jo, I couldn't agree with you more:) To me, my blog is a self- expression. Some may like that, some may not. To make it a competition, would make it a burden and obligation I surely am not after.
Some want to read a blog with a specific subject, so I understand that when someone is interested in technical gadgets, they would find my blog boring.
I guess the people who keep coming back to read, like the way I see life, and like the subjects I address.
Please don't tell me who those "in-crowd" people are. I'm sure they will be found out at some point:)
I keep coming back at your blog, because of your humor -I often get too serious, so you help me look at myself and laugh!

the walking man said...

I visit a lot of blogs every day, sometimes leave a comment sometimes not but I do read everyone I stop at and see what's up in their world.

Maybe I am just nosy that way or I find it better than infomercials at 3 am.

Most of the people who leave a one line comment I understand because we have been reading each other for a couple of years now, I have time where as most people my age and with my proclivity to respond at length do not have the same luxury of time as I do.

But if it really becomes about the numbers of responses or followers and that mess then it becomes time to re-think why I am doing it.

Be Well Jo

all that i am said...

you are a wonderful and amazing woman...
which I think is what makes your blog 'real' and 'interesting' and 'believable' and 'worth reading'!
In one blog you write about being too shy to leave a comment...afraid of intruding...checking your teeth!?!?

and two or so blogs later you are setting us all straight with your blogging wisdom {acquired thru your persevarence and commitment to blogging these past four years...}

both of your posts brought tears to my eyes

I too feel too shy to comment, sometimes, leaving that to the 'real bloggers'...

although I do love it when I feel welcome and comfortable enough to leave those few words of someone who creates that blog space where it does feel like your engagement matters!

I have resorted back to 'paper journaling' again, tinkering with the idea of leaving my blog for just images...

but maybe your words will keep me going...and growing in this strange world we inhabit...

thank you

Anonymous said...

Jo, I'm really glad you wrote this. It has taken me a long to to realize that I need to blog for me and not for anyone else. What I get out of blogging is a release of all the ick I might be feeling, or to put out in the world, the good that might be going on. It needs to be more personal than commercial.

Keep writing what/how you write. I think it is fantastic!

ivan said...

I was going to put in a deeply insightful, devastatingly urbane comment on this, but practical reality is inerfering as Scrooge is coming around to collect gthe rent and my thinking must surely become practical. Seems in the serendipity ether of blogging you can become carried away and torally lose your sense of reality. (Heh. The neurotic builds castles in the air. The psychotic moves ritght in, into his castles in the ether).

Lord, what time is it getting to be? Rip Van has to wake up!
The cupboard is bare, and like in the case of the 62-year-old recent American Idol contestant, it's a new rap:

"Pants on the ground
Pants on the ground
Lookin like a fool
With your pants on the ground

Pants on the ground
Lookin' like a fool
With your pants on the ground.

Old dumpster diver with the eclectic blog has gotta hike up his pants.
Specific operating concerns: Do I get fresher food at the food bank or is it less stale dated at the Supermarket dumpster?
When Scrooge comes to collect the rent, how will I bullshit him into not evicting me? Sort of like Colin James in the pop song: You end up going to the bar to order, "one whiskey, one burbon, one beer."
Seems with blogging, you lose your sense of practicality, King John with the burning cakes in the oven that he was supposed to watch over..
Pants on the ground.
I think my computer just caught fire.

Jo said...

Alicia, I am so honored that you read my blog, and if I have just one reader like you, that inspires me to keep writing, and to write from the heart, and not become formulaic. Thank you so much...!

Carla, I have noticed that too. It's kind of like "speed blogging". They have lost the point of blogging, which is to read what someone has written, and to actually absorb it and then comment if they wish. One particular blogger who gets literally hundeds of comments is all over the blogs, and I really do think her comments are just "cut and paste". And, I'm really glad that you have kept me as one of the blogs to read. That makes me very happy. :-)

Whitney, I love reading your little "slice of life" blog, and that is the whole point of blogging. It shouldn't be some sort of a contest, to see how many blogs one can burn through in a day. And no one has the right to sit in judgment of someone else's blog. Have fun, and keep blogging!

Jennifer, thank you. And yes, I enjoyed Julie and Julia too, for the blogging aspect of it. Julie was amazed that so many people read her blog. But she didn't go out soliciting readers, they came to her.

Hilary, yes, I have often wondered about those people who pick and choose who they will respond to. And yes, I think once we have picked up a lot of followers, it's lovely to have an interaction with them. I think it's important to encourage new bloggers, as well, and to not create the feeling of exclusivity -- a "club", as it were.

Jo said...

Smoke, and when your visit the "fast post" commenters, you will find they also have a lot of "fast post" commenters on their blogs. You should just write what you enjoy!

Rebecca, you feel exactly as I do. Your comment here could have been written by me. There is nothing worse than the feeling of being "obligated" to post a comment to someone, simply in reciprocation.

Karen, I know! How on earth do people keep up with all the social networking that is going on? It's just too much. Something eventually gets lost, doesn't it!?

Houndstooth, I am the same way. A may put a lot of thought into a post, only to get no comments at all, while others that I just sort of throw together get lots of comments. But I always appreciate when people stop by -- no matter what.

Rene, I think you have absolutely the right attitude about blogging. It is very much a community, and as such, people should be treated the same way they would be treated in the "real" world. What makes me feel angry is when we see people blatantly picking "favorites". That does not happen in the real world. Life is not a competition.

Jo said...

Robert, thank you. You have a wonderful weekend too, and keep blogging. :-)

Margie, thank you. And a great 2010 to you too. :-)

Nancy, yes I get e-mails from people wanting to advertise on my blog as well, and I just ignore them. What makes me irate is the "clubbiness" of blogging, where it ceases to become about blogging, but about how many "friends" one can have. It becomes about "quantity" rather than "quality" and people use all sorts of methods to promote their blogs.

Jan, I feel the same way you do. I write because I like to discuss things, current events, politics, etc., and it frustrates me when people "shy" away from these things, and all they want to blog about is recipes, pictues -- so-called "safe" things. I get bored with that. But everyone is different, and everyone's style of blogging is different.

Alissa, yes! That's the attitude. Keep on writing even if no one reads. Don't sell out and "pander" to the bloggers who prefer the formulaic "safe" blogs. Blogging should be about something, shouldn't it? Well, I may be wrong ... I am often wrong. *heh*

Mia, "It's only natural to want people to read what you write but once you start posting what you think others want to see instead of what you want to say then you might as well call it a day." Well said...! And I don't think bloggers have the authority to sit in judgment of other folks blogs. It annoys the hell out of me.

Marguerite, aggressive bloggers - yes. It's like running for high school student council president. But if that is their style, well, everyone is different. Not for me, though.

Tinkerbell, "For some bloggers, blogging is an ego exercise." Yes! Of course we all want people to read our posts, but I believe it should be a level playing field. No one has the right to say one blog is better than the other. It's all subjective, isn't it?

Jeanette, thank you! I can often get too serious as well (as with this blog post). The "high school" mentality is very much out there, and I guess in a way it might be human nature. People will often do that. It's unfortunate, though, isn't it?

Mark, yes, I agree. I don't mind when people leave just one line comments. I am honored that they have read my blog at all. In fact, I am honored if they even read my blog, and don't comment. It's the "cliqueness" (is that a word) of a certain group of bloggers that is starting to annoy me. It's so grade eight...! :-)

Jo said...

Anna...! "I too feel too shy to comment, sometimes, leaving that to the 'real bloggers'..." That is exactly what I am talking about. You ARE a real blogger, and you have wonderful blogs. I LOVE reading your blogs about your life in South Africa. You are just as much a real blogger as anyone else out there. Please do NOT ever think otherwise...!

Dudette, I think a lot of us get into the habit of reading the blogs where a lot of people comment, and we post a comment too, even though we think "What the hell was this blog post really about, and didn't they post exactly the same thing last week ... last month...?" So, yes, we have to start doing our blogs for ourselves, and not for other people. Keep blogging, and blog for yourself!

Ivan, you always manage to make me laugh. And you walk to the beat of your own drummer. You never comment just in order to say what you think the reader whats to hear. You say exactly what is on your mind. Good for you...! :-)

Carol E. said...

When I started blogging there were a lot more blog rings around. I asked if I could join one, and they let me, but shortly after that they closed it and said it was by invitation only. That kind of thing felt more like a clique to me... but now with "following" it's much easier to see a bunch of other blogs without having to set up an exclusive blog ring.

Your blog is wonderful because it is honest, not to mention interesting.

Miranda said...

I love you! I'm pretty sure your blog was one of the first I started following a year ago when I first started my blog. I see soo much competition especially in a certain area of blogs and it usually turns me off of those types of blogs. I truly blog just to write something and get it out of my brain. I don't try to give the world something to ponder. I don't do anything except write from my brain and usually it ends up random and weird. And I honestly don't expect people to read it without asking themselves "why?"
I do a lot of the time find myself saying "why is that person a better blogger then me?" Because when I read their stuff, it sounds just like what I'm saying.
I never got into blogging to make money or to become famous. I thought it was just a good way to get my words out of my brain and to a permanent place, besides a journal.
You always seem to have wonderful posts, every time I read. And you're always complimentary to everyone that reads your work. That's why I love your blog.

TC said...

Thanks for the reminder. I'm guilty too, I look @ a blog, there is a misspelled word or an awkward phrase and I'm going this person has over 100 followers in a month? What gives?
AND I got the most visits and continuing visits when I wasn't even trying!! LOL

Kathy's Klothesline said...

This is why I don't do the awards thing! I was getting to the point that I was spending all my spare time either posting or commenting. It is a lot of pressure to comment on each and every blog I read, so I don't. As much as I like comments on my blog I realize that my fellow bloggers have the same pressures I do..........

Land of shimp said...

Blogging is an interesting reflection of how society groups itself. It is natural that we tend to read that which interests us, and reflects something to which we relate.

As a for instance, I'm sure there are many blogs out there talking about something that doesn't particularly catch me, scrapbooking, as a for instance. I'm in no way slamming scrapbooking as a hobby. I think it is delightful that people have such love for things and activities in their life. It is natural that a scrapbooking blog would attract other scrapbookers.

Just saying, that's another way to look at the "in-group" feeling that can result. It's not a bad thing. It's only a bad thing when the people within a group aren't holding the door open for new people, who also share an interest, or a way of thinking.

As for blogging being a contest, or not, it's not. It's just a way of reaching out to others, but it's vast landscape out there.

I think the best answer is for people to write whatever interests them, or moves them, or whatever thoughts cross their minds. If someone else deems that uninteresting, or too limited, they can feel free to continue on their merry way to another part of the landscape of blogging.

Basically, not only is blogging something other than a contest, it also doesn't truly matter if someone else deems something interesting. They will click off, and continue until they find something that does interest them. But there is nothing inherently boring in the course of living a life. No matter what someone chooses to focus upon, there is someone else who will essentially experience an "empathy hit". It may take that person a while to find you, but just keep doing your thing until such time as they do.

People group by interests and the exchange of ideas in the real world, too. Blogging is a reflection of that.

It isn't a contest, and people shouldn't worry about whether or not they are interesting enough to hold the attention of a large audience. If you find one like-minded friend through blogging, and that's all you find? That's one more person in your life, and there is a ton of value in that.

It's a funny thing, the rules that help us get by in life are pretty much the inherent ones of blogs: Do your thing, and let others do theirs. Be kind to the people you encounter, show an interest in them, sincerely and you'll find some fun, interesting people.

Between your blog, and Hilary's I found a lot of people who are really neat, thoughtful folks. What a lovely thing that is.

It's not a contest, but it is a gift in a life. Just don't sweat it if someone has tons of followers, and you don't...that's just a doorway to other, interesting people. Some really neat fun, personalities came into my life specifically because I started reading your blog, and then followed comments here to other blogs.

It's not a contest for popularity or great content, but it really is an opportunity to find a world of possibility when it comes to interests. If that interest is scrapbooking? Rock on with your scrapbooking ways!

Country Girl said...

I have always enjoyed your writing and your interesting post subjects as well as the art you showcase. I began my blog about two years ago and though I don't really have much to say, I feel as if I have accomplished my goal of making it a respite from the troubles of the world.
I found myself trying to visit so many blogs because I thought that this was expected of me now that I have more followers than before. I also found that I began to leave comments by dashing and in out, just to have been there and said hello.
This is not for me.
I don't respond to everyone who comes to visit me because I just do not have the time. I cannot do it while I'm at work and at night I prefer to work on my photography and my post for the next day.
If this makes me a bad blogger, then that is what I am! I have 50 blogs or more on my blogroll and I just can't possibly find the time to visit all of them. I keep to the ones that I know and to new ones that I stumble across.
You've been on my blogroll for two years!
Excellent post, btw.

Cedar said...

I have been Blogging for about 5 years and I have never "caught on" as a Blogger of any real interest, if I get 20 hits a day it is from the same 20 people that have always read me and I am okay with that. I just like to write and I like to babble on about goofy things. People tell me if I would be more consistent with my Blog and not all over the place with post I might develope a following. I didn't start to Blog to develope a following, I started Blogging to just write and go back at past years and see if I have changed at all in my thoughts or if I am getting crazier, it is like a life barometer or something.

Jo said...

Carol, thank you. I like to keep my posts interesting. I definitely do not have a "theme" as such, but I try to make it more like a slice-of-life column such as one might find in a newspaper. It would be so boring of those columns were about the same thing every day, and that is how I feel about my blog.

Miranda, thank you...! I am always honored when you visit my blog and leave a comment. Some people think of blogs as sort of a form of "social networking" so then they get into little cliques, where some people are "favorites" and others are not. I can think of a few people who do that. To them I say ... ttthhhrrrrpppssss .... (that was supposed to be a New York raspberry... *heh*)

TC, yes, sometimes I wonder ... I just shake my head at some of the banal blogs that get 100 comments, while some of the brilliant ones get less than 10. Is everyone blind!?

Kathy, I totally agree. It is very difficult to put someone into the position of choosing which blogs are better than others. None of us is really qualified to do that, and it feels very exclusionary when someone does it.

Alane, yes, I completely agree with you. Your blog is one of my favorites, by the way, because your life is so d*amned funny...! Sorry, but it is. You always make me laugh. But scrapbooking ... no ... not for me either. I rather like political blogs, and blogs about art and literature. And I don't think it should be up to any of us to decide which blogs are good, and to direct other people there. It feels exclusionary to a lot of people. A few people have taken that upon themselves to do, and quite frankly, I don't like it. It doesn't sit well with me. But again, that is just my humble opinion.

Kate, yes, I remember when you started blogging in December 2007. There was so much going on in your life, and I think blogging was sort of cathartic for you at the time. Your blog has grown immensely since then. And yes, I cannot imagine posting comments on everyone's blog on a daily basis, but I do try to get to everyone at least once a week. I'm still in love with George, by the way. He's the best dawg in the world -- next to Bailey. *heh*

Risley, you are a good example of what I am talking about. You have one of the BEST blogs in the blogosphere. I found you by accident one day, and I saw your little sign that said, "Put on your big girl pants and deal with it" and I was hooked. You are a prime example of someone who should have hundreds of followers. I wish the whole world could find your blog...!

Arley said...

Since when did blogging become a competition? I always thought it was just a group of people jotting down their feelings. Wow, that's crazy, I agree 100% with you Jo!!!!

Paula Slade said...

Whenever I visit your blog Jo, I feel like I'm on a holiday! Most of my days are spent, writing and reporting for other people and when I visit your blog, it's like a breath of fresh air - far from the news world. Keep sharing your wonderful stories! I'm hoping that in the near future I will be able to devote more time to my own blog. Blogging is a wonderful pastime, I've never cared to compete, just create.

日月神教-向左使 said...