Sunday, November 25, 2007

my questions

Referring to the questions below, I have a number of comments as I've been mulling over some things my daughter said over the phone, as well as some things said by Eric, who patiently answered all questions thoroughly, but covered it up fairly quickly with rapidfire daily posting.

I'm not sure my daughter will actually answer them, although she might if I bug her enough, but she gave me lots of inspiration in a phone call, after I'd written the questions, but before she'd even seen them. She was the inspiration of the questions in the first place, because it was my impression that she was running out of material, but also because she really hauls in the visitors, makes an art out of it almost, though it often seems to me that her topics are either pop-culturish (nothing wrong with that I guess) or brushing on banal. But it turns out that even body parts, not to mention television stars, haul in the visitors. She says to me, you want linguists to visit you, right? But they're not going to come in when you write about Krashen or Chomsky, because other things will come up first on Google. But there are certain things you can put in your blog, that they'll type, that will make you come up first every time.

In fact, I've found a few of these. Words that begin with vowels is one. I ruminate on the process of finding these, seeking them, using them more, etc.- all of these things, she does, in her own way, in her own realms. She enjoys it. And in that way, she becomes a little better at blogging, a little better-known, too. I'm jealous. By studiously avoiding any of these tactics, I remain more true to my own thoughts, but more obscure too. Maybe just as well.

Here's another interesting thing she said: most of these people are very temporary visitors. What you really want is readers, and they come from a recipricatory process. You comment on theirs, they comment on yours. And that shows you've read it. You go out and comment on lots. And they come visit you, and visitors to theirs, come also. By developing these relationships, you get an audience of readers. And that's who you write for.

Now I still basically write only for the four or five readers that I have, without ever knowing about this reciprication idea. I'd never thought of it that way. But Eric brought it up too.

It's partly because I live in a world where 95% of the blogs I work with are class related- there's no reciprocation involved there. Students comment if you require them or goad them, or sometimes if you just point out that it's possible. I'm not actually sure how often they comment on each others' - not often, I'd guess. Usually when I grade them, at the end of the term, very few people have commented. But some do.

My daughter and I are "site-meter-readers"...and care, possibly too much, about the paths people use to find us. More later. I'm fascinated also by Eric's answers, but I want to read that more carefully and respond to each answer. Meanwhile I eagerly await any or all answers that are still out there. Maybe my questions are too long. If so, I encourage you to answer only part.
All serious bloggers, I implore you to answer these, on your own weblog, or wherever you like, and point me to the answers. I'm genuinely curious. I originally put them on my personal weblog, where I've only gotten one serious response so far, but then I put them in better form on my professional one, where I also provided my own answers. I eagerly await yours!

1. Do you find that blogging tends to make you frame your life experiences in the same way that carrying a camera tends to make you frame the things you see- it makes you look at everything, and say, I wonder if I could blog about that?

2. Do you engineer your posts in any way to attract more audience? If so, how? Do you include words that will attract search engines? Do you write posts about hot, frequently-searched public persona?

3. Do you check who has come to visit you? Do you notice what words they used to search and find you? Do you notice how long they actually spent on your site? Do you take the words they used, and use them again, or keep using them?

4. You know how important pictures are when you open up a site. Do you choose your pictures in order to hold visitors, or do you just put in there whatever you can? Do you look for free pictures, take them yourself, or shamelessly steal them from Google Images like everyone else?

5. Do you feel bad about bumping people from your blogroll? How important is a template to you when you visit blogs? Do you really admire people who list thousands of blogs over there, or would you rather see someone who just has maybe ten or twelve best friends and relatives?

6. Do you really visit all those blogs you list under "daily reads" or "blogs i visit?" do you read them? this seems like a herculean task. How much time can a person invest in being in the citizen's media, a regular?

7. Has blogging changed your writing? Your perspective? Your alliances? Your likes/dislikes? Your politics? How has it affected the way you see things?