Steve’s Bloggers Bloggy Meme

Yes, me old mucker Stephen Lang has come up with a new meme. As he says, it’s that time of year…

…now that spring is in the air,
when those two wet gits with their girly-curly hair
make another song for moronic holidays
that nauseate-ate-ate in a million different ways…The Chicken Song

Sorry, I got sidetracked there. I’ll try again. He says that it’s the time of year when people look back over the previous twelve months, so he decided to have a shot at creating a blog review meme. Yes, it’s another post about blogging. Yes, it’s another meme. Still, it’s handy for when I run short of ideas — in fact, that worked really well and generated a couple of posts. I might try that again (or some variations on it) in the new year…

What it is then, is a blog review of the year. Eight questions about blogging.

Are you still enthusiastic about blogging? Will you still be here this time next year?

Very much so. It’s quite addictive to be honest with you. It’s lovely that there are actually people out there who specifically want to read what I’ve written, and I would imagine that I’ll still be spouting out the same old rants, memes, accessibility-related gubbins and football stuff this time next year.

I actually started blogging around November 2005, but for the first half of that period I was an infrequent blogger — but over summer 2006 I made a conscious effort to try and increase my number of posts to try and provide something every day. You can see how it progressed: from 8 posts in June, 20 in July, 25 in August to 33 in September.

Okay, so I miss a day now and again, but nobody’s perfect…

Have you learnt anything about blogging in the last year? Any Dos and Don’ts you’d like to share?

Talk about anything you like. Remember that it’s your site and you can talk about whatever you want — don’t feel you need to pigeonhole yourself into “an accessibility blog”, “a diary blog”, “a book blog” or so on. As I’ve very much discovered from this site, talk about whatever is on your mind. If a reader doesn’t like it, they don’t have to read it.

On the other hand, you might discover that people actually enjoy listening to your insane mutterings. My favourite comment of the year — now there’s an idea for a meme … some kind of "ThePickards Awards 2006" — was this one:

I came for the accessibility and I stay for the rantsLachlan Hardy

… because it’s nice to know I’m not just entertaining myself!

The only other thing I would add is that you must absolutely remember that anything you blog about is public knowledge. I have found out that a lot of people who know me off-line — friends, family, work colleagues — read this site. I’m more than happy for them to, and I personally don’t feel at all held back by that, but you do need to be aware of it.

Of course, that really depends on what you’re talking about. I don’t talk about who I work for, and I tend not to mention people by name, unless they are already known to the blog. On the whole, I would try and be considerate, and above all fair.

In general, how much time do you spend blogging? Do you think you are spending more or less time blogging as time goes on?

On average, an hour or so daily. That’s probably too much, but on the other hand, it’s not like I’m out mugging old grannies, and it stimulates the mind instead of just vegetating in front of some mindless dross masquerading as “entertainment” on the telly: usually involving cookery, home improvements, “reality shows” or soap operas. And why do they always, always have such stupid piss-easy pointless bloody questions on the phone-in polls?

What is the capital of France? Is it

  1. A mars bar
  2. Eight nautical miles
  3. Paris
  4. Raquel Welch in One Million Years B.C.

Every bloody phone in quiz

Don’t worry: I do actually know. It’s because they make lots of money from the idiots who think “ooh, I know that one”, little realising the fact that the television company probably makes more money out of the phone-in alone than the entire bleeding programme cost to make…

…I’ve gone off on one again, haven’t I?

What blogging platform do you use? Are you happy with it?

Wordpress. Yes, although frankly I couldn’t care less which engine I use as long as it allows me to post, categorise posts, have a decent spam comment filter, and allows me to tinker on with various customisations. I’d probably be happier with a language I know better such as ColdFusion or .NET as I’m no PHP expert, but that’s why I rely on plug ins and/or modifications of other people’s themes (thanks again Mike).

Any good discoveries in the last year?

Um … I dunno, really. I mean, I’ve enjoyed a lot of blogs, but I can’t name all the ones I’ve read and enjoyed or we’ll be here all day. Technology wise, I came to WordPress this year, which I preferred to the (old) version of blogger I was then using. Oh yes, and the Akismet spam filter. You beauty.

And as regards next year, I’m very much looking forward to the launch of Dan’s book review site Revish, which I’ve been involved with some of the testing for.

When you visit other blogs, are you a commenter or a lurker?

I guess you’d have to call me a commenter as I think I’m pretty chatty. I don’t post on every entry on every site I read though: only where I think I have something to add. Otherwise I’m sure Roger would shout at me for breaching his comment posting guidelines anyway…

Any big plans for your blog next year? Are you planning a new design or direction, or are you happy to keep going as you are?

Not a clue. I’d like to hope someone will want to buy the book rights, or syndicate it in some major international publication, or just generally give me some money for some other reason. We could even turn it into a film. But in reality, probably just more of the same unless whimsy or capricious circumstance leads me down a different path…

I do want to try to keep posting on more or less a daily basis, though.

And finally: Blogging — does it get any easier?

Steve, who I nicked this meme off, says that he doesn’t think it does. It certainly has for me. I’m much less self-conscious about feeling I have to specifically construct a paragraph or a post to be just so, and I find that I’m pretty much typing straight out as I’m thinking.

A couple of tricks I have picked up that just might be making it easier are the habit I now have of jotting down blogging ideas on a scrap of paper in my pocket so that if something occurs to me when I am at work I can pick it up again as soon as I’ve got home (or at least once the kids are in bed). Secondly, memes. There’s always a few bouncing about. I don’t want to write a meme related post every day, but memes are great in that the majority aren’t particularly topical, and so you can decide you’re going to do a particular meme and then just sit on it until you’ve run out of other ideas…

Or, as I mentioned earlier — ask your readers to come up with some ideas of what to talk about. That generated three posts (one to ask for ideas, one to comment on most of the ideas, and a final one covering one of the ideas in more detail). Remember, your readers (and particularly your commenters) are a valuable resource. The more work you can make them do on your behalf, the less you’ll have to do yourself…

2 Responses to “Steve’s Bloggers Bloggy Meme”

  1. Steve responds:

    Interesting about you jotting ideas down at work so you won’t forget. I always thought I must be the only blogger who did that!

    Also interesting that you only spend an hour a day blogging - you must be pretty nifty on the old keyboard. I’m still very much a slow two-fingerer, although my typing skills are improving slowly.

  2. ThePickards » Blog Archive » A Spam SmörgÃ¥sbord responds:

    [...] Not entirely sure of the relevance to the post Steve’s Bloggers Bloggy Meme, or why you thought I’d be interested in eight paragraphs about Seymour and Jeff, topped off [...]

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