Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Post#102 An thou bloggest, thus shall it be... + Blogsoldiers!! Abandon ship!

I started at Post#2 by saying:

"In olden days they used to say, "Hire a hall if you want to make a speech!" Now it's "Start a blog!" People should be careful about saying it. The recipient of the advice might take heed and do just that. But what to blog about? There's everything and nothing. Let's have a bit of everything to start:"

And, so I started. The "Hire a Hall" series of rants and raves were subtitled to show them as part of the categories "Everything" and "Nothing". By that I meant to separate the topics into the great and the trivial. Looking back, I see that hardly anything made its way into "Nothing". Most apparently trivial things lead back to the great issues of life. This is something the makers of parables have known forever. Jesus, or whoever wrote his material, applied it all the time. There's probably some arcane Classical Greek rhetorical term for this type of exposition. Something meaning "arguing from the particular to the general". In fact I'm sure there is; I just can't think of it. So, I've decided to dispense with the "Hire a Hall" device and title the posts with whatever seems fit.

One thing I've noticed in roaming the steppes of blogdom since April is that a large number of blogs are moribund. People start with a burst of whatever it is that starts them and fizzle out. The blog servers must be strewn with the wreckage of millions of withered blogs that people gave up. The most plausible reason is an apparent lack of readership. The counterpoint to this is all the blogs urging other bloggers to "monetise" their blogs. Hub sites like BlogCatalog, MyBlogLog and Spicypage are full of spruiking on this topic. These are the efforts of people hoping to make money by blogging to other people about how to make money by blogging to other people... The revenue stream is apparently supposed to come from the advertisements on the site which will be clicked by the millions of visitors you'll receive. Just send a payment to this account and you'll learn the secret. I find it a bit sad; it's just like those gambling/real estate/whatever schemes that are offered by post or email. The anomaly is: if the sender knows the secret to becoming filthy rich, why are they bothering to fiddle around with a mail-order business? If they're doing it for love of humanity, why don't they just post it publicly once, for free?

I can think of plenty of ways of attracting visitors. Most are common sense and are given away as free advice by the "traffic ehancement" experts as a tease for the potential customers. They're also superficial. They attract people to blogs but usually don't entice anyone to actually read the damn things. Tricky titles for posts, leaving comments on other people's blogs, including images in posts; they're well-worn features of the blog culture.

Then there are traffic exchanges. These are sites where you receive credit points for visiting member's blogs and receive reciprocal visits according to how much credit you have acquired. The same problem afflicts this concept as with much of bloggery; people want others to visit their blogs and read their writings and click on their ads...they're not all that keen on being the readers and clickers. An economic model of this pattern would feature many sellers and few buyers. Even though these sites usually have timers that require you to access a blog for a minimum period, many people seem to simply open the site, reduce the window to a size just big enough for the navigation controls to be visible and then just click on it occasionally as they do something else. So they can't even see the blog sites they're "visiting". Several of these sites also are poisoned by bad management by the site owners. They want to receive income from paying members and don't look after the non-paying accounts to a degree that would encourage them to upgrade. I had this experience at Blogsoldiers which was, unfortunately for me, the first such site I tried. I didn't know enough at that stage to recognise the signs of a dying site and I wasted a lot of time on it that would have been better spent elsewhere. The main indicator that I should have spotted is that a lot of the blogs on the site had not been updated for a long time. Their existing credits were slowly being eroded by the small remaining community of users. Having jumped on a sinking ship I paddled away for several weeks acquiring useless credits by surfing blogs which would never provide me with any traffic. This happened in the period when i was waiting for my blog to be listed. This took about three weeks and, when it happened, amazed me with the lack of result it produced. I currently have 248 credits remaining which I'm allowing to run down to nil before I delete my account there. If you're reading this blog from Blogsoldiers you must be one of the fifty or so regulars there who still haven't jumped. I recommend you do so and join me at Blogexplosion, where things are a lot more lively. The rule I follow when surfing is to at least have a look at every site I visit and scroll down and see what the general quality of the posting is. I blogmark any that attract my attention in a positive way. I figure that the exchange traffic concept is a bit like speed dating. If you discover one blog in fifty that you'd like to read and there's a prospect of developing a correspondence with its author, you're doing well.


Dina said...

That happened with my husband. He started a cool cooking blog and then quit. Well, it happened to my son too. Although he did start a new blog.

I'm afraid it will happen to me--I'll wake up one day and find that I've lost interest in Australia. That would be so sad.

Retarius said...

"And this blog also shall pass..." but there are plenty of other things to blog about. In fact, there's an entire universe. All you need is an opinion about anything on any day and you got yourself a blog!