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I am taking a blogging break for a little while. I am in the process of getting all of my challenges for 2011 picked out so you'll see a bunch of those posts.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

State of The Blog Address ~ I Triple Dog Dare You!

I've been going through some of the back log that is my google reader and I've come across several posts about the current "condition" of the book blogging community. I've noticed it while I've been out and about visiting people as well and it saddens me that something that is supposed to be fun has turned into something, that in some cases, that is nasty and very un-fun. So in advance I would like to thank Becky from The Bookette for her Honesty post, McKenzie from The Book Owl for her Blogger Relations post, Staysi at Lost in Ink for her observations post, and In Which A Girl Reads for her posts here, and here.

So here it is....The State of the Blog Address:

I started book blogging way back in September of 2009 (which really isn't all that long ago) so I'm not really a new blogger but I'm not really an "old" blogger either. The thing that I LOVED about joining this community was that I was expressing my love for a hobby with other book bloggers out there all over the world. I wanted to read, review and post as many books as I possibly could. I wanted to gather followers as fast as I possibly could. I wanted everyone to like me.

But now that I've been blogging for a while now I have come to realize some things, some of them good, some of them bad and some them are just plain UGLY:

1. You don't gather followers faster than the speed of light. If you are a new blogger who is reading this...It's true. In the beginning I started to follow blogs just hoping that maybe they would follow me back...In some cases yes that did happen, but in MANY that was NOT the case. It takes time and a little elbow grease to develop a committed readership. In all honesty, recently I have taken to COMPLETELY IGNORING the number of followers I have. I really don't blog to gather followers...I blog because it is and should be a fun HOBBY.

2. Keeping it REAL can lead to GREAT discussion. I came across a comment while I was reading one of the posts on the subject at hand, where the blogger was afraid to post an honest opinion of the books they were reading because they didn't want someone to disagree with them and start a "conflict." In the beginning I was like this too, but I quickly said "nuts to this" and started keeping it REAL. If I don't like a book I say "hey I didn't like the book" but I give reasons why I didn't like the book. If I LOVE/LIKED a book I say "hey I really liked this book" and I give reasons why. By keeping it real you can start some really interesting discussions about all sorts of different types of books.

3. Don't post just to post. I did this in the beginning and I think in the long run it hurt me. I was reading, reviewing and posting reviews just to get them posted and I can honestly say that I have learned from that mistake. If your going to blog about books, then blog about books YOU feel are blog worthy. If your going to participate in meme's do them because you enjoy them and just as a reason to get another post out there. If you've got nothing, it's ok NOT to post. In the long run posting just to post WILL burn you out.
4. Don't follow blogs just to follow blogs. This is one that I can say I am VERY guilty of. I am currently following close to 300 blogs. I bet you can only imagine what my google reader looks like?!...Trust me it's a very scary place right now. JUST DON'T DO IT!
5. Since when are new bloggers NOT worth the effort and why is it assumed that they are just in it for the "FREE BOOKS and ARC's"? This would be one of those "just plain ugly" things I've observed recently. We all were new bloggers at some point! I bet there are a bunch of new bloggers out there who don't even know that there are such things as "free books and ARC's" and are just blogging because they enjoy it and want to share what they like and don't like with the rest of us. New bloggers are MOST definately worth the effort. I've just recently found a couple of blogs that I am now following who are new bloggers and I LOVE what they have to say. We ALL love encouragement so why aren't we encouraging new bloggers? Why are we assuming the worst about them?
Ok, so I don't turn this into a big ole "we suck and must be punished" post I am going to stop right there with my observations and tell you what I am going to do about it here on my blog and THEN I am going to go and issue a challenge...Just cause it's my blog and I can do that sort of thing on my blog.
Recently, I have found that posting has turned into a second "job" for me. I've already got one of those and really don't need another one thank you very much. So from now on I'm only going to post when I have something to say or a really awesome photo that I took and I want to share with you. So yes, there will be LESS posting in the future but it should be about quality and NOT quantity right?
Because I'm following close to 300 blogs I will be going through and unfriending some. I NEED to get myself down to a manageable number...It sucks logging into my google reader and finding I have over 1000 unread posts (trust me it has happened). If I do unfriend you it's not because I don't enjoy your blog...I just need to get things under better control around here. If you feel the need to unfriend me that is unfortunate but I won't hold it against you either...We've all got to do what we've got to do sometimes.
I'm only going to participate in meme's that interest me. I'm not going to post just to have a post up. I hope this one is pretty self explanatory.

Now that I will be following less blogs I am hoping that this will give me more time to get out there and comment. I'm sure that some of you have noticed that I don't comment very often. There is a reason for this....I'm feeling overwhelmed.
I am here to encourage new bloggers. If your a new blogger, drop me an e-mail (it's right up there near the top, under the goodreads and bookmooch widgets) if you want...I check it religiously and I promise to get back to you....it doesn't even have to be book related. Making new friends is ALWAYS fun. If you have questions about blogging feel free to approach me...I'm no expert but I can share what has worked for me with you.
If your an older blogger, drop me an e-mail if you want. Again making new friends is always fun. Who doesn't like getting an e-mail that just says "hey have a great day!"? I an open to constructive critisim when it comes to my blog but please know that if you are rude, malicious or nasty I will respond in the same fashion. My blog is my space to say what I want and on MY blog turn about is fair play. (Not trying to be rude, nasty or mean. Just honest.)
I'm on Twitter, Goodreads, Bookmooch and many different Ning groups too. I really don't think that there is anyone that I haven't friended. Also, if you are a blackberry/crackberry owner if you want to chat about books, movies, life in general BlackBerry Messenger is a pretty awesome thing...You can either use my e-mail address (bookjunkie221@gmail.com) or my pin number which is 31343900.
So my challenge to you is this: Go out and drop some random blogger an e-mail. Go out and leave a new blogger an encouraging comment. I TRIPLE DOG DARE YOU!


~Jennifer~ said...

Excellent post! I agree 100% with everything you said.

I get emails from new bloggers every so often and I love helping them out. The best thing about book blogging is the community and it's awesome to welcome people into it.

I follow a lot of blogs and only comment infrequently (I've always been something of a lurker. It's a bad habit.) I need to work on that.

I post often. At least once a day, sometime 3 or 4. I don't have another job. I stay home with my kids a ll day. Blogging is my escape, so I do it a lot, but I won't post something I don't believe in or participate in something I don't like just to post. I just have too many ideas of what I want to do and am constantly looking for ways to do something different. I have, in fact, lost followers over it because I can be overwhelming. That's ok. Losing followers isn't the end of the world. Why would you want someone to follow you if they had no interest in what you're saying?

Honesty is crucial. If you're going to sugar-coat everything, why bother? Controversy isn't necessarily a bad thing, as it opens the lines of communication about topics we often avoid. As long as everyone can manage to not be rude or mean-spirited, conflict can really spark some great dialogue.

Now that I've taken over your comments, I'll be on my way. I totally understand if you have to unfollow me. I'll still keep coming back.

Book Crazy Jenn said...

You rock - and that's all I have to say about that...Jamie seriously you rock! :) ((HUGS))

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

I do this :) I'm always trying to drop new bloggers a line :) Good post doll!

ParaJunkee said...

I hope you don't unfollow me, LOL. I try to keep my blog interesting.

I keep my memes down to just a few hand picked ones. Mostly the ones that promote books I'm excited about or other bloggers.

Great post thanks for getting this out there. I'm sorry some people think aspects of this place can be ugly, really I've found that most aspects of this community are great and haven't really seen the ugly.

My 5 Monkeys(Julie) said...

so true about many of those things you posted. Blogging is hard and it can be a job not fun. I think there are too many memes out there and I don't do it..because everyone is doing it. I do try to follow new blogs too. I haven't seen the community being ugly at all.

Cecile said...

Your post is very true... I am just here to be me.. and do what I want to do.. if you like then great.. if not.. oh well (then do not follow). LOL! And really.. just have fun! That is why we are here... to express our love for what we read!
Thank you for posting this up!!!
Hope all is well!

Lily said...

Great post! I've only been blogging for a year and frankly at first it was just a way to review books for a challenge. I never thought I'd have people leaving comments and following me. It's definitely nice but not why I have my blog. It's fun and I enjoy it. Thankfully I've managed not to get into any conflicts or problems.

Jennifer (Crazy-for-Books) said...

Loved this post and it is so true! I only do a couple of memes that I personally enjoy. I try not to sugarcoat things and just keep it honest and real. I mean, it is MY blog, so I can give MY thoughts, right?! :) Awesome post! I just added you as a Blackberry Messenger contact! Look forward to chatting with you about books! :)

StephTheBookworm said...

Excellent post. It is meant to be fun and many people have begun treating it otherwise.

Nitima Sood said...

Liked your post. Someday I hope to write a book where the royalties will pay for the copies I give away.

Emidy said...

Wonderful post! And everything you mentioned it so true. Post quality is definitely more important than quantity. So don't worry about not posting often!

Anonymous said...

I loved this post and I love your blog. You're so honest and I love that in a good blogger :)

Lisa R said...

Thank YOU so much. I only recently started a blog after reading the reviews and comments on maybe 25 or so for about a year. I decided- why not start my own blog if only to keep MY reviews in one place. It was to be only for me. I'm sure you know what happened next. I entered a few contests, won a few books, added a few more blogs to read, and now I spend all my time reading blogs and NOT reading my books. Over Easter, I didn't read any posts and it took me 5 hours on Tuesday to get level again. No More Says I! I too have made the decision to cut back. Your post just made me feel soo much better about this decision.

alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

CallMeKayla said...

It IS a hobby! And, I hate to say this, but sometimes it feels like a full time job. I'm always online doing something with one of my blogs (I run 2 on my own). And, while I love doing it and it feels really nice to make new friends and get great comments, it can be so tiring after a while. I haven't had a lot of time lately to read my own books either Lisa!
:( I have to make time to read now a days.. Oh well, what can a girl do?

Book Monster said...

A nice post that brings all of us back home :)

Kris (Voracious YAppetite) said...

Jamie, what I like best about this post is your challenge. Ranting has its merits but I find that's where many people (in general, not just bloggers), stop. What ranting does is open the lines of communication to facilitate meaningful discussion. BUT, what should come next is an attempt to be the change we want to see. Making a difference, however small, is more important than the rant -- and I am so glad that's what you've done. Great way to set an example, thanks for that. :)

Jackie said...

I've taken up your dare and commented here (since i've just discovered your blog right this minute:-)

I agree very much with what you've said. It has become like a 2nd job and has cut into my reading time. Something has to give....and for me, it's been the blog commenting. But the other thing out there that becomes stressful are the awards passed on. I very much appreciate getting them and that people think I deserve them but when the "rules" ask that they be passed on to 7 or 15 others bloggers (etc.), it just seems to get out of hand, unfortunately.

Thanks for the honest post!

Mel (He Followed Me Home) said...

I <3 this post. So many of those things I have thought myself. I did the follower thing in the beginning, followed way too many & cut back a week or so ago (yep, over 300 too!) I love following new bloggers too, I remember being there & how exciting it was to get 1 more follower (ok, I still get giddy when my count goes up) BUT now I'm not blogging with a focus on getting followers,I just hope they find me worthy to follow.

p.s. love your dare!

Dawn Hullender said...

Greetings from the blog hop!

Becky said...

Hi there Jamie!
I was going through all my fairly recent posts and saw that you had commented on the honesty post. I'm still trying to get my head around how much that resonated with people. I was so embarrassed by it at the time but now I am so glad I had the courage to post it.

Since then I have transformed my experience of blogging because I put myself back in control. Now I'm following less than 70 blogs but I am leaving much more thoughtful comments and feel like I am getting more out of it. I actually have time to read, answer emails, write reviews. It is brilliant.

I hope that you can find the happy medium too. Blogging should never feel like a job. So do whatever you have to do to feel like you are in control. It will get better. I have certainly felt better now I'm only do one meme and that one is a creative one so it is all good.

Lots of luck and if you need anything just pop me an email.

Natalie (Mindful Musings) said...

There are so many great points in this post. Great job Jamie! :)

Lily Child said...

Great tips! I agree with several points you made! :)