The Unspoken Rules of BlogLand, or, Why I Don't Want to Read About Your Parakeet's Eye Infection

I recently reconnected with Theta Mom, who wrote an incredible post last week entitled 3 Secrets to Getting "Return" Blog Followers. If you'd like to read it in its entirety (you should, she knows what she's talking about), please go here. I am going to cut and paste a bit of it here and add my two cents not that it's worth anything.

Theta Mom says:

I strive to be one of those blogs that you follow and return to, not ever wanting to miss a post. So when I think of the blogs that I follow, I wanted to share my top three reasons of what brings me back to those blogs again and again:

1.) A blog with well written content that I can relate to: A blogger that posts about topics I can easily connect with is a major draw for me. It doesn’t necessarily have to be about motherhood; any well written post about a topic I can sincerely relate to will get me hooked.

2.) A clean blog design with easy navigation: I enjoy blogs that are easy to navigate with just a few clicks. If I want to peek into the archives or get to know more about the blogger, I don’t want to have to go searching for it. And easy navigation does not have to mean a fancy blog design, just a clean design that doesn’t take away from the content.

3.) A blog that encourages support of its readers: I like a supportive blogger who encourages comments and wants to continue the conversation. How boring would blogging be if you never got a response? A blogger that shows support of its readers is what brings me back again and again. And I certainly don’t mean a comment for every comment. In a perfect bloggy world this would be fabulous, but we all know how unrealistic that goal would be. I’ve tried to keep up and it’s impossible. So, how do you show support? It can be displayed in various ways to fellow bloggers: via a reply to a comment, a visit to the blog, a link back to a blogger within a post, an email, a tweet or retweet of a post, the sharing of a post on Facebook, a Stumble of a particular post, a chat on a community message board, a recommendation of a blogger to another, etc… There are so many ways to help promote and show other bloggers support, so I like to return to blogs that encourage this as well.

Now for my thoughts (some of which echo the above). **DISCLAIMER: These are my thoughts, you do not have to agree with me, but if you want me and others to visit you, you should at least consider them:
1.) Lately, I'm posting less. I used to post daily. I thought if I didn't, no one would come back. But the truth is that I have more interesting things to say when I post less frequently. QUALITY NOT QUANTITY! If you can't come up with something and find yourself rambling about insignificant things---don't post at all (p.s. for examples of this, please check out my archives). Memes are great sometimes, but I am doing less of these as well and trying to post more actual substance. I do love Memoir Mondays, Fortune Cookie Fridays, and the occasional Sunday Stealing, but it can't all be fun & games.
2.) I don't have the time or energy to read really long posts. There are a lot of wonderful blogs out there and I like to try and read as much as I can when I'm able to. But if you're going on and on, I lose interest. Try to keep it short and sweet. I'm thinking a few paragraphs. A little longer sometimes is okay. Everything in moderation.
3.) If you have so much crap on your blog that it takes forever to load and there are buttons everywhere and stuff is blinking and gyrating, I'm overwhelmed and I can't deal. Please clean up your mess.
4.) I don't need to see pictures of your kids and pets every day. I am certainly guilty of having done this in the past, and I'm really sorry. But as time goes by I am learning from other bloggers (thank you, Theta Mom!), and I've realized I need to be less egocentric with my posts if I want people to follow and stay interested. I am still working on this. I also don't like to post very much about politics or religion (or likewise read blogs that are heavy with this stuff). So I'm brainstorming.
Thanks for reading this. I know I'm not perfect--no one is. But if we want to be better bloggers, I think we should consider some of this stuff pretty seriously. Now that I'm wondering where I'm going with my blog, I'm cleaning it up in the process. Maybe we can all learn together as well as from each other?


(Picture) Memoir Monday, or Random Thoughts on the Degrees I'm Not Using

Today is the first ever Picture Memoir Monday hosted by Travis over at I Like to Fish. Please go check him out and link up to play along!

Millsaps College Graduation Day - May, 1998

I'm the goof on the left with the bad hair who's still sporting my Freshman 15 20 25. I was a regular old graduate. No cum laude, summa cum laude, or magna cum laude for this girl just *crickets* when they called my name. I majored in English, minored in French, failed out of Intro to Cell Biology my freshman year and squeaked by with mediocre grades in my lit classes. I overdosed on extracurricular activities: wrote for the campus newspaper, taught elementary-level French to second & third graders, and was on the executive board of my sorority. I worked in the Millsaps Writing Center, co-chaired the No-AIDS Task Force, and submitted anonymous poetry to the campus literary magazine. I was well rounded to be sure, but maybe if I'd focused on my classes more I'd have had a decent GPA excelled. There were so many things I wanted to dabble in, I couldn't possibly choose one or two.
University of New Orleans Graduation Day, December 2000

Wait a sec, am I having deja vu? No, this is my graduation from my Master's program. English again. I went back to school because I didn't know what else to do with myself after college.

And I still don't.

But this blog is a start. I can write what I want, hone my mad skillz, and best of all I don't have to deal with those super smart intellectual people who made me feel rather like a chump.

I am starting to realize less is more. I don't post here every day anymore. Perhaps the quality of my posts will improve as a result? Maybe I'll start to get somewhere and figure out where I'm going.

Because it's NOT back to school again.

Because the reality is I can't be a professional student, and the two degrees I've gotten were for nought.They're lying unused, tossed aside in some forgotten corner.

Because I have this nagging need to know where I'm going, what I'm doing, and who I am now that this motherhood gig is well underway.

Because I'm in my 30s and I don't have a career to call my own and I feel useless and small some days. Okay, many days.

Because if I'm not heading somewhere, towards something, it means I'm stagnating. Right?

***DISCLAIMER: this post is in no way intended to bash SAHM-hood. I am a SAHM. I do not mean to imply that our jobs at home are any less important/significant than those who are in the workplace. It just sucks that we don't get paid.

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