--> divine angst: From <a href="http://beggingthequestion.com/">Begging the Question</a>

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

From Begging the Question

Here's a little sumpin' about blogging, from Begging the Question. I thought it was interesting, and I usually enjoy these kinds of things. I've modified the questions slightly and omitted some for which I had no answer. So, with no further ado...

Why did you get into blogging in the first place?
I am an early-adopter; I love new technology. I started using Blogger several years ago (maybe 2001?) because I was taking an online web design class and our teacher had a blog. I thought it was very cool and started my own. This was before the handy web-based tools at Blogger, and I had my blog FTP'd to a free geocities account. Then geocities cut off FTP, thus killing that website and my blog. I came back to blogging after a girl in a writing class I took wrote one of her papers on blogging. I had been looking for an outlet; blogging worked.

What are the best and worst aspects of blogging for you?
Best: psuedo-anonymity for my writing. A place to post random thoughts (in the case of my "personal" blog) and a place to post directed thoughts (this blog). Practice practice practice. Worst: pressure to be clever, write brilliant material all the time, get readership. I'm not sure I really care about readership, but everyone else does, so I guess I do too.

Do you use Blogger or Movable Type, or some other blogging system, and why that one?
Blogger for now. It's easy to update, always on, web-based. Nice. I'd consider moving to MT, but we'd have to see if the husband would be willing to fiddle with our server so I could. Also, I'm cheap. Blogger is free. MT is free, but a domain name isn't, and jumping through Time Warner's hoops to get a static IP is also not appealing. Typepad is intriguing, but also not free, and it seems like it's too easy. I like to have to enter a little code.

Do you have comments on your blog, and why?
I do have comments. Even though I have comments, my blog is mostly monologuey. Comments are like candy for me—something I don't get a lot of, but that make me happy when I do. I imagine that if my comments were to increase, the nature of my blog would change.

How much do you care about readership/links? Are you obsessive about checking the number of visitors you have ? Do you use SiteMeter, or Technorati, or TTLB, or other systems for measuring these things? Do you take any specific steps to increase readership, such as sending posts to other blogs or posting comments at other blogs asking readers to go to your blog?
I care a little about readership, as I said above. Part of me really wants other people to read my stuff and tell me it's good. I use SiteMeter, but the free version only since, as above, I am cheap, and I check once or twice a day. Not obsessive for me at all. I get a little upset when a given day's readership is down. And I get a little upset when my only referrals are from Blogger's "Next Blog" link. I post elsewhere with my URL, but not specifically to increase readership. I only comment when I have something useful to say.

Speaking of posting, is there something you would like to post about but don't, and why not?
I don't, in general, post a great deal about politics. I may indicate my preference via a news story link, but I usually feel so inarticulate when it comes to politics that I avoid that. I try not to use proper names and such because I don't want to create problems with my job. I could post more about my job and work, but I don't because that might spoil my pseudo-anonymity, but also because usually my thoughts on my job are fleeting—one minute, I'm miserable and the next I'm swelled with pride over a project. I try to make sure my posts are genuine thoughts, not emotion-influenced rantings.

What is the strangest web search that led to your blog?
Well, on my personal blog, someone got there by searching for "thom filica"—I had posted a humorous quote from Queer Eye. Not many searches lead here, and those that do are usually things like "conditional logic unless." Dull dull dull.

Explain your blogroll. How did you choose which blogs to put there, and how do you use your blogroll? How often is it updated?
My blogroll started out as the blogs I visited myself. Now that I am using an aggregator, I think I can be a little more discerning. But I haven't yet started to tweak it, since I'm still trying to decide what criteria will get someone on the roll. I don't update it often at all. That may change someday, but for now, Blogger isn't terribly friendly about quick-and-dirty updates like that. So I update only when I find a blog I really want to advertize. Oh, and often, I'll do linkbacks for people who've linked me. I like doing that, at least for now, while I'm a fledgling. It's polite and a nice "thank you."

Do many of your readers know you in "real life"? In other words, is your blog read by your friends, classmates, professors, co-workers? Do they even know you blog? Would your blog be different if all those people read the blog, and if so, how?
Most of my readers probably don't know me. A small contingent do—mostly folks I took a writing class with. I think, though, that anyone stumbling upon my blog who knew me in real life would not be surprised at any of the content. Oddly, the one person who doesn't read any of my blogs is my husband. Someday I may be ready to give him the address, but for now, it's sort of my special place.

What do you think is the future of blogging? Will blogs look the same in five or ten years? What long-term effects do you think blogs will have on other media? What effects will other media have on blogs (for example, will Big Media co-opt blogs)?
I don't know what will happen to blogs in the future. I'd like to think they'll stay sort of independent, but I think that's unlikely. Blogs sort of remind me of the "personal website" trend. For a while, lots of people had personal websites, with pictures or information, or just links. Now, personal websites are sort of dorky. Blogs are the thing to have. I imagine that new technologies will come along that will make blogs look crude and clunky. And blogs as they are now will become more sophisticated, and BigMedia will definitely take more notice. News sites will become more bloggish and less like electronic versions of a newspaper. That would be cool.

Do you see yourself blogging in one year? five years? ten years?
I do see myself blogging for a least a few more years. I'd like to blog through law school and then see what happens. A lot will depend on how invested I am in the writing I'm doing on my blog. If I feel that my purpose has faded, my blog may go away. After all, the boringest blogs are those without any direction. No one wants to read a daily recountinng of my trips to the grocery or the library—unless those posts develop some point that I'm trying to make. When my blog stops having a point, I'll probably get rid of it.