S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Caring about the work -- 3) listening to readers

The blogosphere is interactive. We welcome comments or feedback. From old blog "friends" we get familiarity, new ideas and recognition. Comments from new readers satisfy our needs for a wider audience. Ask yourself these questions about your listening capacity:
  • Do you metaphorically "put a period" at the end of your post, or do you "put a question mark?" The latter might invite more comments.
  • Do you reply to comments -- at all? If so, is the reply in a timely manner? People leaving a comment like to know they have been heard and understood. That reply might elicit more or fewer comments in the thread, depending on how skillful you are at dialogue.
  • Do you visit the websites of those who leave comments? You might be missing an opportunity to discover another good writer, or to engage a regular reader.
When readership declines we feel bad. Then we critique our stuff in order to improve it. This is as much to meet our own quality criteria, as to satisfy our audience. Ask yourself these questions about the reasons for the decline:
  • Do you post at relatively the same time every day? The regular reader likes to have an idea when to "stop by" for a new post. The experts suggest that early morning posts get good readership.
  • Do you have something new and fresh to say? Or have you fallen into a rut? Readers will leave if they are no longer interested. Their patience is not unending.
  • Do you pay attention to quality? Editing tasks such as a spell check, correcting spacing, breaking up long sentences and large blocks of text, using a standard style, all tell readers you care about their reading experience.

Today these comments got my attention:
  • One was familiar to me -- A regular reader left a very interesting comment on yesterday's post. To quote:
    The Future Was Yesterday said...

    "Bloggers skim"
    You know much more than I do about blogging and bloggers by far, but I question the remark above. I've never been able to enjoy a good book, by skimming. Reading every second or third sentence just leaves too big of a gap. If I find a post that leaves me bored after a couple paragraphs, I simply move on.

    My next question is, why should bloggers make an attempt to put solid, thoughtful content into a post, when they know it's only going to be skimmed? It seems a self defeating circle.

    Here was my reply, just as I wrote it:

    Carol Gee said...

    Howdy Future -
    Thanks for your comment. . . and for your thoughtful questions. Let me see if I can explain what I was thinking.
    Regarding skimming, perhaps you and I skim differently. I don't skip sentences; I just skip occasional words or phrases. I probably really meant "read fast." You help me remember that my "lead" had better be pretty good to grab your attention.
    Regarding your second thought, that is more profound. You are right; my motivation would certainly go away soon if my stuff went into a black hole. I guess I would say that I write in part for my own quality standards, assuming that my readers will be there, as they have over the years.
    Good writing is a function, in my opinion, of both good content and good style. Thanks again.
  • Someone I do not recognize left this comment -- on the first post of this "caring" series. To quote:
    Anonymous said...

    You might have considered reading Mainstream Iowan's Terms of Use:

    Mainstream Iowan:

    This was my reply just as I wrote it that day. It may or may not have been good dialogue. What do you think?
    Carol Gee said...

    Thanks for your comment.
    I just read the terms of use and found it to be very thorough, covering all bases.
    This was my first visit, so I have not gotten to know your form of blogging. First, I wanted to know more of your opinion, just judging from the intro. Our styles differ, is all. My bad.
    Second, my linking to your blog was not intended to do anything but to illustrate that your form (italics plus a set of paragraphs) was difficult for me to follow. I did go to the original article and finally found out by reading that you introduced the piece with italics, then included the three paragraphs quoted. Sorry if I offended you.
    Come again; I will visit again. Maybe we can come to know each other's views better.
Caring about my work - today I am rededicating myself to better thinking, clearer speaking, and closer listening.

My links:
Cross posted at The Reaction.
My “creativity and dreaming” post today at Making Good Mondays is about friendship. .
Technorati tags:


Anonymous said...


You are way too nice, but don't get me wrong. That is a good quality! Don't be too apologetic even with those whom you are in disagreement. You have a right to your views! It is your blog, do whatever you want remembering nobody else has to like it.

Mainstream Iowan

Carol Gee said...

Mainstream, thanks for following up on this dialog. Many of us who blog at progressive sites often feel like we are "singing to the choir." That's why having a discussion with you has been so interesting.
I like your spunk and independent spirit.

Regards, Carol