Friday, January 11

Procrastination running circles in my head. While you sit there contemplating, you’ll wind up left for dead.

Blogging....It's a funny old game, eh?

Obviously, it's all about personal preferences when it comes to which blogs one reads.
For me, I like a recipe of honesty, wit, comedy and tragedy. Add a dash of reflection, optimism, observation and real life, all folded nicely into a mixing bowl that's dished out on a reasonably regular basis. I like opinionated people who can be passionate about their thoughts and feelings. People who aren't afraid to bare their souls on personal matters. People who can be controversial, without sounding like an arrogant twat. People who actually enjoy interaction with others and who don't judge other bloggers by their sparse comments boxes. People who are aware of the unwritten blogging rules and aren't afraid to bend and break them, without being an obnoxious twonk.
I can't be arsed with reading about who fancies who in school, "why the whole world doesn't understand me", endless and pointless memes, or regurgitated bollocks that's basically been copied and pasted from somebody else's place. But like I said, that's just me, because obviously thousand of others do.

According to Technorati, who are currently tracking 112.8 million blogs, there are 175 thousand new blogs being created every day. Obviously, a lot of these never get off the ground for one reason or another. I've read that almost 80% of blogs are abandoned within the first month and just over 1 million never even get past that first posting. I guess that's mostly down to the blogging platforms making it so easy to create a blog in the first place.

Statistics aside though, there's still a mahoosive amount of people blogging out there. So why is it that I still find it so difficult to find a guy's blog engaging enough that I want to keep going back to it? I want to find more blogs written by guys that will stimulate my interest enough that I can't help but keep going back.
I know there are some really good blogs written by guys out there that are hugely popular, and rightly so. Some of them I have bookmarked but not linked from here. I find myself a little put off by them though, mainly because of their popularity and the fact that their comment boxes are choc-a-bloc with responses from other bloggers that make me feel somehow insignificant. A little silly on my part, I know, but that's just how I feel. In fact, the contents of comment boxes on certain blogs can be intimidating for me, enough so that I shy away from returning as regularly as I'd like, or even at all. Or sometimes I will continue returning, but never comment myself or even open the comments up, which is a shame because it takes away some of the essence of it being a blog in the first place.
Maybe I'm just too picky!

I love the idea of blogging. In the past few years, it's arguably changed the way the people of this world of ours are perceived. If nothing else, it's become an extraordinary tool to bring people closer together in some way, shape or form. Of course, it's also flourished in becoming a great way for budding writers, artists et al to be discovered, when in the past they may never have even got their foot in the door.

The main point of this entry was to highlight the fact that I find it difficult to find good blogs by guys. This got drowned out somewhat by the rest of the post and in essence, that apparently makes me a crap blogger myself for not sticking to the point in question and getting side-tracked too much.
Oh well.

24 parlez:

treacle said...

I think that you are a great blogger. Succinct. I totally understand the comment about great guy bloggers and I wish I had found more. Understand about your feelings re: comments as well. Quite often I get put off commenting by sheer numbers of commenters and the witty repartee that some contain.

If I find any other great guy bloggers I'll let you know!

Cat said...

My blogroll's probably about 60/40 on women/men, and my readership's probably about the same. I find that the comments from guys are, in general, more insightful, while women often will say "Poor you" or "Ha, I know how that feels" which is nice too. I loathe people (mainly women) who leave comments saying "Sending you a virtual hug" and that type of thing, which probably makes me sound like a bitch, but it's just not my cup of tea.

I'm with you on being intimidated by blogs which have loads of comments as it makes me wonder if I'll be welcome. Similarly, I don't really like it if someone doesn't acknowledge a comment I leave. Again, probably makes me sound very mardy, but just personal taste.

I've been reading your blog for a couple of years now, and along with ST, you're one of my favourite boys!

stevie newton-john said...

Here here! (She says, stuffing her face full of grilled chicken and salad with raspberry vinaigrette, all the while, that bottle of beer
never 2 inches from her sweaty fingers...)

I love your blog. A lot!

Yours & cat's are major inspirations to me to keep plugging away (and I'm sending you both a virtual hug--bite me.)

(j/k)

After the crap-o-tastic week I've had at work, coming home tonight & reading that you and treacle & cat all feel the same way I do about those blogs with 50+ comments...well...it made me feel like maybe I'm not alone in wanting to meet real people interested in real exchange of ideas vs. "Who Wants To Be The Coolest Blogger In Town?"

I wonder if the (seeming) lack of blog dudes is down to that age-old theory of women being stereotypically encouraged to be more "verbal?"

Now I must go overeat & get tipsy!

SpiralSkies said...

Oddly, I've found very few bloke blogs that really engage me. Other than yours, I love www.traumaqueen.net

Interesting what Cat says about comments... I'm always too scared to leave one on hers.

I'm not sure about comments; I tend to get a few and I think I prefer it to when I didn't get any at all, ever. You're right though, it IS a funny old game.

Cat said...

Spiralskies, your comment made me feel horrible! I hate the idea that my blog is intimidating for anyone who reads it. Please comment away, or don't, but absolutely don't feel like you're not welcome to. In comparison with blogs like Girl With a One Track Mind and the like, I am a completely comment free zone.

John said...

I don't think I'm picky with what I read, but I do prefer to look at material that fits in with what you described in your mixing bowl...and to be honest, I find that hard to find.

I wish I could give some more exposure to my blog and to 'get it out there'. But the fact of it is, I'm not going to whore myself out to a hundred different blogs, leaving comments everywhere just to get some back. It's pointless and a waste of time. Ever since I started this blog, I have had a very few select blogs which I have linked on my page.

I will never make the big time for this reason, and probably for other reasons too. But I will enjoy writing a post, then coming on your page and all of the others I have linked, reading what you have to say and commenting there too.

That's enough for me.

SpiralSkies said...

Oh, Cat, didn't mean to make you feel horrid - I simply meant that it's rather like walking into a room of people who are all friends and trying to say stuff without seeming to be a total spaz.

hailey said...

hey someguy. it's hailey. yup i'm back... still the same - but no bl-ades.

take care
hailey

SwissToni said...

It's interesting. I was reading a post the other day on a "popular" (and actually very, very friendly) blog where the author was bemoaning the fact that whereas in every other year for the last three or four years people were saying that this was going to be the year of the blog, for 2008, no one was saying it. He went on to reflect that 2007 had been the year where people he knew and read actually got book contracts, wrote and published books, and how as a result their blogs changed to become more explicitly a marketing tool, or to be somewhere they wrote about how much their life had changed (Girl with a One Track Mind being a good example of both - she now has a separate blog with details of her agents and how to contact her). He, and some of his commentators, then went on to talk about how hard it now was to find really good bloggers. I sort of know what he means -- as you say here -- but with the sheer number still being created and updated, I think it says more about the narrow limits of our own horizons and that - comparatively speaking - we don't get out much.

I think there's still loads of good stuff out there. Well, I believe that, anyway... and I'm going to keep looking. So if you have any bright ideas, do let me know.

Cat - you do get a lot of comments too. I think we probably all have terrible comment envy about that, even though you are one of the least snobby bloggers I read !

I'm one of those people who is really suspicious of "well known" blogs. I have to get over a lot of my own prejudices about them before I can read them and enjoy them. Sometimes I get over that. Often I don't. It's probably the same thing I suffer with the Arcade Fire: they get written up so much that I find it hard to believe they could ever be as good as people say and then find it very hard to love them.

My own blog is a real passion of mine, and I find myself compelled to keep updating it. I fret over putting up banal posts, or talking about music too much, and I try and avoid memes like the plague (not always, but almost always). It's tough though. Sometimes things come to mind, and sometimes they don't. I try not to be boring, but I also try to remember that I started this for me, and never expected any kind of an audience. I'll sadly never get a book deal out of it though - I just don't write that kind of stuff. Hey ho. I'll have to keep the day job!

This is a really good post, by the way. Thoughtful and well written.

Anyway.

Wanna do earworms of the week again soon?

ST

SwissToni said...

christ - apologies for the overly long comment!

Cat said...

ST, I really hope that the fact I get a lot of comments (and again, define "a lot") doesn't come across as intimidating. Keep in mind that I reply to them, so at least one per post is mine, often more than one.

Like you, I started my blog for me, and while the fact people read it makes it all the sweeter, I would write it if no-one commented and did for over a year.

One thing's for sure - no-one tunes in for my thoughtful and insightful musings - how best to open a tin of beans, anyone?!

(Sorry, Bedshaped, to hijack your comments box. This post intrigued me so I kept coming back to it.)

SwissToni said...

sorry cat - meant as a compliment! Last time I popped by, I was very impressed by the chat community going on over at yours (and by "a lot", I only mean that there's a fair number -- often around ten -- on almost every post). I didn't find it intimidating at all. Just observing is all! It's all good, right?

ST

Brenda said...

Oh hell...12 "mumbles" ahead of me.

I have a girl blog, or do I say I AM a girl blog...I feel like one sometimes.

BLOG. It sounds so bland and goopy like over cooked, watered down porridge. No sugar. No cream.

If you are searching for guy-blogs, that might fit into your mixing bowl, I can think of a few.

here
and
here
and
here

SL said...

Guys blogs. It's hard for guys to open up. I have, You have. But it's still rare. And that definitely doesn't mean those that do succeed are worth reading.

EG. I'm not. It's therapy for ME.

You, on the other hand, have things to say, in a provocative manner. All good. But yeah, it's rare.

So many comments before me... ;o)

bedshaped said...

teacle,
Wow, thanks for the nice words! Although, of course a "great blogger" for one person may not be the same for others. I tried to get that across in my post.
Yes, if you have recommendations then please do let me know. I'm always up for new discoveries.
Oh, and I hope you come back to blogging yourself soon.

cat,
Without getting my calculator out, I think I've got a ratio of about 85/15 in favour of girls. And that's including the ones I have bookmarked but don't link from here.
Thanks to you too for saying such nice things.
I've been reading you blog for a good while now and have seen your readership and comments build up over time and it's been nice to be party of to be honest. I'd like to second swisstoni's comment about the friendly/community feel within your comments boxes and I personally think that's a really nice (and often rare) thing to have.

stevie newton-john,
Thanks to you too. Blimey, this is beginning to feel like some kind of acceptance award.
There may well be some truth in your suggestion that it could be down to girls naturally being more 'vocal'. Why though? Why, when guy's have an opportunity to be anonymous, do they still have issues about opening up?

spiralskies,
The whole comments debate is one on it's own, regardless of who the blogger is.
My girlfriend, who I refer to on this blog as The Girl used to be what I would term a 'prolific blogger'. Her hit counter was numbered through the roof and her comments box was stacked. She would be active herself in the comments though, and simple as that sounds, I think it makes a huge difference and contributed in having a warm, friendly feeling of community. For reasons not being divulged on here, she had to close that particular blog down and start up elsewhere. Several times in fact. Sadly, it's meant that her readership has faltered, but she's soldiered on regardless.
For me, I found it a very odd experience to find comments left on my posts. The whole concept that somebody else actually felt the desire/need/want to leave a comment about something I'd written, initially left me with a...."Oh blimey, I wasn't expecting that" feeling.
I'm gonna find this next part quite difficult to explain, but I'll try. In a probably very selfish way, I've tried to ignore the fact that 'other people' leave comments. That way, I can write exactly what I want, without falling into the whole 'blogging for an audience' fiasco. I much prefer it that way.
That said, I like the comments I'm left, because it fuels my passion for interaction.
Oh, and on a side note, there's absolutely nothing to be intimidated about over at cat's place. But you've hopefully got that impression yourself now, eh?

john,
From what you've said, it appears that we think alike in certain ways.
If you do want to gain more exposure for your blog, then yes, whoring yourself out on other blogs and blog-search sites would certainly be a good move. I guess it's all about what each person wants to get out of their own personal space, isn't it.
Over time, your own links will naturally change and grow anyway, as long as you don't find yourself leaving the 'blogosphere' for one reason or another.

hailey
Welcome back.

swisstoni,
Is it that, as you say, "We don't get out much" or simply the size of the subject matter? With the sheer numbers out there, it's just so bloody difficult to find blogs nowadays. Ok, so there's search engines (even one's specifically for blogs) and other tools that are supposed to help our seaches, but the numbers are so huge now, it's much harder to sift through the shit, as it were.
Does that make any sense?
Personally, I like the old school method of 'word of mouth'. In fact, I found yours by such a method, although, and I'm sorry to admit this, I can't bloody remember who it was who suggested visiting your place. Details aside, I'm really glad I found it and whether you write about personal things in your life, your work stuff, festivals, your music collection or your damned cute kitten....I like it enough to keep coming back.

And yes, I'd be honoured to do another 'earworms' post for you. Email me and let me know when you'd like to slot me in.

brenda,
As one of my most recent discoveries, welcome once again.
I agree. Blog is such a horrible sounding word.
And thanks for the heads up with the guy blog recommendations, although the last one leaves a lot to be desired! *ahem*

bedshaped said...

sl,
Yeah, I hear what you're saying.
I'd hasten a guess that a large majority of blogs are started as a therapy of sorts. A way of venting and the like.
By looking at that particular scenario; girls are much more vocal with their thoughts, opinions and worries. Talking to their family, friends and the like. Guys tend to be more primative and keep everything inside and retreat into their 'cave', convinced that things will sort themselves out on their own accord. Well, either that or bury their head in the sand and wait for things to blow over.
I'm digressing again though. I'm not saying that I specifically want guys to write about their deep, personal feelings and thoughts. I'm just trying to say that it's a mission in itself to find a guy who blogs about things that I find interesting enough to read.
Again, we come back to the personal preference thing.

Beth said...

...hmm

See? Something happens to me when I open a comments box. However much I've been nodding (or seething) while reading a post and however much I want to comment I find it really difficult to do manage more than the type of comment Cat referred to (Oh, poor you! etc) which is almost never what I actually want to say. Sometimes I close the box down and walk away again and sometimes I think 'well, it's better than nothing' and leave a dumb comment anyway.

I also thought what you just said, bedshaped, about appreciating the comments and being surprised by them BUT when you write pretending there are none (if I've understood you correctly) very interesting.

I often fool myself that I'm writing something just to get it 'off my chest' when in reality I'm hoping for a much more specific response!

Sorry - I'm just rambling now - but it is very early and I have had a terrible night's sleep!!!

bedshaped said...

beth,
Hmmm, I don't think I explained myself properly with reference to the writing and comments.
*sigh*
I've written and deleted several sentences trying to say what I meant. Why, why, why doesn't any of it sound right?!?!

My last attempt is this....
The fact that people come here, read and sometimes leave comments on what I write is a perk of having a blog. Who on Earth could ever say that it isn't a nice thing to see that other people take time out of their lives to read and reply?!
Out of the hundreds of posts I've put up here (including all the ones I deleted), apart from literally a small handfull where I've specifically posted to ask people's opinions on something, none of them have been written with the intention of gaining comments from people.

Oh bollocks. I don't even think that sounds right. I think I'll give up on this one.

Beth said...

No - I think that's what I thought you meant, more or less! You're not writing for the comments, or (even) for the readers, and would carry on doing it for as long as you wanted - comments or no...but it's nice to have them.....? Maybe?

James said...

Hi... came here via post of the week nominations and I completely agree with what you've written. I'm very concious of the female/male (im)balance of both the blogs I read and those who read (and comment) on mine. I actually try to find decent guy blogs to even it up a bit, but as I go searching I more often than not end up bookmarking another female blog instead.

I think blokes tend to like to argue about things, so if you look at political blogging or sport blogs you will find it male dominant. Where as the kind of 'watching life happen' blogs are much more female dominated.

anx said...

Hi bedshaped

I think yours is an unusual "guy blog" because you talk about personal things, feelings, weaknesses. Many guy blogs are written specifically to be funny, where the writer distances themself from their experiences and you don't really gain an insight into the person behind the blog, although they are entertaining in their own way.

I like a bit of comedy, but equally, I relate much better to honesty. Your blog has that in spades.

bedshaped said...

beth,
Yeah, pretty much.

james,
Hello and welcome.
Nominated for Post of the Week? Blimey?!

I hear what you're saying about the subject matter of most guy blogs, but surely by sheer logic of numbers, there can't be that few 'watching life happen' blogs by guys out there.

anx,
Hello again.
I think I'm just gonna have to put it down to "that's just the way it is".
I feel a little bit like I'm just being far too critical and picky about it all. I'm sure there are thousands of blogs out there, written by guys that fall slap-bang within the parameters that I'm looking for. It's just a mission and a half to find them.

Misssy M said...

We're obsessed with comments though aren't we, us bloggers?

It's like getting marks out of ten for an essay. We look upon it as a barometer of our success when in fact it isn't. I've been annoyed that a recent post I spent a lot of time on and was something that happened to me that was really important, has received next to no comments yet a bollocks knocked off one I did on fake horoscopes, or one on 10 ways to get through a Christmas party had folk wetting themselves. Bah!

I'm completely in the huff with blogging this week because of a lot of the stuff you've mentioned.

You make an effort and then...nothing. You do a crappy meme and bam, folk respond. No wonder it's difficult to find quality- quality isn't popular. Bloggers need to ignore the temptation to write the blogging equivalent of a quick money making Eurosmash one hit wonder and do a Bohemian Rhapsody instead. And ignore the volume, feel the quality.

Let's all be Brian Eno instead of Pete Waterman!

Am I labouring this music metaphor?

bedshaped said...

missy m,
Hello to you and welcome.

Are Bloggers obsessed with comments though? That's quite a bold statement and one that I hope isn't entirely true.
I've found a some really good ones and they don't even have the comments function switched on. Whether that's down to cutting down the stalker possibilities or just because they don't want other people commenting on their stuff is anybodys guess.

I don't know the answer to why certain posts get more comments than others, but I don't feel the same frustration that you do.
When a person writes something that's personally affecting, perhaps it doesn't 'ring true' to as many people as say a simple list or meme or anecdote. Or perhaps when it's something that's obviously more personal to the Blogger, then a reader may feel leaving a comment isn't appropriate.
I really don't know.

I would like to add though, that in my opinion, the size of a blog's comment box has nothing to do with the 'qualitites' of the blog itself.

Great metaphor by the way! I think you've hit on a very interesting point there.