This week's Bloggin' answers are brought to us from Andie at Inspiration Strikes. In the kneecaps. Thanks Andie! If you want to submit your answers, email them here.
1. Does your blog fit into a "niche" and how do you choose what to write about? Have you ever pulled a post after you published it because you regretted it or got some horrible feedback?
If there is one thing thing this blog has, it is a distinct lack of any sense of cohesion or unifying theme. Maybe if there is a mommy/feminist/humor/music nerd/writing/movie nerd/social issues niche I might kind of be able to wedge myself in there. When I started copying my old blog at MySpace over to Blogger, there were a few really personal posts that I had written during a time when I had control over the privacy of individual posts. Blogger's all-or-nothing approach to privacy settings is one of the things that kind of irks me.
I don't think I've ever pulled a post, but I came close after writing about a district that wanted to ban Aldous Huxley's Brave New World for being racist and I was all "Blahblahblah, totally NOT racist!" and then a commenter came back with "Uh yeah. Definitely racist," complete with quotes from offending passages at which point I ended up looking like a complete tool, and a privileged one at that.
2. Do you read a lot of other blogs? How many? Have you had contact with the bloggers, or are you a lurker?
I wish I actively read all the blogs on my blog roll, since they are all well-written. I used to read tons, but I got chastised at work (oops!) for the amount of blog reading I was doing. My roll has about 30 blogs on it, maybe 20 of which are fairly active. I've cut back to just reading in the evening, which doesn't leave much time and leaves even less time to comment. There are a couple writers that I am friends with on Facebook or follow on Twitter, but mostly I kind of lurk or stick to communicating through the comments.
3. Do you comment on a lot of other blogs?
I try to comment as often as i can but after a while I feel silly repeatedly going "haha! Too funny!" or "Very interesting," so I end up not commenting unless I have something to contribute to the conversation.
4. How important is it for you to get comments on a scale of 1-10?
Ha ha, what kind of comments? I don't know. Maybe 5 or 6. I like comments, even negative ones, that contribute to the discussion on the more serious posts. There's also this weird aspect where I assume that my readership is pretty much limited to the people commenting and I continually end up surprised and a little self-conscious when I find out people are reading - people whom I had no idea; people at work, distant relatives, parents of my kids friends etc. Most, when revealed, are pretty cool and have positive feedback, but a few have shaken their head at me. I like people to comment once in a while just to let me know they are reading.
5. Do you respond to your commentors?
I'm so terrible for this. No, hardly ever. Again, I will if I'm responding to a point that has been made, or if someone leaves a really nice comment I might say thank you. Sometimes it's a time constraint whereas other times it's that thing where I feel I'm repeating myself and being disingenuous.
6. How many followers do you have? How did you get them?
I'm sitting at 121 according to the Google friend connect. As the old saying goes, "If you build it, they will come."
7. How do you promote your blog?
I spam the shit out of my Facebook and Twitter feeds. Oh, just kidding. I have Networked Blogs, which posts to both of them automatically. I usually post a second time straight to Facebook, since I'm never sure if people who don't have Networked Blogs installed can see them the first time. Feministe has a feature called Shameless Self Promotion Sunday so anytime I have a relevant topic I will post there. If I've written about a band or a movie or something to that effect I will also Tweet them or post to their Facebook wall. Most times they don't respond, but other fans (or detractors) will have good feedback. In some cases it gets quite hilarious. Back at Christmas I called out Christopher Titus (a comedian who had a short-lived sitcom back in the late 90s) about a rant against atheists on his Facebook page, and he came back and continued to rant in my blog comment section. It was rather funny and sad.
Lastly, if someone has CommentLuv installed I will leave comments because then they link back to your most recent post. I've gotten many referrals from The Bloggess' site that way. I've also found many other good blogs that way. It's a matter of having eye-catching and/or baffling titles for your posts that will have people curious to read more.
8. Do you write for any other sites?
I do a weekly post at Different Paths, Same Destination, which is a weight-loss blog I writing with B at The Opposite of That, Mrs One Day at One Day I'm Gonna, JJ at Simple Musings and Bea Beautiful at Diary of a Fat Girl. It's been an interesting experience as I think we're all coming at the weight loss thing from slightly different perspectives so it makes for a lot of unique topics. They are great women to write with and I'm enjoying the experience. I also did my first guest post a few weeks ago at Best Of Fates. I love the way Megan interacts with her guest posters right in the post itself. She's hilarious.
9. What is your most favorite and least favorite thing about blogging?
I like that it's an outlet for my thoughts, creative processes etc. I like that through blogging I've discovered that I actually am a pretty good writer. I can entertain. I can make people think and question their previously held assumptions. Through some of the blogs I have read I have had some of my own assumptions blown out of the water. The whole thing is a learning process. I can put thoughts out there and find that I am not the only one that sees the world this way.
On the flipside, the blogosphere can be, at times, one big game of ass-grab, a circle jerk of sorts. It can be very cliquey. I'm one that enjoys reading comments sections, but so many of them end up being the same group of people fawning all over the OP. Positive feedback is great but it gets tiring to see 20-30 comments that are all "Ahahahaha you're so FUNNY!!" and "OMG I WANT TO BE YOUR INTERNET-PSUEDO-
10. What advice would you give to potential bloggers? What do you HATE when you see on a blog? What do you like to see on a blog?
My first advice would be to find your own voice. Don't try to copy or evoke other popular bloggers. Proofread. Always proofread. If you aren't confident in your own proof-reading abilities, then get someone else to do it. Shitty spelling and grammar (although I am not immune to this) can be irritating as all hell. A typo here and there isn't horrible but if I am continually cringing when I read a blog, I will stop reading.
I'm not a big fan of give-aways and promotions. I read blogs to read other people's perspectives, or for a laugh. Also, keep your layout fairly simple. I recently gave my blog an overhaul in order to lose the 15-year-old-goth-girl vibe. Now it's a little more suitable to a 30-something year old. I think. I hope.