Thursday, December 3, 2009

ON BLOGGING ~ Social Butterfly...

BlogAnon: Joy of Confession

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Welcome to our weekly BlogAnon meeting where we confess a particular blogging sin and turn to you for support, suggestions and that blogging bond so we know we're not all alone. Don't be shy. Read along and let us know if you identify with us this week.

A month ago I toyed with the idea of abandoning the Thursday 13 meme for a month as an experiment to see if it destroyed our visitor level or hurt our blog's analytics in any way. Thursday 13 brought more traffic to our blog than anything other than random Google and Blogger hits. In addition to discontinuing posts on our blog, I also did not visit the Thursday 13 participants unless they were already in our Reader and peaked our interest. I expected to see big declines.

Not at all. Although our referrals from the Thursday 13 site dropped 75% (a link to our Monday Movie Meme is still listed there), referrals from The Daily Meme (where the Monday Movie Meme is also listed) doubled. They helped to make up some of the difference. Our overall visits were down about 4%, but of those who visited we drew in 5% more new people than before. On Thursdays, things were pretty even. There was one Thursday where we didn't even post anything, and another which fell on Thanksgiving. The Thursdays in between matched or beat the parallel Thursdays from the prior month. The biggest difference was that people spent a lot less time on our blog - so either our posts were shorter or less interesting. But the average time figures were around 2 minutes which I think is pretty decent.

So how did this happen? I suppose it is because I still went out and visited blogs. I left comments where I had something to add to the conversation. Eight of you volunteered for blog review partners and I was able to introduce you to bloggers new to you and give you tools to gain insight into your efforts. That exercise itself exhibited our goal here in the blogosphere through The Bumbles Blog to entertain, introduce and educate. The more social you are, the greater the opportunity to build relationships. The higher the quality of the relationship, the more lasting and supportive it becomes. That relationship can be a resource, a referral, a motivator, a friend.

Sadly, I am lacking in the technological social world outside of the blog arena. Andy handles the Facebook world. I have a business profile on LinkedIn but don't really know how to maximize it. I set myself up on StumbleUpon but don't have any buddies there. I don't know how to use the site, to find interesting new things or to promote my own paid posts elsewhere. And Twitter is something that I have stubbornly refused to learn anything about. Other than Goodreads, I don't virtually socialize with anyone outside of the blogosphere. Partly because of time restraints, partly because of laziness, and partly because of ignorance.

I'm thinking my next experiment should be to become a social Bumble butterfly in some of these other online platforms. Think of all the wonderful worlds I could explore! Then again, I could just re-run our most visited post every now and again to attract attention. Every month it leads the way. I don't know if that says something good or bad about us, or you. But it is certainly food for thought.

Have you ever made a change with surprising results? How do you socialize in the blogosphere? Are you a member of any online social networks? Do you use them to promote your blog presence? Would you like to be our buddy on StumbleUpon so we are no longer lonely, clueless losers there? Have any insight about how to use LinkedIn? Can you explain to us how Twitter is beneficial as opposed to annoying? Or are you as socially inept as we are outside of the blogosphere? Don't be afraid to share - your blogger thoughts are safe with us!


rhapsodyinbooks said...

I think that you can increase visits by increasing comments on other blogs, but that requires a huge investment of time, and often both requires and yields comments that are not actually adding to a conversation. Likewise, you can spend a great deal of time on twitter, and thereby gain readers who are conversing with you there, but you can give up so much reading/living time in the bargain. I guess it's a matter of putting quality and quantity in the balance and seeing where you want to come out!

kaye said...

I think your readers are loyal, because you treat them so well.

As I've mentioned I've been feeling the need to find a focus for my blog. As it turns out half my face quit working and I had to stop visiting blogs for about 2 weeks. I was afraid that my bloggy friends might fade away--but I was pleasantly surprised to find that those friends that I really enjoyed came by even when I hadn't visited them. I really appreciated that. I dropped a lot of the meme's I was playing--and my readership dropped drastically. But I'm OK with that. I find I'm enjoying those people who come by to see what I've posted. And I have more time to visit the blogs I'm really interested in. So things are turning out OK. I'm refocusing, simplfying and evolving. Thanks for all your encouragement.

stacybuckeye said...

I'm here early! 2:40 am :) I don't know how people are so plugged in everywhere. I'm on Facebook (stupid, time-consuming games) and I spend time reading and commenting on other blogs, but really, I don't want to spend any more time staring at a screen. I'm maxed out! I did break down and join Twitter a few months ago. I don't get it. I haven't taken a lot of time to utilize, but that's because I don't see the point really.

I love my blogging friends and look forward to reading and hearing from them (you!) semi-daily. If I stretched any further I'd be no good to anyone.

Sandy Nawrot said...

I am a comment-leaving addict. I leave comments on just about every blog in my reader (with maybe one or two exceptions). I've noticed that with more comments comes more traffic, but like Jill said, you won't get anything else done if you attack it that way. I do Facebook, but I'm only on there once a day maybe. I don't link all of my posts on there, but do occasionally if I think it would interest my other "friends". I have turned my back on Twitter. I can only do so much, plus I think if I sat around Twittering on my phone, my husband would divorce me. I will tell you that Monday is my biggest day. I don't know if it is just because it is Monday, or is because of your meme, but it is big.

Susan said...

Let me tell you, I hope I never make Blog of Note (not that it's likely) because I could never handle the increased traffic. My little group of regulars is about all I can keep up with. I've seen what it has done to a couple of people and it's just exhausting. I feel a duty to answer each and every comment and it's my pleasure to do so, but I don't want to spend six hours a day doing it!

I'm on FB and like with most new gadgets, I spent a LOT of time on there in the beginning. It is a huge time-sucking wasteland. I still get on a couple of times a day, but nothing like I was. The only game I play is Lexulous (Scrabble) with one of my blog friends. It is nice for keeping up with my family and friends who don't really have time to sit and talk for more than 5 minutes on the phone. I usually link my blog posts if I think it will be interesting to my FB friends.

I joined Twitter, but I rarely go there and never post anything. It's so pointless. The only reason I go now is to check this one guy whose title is "Sh&t my dad says". It's hilarious!

Ever since I went back to IE after having Firefox, I really miss StumbleUpon. It had it's own toolbar with FF. Of course, it's another gigantic time waster, but really fun.

I'm sort of getting blog burnout, and blog block, but I'm sure it will turn around at some point. At least I hope it does.

shoreacres said...

I see comments as an integral part of every blog entry, and take a good bit of time to answer them. As a result, I have readers who've told me they come back to read the comments, too - that they're almost little blogs that extend the conversation.

But, that's not precisely "social" in the same way that Facebook is.
I joined FB and gave it up because I had no desire to play games or send and receive virtual drinks - if I had a large family to keep up with, it might be perfect. But it's just a timesucker for me.

I took my stumbleupon button off the blog, but kept Technorati because I do get hits from them, and anticipate more once they get the new system going.

And I like Twitter, but I have only about 15 followers and follow about 20. I use it strictly to publicize new blog posts.

Because I like to comment on other blogs, too, I really have to watch the time issue. As rhapsodyinbooks says, quality and quantify are the issue, and my writing has to come before comments and socializing. The order right now is: respond to comments on my blogs, write, leave comments on other blogs. If I just have to do a little socializing, I send an email ;-)

Penny said...

1. I participated in the blog review and was told that perhaps I needed a description of who I am and what my blog is about. I like to make people work for that and thats a big fear of mine..opening up...I took a chance. I also added labels to my blog based on the review. I have not seen too many results yet, as I have just done this but I will keep you posted :) Thanks for the opportunity again guys! <3

2. The majority of my socialization comes from meme's. I found yours by searching on Daily Meme and I found that I just loved your blog, aside from your Movie meme.
I used to participate in Manic Monday, Ten on Tuesday and Music Memoirs (which runs Monday, Tuesday and Friday) and Sunday Stealing. All of the blogs I love and follow I have found through these memes. I stopped doing so many because my blog eventunally just came a shell of meme's. I didn't think folks would be interested in this so I narrowed it down to Music Memoirs only, and at times, Sunday Stealing. I participate with yours via comment section :)

3. I have myspace and facebook. I rarely log on to myspace. It's just ads and BS. I owned but NEVER used facebook until about three weeks ago. I recieved a message from a V.I.P and started looking around and know I use it every day. I think it's a lot better than myspace. It's less frills and an easy way to keep in contact with folks. In both of these social networks I only "Friend" folks that I am actually friends with. This keeps the spam and BS down to a minimum.
I have a link to my blog on Facebook but I don't know if anyone really uses it, as it's on my Profile section. I don't know how often people take a gander at that. I think I may start putting up links...What do you think about this??

I have to skip forward to the Twitter question because I don't know what Stumbleupon or LinkedIn is...Twitter-Is just annoying after awhile and I can't really find a good use for it. I don't think anyone really cares what I am doing every hour of the day and frankly I don't usually care what my friends are doing on there either. It becomes redundant. I love, love, love it for bands/artists/authors. They post immediate updates and telly appearances on there. Honestly I keep my twitter for Jimmy Eat World. They update it all the time, post rehearsal pictures and share a lot of post production/tour stuff. It's a great way to have a more personal interaction with your favorites.

I hope I have helped or provided insight a bit. I think I am not hip to everything but I am slowly coming around.

Beth F said...

I'm always happy to see that people still read when my blog when I'm too busy with work to leave comments for a day or two. I'm always sure my readers will forget about me!

LJ Ducharme said...

I'm of two minds when it comes to my readership. On one hand I would love to have more people stop by, but I also recognize that I don't tend to blog about things that would draw readers in. I sincerely doubt I would stop in on my blog if I weren't .... attached to it. What's that old Groucho Marx expression ... "Please accept my resignation. I don't want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member."

LJ Ducharme said...

P.S. Should that be "Bumblefly" not "Bumbles Butterfly"?

The Bumbles said...

Everyone = Thanks for your thoughts as always. I have been very busy at work today and unable to come by and address each of you individually. But in this short break I thought I could respond overall to the themes I see.

Rhapsody makes a good point that you need to pick the best tools/methods for providing a quality use of your time. As Stacy puts it, too much can lead to burnout and then your own blog can suffer.

Not one of you has seemed to promote Twitter as a valuable resource for this. Penny mentions how Twitter is great for getting updates you want/need from more professional sites/people. Twitter would be useful to me in the freelance writing world were I ever to branch out that way more completely. I could brainstorm with other professionals, find jobs, keep in touch with clients, promote my work, etc. But for personal outreach it doesn't seem to allow us to do more there than we do already here.

Susan endorses StumbleUpon. I may look further into it - as both an area to find new and interesting sites/blogs/people as well as promoting some writing. This might be a tool worthy of our time from a quality standpoint.

Everyone seems to agree that Commenting (i.e. interacting) on fellow blogs is integral to the experience. Regardless of goals - we all really just want to have quality relationships with people we enjoy. Shoreacres has the right idea in prioritizing blogging duties so as not to get sucked in time wise. I try to follow the same order that she lays out.

Kaye & Susan both mention how a smaller core enhances their experience of the blogosphere. And Kaye & Beth have seen how those readers stay true even when they can't always reciprocate. And LJ wonders why anyone stops by at all! Sandy spends so much time socializing I wonder how she turns out such great consistent content!

I think Analytics can reinforce the fact that just because someone doesn't leave a comment doesn't mean they aren't stopping by and reading. Penny shared how her blog review let her know things the average lurker might feel or want - don't forget the lurkers. I'm often one myself when I'm feeling anti-social ;0)

Kathleen said...

I've been so remiss in doing anything to build traffic to my blog but that probably works well enough for me. As it stands I have enough time to respond to all of my commenters and comment on my favorite blogs. I use Facebook but only to keep in touch with friends and then only on a sporadic basis. I don't link my blog from there. I have resisted Twitter but resistance may be futile as I feel it is something I won't be able to ignore for long at least at it relates to my job. I use LinkedIn to keep up my business network and help friends who might be looking for work. If I have one goal this year it will be to get more blog entries written and to be more thoughtful about the ones I write. Everything else will take a second priority to that.

Ji said...

I want to say hello, thank you all for sharing your ideas and hints about blogging, wise in size...

sweet dreams.

feel free to come by

God Bless you!

otin said...

I am on twitter, but only go there every once in a while. I am on facebook, but almost never go there. I chat quite a bit with people through google mail chat. That is most of my socializing.

Margot at Joyfully Retired said...

One of these weeks I'm, going to get to the meeting on time. Sorry to be late.

Great subject, as usual. I've enjoyed reading everyone's comments. I agree that having a presence on the internet can be extremely time consuming. I've been keeping track of my hours the past few months and it is staggering. I have to do something or I'll burn out. Jill (Rhapsody) helped me organize my Reader. That helped me cut down on time reading and commenting. Now if I could just stop adding more blogs to my Reader.

I use Twitter only to advertise my blog posts. It was a huge time waster. It was easy to get caught up in the conversations and six hours later I had accomplished nothing. So now I just occasionally visit there.

I haven't figured out the correlation between my blog posts and traffic numbers. It's quite puzzling to me. I won't say I've given up trying to figure it out but I've put that on hold for now. If anyone has some ideas I'd be interested.