Thursday, February 24, 2011

ON BLOGGING ~ May I Have Your Attention Please...

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.

One of the first things I was told over and over when I first started blogging was that posts should be short and concise. Lists or headers throughout were good because it segmented thoughts into easy to digest pieces. I was told that people have tiny attention spans and won't focus if posts are too long. I was told that people might not even READ a post if they see that it is more than two paragraphs. Basically, I was told that all those people out there in the blogosphere never really read anything at all because they have the attention span of an gnat.

I think this is what people say to scare people away from blogging so they can have more of the blogosphere all to themselves without having to compete with bright and thoughtful posts.

I also think that blogging lends itself naturally to verbosity. And that bloggers like to write, to share, to read. And that they would rather spend their time reading a few really interesting, thought provoking or gut busting posts that require scrolling rather than reading a bunch of quickies that scream out something without substance.

Am I wrong? Or am I just creating an excuse for my rambling tendencies? I do believe that there are ways to make lengthier posts flow better visually. But you don't need tricks to keep people reading. What you need is something interesting to GET people reading. If they like it, they'll stick around. If they don't, they won't. Simple as that.

I like reading what you have to say. That's why I save your posts in my Reader for when I have time to hang with you. I have the ability to be engaged. So I treat this blog the same way. I might not always have something you want to read. And that's OK. But I believe you have the ability to decide that for yourself rather than trying to trick you into spending time here via quick lists of thoughts that don't matter to you.


Are you a skimmer? Have you ever bagged reading a post just because it looked long? Do you try to limit your posts' length? Or do you just write the words you need to say and duration be damned?

16 comments:

kaye said...

I absolutely loved this post--and since this is a blog-anon meeting I'll confess that the primary reason I blog is to find a place to put all those words that find themselves captive in my brain! It never turns off. I'll sit down and try to write a small post and I write a page or two or . . .

I usually edit before it hits the blog. I intersperse wordier post days with photo days.

Personally I'm not really trying to reach an audience--it's more like a time to find myself. I love blogging--all that writing and recording is just so much fun. Maybe someday when I'm dead and buried, my kids will actually enjoy the wordiness of their mother, for right now they are just glad I have a place to dump all those words.


And just so you know, I read your posts and enjoy your writing style very much. I occassionally skip the sport posts . . . but that has nothing to do with your writing skills.

jehara said...

I personally like longer posts. I am greedy and always want more. The only time I might skip over them is if I have a finite amount of time to check in, so I'll just bookmark it and come back to it later when I can read at my leisure.

Some of my posts are long and some are short. It just depends on what I have to say. I don't really intend to remain at a certain word count or anything like that. If I write something I think may be longer than normal than I just truncate the post.

Susan said...

It's all about content, baby. Same as with books. If the first sentence, or paragraph, grabs me, you could go on for pages and it would be fine and dandy with me. I think blogging has evolved tremendously since that rule was written, and anyway, rules are made to be broken. I break blogging rules all the time and people still keep coming back, thank you very much, loyal blog friends.

Apparently I have a lot to say, because most of my posts tend to be lengthy. They aren't often, but they are long.

I do skip the sports ones, too, because (unless it's Olympic related) I am just not into that world. And it has absolutely nothing to do with your writing skills, which are much admired by this reader, and I'm a pretty tough critic.

Sandy Nawrot said...

I do admit to skimming sometimes, if I have read 20 reviews of the same book, for example, but generally I read everything and I enjoy it. There are some that do go on though, repeat themselves, and use alot of unnecessary words, and there they lose me. I try very hard to be concise. My posts are not the shortest, especially when I really love something, but what can I do? Fire myself? Talking has always been one of my strengths and downfalls.

ds said...

Sometimes the words come; sometimes they don't. Sometimes, the words of others are better than any i could come up with & I share them.
When the words are mine, I write till I'm done...
When the words are yours (or his or hers or theirs), I happily read until you're done.

otin said...

You know me...my posts are generally about 2000 words! lol. I don't care how long a post is as long as I am interested in the material. That being said, not every subject is of interest ti every person all of the time. I have skimmed as well as I have been skimmed.

Lin said...

I like a longer post as long as it has something to say. I don't like rambling about a dull day or such things, but I do enjoy a good story. That said, I don't have a lot of computer time during the week, so I try to catch up on my reading on the weekends because I do like to actually READ blogs.

As for me--I post what I have time for and what is going on in my life. There are quick posts, photo posts, and sometimes long story posts. I figure if the readers have time, they'll stay, if not, they'll come back another day.

Desiree said...

Hi! I'm a new visitor to your blog, as well as being a relatively new blogger (I've only been doing this for 3 months).

I had no idea, when I started out, that blogging was in any way 'prescriptive'! I was happily going about my merry way, when I received an unsolicited, but apparently well-meaning email intending to 'guide' me to becoming a better/more successful blogger and I was advised that in order to develop and maintain readership, I needed to limit my posts and, more specifically, not exceed the 'suggested' maximum of 6 to 8 photos per entry. My posts continue to be excessive - I find limiting myself in anyway entirely unsuitable for my personal objective...which is...to share with anyone who is interested. Those who aren't most certainly do not have to stick around. There is so much choice out there...my feeling is, find what engages you, personally and don't try to emulate anyone else's style. Surely blogging is meant to be fun/therapeutic/cathartic depending on ones personal needs/determinants for having resumed blogging in the first place? I'm sure there's plenty of space out there for everyone :)

Thank you for an inspired post! I look forward to visiting you again!

My question is: Who are these people who find it necessary to prescribe to others or take it upon themselves to 'police' blog land???

Forgetfulone said...

I admit... I'm a skimmer... unless the post grabs my attention! I have also heard this advice.

What I see a lot of people do, though, is just spread their ideas out, so you're scrolling and scrolling down the page because each sentence is completely double spaced, so they aren't necessarily writing less, they are just separating it into an endless post that you scroll and scroll through. That doesn't make it any better!

Kathleen said...

I feel proud of myself when I manage to post at all. I guess I've never thought too hard about whether my posts could be shorter or longer. If anything, they probably go long. I guess I'm a chatterbox even when I write!

Beth F said...

Like Sandy, if I'm on to the 10th review of the same book, I may skip the summary section and go right for the review part. Other wise, I like a variety of post -- short, long, lists, photos ... each blogger has a personality and that (plus authenticity) is more important than the format of the post.

Jenny Girl said...

I would say no I am not a skimmer unless it's the same book review I keep seeing all over the web. I only read those blogs who I enjoy reading, long posts or not. My problem is I don't always have a great comment to leave. I like to leave thoughtful comments.
Am I rambling? Whatever, each blog has their own style and thing, and some like to occasionally ramble. I'm cool with that. If you can't wax on in your own blog then where can ya ?

Great post Bs!

Matty said...

My decision to read a lengthy post depends on a number of factors. My mood, how much time I have, the topic matter, and my relationship with the author.

When I am preparing my own post, I try to put myself in the reader's shoes. Will this post get and keep their attention?

stacybuckeye said...

Most of my posts aren't long, maybe because I'm afraid of boring myself, LOL. I only like long posts from a handful of bloggers, the Bumbles being one. Your posts are always interesting, revealing, and fun to read.

Lisa said...

I must admit that I have a tendency to have a bit of ADD when it comes to reading book reviews. Partly because I want to know just enough to make me interested and not to much so that it's not worth reading. But other posts I have no problem with length as long as you've got something interesting to say.

cardiogirl said...

I flip flop on this one. I've been using Stumble lately and I do feel like you have two seconds to catch someone's attention and that means four sentences or a graphic.

But when I'm actually perusing a blog I want to read content. At least 400 words. But if it's a huge sea of gray text I'm turned off.

Then it comes to the writing. If the writing is engaging I want to read all of it to enjoy the imagery. But if I want to know what happened and the writing is so-so I skim.

Oy. I'm mercurial and cannot be confined to one box.