Some Insights into Blogging and a few words about Twitter

Blogging about books can be a wretched business.

You can spend weeks reading that 437-page small print novel. The novel starts out really quite good, just as special as you heard it to be, so you keep reading it. But by page 186, you find the newness of the book has worn off, and the scenes and the characters and the writing are rather mundane. You find yourself nearly dozing off while reading. Whereas at the beginning of the novel, you would read thirty or forty pages in one sitting, now you find it difficult getting through three or four pages at a time. But you continue to slog through, because you need this book for a future blog entry.

Thankfully, you finally reach the last page, the end. Now you are ready to write your blog entry. How do you make a lukewarm review of a book interesting? You can’t write with too much enthusiasm, or people might mistakenly think you really liked the book. Besides you’ve over-used the ‘enthusiastic’ ploy too many times before. You can’t really trash the book, because it really wasn’t that bad, you’ve read many worse. You spend hours crafting a well-written review considering the finer points of this so-so novel.

Now you are ready to post your blog entry. You try to post it at a time when it will have the most impact, not like your last entry which had no impact whatsoever.

Then on to Twitter. You time your tweet for the entry so that also will have the most impact. The other people on Twitter are merciless. If they get one whiff that you are not the next big thing, they’ll drop or un-follow you like yesterday’s half-eaten sandwich.

You try to write your tweet, so people will come to your site. You don’t write “A So-So Novel by a Mediocre Writer”, so instead you refer to the plot of the novel in the hopes that will spur some interest. “Minister’s wayward son returns home to joyous parents”. One can only hope your tweet will not get lost in the crowd.

You monitor the blog stats which are like the heart monitor in a hospital emergency room. You watch for any tiny blip of activity. The more you watch the statistics, the less they change.

After a few days, it is time for another blog entry. This time you scribble something down, or I should say, the modern day equivalent to scribbling. It takes about ten minutes to write and post. Praise be, this will be your most popular blog entry ever.

I’m going to keep going with this fool’s game, this blog, because I kind of enjoy it.

What are your thoughts on blogging and Twitter? Please leave a comment.

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14 responses to this post.

  1. This is too funny by half Tony. Since I started my blog just over 6 months ago (you DID see my 6 months old post didn’t you. LOL) I have had some discussions with Lisa at ANZLitLovers about stats. Her blog is older than mine and she now seems to have some momentum going but I know she watches her stats too. What is it about them? I tell myself I’m writing just for me really, because I like to put my thoughts down, but once you are here and see the stats you somehow can’t help yourself not only being interested but also caring. Why do I care? Is it that I want to be loved? Or that I want simply to be noticed? I do know one thing that I care about, and that is comments…we may know how many hits a post gets but it’s the comments that tells us that at least someone has engaged.

    I haven’t got into tweeting, though…there’s only so much a girl can keep track of after all.

    Now, my question to you is how do you try to pick a time for best impact? I have looked at my top ten posts and there’s no rhyme nor reason that I can see for why that particular eclectic group has risen to the top… though I can hazard some logical guesses. I will be interested to see what others say in response to your post – I do hope they say something!

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    • Hi Whisperinggums,
      Great to hear from you! My daughter is a journalist, and she actually set up my blog for me and signed me on to Twitter. I hope at some point I can stop monitoring the blog stats, but they are always there. Comments are extremely nice. I was commenting on other people’s blogs for many years before starting my own.
      As far as timing of blog entries goes, I guess the main thing is to post on a regular basis, but even that is sometimes not possible. On Twitter, timing is much more problematic, because there are so many tweets out there, yours can very easily get lost in the crowd. I still do not know most of the intricacies of Twitter.
      So far I’ve gotten my best response from lists, such as ‘most humorous’, etc. People’s attention spans seem to be quite short in the Internet age, so a series of short entries seems to work. One thing I’m trying not to do is to let the blog potential of books affect which books I choose to read.

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      • Great points there Tony. I was once going to write a post on my bog about length of posts. I started out aiming to keep mine at under 500 words but many are now 500-1000…with a very occasional one that is longer. I do think that’s too long for most people (particularly those who read lots of blogs) but then I decided I am partly writing for myself – to ensure I can recollect enough about my books in the future. I like your point about not letting the blog affect your choice of books. So far I haven’t let that happen – but I do sometimes seek something little to write about – eg my ones on copyright and images, Wikipedia, not to mention on Gums! – to keep a little momentum going between “real” reviews!

        Also, my blog is mostly literature but I occasionally write about other things. That might dilute the interest of those who want to check only book blogs – but, what the heck. It keeps me honest (I think!).

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        • Hi Whisperinggums,
          Funny thing, I’ve seen my blog posts get longer too. I might make a determined effort to keep them shorter. Rather than writing just reviews of books, I think appreciations of authors whom I discovered before make good blog posts. Over the years, there have been certain authors I keep coming back to, and I want to write about them.
          And, yes, ocasionally I would love to write about something besides literature. My tastes in music are quite ecclectic and I woud like to write about various artists in music sometimes. I know Kimbofo has several blogs for her various interests, but one blog is enough for me. At this point, I’m sticking to literature though.

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          • Yes, I wondered about diluting my bookblog with other “stuff” but decided that I was happy to make it primarily literature but with an occasional cultural ambit – so I have done music (I’m eclectic too and am even less of an expert on that than I am on literature), film and the other ODD thing. And re literature I have gone wider than “just” book reviews as you’ve possible noticed – eg I’ve written 3 “favourite writer” posts in my first 6 months and hope to continue those. I don’t think I could manage several blogs really so am pretty happy with my impure bookblog approach!

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  2. Posted by Kelly S on December 6, 2009 at 8:22 PM

    From my experience, the best way to be successful in social media is trial and error. You’ve learned a lot in just a few months writing this blog! (And you’ve done a great job so far — many a many blogger out there gets no comments whatsoever.) I’m sure you’ll continue to figure out what works/what doesn’t in terms of getting traffic. I’d expect, for instance, if you were blogging solely about newly published books you’d get a lot more traffic from people searching up those titles. Lists (“Top 10 Books of 2009”) are always popular.
    Twitter has different uses for different people. Some people tweet incessantly and get more followers that way. But even if that’s not for you, it’s still a good way to find people with similar interests and promote your blog posts/share information. Certainly can’t hurt!

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    • Good point Kelly … I’ve been told before that if you focus on “new” books you’ll get more hits. Of course, you have to want to focus on those don’t you?

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    • Kelly, Thanks, as always, for your valuable insights. It is still a quandary whether one should read the authors that will be popular or those that are really good. There are many best-selling authors I would not read in a million years. I’ve always admired the blog articles that bring to attention obscure little-heard-of authors that are really good.

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  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mike Saliban and AnokaTony, AnokaTony. AnokaTony said: 'Some insights into Blogging and a few words about Twitter' at Tony's Book World http://bit.ly/54jBuR […]

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  4. If I wanted a dedicated audience, I think I’d choose one thing that I’m close to and focus on it, burrowing deeper and deeper – I’m thinking of blogs like The Self-Styled Siren ( http://selfstyledsiren.blogspot.com/ ) or Some Landscapes ( http://some-landscapes.blogspot.com/ ) – hoping that people would be caught by the centrifugal force of my particular fascination.

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    • Hi DKS,
      Thanks for the links to these blogs. It looks like the Siren’s blog is extremely popular while the Landscapes blog is more limited in popularity. People being who they are, there is probably no relationship between value and popularity. In novels, the crowd pleasers are rarely good literature.

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  5. I enjoyed this post very much, and yes, been there, done that, still doing it… or most of it. But twitter was a step too far and I rarely use it anymore.

    I have noticed that many of my hits come from searches, not established visitors, and they tend to be searching with essay related questions. Occasionally I even get asked to provide a little more detail! So there’s one way of increasing your stats; but would you want to?

    Judging by the number of comments which your posts attract your blog is very successful anyway!

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  6. Hi Sarah,
    Yes, I find the searches some of the most interesting visitors. For a long time, I kept getting these searches for ‘Euripedes”. After about two weeks, I discovered that I had misspelled his name, and I changed the spelling to “Euripides”. But still for a month after that I kept getting searches for “Euripedes”. Apparently whoever was using that name just to reach my blog. Lately it seems that “Euripedes” has been replaced by “Amelie Nothomb” which has become a popular search word for my blog..

    Now it seems rather daunting to provide all the blog entries for 2010, but here we are.

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  7. hi there, nice website
    a way to write blog posts and smash in all:
    http://tinyurl.com/ykqu7vk

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