Image via Wylio
The blogging bug, that is. J When I first put my toe oh-so-tentatively into the ocean that is the blogospere, I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. For some time I’d been standing on the shore following blogs (among them some extraordinarily good ones) but without commenting or getting involved in any way. Now it was time to get my feet wet and see for myself what all the fuss was about.
That was back in February, so what has the experience been like and what have I learned over the past couple of months?
The first thing I’ve learned - and all you more experienced bloggers could have told me this from the beginning, if I’d had the sense to ask – is that blogging is addictive. Very addictive. Blogging is so darned enjoyable that the addiction develops remarkably quickly. Once the first baby post has been launched into the ether, the urge soon comes to provide it with a companion and another and another…..
After the initial short burst of beginner’s enthusiasm I haven’t tried to post every day and don’t intend to, but I still find that within a day or so of making a post, my mind starts to mull over possible ideas for the next one, sometimes at inconveniently awkward times like the middle of the night.
The second is that blogging can be very time-consuming. Mastering the ins-and-outs of Blogger itself and learning to apply what it offers takes time. Writing posts, especially the longer, more reflective posts I incline to, is extraordinarily enjoyable, but it takes even more time. Responding to comments, when people are kind enough to leave them, and reading others’ blogs and commenting on them in my turn, are just as enjoyable, but all this too takes time….
Luckily I’m retired, so time isn’t something I’m short of, but the ease with which you can find yourself discovering new and interesting blogs and clicking that deceptively innocuous Follow button means that unless you get a grip on yourself, your blog list can start to resemble a catalogue, rather than a manageable shopping list.
The third thing I’ve learned is how very varied the world of blogging is. In my exploration of the forest of blogs out there, I’m starting to learn which kinds appeal to me and why. I think what draws me most to follow a blog is when I discover a blogger who has found his or her own distinctive voice and whose blog says things that interest, entertain or challenge me.
More practically, I’ve discovered that mostly I prefer longer posts to very short ones. I prefer posts which are the fruit of the author’s own thought and experience rather than a reworking of or even just a quote from another blog. I greatly appreciate serious, and often profound, posts, but humour is just as important to me, as is breadth of interest and a certain quirkiness.
I must confess to skipping over video clips, but that’s mainly because we have a rather slow and sometimes flaky broadband connection and video doesn’t play well for me. On the other hand I love photos and cartoons and other images, but prefer to have words with them.
Our slow broadband connection also means that what I think of as fussy blogs, those with lots of permanent images and multiple widgets can be a bit of a nightmare to follow, as they are so slow to load and often unstable on the screen. Thank goodness for Google Reader or I’d probably have given up on some of them by now, which would have been my loss.
As I have fairly poor sight, legibility matters a lot and I much prefer black text on a white or pale-coloured background. Very small font size and very long paragraphs are really hard work, as is pale text on a dark background. Again I’d probably have given up on these if it weren’t for Posts Atom or Google Reader. However, these are minor quibbles when weighed against what I have already gained from the world of blogging.
Above everything else I value the sense of becoming part of a community of people who generously share their thoughts, interests and experience with me in their blogs. I value too the fact that this community is world-wide, spanning oceans and linking continents, so that what I write can be read not only by people close to home in the UK and Europe, but from the USA to New Zealand, from Turkey to Costa Rica and I can reciprocate by following their blogs in my turn.
In the last couple of months my life has been enriched and I’ve had a huge amount of fun and it’s all thanks to you.