Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tuesday Blogging Perspectives - a meander

Lat night I did my usual end day housekeeping, looking at the things I had achieved (or not) during the day, what I had to do tomorrow. As part of this, I look at the blogs and my blog publishing plan. Yes, I do have one. I just don't follow it most of the time!

First, a gentle reminder that comments on Lunch with Noric - and a request for advice are still open. While this blog is a personal blog, I also like writing with people in mind, so your advice as to what you like and don't would be very welcome.

As part of my review I looked at the traffic stats on this blog. This will never be an A list blog, but I am pleased at the way I am now steadily scoring over 100 page views, over 80 visitors, per day. I have had weeks with very high individual traffic in the past, but this has always been due to particular stories. Now I seem to have stabilised at a higher level independent of spikes. I am also going to pass 40,000 visitors this week.

In one of our discussions on Kondratiev Cycles, long economic waves that may or may not exist (I find the concept useful, Bob's view is rubbish), Bob Q suggested that my blogs were themselves an example of the new economy model in that I provided free content and a service, aiming to get my return from other things.

This is true at a very micro level. My problem is what return, and what do I do with it if I get it!

I was reminded of this yesterday. A short post that I wrote on a particular issue, in this case I won't give the details just at present, led to a request as to whether or not I would mind a paper running it as a letter to the editor. I did not mind because I thought the point I was making was worthwhile. Now they have decided instead to run it as a full story, and have asked me for a high resolution photo!

Then there was a request flowing from another story, Musings on Australian food and wine, suggesting that I might like to take part in a global story on kitchens to mark a major anniversary for an overseas firm. My feeling is that this one won't fly - you should see my kitchen! Still, it was nice to be asked.

Back in February in Beer brands and the start of a personal consumer revolution I declared war on the supermarket chains. One side effect (Bob Q will smile) was a focus on my local independents.

As a direct result, last Friday I was invited to try a very special bottle of red wine supplied by Shaun from Cellabrations Rosebery, while Alan from the next door Rosebery IGA deli supplied the cheese. I brought my camera, and will do a full story.

I keep telling them both that they are VERY BAD MEN because of their influence. My cheese spend has trippled. I won't comment on the wine! Still, the two of them have already been the indirect source of a number of stories. I will not give further details now, but I will run a full story later this week.

So you can see that my blogging does get a response, even if sometimes I am not sure what to do with the response.

In all this, I am conscious of the fact that in their own small way my blogs have become publications, parts of the media, in their own right. I do not overstate this. I am just aware that this places obligations upon me in terms of accuracy and focus.

Anybody who reads my blogs will know that I am a village person. I like to know and be known. Sometimes this has its downsides, but it is still worth it.

One of the nicest if sometimes the most difficult thing is responding to comments, even when negative. Village is conversation, even if this takes time.

My biggest frustration with comments lies in people who make a worthwhile comment, but then do not come back. I want to go and grab them, to say where have you been, please say some more.

Still in village mode, I have slowly formed the view that one of the best things that my blogs might do is to link people together, to break isolation, to link people back to their past.

At a personal level, the blogs have brought me back in contact with people I have known, people that I might otherwise not have met again. The blogs have also played a role in creating new linkages. Beyond this, I see a constant pattern in searches of people looking for information about things that have been important to them. I see this, too, in some of the comments I get.

I can only do so much here. I struggle with what I am already doing. However, I have begun to slant some of my writing to areas where there seems to be a need that I can fill within my current interests. In doing so I write posts as a test, recognising that interest can only be determined by search interests over time. As an example see UNE's Overseas Student's Association.

I say posts as a test.

The world in which we bloggers operate is very crowded. Further, our visibility depends upon things like the exact definition of search engine algorithms. I suspect that we have all been frustrated by the way in which a Google search on the same topic can deliver different results each time.

Some bloggers put a lot of time into raising their internet profile on things like Technorati. I do not. My feeling is that a focus on content is the only rule. Get content, and other things will follow.

This is where the test comes in. I know that results from stories that I write today are likely to come over an extended period. So I write and then wait.


Interesting. This post was prepared in advance for publication today because I was going to be busy. In fact, it came up last night!

For those that are interested and want to comment on the current economic position, the comment stream in The international financial crisis - the ANZ pre-emptive strike is still open.

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