The Friday Blog Post: At Last! or So What?

Ah Fridays. How prominent they used to be when they marked the boundary between the life I gave at the clinic and the one I rediscovered each weekend at home. Any more, after retirement, not so much. But the word Friday still carries with it the sense of freedom I once felt when that day came, so I embrace Fridays when I realize about noon that for much of the world–at least those who still have jobs–there’s about to be a break in the beat and you will march at least a few paces to your own peculiar rhythm for 48 hours. The joy!

Now, Friday’s mean that the blog readership sags to the lowest ebb of the low-volume weeks of my current blogging life. Don’t know why Friday readership is so low, or for that matter, why readership in general has slumped so seriously–at least for me.

I think Facebook, Twitter, and the vast bloom of places to go and see and hear and watch stuff has diluted the broth to the point that for most bloggers like me, a post to the blog is no longer about community and is more about broadcast for its own sake.

While I know there are a few of you who are “regulars” going back years in some cases (and your invisible companionship is much appreciated!) when I imagine my “audience” it is mostly faceless. And it’s hard to talk to an abstraction, in much the same way you may find it hard to speak intelligently to an answering machine.

Ah well. I’ll be giving the process and the medium some thought: I’ve been asked if I want to host a presentation about blogging next summer. Dunno. I will, by then, have reached the ten year mark, and there are not many blogs that have survived that long. So I have longevity going for me. And I can tell my own story and describe the peaks and troughs over a decade. There have been many of both.

But if I were to say yes, I’d be thinking about inviting other bloggers who could speak more to the technical aspects of registering a domain, acquiring hosting, and setting up something like a wordpress blog and tweaking the appearance, monetizing, branding and such. I mostly just want to add content that is interesting or stimulating or of local interest, and not dive under the hood to change or fix things.  (Monetizing: yeah. About that. I got notice yesterday that $12 had been transferred from TextLinkAds to my Paypal account. Two years ago, it was $120 a month all year. Sigh. Sometimes I wish I cared more about the money. But then, mostly, I just don’t come here every morning thinking about that sort of thing.)

If you were going to set up a presentation about blogging, what would be the main points?

What sites would you use to illustrate what blogs were all about?

Would you encourage the audience to read blogs or to start one of their own?

What would you say about the role of blogs in an age when investigative journalism is moribund and the truth can be hijacked by special interest groups?

Is the blog a legitimate and essential tool to expose nature, community, nation or planet for common dialogue and work?

Meanwhile, and although I don’t think ever has someone come to an event where I was speaking because they read about it on the blog, I’ll theoretically see some of you at Heartwood (Abingdon) tomorrow, where I’ll be manning a table and otherwise present in some capacity. If you haven’t visited the Heartwood site, even on a Friday, go there.

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About

Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

3 Comments on “The Friday Blog Post: At Last! or So What?

  1. Obviously, I vote for being a blog reader and commenter, rather than adding yet another blog to the bloggosphere. I don’t have any explanation of why your readership has diminished. I still find your topics and musings the same: all of interest to me.

  2. Still here Fred!

    Now I think of my blog more as my journal where I think out loud and where I create sketches for ideas – of other read it – that’s good. I use Twitter and FG to promote what I write – key now – and to extend the conversation that happens more there than in the comments

  3. Hi Fred – great questions you have asked. So, let me try and answer these one at a time:

    1. If you were going to set up a presentation about blogging, what would be the main points? I’d cover the following:

    a. How blogging differs from FB and Twitter
    b. Different categories of blogs – yours, political, video, photo, etc.
    c. Different blogging platforms – blogger, wordpress, etc. etc. and advantages/disadvantages to each
    d. Purpose – Why blog? Who is the audience? Is it just a personal place to archive thoughts, etc. etc.
    e. What about a “group” blog where a common interest is the focus and there are several collaborators?

    What sites would you use to illustrate what blogs were all about?

    a. This one.
    b. http://www.assortedstuff.com – this is an education focused blog
    c. Hoarded Ordinaries
    d. Political commentary from James Fallows of The Atlantic at: http://www.theatlantic.com/james-fallows/
    e. Big Picture from the Boston Globe: http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/
    f. Generic photo blog (found via google): http://pixelcandy.tomyeah.com/

    Would you encourage the audience to read blogs or to start one of their own?

    I would start by encouraging them to read blogs – actually go to the page and see/read/interact on the site. I would not discuss rss or aggregators for beginners who are just learning. The joy of blogs (or a joy, I think) is actually going to the page. Once they’ve been reading and seeing how different blogs flow (daily entries? weekly? seldom? etc.), then encourage them to think about the issues surrounding starting their own blog, namely: topic, audience, frequency of updates, platform, etc. etc.

    What would you say about the role of blogs in an age when investigative journalism is moribund and the truth can be hijacked by special interest groups?

    I would say that information literacy is of paramount importance in this day and age. One needs to choose reliable blogs to follow, check sources, question assumptions, etc. etc. Do blogs have a “role?” Yes, they do in that they can give a personal perspective on an event that one has experienced. They can offer perspective where shorter forms of journalism simply can’t. They can help make people think. And they can simply be fun to read and write. Plus friends can be found and made. 🙂

    Is the blog a legitimate and essential tool to expose nature, community, nation or planet for common dialogue and work?

    Legitimate, yes. Essential – maybe. This is where it gets murkier because many people receive exposure and common dialogue in many other places. A lot of these places are off-line and face-to-face, too. So, essential is tough. I can see situations perhaps where a blog would be essential, but at the same time, not all situations or people or groups would call for the use of a blog.

    Hope this gives some ideas, Fred and isn’t too long-winded. I’ve been thinking about this on and off for the past day. Feel free to contact me off of here and we can continue to discuss. I enjoy your blog as well as many others and after years of using RSS to read stuff, I’ve come back to discovering the joy of going to the websites themselves to read.

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