Do bloggers have choices?

Over the last year and a half, my blogging dilemmas have been many. I have, I’m afraid, been able to reduce these dilemmas into neat little binaries quite without satisfactory answers.

Long or short? A few quality posts or many chatty postsShould you write about everything? Is developing a brand necessary? Is less more or is less just  less in the blogosphere?

The question is, should I gear the blog towards any one side of these pairs of concerns?  Or should I not pick and keep speaking in many tones deep and shallow, sombre and chatty, touch-and-go and scholarly, short and long?

The posts on writing, especially the short ones, attract the largest number of hits. The longer, in-depth ones about blogging or writing still attract a greater number of readers than creative posts. 

The reflective, memoir-like posts, such as the one here, are the ones that take a greater effort to write and are more personal to me. These inevitably attract fewer hits but more loyal followers who come back even after long intervals.

Of course, I can keep writing what I want for myself. Then I won’t have to worry about revealing too much about my personal life or grammar or format .

But that will mean an audience of only one. Only me.  I am the most boring person I know. Completely predictable. So I won’t be much help as audience.

At the heart of my question though, whether to focus on any one core interest, creative memoir or writing,  is another question which is of interest to everyone.

Must a blog follow a magazine model if it isn’t just personal but covers a variety of topics? In the publishing world as it exists now, you’ll find women’s magazines, technology magazines, fashion magazines, scholarly journals, science magazines, popular science magazines. . . Rarely will editors and publishers mix one kind of presentation with the other.

If a blog is a personal one, should it just concern itself with one group of topics speaking in a style and tone that remains constant?

I am increasingly inclined to think that people may not have to make a choice anymore. Reading habits online aren’t  going to replicate the way people used to read magazines or journals or personal stories offline. In fact, stagnation might become a real possibility if one is not willing to be flexible online both as readers and writers.

“An artist is someone who can hold two opposing viewpoints and still remain fully functional” said F. Scott Fitzgerald.

I think a blogger has to embrace multiplicity even more than an artist.

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I was told yesterday that this post will be Freshly Pressed. Thank you WordPress. If you’re interested, check out my other posts that were Freshly Pressed: My Blog Audience, Sounds of the Blogosphere and Characters from the Inside of your Head.

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182 thoughts on “Do bloggers have choices?”

  1. Reblogged this on ifly70 and commented:
    Think that’s the hardest thing about getting started. Does the blog name narrow what you can blog about? We are all complex beings and I believe the beauty of blogging is that it isn’t a regimented magazine with an editor saying you can’t write about this or that because it doesn’t fit into a neat box.

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  2. For me, this is my personal blog, so I post what means
    most to me, and even though I can be a social butterfly
    in the right circumstances, I tend to stand on my own,
    and my gift of gab isn’t the best. I want people to follow
    me, but I want them to because they really like my
    posts, not because I try to be someone else so
    someone will follow me.

    Like

  3. Hi, I got lost in my blog as I started with one “theme”, then added more personal things. My menu and the organization of the categories suddenly was a mess and a friend told me that it’s not good to read it anymore. I decided to reorganize it – and had the same questions as you wrote about… Thanks for that. So I know that it’s not only me …

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  4. I agree. I just mix it up and write about what I feel or what makes me happy at any given time. As far as statistics go, I would rather have loyal followers than many hits. If I can reach a happy medium, that would be cool too. Great post, and I will now be a loyal follower.

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  5. Thanks for visiting my blog!
    I love this post. This is something I have struggled with in the past. I have many blogs that I have given up on. But I vow to follow my newest one through! I will have the confidence to write for me, in a public arena. I think all bloggers should. We all have our own voice, own style, regardless of what subject we are writing. I’m clicking the follow button. Keep up the good work.

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  6. I’ve recently started blogging and liked your article. I’ve deliberately decided to put all my stuff in one single blog even though they might appeal to different audiences.

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  7. I’m still struggling with links. I’ve read the How To instructions over and over but when I try to apply it, nothing. It seems like everyone, at least everyone in your comment section lol, has mastered it but me. Onward I press!

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  8. Thanks for writing this and congratulations on being Freshly Pressed. I often go through the dilemma of what to focus my blog on. It is a personal blog not focusing on anything in particular, reluctant on revealing too much. My posts about writing have also had the most hits. Your post has given me something to think about.

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  9. L’ha ribloggato su Marco Castellanie ha commentato:
    Just found this interesting article that has been Fresh Pressed. This are the questions that – more or less – each blogger can find behind him. The answer may indeed to be find in flexibility and in our true desire to embrace multiplicity. Good post indeed.

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  10. these issues are what kept me from becoming interested in a blog for a while! i’m just getting into it, and i plan to keep it in my own voice, like i’m talking to a friend or writing in my journal, but write about a variety of reflections.

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  11. This was great! We all have wondered these things if we have taken our blogs seriously for very long. I started out in the very beginning, just writing for me. My blog was a place to store my work. Slowly unbeknownst to me, I started getting people following me.
    As followers go, I have more than some and much less than many.
    But it has blown me away by the community here that inspires me daily. One day I may vent. Another I may reflect. One may be about my faith, and then several in-between may be about various other topics. I do know that when I am away from my keyboard, I think of a million things to write about and then when I sit here… everything seems to dissapear~
    I think you are right… shorter is better! LOL… I am in big trouble… even my comments are long!!!
    Anyway loved your post today! Congrats for being a featured blogger of the day!

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  12. I have not decided what I want to write about yet, but I thought that having more blogs might be a good idea and way to diverse the topics and styles. So I set up my personal blog, for which I do not find much time yet. I spam Facebook a lot with bullshit thoughts and updates. I think blog deserves more care than Facebook or other social FB-like profiles. I plan to post some of my old poetry attempts, my gaming videos, favourite music and stuff of my personal interest. It is also place for my essays and family stuff. It is all just a vision now, but I will work on it. Then there is my work blog. I post reviews, things I am interested in professionally, I post articles about Prague and business life and experiences in transportation business. The last blog is more like an attempt to use free tool to make money. But I only started that a few weeks ago, so we will see.

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  13. Very valid considerations. As a new blogger, I find myself trying to work out my style as well. My current approach is to treat blogging as if I were talking to a friend. I have many facets and I want them to come through on the blog so people get an idea of who I am.

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  14. My favorite blogs are the ones that don’t have a specific focus. I find that the bloggers who write only on a specific topic quickly run out of content. Even worse, they try to be a full-time “x” blogger and quality goes down the tubes as they scramble just to crank out content for ad views.

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  15. I tend not to write too much personal stuff. Most of it would be quite boring anyway. And I do struggle with length. Mostly, how long is too long? I think that a blog post of the length of this one is perfect, unless you are really taking a deep dive into something.

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  16. I’ve been asking the same questions, especially regarding how much personal stuff to make public. And I feel a bit bad sometimes when I get a bunch of followers from a travel post and then proceed to post a bunch of stuff having nothing to do with travel. But I think that’s the nature of a personal blog (vs. a blog that IS devoted to just one topic).

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