Thursday, May 8, 2008

Why Blog?

In the last couple of weeks I've been toiling over blogs, my own blog, and the whole blogosphere in general. I'm feeling a little blogged out, yet incredibly curious about the dynamics and community that make up a successful blog.

Have you noticed a change in design blogs recently? Maybe it has something to do with starting my own blog, or feeling a little bored with content out there. But, I feel there is something shifting and I can't quite put my hand on what...anyone feeling the same way?

I've been compiling a post about the change in design blogs and grasping at words to explain what I mean. I thought by starting at the beginning I could understand more. I'm hoping to gain some perspective from readers, and would LOVE your feedback. So I pose the questions:

What makes a successful blog?

Why do you read blogs?

Why do you blog?


Annapurna said...

1. Not quite sure. May be blog candy and good projects.
2. To get inspiration and to see check out what is good before buying get away from boredom.
3. I think we are looking for someone to share with. Husbands and kids are not the best to say "wow! looks nice", "well done" kind of things.

I am curious to see what your thoughts are.

diana @ please sir said...

Annapurna - great comments. I think you are right - much of it is sharing your passion with others (and boredom!).

JanelleGrace said...

1. Thinking of the successful blogs that I go to, they all have clear, consistent information. Also, their layouts are very clean and very eye catching.

2. Because a) I am bored at work, b) to get inspiration.

3. I blog about photography because that is what I am interested in. And I like to share things.

Anonymous said...

I believe it is a good outlet for people to express their artistic views,desires, educate and learn. Almost like reading a magazine - but you can choose what interests you and its updated frequently. There are so many blogs - for sports, politics, whatever. Where else could you bounce your ideas off of? Plus, it is a good way to "scratch the artistic itch!"

A Print A Day said...

What makes a successful blog?
I think consistency, uniqueness of content, and being nice and attentive to readers :)

Why do you read blogs?
It's like reading a magazine, but online! I read a whole slew of blogs from the stuff at Huffington Post to Dear God, to Boing Boing, to InkStuds, Drawn, and design blogs such as yours and many more.

Why do you blog?
It started as an exercise, and to get critiqued for my work so I can improve my craft. I wasn't expecting an audience really, but it's a nice bonus that I've "met" people such as you who are also into design and art. It's great to bounce off ideas, and yes, even vent about certain things.

diana @ please sir said...

Thanks guys - really loving the input!

design for mankind. said...

I think I agree most with Yasmine, but I am SO the wrong person to answer this!!! Eek!

I'm so interested to hear YOUR thoughts! Tell us more! :)

diana @ please sir said...

These comments help...hopefully words will come out of my brain to write a good post!

simplesong said...

oh, i feel the same way! lately to avoid some of this [and over stimulation] i just read my favorite blogs and don't stray too much from my google reader.

to answer your questions...
for me, i like two types of blogs--
the first where it seres as a resource [e.g. decor8, design sponge] and the second where it serves as inspiration but from a personal perspective. you get to know the author.

i blog mostly to catalog the things that inspire me and as a creative outlet.

you're right about being bored. i think [and this is my humble opinion]...there are only so many pretty things out there. if that's what a blog focuses on sharing then it may start to seem redundant. those particular blogs i only visit every now and again and look at everything at once.

hope this makes sense. i've started to ramble and am stopping now!

Jude said...

I'm right there with you on this. I think I'll write a post along these lines myself in the next day or two and answer your questions there (because I'm way to verbose to cover this in a comment!).

Sarah's Fab Day said...

Oh my where to begin...

First I agree with SimpleSong that I too like blogs that are more like a resource like Decor8. Because it's always nice to see new updated content daily that reads somewhat like a magazine. There aren't actually that many like this out there that I really enjoy, just a few.

Second (this is totally me personally)I love the blogs of people that have similar taste, those who's writing I can personally relate to, and lastly those who seem like a nice, cool person that I would may hang with in real life. These are actally my favorite ones.

I started blogging just for fun and it has turned into something different, I think I now have some blog friends (so weird I know) but it's fun having people in your bloglife that can see the beauty in the same sorts of things that you do.

diana @ please sir said...

simplesong - I understand what you mean...I need to minimize some blog reads on my google reader...starting to get out of control. I would like to stray away from posting just pretty stuff...but not sure what direction to go. I want more meaningful content. I'm always questioning myself! Good insight.

Jude - I'm EXCITED to hear your comments on this - look forward to your post!

That Girl Designs said...

Hi Diana:

My thoughts to your questions:

1) A successful blog to me, is all about how it interests and inspires me. It doesn't matter to me how much press a blog gets. Also, I feel that anyone who starts a blog and keeps at it, is successful in their pursuit.

2) I read blogs as a way to gain information, to be introduced to new ideas, and to see what other people with similar interests have to share.

3) I started my blog to join in the conversation of the design and art community. To meet new people and make new friends (if even only through cyberspace). Since selling my retail store and becoming an online student, I often feel a little isolated. Blogging provides a way for me to get "outside" and to socialize.

Thanks for caring enough to ask these questions and start this dialog. I very much enjoy your blog and voice.

paisleystclaire said...

What makes a successful blog?
- Lots of pretty pictures. I rarely have time to read much text, probably the same for most people.
- I agree that the ones that have a consistent theme and post at least once a day seem to be the most popular. Although being the first to find stuff is not necessarily a prerequisite. I'm sure some of the big blogs get a fair bit of material from lesser known ones.
- Good layout and design is essential I think.

Why do you read blogs?
- I like being shown new pretty things.

Why do you blog?
- to share my finds with friends, family, anyone, no one. I agree with a previous comment, my husband generally couldn't care less about the things I get excited about.
- I don't restrict myself on what I blog about. I don't care if having a consistent theme is going to get me a bigger readership. I don't care if no one else reads it, I would rather have the freedom to post about art one day and dog bowls the next.
- To share news and new products of my accessories label in a more personal way, ie as opposed to newsletters etc.
- To be part of a community. I have a home studio so I feel a bit isolated sometimes. I like being able to communicate with people all around the world that I would never have the opportunity to otherwise.

What do you NOT like about blogs and blogging?
- I don't like blogs that seem to be just in it for the money or popularity. That post about things because its the 'fashionable' thing rather than because they actually like it.
- I don't like the amount of time I spend reading blogs and working on my own blog. I should pay more attention to the children.
- I don't like finding a blog that is really good and feeling totally inferior in blog terms. I call it 'blogshame'.
- I really don't like people ripping off other people's posts and not referencing it.
- I don't like that I feel obligated to do it everyday, particularly when I am really busy or don't have anything very interesting to post. This is a purely self-imposed thing. I decided when I started that I would post every weekday it feels a bit like a burden sometimes.

Hope you don't mind me adding Q4. This is going to be a huge post isn't it?

diana @ please sir said...

Paisley - you hit on some really important issues. I also feel "blog envy" (my word for it!) when I see cool blogs and feel bad about my own. I also understand the blog burden if I am sick or feeling uninspired. Again, this is a self-imposed problem I put on myself. Also, sometimes I feel like I should be doing tangible work (ig/make art, clean, workout) when I'm blog browsing or working on my own blog. There are so many positives too, but I'm glad to know others feel these same kind of issues. Thanks!

littlebyRD said...

1. Not sure what makes a success - I like what simplesong wrote about the 2 types she likes and hearing everyone elses feedback too.
2. I blog to get inspiration, to connect with other people, see what others are writing, photographing, loving, etc. I find it very inspiring.
3. I started blogging for the heck of it really and didn't know I would end up liking it so much. I have found I am more creative in my crafts since I have started - almost like I tapped something in my mind that had been shut down for awhile.

Stephanie Ryan said...

1. Not sure what makes a blog successful. I do think it is important to update often and content is key.
2.I blog for two reasons. The first is to stay current on what is going on in the design world. That I do quickly. The second is to see what people are doing and how they do it. I have been noticing that I am looking at the design sites less and diving deep into the arts/crafts sites. Any blog that is personal, that I can connect with the author and see how she does what she does. It is so inspiring to me to see that other people like me can make their dreams come true or live happily trying.
3. The reason why I blog...I started as an exercise of putting myself out there for the world to see (but in a very safe environment). That is why I put my full name,job and portfolio on my site. It isn't a way of me saying look at what I DO. It is a way to try to get through my fears of not feeling good enough. Anyway, I'm rambling. All I know is I love blogging, more than I thought I would and hopefully I am not only helping myself by doing it, hopefully I am inspiring others.
Thanks Diana!!! great questions.

diana @ please sir said...

littlebyrd - I agree, blogging does have a way of tapping into your creative side. I wasn't feeling very creative at work, so blogging was a good outlet for that.

Stephanie Ryan - Yes, blogging is a welcoming and safe environment for work and critique. I think it is wonderful you put yourself out there and are enjoying it!

Teal Chic said...

When I post things I care about, I think it makes more of an impact. When my aunt passed away two weeks ago, I posted about her and had her picture up. A few days later I received a comment from somebody who owns a knitting shop she used to frequent, (which I never knew about.) They had no idea she had passed, and they found out on my blog. She just happened to click on my blog, because I had used the tag "knitique" (the name of her shop) in a previous post. It's so trippy how things work out. I was tempted not to post it, thinking people might be turned off by it, but I am overwhelmed by the response. Truly God's will!

mary said...

1. I don't think there's one answer or formula as to what makes a successful blog, since people go to blogs for different reason. But I do think that updating regularly and really having a personality are two key factors.

2. I read blogs (too many, really!) to be inspired: in home decor, fashion, and just life. In the process, in some cases, I become interested in that blogger's life. So even when there isn't any real inspiration to be had, I find myself checking in just to keep updated on what that person is doing.

Lately, though, I find myself becoming overwhelmed. When I see 308 updates to my Google Reader, I get stressed out. And feel anxious to make sure I read them all and keep up with them all. Whereas reading my blogs used to be a relaxing time of my day, sometimes it makes me anxious. I think that means maybe I need to edit out some blogs that I don't really "love".

3) I blog as a creative outlet. To share snips of my day; things I like; things we're working on. Really, my goal isn't to get readers; but I am beyond flattered by every comment and every page view I get. Really, though, it makes me happy to scroll through my posts and seeing my own eye candy. :)

Melanie Gray Augustin said...

Mmmm.. some intereting thoughts...

What makes a successful blog?
I think it's one that is interesting, yet personal. One that is pleasing on the eye.

Why do you read blogs?
I love to see what other people are up to and now, with many blogs, it's almost like I'm catching up on friends' lives, even though I've never met these people outside of the blogsphere.

Why do you blog?
To express, to share, to contribute as part of a community. Living in Japan can be quite isolating at time, and the blogging community has become quite important to me.

Milena said...

What makes a successful blog?

Authenticity. I don't really care about grammar, spelling, or sentence structure. I look for a blogger with heart. Fierce heart.

Why do you read blogs?

To know I'm not alone in my craziness, tastes, successes, failures. Oh, and to learn things. From cool people I should be friends with.

Why do you blog?

I have to. I have tried every other form of meditation, therapy, prayer, conversation, and voodoo to make me feel better. Only writing helps. And knowing someone is reading it. Even if they hate it, my thoughts don't stop at my skull.

Kim Carney said...

What makes a successful blog?
Blogging about something that a few other people find interesting. (more than a few would help ;). Having some fun images, links, or a good story or two. I wouldn't consider making money on a blog the ultimate success, although many have seem to do well at that. And I think many people specifically blog to make money. Reader loyalty is the biggest payoff.

Why do you read blogs?
For stuff out there that I haven't found yet. And after 12 years working for an internet company there are very few things I haven't seen on the internet. New artists, new photographers, (to me) ... and now I read many blogs because I have formed relationships with the blogger and I want to see how/what they are doing.

Why do you blog?
A place to store all the wonderful stuff I want to remember where it is. A place to put my photography and art and some crafts if I ever have time. To share with my family what I am up to. To share with the world if I have some up with something new and exciting.

But I agree with many comments here, sometimes reading and doing all becomes overwhelming ... and gets in the way of "real" living and creating. And with the explosions of blogs in the last couple of years it is harder to keep up.


diana @ please sir said...

Wonderful comments - thanks for continuing a great discussion!

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