Can you believe it? It’s around about the 3 month mark since I started blogging. It’s been an interesting kind of month so I thought I’d share some thoughts/highlights with you. All very Guy Kawasaki, isn’t it. Don’t worry, I don’t intend to do this every month. Now that I’ve hit my first quarter, I think I might hold out until six months for the next update!
I kind of feel like the 3 month mark is a significant milestone in blogging. This is probably because Technorati told me so. In their recent ‘state of the blogosphere‘ post they reported that:
75,000 new weblogs [are] created every day, which means that on average, a new weblog is created every second of every day – and 19.4 million bloggers (55%) are still posting 3 months after their blogs are created.
Must be kind of like small business. I wonder, with the recent ‘retiring’ of Dave Winer (well, he *talked* about retiring) and Russell Beattie, I want to hear more about how many bloggers who start out are still blogging in 12 months, 2 years, 5 years etc. (Isn’t it something like 90% of small businesses have folded in 5yrs?)
I think I’m starting to settle into blogging now and get a sense of what my blog is about and how I write. Recently I added ‘asides’ to my template because I wanted a way to be able to make quick, kind of off-topic posts without disrupting the ‘flow’ of my blog. (Well… I see it as a flow anyways!) Not sure how well that works for RSS Reading people out there… hopefully not too disruptive and annoying. I’ve definitely fallen into the ‘navel gazing’ demographic of bloggers, for better or worse, but asides give me a little more flexibility and allow me to keep posting little interesting snippets even when I have little blogging time on my hands.
Ah, and how much time does blogging take!
Writing a reasonably solid post is definitely quite time consuming, and often involves a bit of research and conversation. This time is invariably lengthened thanks to WordPress’s incredibly annoying WYSIWYG editor. I cannot tell you how many random divs I’ve removed in HTML mode in the past 3 months, but it is many. Thankfully it’s been a while since I’ve broken my template beyond repair, so perhaps I’m accidentally improving my technical skills on the side :)
Other time-sucking blogging related activities include: Stats Analysis (or addiction, call it what you will…), and my ever expanding RSS feed library that I just cannot get enough of. I’m still on Bloglines but might make a move over to another reader soon. (Why? Mostly just for a change, I have no major issues with Bloglines, but I don’t really know any better at the moment. Any recommendations people?)
Is it worth it? Absolutely and entirely. I have gotten so much more from blogging than I would ever have expected. I’m completely hooked on having this sense of a 24/7 conversation going on that I’m involved in. I’m constantly astounded by the ‘global’ nature of this conversation. I love that people from all the continents are involved in some of the discussions we have on my blog (and some of the farflung locations that show up on my blog stats. If you’re from somewhere you consider farflung (from Sydney, Australia, my current centre of the universe), and you’ve read this far, leave me a note and tell me where you’re from). Some people might call it a childish wonder (I mean, duh, it’s the internet… of course it’s global). I prefer, child-like :)
I love that you’re all such a chatty bunch. I’m really happy and proud to report that the old conversational index is still going strong. After 140 posts (I know! can it really be that many?! that’s what WordPress tells me) I reckon that’s pretty good going.
It’s still beyond me to understand why some posts prompt conversation and others don’t. Some, of course, aren’t really talking point posts… but there are some that I *swear* people will hop on and tell me how they totally disagree with what I’ve written… and no one does. Puzzling. I wonder whether my topic is less interesting/contentious than I thought, whether everyone agrees with me but doesn’t have time/inclination to post a comment, whether others disagree but think I’m so beyond help that it’s pointless commenting… ah! user behaviour! it’s fascinating stuff. (sorry.. I just called you a user… that was very rude of me. When will we finally have a better term than that?!)
OK. Starting to ramble now. So here are some highlights that probably only geeky nerdy bloggy types will find exciting.
Fleeting stardom on Tech.Memeorandum. 29 March – I made it on Tech.Memeorandum for the first time! (Albeit v. briefly and towards the bottom of the page… it scored me two visitors). But wait – 8 April, and we’re back on Tech.Memeorandum. This time a little higher up the page, but only because Dave Winer and Ben Barren got involved in the chicks/web2/Australia discussion (wherein they propose not one but two conferences). Tech.Memorandum used *my* photo of clovelly, which Ben borrowed via Flickr. Does that make me a photographer too? 14 April, back on Tech.Memeorandum again (Google Calendar Launch).I begin to realise what kinds of things I should be posting about if I wanted to regularly find myself on Tech.Memeorandum, but also realise that if I were to follow this formula I’d have a very different blog. And not the one that I want to have.
Disambuity on Google Finance. imagine my surprise when I found myself getting referrals from Google Finance. Finance? Me? Anyone who knows me would chortle. But, hysterically, 8 April and for a while thereafter, it was true. Bizarro.On the recently launched Google Finance site for each company along with all the financial data, they also pull a few blog posts. My Campaign for Real Beauty post made it upon the Uniliever page. (The things you learn from your stats package. Thank you Blogbeat).
Technorati rank Start of month: 284,411, Today: 52,009. Cool (but entirely thanks to you guys for linking).
Comment spam was taking all the fun out of comments. argh. what a scourge. Although, I did quite like it when Jonothan started a conversation with the spam.
Comment spam quite intrigues me – someone could be writing a thesis, I think, on the various trends that comment spam passes through from week to week. I was particularly fascinated by one one v. friendly comment that linked me off to this site http://italy-cell-phone-blogs.blogspot.com/ [warning - going there theoretically supports blog spam]. Why do people do this?! Do they actually make money? People click on their links? And what’s with that content.Finally, after encouragement from Michael Air, I finally installed Akismet (why didn’t I do that 3 months ago?!). It is exceptionally good and has made blogging all happy again. Although it does swallow some *real* comments too, so needs to be monitored.There is some good to be had of comment spam. Recently I’ve found it to be highly complimentary. My favourite that I’ve been receiving recently says: Your site is very cognitive. I think you will have good future
Well… If you say so comment spam.
So, that’s it for 3 months. A big thank you to you for reading and interacting. It wouldn’t be anywhere near as much fun with out you.
My name is Leisa Reichelt. I am the Head of User Research at the Government Digital Service in the Cabinet Office.
I lead a team of great researchers who work in agile, multidisciplinary digital teams to help continuously connect the people who design products with the people who will use them and support experimentation and ongoing learning in product design.
If you're interested in working with me or would like to talk more please email me