Feed Me, Seymour!

At a writing event this weekend, one of the speakers leading a breakout session mentioned his blog. He said, “A blog is like an animal–you must feed it.”True. To keep a blog alive, it needs food in the form of quality content.But how much? And how often? Monster-plant-sized portions daily, or a light watering once a week?If I recall from my personal history of blogging, bloggers used to be advised to blog daily. That was in the early days of blogging, back in Web 1.0. Then the advice shifted to “regularly” (but once-a-week minimum was still advised). The idea of regular or daily blogging was to develop a loyal audience–that nothing would be more aggravating to a curious visitor than to be interested enough to start visiting, only to find one day that no content appeared. That was the theory, at least. To gain readers–faithful, loyal readers–you had to give them lots of content.Then came RSS feeds, Bloglines, Technorati, Google Reader and the like. Now loyal readers rely on automated delivery services to alert them to new content–it pops straight to their reader, feeder, or e-mail in-box. This technology raised the question of whether or not daily content is still necessary.And then, along came over 50 million blogs, give or take a few million. Some of those, they say, may be abandoned; thus, the number of active blogs may be much lower. Still. This explains why I saw a post the other day at Pensieve, in which she noted with alarm that over 4,000 posts were waiting for her at Bloglines. Talk about overwhelming!We may be experiencing blog-fatigue. The term usually applies to the blogger him- or herself, the one too pooped to produce material. In this case, I’m suggesting that “blog-fatigue” refers to a reading fatigue. It’s a funny cycle, actually, with bloggers feeling a kind of obligation to their readers to provide fresh material; and readers finding they are overwhelmed with all the new material. The readers want to read–they may even feel a bit of anxiety that they’ll miss something great. But who can read all of those posts? Who can keep up?And one would be tempted to pose the same question of the bloggers, the writers–who can write all of those posts? Who can keep up? Strangely, many of us can. I miss a day here and there, but I do seem to keep tapping away.But should I?This article by Eric Kinz has me wondering if I am contributing to a problem, a glut in the blogosphere, a bottle-neck of ideas.Kinz appears to gear his post toward corporate marketing and professional bloggers (and it’s a little old, dated June 2006; and you know what that means in computer-years…), but he provides an interesting argument for why daily blogging is no longer necessary or even desired–and he does it in a 10-reason format, which is always so easy to read online.He talks about participating in the blogging community as being vitally important–more so, perhaps, than churning out daily posts (especially if content is compromised and lacking punch). A person commenting on the same post duplicated on Kinz’s blog pointed out that the goal of the blog should be considered when determining frequency.Kinz quotes Seth Godin saying, “blogging with restraint, selectivity, cogency and brevity (okay, that’s a long way of saying ‘making every word count’) will use attention more efficiently and ought to win.” Kinz concludes by saying he is only going to post when he has something to say.Still other articles make good arguments for daily blogging, even today, even with RSS feeds jamming and even competing with approximately 55 million blogs.I spite of Kinz’s 10 compelling arguments against daily blogging, I intend to continue posting often–daily, when possible. I guess it’s the German ancestry flowing down through my DNA–I like people to leave well-fed. No scrawny, underfed blog-readers over here. I’m going to try to keep you supplied with content.It’s up to you whether or not you’ll sit down with me for the meal.

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  • Comments

    1. Hmmm, I’ve been struggling with this since the school year started again. Thanks for the “food” for thought.

    2. I obviously have no answers. And I got to thinking of the food analogy later and didn’t want to suggest that my posts are always going to be meaty. I mean, just look at the post before this one–the same reader-value as a Cheeto. I guess I merely meant that I would be posting often–with daily as my intention–and so you’ll have something to read, whether you want to or not.

      I probably click “publish” a few minutes too soon.

      Hope you can figure out what you want to do with your own blog.

    3. Always much to chew on here, Ann.

      I too wonder over this dilemma: is daily posting burdening readers or blessing?

      The Spirit will lead.

      Thank you for answering Him here….

      All’s grace,

      Ann

    4. I think regularity and content are both important as a writer. In the end, though, only the writer can determine what works best for his/her blog. I think as Christians we should see our blogs as blessings and tools, and seek to use them accordingly, striving to keep the balance with time and real-life relationships.

      As a reader, I just know I have to limit the number of blogs I’m subscribed to. I’m subscribed to 74 right now, and I try to keep my list fairly current. I’m able to keep up with those pretty easily because I’m a student who takes my laptop to every class and can find plenty of time to read an entry here and there. But sometimes I skim and sometimes I don’t.

      It’s all about balance, I guess? I don’t think any of us really has it figured out.

    5. Ann: Well, you sure do feed His sheep over at your blog, girl! I have to give yours time to chew and digest. Any significant holy experience cannot be rushed. I hope you never burn yourself out as a blogger, because you’re giving your readers so much depth and insight, as you open up your heart, soul and mind.

      Anna: I sure appreciate your perspective, Anna. You make several significant points–regularity and content are important, the writer must make the final determination of what works, and that a Christian’s blog is a blessing and a tool.

      Your warning to balance time and real-life relationships is a good one, too. At the end of the Kinz article, he provides a link to Bloggers Anonymous. I didn’t click on it, but I suspect that some of them may be struggling with balance in this area….

      Good stuff. Lots to consider in the ongoing pursuit of balancing the blog.

    6. I’m joining the discussion a bit, but I found you from Fall Y’all (that was the point, wasn’t it – to find ME? :) Anyhow, this post is full of valuable questions. I often wonder how I can come up with worthwhile blogs every day, but as you suggest, if it’s food for thought, we ought not skip meals! I guess my point is, I don’t want to blog just to fill up empty space; I really want it to be nutritious. Maybe not meat always, but at least a carrot here or there.

    7. As a regular reader of Seth’s Blog I have to note that for the most part he takes his own advice. His posts are often quite short and to the point – a fact which draws me to read them all the more. I like long meaty (or not) posts but frequently don’t take the time to read them as thoroughly as they deserve. Sad but true.

    8. Oh and I was also going to say that my very favorite feature of Bloglines is the little button that states “mark all as read”. The first time I clicked there it almost felt sacrilegious but now it just feels like freedom. :)

    9. Heather: That’s what I’m trying to aim for…carrots are good. Full of antioxidants. Most blogs can’t be a full-course meal every time.

      Toni: I’ve been thinking about what you’ve said. Maybe blogs aren’t meant to be meaty all that often? I just read a post the other day about keeping them short. Makes me think…maybe a nice crunchy little carrot is all readers want or need? Maybe deep writing is for other venues, other forms–the published essay or article, perhaps?

      Toni (second comment): Sometimes it’s just all too much, isn’t it? Too. Many. Words.

    10. very interesting, but I don’t agree with you

      Idetrorce

    Trackbacks

    1. [...] posting about providing regular, meaningful content in order to feed the readers of my blog, I thought this nugget was worth sharing with fellow [...]

    2. [...] Feed Me (a Carrot), Seymour! Jump to Comments About a week ago I posted about blogs needing to be fed. [...]

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