Friday, February 4, 2011

keeping up with The Blogs

Did you hear? Did you hear? Didja? Didja? Didja?

Didja?

I won!

Remember those blogging awards I begged you to nominate me for? And then cajoled you to vote for me? And cajoled? And cajoled?

The Studio 30 + Boomerang Awards?

I won! ME! I WON!

Best Photo Blog, to be specific.

Which, I have to tell you, makes me grin from my lips to my panties. I don't know why I needed an award to validate me, but I did. I know you understand. It doesn't just mean I have readers who care enough to vote for me or that I have enough people who think enough of this crazy space of mine to actually beat out the competition (SUCK IT! YEAH! I'm so gracious.), but that I'm finally proving myself as a real photographer too.

Because here's the thing about being an artist of some kind: it's often hard to remember you're part of that world when you don't get paid for it. If you're a writer, photographer, whatever, and you don't get paid to do it? You forget that you're still an artist with or without a monetary validation.

Which is such an American perspective. But I'm working on losing that.

Anyway, thank you so much for voting for me! You guys are truly the bestest of the bestest. And my most sincereliest congratulations to the other winners and finalists! Some of my good friends and fave blogs were recognized and they truly deserved it.

It kinda works out that I has this post scheduled for today too. Just when I am honored for my blog, I whine about blogging. Can't please me, eh?

Here's the thing about blogging: it's hard work.

I never intended to be "A Blogger." I don't say that with any derision, but when I started blogging, I had a more-than-full-time job and I really just wanted to write. I didn't keep it private, but I didn't anticipate the bloggy world I'm in today. I just didn't.

There was no way to foresee it. I worked in social media prior to blogging, sure. And I read a handful of blogs. When I set up my blog, I did it as I would for any company I would promote. I set up search functions and designed my first masthead. But I had no clue how I would generate any significant traffic or that I even wanted to generate much traffic.

I knew my friends were reading, but being butts about commenting. My first smart move was my Facebook fan page which I forced my friends to use if they wanted to keep reading and which told me which of my pals had been lurking. I'm evil like that.

Plus I'd been on twitter for some time. I'd forced myself on to keep in the social media loop, but sans anything of value to promote, hadn't gotten much out of it other than gossiping with work friends without our coworkers on FB finding out. See: evil.

Then I discovered the other bloggers. Yes, there were others. Many others, I found out. And they were kind and welcoming and shared their advice and their readership. They weren't competitive; in fact, they were eager to share and help. They commented on my blog. They promoted me on the Twitter. They liked my FB page. And they asked me to guest post.

And I did the same in return.

I found that bloggers are really gangbusters at networking. Really and truly. Bloggers should be teaching college students how to network, because they really do it best.

It all seemed so idyllic in the beginning.

I should really rephrase that, because it makes it sound like things have gone up in smoke and that's not the case. But I have suffered a serious case of blogging burn out.

What I didn't anticipate is that the blogging itself is not the hardest part. Creating content? Not the hardest part. Though it is consuming. Balancing irl work, looking for more work, generating content, managing my Etsy shop, etc, all while trying to have a life and relax is time consuming!

But not the hardest part. The hardest part is keeping up with The Blogs.

The more you network, the more blogs there are to read. And comment on. You want to read each one too and leave a comment. And you want that comment to have substance because you read that one BlogHer article about how bloggers hate the comments which just compliment them. It wouldn't be a chore if there weren't so many, except there's no way to cut. Because you genuinely enjoy and appreciate and want to support each and every one.

But there are just not enough minutes in the day! It's literally (not figuratively) impossible to do it all.

And that doesn't even count time on twitter, trying to be witty, keeping your followers laughing, and networking with bloggers. You don't remember the last #wineparty you had time or energy to visit even though it's a great joy when you do.

So where's the balance?

First thing: I disconnected from Twitter a bit. I still use it to promote my blog and Etsy, etc, and I still wander on in the morning and before I go to bed. And I'll still text funny tweets I think of in the moment, but I don't log onto The Twitters as much. Because while I do not think there's anything wrong with staying on all day if you can, it was eating up my energy.

As a result, many of the Favstar whores have stopped following me because I'm not validating their neediness all the time, but truthfully? I don't miss them much and I lost most of them when my Twitter went private anyway. And I doubt these people read my blog anyway. They just want to star fuck. If you don't know what any of the last paragraph meant, just skip it. I don't have the energy to explain. You're not missing much anyway.

After that, I cleaned out my twitter. I've found that keeping my following list under 400 is manageable. Keep in mind, not all 400 are on at the same time. Between time zones and busy schedules, that's a number I can work around and not lose the content from my good friends whom I enjoy. I'm getting close to 400 again, so Mama may need to make another cut. WATCH OUT!

Next? I gave myself a break from commenting. I don't comment on every post I read and I'M SO SORRY! Really though, I doubt every one of my blogging friends comment on every one of my posts. In fact, I know they don't. So I need to give my perfectionist ass a break.

I also don't worry about my comment being witty or substantive every single time. If I have to think too hard, I'm doing it wrong. It's just a comment and if you don't appreciate my comment, you're a goddamn snob anyways. If I feel moved to comment and that comment is just a "Great Post!" That's what you're getting. Hope that's okay. And don't be jealous of the comments I leave that are witty. My wit has a mind of its own and isn't always reliable, but sometimes it surprises even me.

Then? I cleaned out my reader. If I hardly find myself wandering over to a certain blog or reading any posts, time to stop sparing feelings. Snip snip it's gone. That cluttered reader was too overwhelming.

But then, I stopped reading each post of every blog I have in my reader. This one was the hardest. It truly was. Not only do I want to support each blog that I choose to put in my reader, but I do it because I actually like the blog! I want to read it. But I just don't have the time. So if I miss a few, I don't beat myself up and just read the newer posts. Or if a post seems like it wasn't directed at my type, etc, I'll just skip it. No one wants to be read out of obligation anyway right? Right.

Lastly, I'm not really taking on any new blogs. I know that sounds incredibly snobby. And the occasional new blog which wows me does slip through. But just like a company that is saturated with employees, I'm saturated with blogs to read. Any more and I just won't be able to spend any QT with the blogs I'm already loyal to.

However, I can still support your blog in other ways! Ask me to guest post for you or ask to post on Sexy Saturdays. Or I'm sure we can come up with other ways to pimp you out, like on my FB page or Twitter. I just love pimping.

What do you do to keep your blogging sanity? Do you always comment? How many blogs do you read?

31 comments mean you love me:

Oilfield Trash said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Congrats on the award. I voted for you for this one.

Alex@LateEnough said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I don't need someone to comment or be witty. Reading is enough.

I read more blogs than I comment on.

I do keep people in my reader who I love as an I LOVE YOU even if I can't get there as often as I'd like.

I AM paying attention and am always there for a vote or RT or hug but sometimes I need to be pointed in that direction because I'm managing a lot right now.

I'm desperately trying to keep down my twitter so I don't miss so much. My goal is less than 1000 right now.

PS. My captcha was: taintin
Yes, I'm giggling too.

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

OT- thanks so much!

Alex- yeah that's exactly how I feel too. it just gets too much. and taintin? teehee!

Nush said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

It should be fun and not a chore. There are just soo many blogs you can read a day.

Anyway, you are a blast to read and much deserving of the photo award. Keep it going. :D

Skye said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

This is really sad, but I think I might be too lazy for the internet! I hardly ever write on my own blog because I just don't care that much. I do have a lot of blogs that I try to read every day, and you're right, it's time-consuming! I've started only logging into Twitter about once a week and skimming. I guess I can get away with these things since I'm not part of an online community or circle of friends. Keeping up with everything is so tiring... I have no idea how the bloggers with kids do it!

Dysfunction Junction said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I've been cleaning out my reader (a little bit more every day).

I'm too hopelessly addicted to the Twitter to cut back.(and now I use it for work, so I'm FORCED to be there)

I really only follow/talk to people who talk back to me, which is selfish, but keeps me sane.

Poppy said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I'm right where you're at too though I haven't been kind enough to write a post to explain. There just isn't enough time and have a life too. You can't be everywhere all of the time!

Poppy said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I forgot the CONGRATULATIONS on your award. So deserved!

Brahm (alfred lives here) said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Congrats on your award, well deserved!

I think we all struggle with time mgmt in the twitter and blogger world, and your strategy makes sense to me!

alonewithcats said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Congrats, lady! I always knew you were a winner.

I found that I started to get overwhelmed by Twitter and returning comment love. As I acquired more readers and wanted to support them as a way of saying thanks, I had less and less time to write my own blog. It's ironic. I eventually realized that I have to put my own blog first, because it's my creative outlet. Now I rarely tweet and try to cut myself some slack when it comes to reading other people's blogs. But I have my must-reads, of course, yours being one of them.

Satan said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

i also read close to 15 billion blogs.
my usual MO is first, i don't have an RSS feed, so i go to them individually. some post all the time every day, some post once a month.
i have them sectioned off into how much they post.
then, i check whenever i bloody feel like it. i might not check for two weeks and then go back and read everything i missed.
i am not always on the interwebs every day, and that's also how i keep my sanity.

i think the thing is that people appreciate the read no matter what, and it doesn't matter when you do it. as long as you do!

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Nush- yes you are right. and thank you!

Skye- I have no idea either. I think you've got it right.

DJ- I do that too. I never follow new people that don't follow me either. it's weird.

Poppy- right? it's too much. and thanks!!

Brahm- thanks and thanks!

Jess- woman, you made my day. thank you and thank you!

Satan- some posts I just never get to. I think if I visit the blogs I love in some way on a somewhat regular basis, it will be ok.

lyd said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I read most of the blogs hat I read on my Ipod- sometimes it's hard to comment on there
Sometimes I just get distracted. For me getting comments is nice but it isnt everything-knowing that sometimes people come back is enough.

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

you're right. I just like knowing people read. and a "like" or a retweet is enough to make my day too.

Michele said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

First off, your header photo says you deserve that award, so yeah, congrats :)

Since starting to work full-time I suck at commenting and I have been skimming blogs. As I get more into a flow I hope to get back to it a bit more (my reader is out of control). I've barely been on twitter, but I took a step back prior to work because I felt like it was a sucking away my brain. Yes, it's a great way to meet people, but it can also be a waste of time. I assume I've lost some readers, but I know that the people that really like my blog will stick with me--whether that means I'm commenting less, or posting less. So long as I try to make sure the quality is still good, then it should be okay. Well, I should say, it's okay with me and that's what matters.

You do what you need to do Andy :) And I'm not just sayint that cause you read my blog. HA!

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

you're so wise, my friend. and you boost my ego. <3

Simone Says... said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

well done! and well deserved!

Love Ley said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I completely understand where you're coming from Andy! Between a new job, a primadonna preschooler, and the want for a life outside of my computer, some things just need to be sacrificed in order to save my sanity. I cleansed my google reader, and I think I'm down from about 400!!! to about sixty blogs. It wasn't easy, but honestly, I just couldn't keep up!

As for comments...sigh. I've always been terrible for commenting. I might read *every* post on a blog, and comment on a handful... I used to think that that made me a bad community member, but then I realized that people do the same for me. Each of my posts will generally receive 200+ reads, yet I have 19 "followers" and a handful of comments here and there.

I don't think its necessarily important to have *tons* of comments, as long as the readership is there...

I think?

Yuliya said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Congrats on the award! I've been contemplating turning off comments...on the one hand it seems like a great idea because then people can just read and not feel guilty for not commenting on the other hand I LOVE comments...probably because I'm such a narcissist ;)

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Simone- thank you!

Ley- you're right. it gets to be too much. what does matter is people read. :)

Yuliya- hah! that's a good idea, but I think I'm too much of a narcissist too. :)

Jules said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Congratulations on winning!!! You work hard on your blog and it shows! AND you've done a lot with your photography this year! I've watched..... Congrats!!

Amanda said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I read a LOT of blogs. It started because I wanted to network and get my blog out, and then afunny thinig happened -- I started caring so much about the bloggers that I commented all the time. Then I'm spending way too much time reading blogs, finding something witty to say, etc. But you know, only 1% of bloggers who read actually comment. That made me feel better, and especially when the bloggers are on Twitter, too. I can just tweet that I loved their article and not worry so much about the funniest/best comment ever. I also started reading the blogs that were tweeted and caught my eye. Anyway, all that saying, you're not the only one...I feel the same way!

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Jules- thanks so much, you! it means a lot! <3

Amanda- yes, you get me. and it is nice to know a lot of us feel the same way! :)

meleah rebeccah said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Hooooray! Congrats on winning Best Photo Blog! Very well deserved.

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

thanks so much!

Liz said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

First, I totally voted for you in every category you were up in! Congrats on the win!

Second, I think a lot of us are reaching a point where SOMETHING has to give with the commenting. So I hear ya. I, too, have done some reaer organization, and it feels good. :)

Love ya no matter!

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

oh Liz, how I love ya! thank you so so much! <3

Simon said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Congratulations, a little late I know but work has put a hold onto my blogging life lately. Anyway, you most definitely deserve it with the effort you put in.

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

thanks so much, Simon!

amydpp said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I don't always comment, I just can't. But I do try to read. I have all my blogs that I read going into Google Reader (ahem) so I can read new posts as they come out. I make sure to delete blogs as I lose interest or they stop posting. But not yours, NEVER yours, darling!

andygirl said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

same to you, m'dear, same to you! <3

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...