Saturday, November 24, 2007

meme mia- my answers

First, I challenge, or beg, anyone, any serious blogger, to copy any or all of the below questions, answer any part of them, and then let me know when you do. The easiest to copy are in the next post down; they originally appeared in my personal blog, and in this post, I'm answering them myself. Your answering them will help me sort out some questions in my own head about the art of blogging, but answering them myself will also help me. In fact, even the extended conversation I had with my daughter before I even started, helped me quite a bit.

1. Do you find that blogging tends to make you frame your life experiences in the same way that carrying a camera tends to make you frame the things you see- it makes you look at everything, and say, I wonder if I could blog about that?

Yes. I think this is something that all artists experience in any medium. You apply your life to that medium, in your mind, as you live. It used to bother me much more when I was an active photographer, than it does now, because I felt that I was actually seeing things in boxes, as opposed to experiencing life, whereas now, I just feel like a distinct and pleasurable segment of my life-processing mechanisms entertains the possibility of writing about everything I experience. Is that good? Good question. By the way I commend anyone who is actively involved in the art of packaging their life for public consumption. People will call you indulgent, or any number of other names, but I commend you.

2. Do you engineer your posts in any way to attract more audience? If so, how? Do you include words that will attract search engines? Do you write posts about hot, frequently-searched public persona?

No. And it wasn't so much principle, as it was, I wrote in order to get my own thoughts organized, in order to improve my own writing, and to bend it in those ways seemed to change it and compromise it, so I didn't. But I think about it. Actually, I don't know famous people, so I don't really have that option- and, it would definitely take time I don't have, to learn who they were well enough to do any good.

3. Do you check who has come to visit you? Do you notice what words they used to search and find you? Do you notice how long they actually spent on your site? Do you take the words they used, and use them again, or keep using them?

Now this one is on my mind a lot. Yes, I check. Yes, I notice. No, up to now, I haven't cared very much whether they just click through, or whether they read it. On this blog, I get a lot of return visitors from an obscure post long ago about words that begin with vowels. Why? Because people search for them, I guess. So now I'm thinking, what else can I say about these words? Maybe I should make a list of these words? Maybe I should dredge my reservoir of linguistic knowledge to say something else meaningful...? So far I've resisted the temptation. But why? I want more visitors, right? But I want them to read it also, right? Should I be concerned about the quality of traffic, the kind of visitor?

4. You know how important pictures are when you open up a site. Do you choose your pictures in order to hold visitors, or do you just put in there whatever you can? Do you look for free pictures, take them yourself, or shamelessly steal them from Google Images like everyone else?

Oh yes, I wrote the question- there is no underestimating the power of the pix. I mostly take the high road here, though I sure would like to jump in there with anything I could find. I'm actually more concerned that by putting images out there, and labelling them as what they are (it being a free country, I could call them whatever I want)- I'm basically contributing my personal images to the world's supply of free throwaway image. And the better I crop, manage and label, the more they'll be out there.

5. Do you feel bad about bumping people from your blogroll? How important is a template to you when you visit blogs? Do you really admire people who list thousands of blogs over there, or would you rather see someone who just has maybe ten or twelve best friends and relatives?

Yes, I feel bad. I feel that at any given time, somebody could be passing through your blog simply because they can get to another blog, however lonely or obscure, through yours. I never really saw it as reciprocating, although I have that kind of deal with students and others, sometimes just a personal thing. But others, I put on there, if I myself want to visit. And that's my only criterion. Then, they tend to stay there forever.

6. Do you really visit all those blogs you list under "daily reads" or "blogs i visit?" Do you read them? This seems like a herculean task. How much time can a person invest in being in the citizen's media, a regular?

I love going out strolling in the blogosphere. But I no longer have time. I barely read our daily newspaper; I barely keep up with my own field. So I'm looking at these blogrolls more as a nuisance now, like a garden that I don't have time to weed. And I"m especially irked that commercial interests buy old sites according to their links- buy them at warehouse prices, put junk on them, and leave you with a link to "commerce alley," or worse, to whatever they put there.

7. Has blogging changed your writing? Your perspective? Your alliances? Your likes/dislikes? Your politics? How has it affected the way you see things?

writing- yes. perspective- yes. alliances- yes. likes/dislikes- maybe only slightly. politics- I doubt it. I feel like a media practitioner- more likely to wait, describe, present, less likely to judge. The forces that reshape the media are much larger than any one of us- but I could write a paragraph about any of these- or an essay, and would love to do so. But now it's late, sleep is precious, and I'm going to avail myself of it.

Thanks for your time. I look forward to your answers, if you choose to share them.

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