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I spend a fair amount of time reading other people’s blogs – what can I say, I’m a writer, and writers are nosey.    But sometimes, even though I start reading a post, I give up part of the way through.

 

I’m not talking about entries on subjects which aren’t my cup of tea. I’m talking about posts on things like writing; movies; TV, or some other random topic (even politics), which pulled me in with the title and/or opening lines, but lost me somewhere along the way.

 

For the last few weeks, whenever I gave up on a blog entry part way through, I took a minute to think about why that happened and made a note of my thoughts, so I can avoid doing those things on my own posts.

  

In no particular order, here are the most common reasons I stopped reading a post on a subject which would normally interest me, or skipped it entirely. I’ve also added the ‘lesson’ I’ve taken from each.

 

1. WHERE’S THE BEEF?

If an entry meandered along without clear purpose or direction, I lost interest fast.  

Lesson learned: Revise and rewrite before posting. Keep to the point. If an entry covers more than one subject, use sub-headers so people know what to expect.

 

2. NOT IN THE MOOD

Some days, I just wasn’t in the mood for anything deep or thought-provoking. That’s no fault of the blogger, but while I rarely go back to find a post like that, I’d probably follow a link to it, if it were referred to in another entry, later in the week.

Lesson learned: Don’t be afraid to refer to a previous post.

 

3. EVERYTHING’S UNDER THE CUT

For some reason, which I couldn’t explain, when all or most of an entry was hidden beneath the LJ-cut, I nearly always ignored that post and moved on.  

Lesson learned: If I ever get LJ-cut to work, make sure there’s plenty to read above it.

 

4. OLD NEWS

I enjoy reading about people’s experiences at things like WorldCon.   However, the longer the gap between the event and the individual’s blog entry, the less interest it sparked in me. Possibly because by then I’d already seen a lot of other people’s posts on it.

Lesson learned: If I plan to blog about my time at a big event, I should try to be among the first to do so.

 

5. FEELING IGNORED

While making my notes, I realized that one of the first things I think about when I see an LJ friend’s post, is my online relationship with him or her. 

 

I’m not talking about whether or not I’m on that person’s friends list, or how often he/she comments on my own posts, rather, how friendly are they when I comment on their journal? I discovered that the less responsive people had been to comments I’d made on their blogs, the more interesting their subject line had to be before I read their posts. 

 

Perhaps that says more about me than the people who ignore my comments, but I think it’s worth noting.

Lesson learned: Don’t take readers of my blog for granted

 

6. TWITTER ME NOT

I don’t know why, but like LJ-cut, if I see a post made up of tweets, I move on.

Lesson learned: Only use Twitter as a tool for pointing people to my blog/ website, or for making a big announcement.

 

7. I’M NOT AT HOME TO MR. RUDE

I don’t like rudeness, whether it’s directed at me or anyone else. Personal venting and political rants are one thing (though I’d rather have a sensible debate), but if a post descends into an unpleasant, spiteful, character attack on other people, it makes me uncomfortable – like you might feel if you were at a friend’s house and he screamed at his kids in front of you.   Not only do I move right along, but it puts me off reading anything else that person blogs about.

Lesson learned: Strong opinions are fine, but don’t get personal.

 

8. TOO SIMILAR TO PREVIOUS POSTS.

As someone who tries to post four times a week, I know it’s hard to find fresh ideas. That said, I noticed I had less interest in reading (say) WIP report-type posts if I felt like that’s all that person ever posted about.     

Lesson learned: Try to post on a variety of subjects.

 

9. POTTY MOUTH

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been known to use foul language, but I’m a delicate flower at heart, and swearwords seem to kick my eyes right off the page.

Lesson learned: If there’s a place for foul language, my journal isn’t it.

 

10. WE’RE NOT AS INTERESTING AS WE MIGHT THINK

This is another one of those cumulative things, but I realized while making my notes that I noticed if people only blogged about themselves and their work. Just as in the FEELING IGNORED observation, I found that once I’d formed that opinion about someone, his/her post had to be more interesting than others to gain/keep my attention.

Lesson learned: Just like in real life, it can’t be always about me, me, me.

 

11. BEING TOLD WHAT TO DO

It’s nothing personal, but I found that when a blogger tells me to ‘Go check it out’, or posts a two sentence topic line and says ‘Discuss’. It makes me not want to.

Lesson learned: Ask rather than tell. Invite opinion/discussion rather than demand it. As my old gran used to say, ‘There’s always room at the table for Mr. Manners.’

 

12. EVERYONE’S DIFFERENT

Of course, just because I don’t read a particular entry through to the end, doesn’t mean others stop reading too, and I’m in no way trying to tell anybody how they should use their journal. I just thought people might find my observations helpful.

 

Can you relate to any of the above, or is it just me?

 

What stops you reading a blog entry part way through?

 

 



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Comments

( 82 comments — Leave a comment )
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chant_1
Aug. 29th, 2009 01:29 pm (UTC)
I can assure you that I read this one to the end, making notes along the way. What the hey, I may just add it to memories, because it's a good one! I've thought about this before, but never taken the time to actually qualify why my eyes sometimes glaze over, so thanks for doing this!

Funny thing about LJ cut: I often won't follow the cut either, but nothing gets my goat like an exceedingly L-O-N-G post that isn't cut. Like they're taking up my valuable friend real-estate or something!! And, TBH, I often don't read really long posts. I've never stopped to consider word count but sometimes enough is enough.
jongibbs
Aug. 29th, 2009 01:34 pm (UTC)
I know what you mean about a post being too long. This one is under a thousand words (I trimmed it down from about 1,200) hence the lack of smileys ;)

I've never been able to get LJ-Cut to work which is a shame because, though I don't think I'd use it too often, I could have done with it today.

Thanks for sharing :)
clarionj
Aug. 29th, 2009 01:48 pm (UTC)
As chant_1 said, I had no problem reading till the end on this post because it's instructive and, so, valuable. I do, however, often skim long posts--finding gems hidden in the meandering prose, gems which if the post had been revised might not have gotten lost to a reader who'd given up. So, editing is helpful if you're serious about being read widely. And, like you, unless I'm invested in a person or a topic, I rarely read under the lj cut.

That said, I use lj cut a lot because I don't want the majority of readers reading what's there. I want them to move on. My blogging, at the moment, is supposed to be somewhat private ... when I sell a novel, I'll have to change all that :) (I can't explain it all here.) Also, I don't edit the posts which are just me journaling rather than a post I do on topics like writing or a writer or a promo, etc. because, again, I'm not anticipating general readers.

After reading what you've written here, I think what I should have are two separate journals--one personal and one more professional. I'd approach each in an entirely different way. Thanks. Very useful information.
jongibbs
Aug. 29th, 2009 01:55 pm (UTC)
Excellent point on the LJ-cut thing.

I'll feel bad if I've in any way come across as trying to tell anyone how to use their journal, I just thought people might find the results of my miniature study interesting or helpful.

Thanks for the input :)
(no subject) - clarionj - Aug. 29th, 2009 02:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Aug. 29th, 2009 02:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
brian_ohio
Aug. 29th, 2009 02:24 pm (UTC)
Great Question! But I didn't get passed the Entry's Title. I bet it was a good post.
jongibbs
Aug. 29th, 2009 02:25 pm (UTC)
:P
(no subject) - bogwitch64 - Aug. 30th, 2009 04:43 am (UTC) - Expand
peadarog
Aug. 29th, 2009 02:41 pm (UTC)
Lesson learned: Revise and rewrite before posting. Keep to the point. If an entry covers more than one subject, use sub-headers so people know what to expect.

Or, at least any meanderings should be interesting...
jongibbs
Aug. 29th, 2009 02:43 pm (UTC)
Lol, good point. I used to love Ronnie Corbett's deckchair chinwag section of The Two Ronnies :)
(no subject) - peadarog - Aug. 29th, 2009 02:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - eneit - Aug. 29th, 2009 03:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
mmerriam
Aug. 29th, 2009 02:47 pm (UTC)
Six, Seven, Nine, and Ten are killers for me. I'll stop reading a blog entry in a heartbeat. My eyes slide right past those twitter posts, and too much potty mouth is a big turn off for me.

I admit to at times being guilty of some of these as well, especially One, Four, Five, and Ten.

I've been considering what I want to do with my LiveJournal from here out, so this was a wonderful and timely post.
jongibbs
Aug. 29th, 2009 02:59 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the input. I'm glad you found it useful :)

reneesweet
Aug. 29th, 2009 02:50 pm (UTC)
I definitely agree with some of these. Twitter posts drive me insane, for example (that's why Twitter exists!!).

I'm a fan of the LJ cut if it's properly intro'd. Tell me what's under the cut, why I should click or skip. I'm often making difficult choices on how to spend my time and I like it when people are thoughtful enough to keep long posts, picspam, etc. under a cut to make it easier for me to skim my f-list on days when my LJ time is short. OTOH, I also like to know when there might be something of interest beneath the cut.

I'm surprised my potty mouth hasn't scared you off yet. :P

ETA: Forgot to add--I have the same reaction about commenting. I try to respond to all commenters on my posts b/c I appreciate the time ppl take to acknowledge what I've written and share their thoughts and encouragement with me. I appreciate the same courtesy in return, though I make allowances for ppl who are very busy, etc. I don't care for ppl who selectively respond to commenters and more often than not I don't take the time to comment or, often, read their entries.

Edited at 2009-08-29 02:52 pm (UTC)
jongibbs
Aug. 29th, 2009 04:49 pm (UTC)
I can't imagine you'd ever swear.

Re: commenting, I can understand not responding if you're Stephen King and have a gazillion comments on every journal entry, but until I reach those giddy heights of success, I plan to respond to everyone who comments - even that brian_ohio bloke ;)

Thanks for the input :)
ailsa_cf
Aug. 29th, 2009 03:03 pm (UTC)
I'm the same about twitter - if a post starts 'My Daily Tweets' then I'll skip over it. I've never read anyones twitter posts. Ever.

I think if I'm using an lj cut in a post, I'll put an introduction/explanation above the cut, but I'll have to make sure in future. I don't like leaving huge long posts un-cut, because I hate it when someone on my f-list does that.
jongibbs
Aug. 29th, 2009 03:12 pm (UTC)
Re: LJ-cut

In that case, I apologize for some of my more lengthy posts - including today's. A couple of months ago, I spent several hours trying to get LJ-cut to work, I did everything the help file says, but it won't take. I've tried since then (including today), without success. I'm not the only one who has trouble with it :(

Thanks for the input :)
(no subject) - smeddley - Aug. 29th, 2009 03:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Aug. 29th, 2009 04:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - smeddley - Aug. 29th, 2009 04:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Aug. 29th, 2009 05:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kunzelman - Aug. 29th, 2009 07:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Aug. 29th, 2009 09:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ailsa_cf - Sep. 1st, 2009 09:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
ex_naomi_ja
Aug. 29th, 2009 03:15 pm (UTC)
Oh dear, I'm very guilty of #6! I quite like reading people's tweets. They're often so random and out of context, which I love.
And probably #9. For some reason, I turn a bit foul-mouthed every now and then...

I can definitely relate to some of the points. I'm not interested in children, knitting, or cars, so posts that wax lyrical about those things will have me skipping. Long, unbroken blocks of text lose me as well.
jongibbs
Aug. 29th, 2009 05:03 pm (UTC)
Thanks for sharing :)

Like I said, I'm not trying to suggest how other people should run their journal, and now I know not to post those pictures of that car I knitted for my kids last week :)
(no subject) - ex_naomi_ja - Aug. 30th, 2009 11:03 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Aug. 30th, 2009 11:09 am (UTC) - Expand
eneit
Aug. 29th, 2009 03:23 pm (UTC)
5. I'm, lucky enough to not experience this much, but that most people who add me as a friend already know me from elsewhere, so they are already people I care about in someway or another. *g* And I am guilty of occasionally missing replying to people on my blog, like this last week, does having had a concussion count for not replying?

6. Oh most defintely. I loathe tweet posts. My life is confused enough without twitter.

7. Mr Rude I often ignore, but the one that really gets my goat up is people who post snide or nasty comments as anonymous. I only had one prson do that to disable anon comments on my lj.
jongibbs
Aug. 29th, 2009 05:14 pm (UTC)
I don't think you ignore people. Besides, the kind of bloggers I mean are the ones who almost never respond.

I've been lucky (so far). I haven't had any unpleasant anonymous comments. Besides, my old gran doesn't have access to a computer ;)
(no subject) - eneit - Aug. 29th, 2009 10:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Aug. 29th, 2009 10:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - eneit - Aug. 29th, 2009 10:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
cathschaffstump
Aug. 29th, 2009 03:37 pm (UTC)
What makes me not read?

Here's my entry...about my other entry...which consists of 140 characters are less...

Catherine
jongibbs
Aug. 29th, 2009 05:14 pm (UTC)
Hehe :)
smeddley
Aug. 29th, 2009 03:51 pm (UTC)
1. I'm okay with meandering posts, as long as the meandering is witty and/or funny. But perhaps that's because my mind is very easy to sidetrack and I think that way?

2. I agree with this one - sometimes I just can't get into anything too deep or, even occasionally, story posts, because it's just not the right time. However, I file them away in my mind and sometimes go back later when I have an issue with #5...

3. I don't mind cuts, I actually like them. As long as there is a paragraph or a picture above to explain what's under it. It helps A LOT with the aforementioned 'scrolling back'. I use them all the time, because I post large-ish pictures and when I do post writing (NaNo and whatnot) very long story posts. I do not feel like I'm important enough to take up that much space on my friend's f-pages. I will, however, always give a good idea of what's under the cut (like the smaller picture in the recent crocheted animal posts - people who don't care about crafts can see enough to move on!

4. I never know when things are, so it doesn't bother me to read old news. Sometimes it's the only time I get news! Plus, most of my friends have very different interests, so I don't normally hear about things more than.. maybe twice?

5. I admit I sometimes fall into the 'but you never comment on my posts' self-pity. And then, sometimes I realize that while I've been reading (on my phone mostly) I haven't commented much (because typing on that keyboard is hard and time-consuming) so I'll go back on a weekend and leave loads of comments on things I remember.

6. I'm Twitter friends with everyone who post their Tweets to LJ, so I ignore these because I've already read them. I wouldn't say they bother me, because as a member of a lot of communities there are tons of posts that don't interest me, and I just scroll past.

7. Rants are tricky. There are two kinds of rants I don't mind - the first being humorous (I know I've screamed about AutoCAD in my journal more than once, but I do at least try to make it somewhat funny) and the other is when I person is in a really bad situation and just needs to let it out. That might be less of a rant, but I don't know what you'd call it. Especially if they're more depressed than angry, I don't mind being a listening ear (or a virtual shoulder to cry on).

8. I don't really have any thoughts on this (gasp!). I think most of the people I know are varied enough, or if they do only post about one sort of thing, it's something I enjoy enough to not mind (I would friend someone who only talks about books, crafts, or cooking, because I enjoy those things enough to read about them all the time).

9. Swearing doesn't bother me, though I don't think I do it that often. Unless you count 'crap' as a swear word (some people do).

10. I don't mind if someone uses their journal to just talk about their lives, in a way, it makes me feel like I really know them. Like you're talking to an old friend and catching up. In a lot of ways, those are my favorite entries (as long as I like the person, of course!) because I feel like they're really letting me into their life. And maybe it's just because I have a lot of friends that are living more exciting lives (traveling and whatnot) that I want to live vicariously through them!

11. I agree here - the phrasing can make a difference!

I stop reading if:

1. My boss walks by and I have to put away my phone... ;)
2. I lose interest to a point my eyes glaze over.
3. The spelling and grammar are too bad to ignore.

That's about it. But then, I am a truly voracious reader and I read just about everything. Billboards, posters, signs, cereal boxes, shopping lists people leave in the cart... I've even read the back of my shampoo bottle... more than once!
jongibbs
Aug. 29th, 2009 05:37 pm (UTC)
Wow!

If there was a Puddle for the most considered response to a blog entry, you'd be a shoe-in for the win :)

#3. I definitely need to resolve my LJ-cut problem.

#5. It's not so much that I'm offended at being ignored, it's more of a 'Why bother to comment if the other person probably won't answer' thing.

#6. I've no strong opinions either way with Tweets, I just don't read them myself.

#7. To me, there's a difference between venting about a serious personal issue (fine, and possibly healthy), ranting about a computer breakdown sort of issue (understandable, I can relate), and spewing venomous bile at those on the other side of the political/sexual/religious fence(definitely a turn off for me).

#8. I guess my question would be, "What if they always seemed to talk about the same book, the same piece of knitting, or the same meal?"

#9 When I think of swearing, I think of the 'f' and 'c' words :(

Lastly, you've got me curious about that shampoo bottle. As you can imagine, I don't see them very often ;)

Thanks for taking the time to give such great feedback :)
(no subject) - smeddley - Aug. 30th, 2009 06:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
jongibbs
Aug. 29th, 2009 05:40 pm (UTC)
Ooh, I hadn't thought about book (and tv/movie) review posts. Spoiler warnings are a must for those.

The most important thing I've learned from the comments on this post is that I need to get LJ-cut to work.

Thanks for the input :)
mongrelheart
Aug. 29th, 2009 05:26 pm (UTC)
I can definitely relate to #1, #3 and #6. I feel like I just don't have time to read long meandering blog entries. Of course, I do sometimes make long meandering blog entries myself--but I don't really expect people to read them. They're more for myself hehe.

I often find myself skipping entries in which everything's under the cut. If there's not something there to make me interested enough to click the cut, I'll just move on. I don't really mind long entries not being under cuts, as long as the entry is interesting--unless the entry is superduper long, like a couple of screenfuls, and then I'll start getting cranky.

Oh yeah and the people who make posts full of Twitter tweets? I have no idea why they do that, and have even less of an interest in reading.

Your posts always cause me to sit up and pay attention, not only because they're all interesting, but also because you format them well, and use white space and headers, which make things much easier to read :)
jongibbs
Aug. 29th, 2009 05:44 pm (UTC)
I think the trick with the cut is to give enough info above it, so that the reader can make an informed decision about whether or not to read the whole thing.

Thanks for the input, and the kind words :)
maryjdal
Aug. 29th, 2009 06:37 pm (UTC)
I enjoy posts like this, and also your Friday posts very much. very informative.
I also don't understand the lure of twitter.
What stops me from reading to the end is usually #8. Which is also something I am guilty of.
Lesson learned: Try to post on a variety of subjects. :)
jongibbs
Aug. 29th, 2009 06:57 pm (UTC)
You and me both :)

I have a feeling it will turn out to have been one thing to figure out the above mistakes and quite another for me to avoid making them :(
madali
Aug. 29th, 2009 07:38 pm (UTC)
Im kinda like you, I'm not fond of cuts. I figure if my LJ Friends don't want me filling up their Friend page, then they could always remove me. At the same token, I'd rather they not put it under a cut, I've added them because I think they add a value to my Friend page. This isn't Facebook, I have no obligations to any user.

jongibbs
Aug. 29th, 2009 10:06 pm (UTC)
I've never really looked into Facebook. What do you mean by obligations? Is there some kind of space limit on the friends page there?
(no subject) - madali - Aug. 29th, 2009 10:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Aug. 29th, 2009 10:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Things What I Wrote and Other Stuff

No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there


No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there















 











THE MEAGER PUDDLE OF LIMELIGHT AWARDS


Books by my writer friends - compressed

NJ Writing groups - compressed

NJ writing conference - compressed

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