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?