Joy tagged me with the BlogRhet meme.
I will answer these in the interest of academic advancement. But. With a condition: someone must explain the genesis of the name "BlogRhet."
Okay, per the site, here are the rules for the BlogRhet meme post:
Your mission: Give one or more these questions a stab in a post (or series of posts), and then tag three more writers. If you don't mind, please link back to this original entry—we'd LOVE to track the progress of this meme with trackbacks.
I selected all of the questions because I like a challenge. Also, I believe that quantity equals quality.
Part A---Answers for:
1. Go back to first or early post. How would you describe your voice back in those early days? Who were you writing to? What was your sense of audience (if any) back then?
2. Do you remember when you received your first comment? What was it like?
This is good timing. My blog opened for business in May 2005, two years ago.
(Woo hoo Happy Anniversary to me!)
And I do mean business. If you read the first post, you'll see it is a marketing post. It introduces a business, not a person.
The second post features a product. Subsequent posts follow in that vein.
If you read my post about blogging for profit (When the blogosphere turns exclusionary and elitist, will you have a place?), you will distinctly see the irony here. (Pause---wait for guffaws to die down.)
I will be the Lone Ranger and say my blogging purpose and voice has DRAMATICALLY changed.
This is because I had no personal intent to start a blog. I was selling bits and pieces of my art and photography here and there. My husband discovered that the Internet was a fine way to market one's work, thus he set up the blog and wrote the first two posts to show me how to do it. He also handed me reams of paper to read about how to write a blog, and then showed me a special folder of bookmarks with more Internet and blog information. He's the King of Research and Knowledge, that man. (Seriously, he rocks. Sometimes? I feel a little sorry for other people, since I have the one and only Him.)
I tried to follow my husband's blogging rules; I did. But I am both a bad follower and a rule breaker.
Plus, I did not see his plan working. I was not overwhelmed by traffic (yes dear, I get it, I was doing it wrong) and my art and photography was not flying off the shelves.
I found instead that the Internet is a great place for people to steal your images and use them for freaking free (without even any damn credit) when they cost me a lot of money to produce.
My top Google searches remain people searching my art and images.
Do I see my PayPal account plumping? Not a bit.
Okay, so about month into it (I know...look at my impatience. One month! And I'm not in MOMA! It's a failure! Argh! Collapse into a comma, , , ,) I was bored and restless, plus had not had a single comment. I started to have a little bit more of a voice, but slogged on with selling.
Then I slipped in a gratuitous baby shot. Hmm, that was fun.
Two months in, I got a show locally of my art, so went MIA a bit preparing for that. Announcing that show garnered my first real (which is to say not a troll, trawl, or spam comment) comment. It was a fellow artist friend, from my writing group.
Ah yes, my writing group---the real outlet for my writing. Most of the participants created personal blogs. By August of 2005, the group decided to create blog topics. I can't remember who decided to do this. I keep attributing everything to the leaders, the lovely Roz of Fortune and Glory, OmegaMom, and Halushki. Roz was like the best blog project manager ever. She kept my blog rolling, while Jozet encouraged me on and on (especially with awards and stuff, man, that lady knows how to motivate), and Kate kept setting the bar higher and higher, especially figuring out the blogosphere.
I am such an Incidental Blogger, upon reflection.
By September 2005, I started really writing, writing for myself, and started getting regular comments. I was hooked.
I think the biggest topical motivator was hurricane season (Hurricanes Katrina and Rita) and writing about how they affected me personally. Describing our evacuation experience was wonderfully cathartic. I also found how amazing the Internet community can be---the real people behind it---as far as contributing aid to those in need.
It's a powerful medium, indeed.
I hit a sort of stride and voice by early 2006, a little more than six months into blogging. I still don't know that I can apply the term "consistent" to my blog, though.
My first award was for What scares me? Jokes and science experiments which was distinctly a mommyblog post. But I had already ranted about Homeland Security and the immigration issue. I'm sure I scared off some sweet mommyblog readers when after my funny post I segued into trashing passive activists. People must have wondered if my doctor was adjusting my med levels. ;) My husband told me if I wanted to be high traffic I needed to choose a niche and stick to it; my blog was unclassifiable and people didn't know what to make of it. Still, I kept alternating between mommy and social issues.
My mommy posts continued to be the most popular, though, and the penis one spiked traffic in a totally freaky way. It remains one of my most reddit'd, most searched, and so forth posts. I still get multiple hits daily on that one, and the porn star Barbie one.
Unclassifiable my blog may be, but it is consistent with who I am. :)
I believe in late 2006/early 2007 I quit worrying about which niche to put myself in, and just let it rip. I changed my motto, and interestingly, got some really cool readers and commenters then too. My social posts began edging out my mommy posts in popularity.
It's actually pretty interesting to review this.
Part B---Answers for:
3. Can you point to a stage where you began to feel that your blog might be part of a conversation? Where you might be part of a larger community of interacting writers?
4. Do you think that this sense of audience or community might have affected the way you began to write?
After I transitioned from bugging (my term for blogging for business) to blogging, I thought of my blog as a place to entertain people who know me. My friends, family, etc. all know about this blog. However, they tend to comment to me in person---if they really loved me they'd comment on my blog, and I know you are reading this! (Just kidding. You guys can keep calling me.)
So the initial community in my mind was...people I knew.
I had no idea about the bigger blogging world, really, until Jozet and Kate introduced me to it. I say this even though I had been reading a couple of what were then called online journals for a while, and even though my sister had been pestering me for years about some ladies named Amalah, Dooce, Melissa, etc., telling me how hilarious these blogs were and I ought to read one, and better yet, write one.
However, one year into blogging, when I got that award, suddenly all these strangers were at my blog. I had been waiting, yearning for them, and suddenly, here they were. I wrote back to them, and they replied! I visited where they came from, and lo and behold they had blogs, good ones! Suddenly I was reading blogs above and beyond my tiny blogroll from my writer's group.
That's about when I discovered the blogosphere community, for real, not just theory.
So I guess this is also my one year anniversary of my relationship with the blogosphere.
I do think it changed how I write. It motivated me to write more, to write bigger, and to keep challenging myself.
Great questions...interesting things to explore. I look forward to reading more, especially from:
Jozet of Halushki*
since they were so integral to the life of this blog, and all. :)
* Pending approval of said tagging...I will email.
P.S. I am slowly but surely replying to your comments and replies to my Adult Developmental Leap post below. Check in later if I haven't gotten to you yet. I have something to say to each of you beyond thanks. :)
copyright 2007 Julie Pippert
BlogRhet: The Blog on Blog Action Survey (And Yes. This is a Meme).