I don’t think I’m doing this blogging thing right. First of all, I’m in no danger of dying from blogging, which is what sort of happened to a couple of prominent bloggers I’ve never heard of. No anxiety or lost sleep if I don’t post. Also, I don’t have anything to sell you or a cause for you to join. I don’t have a mission to preach or an agenda for change. I know that there are some readers out there and I hope you’re occasionally pleased, but except for my journal this is probably the space where I pay the least attention to audience in the sense of trying to attract readers or please editors. The audience I think most about here is me, and the kind of library writing I’d like to read. And I sure don’t make any money from it. In fact, since the blog is hosted on the university blog service, I don’t think I’m even allowed to make money with it. I don’t even promote myself as a potential consultant or speaker or anything.
So just from that I figure I’m not much of a blogger, and then I ran across some blog post with 10 questions every blogger should ask, and I hardly ask any of them.
For example, there’s question #1: “How quickly can my readers understand what my post is about?”
Probably not very quickly, and I’m assuming this isn’t a good thing. Sometimes I finish writing a post, and I’m not quite sure what my post is about. “Libraries” is about the best I can do, except when it’s not.
“2. Does my blog offer something novel or unexpected?”
That’s a tough one. I guess it depends on what you expect. If you expect something concise and topical like Library Stuff, then no. Nothing on the blog seems novel to me, so it’s hard to answer. This is just stuff I think about.
“3. How helpful is my content?”
What am I supposed to help you do? Reflect? Sometimes I might help with that, I guess. Certainly nothing practical. That’s always been my problem as a library writer. Definitely not practical enough for a very practical profession.
“4. Why should my readers trust me?”
I guess “because I say so” doesn’t work well as an answer. Because I can write coherent paragraphs? Because I work in a library? Do I care if you trust me? After all, I’m not trying to sell you insurance or anything.
“5. Does my content speak to people on a human level?”
Something tells me the answer to this question is “no,” especially since the writer interprets “human” as “emotional.” I think if you read all the posts, you’d get some idea of my personality, but I don’t push it, probably because I don’t have much of a personality. Sometimes I talk about myself, but usually not, and rarely about my emotions. If I start going on about my emotions, you’ll know the breakdown is eminent.
“6. Is my post easy to read and scroll through?”
Well, the writing’s pretty clear, if that’s what you mean, at least I think it is. It’s grammatical, and that’s something these days. I don’t know about being easy to scroll through. That probably depends more on your browser than my blog.
“7. Does my content cover what needs to be discussed or answered?”
Probably not, because hardly anything I write about really needs to be discussed or answered.
“8. Am I revealing enough information about my topic?”
I probably reveal too much information about my topic.
“9. Am I fulfilling my readers’ expectations?”
I’m not sure if my readers, such that they are, even have expectations, so I don’t know. This is bad, isn’t it.
“10. Am I reaching out for support?”
Not really, but I’ve always been something of a loner. The exposition continues, “Writing content with their interests in mind, as well as the interests of your readers, can help boost your blogging authority if said experts find your articles useful.” I doubt I have much of a blogging authority, though I suppose I’m sort of an authority about something library-related, but probably not any more so than most of my readers, who are, after all, librarians.
“You should always have an active interest in the social networking community and be willing to express it in your posts – either by explicitly mentioning other blogging/bookmarking talents or by editing your content so that it is more bookmark friendly.” I don’t do much of that, either, do I, and I’m not sure I could because I cringe when “talent” is used as a noun to describe a person. I always think of the line from Groundhog Day: “Did he just call himself ‘the talent’?” I don’t even link out to other blogs very often, even though I follow a lot of them. It’s nothing personal. I’m just not seeking “link love” or whatever it’s called.
I definitely don’t have an active interest in the social networking community. I ran across the blog post above via Walt at Random and the AL Direct, which apparently thought it worth reading for library bloggers. That’s about the best I can do to link out to the “blogging talent.”
Also, I don’t even understand the “bookmark friendly” advice, so I know I’m not doing it right. I use Google bookmarks, and I can bookmark anything on the web, which doesn’t require any special skills as far as I can tell. Is there something besides having each post as a separate url that makes it any easier to bookmark? I don’t know, and the sad thing for my professional blogging career is that I don’t really care.