I follow a ridiculously huge (and constantly increasing) number of blogs. I use Google Reader to manage this addiction and divide my reading list into three categories: writing and blogging; weight loss, health and fitness; and other blogs I like.
I suspect I spend as much time reading blogs as I do writing my own posts. This can be quite stressful as it means I need to allocate A LOT of time to blog-reading (and commenting) each and every day. In addition, because I’m such a control freak / perfectionist, I get even more angsty when I don’t get all unread blog posts cleared in a day. (Note that I used to be – and sometimes still am – the same in the workplace. I’d get all of my emails actioned and be about to leave for the day and another email or two would pop up. And I’d grapple with the ‘do-I-leave-it-for-tomorrow?’ argument versus my guilt over leaving things un-actioned. And… yes, I do realise the idiocy of this as one DOES have to draw the line somewhere!)
I keep vowing I’ll cut down on my blog-reading and indeed, I’m starting to not-comment as much… if I can’t relate to the post (which is the case with a lot of kid-related topics) or if I don’t really have a relationship with the blogger in question, I’m more prone to just read and delete.
Time is limited so; while there are some bloggers on whose posts I will comment NO MATTER WHAT, others I will respond to only if I really have something to say. And then of course I simply ‘lurk’ around other blogs, poised to comment when the time’s right.
Overall I decide which blogs I’ll add to Google Reader based on a number of factors, but – obviously – it’s predominantly about the writing and content!
I cannot recall where (cos I read and comment on so many bloody blogs!!!!) but I recently had a blog comment exchange with someone about the type of blogs I prefer to read. This is something I’ve been mulling over because I’m wondering a bit about my own blogging future and the types of posts I should be / could be / am writing.
When it comes to health and fitness / weight loss blogs, I must confess that those I least like are those which involve a detailed race recap or training summary featuring kilograms or pounds lifted, numbers of sets and times per kilometre. Etcetera. I can understand that time trials and acknowledging increased weights’ lifted is important to many, but the figures mean nothing to me and – as a result – my care factor is minimal. In fact, I could not honestly tell you the weight I lift in my Pump Class; rather I just know what weights (in terms of size) I put on the bar. (Usually the two middle-sized ones, except for triceps! See, I bet you’re jealous of the level of technical knowledge I possess, the attention I pay to my workouts, and my commitment to fitness supremacy!)
I suspect some of my antipathy towards these posts is because I can’t relate to them on a couple of levels: in addition to my inability to understand WHAT they are talking about; they’re also usually written by people who are completely on top of their exercise, eating, weight loss and health. They’re often ‘done’ with their journey and sometimes cannot relate to those of us who care little about what we benchpress or training for half-marathons. They often cannot understand how some of us cannot lift ourselves off the sofa to get to the gym, or turn down a block piece of chocolate in favour of fruit.
Now, obviously I’m being glib but I don’t mean to ‘diss’ those bloggers or bloggers who write those posts occasionally (and I do follow many of them in a lurker-like way) -because I know that A LOT of readers ARE interested in that level of detail. Just not me. At this point in time.
While I’m on a roll… I’m not overly big on recipe / ‘what I’ve eaten’ blogs either, although I love seeing the beautiful pictures that others post of their meals and I get cooking-envy when I look at their masterpieces as I am far too lazy to try something new. But again… it’s a relatability thing for me. Even though I might bookmark a post thinking I ‘could’ indeed cook that myself, it’s a bit like the mountain of recipes I’ve cut out of magazines, now in overflowing boxes which never see the light of day!
So, now that I’ve offended a number of bloggers and been overly opinionated; what do I (most) like to read you ask?
I’ve realised that, when it comes to health and fitness blogs, I like to read posts which have a personal element. I don’t expect this in posts about writing or blogging, as I’m happy for them to be educational or technical; but it’s important for me – as a weight loss / health and fitness aspiring blogger and industry amateur – to be able to connect with what I’m reading.
I follow bloggers from around the globe and it’s amazing how much I can relate to SO MANY of their posts. It makes the world seem a smaller and more comforting place. I love getting a sense of who the blogger is – beyond their online presence. Some of the bloggers I enjoy reading write incredibly well. Some write posts which haunt me for days. Then there are the posts that motivate me. And others that make me smile (or cringe) and nod knowingly.
I’ve been grappling with the ‘why do I blog?’ question of late. In short, I blog because I love writing. I happen to blog about dieting and weight loss etc at the moment because that’s central to where I’m at in my life. But it’s hard, as a blogger, not to get bogged down in numbers of hits and site visits, wondering why I don’t get offered sponsored posts or advertising opportunities. And I find myself angsting about the lack of comments or the perceived level of disinterest in certain types of posts.
As I’ve been writing this it’s occurred to me that perhaps what interests me as a reader is also what inspires me as a writer. Hmmm…. more food for thought.
What sort of blogs or blog posts do you like to read?
If you’re a blogger, do you ponder on your style or your voice?