Question Time! Part Two: The Blogging Life

I offered a bonus entry in my Blogiversary Giveaway to anyone who asked me a question (I will be announcing the winners tomorrow!). Last week I took on a variety of queries; this post primarily but not exclusively includes the ones specific to the blogging life.

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Sheila from Book Journey asks:

“5 years… what things have changed since you started blogging?  Community?  Your own style of posting?”

My reflections on the five-year milestone are the long-winded answer to this question, but in response to the items Sheila singles out:

I didn’t really have a community when I started, and it took quite a while to build one. And that community shifts over time–not everyone sticks around, for various reasons, and new ones enter the fold. And I find that the ones I feel closest to are the ones that I’ve gotten to know beyond our blogs. And as for my style of posting, I’d definitely say my book reviews have improved! But I don’t post as much general-interest commentary as I once did, and I’d like to get back to it.

Deb at Readerbuzz wants to know:

What has kept you going for five years?

For five years, let’s say five things:

  • Comments–feedback and conversation are good to have, and I’ve been very fortunate that the trolls rarely show up here
  • Community
  • Discovering new books–see the current population of TBR Purgatory
  • A sense of accomplishment–this blog has opened doors for me, and I think it’s improved both my writing and my critical-thinking skills
  • Still having things to talk about!

Jill from Rhapsody in Books has a question that surprised me a little, but ties into that “community” thing a little:

How much time do you spend on BlogHer versus the rest of the blogisphere?

Probably not as much time as you’d think, or as much as I’d like to! I’m glad to be part of their blog network, and I participate in their book clubs and review programs when I’m interested. I’ve been thrilled every time they’ve syndicated one of my posts (it’s happened twice). And I think it’s an outstanding source for commentary and content curation: posts from BlogHer have their own folder in my feed reader. I don’t always read them all, but I do skim them daily and nearly always find good reads. (But if they’d give me a job, I’d be glad to spend even more time there!)

Kathy (BermudaOnion) asks:

What is the one thing you wished you’d done differently when you started your blog?

It’s not something I thought of at the time, but in hindsight, I should have looked at WordPress before I jumped into setting up on Blogger. I suspect I would have used Blogger anyway–it’s so tied into my Google life, I don’t really want to self-host, and it’s still free–but  I should have researched a little more.

From Jessica at Quirky Bookworm:

Are there any specific blogging things you used to do that you don’t anymore? (Themed posts, memes, series, etc…)

Some of the memes I used to do, like Ten on Tuesday, seem to have gone away; I’ve dropped out of others, like Booking Through Thursday. I didn’t deliberately stop doing my Week-End Review link roundup, but since I’ve shifted to sharing links on Twitter and Facebook as I come across them, the link-out post started to feel redundant and too much like work. I also suspect that it probably sends less traffic to the posts I link to than the social-media sharing does. Having said that, I’d love to have anyone who misses the links posts “like” The 3 R’s Blog‘s Facebook page, because I send a lot of them there!

Sarah from MomsLA has this question:

What’s the best thing about being a blogger?

I can think of two, but they’re related: it’s opened a lot of doors to opportunities and introduced me to so many amazing people I doubt I’d have encountered any other way!

Hannah (Word Lily) wonders:

What, if anything, do you plan/hope to do differently in year 6 of blogging?

I want to put less pressure on myself to blog “often,” which for me means 4 or more posts per week. This was also a goal moving from year 4 to year 5, and it looks like I’m getting there–304 posts in 2010 vs. 239 in 2011. Some weeks I’ll have more content than others, and I may do NaBloPoMo once more this year, but I’m still working on feeling like it’s OK to post just two or three times in a week.

I’d also like to do more general writing and less blogging about blogging, and I want to make more time for blog reading. I tend to keep up with the “professional” blogs in various niches that update multiple times per day, but that’s been at the expense of the individual blogs–blogs like my own–by the people I consider my community, and I need to fix this.

And Melissa (The Betty and Book Chronicles) has a rather challenging query:

As someone who has seen a lot of changes in the book blogging community in the past 5 years, what are your predictions for the NEXT 5 years of book blogging?

I don’t know if I’d have predicted even half the things I’ve seen in the past 5 years of book blogging, so don’t put down money on any of these “predictions”! Having said that, I think any or all of these things could happen:

  • More population growth: some bloggers will close their sites or just drift away, but there will be more than enough entering the sphere to fill the gaps
  • More fragmentation: This is a conversation that’s been going on for at least a year now, but I don’t think it makes sense to think of a single “book-blogger community” any more–it’s too overwhelming. I see more sub-communities forming among bloggers with similar aims and interests, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing as long as there’s peaceful coexistence.
  • Factions: This is what does concern me about fragmentation–marginalizing sub-communities because of their different interests. Book bloggers are gaining influence and attention within the publishing industry…and that’s turning out to be a mixed blessing. The BEA Bloggers Conference/Book Blog UnCon face-off is one current example of the differences in perspectives and goals. I think both sides have good points…and I’m somewhere in the middle. I really don’t want to have to take sides, and I hope I’m not the only one who feels that way.

I’d like to throw that last question to the crowd--what are some of YOUR predictions for the next 5 years of book blogging?

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