Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Blogs and Bloggers

Thought Number One:  Blog, Blog, Blog

Have you noticed the proliferation of the use of the word "blog", lately?  Whether you write a blog, read blogs or just have had your ears bombarded hourly by the word blog...there seems to be a substantial increase in the use of the term. What started off as a means for people to create a weblog has become a huge presence that straddles the lines of  various categories such as social networking, journalism, e-commerce,  and news.

Recently, I  have noticed that just about every TV show, has worked a blogger or blog  into it's story line. Even the commercials are using "blogging" as a theme.  What is interesting about some of the stories/series/commercials is that the writers clearly has no knowledge of  what a real blog does or doesn't do.

Example Number One

On the Big C, a Showtime series, one of the main characters, Paul, starts a blog after a "near death" experience.  He thinks he needs to share his story with the world as he has survived a heart attack and has come back from the dead. So he starts a blog and clues his readers into the fact that his wife, Kathy, had an affair. How she made it into the blog, they don't say...perhaps Paul is blaming her for his stress..dunno. Cut to the next scene: Now the whole town, including her employer, the public school system, is aware of her indiscretions.

And if that wasn't enough, a (supposedly) famous motivational speaker named Joy (played by Susan Sarandon) is so taken by his skill as storyteller because of his excellent writing abilities evidenced by his blog,  she has asked him to tour with her.  She assures him that he is soon to be rich and famous.

Example Number Two

On Revenge there has been a murder that is being blamed on the good looking rich kid, Daniel Grayson. The plot line of Revenge is so convoluted and complex, I wouldn't be able to catch you up in less that 1000 posts but in the nutshell, the family persuades a semi-famous writer to start a blog casting doubt on Daniel's guilt and hinting that a girl that was in the area at the time of the murder, Amanda Clark is the dirty deed doer.  So now this blog is going crazy with followers and everyone is trying to find clues to who really committed the murder. AND the semi-famous writer guy is now a key witness for the defense because surely he is an expert on the case...he did, after all, start a blog. 

Another aspect to this story line was the fact that the Graysons  hired an assistant to create the web site as the hapless writer said he didn't know how to start a blog.  OK, maybe...but then the assistant started talking about some techy mumbo jumbo that was lost on me...of the things she would have to do to get a blog launched.

Thought Number Two...Starting a Blog Isn't the Hard Part

The writer guy maybe didn't know how to start a blog but unless he isn't capable of using Google and doesn't  have the intelligence of a grade schooler, he should be able to figure out how to start one.    Keeping it working properly and writing regularly is another matter. But...my point is STARTING a blog isn't a two man job.

While no one can really calculate the number of blogs currently active, most sources believe there are more than 100 million of them.  It just can't be all that difficult if over 100 MILLION people have figured it out.   The sure-fire proof would be that I have one and if it was really a difficult thing to do....I wouldn't have done it. 
Here are a couple of  my thoughts on starting and having a blog.

A. Anyone that feels the need to start one can.  You can go to any number of sites such as Blogger or WordPress and it will step you through the process. In minutes you will be pushing the publish button.

B.  The odds of the entire town reading your blog and following you the first day are very low....probably nonexistent..unless you are some notorious character in your town. If you already have the whole town looking at you maybe you would be successful right out of the gate.

C.  I noticed on several shows such as The Big Bang Theory and Two Broke Girls there were mentions of people quitting their jobs to become professional bloggers.  To that I say DON'T....don't go quitting a paying job to start a blog...well...unless someone offers to pay you to do it.  Oh sure, people are making money with blogs but it's not instantaneously and usually not lucrative enough to replace a REAL job.  (there are exceptions to this of course!)

So to the bloggers out there....why did you start your blog???  Just for fun, love of writing, sharing an interest, surely not as in the show Revenge...tracking down the murderer????

And to the non-bloggers...have you ever considered starting a blog about one of your interests or some viewpoint that you want to share?  Or does the idea of having a blog not appeal to you at all?

OK...maybe it is a two man/woman job.  I guess I had better go update my Flickr, Facebook and Twitter accounts. 

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Thechubbychatterbox said...

I started my blog, Chubby Chatterbox, just under a year ago because I'd had no luck finding an outlet for my writing in the publishing world. I was looking for another way to share my stories. With a blog, no one can deny you access to an audience.

Cheryl P. said...

You would have an amazing book of stories. Perhaps you should self publish. I ordered 3 books this week from bloggers that wrote and published books. I noticed that when I ordered Leah's book over at Eating Life Raw, from Amazon they had only 2 copies left in stock. So evidently that is a viable option to sell books.

As far as blogging...A year and a half ago, I just thought I would see how it was done and thought I would blow a couple of afternoons seeing what blogging was about. As everyone can plainly see, I am not a professional writer, don't have tons of interesting things to chat about but occassionally have a thought to share. What keeps me at it is that I connected with some nice people and it became a bit of a community..... so I hang around to read and interact with other bloggers.

Bodaciousboomer said...

I will admit that I started my blog to make $$. I'd seen Heather (Dooce) the say before on Oprah. She said she was making $45K a month off advertising. I thought how hard could it be? I'm funnier than her.

I've discovered that over time only a teeny % of bloggers make any real big $ from there blogs. However I've made some great friends and now have a place to bitch and moan when Doug doesn't want to hear it any more. So for me it's a BOGO.

Bodaciousboomer said...

Obviously I should read my comment to make sure it makes sense before posting it. Sorry about that.

Don E. Chute said...

Cheryl P. you are a talented writer, and the simple fact that you think you aren't makes it so. I didn't even know I was starting a blog...I just ripped of my own take on 'The Night Before Christmas' back in late 09 and peeps told me that others should read it...

More of us should get paid for it cause the dupes that are getting paid, really aren't that talented...


meleahrebeccah said...


I watch The Big C. And I love that show, I really do. And I also cried when Paul gave his FIRST motivational speech before he was "hired" to do so. However the whole, you start a blog, you instantly get rich & famous story line aggravates the fuck out of me! UGH!

To answer your question, I started my blog as Family Historian. A place to keep photos and stories about my funny family.

Now I wouldn't MIND making money off my blog, but sadly, after SIX YEARS, I haven't collected more than 5 dollars!

Trina said...

I love the Big C - well, at least the first season, that's all I've seen so far. Laura Linney is a master of an actress, too good for words. What an interesting twist for Paul to blog about her infidelities, and of course the whole town would know LOL

I started blogging to see if I could do it. Not necessarily write, but to build the site. Writing came later. Once I built a few blogs and then build the BlogDumps Bloggers network, I started to write. I thought I could share what I was up to and what I was working on, hen my blog became a passion. I loved sharing my thoughts and day to day stuff. Now I've slacked off, I know, but I love my blog and I really like reading some of my earlier post to see how far I have come and where I started.

Too bad my neighbors weren't reading my blog when they were annoying me....


Cheryl P. said...

You made perfect sense! I saw that program as well..which is saying something as I probably have seen a total of 5 Oprah shows in the last 5 years.

I agree, though, the odds of actually making big money is highly unlikely. I find it interesting some of those that have gotten popular leave me wondering "why?" Of course there are others that are so wonderful and entertaining that they should be making money.

Wolf said...

Hi Cheryl,

I don't blog for popularity or money, I blog for fun. Sometimes I like to document what I do and where I'm going, sometimes it's nice to get a good rant or rave out.. I suppose I'm just a blogger - not chasing the buck, just writing for fun.

Great Post!
Clicks for you!

Cheryl P. said...

Thank you for using a sentance with both the word talent and writer in it while referring to me. HAHA, I am less of a writer than I am a chatterer who needed to find new people to talk to. When my present audience started putting their hands over their ears and going La la la la la...I knew it was time to expand my group of listeners. There are just so many super market lines in which to strike up conversations before you get banned from stores, I suspect.

What a fun reason to have started a blog. I have no idea what I talked about early on...I will have to go back and see.

I do agree that some of the ones that seem to be popular don't have any better or worse content that dozens of others. I guess it boils down to finding you audience.

Cheryl P. said...

I think that is a great reason to start a blog. Your blog really does a wonderful job sharing your family with all of us. A couple of really nice things about your blog is your honesty and openess....
and your wonderful sense of humor.

I agree, it would be fun to make some money but that honestly wasn't my motivation. I have nothing to sell and no actual niche of any kind so I don't think there is a market for my type of blog. Thats fine. I do enjoy connecting with people that I have met on line. That is worth something.

meleahrebeccah said...

The friendships have been THE BEST PART for me too!
I had no idea when I started this blog so many amazing people would come into my life or even care about my silly stories.

oldereyes said...

Good post. Isn't it amazing that producers don't even take the time to get the facts right? As far as why I started, I started because I wanted to write. I thought I'd like to have a few readers. At the beginning I had some notions of building a readership the making money but that's long gone. Muri still pushes me to build a book out of my 800 posts but that's easier said than done. And never mind getting the whole town to read me ... I can't even get my whole (small) family to read me. These days, it's because I love the process. Not all the time ... sometimes it's a grind and those post probably show it. But I really love it when a post comes together. It's very satisfying. I've also discovered what I think about many things by writing about them.

Cheryl P. said...

I think the initial reason I started a blog was for the exact same reason, I wanted to see how the process worked. My initial idea as far as the posts go, I thought I would just elaborate on some of the things that were on my mind. Kind of like the topics that I would hash over coffee with my friends.

As varied as your talents are...seemingly you are a uber talent at a lot of things...I would think you would never run out of blog material.

I agree about Laura Linney. Who could of thought that a show about cancer could have as much quirky humor and hysterical plot lines? She just makes that show work.

Cheryl P. said...

I agree, Wolf, I never went into it thinking that there was money to be made. I was more curious about how blogs work and if I would enjoy it. Most of the time I do. There are days that I can't think of what to write about or I think I have a great idea but when put on paper I can't make it interesting. So sometimes it's frustrating as well.

Cheryl P. said...

I, too, initially thought I would have a few friends and family as my "readers" but that pool is rather shallow. I have made some really fun connections which has been rewarding. (in fact we have a few of the same readers)

I agree with Muri. Your an excellent writer, your posts are totally engaging and the fact you love to write is the icing on the cake.

I don't know how you post daily as you do. I find two or three times a week takes a chunk of time. You are also "spot on" about loving when a post comes together. I find it super frustrating when I have a clever idea and/or an interesting (to me) idea but just can't seem to articulate it...at least on paper.

Nicky said...

A blog is like any other business: you have to work at it to make it successful! I'll admit, we started the blog hoping to make some money - and we have made some, although far from enough to quit our day jobs - but somewhere along the line, my goals changed and it's become more about the friendships I've made.

L.C. Griffith said...

Cheryl, I watch the Big C and I was so annoyed with Paul and his blog. Not to mention Susan S. hitting a button and suddenly he has 2000 followers. LOL! I love the Big C though!
Anyway I blog because I feel the need to speak to people about life and all the trimmings. I like having an audience and being listened to. Nobody listens to me in my family;) I'm just sayin...

Cheryl P. said...

I agree...to make it successful, takes some effort. I think part of it is exposure as well. A fellow realtor here in Olathe had a post on her blog go viral and she now has a huge following. When you have 4000 or so followers it grows and pays exponentially.

I agree about the friendships, that turned out to be the reason I continue as I have no false hopes about making money.

Cheryl P. said...

Blogging does give you a voice. I actually like reading blogs way more than getting involved in Facebook. FB gives a voice to people which is why it caught on in a big way but..it seems to be more superficial and far less interesting.

BTW...I got my book yesterday and I can hardly put it down. I wish I didn't have a super busy day as I would love just to sit and read. Awesome, Leah...really awesome.