Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Thoughts about blogging

Now before I start this one, I want to make it perfectly clear that this is not a dig at anyone at all but rather an observation on blogging trends within the wargaming sphere and their unperceived pressures on bloggers in general.

OK, so, where the hell did this one come from I hear you shout. Well, when I first started blogging, I had ample amounts of material to use as blogs, my mini's, my scenery etc. Once that was exhausted, I started to post about the trenches tutorial (more about that later) as an ongoing project along with painting up 1st platoon. This is all well and good, but like most veterans, my time is limited. I get things done but it takes a while.

This had left me with a bit of a problem, without things moving in my hobby, I had nothing to post about. Now this may seem like a strange thing to say but one of the reasons I got into blogging was other peoples blogs. The amount of information available to me via the 30 or so blogs I follow is phenominel, I get more in a day than I get out of WD in a month, it's great. Thanks guys ;-)

But .... it sets the standard, when a big preportion of the blogging community are producing very information tutorials, tactica's etc, there's a unperceived pressure to do the same. I feel like my blogs must have worth to others, more than me, almost like I'm blogging for other people. I look at my past couple of posts and becuase they're not tutorials or indepth look at this or that, I feel that they're not worth as much as my trenches posts. It's almost like with my past few posts, I've cheated the people who follow my blog by not being up to parr with the community.

I think that this is feeling of "teaching" is further reinforced by the style of writing the community uses. We seem to write articles, they cover a subject with a start, a middle and a finish. There's very little cross over between content. It's rare to see a blog that's got a tactica mixed with some WIP mini photos. I feel that this style of article writing reinforces the "produce for others" feeling that I get with the tutorial and tactica style community standard.

I find myself searching for ideas to write about and when I can't come up with anything I get disillusioned with my blog. Now, surely that's not right? Am I the only one who feels this?

Also, it makes me wonder about other bloggers, specifically those young bloggers and those bloggers who are new to the hobby. I'm an experienced gamer, painter and scenery maker, and I struggle to blogs to the standard of my peers. So, if I struggle, how must they feel? Are we shooting ourselves in the foot by unknowingly creating a community with very high standards? Rather than encouraging those new to the hobby to post where they're at, we're scaring them away with a barrage of high quality posts?

In an attempt to not make this blog an article, now on to the trenches. I've progressed quite far with the actual work but last week, I had a setback. I blow up my wifes £4000 Media100 suite that she use's for work, so trust me, YouTube is a very tender subject in our house at the moment. When she gets it fixed, I'll give it another go ............... I mean the videos, not blowing it up again.

10 comments:

RonSaikowski said...

Good post. There can be a perceived pressure to post frequently too.
Some people post once a week, some every other day... we all work at differnt paces. Just like our "quality," it's different for each person. Not good or bad, just different for each of us.

As for the lack of content (not knowing what to post), I personally have too much to post about and if I had the time, I could post a couple things a day. This comes from stuff I'm doing, things I see on others blogs and ideas in general.

As for the "standard," I think the number of bloggers out there has increased tremendously, or at least our knowledge of them and there's so much now competing for our attention that it feels like you have to "have good stuff" to get noticed. And you can forget comments unless you have something earth shattering to say.

This is good and bad.
Good, like you said because it increases the amount of different things we are all exposed to. I can't tell you how much I've learned from others blogs.
And bad, it can be sensory overload at times and almost too hard to keep up.

Keep blogging, and do it at your own pace with your own content and don't worry about what others have out there. I've found that some people are interested in my stuff and others could care less.

At the end of the day, you have to enjoy sharing your stuff... otherwise, what's the point?

Chicago Terrain Factory said...

I put a lot of pressure on myself from watching the blog stats. Every new post brings a lot of traffic - I get caught thinking that I need to keep feeding the beast to keep the numbers up.

That said, I try to keep to a reasonable pace. My goal is 2 posts of original content and 2-3 posts of links/discussion per month. Even then its hard to keep up, all it takes is a non-hobby project or a long WIP to derail the schedule.

Admiral Drax said...

Ouch!

x4000.

I feel your pain, mate. The pressure to perform seems exemplified by the posts which start "sorry I haven't posted anything recently".

These days I'm trying to make mine more an outlet of my thoughts and a means of documenting processes - I try to mix it up where I can, but a recent conflict of too-much-work-and-new-codex-thoughts-to-guage has left both me and my blog somewhat devoid of interest of late!

But don't get disillusioned - we're a patient lot, and good things are always worth the wait.

- D.

RonSaikowski said...

Unless you absolutely must have them... I would say get rid of the "stats" or at least only check them once in a while.

They can be your worst enemy. I can show you FTW's and then you won't feel so bad.

Chicago Terrain Factory said...

I understand that stats mean little - I have no adds running on my site or any other real gain from increased readership. If I followed the feedback from my stats, I'd post nothing but Hirst projects and IG army galleries. Its funny (in a sad way) that the posts I work the hardest on get the least amount of attention.

But stats do have one benefit that makes them required reading - incoming links. I love seeing CTF get linked up from places I've never been before. Half the time the site is in French or Spanish - I just hope they are saying nice things :)

Master Darksol said...

I would say that you should/need to post at a level that you are comfortable with to preserve your sanity. I understand and share the feeling that I'm posting/blogging for others, but if it's at a pace or about a topic that you're not happy/comfortable with, you're just going to kill yourself with stress.

RE blog stats: I also don't do ads, but I do check the stats of the blog. While it can be depressing at times, I really check it for a few things only: am I getting traffic from a site I don't know about? (i.e. did someone link to me that I'm unaware of? I usually will check them out/link back). Also I can tell what posts are very popular, and thus can get a good idea for the kind of things people would like to see more of without having to rely on comments or a poll.

Cawshis Clay said...

I'm feeling this pain as well! Between work and wife, I find that the limited time I have is better spent hobbying rather than posting.

But then...why bother having a blog? I'm still trying to feel that out. I really want to document my progress at improving my hobbying and also share what I've learned...since so many others have shared with me!

The trick is to find that happy medium...I'll admit I'm not there yet, but I hope to be!

The other bit I'm learning is that I'll never be as prolific as some other folks..once I've accepted that I feel like I'll enjoy it more.

King Mob said...

I've definitely had similar feelings on blogging - especially on the "production for others" angle.

Now, I'm a journalist by...well, I haven't been a journalist by trade in a while, but I'm certainly a journalist by education, so I'll write a lot of my posts in that informative style simply out of habit.

That being said, whether habit or not, most times when I sit to write a new post I will feel the pressure to write a proper "article" in the sense that you describe, and that pressure does take some of the fun and spontaneity out of what should be a relaxed hobby-based blog. That has actually been a small part of my own month-long lack of posting on my own blogs. (To reinforce how obsessive I can be about the journalistic integrity about a post or even a comment, I have to admit that I rewrote the previous sentences three times before getting the phrasing right, and thought about this sentence for a full five minutes before typing it out - how's that for blog style-mongering!)

Anyway, I don't think that it necessarily scares new bloggers away, but I do think that new bloggers who might read more article-minded blogs might think to themselves that they want to do that too, without realizing the work that may go into some of the better blogs. What results is that they either find out that they can't write the way they see others doing it, or get too little reinforcement that what they are doing is good, get disillusioned either way, and quit.

That pretty much sucks for the concept of community building.

I too would like to see a more relaxed attitude to people's (and my own) blogs, but I think it's a trend that for good or ill, is here to stay. When you take into consideration how many bloggers are essentially writing WD-equivalent articles in their postings, or look at how many 40K webzines have popped up over the past year, the hobby blogoshpere has basically turned into a giant desktop publishing organism.

King's Standard Bearer said...

whoa. now im not going to write a lengthy comment like everyone else (though I can understand why they have) just suffice to say, I feel your troubles my man. I really hate looking at by most recent post and thinking... thats crap... its only got two comments. And so then I feel the need to post something real juicy! Its a lot of work but I do really enjoy this blogging lark

Craig @ cadian8th

ps whats all this stats nonsense? Iv never heard of it

Col. Corbane said...

Oh, the irony, a blog about not been able to blog gets my best response so far - lol

@Ron - I think you're spot on mate, especially regarding comments. There's been many times that I've thought all I can add is "Great mini's" so I haven't bother, when in reality, I'd be quite happy with someone posting that on my blog. I must change that habit.

@CTF - I like your thinking mate, I think I'm going to follow the same suit. I'll look at posting a couple of good hobby articles a month and the rest with just be bits and bobs. Already it feels like a load has been taken off.

@Drax - I'm in much the same boat, time restrictions means I haven't got much to post and the new codex is begging to be delved into. But, my style of blogging has to change, it has to be about me and what I'm doing if I'm going to start enjoying it.

@Darksol - Simple and to the point but bang on the money, it's easy to get distracted by the blogs of your peers.

@CClay - Glad I'm not the only one mate, happy medium is definately the way to go.

@King Mob - Man, I hadn't even thought about the pressure to perform due to your job. I think they general feeling is that we should all relax a little as and when we need to. Just because we don't have something brilliant to say, doesn't mean you shouldn't post. Also, respect to the effort you put into comments, I don't put that much in to proof reading my blog - lol

@Kings - Me and you together mate, I'm enjoying it, just need to find my pace, we'll get there eventually.

Finally, that's for your input guys, it's done me a world of good. On the issue of stats, well that's a whole new set of pressures, so I'm simply going to ignore the fact that you mentioned it. Ignorance is bliss!

Thanks for taking the time to help me out guys, I actually feel like I'm part of a community now.

Thanks
Mel