The practice of blogging does not only consist of writing but it usually also involves reading other blogs, commenting and networking. Most of us are not fulltime professional bloggers so how do you divide your (spare) time between all these different blogging aspects?
While writing new blog posts seems like the primary function of the blog at first it is not the only thing that counts. On top of that it depends on what kind of blog you run. Is it a personal blog, a professional blog or a news blog? The type of blog will determine your daily blogging schedule of either publishing several posts a day or just once a week.
The feedreader is a blogger’s best friend and worst enemy. The pitfall of keeping up with too many other blogs is that you don’t get into the act of writing anymore. Are you suffering from being overwhelmed by the amount of unread blog posts in your feedreader? I notice that I have a tendency of being sucked into my feedreader, unable to get out of it to actually write a new post. Try to unsubscribe from some blogs you hardly read or make a schedule with strict reading and writing hours.
Engaging in conversations by commenting is often considered an important aspect of blogging. Not only replying to your own readers’ comments but also on other blog posts. Lorelle VanFossen recently realized that she needed to comment more as “I haven’t been commenting as much as I’d like to on other blogs. I’m so wrapped up in my own little bloggy world, I forget to open the door and see what others are doing out there and give my feedback out there.” I find that I often try to keep up with all my feeds leaving me no time to leave a comment. Instead of trying to read tons of blog posts a day I am going to aim on trying to comment more.
I have a Technorati profile, a MyBlogLog profile and probably many more profiles on different blog networks yet I don’t ever do anything with these profiles. These services either exist to gather stats on your blog or to manage your blog community. I plan to visit my services and communities more often in order to socialize and network.
I am addicted to statistics. Technorati, Feedburner stats, I don’t care as long as it contains numbers. I spend a lot of time just staring at my blog’s statistics instead of focusing on the content or upgrading my plugins.
I think how you divide your time between different blogging activities determines what kind of blogger you are. Can we categorize bloggers by the time they spend on each aspect? Can we distinguish the reflective blogger, who mainly reads other blogs and writes a few long contemplative posts a month? Does it make sense to speak of the social blogger who writes regular posts with a fair amount of links and spends a great deal of time engaging in conversations and networking on blog networks.
I wish it was that easy. It is hard to put people in restricted categories and in the case of blogging bloggers it may be even more different because all these activities are part of the blogging experience. The key lies in dividing your (precious) time between all the aspects so that you feel happy about your blogging time. I am currently in the process of rethinking my blogging practices and how to spend my time.
Have you found your blogging balance yet?
Anne is a New Media Lecturer at the University of Amsterdam. She participates as a blog researcher in the newly found Digital Methods Initiative of the University of Amsterdam. Anne also writes about blogging and academics on her personal blog and the collaborative Masters of Media blog.