Popularity, wow what a topic this has been lately!

It started out innocently enough, this past Saturday I had the joy and pleasure of meeting M., who is the webmistress of a blog titled Velveteen Mind. After a bit of conversation about our families and backgrounds, we got onto the topic of blogging. She has kept journals for most of her life, but is still on the fence about committing to writing in a medium where other people will be reading her work. She had a lot of really interesting questions about opening yourself up to that kind of exposure, what it does to the way you write, and what happens when people start to notice what you do. She worries that it seems pretentious to promote your blog among those who know you, and how she imagines it would get a little addicting to have a lot of people reading and commenting.

(Interestingly enough this was not long after Her Bad Mother’s now infamous blog on the meaning of narcissism as it pertains to blogging.)

With all this in mind, she asked me where I saw myself going with my blog, and what my goals were. She mentioned that in reading my posts, you could see the turning point of where I started to pick up more regular readers and comments. But what is my end goal? Where do I see myself with this down the line?

I admit, I like knowing people are actually reading what I put out there. It isn’t always brilliant, it isn’t always fascinating, but its usually somewhat entertaining, and if I can touch someone and make them smile, or give them one of those “Oh, so other parents go through this too!” moments, then I’m a happy girl. So far this philosophy is serving me well, I have started promoting my blog a bit through blogrolls and MyBlogLog and such, and wow! I used to have a few close friends who read and commented, now I’m getting more and more readers every day. It is exciting, it is fun, and yes, I admit it, I kind of like it. I am nowhere near and probably never will be near the likes of some of the big-name mommy bloggers, but I am doing well in my own way, and the future is looking bright.

But with popularity comes a price. People dish about everything, from whether a person replies to their comments enough(I’ve also seen a lot of comments in various places about how there is no point in commenting on the blog of the bigger names, because you’d just get lost in the crowd, and they probably don’t read them anyways.) to whether the blogging community is an overall good or bad place and if BlogHer was full of mommy cliques. I’m not saying all this is bad by any means, just that if it is out there, whether in cyberspace or real life, people are going to talk about it. And once you put yourself out there you open yourself up to criticism as well. I admit this concerns me even being as small potatoes as I am.

So is blogging popularity a bad thing? Have you ever been talked about online due to something you posted? If a blogger gets a lot of comments, does it say more to you about the company they keep, or the quality of their writing?

I’m curious on thoughts from all bloggers, big and small.

15 Comments on Fame and Fortune(Ha!) in the Blogosphere

  1. Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah
    March 28, 2007 at 2:02 pm (11 years ago)

    Hmmm. This question could be answered a bunch of different ways.

    1) There are definitely blogging cliques. Some of them are malicious and some are just people that feel comfortable together. I think a lot of this stems from the fact that a lot of people start writing because they are uncomfortable in social setting.

    2) I think a bloggers popularity can be measured several ways. You can look at traffic, or comments or if a lot of other people are talking about their work. Again, there is good popularity and bad popularity.

    3) I feel like I read blogs based on the content or the tone. There are huge blogs that I never read because they don’t do anything for me and there are some that I frequent that only get 10 hits a day.

    What was the question again? Am I rambling?

    Reply
  2. BlogWhore
    March 28, 2007 at 2:23 pm (11 years ago)

    this is an excellent post and i’ve been thinking a lot about all of this lately.

    maybe the best way to respond is to post something…

    p.s. i’ve got a new url.
    mommiesarepeopletoo.blogspot.com

    Reply
  3. Sara
    March 28, 2007 at 2:25 pm (11 years ago)

    Sarah, I apologize, the question itself was a little scattered, but thats just how my brain works! 😛

    Reply
  4. Robyn
    March 28, 2007 at 3:02 pm (11 years ago)

    Some blogs that I’ve read are pointless drivel and will have a lot of comments. When I see that, I think WTF? Definitely due to a certain following.
    If I comment on a blog, it’s definitely because of the quality and content.

    Reply
  5. Heather
    March 28, 2007 at 3:08 pm (11 years ago)

    Which question should I answer first?

    Is blog popularity a bad thing? Uh. Uh. How would I know? My blog isn’t popular. And while I my say my ego is tied up in how many readers and comments I get per blog, I say it in jest. I don’t really think that, except that small part of me that will never grow up thinks it. I have not been able to rise above all of the humanistic qualities, so positive reinforcement does still work to a degree. But the larger part of me knows there is much more to me than just my blog and comments.

    Have I ever been talked about online due to something I posted? You mean you missed the big time blogger who linked my blog about my hemorrhoids? OMG! Sadly, that is the extent of my big time blogger coattail riding.

    Does the number of comments another blogger gets say anything to me? Well, sometimes yes and sometimes no. I’ve read a few big bloggers that I find rather bland. Then there are some other bloggers who get 40+ comments that I think are great. It takes all kinds!

    Reply
  6. Pendullum
    March 28, 2007 at 3:34 pm (11 years ago)

    I do not blog for popularity or to belong to a clique.I blog because I love a good human interest story. I love reading all types of blogs, and I try and be a good responder/commentor….

    Sometimes, I have to go away and come back to it ,as I have had to think about it… And sometimes, I just do not want to throw my hat into the debate… But will read all sides and lurk…

    And if a person has a comments open, I think they want and deserve a comment if I have read their piece… I try…

    I love comments, I love knowing I am not alone,and feel as though it is like a column I sometimes have the honour to guest write for…

    And that being said, I often comment… And I sometimes can not find my way back to blogs I was trying on for size… not because I do not like them… But more because they have not visited me…and I do not know how I found them, and I can not remember their site or their blogger name if they have not posted a comment on mine. But once a comment is posted on mine, I have the link… I have the link to a new author/blogger…

    There are so very many great writers out there… And many more to find and read…

    Sorry I threw my hat in… And thank you for the opportunity!

    Reply
  7. Jennifer
    March 28, 2007 at 4:15 pm (11 years ago)

    Hmm, popularity? It can be a friend or your enemy. A need for popularity when blogging can be damaging. I think that if your sole purpose in blogging is popularity, you’ll soon be smacked in the face with reality. Once you get a little popularity, you’ll just want more. You’ll check how many hits you’ve had for the day, how many comments, how many links, how many blogrolls you sit on….

    This is not to put down any of the bigger name mommybloggers. Their talent has lead them to popularity. They deserve the recognition they receive. I’m sure there is a clique amongst many of them…so what? There are cliques amongst any group to which you belong that involves women.

    Also, this is not to say that I don’t check comment numbers and site meter frequently. However, my self-worth is not based on the traffic to my blog. I’m forever grateful to anyone who has taken the time to leave me a comment and I always try to return the favor. If I’ve had fewer visitors or comments, I try to reflect and improve my topics/writing eloquence.

    And I feel that I must comment on whether or not you respond to peoples’ comments on your site. I typically do not because I don’t want the people who read me to feel that they have to check my site over and over to see if I’ve responded to their comment. It’s not a snub.

    Shit, sorry for the book, should’ve written my own post.

    Reply
  8. Jia
    March 28, 2007 at 4:39 pm (11 years ago)

    I’d be a dirty rotten liar if I said I didn’t want tons of people to read my blog and comment away. I check it at least every half hour (when I’m home) to see if anyone said anything. I’m a writer by nature, and I need to know what people think about what I wrote. Did it make them laugh, move them, impact their days at all. My blog is out there to try and help others, and I want to know that it’s doing the job right.

    I do think there are cliques out there, and I’m not apart of any LOL!
    http://newlywife.herhangout.com/

    Reply
  9. Megan
    March 28, 2007 at 9:24 pm (11 years ago)

    I am horrified at the idea of blog cliques. Yes, that is just how naive I am when it comes to the blog community. And the idea of people “gossiping” about a post is just too much.

    A different world from my pen & paper existence, indeed.

    Sara, I am so glad we got together and entertained this topic. Next time, we’ll have to dumb it down a little, though. Let’s swap out the coffee and cider for drinks of the more sedating variety (wink, wink) and see what we get for blog fodder that way!

    Reply
  10. moodswingingmommy
    March 29, 2007 at 7:17 am (11 years ago)

    Add me to the list of (new and) somewhat naive bloggers. I am not surprised that there are blogging cliques, and having been a member of many message boards, it would surprise me if people were not being gossiped about at all; such is human insecurity.

    I don’t think that popularity is a bad thing if it is based on merit. Having read a few blogs that I would assume are “popular,” I must admit that I don’t understand what all the fuss and tons of comments are about {{shrug}}. I recall having the same reaction to the “cool” kids in school. (BTW someone please help a newbie out and tell me who are the cool kids and troublemakers anyway? I’m not joking…I feel like the new kid in middle school.)

    I’d be lying if I said I didn’t check for comments regularly or consult my brand-new Site Meter! Sure I have moments when I’m sucked in. They way I look at it, if I entertain, inform, or otherwise move someone with my writing, I’d love it if they’d comment. I’m not trying to win a popularity contest, but I’d love the validation! They can bash me if they don’t agree, too, just as long as they do it to my face. I’ve got my big-girl panties on. When reading blogs, I try to return the courtesy and comment, in much the same way as I would if someone helped, entertained or moved me in real life. In some cases, I have not commented because I did not do so right away and then could not find my way back to the site. As far as responding to comments, I was wondering if this is the *thing* to do. I have a feeling someone had better point me in the direction of a blog etiquette page.

    Sorry for rambling! I hope some of what I said made sense.

    -moodswingingmommy, naive newbie (and MOMS club dropout/playgroup reject)

    Reply
  11. Sarah (In the Trenches of Mommyhood)
    March 29, 2007 at 8:00 am (11 years ago)

    I read a ton of blogs every day….umm…when I’m not at work or lovingly taking care of my precious children, that is….

    Anyway, I definitely try to comment…when I have something pertinent and relevant to say, that is. A lot of times, I just simply find myself nodding my head in agreement. Which is a good thing.

    And I do read popular blogs like Rockstar Mommy and Joy Unexpected, but when I see that they’ve already had like 50+ comments (due to popularity and reader loyalty, is my bet), I’m hesitant to add my two cents, because I’d probably be repeating what someone else has already said.

    Reply
  12. shaz
    March 29, 2007 at 8:16 am (11 years ago)

    after yesterday, I started thinking about this myself! 🙂

    I agree with Robyn… and I thought of posting something on the subject of what really makes a good blogger… some really popular bloggers will post the most uninteresting things and get scores of comments, while there are excellent, thought-provoking posts that don’t get as much as 1 comment.

    For me, being a stay at home mom now, I find that the interaction I get from blogging is most important to me.

    I think there are certainly bloggers than do not care to interact with certain types of people, I see it everyday, but my take on it is just like in the real world… there are better people then I would rather spend my time with. 🙂

    I also feel the same as Sarah, there are some really popular bloggers that I read but find there is no point in leaving a comment, I really enjoy Oh, the joys, she is an excellent writer, but I will only leave a comment like “lol”, just as an appreciation for the post.

    sorry, I’m rambling and not really even answering your questions. 🙁

    Reply
  13. Her Bad Mother
    March 29, 2007 at 5:46 pm (11 years ago)

    Hmmm, lots of questions and issues here. A stab at a few of them:

    1) As Sarah said, popularity is difficult to pin down. Some blogs with really high traffic get very few comments, and vice versa.

    2) I’ve been talked about in not-so-friendly terms on other blogs. I have, actually, had the distinction of having had someone start a blog just to snark me. But these weren’t ‘clique’ blogs – these were snark blogs. Meanies. There are definitely clusters within the community – but I’ve never seen any such cluster shut people out, or ‘gossip.’ When there have been conflicts (minor ones) between bloggers, it’s usually pretty out in the open and frank.

    3) Every single comment that I get I read and value. Every one, regardless of whether it’s on a post that’s already received 100 comments, or one that’s only received a few. And I know this to be true of other quote-unquote ‘big’ mom-bloggers (that is, the ones that I know more or less personally) – they value every single comment. It’s actually a little bit hurtful when someone prefaces a comment with ‘you probaby won’t even read this’… DUDES. I’ll read that comment (in my e-mail inbox) at 3am when I’m spinning from some or another anxiety and it will make all the difference in the world. We ALL love comments – big bloggers and not-so-big bloggers – and value them to the same extent.

    I’ll stop now. Great post.

    Reply
  14. Jo
    March 29, 2007 at 7:59 pm (11 years ago)

    No one ever talks about me dammit! Unless you count the fundies who Google “heathens” and go to my site thinking they’ve hit the lost souls jackpot. 😀

    Reply
  15. Angie
    March 30, 2007 at 2:04 pm (11 years ago)

    Very interesting posting!

    So…as to your questions —

    1. I don’t think blog popularity is bad. Of course, I don’t know about that personally (LOL), but, still, I don’t see it as bad.

    2. I don’t know that I have been talked about online because of my blog, but I’m sure I have been talked about online sometime in the several years that I have posted on message boards. I think that is the nature of humans — they talk about others, whether that is right or wrong — it happens.

    3. As some others have said, I have read blogs that I think are just great, but they don’t seem to get a lot of traffic. And, then I have read blogs that get lots of traffic and/or are “very popular” and I don’t get how they got so popular. It’s like on Saturday Night Live the other night when Peyton Manning was on. In one sketch, he was a news anchor type of guy and they were trying to describe to him that a pulling a “peyton manning” is like when someone has a really good reputation, but when you actually see them in action, you wonder how they got such a great reputation. LOL Now, that is not to say that every big and popular blog is like that. There are definitely blogs that I can understand how they got so popular, but others that leave me wondering why.

    Reply

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