Mediocrity in Blogging

by Gigi Ross on September 22, 2010

This is a tough subject to tackle for me, because I don’t want to come across as a prima donna, arrogant or all-knowing. I am none of these things.

But it’s time to talk about mediocrity in blogging.

My first exposure  was back in April. I had just recently started my “mom blog” and I was super excited to participate in 5 Minutes for Moms’ Ultimate Blog Party. Here was a chance for me to read hundreds, or even thousands, of blogs. A chance to get inspired. A chance to see how high the bar was being set. A chance to connect with other bloggers who I admired.

I spent a week poring over hundreds of blogs. I couldn’t believe what I was finding. Boring. Mundane. Average. Messy. Prattling. I found maybe 4 or 5 that I felt had some level of quality.

I followed a lot of blogs that week, because that’s what I was supposed to do. I came away from it all feeling a bit dirty. I didn’t like most of the blogs. I came away feeling dejected.

 Where was the excellence in blogging? Yes, I understood that the “big” bloggers don’t have to go to these sorts of blog parties, but where were the hidden gems, the undiscovered talent, the fabulous writers clawing their way to the top?

As I’ve progressed in my blog journey, I’ve found many great blogs. Funny blogs, dreamy blogs, beautifully written blogs, provocative blogs. The owners of these blogs have become friends and inspiration. But the only thing I’ve CONSISTENTLY found are mediocre blogs.

Am I the arbiter of All Things Mediocre In Bloggyland? No. Do I think my blog is fantabulous ?No. I am humbled and awed on a daily basis by the bloggers I follow regularly – their ability to massage a word into something so perfectly descriptive, their ways at both making me laugh and feel moved at the same time, their brilliance in turning a mundane or brief moment into something so palpably readable. There are so many who are good.

And more who are not.  Some of these become hugely successful.

I’ve always told my friend Alexandra that there are two reasons blogs become successful:

1. The blog is cream, and cream rises to the top.

2. The blog is not cream, but people have been led to BELIEVE it is cream.

It’s like Starbucks. It’s probably not the BEST coffee you’ll ever have in your life, but it’s there, it’s available, it’s well marketed and there’s always buzz about it. It’s cool to like Starbucks.

So my questions to you, blogger friends, are these:

Do you believe that mediocre blogging is the rule, rather than the exception? If so, why do we tolerate it?

Is it because mediocrity is subjective? Is it because blogging is about MORE than just writing – it’s communicating AND connecting – we start to like the person, not just the writing? Is it that we’re afraid we’ll be deemed mediocre ourselves?

And how do we raise the bar?

I’m anxious to hear your thoughts.

{ 229 comments }

Lisa In Florida September 22, 2010 at 6:24 am

Personally, I didn’t start my blog to become “popular” or have a ton of followers. My blog is a way for me to vent, keep friends and family informed about what is going on with my family, and hopefully – but not necessarily – others will like it too. Sometimes I think my posts are funny, but all too often I’m afraid you would find my blog “mediocre.” I also don’t think you can judge my (or any) blog by reading only one post. Everyone has bad days, and often you need to read several posts to get a feel for a blog.

You know what? I don’t care. I don’t really care if I have followers or if my posts meet with anyone’s approval. Because is one of the few things in my life I can say is all about ME. It makes me happy. If it makes others happy and they comment, then great – that’s like the icing on the cake. But otherwise, I’m not doing it for anyone else. My blog is for me.

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 7:53 am

I agree with most of what you say, Lisa. If your blog is primarily for you and it’s a fun hobby, you shouldn’t care either way. But for those in a different camp, who are trying to find a way to help contribute to the family income with blogging – such as myself – I think that we should collectively hold a higher standard for the product we put out and aim to produce quality.

But point well taken – not everyone is in it for the same reasons. thanks for your comment!

Lisa In Florida September 22, 2010 at 2:55 pm

“A fun hobby”…
“those of us in a different camp”

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m picking up a totally condescending vibe here.

I must have missed the rulebook for blogging…you know, the one that explains exactly what this “higher standard” that the “serious” bloggers have IS.

Isn’t this all subjective? Everyone has different tastes, and unless you can be more specific about what this “higher standard” is, then what you’re saying is that it’s really just not to your taste, isn’t it?

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 3:21 pm

I am sorry that you are picking up a condescending vibe. It is not intended. Help me understand what I should call it if you’re blogging for yourself and you don’t have a goal of monetizing or growing it?

I don’t really think the word “hobby” is perjorative.

Nor do I think that by saying “I’m in a different camp” is negative. It’s saying that I have different blogging goals than you do. Mine aren’t better. Mine are necessitated out of financial need and a desire to enhance my resume for when I return to the workforce.

I can absolutely tell you what my standard is, but this post is NOT supposed to be about MY standard is. It’s more to discuss, as a collective, whether we should be setting a higher bar for ourselves. Whether we can and should ALL help each other better writers or bloggers, if we choose to be better writers or bloggers.

I totally get why people might feel defensive about my post, but I truly tried to touch on this subject with honesty and a perspective that we are a community. I know you may be new here, but I think if you took a moment to look at what I’m doing right now with the bulk of my blogging energies, you might not think I was so condescending.

I’ll just leave it at that and appreciate your comments, even if they hurt my feelings. I’m going to get the other comments I haven’t responded to yet when I can.

MommyLisa September 22, 2010 at 2:04 pm

AMEN LISA In Florida!

I am sure most of the “mediocre” blogs are just people who want a space on the internet to express themselves.

Just like watching television if you don’t like it – turn it off – quit following – whatever.

There is no censorship on the internet and saying we should not tolerate “mediocrity” in blogging is just down right elitist thinking within a populist medium.

kasey September 22, 2010 at 6:43 am

For me, I started blogging for me. The followers and commenters are icing on the cake (and I love icing!) that have given me the push to keep going. Some people may find me mediocre and that’s ok because I never considered myself a writer but others may find me awesome, which I hope is more often the case! I think it’s all subjective because people are going to read what they can relate to and find funny or interesting. I agree, sometimes you start to like the person better than the writing because blog sometimes change over time. I will admit, that it is frustrating to come across blogs that are messy and filled with long, drawn out, boring paragraphs… I won’t even take my time to read those.

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 7:54 am

Sounds like you have a similar perspective as the earlier commenter. I appreciate your thoughts!!!

liz September 22, 2010 at 7:54 am

I remember doing that 5 Minutes for Mom party, too, and I will never do it again. I came away with almost no good blogs to follow, and felt it was full of review/giveaway blogs, too.

I love the Starbucks analogy. Very well put. I think that when most bloggers start out, there are things they feel they NEED to do because that’s what all the cool kids are doing, and it takes time before they find their bloggy feet and realize maybe it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be.

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 8:03 am

I was hoping someone would agree with me. Thanks Liz :)

Melissa {adventuroo} September 22, 2010 at 8:26 am

I totally agree Liz. I was really disappointed. I put so much work into my “welcome” post for the party and most of my comments were “stopping by from the party. come see me.” And many of the blogs seemed like they were just thrown together to get in on this “blogging thing.”

liz September 22, 2010 at 8:37 am

I know what you mean, Melissa! I was out of town for it, and made sure to write my post ahead of time and have someone else link it up for me and everything! I guess you never know until you try, right? But I learned and won’t bother next time.

Jean September 22, 2010 at 7:57 am

I don’t know that I’d call the majority of blogs mediocre. I just assumed they were not geared to my taste. Tolerate the mediocre? They (the bloggers) are just voicing their opinion. Who are we to say they don’t cut it?

Always enjoy your viewpoint, Gigi.

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 8:02 am

Who are we to say? We’re not. And that’s why I even hesitated in publishing this post. I really did, because I know it may offend or upset people, and normally this blog is not controversial or provocative. I also don’t feel I am the standard bearer by a long shot.

And yet, I still feel the way I do, and felt compelled to publish this. I actually wrote it weeks ago and just wasn’t sure about when the right time would be – if there ever is. :)

Thanks for coming by as always. I am looking forward to the end of my 6 week challenge so I can return to visiting blogs (like yours!). I miss it!

Justine September 22, 2010 at 8:00 am

Gigi, when I joined a bloggy carnival awhile back, it had the opposite effect on me. The caliber of the bloggers in this specific community was astounding, and I felt so inadequate. It was I who felt mediocre when I saw the quality that was out there. And it made me down on myself for awhile until I realized that it was stupid of me. Instead, I continued to follow these amazing talents so they could inspire me. They made me want to be better and to settle for less…and so here I am, still trying.

But I know what you mean about mediocre bloggers with plenty of followers, just like Starbucks. Coffee’s not that great – the success is in their branding and marketing strategy. And there are those out there who’re excellent in creating a community even when what they churn out aren’t exactly quality material. However, you are right – that is pretty subjective so what’s mediocre to me may be someone else’s inspiration.

Good for you for tackling this difficult subject with finesse.

liz September 22, 2010 at 8:39 am

I really like what you said, Justine. Branding, marketing and creating a community. If you can create loyalty among readers, that’s all it takes sometimes.

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 8:46 am

Interesting that you had an opposite experience. i’d love to hear what blog carnival tHAT was. I think it’s terrif that you used that to inspire yourself instead of continuing to be discouraged. I actually found some of my favorite blogs to read through your shout outs, BTW! :)

Joey @ Big Teeth & Clouds September 22, 2010 at 8:00 am

This really resonates with one idea I put in your idea bank: Are we saying what we really mean in the blog world or are we all just being too nice?

We’re mostly just being nice and it is rooted in reciprocal commenting. Someone goes out and comments on 100 blogs, then maybe 45 or 50 comment back to that person. We’ll comment on anything. It doesn’t matter if the blog is awful. Bloggers are busy replying to comments and finding readership. We’re not about to turn away a reader because we can’t stand to visit the person’s blog.

The only thing I do to try to inspire good writing in my peers is being careful about the bloggers I’ll make the first contact with. If something is badly written, riddled with expletives, or punctuated with “LOL”, I’ll pass it up.

If that same person comes and leaves me a comment, I’ll think of something to say back.

It is my sincere hope that the cream will rise to the top. Eventually, you have to figure that the mediocre blogs will get bored even of themselves and fade out. If not, I’m truly just wasting my time.

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 8:49 am

Wow. Yes, the reciprocal commenting does encourage this. I hadn’t thought about it that way, but you’re correct.

It makes me re-think one of my tips for next week on the blog challenge. Rather than encouraging people to comment on blogs, I should encourage people to comment on blogs they LOVE.

Well said.

Natalie September 22, 2010 at 12:25 pm

Yes, I totally agree about the commenting, too! Scary Mommy wrote a post about commenting. I loved the way she described commenting: it’s like you’re leaving your calling card.

So many people leave comments like “LOL! Funny” or “Oh, cute!”. Those don’t mean anything. I like to receive and try to leave comments that mean something and that other people can read and relate to.

MommyLisa September 22, 2010 at 2:09 pm

GREAT point. If someone follows me or comments on my blog I don’t ALWAYS reciprocate. If I find their viewpoint offensive to me I just move on…

heidi @ wonder woman wannabe September 26, 2010 at 2:00 pm

I’ve wondered about this too – Do the majority of bloggers ‘follow’ or comment as just a way to get traffic back to their site OR is it because they genuinely wanted to give feedback and they truly intend to follow along on a regular basis?

I don’t generally follow or comment ‘just to be nice’. I find it to be disingenuous.

I once was visited by a blogger who left a very nice comment on a post I had linked with a popular blogging carnival. – It seemed so sincere and I was very appreciative and even thanked her in a personal email. THEN, I saw her leave the EXACT same comment word-for-word on several other blogs that I visited within that carnival. hhhmmmm

tulpen September 22, 2010 at 8:13 am

Yikes. You got some big cahunas for going to this topic. Nice!!

Yep. I think most are mediocre. Including my own.

I think the most “Popular” ones are B-O-R-I-N-G. Too nice. Too safe.

I tried being nice and safe, and bored myself to death.

I’m happy with what I put out, (including the expletives, sorry Joey). I’d so much rather sacrifice popularity for reality.

I won’t have a giveaway so that my followers box fills up to the brim. I won’t go commenting on every inane post I read so that I get a comment back. I’m about to drop Twitter. I could really give a crap about the rules of ‘successful blogging’. Rules piss me off.

I WILL lay myself bare on by blog. It is not always pretty. Not always nice. It will never make me a red cent.

But if ONE person has been affected by something I’ve written, then yay me. Win.

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 8:51 am

I think what you’re saying relates to what Amber, below said. You have a specific voice. You write to that voice. People coming to your blog know they’re not going to get shiny happy people. But you have set a specific tone and you keep to it and as Amber said, that’s probably the first step in overcoming any mediocrity.

Mrs.Mayhem September 22, 2010 at 9:18 am

Tulpen, I’m so impressed with your response. I could write my own comment, but I’d rather just second yours.

tulpen September 22, 2010 at 12:14 pm

Awww. Thanks Mrs. Mayhem.

Jen September 22, 2010 at 12:43 pm

And this comment right there is why you are a hidden gem, Tuplen. :)

ash September 22, 2010 at 6:17 pm

All of that, that right up there, that is why I love you.

KLZ September 22, 2010 at 8:14 am

To be a bitch, yes I think mediocrity is the norm. Because we’re tired and overworked and blogging is often low on our to do list. It’s hard to come up with brilliance when there are other priorities – ones that scream.

I follow some wonderful people but only read the ones I’m truly interested in. I don’t put up with mediocrity if I can help it. Which likely contributes to why my blog often stagnates in terms of readers. That, or I am one of the mediocre. Really, it could go either way.

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 8:52 am

I’m amazed that anyone with a baby can blog at all – I could never have done it since I was in a constant state of freak. I admire you, and others, that can. Point well taken that especially for gals with little ones, there are tons of competing priorities.

Amber September 22, 2010 at 8:25 am

I think it’s also about learning to find your voice. In my head I wish I were an amazing writer, one that could move people’s emotions. Or that I was funny and hilarious. But somehow when I sit down to write, it all comes out differently. Unless you have this talent naturally, it’s tough to learn it, even if you want to. I think a lot of blogs just haven’t found themselves yet. Or maybe they haven’t realized (like me until recently) that their blog is mediocre.

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 8:30 am

You know, this is a good point, Amber, and one I should have taken into account. I just wrote this week on my own blog about how my “voice” changed in the first month of blogging…why would it be different for anyone else? Thanks for your thoughtful reply.

Melissa {adventuroo} September 22, 2010 at 8:34 am

First of all, kudos to you for posting this. It’s a hard thing to say but honestly, it needs to be said. There are some people out there who TRULY want to improve their blog and I commend them for that. I know I’m always trying to make my own blog better too! Then there are others who post just to have 5 posts a week, do giveaways for a $2 product so they can have 500 followers and hope to make some big bucks off blogging. I can spot those blogs a mile away and those are the ones that bother me the most.

I also wonder if maybe you and I are more sticklers because we’re in marketing? I mean, I’ve been professionally communicating for over 10 years. I’ve edited both design and writing for years so I notice more things than maybe the average person.

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 8:55 am

First off – did I ever tell you that my nickname from my parents is Roo? :)

You may be correct that our backgrounds could drive our attitudes. I have a law degree as well, and that just compounds the problem. :)

I think there are many folks who focus on giveaways and such that do it really well and I don’t begrudge them for it. There have to be subspecialties and niches for sure. Liz’s point that we all start out trying to do a bunch of things that “look cool” is spot on. The challenge is in realizing whether those niches are for you or not and playing to your strength. I think.

Natalie September 22, 2010 at 12:28 pm

That’s why when I do a giveaway, I never make people follow me. Yes, followers are important to me, but I hope that the people that decide to follow me do so because they want to and aren’t expecting anything in return. I hate when people leave a comment that says nothing more than “I’m following you. Visit me and follow me too!”.

Sherri September 22, 2010 at 6:05 pm

I hate those “following you!!” comments, too. When I first started my blog, I was estatic to get a few followers. But sometimes when I go to visit them and “follow back!!” I am not especially interested in what I see. I have even dropped quite a few from my GFC, just because I pass them over every time in my reader.

angela September 22, 2010 at 8:34 am

Hmmm, I am caught between agreeing with this post and feeling defensive about it. I did, originally, start my blog as an “update” blog for my family and close friends. Now that I’m not working outside of the home, I would like to pursue one of my interests (writing) a little more, and my blog seemed like a good place to do that.

It’s tough to make any sort of transition, and it has been a little difficult to find my exact voice, because I know that my parents and in-laws and friends are reading. They were my first and main audience, and they will continue to read because they adore my kids. However, that means I can’t vent about my contentious relationship with my MIL, which can be a major issue in my life at times.

I read “better” blogs and feel like I can relate to them and would like to hang out with them, and those are the blogs that I primarily read and comment on, even though there are other blogs in my blogroll as well. I do worry that I might not be making some connections because my blog doesn’t always contain my “voice”; some of my posts are still of the “update” variety and likely seem pedantic and silly to other people that stop by. Your post kind of enforces that worry, although I know you’re not speaking to me personally!!

I do think the way to promote better blogging is to keep promoting projects like your B2SB2B and hope that some hidden gems rise to the top, comment & connect with blogs that speak to us (whether or not they are popular).

This comment got so much longer than I intended! I guess that makes your blog a great one, since it elicited actual thoughts and feelings, although I maybe should have edited before submitting (like you suggested for our blogs)! But I’m working on about two hours of sleep (not consecutive) and don’t have the energy :)

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 8:59 am

My goal was definitely not to make anyone feel defensive – it was more to spark conversation, you know? I reflect on my own blog and think, I am really mediocre sometimes and I need to improve constantly. Maybe some people don’t feel that drive. I am competitive with myself. Some of the comments here have made me realize that I need to be open to the fact that not everyone blogs for the same reason or has the same goals.

Evonne September 22, 2010 at 8:35 am

I did the 5 Minutes for Mom hop, too, and was disappointed. All of the links to review/giveaway blogs were annoying to me. I also found many mediocre blogs. But I also think “mediocre” is about perspective. I could read a blog that doesn’t grab my attention, but you could read the same one and fall in love.

Whether one is blogging for income or to increase their readership and interactions with others, I think a bar needs to be set. Each blogger should figure out what their goal is and create quality posts to attract people so they can reach their goal, or even rise above it. I’m not saying one should create controversy, but posts should cause a reader to think or feel empathy because they can relate.

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 9:03 am

Well said. I think you made my point better than I did. As I just replied to Kristin…if someone is blogging as a personal journey and it’s an inward facing hobby…no, you shouldn’t have to care. It’s for you.

But I think, if you’re actively trying to grow your readership, then a bar needs to be set – as you said.

Kristin @ Peace, Love and Muesli September 22, 2010 at 8:41 am

This is a great topic! Something I just spent some time thinking over. I spent a great part of my day reading blogs that didn’t inspire me. Mediocre as you say.
I want to be a better blogger. I’m never going to get there reading blogs with poor writing and boring topics.
I want the real cream to motivate, inspire and challenge me to be better. If not there’s no room for it in my day.
This felt really harsh and I had a hard time being ruthless but it’s my time and there’s all the housework…

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 9:01 am

Yes, the housework!!!!

I totally get the commenters here who have said – I don’t care because I do this for myself. I get it.

But to what Evonne said above – if you are courting readership, I think you owe it to yourself, and your readers, to have a drive to improve. But I’m a freak that way. :)

Kati September 22, 2010 at 8:53 am

Honestly, I don’t think it is fair to judge blogs like that. Contest is completely up to the owner and many people start blogs for many different reasons… and often times they discover things about themselves and this phenomenon that they never though possible. Sometimes it is about a release from life and just an opportunity to be part of something new.

I have been blogging since 2007 and I have seen a lot of blogs come and go and they is how it works… the ones that do not attract interest usually die out and sometimes people don’t care whether they have readers or not.. they do it for them. And sometimes you have bloggers who come out with the intent of being controversial because they believe it will allow their blogs to survive and gain interest… for whatever reason you find some you like and you find some you don’t. I don’t like the word.. “mediocre” when it comes to blogs… its all subjective.

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 9:08 am

Thanks for your comments. I totally agree that to some level, it’s subjective. That’s why I asked the question at the end of my post.

And reading everyone’s great comments here has helped bring my own opinion on this more into focus since I wrote this post several weeks ago. I said this above to another commenter, but I think my issue is not with people who blog for themselves and a personal hobby for fun and who don’t have an interest in gaining readership. You know what? they should get to do whatever the heck they want to do. But they also shouldn’t complain if only 4 people read their blog.

I think where I take the most issue is with people who have goals of increasing readership, being leaders in the blogging community or having a media presence, that have mediocre blogs. But let’s face it, our culture is marketing driven and as I said, it’s not always the best that are the leaders.

Flufferwuffer September 22, 2010 at 9:11 am

Wow, very interesting post (an tons of interesting comments).

This really got me thinking. I often wonder if my blog is mediocre or not. I try to put a lot of hard work and time into it, but sometimes it is just not possible (I’m a college student taking 4+ classes and working a part time job). I have so many ideas for my blog and so many posts I’d like to write, but sometimes I find myself holding back because I’m afraid that no one will read the great, creative posts and instead they’ll fall into the archives, never to be seen again.
I will agree, though, that even when I started out blogging, many of the blogs I found were mediocre. I thought to myself, “Is this really what blogging is about?” And that’s when I decided that I wasn’t going to do what they were doing. I didn’t want to be one of those mediocre blogs.

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 11:21 am

I respect the drive to self-improve (and you shouldn’t be afraid to post!!!! :)). I guess I also need to respect the drive to blog for personal reasons.

today’s post has taught me much!

heidi @ wonder woman wannabe September 26, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Flufferwuffer,
Don’t be afraid to post ‘good’ material – it’s fine to have ‘hidden gems’ in the archives. I’ve seen MANY very popular bloggerss bring posts back from a previous date (noting the first time it was published) once in a while. I’ll probably be doing just that over the busy holidays. 😉

Alexandra September 22, 2010 at 9:19 am

There you go, Gigi, chasing down that elephant.

But I ask, secretly, to everyone out there: how many times have you been to a blog and have said, “you’re kidding me, right?”

I know, it’s not nice. But, there it is.

I won’t comment on what I think I write because I am so overwhelmed by the incredibly talented out there.

What amazes me is 3 comments up there by 3 bloggers whom I consider cream, and I feel pale next to them.

These 3 bloggers say here that they are the ones who consider themselves mediocre. And they have said they strive to be better? Why? They all say they follow stellar blogs.

We all have our reasons for blogging, and for following who we follow.

What is important to us, may not motivate another.

Some blog to just keep a visible diary, some blog to just post pictures of the family they are proud of.

I blog to connect, to be better at writing, and hopefully help someone in their day.

What is mediocre to me may not be to another. But I push myself that way… I want to improve with each post, and always to maybe make someone’s sad day have a smile in it.

As always, Gigi, you make me have to leave a comment!

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 11:22 am

Agreed. that’s what I’ve learned today: what is important to me, may not be to another.

Missy @ Wonder, Friend September 22, 2010 at 9:28 am

We’ve talked about this some, so you know where I fall (I think).

A lot of the previous replies have great points. It’s definitely subjective. I think it’s very fair to say that not every blog is for every person. We all blog for our own reasons – sometimes those reasons align and make for the perfect bloggy friendship. Sometimes? They don’t. And that’s okay.

What I strive to do is read the blogs that move me: is it funny? does it make me think? do I frequently feel the need to retweet it or tell my friends to read?

If I answer yes to one or more of those, chances are I’ll return again and again – and I definitely hang in there through slow periods (everyone needs a break now and then!). I’ll hang in there through a less than stellar post now and then. Once I feel a connection, you have a reader for life – and I’ll visit as often as possible.

But if I visit a few times and don’t feel a connection, then I move on.

This is a great topic, Gigi. Good discussion.

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 11:23 am

I, too, need to strive to keep reading the blogs that move me. But in truth, kindness (yes, I have some) gets in my way. I feel like I should visit everyone. Comment to everyone. Make everyone feel appreciated and wanted.

maybe I should get back to the therapy couch. perhaps this is grounded in a neurosis :)

heidi @ wonder woman wannabe September 26, 2010 at 2:11 pm

I struggle with this too – wanting to visit everyone for the same reasons you listed….let me know if you figure out a solution to that on! 😉

Pop September 22, 2010 at 9:45 am

Blogging is a lot like high school: there are a few popular kids, a lot of average kids, and a few kids you wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole.

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 11:20 am

well that was short and sweet :)

alicia September 22, 2010 at 9:52 am

As I read through the comments here, I’m not sure there is much more that can be said to add to the convo. So many great points made.

We all come from different walks of life. We all have different interests and talents. We all want to be happy with the voice within ourselves.

But by blogging we are opening ourselves up to judgment and vulnerability, which can often lead to unwelcomed, even harsh opinions, for something created for fun or as a creative outlet.

And at the end of the day it comes down to what drives you and how much you have left to give. At least those are the things on my mind these days.

Amy Phillips September 22, 2010 at 10:02 am

No one has ever accused me of being too nice, so here goes: When I first read the title of the it reminded me of a post I have on the back burner called 20 signs you are too pretentious to blog. I mean, who are you to be the arbitrator of what is mundane and mediocre?
Here is a good example- A Short History of Women. I had to read it for a book review. It should have been a GREAT book, it was on all the editorial lists as a pick of 2009. Guess what? I hated it. I mean REALLY hated it. Again, I had let someone’s idea of good content suck me into a situation where I lost a good three or four hours of my valuable time reading that dribble.
Point? It’s not your position to decide. You don’t get to. Period. Think some is mediocre? They probably think the same of you.
I don’t believe that ‘cream rises to the top.’ Sometimes really sucky stuff gets a LOT of attention. And really great stuff is ignored. Our ‘jobs’ as bloggers is to support the ones we think need attention, and be indifferent to the ones that maybe are not to our taste.

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 10:20 am

I agree that we should support blogs we love, and not support those we don’t.

In fact, you seem to be in violent agreement with me on nearly everything!

Except, of course, for the insinuation that I’m pretentious. :)

I just want to point out, too, that if you get to call some blogs “sucky” then so do I. No one is an arbiter, but everyone has an opinion.

WTH am I Doing September 22, 2010 at 10:16 am

Hmm. I do think you’re right. I’ve read some very “popular” blogs & have found them very boring. Not always, but there are some that I’m shocked have so many followers.

I’ve read others that I just love, popular or not. I’m pretty particular about who I read religiously because honestly? I just don’t have time to spend on blogs I feel I’m reading out of obligation.

My criteria? You have to make me laugh, make me think, or move me in some way. Plus? The writing can’t suck. I don’t have issues with expletives generally (unless it’s just stupid & gratuitous), but if I have to read a sentence 3 times & I still don’t get it? Pass. Or if people use stupid text abbreviations? I’m out of there. I want to read real words, thank you.

My blog…is probably pretty mediocre. I do it because I enjoy it. I love writing & I hope to be better at it someday. I’m not totally inept, but compared to some blogs I read? I’m only slightly above inept. I enjoy that people read what I write. I love getting comments because I love the discussion. I like to feel I’m connecting with people & doing for them what I want a blog to do for me, if that makes sense.

WTH am I Doing September 22, 2010 at 10:21 am

Also? I don’t comment on a blog unless I have something to say. I don’t like getting fluff comments from someone who stopped by out of obligation. Usually I don’t, but I’ve had a few. Even blogs I love? If I don’t have something to say, I just read & move on.

Dana @ Bungalow'56 September 22, 2010 at 11:02 am

I have just recently found your blog, and find your writing to be intelligent, humourous and thought provoking. The “job” of Blogging came as quite a surprise to me. I went blindly forth unaware of the social media behind it, and was unaware of the “business” of gaining readership. I decided to give it a go, and it didn’t make me happy. My teen daughter and her friends often read my blog, so it must remain something my family can feel comfortable with. So for some it may be a proud mama’s mediocre ramblings and for others they’ve found a connection. I’ve learned that if something I say or show resonates with someone they will stick around, if not that is fine. Ultimately my blog will always reflect me, and to be truthful I’m not always stellar in real life, I have my mediocre moments. The “I should have showered before quickly picking up a few groceries” days, and I suppose my blog would reflect that. And for the most part, I have decided to be OK with it. Otherwise it takes over my life. The work involved in making money from a blog is a full time job. It is like starting a business. Take a blog class from someone who has made it and they will fill you in. The information equaled three to four hours of good solid posts, and connecting with other bloggers for two years, established success, or eight to ten hour days and you would see results in six months. Success monetarily started on a very small scale after a daily readership of 2000. This information was shared with me during a one on one session with a very successful craft blogger. She now gives classes on all sorts of social media. And I’m sorry I’ve forgotten her blog name. It was when I first began.
Good Luck to everyone.
Dana

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 4:36 pm

I believe that it takes all the work you outline, Dana, and then some. And maybe a little luck thrown in, too. For some it’s doable and/or desirable and for others, it’s not.

What I’ve learned today is that the blogging community is full of diverse people with diverse goals and motivations, and I can’t expect everyone to have the same goals as mine!

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 11:24 am

Okay, so what do you do if someone is a faithful follower to you. Comments thoughtfully on every post. You don’t care for her blog.

Do you read it, or not?

Yuliya September 22, 2010 at 12:02 pm

THAT is the question…I think that’s the real conundrum here how can you still be respectful and nice without wasting your time. Like why eat carrot cake when you really want chocolate? (except carrot cake doesn’t have feelings)

WTH am I Doing September 22, 2010 at 12:09 pm

Hmm. Honestly? I probably don’t. What I will do, however, is keep an eye on it to see if anything pops up that I find interesting. If a person faithfully follows me & comments thoughtfully on all my posts? I will probably get to know them as a person & will make an effort to at least glance at the titles of what they’re posting. Odds are, eventually, something will interest me.

But do I make a strong effort to do this or read their blog? No, not really. And I know this is true in reverse. There are people I read & comment pretty faithfully on who I’ve rarely (or never) seen at my blog. It does make me a little sad sometimes, but if I truly like their blog? I still read it & comment.

Dana @ Bungalow'56 September 22, 2010 at 1:27 pm

I check in once every week or two, unless of course the content is offensive and then I don’t return. I would think there is an understanding that once a blogger is getting a huge amount of comments it is no longer possible for them to return each one. If you do not have a huge readership, then popping in once in awhile is the polite thing to do.

Megan (Best of Fates) September 22, 2010 at 1:51 pm

This is something I’ve struggled with, as every once in a while there’s a person who comments on my blog. And as I’m a teeny-tiny little blog, I always go back and look at commentator’s blogs. But once I went back to this particular person’s last post and it was offensive. I mean, extremely offensive to me. And I didn’t comment or say anything, because I’m not into Internet drama. But now every time that person comments, I’m hesitant to return, even though it was only that one post. But what I love about blogging is the relationships and connections, and a part of me is worried about hurting this person’s feelings.

I know, it doesn’t make perfect sense.

And if it was someone I knew in real life, I’d have no problem just accepting that we’re different people who don’t have the same interests or tastes. But I do truly appreciate her taking the time to read my posts and comments. And I don’t want to imply that that has no meaning to me, because it does.

Clearly?

I don’t really have an answer.

But I love your questions.

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 8:35 pm

But I want answers, Megan!!!

I don’t like hurting people’s feelings either. I really don’t.

Tracie September 22, 2010 at 2:05 pm

I struggled with this. What was the nice thing, the expected thing, the thing that I SHOULD do?

I found myself spending lots of time reading blogs that I wasn’t that interested in just to drive more comments. It wasn’t fulfilling or a good use of my time.

My new system is to read the blogs that I love all through the week. I try to spend one day a week (usually on the weekend) going through my posts and checking out new commenters. During that time there are a few people I have who comment a lot, but I don’t enjoy their blogs for whatever reason. I try to stop by theirs every couple of weeks and skim over what they have posted and see if there is something that I feel inspired to comment on.

Since I respond to comments via email, I feel like I am building relationships and conversations with people who stop by even if I’m not regularly reading their blogs. Maybe that is the compromise.

Sherri September 22, 2010 at 6:13 pm

I know that there are a few blogs that I love and comment on that the author doesn’t feel connected to mine, and that’s OK. I do have my stand-by favorites that I visit several times a week to see what’s up, then try and read new blogs to find new favorites. I have never commented to someone feeling like they needed to love me back. But it does feel odd when you “get” a blogger’s style and assume they would “get” you…and they don’t.

Ashley @ Just Another Mom of 2 September 22, 2010 at 10:32 am

This is an interesting perspective. As a relatively new blogger, I can say that establishing a blog is hard work. It is tough to put yourself out there, tough to work your way into a blogging community, and tough to be willing to bare it all. I have done this in bits and pieces. My blog focuses on myself being a mom to two young kids and moving a lot- not the most carved out niche exactly, but beyond being a mom, I don’t know that I have a niche- or perhaps that I don’t know what niche might suit me.

Blogging, to me, is a process. I was a journalism major before I eventually earned my degree in legal studies, and there are many approaches to writing. I still have years of learning to be concise and clear warring with wanting to add detail and be creative. I am still sifting through and learning my “voice”.

Liz at A Belle, A Bean and A Chicago Dog mentioned that she blogged privately for a long time before going public. I think Liz and her blog embody what a blog “should” be. She has a strong voice, entertaining content, and knows who she is as a blogger. I can tell you from reading her for a bit that that is where I strive my blog to go, what I strive my blog to be a reflection of me. And that takes time.

I understand about reviews and giveaways. I do a few myself, though they are very, very limited. I am not a review & giveaway blogger, but I enjoy some of the fun ones that make sense, like my current one, an online database to keep information handy and secure (ok, shameless plug). But with another move looming ahead in a few months, I thought this was a great idea and fit with me and my blog- however, it’s not one of the more glamorous giveaways, so it won’t get as much attention as another giveaway I have coming up. Quite frankly, the work involved in them really dictates that I minimize them, as well as there are not a lot of fits for me. In that aspect, I like to think I stay true to my voice.

It’s all about learning. I think there is a lot of mediocrity out there, I think I have been guilty of this myself, and I think some people don’t care. But there are also a lot of bloggers out there trying to find their way, trying to find their voice. I know I am.

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 11:26 am

Well said, Ashley. It’s all about learning. I also need to remember what I think is mediocre today may tomorrow be improved into a fantastic blog. We are all learning and growing. :)

Bethany September 22, 2010 at 11:05 am

I realized while reading this that I feel mediocre a lot of the time. I put something out there just to say “Hey, I posted today, I’m good.” But really, if you don’t have something worth saying, you shouldn’t say it. The flip side of that is that I am not trying to be big, I don’t want my blog to be a business for me, it’s not my job or my ambition to be successful. It’s just my hobby – something to fill my time. I never really meant for anyone to read it, it just sorta happened. So in that case, I feel like I get to be mediocre if I want to, because it’s my spot.

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 4:37 pm

I understand what you are saying. And I do think that we can’t expect everyone to be stellar every day. But it sounds like you never courted readership. It happened. Which tells me that your content was good enough to draw people.

angela September 22, 2010 at 11:07 am

I already wrote a book, but after reading some of the other comments, I have one more little thing to say.

I have to wholeheartedly second (or third or whatever) the idea that the cream does not rise to the top. If I can generalize a ton, our society as a whole has been programmed to accept what is marketed and thrown at us, whether that is Paris Hilton or Jersey Shore or three hundred incarnations of the Law and Order franchise. Are those things entertaining? Sometimes, in different ways. Are they the “cream” of our society? I hope not.

Susie Kline September 22, 2010 at 3:40 pm

Angela, this was great! I love your examples. Reality TV is very popular, but is sure isn’t great!

xo Susie

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 4:58 pm

Excellent point indeed. Now, I’m off to go watch Snooki.

alyson: common sense, dancing September 22, 2010 at 11:12 am

Wow Gig! That got us all thinking!

I just forwarded my piece for OMH to Liz today, aimed at newer bloggers, and one of the points I made in the column was that if you want to blog, blog. And what I mean by that is write. Write well, spell stuff correctly, punctuate. (Hopefully I’m better here than on Twitter.)

As a newer blogger, I find the cacophony about “content” to be intimidating, and worse, judgmental. “Write good content and they will come,” is sort of the message. Who decides what’s good content? LIke the earlier commenter about Best Women Authors….

I suppose it depends, as you indicated, what your goal is with the blog. If you are counting followers in order to make relationships with advertisers and ultimately make significant money off of your blog, then *if* I visit (or follow) I expect to find a site that’s worth my time. If you are just writing to write, and are allowing the rest of us a peek into your world — the good the bad the ugly — then I would say that I don’t get to have an expectation as to what I find. I can visit again, or not.

At the end of the day, though, I sort of hope that what we choose to put out publicly is something that is written with a modicum of care for language, and is something that reflects the author’s authenticity and integrity.

So I would say to newer bloggers in particuarl, just write. Write well, write in your distinct voice, and just write. I believe that good writing will win out — will it win out in millions of hits? Who’s to say? But if you expect to be compensated for your product, it better be a good one. There’s too many of us out there to expect that mediocrity — I mean in writing, not in content — should be the norm.

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 4:59 pm

Okay, that was very delicately and eloquently said. So many of you are saying what I intended to say in a much better way.

That’s why I don’t consider myself a writer – just an observer and commenter.

Hutch September 22, 2010 at 11:25 am

With as busy as I’ve been lately I’m definitely more picky about what I’m going to spend time reading and commenting on. But I also understand my mediocre might be another’s entertainment.

Krista @ Not Mommy of the Year September 22, 2010 at 11:49 am

Hm… I’m really intrigued by your post and many of the comments. I read a lot of blogs – some because their words can take me inside their house, their memories, their heads and I read them wishing I could write like they do. They give me something to aspire to. Others because I’ve gotten to know them through their blogs, through mine, Twitter, etc and I care about what goes on in their lives.

Of the blogs you’re writing about, I’m curious… Is it the topics that are boring? Is the writing just not as engaging as it could be? Does the tone make you crazy?

For me, It’s hard to judge what makes a blog good and what makes it mediocre. Mine is likely both on any given day depending on whether you ask my mother, an e-friend or a random person on the street.

Definitely a thought-provoking post! :)

Natalie September 22, 2010 at 12:18 pm

Gigi, I’m glad you’re making some waves and bringing this up.

I’ve been struggling lately with my blog…I haven’t found my niche and I don’t feel like I’m successfully doing anything. Should I post more pics? Less? Is my writing fun and what people want to hear about, or do my loyal readers come for the same reasons I go to some blogs – out of feeling that they have to. Should I keep doing reviews/giveaways? I’m kind of at a place where I don’t really feel like I know what the heck I’m doing!

All that being said, the reason I mention it is because I’m afraid of becoming the mediocre blogger you’re talking about, and that most of us know all too well. Yes, mediocrity is the norm. I go to some blogs, roll my eyes and sigh because I know the posts won’t be pulling me in and exciting me/making me feel in someway.

This post is excellent, as are the comments. Gonna retweet this for sure!

Pop September 22, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Your blog is anything but mediocre! I don’t really have a niche either but one of the reasons I go to blogs for info and entertainment is that there’s a voice and a personality to each blog. And the readers of blogs almost become a niche in and of themselves.

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Thanks, Natalie. That is my fear, too. But that’s why we participate in communities and have friends to keep us in check and on the path that will lead us to our goal – whatever that goal may be.

Amy ~ Eat. Live. Laugh. Shop. September 22, 2010 at 12:37 pm

I absolutely live this discourse. I am new to the blogging world and am aware my blog is mediocre (at best). What has surprised me, however, is that so many people who have been doing it for so long are still mediocre! My personal goal is to improve . . . over time. If I do not find myself putting in the time to improve this craft then I would have to stop doing it.

And if it is just a personal blog, then why all the blog hops and need to amass followers?!? I did one hop and was appalled that the bar was so low.

That said, we can’t all be rock stars. I am a huge proponent of encouraging women to do their personal best – whatever that is – in order to find happiness. If someone’s personal best blogging is still mediocre by other’s standards, well, too bad. It is very subjective and I think, as with most things in life, we’ll settle into little circles that feel comfortable and make sense. Follow who you like. Truly like.

Amy ~ Eat. Live. Laugh. Shop. September 22, 2010 at 12:39 pm

Maybe encouraging proofing would help with mediocrity.
: )
I meant “LOVE” this discourse.

MommaKiss September 22, 2010 at 12:47 pm

I’ve been thinking about my comment for a while. Because no matter how I say it, It’s not going go come out right (a.k.a. I’ll probably be offensive).

You are 100% correct. I’m not a writer. Not in the slightest. I love to make people laugh. And sometimes that happens. I’ve had a ‘real’ blog for over 2 years, before that, other online ‘connection’ sites…I do love the community sense, a lot.

But my goal is to stay true to who *I* am when I post something.

I don’t think “will so-and-so like this line? Or will so-and-so be moved by this?”

So recently (in terms of my blog-life) I’ve found amazing blogs, more the people behind the blog. I’ve also found some ‘Starbuck’s’ blogs, too – and am I continuously moved or entertained? No freakin’ way. But I signed up. This has me re-thinking that process. Hard. I thank you for that. My time is more important.

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 8:51 pm

Momma, I don’t think you need to be a writer to be a good blogger – several others have alluded to this on the thread. I think writing with a point of view that is interesting and consistent is important. :)

Jen September 22, 2010 at 12:49 pm

I am so glad that I found this link off Twitter. I really enjoyed this post and the comments. There is a really good discussion going on here.

This is what I try to do on my blog. I believe that when I started out blogging, I wasn’t really good but I like to tell stories so with the practice of blogging and writing my stories got better and better and so did my writing (or at least I think so).

Each post that I put out there is something that I put my heart and soul into. I play around with the story in my head for days before I write it. I am not trying to say that everything I write is golden, I still have bad posts but I try.

I want people to come to my blog and stay as a loyal reader because they like how I write and not because of a giveaway or something else.

I try to think of it this way, even though I have a loyal following, I try to write each post as if it was first impression for someone because more likely than not it is.

ash September 22, 2010 at 6:41 pm

Love you, and all your stories.

Excellent point about the first impression, by the way. Really excellent.

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 8:50 pm

So true! half my readers are new visitors, nearly every day. They’ll likely only give you one chance to make the impression.

Not sure what today’s post left people with if they’re new here today. :)

Jackie September 22, 2010 at 12:57 pm

I just started blogging in May and I know that my blog is one of those that are mediocre.
I know that I don’t put in as much time, effort, or thought that I could. And there are a few reasons for that…. I’m not that good of a writer, laziness (sort of), 4 kids, husband, job, and so on.
I also know that the more I do it and the more feedback I get from readers the better I’ll get at it. There are some things that I should do that I probably don’t know and some things that I don’t always do that I know I should.
I started this for me though and my family. They don’t care how well it’s written, they still read. That being said I still want my blog to do well, get readers attention, and make it in this large world of blogging.
I have yet to really find my true voice, my niche…. know what I mean?
I try not to judge others blogs. I read, comment, and try to be a friend to all. Good or bad they all have something to say and comments are the best way that they have to know people are actually reading.

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 8:49 pm

I just applaud you for your desire to improve..I think by all of us working to improve, we make the whole community better.

mommakiss September 22, 2010 at 1:09 pm

pssst:
http://mommakiss.blogspot.com/2010/09/its-not-me-its-you.html
you’re making me *think* dammit!

Kim September 22, 2010 at 1:26 pm

2 things.
That’s funny that you compare blogs to Starbucks. I compare them to skinny jeans. Not everyone can pull it off successfully.

That said, I choose not to surround myself with mediocrity. If I think your blog is a POS I don’t follow it. Someone else who has oodles of time can follow the crappy blogs.

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 8:45 pm

Ha! Skinny jeans! Thanks for a much needed laugh on this thread!

Shell September 22, 2010 at 1:30 pm

Very interesting post- and comments, too!

People blog for a whole bunch of different reasons. I have a family blog(nope, not the one you know about- it’s my first blog and private) that would bore people to tears if you didn’t know my family. It’s pictures of our day-to-day life and little descriptions of what we did. But, I also don’t have a follow gadget on it or even have comments turned on or put it out there that it exists, other than to family and close friends. It’s for me, really. But, it amazes me how many people have blogs like that who try to encourage people to follow them. I never know what to say on those.

For my other blog, I’m sure I have days when what I post is mediocre. And I still sit there in wonder that anyone reads me. I haven’t hit “Starbucks” level yet, though after a certain point, it seems that people wil judge and say that about any blog that has over a certain number of followers. And I think people are more critical of blogs that aren’t new, too.

I could probably go on and on. LOL

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 8:45 pm

My point exactly. If you have a family blog, why encourage followers? I just don’t really understand that. Why people would want to expose their personal day to day lives to such critique. I don’t think I would.

SaucyB September 22, 2010 at 1:37 pm

I must agree, in participting in various communities I’ve often been surprised by what was deemed remarkable enough to be a featured blog or that a particular site had so many followers. I’m guessing these are the same folks that when commenting on someone else’s blog merely say, “Great blog” and leave their url.
As a result, I am very choosey about which blogs I follow/subscribe to. There has to be quality writing and I need to feel a certain connection with blog’s author – like if we met we would be friends in real life.
Good for you for raising this subject.

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 8:43 pm

Do you think people respond well to “great blog” and a URL?” to the point that the person who does that would have thousands of followers? It seems to be a hated practice generally. But maybe there is a subcategory of bloggers who are okay with that and support one another?

Angie @ On the rocks and straight up September 22, 2010 at 1:38 pm

A writer (real pro, used to write for SNL) once told me that the way to writing success was to write things that you were either (a) scared to say or that (b) you wouldn’t necessarily want everybody to know.

Today, Gigi, you’ve nailed (a) squarely on the head, and I’ve really enjoyed both your post and the lively discussion that it has engendered. I’ve been surprised by how difficult it is for me to frame a response that won’t sound either self-depricating or pretentious and bitchy.

So….here goes. There are some fabulous writers out there in the blogosphere, but while all of those writers are blogging, it doesn’t follow that all bloggers are writers. Some bloggers write with such passion and skill that you know you’ll see their names on a bookshelf in Barnes & Noble one day. Others lack a basic grasp of grammar and punctuation, but their audiences may be family and friends who don’t care and are following to get updates on their kids and family vacations.

I’ve always considered myself to be a writer (personal definition: if I don’t write, my head will explode), so I tend to look for blogs that come across as writer’s blogs. Giveaways, product pimping, or mommy diaries aren’t things that draw me back.

What draws me back to a blog are the (a) and (b) categories I mentioned above. The feeling that, when I’ve read a post (not necessarily *every* post, but at least some), I’ve seen through a window into the heart of the blogger, to a place that’s raw and bare. The blog will pull me back like a magnet if the blogger manages to accomplish this while injecting some humor into her writing.

That’s how I started my blog, and perhaps my preference is just birds of a feather, etc. However, while I strive for a mix of seriousness and humor, some of my posts are definitely about the funny things my kids have done that day, so who am I to criticize? My numbers have not skyrocketed, so for all I know, I am one of those mediocre bloggers.

One thing I do wonder, though, is about frequency of posting. Some of the super-blogs are as fabulous as they’ve been made out to be. But I think your Starbucks analogy is right on the money when it comes to others, and perhaps they’ve gained Starbucks status due to pure tenacity in publishing and self-promotion. I would love to publish a post per day, but with twin three year olds, it would be a crappy post per day. Would that bring me more traffic? I have no idea. But I don’t want to publish a post just for the sake of having one up that day.

Somewhere in the comments people were talking about making money blogging, and if that’s one of the criteria for “serious,” non-mediocre blogs, I’m SOL. I know nothing about SEO, don’t want to put ads on my blog, and often wonder whether I’d get more people visiting if I switched to Wordpress.

My ultimate goal is to write a book, and I’m using my blog to get and keep my brain limbered up until I figure out what kind of book it will be, and until my kids are in school enough that I’m able to sit down and actually write it.

At this rate, I could just publish this comment as a novel though, so perhaps my work here is done.

Thanks, Gigi!

SaucyB September 22, 2010 at 2:56 pm

Angie – I totally know what you mean about not posting every day. There’s no way I could put out quality writing – at least not by my own standard anyway – and put out more than 3 posts in a week max. Plus, I know I would get burnt out.

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 8:42 pm

Oops ! I read your second comment before your first. We were saying the same thing.

I want to clarify, too, that if anywhere I suggested that the goal of money making is a trait of a serious blogger. I don’t believe that to be the case. I think a personal blog, with no interest in SEO or whatnot, can be just as compelling a read as one who might also happen to advertise. I am all for the people who want to make money doing this. I’m also all for the people who don’t.

Angie @ On the rocks and straight up September 22, 2010 at 1:43 pm

Can’t believe I’m adding a post-script to the world’s longest comment, but:

Perhaps writing and blogging are different crafts entirely. People who have mastered the art of blogging are also masters of marketing, with a sense for what people want. (They also tend to have kick-ass computer skills, but that’s a separate topic).

I suspect I lose many of my readers mid-post because (shocker!) I write long posts. Many of the uber-blogs have fairly short posts.

This makes me question my perspective on the whole darn thing. What do you think, gals?

Yuliya September 22, 2010 at 4:11 pm

I agree that blogging and writing are two different crafts, haven’t you ever read/followed a published writer’s blog and thought “oh sweetie, no…”
And yes having in house tech support is a must if you want to be big time.

ash September 22, 2010 at 6:48 pm

Angie – I’m with you on the longish posts – mine do tend to go past a paragraph or two, which always seems to make it to the “top 10 things not to do to get readers” lists, usually put out by the Starbucks crowd.

Maybe it’s because I don’t talk a lot in real life, so I have to dump it on my blog, but I’m with you, my numbers are small, but my followers I consider friends. They put up with my long-winded self ;- )

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 8:39 pm

I think there is a difference between writing and blogging. I think there is some overlap, too, t hough.

There are some great writers who blog. And some great bloggers who happen to write pretty well.

I think this is what Cheryl was getting at.

Leslie @ crunchybetty September 22, 2010 at 1:43 pm

I’m compelled to chime in here, because I’ve absolutely had all these thoughts and more. But over the last few weeks, I’ve come to some understandings with the way I read/respond to blogs.

First of all, I’m very unlikely to comment on a blog that already has tons of readers/comments – unless I’m particularly moved by a post or madly in love with the person behind it.

Mostly because I find the majority of the more popular blogs to be better written, more sleekly designed versions of most every other blog out there, so there’s not a lot that moves me. Plus, only a small fraction feel “authentic.”

Honestly, I would prefer to read more “mediocre” (small) blogs and comment on them, because a) it’s not my position to judge where they’re at in their life and blogging efforts and b) if I can make someone just a little bit happier by commenting on a post, I’m going to do it.

Statistics are that if I comment on someone’s post when there’s already 30+ comments, it’s not going to make much of a difference.

Does that mean I regularly read mediocre blogs? No. But I’ve decided that if I take the time to read a post, I can certainly take the time to find a happy, positive thing to say about it.

That being said, I do think it would behoove us ALL to step up our game a little bit.

We have a GIANT opportunity here to change the way of the world, but until a majority of us are willing to go nose to the grindstone and be (happily) serious about it, we’re all just going to be “those women bloggers who prattle.”

Laura September 22, 2010 at 7:16 pm

Wow, I was mentally composing a comment, unsure of how to properly get across what I wanted to convey. However, Leslie just saved me a crapload of time by writing my feelings exactly.

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 8:38 pm

A afew interesting points you make here. Your last paragraph? I couldn’t agree more. Sadly a lot of women just don’t have the time or luxury to put noses to the grindstone. It’s really too bad.

What I found more interesting, though, was that you said you’d prefer to read more “mediocre (small)” blogs….and it made me wonder if the message I sent in my original post was that I believe smaller blogs are mediocre as a rule. So I’ll take a minute here to say quite to the contrary. In fact, there are a few bloggers that I read, who are smallish, and I think, ‘WHY are they not published authors yet? They so deserve a wider audience.”

Thanks for your thoughts.

Tracie September 22, 2010 at 1:58 pm

I’ll admit it. Usually when I see a post with this many comments I skim past them and write what I want to say. who cares about those other people’s opinions!? Actually, I just don’t take the time to read all those comments, but this post was different. It was interesting to go through and read all the thoughtful responses to mediocrity.

I have often been puzzled by very “big blogs” that have very little interesting content. I started blogging back in 2006 and then had a big break until 2009. In those few years blogging changed a lot! Review/giveaway blogs seem to dominate now. Writing seems to have gone out the window for a lot of these bloggers. Memes also have taken over. Sometimes they can provide interesting writing prompts, or a fun jumping off place for a post, but a lot of times they are just lists of questions. When I see a blog that is all reviews/ giveaways and memes, and almost no posts that are just from the heart of the blogger, I don’t stick around.

I know that my writing isn’t what I would like it to be….yet, but I am working on it. I stopped pressuring myself to post a certain amount of times a week, and started working on more quality in what I put out there.

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 8:34 pm

It’s really interesting to hear your view, having been in bloggyland “long” ago and then taking a break. I find it fascinating that review/giveaway blogs are new to dominate. BTW, I don’t consider review/giveaway blogs mediocre as a rule. I think many of them do fantastic jobs running a very hard blog niche and make money and get stuff to boot. I don’t begrudge them one bit. I couldn’t ever do it!

Beth September 22, 2010 at 2:15 pm

Hmmm … Interesting post! I will confess that first of all I wondered if mine was one of the mediocre many rather than the excellent few … though my goal is openness and excellence! I suspect that the mediocrity is in line with the reality that most bloggers don’t stick with it! I think that the last I heard was that the average life span of a blog was 3 months? Shoot … it took me 3 YEARS just to find my voice!

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 8:32 pm

I think that’s very true. The life span is short, so there are always people, still struggling to find their voices, cycling through the blogosphere.

Shell September 22, 2010 at 2:16 pm

I’m back. LOL

Along the lines of mediocrity, do you know the posts I absolutely will not read? When the blogger tells you right in the beginning that she has nothing to write today or that this post isn’t interesting or is apologizing for how boring that post is going to be. Nope. I don’t click over to read the rest.

Tracie September 22, 2010 at 2:25 pm

Me too!!! That should be a rule! No blogging about how your post will suck. If you looked at the back of the book and the description started with “This is certainly not the best book I have written, but I need to put something out there for you to read or you might forget about me” would you buy it? NO! Then don’t blog it either!

Also a turn off for me, blogging about how you have writer’s block. That is something you can talk privately with your friends about and ask for ideas…..but I don’t want to read about it. Chances are I have writer’s block of my own, and hearing about yours doesn’t help mine in the least!

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 8:31 pm

I gotta agree with this one. I pretty much run away on those.

Blogging Goddess September 22, 2010 at 3:03 pm

I am not sure what mediocre is exactly. Am I mediocre? Yes, I am asking your humble opinion. I don’t read a blog unless it grabs me in some way, shape or form. And, I only comment when I have something to say.

At one time in my life, I had a “big blog”, was it mediocre? I really don’t have any idea. What I do know is that people seemed to like it. I am still writing like that, but now it is small and cozy…and frankly, I like it that way!

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 8:26 pm

I’d really like to hear about your big blog. Maybe you should be running this discussion, seriously! Why do you think people liked it? what was its genre? Why did you stop?

One thing I know for sure is that if you’re not actively trying to gain a readership and you somehow manage to gain one, that you must be doing something right.

heidi @ wonder woman wannabe September 30, 2010 at 2:18 pm

I think that, right there, can be a definition of success in blogging – having the ability to gain readership by not having to market.

John September 22, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Aunt Becky of Mommy Wants Vodka wrote “you don’t owe the internet anything”, and she was correct, but it’s very easy to take her statement out of context. She meant that you don’t owe the denizens of the Internet anything — you put what you put out there, and you should never feel that you have to deal with anybody who comes to you with their problems because they feel a connection to you.

However, we all owe the internet something – and that’s our best writing. I know I don’t blog nearly as much as I would like because I refuse to put shit out there (now, you can claim that my writing is shit in itself, but it’s my highest quality shit).

If you feel you’re mediocre, you’re doing something seriously wrong.

We raise the bar by putting our best out there – and having kick-ass friends who are going to 1) tell us when we’ve done good and 2) tell us that something’s not quite up to standard.

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 8:24 pm

I wish I could retweet your comment. your last sentence says it all to me. I know many will disagree that we all owe the internet our best writing..but I think that’s so true. Otherwise, why not just keep a personal journal?

Susie Kline September 22, 2010 at 3:52 pm

I think you’ve tackled a delicate topic in a nice, frank way. Yes, mediocre is in the eye of the beholder. Yes, those blog hops are designed to get as many followers as fast as you can in a false way. I think we’ve all fallen for it in the beginning.

Personally, I will no longer RT or recommend anything that doesn’t move me in some way. If you make me think, laugh, cry…you will get Stumbled and promoted. Jason Houck of http://weighyourmind.com/ on Twitter even came up with a hashtag: #blogpromote.

I’ve found great blogs to follow by going on Twitter and asking what I should read that day. It’s a great way to find people who are proud of what they’ve written.

I have been blogging for a long time, but not to the extent I am blogging now. One thing I’ve learned is this: there are no rules.

I’m glad you spoke up! It’s made me think and made me want to be better!

xo Susie

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 8:22 pm

I agree, Susie, that what you recommend, retweet, etc. says something about your own blogging!

Thank you for visiting me today and participating in the discussion!

Cheryl @ Mommypants September 22, 2010 at 4:03 pm

Great post, fascinating comments – good for you, Gigi, to have the balls to take this on.

I did the 5 minutes blog thing too. And I agree, there were a few too many “I’m following you, come follow me back.” Frankly, I don’t follow all my followers back. Because some of them have blogs I’d never read, for many reasons: they’re a review/giveaway blog, they’re overtly religious, they lack basic writing skills – and more.

But what WAS valuable to me about that carnival was it helped stretched me as a writer with some of the prompts.

And this leads me to this: I am a writer. I’m a trained professional journalist. The blogs I really love are the ones by women who can right the shit out of something. I want it to make me think. I want to be moved emotionally. I want to laugh.

I absolutely agree w/ pp who said writing and blogging are two different things. The Bloggess? Is an amazing writer. ScaryMommy? Is a blogger. Both are successful, both for different reasons. Neither one might be your cup of tea, but the good news is you don’t have to read them.

I have a regular bunch of commenters (many who have commented on this post – love you guys!) and I go to their blogs, too. If I have a new commenter I make a special effort to go to their blog just to see what they’re about. I’ve found some amazing new blogs that way. If someone is a faithful commenter on my blog but I don’t much care for theirs, I will still wander over to see if there’s anything interesting. But I ALWAYS comment on every comment left on my blog.

I blog to write. I blog to connect. Would I like to make money from it? Sure. Will I sell my soul to do it? Nope.

My advice (if you’re still reading this tome): Be honest when you blog. No one has time for bs. Be honest. If people connect with that? Awesome. But you’ll never be mediocre if you write from your heart.

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 8:21 pm

so, Cheryl. My question back to you is why you don’t consider ScaryMommy a writer?

What makes one a writer?

You don’t have to answer that in public if you don’t want to.

I think they are two different genres of bloggers. I would consider Bloggess a writer’s writer. I would consider ScaryMommy as a light humorist/commenter. I enjoy both of them immensely. They are different, yet both really good at what they do.

I like your perspective on this.

Cheryl @ Mommypants September 22, 2010 at 10:40 pm

To me, a writer is someone who moves me through their words, who can turn a phrase, who gets technical aspects of writing. To be a natural writer is a gift. It’s like any talent; music, art, sense of direction. You either have it or you don’t. If you don’t, you can work really hard and get good, but it’s not the same. This probably makes no sense!

kludgymom September 23, 2010 at 8:25 am

I agree with you. So my next question, Cheryl (are you seeing my interrogation skills come out?) is do you only read blogs of writers?

Or do you read blogs by “bloggers?”

You must read blogs by bloggers, because you read mine, and I do not consider myself a writer in any way, shape or form. Nor will I ever be.

So there must be something that bloggers can “give” to their audience other than “natural writing” that you perceive to be valuable or worthy of a return visit?

It’s that I pay yo uto come here and comment, isn’t it? :)

Adrienne September 22, 2010 at 4:11 pm

I have so many thoughts about this post and the comments so far, I don’t even know where to begin!

Start with this: kudos to you for having the guts to write about this!

For me, I don’t care how many mediocre blogs are out there; people can write about what they want, in any way they want, and I’m cool with that. What’s difficult is when they show up in my inbox, my comments, or Twitter whining about how no one is reading them. I’m not talking about genuine questions, like “Hey, what’s going on? How can I improve?”, but, “It’s not fair! How come I can’t be one of the cool kids?” My blog isn’t big, but I have the readers I have because I’ve worked hard, not because I won a popularity contest.

To me, it’s this expectation that, if you commented on my post, I MUST comment on yours that’s frustrating. There are blogs where I read and comment often that never visit me. I read and comment because I enjoy a post, or it made me think or laugh or cry.

So really, that’s my issue, that sense of obligation. And honestly? Some of our blogs are going to grow; some are never going to catch fire; some are going to have a small, loyal following for a long time; some will fizzle out and die. There are 200,000,000 blogs in the world. There is no way that they’re all awesome!

Really, it’s exhausting, and if that’s the only way to have any readers, how will I ever find the time to actually blog? I can’t keep up with hundreds of blogs, write my own (plus do my other writing), and live my life, too.

How do we raise the bar? I think we stop reading and commenting because we feel obligated and read what we like and comment when we really have something to say. I’m pretty sure I’ve lost some readers that way, but I think of it this way: if I’m only commenting on a blog because I want a return visit/comment, then I am using that blogger. If I won’t do that to others, why would I allow others to do it to me?

Erm, Gigi? Methinks you’ve hit a nerve!

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 8:17 pm

Well said!! This is my pet peeve, too. As I said in response to someone else..if you’re blogging for yourself only, that’s one thing. But don’t whine if no one’s following your blog and you haven’t looked within for the reasons why.

I finally came by yOUR blog the other day, read a lovely post and my internet promptly locked up and I couldn’t leave a comment. But I’ll be back. :)

Judy Schwartz Haley | CoffeeJitters.Net September 22, 2010 at 5:22 pm

people blog for a lot of different reasons. Some just to have their own little plot of whatever out in cyberspace – an opportunity to stake their claim to do whatever they want with it. Some blog for catharsis, an opportunity to have their say. Some blog to find friends. I would bet that most people who blog would not really consider themselves writers, it’s just that their writing is a means to some other ends. And many of these blogs are boring to read, but my assumption is that if it doesn’t connect with me, it wasn’t meant for me, and I just move on to another blog.

There are of course many beautifully written blogs, many engaging blogs, and some that are both.

The true mediocrity of blogland are those blogs that exist solely for the purpose of collecting followers. Those blogs drive me nuts. All they are interested in is how many followers they get. They have even chased me down to say they subscribed to my blog so they expect a return subscription to theirs. Tacky.

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 8:13 pm

I was reading someone else’s post today that wrote a really heartfelt story as part of our Back to Schoool, Back to Blogging Challenge. She also participated in some sort of Tuesday blog hop. almost 100% of the commenters just said, “following you, follow me.” I don’t even think they scanned her post, let alone read it.

It made me sad.

Pua September 22, 2010 at 5:25 pm

When I first started to blog, I realize a lot of it was mundane and boring. I was still trying to figure it all out. I did everything I was supposed to, started using my Twitter more, commented on blogs (even if I hated the content), all of that. I can honestly say I never said “go visit me” or “follow me and I’ll follow you.” I didn’t want to play that game. I figured if they wanted to, they would. I realize some of my post generally border on mundane, but that’s because I KNOW what gets people to react. I know what the few readers out there like, but I’m having a hard time pulling a complete 180 and doing those, although I KNOW those are my best works. I’m doing it slowly instead.
And since, I’ve stopped commenting on people’s blogs just because they comment on mine. I’ve stopped searching them out, trying to think of something to say on any post. If you write it, they will come, I figure. I know I have some gold in there, and adding more gold than fools everyday. I just hope that as I start to write more to what appeases me, my readers won’t abandon me, but if they do, it just means it wasn’t what they connected with.
If I don’t rise to the top based off of my talent, then fine, I still write for me. Somewhere, someone is connecting to it. And that’s okay. Like someone else said, eventually the mundane ones will start to die off because they bore even themselves.

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 8:11 pm

It sounds like you have your bloggy head screwed on pretty straight, Pua. :)

Tough Cookie Mommy September 22, 2010 at 5:36 pm

I actually read this post on my phone today at work along with all of the comments that had already been posted up to that point. Let me say that I am reasonably new to blogging and my blog just hit the one year mark. You definitely have a right to your opinion and we should all be prepared to hear the opinions and critiques of others because that is what happens when you publish your writing. Publish means that you make it PUBLIC. The two cents that I would like to chime in with is that I too am shocked at the quality of some of the blogs that are considered the most popular ones with the most followers. It really has made me realize that, in the blogging world, to some extent, quantity matters over quality. I understand that blogging can be lucrative and, believe me, I could use extra income as much as the next Mom. However, I just feel that my blog should stand for something and be about something. It should at least have a theme, in my opinion, and I am not going to compromise the integrity of my blog and its content to make some quick money. If financial opportunities arise out of me being true to myself on my blog, then so be it. I will not turn those opportunities down if they adhere to the overall theme and ethics of my blog. I’m a teacher so this is the way that I look at it, like your teacher used to tell you back in your school days, “you should be proud of all the work that you hand in that you attach your name to.” I don’t attach my name to anything that I am not proud of…

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 8:10 pm

I love your last two sentences, Maria. That is my philosophy also, almost to a fault, really.

I believe that, even if your blog posts aren’t Pulitzer Prize material, people can tell whether you’ve half assed it or whether you’ve truly put your best foot forward.

And you brought up something at the beginning of your comment that few people have touched on in this incredibly involved discussion – when you hit Publish, you are making your writing subject to critique, like it or not. After reflection for most of today on this, I think we all do a little assessment and judging of other blogs, whether we admit or or not.

Renee(2old2tap) September 22, 2010 at 5:40 pm

Sigh, yes. I am one of the mediocre bloggers. But in my own defense, I’ve just started this journey.
Opening myself entirely and putting “me” out there is a new experience for me. And actually, as I sit here, my life is kind of mediocre. Not in a bad way. I just don’t have daily excitement.

It is my “plan” to someday be able to tap my inner muse without fear of judgement and just say what I think, the way I want to say it. But I’m not there yet.

So, I’m hoping that the wonderful writers, the ones I follow, will someday be able to say, “Hey, read 2old2tap, she writes great stuff.”

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 7:56 pm

Thanks for your thoughts. I hope you can reach your goals as well and hope that the wonderful writers you follow help you reach them.

Tonya September 22, 2010 at 5:46 pm

Gigi, this is so good! Thank you for being honest… I also LOVE the Starbucks analogy and I don’t drink coffee.

I wrote my blog for over six moths before I really told anyone about it. It was like my own private save space and now that I have over 100 followers, I feel like I’m under a lot of pressure to write and be clever and witty. Even though I know I only have 8-10 loyal everyday readers.

Now, it’s hard not to get caught up in the number of followers I have, but I do.

I also follow a lot of blogs that I don’t read on a consist basis. I really only read 8-10 religiously. And, they are a different 8-10 that follow me. How funny is that?

I want a post to move me, make me think, make me cry or make me laugh. An out of this world piece will do all four.

Thanks for tackling this.

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 7:56 pm

I think if you’re able to only read 8 to 10 blogs religiously, that is amazing. While the main topic of of my post is about mediocre blogs, I need to reiterate here that I have more blogs that I am in love with than I have time to read every day.

I also have more blogs that I am not in love with in my reader than I have time to read every day. {that’s a horribly worded sentence, by the way}.

Surferwife September 22, 2010 at 5:49 pm

Hi Geeg. I love this post. I think it’s provacative, thought invoking and raw. Obvs, we know I am not one to sugar coat my thoughts or feelings. (As a matter of fact, I tend to find myself exaggerating them for a laugh.) So, I 101% respect every word of this post.

Just like some others I will chime in and say that somebody’s mediocre is someone else’s gold. I’m going to take a wild stab in the dark here and say that some of the blogs I really enjoy reading are probably found as nonsense to other readers.

It’s what makes the blogging world tick, right?

On that note, I know my blog has taken a serious downhill turn and is sitting at the bottom of the mediocre pile and I feel terrible about it.

This whole blog thing is very cyclical. I have been blogging for over two years now and find myself in a rut every now and again (NOW) and just can’t produce what I am normally proud to produce. And thank God for my faithful readers, they are holding their breath knowing I’ll be back to my normal bullcrap soon enough.

Either way, everyone’s blog is their personal little haven to say and do what they want. The cream or the crap and somewhere in between. We need all of these to make the blogoshpere go round.

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 7:53 pm

Thanks gal. You bring up a good point. If there’s no crap, there’s no way to assess what’s good.

I know that wasn’t the thrust of what you were trying to say, but it’s true.

I do think there are cycles in blogging – which are normal and thankfully, those of us blessed with wonderful and supportive readers can get through those times. I also think that’s very different from the situation I’m talking about.

:)

Sherri September 22, 2010 at 6:24 pm

OK Gigi, having been gone most of the day I just got caught up and read all the comments, too. Wow. I think you hit a button and started some great discussion. I loved what Cheryl said, that “You’ll never be mediocre if you write from your heart.” I feel most connected to the bloggers that I read who really put a little piece of themselves into each post. It may be funny, pee-your-pants hysterical, or quite sad. But once I get a feel for someone’s style their tone can vary and it’s OK to me. Someone who is usually sappy can be hysterical….someone who usually doesn’t swear can drop an F-bomb. And I stick around.

So, I guess the blogs that I find mediocre aren’t so much poorly written or boring, but I don’t sense that the blogger put any of herself/himself into the particular post. I hope that makes sense. I would venture to say that plenty of people will find MY blog mediocre, but those wouldn’t be the people I am trying to connect with in Bloggy Land anyway. And that’s OK with me.

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 7:51 pm

Okay, let’s take this example.

Someone writes a post talking about how they walked their dog today.

There’s no twist. There’s no humor. No one got bit by the dog. No lesson learned. It’s basically a blow by blow recap of the dog walking.

What’s your assessment of that post: 1) is it mediocre? 2) if so, is it because she didn’t write from the heart, or because it’s boring? {assume for a moment that this is not a blog that someone is doing for their family only/family update sort of thing}

I’m just curious – and anyone can answer this.

Sherri September 22, 2010 at 10:10 pm

Well, it would be boring if it was just that….walk, walk, walk, scoop poop, go home. And that boring-ness would probablymake me less interested in coming back, to be honest. But the piece of the writer I would be looking for would be some story that happened along the way, even if the dog walk wound up being a metaphor for something bigger. Some people? They could turn a dog walk into something fun OR meaningful to read. And maybe that’s what I’m trying to say?

I can’t think of any examples right now, but there have been posts that have cracked me up, made me tear up, or made me feel like I HAVE to respond; I think the actual content wasn’t as exciting as the delivery and message. Damn, wish I could think of one!!

kludgymom September 23, 2010 at 8:29 am

That’s what I’m trying to say exactly.

This is my opinion: a good blogger knows how to a) turn the seemingly mundane into something interesting, cautionary, funny or moving OR b) not to post about a mundane topic if there’s nothing creative to be done with it.

That, IMO is in part what separates mediocre from good. Exercising discretion.

Clare September 22, 2010 at 6:32 pm

This is a great post and a great point! But it’s also good to note that one person’s mediocre is another person’s riveting. We all don’t enjoy the same topics and the same voices. As so many have said so eloquently, if you write well, and you write from your heart, it can never be mediocre. Perhaps you won’t appeal to the masses, but your voice will be heard.

Thanks for getting us all talking and thinking!

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 7:48 pm

I wholeheartedly agree that if you write from the heart that it can never be mediocre.

So what do you do if you come across a blog where the writer doesn’t write from the heart? Is it mediocre? Do you move on?

Heather ~ Acting Balanced Mom September 22, 2010 at 6:54 pm

I’m probably a mediocre blogger… I blog from my living room for a variety of reasons, most of which are personal… I do try to ensure that my posts are coherent, spelled correctly and make a modicum of sense before I hit post, but sometimes life gets in the way and I let something out of the gate that could have used some more judicious editing… I will say that I participate in some blog link ups and such for exposure but I’m not a person who blindly follows just because someone says “I’m following you, so follow me”
I do read a lot of blogs, some are better written than others, and some I know I’m going to breeze through quickly… the blogosphere is like the rest of the internet – all walks of life and all calibers of writers, levels of thought and opportunity to comment… I honestly think that smart marketing is one part of building a successful blog, but people will only stay with you when they are getting something from it.

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 7:45 pm

Thank you for your comments…I think much of my perspective on this is grounded in my own personality. I am never completely satisfied with my work product – on this blog or otherwise – and can’t imagine not always thinking of ways I could have done something better. This is a curse and a blessing.

ash September 22, 2010 at 7:19 pm

First, hugs to you gigi. Tackling a difficult subject and pushing publish, basically dropping your shorts to the world, is a difficult thing to do.

Once upon a time I had a blog that more or less did that. I had to quit it. I’d put my heart and soul into a subject that I was turning over in my head, and some troll would come along and ruin my day/week. Was it mediocre? I’d like to believe on the days that I committed and really wrote from the heart, it was goodish. But at what cost?

So I closed up shop and created my new little cozy home, which I love. It ain’t much, but twice a week, I try really hard to get it “right.” Whatever that means to me. I’m fortunate to have a wonderful community of incredibly supportive bloggers. Am I as supportive of them? I desperately try to because that’s the friend I want to be. Sadly, my four-year-old rarely understands that desire.

MamaKat posed a question the other day on Facebook concerning “content” – and is that what makes or breaks a blog? My thought is that content is king, but connections and marketing are what makes the Queens.

I’m content just trying to be the court jester. And my own therapist.

kludgymom September 22, 2010 at 7:42 pm

Now you have me intrigued. I want to see the other blog :)

I really appreciate your comments, Ash. It has been a hard day, but also eye opening. I had wondered when I’d have that first post with a lot of disagreement with my opinions and today is the day. One thing I learned today is that I won’t be doing this often. I actually really hate controversy or confrontation!

City Mom September 22, 2010 at 7:24 pm

Good topic Kludgy Mom! I’m not sure of the answers to these questions you pose but I do know (as a new blogger) that I have to balance my time carefully with working full time, being a Mom, writing my blog and the social networking aspect of blogging. I often will only visit and comment on posts that get and hold my attention in my limited time. Those are also the blogs that I’ll subscribe to and come back to. I agree with you that there are a lot out there that make me scatch my head and those are the ones I never visit again. Some of them seem to have big followings too and I don’t get it…but I’m a newbie…what do I know? :)

julia September 22, 2010 at 7:44 pm

wow, lots of comments and i wish i had time to read through them all.

i think it’s interesting that you say “why do we tolerate mediocrity?” i think, the majority of people DON’T KNOW! when i first starting blogging 4 years ago, i just posted pictures of my kids so my family could see. for most, it’s a personal diary. along the way, they like connecting with others and it may grow a bit.

are there some MEDIOCRE blogs that are popular??? probably. many of those that rose to the top are cream…. some have had personal stories of coming from a rough patch in life and the blogging world has rallied around them…. and through that, they hold their readership. some are just EXCELLENT writers and can tell it well. those cream of the crop blogs are those that touch a point in the readers heart.

what’s interesting is that those people don’t have to market themselves to get bigger…. somebody or something put them there. and it sorta becomes a “clique”. Blogger ABC and Blogger XYZ don’t know each other… their blogs become BIG and soon, they connect b/c they are now both A-listers. they start a “clique” and bring a few more along with them. All blog A-listers know each other… have you noticed that???

ok, i think i’ve gotten away from the question. but i think it depends on where you draw the line…. are you talking ALL blogs, raising the bar of quality for all blogs?? some people don’t care about blog design and how many comments. those that ARE trying to market their blog SHOULD care.

i don’t know. i wrote a post YESTERDAY titled “blogging is like high school” and tomorrow is part 2 of that post called “A-LISTERS”. come read it. ithink it kinda goes hand in hand…. sorta

kludgymom September 24, 2010 at 4:26 pm

I think you are spot on in some of the things you say for sure. (BTW, for some reason your comments didn’t show u pin my dashboard, along with some others, so just now happened to see this by looking at my actual live post!).

There is definitely an element of “who you know” that is at play. it’s no different than any other facet of life, I guess

I need to come check out your posts when I catch up from this!

Lisa September 22, 2010 at 7:53 pm

I totally think mediocre is the majority. Even my blog is mediocre. I used to write funny and sad and interesting things. And then I went to school, to pursue writing. And now my blog is becoming an afterthought. I ought to give it up, but there was all that stuff once upon a time, that I look back on and then I don’t give up.

I also wonder how so many mediocre blogs have so much readership.

subwow September 22, 2010 at 8:13 pm

Wow. Now I feel silly for asking whether you got a lot of comments for this post on Twitter. Did you ever! LOL. You definitely pushed some interesting button and, IMO, hit the nail on its head. I am so impressed by your courage and honesty in writing about this. Now why couldn’t you publish this when my latest post was quite excellent rather than some stupid thing I put up? Now Comment Luv is going to expose me! 😉 I am in this for the therapy it affords so I don’t really mind though. Off to see how many comments I can catch up.

kludgymom September 24, 2010 at 4:23 pm

Thanks. My stomach is still tied up in knots over publishing it, but I’m encouraged at what a great discussion it’s fostered.

Fear not. Comment luv has nothing to expose you for :)

Sara @ Tedious Life September 22, 2010 at 8:50 pm

When I read mediocre blogging, the shy 12 year old in me got all defensive and sad. It probably wasn’t the response you wanted but I snapped out of it by the end of the post and no, I will not climb through the computer to scratch your eyes out.

Obviously my blog title makes people come for my boring, dull, and tedious posts about my tedious life and happenings. I’ve been blogging for years about blogging, HTML, and all that. I had TONS of subscribers and a large dedicated group of commenters but I started hating it after a few years.

Then, I started Tedious Life, my first blog out of many that is just about me. It’s just a hobby and I know I’m boring but I’m STILL trying to find my voice. Finding that voice used to be so easy on my countless other blogs but this is different.

Anyways, mediocrity is a matter of what niche or type of blogging you’re into. If you like bloggers that use dirty jokes, you won’t like Pioneer Woman. I hope there is someone out there who doesn’t think my blog is mediocre but if noone does that’s okay. I’m only writing for myself right now.

kludgymom September 23, 2010 at 8:44 am

Why do you think finding your voice on this iteration of a blog is so difficult for you?Is it because you’re writing from a more personal standpoint?

Sara @ Tedious Life September 23, 2010 at 5:01 pm

Yes, I think that’s it. I don’t have to try and be a teacher or a professional; I just have to be me.

Erin I'm Gonna Kill Him September 22, 2010 at 8:54 pm

Gigi – I think you’re stating a fact, a basic truism of the blog world. Some are miniaturized books that could be NY Times best sellers. Others are meant to be loved by only the blogger’s mom. The good thing is that, whether you’re the former or latter, you’ve carved your space or peed on the dirt and you can post to your heart’s content. The fact there is no barrier to entry allows anyone in. But as readers we can tune in or pass. I totally agree with your point that we often ‘fall’ for the person and not the blog content.

kludgymom September 23, 2010 at 8:43 am

Yes, I just rambled on to someone else’s comment about this – we fall for the person, and not the content, all the time. I guess to some degree that’s why many talented writers are not “popular” as bloggers, and some bloggers are “popular” merely because of the personality they project.

Tractor Mom September 22, 2010 at 8:54 pm

You are right, but you know we are all mediocore from time to time. Even sometimes your blog can be mediocore from time to time. That’s what’s great about blogging! We show the really interesting and the just plain boring–That’s real life!!

The great authors never wrote great pieces all the time. They wrote their share of boring pieces and mediocore writings. The thing is that we never saw those writings.

As bloggers we write everyday and everything. Some are better than others! But we put it all out there for our bloggy friends. I call it the good, the bad, the truth! The more we write the better we get and find our voice.

What you or I may think as mediocity, someone else may find truly interesting. Different writings keep our audience seeing you as you are–a real person who likes to blog! As a person you have many sides, so your writing should reflex that!

Mediocity is boring but it is what makes our lives more interesting when the story gets good!!

Come by when you get the chance…

kludgymom September 23, 2010 at 8:42 am

I think I said that to someone else: mediocrity has to exist to help give us definition of what’s good.

My blog? Mediocre? never! :)

Tracey - JustAnotherMommyBlog September 22, 2010 at 9:23 pm

Wait, what was the question again?

😉

I will confess that I am sometimes mediocre. Sometimes my life is just too important but I want to document it for myself. I consistently remind myself that I blog not for popularity but for posterity. It is for ME and my children. It is to document this hectic, wonderful, horrible, beautiful time in our lives as it slips away and transforms into something new and unknown. Whenever I feel discouraged to see a blog with misspelled words, improper grammar and clumsy storylines that has dozens, (if not HUNDREDS) of responses, I have to close my eyes and repeat my mantra:

“I do not desire to be like that. I’d rather have 10 comments on a meaningful post than 100 on garbage.”

I also blog to uplift and connect. I have made real-life friends with faces and handshakes and hugs.

Those times that I DO post something profound, though? Ahhh… It is bliss.

kludgymom September 23, 2010 at 8:40 am

The profound moments can erase a lot of moments where we feel less than qualified to hit “publish,” that’s for sure!!!

Kate September 22, 2010 at 10:04 pm

Hi–first-time reader; saw this post via GDRP on Twitter.

I started blogging about a year ago, after several years working as a freelance writer. I figured, “Eh, what the hell. Writing anything is always good practice.” And I kind of assumed that’s what other bloggers must think, too. But then I started to better understand the blogging world and the “community theme” that seems to often link one blog to another blog to another blog.

And that’s what I think might be the essence of the issue you raised. If you’re looking for an online connection, a way to justify the way you feel about life by locating others who feel the same way, a blog is a great tool. (God, I hate using “tool” like that. Next thing you know I’ll be throwing around “synergy” and “bonding.”) But if you’re looking for a hard-copy reading alternative, and you appreciate a solid, well-balanced, nuanced piece of writing…well, then you have to call ’em like you see ’em.

Which is my long-winded way of saying Yeah. There are a lot of mediocre blogs, but I guess mediocre is as mediocre does. Still, I like complete sentences and a well-placed, properly punctuated sense of humor.

kludgymom September 23, 2010 at 8:39 am

I think I can lump the blogs I read regularly into 4 buckets:

1. Blogs that I read because the I think writing is incredible.
2. Blogs that I read because I think the writing is incredible AND I love the person writing it – we’ve made a connection
3 Blogs that I read because I love the person writing it and the writing is pretty good, but not incredible
4. Blogs that I read because I love the person writing it.

So I admit there are blogs I read because of the person behind it and not the content. I realize this flies in the face of my whole point about mediocrity. And that’s why I ask the question at the end of the post: is blogging more about writing, or about writing AND connections??

I want to read only well written blogs, but the personalities and faces behind the blogs do start to mean something.

Could I ever stop reading a particular blog just because I don’t love their content..if I think the person is fantastic? I don’t know.

It makes me sort of a hypocrite, but a well intentioned one. Maybe it’s that somewhere I see potential and hope that potential grows in a person, just like other bloggers saw potential in me and hung in there with me during my early days of blogging.

I’m rambling now.

Digitalmom.me September 22, 2010 at 10:32 pm

While I completely agree with you – there are too many mediocre blogs out there, we have to consider their purpose. I too must confess, some of my posts are rather mediocre and much like Tracey (JustAnotherMommyBlog) sometimes I just need to document something. However, in considering purpose, people blog for so many different reasons. Some blog to entertain, to inform, to educate, to feel empowered, to simply vent, and I am sure the list goes on and on. So while a blog may seem mediocre to a particular reader, it is probably doing something for the writer 😉

BTW – In my crazy days of being a mommy, wife, teacher, volunteer and student – reading your blog is my little time of enjoyment from the mundane “academic” reading. Thanks!

kludgymom September 23, 2010 at 8:27 am

Thanks, Gloria! I’m tickled to know you’re reading it. I’m always surprised when I’m up at school and someone says, “I loved your blog post yesterday.” GULP. I then have a moment of, “OMG, what did I say yesterday?!”

The neighborhood is always watching, whether I remember that or not on a day to day basis :)

Digitalmom.me September 23, 2010 at 8:29 pm

Ha – Yes, you are correct! I was just having a conversation with someone in the neighborhood about your fabulous blog. Be afraid, be very afraid… the RP hood is watching… 😉

kludgymom September 24, 2010 at 4:50 pm

Don’t pimp it out too much, G. I like that this is somewhat a haven of retreat. :)

Kat September 22, 2010 at 11:09 pm

Wow…well I now think about my blog…is it boring? Do I post enough? I am sticking to my blog-personality? Is your post speaking to me??

It is hard to say. I read and reread most entries before posting. And then sometimes I just quickly get my thought out too. Is it working? I really have no freaking idea. Blogging is tough and addicting. For me, it is a release. A release of creative energy, gossip, asking for advice, sharing stories, and sometimes just bitching. I find my blog humorous (obviously some posts more than others). But you bring up the great question….Do others think I’m funny? Every day I look at my followers and get so excited when I have just one more. Is it like high school and I just want all the friends I can get? Do I really feel better that more people are reading my dorkiness? Honestly, I think so. That’s why it is a blog and not a personal diary.

And so, I will take your post to heart. And really think about my blogging. Because I definitely don’t want to be on that mediocre list.

kludgymom September 23, 2010 at 8:23 am

Thanks for your response. My whole intention was to get people thinking. I, too, can get to the point where I think I’m doing okay and sometimes I need a slap in the face to look at my own writing and blog a bit more carefully and realize I need to get better.

Michele September 22, 2010 at 11:12 pm

I could not agree more with your post. I was surprised when I first got into this new world that the majority of blogs I visited were mediocre. Yet I do think that it’s in the eye of the beholder. I have a writing background and so I just assumed that most blogs would be focused on the content but I was wrong. Perhaps they are focused on the design and they look at mine and think, “what the #$$?” But you did make a good point about connections, because I do feel like there are some popular bloggers that simply have made the right connections and people are drawn to them more for their personal relationship than the words on the page (blog). That’s okay. I don’t discount their worth, but I’m in search of the blogs that move me with their stories.

kludgymom September 23, 2010 at 8:21 am

There definitely seem to be many paths to “success”, or popularity, however those are defined. In fact, maybe one of the takeaways I’ve gotten from this discussion is that the blogosphere really isn’t one homogenous universe. It’s little microcommunities, all with their own dynamics.

Ruth Hill September 23, 2010 at 12:12 am

The vast majority of blogs I follow I only follow for the giveaways. Seriously. And that is why people follow them. i don’t even read them most of the time. They are attractive, but they do not tackle real issues. I am a relatively new blogger, and I really try to put substance in my blog. I started my own blog challenge so I would have direction. I never have time to blog about other people’s blogs and giveaways because if I am going to do a blog post, I want it to be good! Blog challenges created by others really aren’t so great. I thought they were, but I go burned out,and my posts lacked substance. I feel great now that I post according to my schedule!

kludgymom September 23, 2010 at 8:19 am

Well, I”m currently running a blog challenge (not a blog carnival). It’s more hands on than a “gain followers” sort of thing. I think it’s turning out really fun and I am learning a lot myself. We have about 100 bloggers registered. But I agree, if it doesn’t work for you, don’t do it!

Booyah's Momma September 23, 2010 at 2:33 am

This post was so thought-provoking, as were a lot of the comments I skimmed through.

I’ve struggled with this myself. Especially when I stumble upon other blogs that are “bigger” that, in my opinion, aren’t all that. But I try to keep in mind why I’m blogging in the first place, and it’s to tell whatever story I have to tell at the time, whether or not people want to read or comment on it. That helps… somewhat.

And I especially related with Surfer Wife’s comments. I know there are times when I hit the “publish” button and it may not be my best work… and that someone may stumble upon it and think it’s representative of what I write every day. I am definitely appreciative of those people that visit back despite this!

kludgymom September 23, 2010 at 8:18 am

I think we all have days when we’re less than pleased with what we put out there. BUT – I think there are ways to overcome that with new visitors. A clean layout, nice presentation, good about me page – can all give a reader the big picture that maybe one post just can’t give. That’s the other part of mediocrity, for me at least, that I work to overcome. Thanks for chiming in :)

Patty September 23, 2010 at 8:35 am

Great post. I am very new to the blogging world. I’ve been keeping journals for years and wanted to start a blog but never had the time. I think that you can still write from the heart and to you it will be a great thing, but we are all different. Not every blog we read will inspire us. Nor will we inspire everyone who reads our own blogs. We all come from different areas of life. I write about my life and how I see it through my eyes, but we all don’t have the same view. To me writing is an outlet, a comfort, a way to share what I am feeling. I believe people want to be connected, and blogging with all it’s vast communities offers a way for that. People also want to know that they are not alone. So for that woman who blogged about walking her dog, while it may not have been the most interesting subject perhaps there is someone out there who can relate to that.

I am not looking to be the most popular blogger on the block. I do want to connect with other women who can relate to me. Relating to someone, even through their words is a comfort for many people including myself.

Pampered Patty

The reason one writes isn’t the fact he wants to say something. He writes because he has something to say.
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Bossy Betty September 23, 2010 at 9:09 am

As part of my job I read A LOT, so when it’s time for me to read blogs–a pleasure for me–I want to read something that has a point to it, that I can see the writer has taken time on. I don’t have too much patience for rambling. I feel like people should brainstorm, draft and then write the final post. I skip over blogs that seem to just be rants, or lists of what the writer did during the day. I know I probably sound harsh here, but I am not really interested in the process of thinking, I want the end result. I am very protective of the time I have and want to make the best use of it.

I have blogger buddies I always check on, always respond to because I have developed a relationship with them. To me, it’s OK not to have a massive number of followers, I prefer a small dinner party to a ball.

kludgymom September 24, 2010 at 4:15 pm

It’s true…I am protective of my time as well. And a great facet to this discussion. By aiming to produce quality, we don’t waste the reader’s time.

mangiabella September 23, 2010 at 9:14 am

thanks for sharing your heart felt thoughts, i think maybe it can be considered a bit relative, all on the perspective. For some it just may be an outlet to recount their day and they may not possess the creative language skills and be gifted in story telling, yet they feel some sort of release by sharing with the world anyway, for others it just may be a chronicle, some kind of documentation even if it is a bit sterile, and for others, they want to go where no blog has gone before, they want to feel satisfaction when other people laugh with them as they catch the wit and humor, the twists and turns – either way, there are many different M.O.s out there in the blogosphere for why people blog and there are some people who will relate well to something that others find boring or non-relavant. I do agree with what patti said above.

As for me, I just want to inspire people to not just be alive, but AWAKE, and get the most out of this life journey – that’s why I started blogging, and I’m brand new at it – there is much to frown about in day to day life but I am constantly feeling compelled to breathe in something glorious even in the midst of the darkest moments of my life – I want to share that feeling, that essence with anyone who wants to hear it, with anyone who can relate. Joy is contagious, and I hope to share that with people who have chosen to pack their bags and journey with me at mangiabella in tasting the beauty of life. I don’t know where any of it is leading, but that’s the beauty of it, the discovery along the way….

I have a handful of blogs that I continue to frequent, read, support, and connect with – but I think for everyone the same is true that you can only do so much – I have days where I spend some time discovering new blogs, and days connecting with blogs I’ve come across, and days when I revisit blogs I love for one reason or another – usually for the same reasons as listed above, i love the writing, i love the person, it inspires me to create, it inspires me to be passionate, or it inspires me spiritually and stirs things within my inner man….

in any case, I thoroughly enjoyed your post, the responses, and always enjoy coming back to your blog and following your tweets, keep shining sweet bella….

kludgymom September 24, 2010 at 4:16 pm

You have a great spirit and YOUR “voice” comes out clear both on your blog and in your comments! I’d say more but I’m looking at your last blog post of farfalle with gorgonzola and, well, I’m a bit distracted :)

TheKitchenWitch September 23, 2010 at 9:50 am

Wow, this did cause quite a stir (something mediocre blogs rarely do, yo). I’m with you–I really think there’s a lot of “BLAHGS” out there–ones where I read what’s written and think, “why would anybody care?”

And you’re right–when I started out, I followed those blogs. But then it felt dirty, and boring, and so I stopped.

kludgymom September 24, 2010 at 4:17 pm

BLAHGS? I love it.

BTW, tomorrow I give you a shout out for the panzanella salad.

Angelia Sims September 23, 2010 at 10:21 am

I had to come read this famous post all of Twitter was talking about. :-)

Wow! Great discussions and great info.

I know what you mean. I try to post a variety. I try to be interesting. Boring blogs are a click away and I do mean click AWAY.
Congratulations on a very successful post and hopefully an infection of better blogging.

Kerry September 23, 2010 at 11:08 am

you and I have talked about this. In the beginning, we thought we needed to follow people that followed us. I also ended up following some pretty horrible blogs. Found some fantastic ones but am still stuck with reader full of crap.
As a blog grows and we get more friends, it is hard to make it around to even the gems.

This is why I am so against the mass follow for follow stuff that we see everywhere. it is not real and promotes mediocrity.

Amanda {Enchanting Havoc} September 23, 2010 at 12:13 pm

I too will only follow a blog that I feel is a gem {to me}. I don’t like a reader for of crap ~ it overwhelms me LOL.

Cheryl D. September 23, 2010 at 12:06 pm

Good, provocative post! Is mediocrity the rule rather than the exception? Well, yeah! Blogging has gotten so popular. Anyone who wants to start a blog can and does! All you have to be able to do is pound on a keyboard and hit the publish button. Easy-Peasy. Mediocrity will represent the vast majority of blogs–just because that’s what you get from the general population. You will have a few very talented people that will truly soar and a few that will be absolutely awful.

I consider myself to fall in the mediocre group (sad, but true). Don’t get me wrong–not every post of mine is mediocre. I do produce some posts that I’m truly proud of and get some attention from others. But I do not do this everyday! I do not even try. Yet, I’ve found an audience that does seem to get something out of my posts, even on the mediocre days.

What’s truly amazing are the mediocre blogs that hit the big time. That to me is truly a head scratcher!

kludgymom September 24, 2010 at 4:28 pm

that’s my head scratcher, too. I’m with ya!

Amanda {Enchanting Havoc} September 23, 2010 at 12:11 pm

When I have more time I’d really love to go back and read all of the comments on this post.

One of my all time favorite quotes, which actually doesn’t have anything to do with blogging, but in a sense sortof does ~

“Each of us must direct our own lives, chart our own course and make our own decisions, and what is best for me is probably constraining for you. We too often forget the fact that what most of us need is to be nurtured, not improved. An emphasis on improvement confirms our inadequacies, while nurturing affirms who we really are and who really loves us. Too often we try to help others by seeking solutions to their problems, or giving them our plan for personal improvement when what they need is love, understanding and acceptance.

Let us remember these two things: that personal joy comes from appreciating the present and that the greatest gift we give to others is a nurturing heart.”

My blog my not be a gem to you, but it might be a gem to another reader. I think that the direction I went with my blog is just putting my heart and myself into it. I blog as if I have a million readers ~ even if I just have 2. I don’t have hundreds of followers and my blog might be mediocre, but my blog is me, my blog is mine. I’m not JUST blogging for my readers, but I’m blogging for me.

There are a lot of gems out there, but what I might consider a gem ~ you might consider mediocre :)

kludgymom September 24, 2010 at 4:29 pm

I think you encapsulated a lot of other people’s feelings on this topic in a very eloquent quote. Thanks for contributing to the discussion.

joann Mannix September 23, 2010 at 12:44 pm

Geeg? I love you. That is all.

Nooo, not really. When have you ever known me to leave it at 7 words?

This was extraordinary and I am so glad you put it out there. I am still in writing mode this week, so I don’t have time to wade through your 180 COMMENTS!, but I’m wondering how people reacted to this. I found myself just the other day, painfully reading a blog that was just so . . . not good and I thought, “What am I doing?” My time is so limited and yet I feel this need to interact with others, no matter the content.

You are setting the bar even higher with this post and I love you for that and so much more.

kludgymom September 24, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Thanks Joann. Your support means a lot. I’m sorry I haven’t been to your blog this week. You’re in writing mode, I’m in challenge mode. Let’s give each other a hall pass :)

Tina @ Life Without Pink September 23, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Wow good question, now I am not sure where I stand? lol I admit when I go to some blogs that are the “bigger” blogs out there, I’m not impressed. For me I think it is all about content and the stories I read. Of course a good design is always nice and usually draws you in. I try to work on my blog and produce quality content and there are so many things I would change but time is always the problem.

I simply realize though that everyone has their own agenda and reason for blogging. I might not find certain blogs appealing to me but I am sure there are others that do.

Great post…Now I have to find the time to skim through all of the responses!

Cori September 23, 2010 at 2:30 pm

You’ve left me speechless on this post, I’ve never thought about it that much! So I have no idea how to even answer it…I’ll have to think about it!!

Tiffany September 23, 2010 at 3:29 pm

so, i’m kind of late on this post but saw you mention it at Chalupa’s and thought i’d see what was up…

this whole post is the reason why sometimes i’ll go weeks without blogging. i put a lot of time and effort into making a post interesting and well-written. i mean, hours of writing, rewriting, and editing–not b/c i have all of this extra time (i don’t) but because i’m honored that people have taken time out of their day to read what i’ve written and i want to give them something worth their time. that’s what it is for me at the end of the day. i don’t want people to finish reading and be like ‘man, i wish i could have the last two minutes of my life back’. unfortunately, that’s how i feel when i read some blogs. and that’s okay, because not everyone is going to be in love with me either. not to be corny but, mediocrity really is in the eye of the beholder. sometimes i except it (and skim through their posts instead of reading the whole thing) and sometimes i don’t.

and yes- sometimes i accept it because i like the person, sometimes i’m returning the favor of a comment. the few blogs i check every day are because i genuinely like the person–but this usually starts because their writing was freaking awesome.

kludgymom September 24, 2010 at 4:40 pm

I agree…I feel like I need people to not feel their time has been wasted, for sure.

It’s also funny how the people you seem to really like in bloggyland are usually the people whose writing you think is freaking awesome. I have found that as well.

Alexandra September 25, 2010 at 12:55 am

…and b/c you really like me. you really really like me.

I puffy heart you, Tiff.

The Flying Chalupa September 23, 2010 at 3:42 pm

You, my dear, are cream. And I’m not just saying that. I can’t tell you how much I admire you for writing posts like this. Mediocrity – and just plain old BAD blogging – is everywhere. It weighs you down. I felt just as you did at first. Where were the “good” ones? Not the good big ones? But the good little gems? And slowly, thanks to Alexandra, and you and others, I’m finding them – by sifting through the comments of your readers!

Here is how I personally feel about the matter: Yes, mediocrity is the rule. Just as 3/4 of the people in your college writing class are shit-writers, 3/4 of the people in the blogging world CANNOT write. On the other hand, I think blogging IS about more than just writing. I will tolerate some bad grammar is someone has a kickass personality and I connect on some level. How do we raise the bar? By surrounding ourselves with cream. I am doing the best writing I have EVER done in my life and I owe it to the talented women who push me (unknowingly) to be better.

ps – YAY for email subscriptions!

kludgymom September 24, 2010 at 4:20 pm

Well said, Chalupa!!! While I’ll never consider myself a real writer, I love reading writer’s blogs. I do think they help me improve my work. Their stuff rubs off on me, like a good bacteria. :)

Alexandra September 25, 2010 at 12:53 am

joo better not be talkin ’bout me not being fatty cream from the virgin calf,chalupa, joo better not be pointin’ them eyes sidelong glancewise at me….

hehee…I am having SO Much dang fun doing Gigi’s comments while she is asleep with her sinus headache and leftover healing anguish from the confrontation and nay saying and hullabaloo over this post.

Wait till she wakes up and sees I’ve been here like some little shoe cobbler gnome.

That’s what you get for having a high tech auto reply to comments blog. heehee.

Average Girl September 23, 2010 at 7:58 pm

Fantastic post, Gigi! I’ve only been blogging for about three months, but I have been both amazed by the exceptional talent (submit and get paid, my friends!) as well as embarrassed by some of the crapola that’s out there. It might not even be boring, but simply “unloved” — not been checked for spelling, grammar or proper word choice. Like many have said in the comments, this IS a form of “publishing,” so unless yours is a personal or family blog, why not put forth your best work?

I don’t claim to be anything but mediocre myself (I am, after all, AVERAGE GIRL), but I do revise, revise, revise, and if it doesn’t seem right, I won’t press that Publish button. I rather be silent than unreadable.

kludgymom September 24, 2010 at 4:48 pm

Yes! unloved is a GREAT word to describe much of what makes me sad about blogging.

I’d rather be silent than unreadable – best comment on this whole thread. Thanks, Average Girl.

Average Girl September 29, 2010 at 7:05 pm

You’re sweet, Gigi!

Jessica September 23, 2010 at 8:26 pm

When I first started writing my blog it wasn’t to be anything but a tool for me. I wanted a place to work out my thoughts and my motivation behind my situation. As people started responding and complimenting my writing, I realized that I needed to take ownership for what I put out there. For the past three months, I have really tried to improve all aspects of my blog. Starting with the layout, the quality of my posts and even my presence in social media (trying to present a bit more professional on twitter & facebook).

I certainly don’t think you are amongst the mediocre blogs. I do think many people believe blogging to just be words on a webpage but don’t “get” that it is so much more.

I want to thank you for being part of my solution. I think your blog, #B2SB2B and the network you have created are a big part of my becomming a better blogger.

kludgymom September 24, 2010 at 4:49 pm

Thank you for your kind comments, jessica. I’m learning along with everybody else, but I’m glad if you’ve even found one small nugget of helpful info through the course of the challenge :)

ericka @ alabaster cow September 23, 2010 at 9:48 pm

1) i love me some alexandra.

2) 99.9% of blogs suck. there i said it. but i only said it because you know what i think of mine. but seriously, i’m not the usual mom blogger so when i read a well written sentence and an occasional f-bomb i’m hooked. and yes, the state allowed me to have a child…

Alexandra September 25, 2010 at 12:47 am

Oh, goodness, but how can you be so hawt and sweet at the same time.

Just luscious.

Thank you.

Tiffany September 23, 2010 at 10:36 pm

so i came back to read some of the other comments, found my own and discovered this GLARING and damn near offensive error ‘sometimes i EXCEPT it…and sometimes I don’t’. are you serious, tiffany?! at least pretend to be educated…

kludgymom September 24, 2010 at 4:51 pm

ok, I did see the error and chuckle :) oh, the irony slays me!

Alexandra September 25, 2010 at 12:48 am

Tiff, that ‘s what makes you so wonderful. Doing except all over the place and freaking it out when you see it. I love that.

{look at me being all naughty and taking over gigi’s blog like this while she sleeps…so much effin’ fun!!}

Melissa (Confessions of a Dr.Mom) September 24, 2010 at 2:51 am

Okay, Gigi I keep composing a comment then erase it because I fear I’m not making much sense so I’ll just say this: Thank you for this thought provoking post and discussion.

For me, it has been a positive motivator to strive to be better and rise above my mediocrity.

I admire your honesty and bravery on such a seemingly sensitive topic. Apparently…no one wants to be mediocre…so this could be a good thing…maybe blogs will get better simply because of this post and discussion! :)

kludgymom September 24, 2010 at 2:20 pm

Thank you for taking the post in the spirit in which it was intended…which was to motivate, even if it’s none of my business to. I can’t help it :)

Theta Mom September 24, 2010 at 5:27 am

I’m totally late to the party but I wanted to share some thoughts. First, what an interesting post and the comments are just as fascinating. THAT is what I constitute as “successful” blogging – when readers immediately relate to well written content and gravitate toward beginning a dilaogue, sharing many perspectives on the same topic.

But, blogging IS so subjecitve – so what is “mediocre” to one could be defined as “fabulous” for another. I define mediocre blogging as those that publish posts without revising, do not pay much attention to blog design and continue to roll out content that is not “interesting” or does not spark discussion…

Having said that, I know a few blogs that have amazing content and these bloggers are also unbelievable writers but they somehow don’t have a following. And I think THAT was another point you were making in the piece, right?

The bottom line is – we all blog for different reasons. Some are trying to sharpen their writing skills to land an agent, so their blog becomes their “platform,” others are monetizing their blog, others are just writing for the sheer conversation and connection with others and some just want to update family and friends. Not one of these “goals” is better than the other – since it’s all subjective. :)

kludgymom September 24, 2010 at 4:52 pm

My sincerest hope is that, regardless of what one’s goals are, that they take pride in what they put out and always do their best!!!

heidi @ wonder woman wannabe September 26, 2010 at 8:26 am

I appreciated your response, Theta Mom, I think you’re right. 😉

Jennifer @ The Mommy Mambo September 24, 2010 at 9:07 am

There is an internal battle in me that was declared the moment I noticed how many followers other bloggers have acheived.
What was I doing wrong? I write and I illustrate my own blog. For the sake of writing (and my own crazy art).
Then I began to judge myself by the number of followers I could acrue. So, I had a contest giveaway like so many others, to try and get more readers.
BUT, I actually asked for participation and a little effort in writing and not just another “Following” in my comments section!
Seems most bloggers don’t want to take the time to write with grandeur!
So, yes, mediocracy abounds! And I have vowed to not go down with the masses.

kludgymom September 24, 2010 at 4:45 pm

I’ve taken those vows, too. Thanks for adding your voice to this discussion!

Sarah September 25, 2010 at 1:51 am

I just stumbled upon your blog tonight through Keeper of the Penguins. I would consider myself a mediocre blogger. I am not a good writer I admit. BUT I blog to capture our moments, freeze time. Not to become popular and not to become a New York Times Bestseller. I love reading blogs that keep me interested and that are funny. I actually steer clear of the “big” bloggers, because I want to have a relationship with the author. The bloggers that never write back, no thanks!

Great post and thanks for sharing your thoughts.

MandyE September 25, 2010 at 8:35 am

Stopping by from Mommy of a Monster…

I couldn’t take time to read all the comments to this post, but I’ll bet it was a great discussion. I’d just like to add (at least to the few comments I was able to read) that I think there’s something to be said for variety, too. I don’t know that I succeed, but my intent is to mix it up…a heartfelt post / a funny post / a make-you-think post / a picture with a short caption. I love reading a good heartfelt post, but I don’t necessarily want to return to the same blog for that, day after day.

And it’s about time I found my way over to your blog…I see references to you everywhere! :)

heidi @ wonder woman wannabe September 26, 2010 at 8:02 am

Very interesting!

I’m popping over from life without pink (saw your post featured there)

I, too, find it facinating how some blogs are wildly popular that seem to just simply chronicle their daily life. I wonder what that “it” factor is? I agree with your starbucks analogy for sure- – – the more I see a blog on a blog roll or mentioned, the, the more curious you get and want to check it out…

I’d like to think my blog is a ‘hidden gem’ but it could be I’m just kidding myself! 😉

You’re more than welcome to come visit and give me your honest opinion and feedback – I’d value it!

~h

Sheena September 26, 2010 at 9:42 am

I saw this link on Mommy of a Monster’s weekly love list. I am new to blogging myself, and as I read I wondered how people see my blog.
I completely understand what you are saying about the mediocrity, but are those that are medioc aware they are?
I love my blog, I love the subject of my blog while it might be varied (homeschooling, homesteading,and my zoo). But all I get back from my few followers (besides my mama who has taken it upon herself to be my editor lol) is I am hilarious, they love it, or just cute little comments.
How do we know if we are good bloggers. While I love some of the memes (I think that’s the right term) I can’t bring myself to actually join, it feels like restrictions. (I know not everyone thinks that and i really enjoy reading others I just am not sure I can write in that fashion) My whole point is how do we know when we are quality? I’m sure even those of quality have an off day.
Anyways now I am going back to read the rest of the comments. I stopped so I could comment before I forgot what I wanted to say.

Dalia September 26, 2010 at 5:07 pm

Wow Gigi, I am making an attempt to get caught up and just found this post. Lots of opinions! Lots to read! This may take a while ;). Anyhow, I like your analogy with Starbucks. I too know what you are saying. I guess everyone’s blog is their own thing and what is good to one may not be good to another. Kind of like all the people in the world. I often tell my kids how if we were all alike the world wouldn’t be what it is. I guess it just takes some weeding and work on our part to figure out where our people are, and blogs are.

Cecilia October 21, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Hi, this is my first time visiting your blog :-) I found you by way of another blog friend’s blog.

This is such a brave post, and you’ve brought up something that maybe alot of people have thought but don’t dare to talk about.

I’ve been blogging for a year, and am one of the “quiet” ones. In the beginning I didn’t know how this whole commenting thing worked – why some people got tens or even hundreds of comments each post while I was struggling to get more than one or two. I equated it with the quality of my blog and got really discouraged, b/c I was putting my heart and soul into my writing (I’d started taking writing classes and started a blog as a way to stay disciplined with my writing). Then I realized, finally, that if I simply networked more, I could very possibly get more hits/comments/followers. I realized then that that was not for me, because I just don’t have the time. And its not fair of me to comment on someone’s blog just so they’d come back and do the same for me. I sensed alot of that on my own blog for a short time in the beginning. Now, what is really affirming to me is knowing that many of my readers are people who don’t have blogs, so I know they are coming back for the sole purpose of reading what I have to say and expect nothing in return.

Having said that, there is, as the saying goes, a lid for every pot. I have certain tastes in writing just as everyone else does. I think that everyone blogs for different reasons, and it’s a good thing for us to have that outlet without judgment. If a blog doesn’t attract me, then I just move on until I find one that does. It’s the same thing with books, movies, magazines, etc…there’s alot out there, good, crappy and in between.

kludgymom October 21, 2010 at 10:34 pm

Thank you so much for coming by and reading what was a very controversial post. I had no idea when I posted this a few weeks ago what sort of response it would receive. it apparently hit nerves, both positive and negative!

It seems to me that knowing one’s place in bloggyland – whether that it’s you want to grow bigger, or have a small niche, or blog for the personal enjoyment – is the key to blog happiness and longevity!!!

Courtney K. March 21, 2011 at 4:04 pm

I’m just reading this post today because I saw it linked in your SITS post. My question is what, in your opinion, determines a mediocre blog? Or is it just simply a matter of opinion? Because I’ve found that even some of the “great big bloggers” have really poor and uninteresting content. I mean, one in particular writes repeat posts about poop. Seriously? Or can the big bloggers just get away with it BECAUSE they are big bloggers? I would love to see you elaborate a little more on this topic.

Lynn March 21, 2011 at 4:47 pm

We gotta start naming names here cuz that would make this discussion rock the house even more. I somehow missed this post the first time around. But I’m kinda glad because I’m hoping that no one will come around and read what I’m going to say.

I’m going to sound like a total douche, but my blog is not mediocre. I write really well. But I think my quality has gone down hill a bit because I try to post too frequently. So I’m actually going to take a little dose of you and start scaling back on frequency and making everything of a higher quality.

The other change I’m going to make as a part of this retool is that I’m just not going to comment on the low quality blogs that I have been just in the name of getting them to comment back. Too time-consuming and soul-crushing.

I’ve wracked my brain trying to figure out how the big bloggers that are crappy writers got big. I truly believe that the cream does not always rise…there’s just way too much content out there to get noticed, even if you are very good. Maybe this just caught me on a bad day, but today I’m feeling that I won’t be long for this bloggy world. Thanks for the outlet!

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