Thursday, September 14, 2006

Blog Ambition

Both before and after my babies were born, I was an inveterate BabyCenter bulletin board reader. Invariably, I would find my questions answered and my experiences reflected by birth-club postings. My baby just rolled off the bed? Before turning myself in to CAS, I would log on to the July 2005 board and find ten other mothers clutching their wailing but unharmed babies to their chests. Green poop? My July mommies had the answer (which is to nurse on one side only until that breast is completely empty, in case you "green poop" Googlers are wondering).

My birth clubs functioned primarily as sources of useful information – they were practical and occasionally entertaining (I confess that I always clicked on posts with 104 responses, especially if the red "Locked" slogan indicated some really hot debate). The atmosphere was friendly and supportive – occasionally even rah-rah, especially when converts from June 2005 came to join our superior community. That said, controversies, when they did erupt, were much nastier than any real-life interactions I’ve witnessed. Mommy wars to the contrary, no one cared about working vs. staying at home. The real hot-button issues surrounded breast vs. bottle, vaccinations, and – most heatedly of all – the exact age at which whole milk should be introduced. (Let me just say, if you’re planning to offer your 11-month-old baby a cup of milk, DO NOT tell anyone on a BabyCenter birth club.)

The outrage and drama rarely arose from the nature of the topic under discussion – the real issue was always the meta-posting: should 1MoreBaby4Me have called BlessedMama "irresponsible" for giving her baby milk? Was Mom2Madison614 out of line for posting her research showing that BlessedMama was condemning her baby to a lifetime of leaky gut? In essence, the debate was always about free speech, about the social dynamics of online interaction and the rules of netiquette that governed the shared space of the birth club bulletin board.

If my birth clubs were occasionally the scene of all-out bloody battles, the mommy-blogosphere, as others have pointed out, is characterized by an almost unnaturally high level of civility. "Civility," actually, may not be the best word to describe our careful avoidance of criticism and confrontation. Occasionally there is disagreement, but it is always couched in the politest of terms.

I have a few theories to explain this. For one thing, the little trash-can icon in the comments section means that trolls have little motivation to stir up trouble – anything truly inflammatory can simply be deleted. Another factor is the simple fact that most of us commenters are bloggers ourselves, and acutely aware of the way any attack echoes in cyberspace, getting meaner and meaner with each reverberation. In real life, I tend to laugh off a critical remark, and though I may return to it later and wonder what that person was getting at, I don’t have the luxury of examining the transcript of our conversation, of seeing those words confronting me in black and white (or hot pink and black) every single time I click on "comments." Attacks are louder in cyberspace, where humiliation is always public and there’s no compensating body language, no smile or shrug of the shoulders to take the sting out of a nasty phrase. So we don’t attack each other. If we disagree with someone, we find a diplomatic way of saying so, and if we think that certain ideas should never have been posted in the first place, we click away silently. A blog is not a shared space in which we all have a stake in what is said: if you want to post about the abusiveness of those who poison their babies with – gasp! – whole milk, that’s ultimately your prerogative.

One BabyCenter debate that always struck me as laughably silly was the plaintive wails that occasionally emerged from those who considered themselves less "popular" than other participants. "Why didn’t anybody comment on my baby’s three-month pics?" they would whine. "How come everybody jumps in to rave about JennyMom’s photos, just because she posts prompt, informative, and low-pressure responses to every single breastfeeding question posted on the board? I know I don’t post here very often, but when I DO post a pic, I expect 30 replies congratulating me on my child’s exceptional beauty!" And then the debate would ensue – should we shower Little Miss I-Never-Post with attention to make her feel at home, or should we explain that when it comes to an online community, you can only expect to get what you give? I was mostly a lurker on these boards, and my expectations were proportionally low, so I had little sympathy for the whiners who likened the birth club to high school, complaining that they weren’t welcome at the cool kids’ table when in fact the table was wide open to anyone who cared to actually come sit down once in awhile (and if they bring extra cookies so much the better!).

Beanie Baby’s recent posts on blog popularity have got me thinking about how popularity operates in the blogosphere. Is it appropriate to measure "popularity" in absolute terms (as SiteMeter and Technorati and BlogTopSites perpetually encourage us to do)? Are bloggers with comparatively fewer readers "unpopular," or are they simply cyber-introverts? In real life, I have always preferred to have a few close friends rather than an army of distant acquaintances, so why would I approach blogging differently?

Because I do, of course. When it comes to blog readership, I’ve always assumed that the sky is the limit – the more readers the better. But why? Well, at the risk of stating the obvious – because getting comments is fun. In my ideal world, I’d like to be able to publish a post, go away for an hour or two to make supper or take the children to the park, and return to find new comments every single time I check my blog. It’s awfully depressing to spend the morning at play-group and come home to find that big fat "0 Sing Along" staring me in the face. So, yeah, readers are good, and readers who leave a comment are even better. (Thank you, O gracious internets, for all your lovely candy-comments, by the way! Have I mentioned how much I appreciate them?) But beyond that comment-induced sugar-high – do I want readers simply for the sake of watching my SiteMeter number rise and my BlogTopSites number fall?

Well, kind of. I can’t escape the fact that I started this blog mere days after receiving three letters: two from colleges who politely declined to accept my teaching services for the 2006-07 term, and one offering me a low-status and low-maintenance online course to teach. And as I frantically crunched the numbers to compute exactly how much additional debt this will mean for my family over the next few months, I faced the fact that the career path I’ve been on for the last 16 years has basically landed me in a dead end. A few years down the road, when my babies are in school, I’ll have to figure out what I’m going to do for the rest of my life. But in the meantime – I know! – I’ll start a blog.

I think for a lot of us over-educated SAHMs, blogging is an outlet for the energies – and ambitions – that we are no longer channelling into paid work. We want to be creative, we want to make friends, but we also crave recognition and blogging holds out the promise of providing some of the status we lost when we left the workforce, or at least scaled back our participation in it. And then there’s the blogging Holy Grail, the promise of making money from your blog or turning it into a stepping stone into a writing career – the dream of being "discovered" by a talent scout who wanders around the cyber-mall until his eye is caught by my feathered hair-do and designer jeans, the hip-ness of which irresistibly compel him to offer me a modeling, I mean writing contract that will send me straight to super-stardom.

Yeah.

It’s not entirely clear that (a) this mythical cyber-scout actually exists, or (b) that professional blogging would be a career I'd enjoy even if the opportunity arose. Even a few harmless little ads on my blog might arguably offer surprisingly little financial reward in exchange for the cost of fanning the flames of my absurd blog-ambitions and stoking my obsession with blogging-by-numbers.

I suspect that the vast majority of the blogosphere is like my BabyCenter bulletin board – readership of all but the most popular blogs is probably proportional to the effort the blogger makes to read and comment on others. And if a "popular" blogger is one who receives more comments than she writes, who reads 10 blogs for every 25 readers who visit hers, is that really the most desirable way of engaging in this blogging business? Is there a loss of intimacy that results from that kind of popularity, a need to develop a more "public" blogging voice? And if blogging is not a substitute career or a means of achieving super-stardom – if it’s really about forming relationships, of maintaining a degree of balance between the giving and receiving of comments – does it matter if I have 10 blogging buddies or 75?

69 comments:

Mouse said...

I've been mulling over the same sorts of issues lately, but still don't have them together enough to write coherently. I definitely feel the same opposing forces, and there's that little spark of, "Maybe I'll be discovered." Mostly I think I'm satisfied with having a small number of readers I 'know' and the occasional comment that lets me know they're out there. (So now I'm just letting you know I'm still here too!)

Beanie Baby said...

"I suspect that the vast majority of the blogosphere is like my BabyCenter bulletin board – readership of all but the most popular blogs is probably proportional to the effort the blogger makes to read and comment on others."

I really wish this were true, but I don't think it is.

Let me offer another example that came up in my reading:

LJ

LJ is, apparently, not "real blogging." The authors of one study were perplexed by this attitude (not only displayed in writing on various "real blogs" but also as measured in the almost complete lack of links from "real" blogs to "LJ" blogs) until they realized something: LJ users are mostly women. "Real bloggers" are mostly men. (I have another post coming up soon which uses this same info.) Of course, in terms of "reading and commenting," LJ users do a lot more of this than any "real" bloggers.

On the blogosphere, there is a clear hierarchy by sex. Is anyone going to dispute this? The superstars of the big blogs are mostly male--in terms of traffic, quotations in newspapers, links and so on (again, I have references for this).

Is this because they work harder at it? Comment more?

Is anyone even going to dispute the claim that mommyblogging is relatively despised in the blogging world precisely because most of us are women? Or is it because mommybloggers don't work as hard, don't comment as much?

Of course, if you are blogging to form relationships, the difference between ten friends and 75 might not be all that great. But the difference between 1 and 10 might be; the difference between 1 and 10 is "sits alone in the cafeteria" and "has a bunch of friends to hang out with." And believe it or not, a lot of great bloggers are stuck at "1": they are also more likely to be mothers of kids with differences.

If you are not blogging to form relationships, or at least in part for something else; if you are blogging to get information out there, and you want to be read because you have something you think people need to hear, and people bypass you for unknown reasons, it is a whole different ballgame.

Regardless of one's motives for participating in blogging, feeling like you are being ignored for something beyond your control is painful and isolating. It hurts when other mothers avoid us in the playground because of Frances's size. I'd like to believe this never happens on the internet; but why should I? And why should it hurt less?

I have no idea why people are so resistant to this idea. If I'd started writing about how mommyblogging is belittled in part because its practitioners are women, I doubt it would have been. I have statistics and research and papers--and no matter what, people just come back with, "well that's very interesting, but I don't believe you."

Which tends to make me think I'm right.

Babaloo said...

I guess this is a good time to "de-lurk" and say Hi.

I really liked this post especially when you compare the blogosphere to high school. It does take on that tone sometimes, doesn't it?

I'm of the "I'd rather have 10(heck, I'll take 5!) blogging buddies than 75," crowd myself.
I guess that attitude won't get me a seat at the cool table...ah well!

Kvetch said...

I struggle with this all the time. I blog for a couple of reasons...first is that I am a writer and this makes me want to write and write well. Second is that I crave connections. Comments offer feedback on my writing (sometimes) and connections (usually). It's a win-win situation for me. I believe I prefer a lower number of well-thought-out comments to 157 "great post" ones. I comment as much as possible because I want to give back - and because I have a lot to say!! :-O

Suzanne said...

Great post! I have yet to find the inner reserves to remove my sense of self-esteem from blogging. As you said, in real life I'm much more comfortable with a few friends than with a herd. Why can't that also apply to blogging? (Shrugs helplessly.)

nonlineargirl said...

I think you have hit on something with the idea that blogging is attractive to career-minded women who are out of the workforce or working part-time. This is part of it for me. At work I get to be funny, tell little stories on myself, etc. Now I'm in the office once a week and have less chatty time (must get things done NOW!). The blog's social pull is strong, and you are not alone in craving those friendly responses to your writing. I start to wonder - is a post less compelling, less well written if it gets 3 comments than the one that got 14? And once I've gotten 14 on a post, how much more crushing when the next few are "ignored."

Suz said...

As someone who started as an infertile blogger and entered the mommy-blogging world almost by default (it's hard to remain completely in the infertile world once you've been lucky enough to fail at infertility), I do think that the two communities differ although how and why is another topic.

I think that it's difficult to remain impartial to the number of comments or to the number of readers on bloglines. After all, the reason why we blog rather than keep journals is to reach a reading public whether that be for a little ego-stroking, a desire for community, or need to just communicate. It's loosing oneself completely in the numbers and caring that I think would be a mistake. For most of us, I think that it's just one piece of the puzzle, something tied up with everything else.

Mayberry said...

Lots of food for thought here. I started blogging with very low expectations for traffic (I'm neither wonderfully thoughtful and articulate, nor very funny, nor possesed of a dramatic story arc). But once I started putting my words out there, well duh: it turns out I want someone to read them.

I confirmed at BlogHer that I don't want to be Dooce, under constant pressure to perform. But do I want more readers than I currently have? I do.

lynsalyns said...

Yeah, what she said. I wrote about this yesterday. I'm sort of where I was when I started my blog, and that is needing an outlet for the thoughts crowding out my sanity.

I know you swing by and see me, and I'm grateful for that. You are so thoughtful in your posts - you're one of the ones who make me jealous.

I am over-educated and, dare I say it, maybe getting a little bored. Maybe blogging will help me figure out what to do next.

This was a good read.

Ali said...

oh my goodness....i was a HUGE part of the babycenter bulletin boards while my babies were little. and then my blog sort of took the place of that...

i truly find this whole concept of popularity in the blogosphere kind of fascinating.

i blogged for many years with little to no comments. i think a lot of my readers are nonbloggers and therefore don't really understand the comment concept.

also, most of the blogs i was reading were the well-known ones. one of the first blogs i read was amy at amalah.com. a very popular blog, who has probably skimmed past my comments ocassionally and has probably never been to my blog (which i totally understand. when you get more than 100 posts on a blog, it's hard to reciprocate)

i was so touched when Beth at Sothefishsaid.com started visiting all her commenter's blogs to actually get to know them. and comment on their blogs. it was huge undertaking for her, but i thought it was amazing of her to do.

i began, recently, reading less well-known blogs and finding women who i think are funny, witty, smart, and have similar intersts to me. i leave comments. and if they come back and leave comments for me...i'm thrilled.

i certainly don't consider myself to be a popular blogger...but i guess i don't really care anymore.

Oh, The Joys said...

As a WAHM it is also an outlet, but because I work at home I don't have the time to write thoughtful posts like you, B.A. and Kvetch. I end up only able to post the goofy report of the day most of the time. Sometimes I wish I had the time to really write for the blog, but I don't. I agree about the comments and the silly site meter. Blogger CRACK for sure!

Julie Pippert said...

And...my post got eaten. Let's ee if I can recreate.

Okay hmmm:

Something about oooh cool post, very intersting to ponder but I better watch out or I'll get a rep as your Personal Asskisser. ;)

I like to blog to generate discussion, so yes, I want readers and comments, and I am disappointed when I have neither, but in general, I feel pretty fortunate with the about ten readers I have because they are really interesting.

I started blogging to keep working at my own writing, and to have a space to document the many thoughts that run through my head. I spend so much time critiquing and editing other writers, that sometimes I forget I can be one too.

And I like talking about me me me, and what *I* think, and my lovely blog never complains, it just eats it up. ;)

I don't think there is a correlation that is direct between giving and getting. Some bloggers are just like a warm glow others want to bask in. It seems really random, because I know some amazing but underread bloggers out there. The well-read ones...not saying it's a matter of deserving (many/most are quite good), but simply I don't think they are well-read because they comment a lot. Not all of them do.

As for mommybloggign beign despised...is it really? Huh. Who knew. I feel like Romy in Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion. I thought high school was great--we had each other as best friends and had so much fun I never knew we weren't popular or that we should be.

bubandpie said...

Lots and lots to say, but for now I'll focus on Beanie Baby.

I absolutely agree that the get-what-you-give concept ceases to apply to superstar bloggers or even the more popular bloggers in our little neck of the woods. Once you hit a certain critical mass of readers, your blog propels itself forward through blogrolls and permalinks, regardless of your reading-and-commenting practices. What I suspect is that for every "popular" blog (by this definition), there are many, many more bloggers whose traffic basically mirrors their own involvement (I certainly include myself in this category - I've got several new names to click through on already as a result of this post, but there's no danger of my receiving so many comments that I won't have time to pay a return visit to the newbies - though I confess I don't ALWAYS comment when I pay these visits).

I also agree that there are perceived status issues surrounding the relationship among the various communities within the blogosphere. (And there are various mechanisms like Technorati that help fuel this habit or ranking and comparing and competing.)

What I question, though, is the value of taking that step from quid pro quo blogging to popular blogging. Not that it's even a conscious decision for most people - it just happens and you go with it. But do you enjoy blogging more if you're popular? Can you ever be popular ENOUGH that you don't find someone bigger to measure yourself against? Is this really something we should all be striving for and feeling bad if we don't get it?

You're right - if people are being ignored then that's unkind and we should be mindful of ways to change it. I just wonder whether some of the "unpopular" bloggers out there are perfectly happy participating in a small, close-knit community (as I am happy here in the momosphere and personally could not care less that there are male political bloggers out there looking down their noses at me).

Lisa b said...

Hey Bub and Pie I just wanted to comment and say "Hi" you bring up lots of interesting issues.
I don't feel conflicted about how the blogosphere is structured as its just like the real world. The real world is not fair. Some people are more popular for reasons not wholly related to who they are and what they stand for but rather to luck. Yeah it is wrong but that is life.
Should we work to change it - sure. But I also have little sympathy for people who drop in on a community -as with the photo posters you mention- and expect to be treated the same was as someone who is very involved in the community.

My motivation to start blogging came after a friend sent me Mubar's link and I found all of you. I felt guilty reading everyones blogs and then never sharing. I also feel like I should comment if I have read something someone has shared. My commenting lead to people finding my blog and now I have to blog so as not to feel like an idiot with a stupid blog. Oh the Pressure!
I'm a control freak and I find it odd to have no control over who views my site.

Lisa b said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
penelopeto said...

So well put.

Blogging by numbers is an excellent description. Blogging by ego is another. I may suffer from both, time to time, but get little in the way of comments, hits, links or anything else to alleviate my suffering, so I'll just keep on being my bitchy old self, and let the readers read if they want.
Ah, the freedom of the little-known mommyblogger.

Tina C said...

I often get the urge to comment when i read blogs, but as a non-blogger I sometimes feel the comments are unwanted. is that true? I also find it odd that comments on these mommy-blogs are always so polite and supportive. Do you, as a blogger, want to get your readers' comments even if they're not in agreement?

Robbin said...

Hello again - I have really, really been enjoying your blog.

I have been trying to make the decision about who I want my readers to really be. Do I want to write for a larger audience? Or do I write for the small group of 10-15 people I personally know (I mean, outside of the blog-world), and who read my blog daily. This assumes a certain knowledge, and therefore dictates a different style and content. It's a hard decision. On one hand, I want to become a better general writer. On the other - I don't want to feel like I am "abandoning" my friends to be one of the "popular girls".

I decided to blog since writing is one of the interests I chose to abandon when I chose my career. Science vs. literature? Sadly, science pays the bills a bit more neatly. So, I work at science and blog for release. And, well, writers crave audiences, or why bother, really? It's not like what I do for a living exactly brings public acclaim - or even notice. Or, for that matter, interest.

Yep. I see where you are coming from.

(As an aside - as far as the blog world being male dominated, I have to say I wouldn't know. There's only a couple of male bloggers I find remotely interesting.)

Gwen said...

I used to be a Babycenter disciple, too! I always found the fights to be good fun--from a distance. And if you weren't such a good writer, I would think we were related, since I know exactly 4.2 people left in the world who still watch "The Bachelor" (from many posts ago), besides me.

I don't know much about blog rolling or blog popularity or the politics of blogging because I started my blog as a way to keep in touch with my very very scattered friends and family without having to actually, you know, pick up the phone or write a letter or something horrible like that. It's only when I read your blog or follow the link to Beanie Baby that I suddenly think it's an issue. So then I realize that it probably isn't an issue for me, personally.

But I'm an introvert, so I'm not going to comment on most of the blogs I read (sometimes it feels a little like crashing a party) and I'm never ever going to blogroll anybody I don't mostly know personally. Will this make me less "popular?" (Could I be less popular, as it is?) Maybe. But I've realized I don't care. That I'm still blogging for the 10 people I KNOW are reading my blog because they dig me enough to put up with my mumbles. I've never felt like being ignored by the greater masses is "unkind." I've always assumed it just is what it is. I don't try very hard to get noticed or I think I might be an acquired taste (especially since I've just forgotten how to spell acquired)or I'm only interesting to myself. I wonder if how you feel about the politics of blogging popularity hinges on what you expect to get from blogging.

That being said, on two occasions I've received actual, real live e-mails from blogs that I commented on and I thought my heart would jump right out of my chest, I was so excited, just like a squeeing fan girl. So I'm obviously a hypocrite.

bubandpie said...

Tina C - Speaking for myself - absolutely, comments from non-bloggers are wanted (though I feel a tiny bit of frustrated curiosity: who are you, Tina C? I'd like to know more about you!). And disagreement is welcome and can be stimulating, though in my experience the sensitivity level is VERY HIGH. That is, even faint criticism can feel like an all-out attack. I am very much enjoying the disagreement I'm having with Beanie Baby here, though - I don't feel attacked and I hope she doesn't either.

Julie - You're right - the quid pro quo model is a vast over-simplification (I tend to specialize in those). The level of readership of a given blog is influenced by a number of factors, including luck (cf. Lisa B., and MUBAR's recent post about how her mention of Tom Cruise's idiocy propelled her to sudden stardom). Certainly discrimination may be operative at some level, as Beanie Baby suggests. But we bloggers also make a lot of decisions that affect our readership, including which community to join and how far to branch out in our exploration of the blogosphere. Some of my favourite bloggers are those who appear to make little effort at all to increase readership - they have very small, select blogrolls, they comment sparingly, and they post only when they really have something to say. I admire the aloofness they manage to maintain from the "cirque du blog" as lildb once called it.

Binkytown said...

This topic sure seems to pop up from time to time. It's human nature to want more, more comments, more hits, etc, but I totally agree that more hits don't make a better blogger. We're all a fruit basket! You just can't compare apples and oranges. Both are delicious, but so different. PS- I still want more comments too.

Aliki2006 said...

One of the more thought-provoking posts I've read in awhile...

I don't have too much to add to the other comments. I, like Suzanne, wish I could separate myself entirely from my stat counter. Luckily I blog more as a catharsis for myself--if I kept my ideas/thoughts bottled up too much inside I fear I would explode (probably all over my poor family, too). I love the exchange of ideas. Do I want comments? Of course I do! But I want them because I crave the exchange of ideas, and the connection with others. There is something about the enormity of the blogisphere that can actually make one feel alone--a drop in the bucket kind of feeling. It's a spooky phenomenon too--particularly, I find, with the "silent" readers--you know they're out there (as the site meter shows) but they never comment. I try to comment diligently on the blogs I read because I want the writer to know that I am out there and that I have read his/her comments and thought about them--it feels less like eavesdropping to me.

Emily said...

I blog for selfish reasons. I blog to express myself, sharpen my skills as a writer and stay in practice. I also seek to entertain and challenge my real and imagined readers. I'd rather make a single lifelong friend than accumulate followers who don't really care about who I am or what I am saying. There are some popular bloggers that are outstanding writers and great entertainers and some who are just so-so. Sparking debate and rallying the troops is a great talent, but sometimes I wonder if this is an activity better left to corporate advertising conglomerates and politicians. I guess I'm a little PR (punk rock) in that I would never sell out or pander to the masses. I'm extremely happy with my blog because I have some readers that are scathingly intelligent and talented writers. That this is true astounds me. I'm more interested in the quality of my readers than the quantity. And I really dig the types of people that don't comment, the so-called 'lurkers.' Lurkers—I hate that description. I call them 'The Elegant Ones.' I find their silence appealing. After all, the Elegant Ones are there to read, not speak. Is there a greater compliment?

I think the idea of 'being discovered' is an absurd one, though I harbor such fantasies. The blogosphere is not a malt shop. We can't just bat our literary eyelashes and land sweet book deals. I'm pretty darn sure that getting published takes hard work, multiple submittals to various literary outlets, and a good agent. The first step is to write the book. It's a step a lot of us tend to forget.

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

First let me say that Beanie Baby's comments about popularity and unpopularity have been bothering me, and I think what you've said sums up my feelings, too. So I just want to say "ditto."

Also ... I am hurt by the phrase "unpopular." I would fall under that category; and to me, "unpopular" implies that people are actively ignoring me. I find it hard to believe that's happening -- that people are visiting my site and thinking, ugh, what crap, and then encouraging others not to link to me...

I'd prefer the phrase "undiscovered"!

Andrea, if you're reading these comments still: Have you tried correlating what you call popularity w/ start-up date? I think a lot of people (see: MUBAR) became popular when writing about blogs in the mainstream media was all the rage. I wonder if Dooce would be just another mommy blogger if she started up her site now? I wonder if it's possible for a new site launched today to become popular -- w/o using zany marketing tactics?

Ooo I have a lot more thoughts on this, I will have to write 'em on my own blog.

Em said...

I have similar thoughts - particularly as I approach my one year blogging anniversary. In particular I am very aware that I started this blog for ME - it was my outlet to write about what I wanted to write about. But as my (small) audience grows a little larger it is hard not to write for my readers (rather than myself). I'm not sure this is what I want? Tricky.

Julie Pippert said...

Cirque du blog bwahahahahahaha! very funny!

You know, frequency is a key, I think. One post a month doesn't usually engage me. I need fresh fresh fresh. What am I? LOL

And FYI...as a publisher? Nothing in the world I hate worse than a "TA-DA all finished!" manuscript being plopped down on my desk...at the beginning of a project.

Give me a detailed outline and statement of purpose cover letter (all the better if you did your homework and researched the market and competition a little) with about three sample chapters any day!

It takes so much time to edit a done deal. Not to mention, coddle a hurt writer who thinks, but I wrote it, it's done...what do you mean re-write it? And and and my Aunt Edna is an English teacher and she edited it for me, and three of my very best friends told me it was perfect. Publishing houses have developmental editors for a reason.

So Emily, you are mostly correct when you say, "We can't just bat our literary eyelashes and land sweet book deals. I'm pretty darn sure that getting published takes hard work, multiple submittals to various literary outlets, and a good agent."

However, I will say this---and it's not meant to provide false hope, but it is meant to justify the faint hope---I have found two authors through the Internet this year alone. And still another long-time blogger I know just landed a sweet book deal with St. Martins.

Jennifer...love the undiscovered instead of unpopular!

nomotherearth said...

As one of the "unpopular" bloggers, I must say it is nice to get a comment or two. Very nice. I started out blogging just to see if I could do it. I keep blogging because I think it helps to keep the creative juices going, and stave off Mummy-Brain. Occasionally, I have something really interesting to say, but mostly I write about what's in my head precisely so I can get it OUT of my head. And stop obsessing. I'd like to have more readers so that we could have an interesting debate, or just share info. But, I didn't start out looking for readers, nor do I keep on going for the readers. But I sure do appreciate those who stop by. As for those who stop by AND comment...uhh, the check is in the mail. A Big Thank You!

Rock the Cradle said...

When I started blogging it was just for myself, to feed the tiny micro-extrovert within. I hoped people would come and read, but I didn't put a lot of trust in that hope.

I am not a blogger who can update or or read blogs or post comments daily. So I accepted from the start that if I did get readers, it would probably not be because I had any sort of popularity. It's more likely they found me the same way I found the blogs I read. By reading comments on other boards.

When I start deliberately seeking out readers...by posting comments that don't really add or say anything useful, I start to feel like I did when I was dating...a bit desperate.

Then I remember who I started blogging for...and it is, selfishly, myself. And when I have the time to sit down and write something that isn't horrible, I feel better. And if people comment...well, then I feel GREAT.

Unless it's spam. Then "popularity" just gets annoying.

Veronica Mitchell said...

I used to post a message board about ten years ago with similar issues. And the all-important subject that inspired the arguments and whining and blaming? Our cockatiels.

Mary-LUE said...

Wow! This post inspired a lot of discussion. I think your points are excellent, B & P. Especially the thought of why we are pursuing greater comments/ranking, etc.

I've struggled with the number of comments I get because I wonder, "Does that mean they don't like me?" I've considered ads, etc., but that just isn't me. When I really stop to think about it, I'm not in it for the ratings. I wanted to express some ideas, experience a little community, force my brain to work a little so it doesn't atrophy and have some fun.

The question of being liked is simply my old insecurity raising it ugly head. I choose not to act out of that insecurity but to enjoy the audience I have and keep blogging while I am enjoying it.

I've got to go get the kids ready for school so I haven't had a chance to read all the comments this post inspired. I'll be back later. I want to know what everyone else is thinking.

Good job B & P. I know that your brain is in excellent shape!


P.S. The word verification just wanted me to do a "y" with an umlot (sp?) How am I supposed to manage that?

mamatulip said...

I really can relate to the parenting board aspect of this post -- I've been a part of a mommies message board for about four years now and the things that you described in this post that happen on message boards are bang-on.

I do think that the two "communities" -- blogging and message boards -- do share similarities, but are quite different, especially when criticism is involved. I've seen board members lash out at others (not on my board really, but on other boards I've lurked on) but I really have yet to see that happen with gusto in the blog community. Perhaps I'm not reading the right blogs, but I do think the netiquette is much different in the blog world.

Oliver is screaming upstairs -- there's more I'd like to say about this, but I do think this is an excellent post and it's a lot of great food for thought.

Pieces said...

I'm overwhelmed by all the thoughts whirling through my mind. I read this post last night and went to bed thinking I could formulate an intelligent comment to add. I need to think about it some more. Thank you for giving me something to consider while I clean toilets today.

sunshine scribe said...

Wow look at the responses to this! Some of the comments are as insightful and thought provoking as your well written post!

I have recently begun to really think about how I feel about some of the issues you raised and also about what I want out of my blog. I'll never be invited to the cool table and I don't really want to be.

I started out with the intention of my blog being a creative outlet and I found the community by accident. I am grateful for the community of commenters and bloggers as I have made some wonderful friends as a result but I am now struggling with finding a balance. I could spend all day reading blogs but I have a full time job, a child and a million other things I am trying to juggle. I read to be reciprocal, because I am interested, because the writers are friends ... not to build my own comments or stats. But even those reasons can get out of hand.

I have stopped reading most of the "popular" blogs too.

I have so much more to say ... but much of it has already been said. Well done :)

metro mama said...

This was so well said, and much of it reasonates, especially this: "we want to be creative, we want to make friends, but we also crave recognition and blogging holds out the promise of providing some of the status we lost when we left the workforce".

You have me pegged!

kittenpie said...

I try to keep it sane, basically. I know I'll never become some big famous blogger, and that's okay. I love comments, of course, but the only time I really obssess over comments is when I put down something I would really like feedback on and don't get the kind of numbers or whatever I would have liked for it. (not that often, maybe once a month, do I put in a post like that.)

I do have a sitemeter out of curiosity and so I can giggle about the googlers, but I haven't bothered to sign up for any other metering services, blogrolls, etc. I mantain my own blogroll as a daily reading list so I don't forget anyone, and have to be reading someone a lot to go to the trouble of adding them. I comment because I'm a chatterbox and because many of the bloggers I read are people who are or are becoming friends of mine.

This keeps it intimate for me, a conversation with real people, and that is more interesting to me than the stats.

Mom101 said...

Great post - you bring up so many excellent topics. I know those mommyboard fights well--evil things!

I do have to say I hate the term "popularity" in terms of blogging, which I've always thought of in sort of negative ways. High school cliques and such. I think there are "well-read" bloggers which maybe better defines it; and now that some people consider me one I suppose I'm in a precarious position here in stating an opinion.

But what the hell - I'm opinonated!

I think the theory of comments begetting a bigger readership is a little flawed. Think of commenting like advertising. And as we say in The Biz, nothing kills a bad product faster than good advertising. So while it may get people to take a look at your site once, it's not going to keep them coming back if you don't somehow connect with them through your writing.

Some of the people who complain about their lack of popularity - it's not hard to see why. I know that sounds harsh, but not everyone appeals to a mass audience, either because of their themes, their content, their sensibility, or their inability to distinguish "there" from "their."

If the goal is popularity then hell, go out and market yourself. (And I don't mean you specifically Bub! I've seen a lot of this since I started blogging.) Buy ads. Join blogrings. Print tee-shirts. Rent a blimp. But please, for God's sake, stop writing back to back posts about why people don't read you. It's the last thing people want to read about!

Heather said...

It doesn't matter to me whether I have 10 or 75 people commenting on my blog, cause I really only write as a creative outlet because I enjoy it. If I had a choice would I pick 75? Sure. Does it really matter to me? Not really. On the grand scheme of things in this world there are far more important things to worry about than how many people read my blog.

Blog Antagonist said...

LOL! Well, you got 37 comments and I've never gotten that many. I'd say you ARE among the more popular. But it's well deserved because you are enormously enjoyable to read.

I don't get nearly that many comments, but it's okay. I realized that I blog for many of the reasons you stated, and I've come to look at the comments as gravy. Blogging has really helped me find my voice and define my goals in terms of my writing. It's all good.

I used to run an internet community populated mostly by women. The dynamics that I witnessed every day were absolutely mind boggling. There was an awful lot of really despicable behavior, including a woman who faked cancer in a very well known media case, and defrauded members of thousands of dollars. The kind of garbage ultimately led to the closing of the site (life is too short for me to spend my time dealing with people like that).

BUT...I also witnessed some incredible acts of kindness and generosity. I was privileged to meet some truly wonderful women. The internet and the blogosphere have really been instrumental in bringing women together. There will always be discord, because let's face it, many women thrive on drama. But in general, I have been really wowed by the caliber of women I have encountered here. I certainly would never have met these women in real life, and if I had, it's likely I wouldn't have known it because real life interactions tend to be safe and polite and very politically correct.

I don't why we need to have blog heirarchy. I tend to disregard a lot of that stuff, and I probably don't play the game right either. Never have! It's okay. Like you said, I'd rather have a few really good, solid, genuine readers than a lot of superficial commenters.

Very interesting and insightful post. Lost of food for thought.

Jennifer said...

I've found this whole discussion to be really interesting on a number of levels. As I'm reading through the thoughtful comments of so many, one aspect that strikes me is how much of the "popularity issue" is a female trait or concern? Something we women are carrying over from our "real lives" (the playground politics of mommyhood) to the blogging world. Do men have these issues -- either on the playground or in the blogisphere? Do men care much about who is reading and who is commenting? I haven't seen either blog posts or comments from men on this issue...??

As for me: I don't keep a stat counter on my blog. When I started blogging, I did it for me (creative outlet, just something fun) and I didn't want to get attached to who/how many might be reading -- I can find other ways to lower my self-esteem. (*grin*) (Though there is no denying that comments and feedback are rewarding and fun!)

bubandpie said...

Jennifer - Wow, what a good point. Pieces just wrote a post about trying not to care so much about what people think, and that's something so many women struggle with. The blog apathy some people plunge into now and then has a lot to do with caring too much about being liked. At least for me - and I don't think I'm the only one.

Heather - WHAT a beautiful photo you have on your profile now. Congratulations!

Mary-LUE said...

Well, I just finished reading ALL the comments. What a great discussion. I think it is clear that, while many of us have twinges of the 'Am I popular' feeling, etc., most seem to have a good handle and what it means and doesn't mean. We all have different expectations and are getting what we want to and can out of blogging.

This comment discussion also functioned like a blog sampler for me. I went to visit quite a few new blogs today.

Mom101 said...

Eek, sorry. So didn't mean to hijack. It's such a rich topic and it's been on my mind so much because I see so many people writing about similar these days. Shoulda gone and done my own damn post, eh?

Thanks for getting me thinking. Still.

bubandpie said...

Mom-101: Hey, no apologies necessary. I don't really believe in hijacking - I love long, essay-like comments and I really love the discussion that's been evolving here (I especially love it when my commenters start talking to each other and ignoring me entirely - it always reminds me of the first time that happened in a class I was teaching and what a good feeling that was).

But if you do make your way back here again? What I would really love to know is if you perceive any down-side to the degree of popularity you have.

Her Bad Mother said...

Rich topic, indeed.

Instead of hijacking your comments like Liz did, I did a post about this at urbanmoms.ca: http://urbanmoms.typepad.com/the_mother_hood/2006/09/politics_101_a_.html

mad_hatter said...

Everything you said makes sense but I will add this. One of the many reasons I blog is because I live in a region that is isolated. My heart races when I see a a comment because I am hoping for conversations. I often find myself frustrated because a comment can never really be a conversation. I find that I envy all those bloggers who not only comment on each other's blogs but then get together in person.

Great post, btw.

Christina said...

Geez, this post got a ton of comments, and seeing how my butt is already numb from sitting here for hours reading blogs, I'll have to skip the bottom half of the comments.

Like you, I was on many of the bulletin boards first, and your description of the dynamic there is spot on. I finally decided I didn't like the chaotic nature of the bulletin boards (constantly trying to trace back threads to remember who is who, scrolling back in a thread to comment to several people at once, etc.), that I decided to try blogging.

When I started, I don't think I knew what I wanted from blogging. I wanted to find others to converse with, and I think the pretty and far-fetched idea of possibly becoming a famous or well-paid blogger was there as well.

I've reached a point now where I can't comment back to everyone who comments on my posts everyday. I do love getting comments - it really is like crack - but my blogroll keeps growing and new people stop by all the time and I feel overwhelmed sometimes. Were I to get to everyone's blog each day and comment each day, I think blogging would be a full-time job at that point.

And then there's the really famous bloggers, who get hundreds of comments, and yet they never seem to comment on any other blog. How do they keep their readership up? Don't they want to at least respond to some of their readers?

Lady M said...

Great post. I also began with the modest plan to write "for myself, for practice," but must admit that I enjoy an audience and check for comments frequently.

One side benefit: The desire to please readers does spur me to try to be funny, even on tough days, and thinking about funny things brightens my day in real life too.

Mommy off the Record said...

Great post. As evidenced by the number of comments here, I would say you are quite a "popular" blogger!

First off, let me say that I think we were on BabyCenter at approx. the same time. I lurked on the Jun 05 board and it was exactly as you described the July 05 board. There was so much drama over EVERYTHING that I rarely posted. What I like about the mommyblogosphere is that people ARE respectful of each other. I wouldn't want to be part of a community that wasn't.

In terms of comments and finding friends in the blogosphere etc., you made several good points. For me, there are two main reasons I blog. The first is that I wanted a writing/creative outlet where I could keep my writing skills fresh. Since I don't get to do that in my day job, this blogging stuff has saved my sanity in terms of feeling that I can still be creative, especially b/c I love to write so much. So in that sense, getting comments and readers is validating.

One of the surprising things about blogging is that I have found a lot of women out there that I could become friends with. I didn't start blogging to make friends, but it was like an added bonus. I think the ideal situation is finding blogging buds that you can then get to know in real life, which is why I am insanely jealous of all of you ToMoms. You are so lucky.

However, for most bloggers, they don't have that type of real-life connection to people that they blog with and so the comments are really how relationships form. So in that sense commenting is important if you want to get to know other bloggers and form relationships with them.

What I struggle with is feeling that I don't visit people often enough. I always feel like I owe a return visit if someone has commented on my blog. I feel this as a sense of courtesy (as in, you've taken the time to visit my blog, so I'll take the time to visit yours). However, I find that in order to return comment everyone I lose the time to read all the posts of my favorite bloggers. So this has been something I've been struggling with for a while. Lately, I've not been able to comment back as quickly or as often and I feel really guilty. I don't comment to get comments, but I feel that a comment deserves a return comment from me. (though I don't necessarily expect to get a return comment every single time I leave a comment on someone else's blog.) Oh I don't know, the whole thing is totally confusing! And this is the longest comment I've very left so I'm going to cut it off here. (if you're even still reading...lol)

something blue said...

I struggle with the addictive quality in blogging, how it eats up my time. I run upstairs to get the laundry and escape to read just one blog and it turns into five. I want to comment everywhere I go but I often don't get a chance.

I admit I want those candy comments but I don't want it to be an obsession. Recently I saw that a couple people have unsubscribed to my bloglines. That felt horrible. Not because I was losing a potential commenter, but rather the fact was that I have not made that connection with somebody who once thought they enjoyed my site. I have insecurities as a writer. I worry that I confused "there" instead of "their." Did I bore those people until they could not stand one more word? Yes I want readership, otherwise I would start scrap booking and journaling.

Excellent post Bub and Pie!

mothergoosemouse said...

LOVE what you said about the Babycenter message boards. I found the same to be true - all I had to do was get involved, and it was easy to become an integral part of the board(s).

Blogging is certainly different in many ways, mainly because I still consider the focus of blogging - at least for myself - to be the craft of writing, versus creating and maintaining a community.

That said, I dig comments as much as the next blogger - whether they're from other bloggers, strangers who read but don't blog themselves, IRL friends, or family. I'd rather have minimal thoughtful honest feedback than a slew of "great post!" or "big hugs!" comments.

Ironically enough, that's why I've strayed from the message boards. I got tired of the superficial, even among people whom I'd met IRL and considered to be good friends. Blogging has brought me closer to like-minded women who inspire me to improve my writing.

Beanie Baby said...

No, Bub and Pie, I'm not taking it personally from you--though it's quite clear that others here mean for me to take it personally.

I'm a little intrigued by this idea that I supposedly don't have a lot of readers. I had over 370 visitors yesterday--that puts me quite comfortably in the upper rings of the Canadian momosphere. Anyone who has been reading my posts and seeing them as whining about my own lack of popularity has, quite frankly, been missing the point entirely. NOt surprising, though. People tend to dismiss messages which are unflattering to themselves by any means they can find. NOt unlike the rich white guys who sit on top of the business and politics world and then say--huh, well you know what, but I deserve it; and any complaining about the way wealth and power are distributed must be sour grapes and envy.

I DO NOT Consider myself to be unprivileged. I'm not. But I DO think that privilege and real-world status markers are reflected in the momosphere; and if it is to be a revolutionary endeavour that actually works for the betterment of mothers and furthers the mothers movement, then we've got to deal with it. Or we will only further the cause of the upper-middle-class, white, straight, married moms of healthy kids who live in urban centres, and who are the ones who need help least.

And good god, anyone can see that the most popular bloggers are rarely professional writers--and for good reason. Good blogging isn't good writing. I want to build a writing career--which means I turn off the wifi and WRITE. A blog might be a good way to promote a book to a positive audience; but it doesn't help anyone learn to write.

Granny said...

Interesting. I'm a blogger of sorts, not a writer. Two years ago I couldn't have told you what a blog was.

I'm raising three great-granddaughters so I don't fit into the "mommy blogger" category although we write about many of the same things.

I don't fit too well as a granny either. Most grannies get to spoil the kids and send them home.

I don't think I cared about being discovered; I wanted to feel less isolated and it worked.

Of course I still don't know where I fit in. I just keep writing my kaffee-klatch of a blog and answering comments.

cinnamon gurl said...

Is the number of comments you've gotten in response to this post ironic?

I'm in the would rather have 10 readers than one camp. I haven't been blogging long and, strangely, I didn't read any blogs before I started blogging. I'd been writing stuff since my mat leave started and my husband suggested posting it on a blog. Now I'm addicted and enjoying exploring other blogs. I like that it makes me think more than I did before. And I think more critically about what I'm reading and doing.

andrea from the fishbowl said...

Oh, there are a lot of good comments here, and I'm going to have to come back when my head is less stuffed up and my nose isn't running like a faucet. Gah!

Everyone blogs for different reasons, that much is clear. Me: I blog for myself. And I'm happy to get comments. I won't turn my nose up at a "great post" or two or three. I like to know who's reading, and I like these quick little words of appreciation. Sometimes that's all people have time for.

But I'm torn whether or not other people like the honest-but-short "great post" comments. Some bloggers really only want the "quality" comments. And this stresses me out! And so I'm not as likely to comment.

(Is this making sense? I'm off to find the Nyquil)

lildb said...

ah-ha! now I see what you were talking about when you referenced the meta-blog post I wrote.

I read the links you included, and I think the whole thing is fascinating.

but I don't give a shit about popularity. in fact, I don't like the whole concept. I realize it exists, but that doesn't mean I have to revel in its existence. I can still do my own thing.

and so I do. nyahhh to you, popularity. (and my readership/comments have dropped severely, lately, b/c I haven't had time to read/comment like I usually do, which I find interesting and sort of funny and a little - dare I say it? - pleasant. it's a relief, in fact. now I get to go read some blogs and leave some comments without feeling the pressure I usually do. yeah!)

good post, G.

xo D

Mrs. Chicky said...

I've been having the hardest time loading your site for the past few days, but I'm really glad I kept trying. This was a fantastic post! Really well done. I'm not going to say anything here that hasn't already been said by the masses before me, so I'll say this:

Yes, yes, yes, definitely, uh huh, yep, yes, YES, oh lordy yes!

I think you've summed up the world of mommyblogging very nicely.

Mom101 said...

Aha! I have indeed made my way back here again!

It's funny, I see evidence of my popularity but I just don't think of myself that way. While I think my voice has evolved over time (as it should if you work on your craft every day) if you look at how I wrote months ago when I had 2 commenters with how I write today, not much has changed. Mostly, there have been changes in a really good way! Like opportunities for writing, or the chance to be involved with the Greenstone launch. I know that doesn't bode well for telliing people not to care about popularity because there are some benefits. But honestly, I never set out to be popular. I dont' think about it much at all. I just write, same as always.

When it comes down to it, I'm a fucking blogger. That means pretty much nothing to most people. Do you think besides Joshua Micah Marshall or Daily Kos or Dooce that most people in the world know the name of a single blogger? We all have to keep it in perspective a little.

crunchy carpets said...

wow...glad i found you!
I whole heartedly agree with your take on our little blogosphere....and cyberspace mommying in general.
I hang on a couple of parenting sites and it is really like high school all over....'why didn't people comment about MY post or MY pictures'...why don't I get invited to playdates, etc blah blah blah.....

I think the internet is a focused petri dish of life.......everyone gets grouped and stereotyped...my dh would never read a parenting blog or a parenting site.....his 'maleness' forbids him for some reason.

We all end up grouped and labled and categorized and so that shrinks the readership possiblilities too.

Which is stupid..I enjoy reading websites and blogs on many topics...not just mom stuff.

I think maybe that is why the feeling of competition seems fiercer...not onlydo we have our mommy insecurities, now we have our popularity and writing skills being critiqued...or not.

I will admit to being totally crushed that I got NO comments on two long essays on 'issues' that i had composed.

I get more comments when it is the little things in my life....what does that say...a good lesson learned I think for me.

I still wish more people would comment though!!!

Mom101 said...

I have thought of your question all afternoon and I think maybe I could have thought a bit harder on it before I answered the first time.

I would say if any downside for me, it's the greater demands that are made of me. Like people asking to be blogrolled (eek, hate that) or asking me to write guest posts, or help them with a problem, or read their book and write about it, or give them a 27 point treatise on how to be a successful blogger.

These aren't necessarily bad things,and I don't fault the asker at all. The problem is, I'm really bad at saying no - here and in life. I have a demanding job, a website I run, a blog to write, and then the blog community to participate in, and the requests can pile up, which each have to be answered and dealt with diplomatically.

It can be overwhelming sometimes. I can't even imagine how fussy or amalah or finslippy deal with it.

Merry Mama said...

Hey bub and pie,

Here to make it the number 60!! Yes, I loved this post and I guess in my fatigue thought your 75 in the last sentence was the number of posts.... I read it at, like, what o clcok in the morning? Anyway, since it is only number 60 and not 76 (no way would i want to jinks that number, it's too perfect) I'm going to push it at 60 and hope that more come along. I loved this post and have lurked here in the past. Your kind words made my day. Thanks.

TrudyJ said...

Wow...it seems almost superfluous to comment after 60 comments, but this is such an interesting discussion -- Beanie Baby's posts on the subject raised issues I'd never even thought about regarding the politics of blogging, and you've brought those issues to the forefront even more for me. I think that I don't care about my blog being popular ... but of course I do. One of my students was watching me check my blog the other day and I said, "ooh! I got a comment!" and she laughed and said, "You're just like me! Refresh! Refresh!!" OF COURSE it's a kind of validation when you get comments on a blog post and I always want more. Largely, I'd like to think it's just the feeling of being part of a conversation, rather than a measure of my, or my blog's, worth or popularity -- but I'm sure there's an element of that there too.

Your description of the moms' discussion board was priceless -- I had very much the same experience on iVillage when my kids were babies.

Nancy said...

So many comments! But it makes sense because this is a great post.

I admit that I never dabbled in the baby message boards (or any other kind, really) for the reason that I found them to provide only a one- or two-dimensional perspective of people (myself included.) It could be this was a false perception, but Î always felt like I couldn't really express the complexity of "me" or understand others through a series of conversationally-streamed questions and answers. (I didn't actually consider the possibility that moms could get to know each other off-board, which does seem to happen.)

Blogging, when I discovered it, appealed to me much more because I saw it as a forum where I could take my (obviously!) wordy self and expound at greater length about many topics of interest. And read about other people in a similar vein.

I do agree that there seems to be a greater level of civility in the blogsphere than on the message boards, at least the ones I've heard about -- could it be in part because there's a greater level of anonymity on the boards? I guess on the boards you could really weigh in only on a particular topic (e.g., breastfeeding) and still attain a certain level of following or respect. On a blog, you probably wouldn't maintain an audience long if you focused on one singular subject -- or your audience would be more specific and narrow.

And I think on a blog we're more likely to put ourselves "out there" in a greater way -- not just by talking about a broader range of things, but by talking about very personal things in our own space. Perhaps it's akin to making an exapsperated comment to a stranger at a coffee shop in a town your visiting, and hesitating to do the same thing in your own neighborhood coffee shop.

Totally not meaning to disparage participants in bulletin boards -- just to understand why the dynamics are so different. And again, it could be from a perspective of not understanding.

So I went far and afield of the blog popularity topic, but this aspect interests me greatly as you can see. :-)

JennC said...

Excellent post.

MotherPie said...

Minutae seems to be the blood of the blogsophere but the mamasphere has even more of a myopic feel -- at least as a medium as I've studied it and participated in it.

As with all new forms, there is jockying, positioning and chaos before commercialization/commodification sets in. However, I think the social needs of the mom blogosphere may trump the commercialization aspects and in the long haul, this will be good for women (and maybe the world!!!).

In the new emerging economy, attention will be important, if not the most important factor. As the dollars move into the online environment, it will be interesting to see what happens...

With women, things are always more personal and the need for community (regardless of size)will remain important. imo. These are two things that makes the mamasphere unique.

Nice post, great commentary. Cheers!

Stefanie said...

By the looks of all the comments, you are definitely popular.

Pieces said...

I know this discussion is long over but I came back to read all the comments and reflect again.

And I have figured out what my problem with the whole thing is. I don't understand why people get upset about some bloggers not being popular. I need to go check out Beanie Baby's blog again because I'm not quite sure why she is all fired up about the issue.

I would never walk into a crowded room and expect a majority of the people to like me. Or even have much in common with me. I think it is the same with blogging. I am a unique person and I don't expect hundreds of people to like me, be entertained by me, and want to spend each day reading the drivel that I choose to write about.

I am picky about where I spend my time. I don't like reading bloggers that swear a lot. It doesn't mean that I hate them. I just choose to not spend time with them. I expect others to be as picky and not visit my blog unless there is some sort of connection.

Thanks, B&P, for a great discussion. I think this is the first time I have carefully read this many comments on anyone's blog. You done good!

wordgirl said...

It's hard not to think about what makes 75 readers show up for a post that's only up for 24 hours and what type of post (up for three days) only garners 20 responses. I see some bloggers post a paltry paragraph with a picture and get 90 comments. I'm not sure I get it. Unfortunately, it's hard for me NOT to gauge popularity by the number of comments I get. Based on what I get, I'm not all that popular. Oh well...

bubandpie said...

Wordgirl - That's really funny. You have, like, your NAME stamped all over the Perfect Post Awards (you're, like, the Titanic of Perfect Posts), but you think you're not popular... I still haven't gotten over the stage where 20 comments seems like a real haul (this post with its umpteen hundred comments notwithstanding!).

I know what you mean, though - it's very hard to wean yourself away from the urge to write the kinds of posts that seem to generate the most comments, even though I know as a reader and commenter that some of the most moving, meaningful posts leave me speechless.

yaya girl said...

Wow! i just bought my new lap top, plugged her in & went straight to Bub & Pie (heard it was good blog). And there they were: words i was thinking. Thank you! Yes, after leaving the working world and not regretting it, loving that i get to be with these babies of mine, i do wonder -- what will i do when they go to school in a few years! I worry about it once in a while, and then i hope that these heartfelt decisions & choices will lead to where we're suppose to go.
Great writing. Thank you.
can't wait to read on......