Alrighty. It's been almost a week since my last blogposting, and that's far too long for my taste. I have a lot to update you on, and some observations that I have gleaned via my "travels through the blogosphere".
Remember how I had to set aside that ebook I had been reading, Creating a Blog Audience by Sister Diane? I had reached a point where I didn't want to progress further until I felt confident to answer some of the questions she was posing. At a certain point in the book, I realized that I didn't know enough about the blogging communities that I was posting my blog for-- art, craft, and business--and I really needed to do some investigating.
Well, I can say with absolute certainty that's easier said than done. The blogosphere at this point is rapidly increasing, and the more I felt I was visiting "the community", the more I realized I was simply scratching the surface... I felt (and still feel) that I had reached the outskirts of a major urban hub, and said to myself, "Aha! My community!" when I actually should have waited and read some more signs to realize I had a long way to go... I think that getting to know the community you are writing for as a blogger is a never ending journey... I could visit blog after blog and post comment after comment, but I'll never reach the end. 2 or 3 years ago, perhaps, there was a finite nature to the whole experience that implied there were edges to the blogosphere community that one could reach, depending on your interest. Not so much today. It's like saying, "Get to know your internet!" Hah! See ya in 5-10 years when that's done...
So at this point, I have endless numbers of bookmarks and doubled my blog subscriptions. And I have 30 open browser windows on my Mac's dock, waiting for me to get back to read them. I keep finding great stuff!!! The book did exactly what it was supposed to do: make me think about what I was putting out there, for whom, and how it fit in.
And that's led me to realize there probably isn't much I can add to the fabric of the blogosphere, really. What can I do but what everyone else is doing--"spins" on information that's already been explored in depth? How many purse tutorials can a person read? Redoing what others are doing is not what I'd like to do...
So. I've decided to continue reading Sister Diane's book, and hopefully I can progress forward on posting information that's interesting to a specific overlap of my chosen communities. The book has profoundly opened my eyes to the concept that I need to recognize what my niche is. It's made me realize that my particular "spice" that I add to the recipe of information that I post needs to be uniquely my own. It's finding and recognizing that niche that I have to think about. And the more I explore the blogosphere, the more I realize those niches are very very hard to come by.
I find a lot of similarities (in my head) between the blogosphere and reality. In the rush of globalization that's been made possible by mass and social medias, we've moved beyond embracing the whole and turned inward a bit. Our instinct is to pull in and find our diverse uniqueness that separates us and makes us distinct. The Handcrafted/DIY movement is part of that, I think. Our individuality as people was lost in the emphasis on our individuality as a culture, and now we're trying to get it back through our creative expressions. Yes, we need and strive for social connections, but now we seek them not through our identification as part of the whole (by doing/believing the same things) but through our uniqueness that demonstrates our variation on the identifying culture. We want to belong, and yet we celebrate our distinctiveness.
Being part of any blogging community presents a quandary: belonging on the one hand, being different on the other. Being just enough alike, but not a copy.
So I'm going to move forward. I'm realizing I will never see the larger whole of my communities in the blogosphere, never truly grasp how they all fit together, who are the movers and shakers, who are the followers. And I think that means I will never really know if my blog is distinctive from the larger whole that it's trying to identify with at the same time.
But I guess that's ultimately like the business, art, and craft worlds, too, isn't it? Someday, I may find someone doing what I do and doing it much better, or realize someone's taken what I thought was my own uniqueness and is using it for their own. "Like business, like blog," I guess.
But I can't let that stop me, can I?
This is an interesting post. My first blog had a very simple concept - I was about to sew a wedding dress (my first) and I wanted to chronicle my journey. It was as much for me as it was for anyone else.ReplyDelete
When the dress was finished, I thought long and hard about whether or not to start another sewing blog.
I had a lot of the same thoughts that you are having - there are so many people out there - many of whom are much better (and more prolific) sewers than I am - what can I possibly contribute to the blogosphere?
(Well, you might not be thinking that there are a lot of people who sew better than you do, but you are wondering about your niche...)
The way I attacked the question was to analyze my favorite blogs and figure out what I liked about them. The key elements that I came up with included:
b) regular posts
c) helpful sewing information at least some time (but not necessarily a critical component of each post)
d) a unique voice or personality that shone through (esp. humor)
e) short posts okay
Then I tried to come up with a plan (& some guidelines, etc.) to incorporate as much of that as possible into my second blog.
For example, I committed to always having at least one picture per post. And I came up with a plan to get 4 posts a week - all (or most) with some kind of content relevant to sewing, even though at best I only am really able to sew on the weekends.
I'm certainly not the most useful or most popular blog out there, but I have a following and I find it rewarding. :)
It sounds like Sister Diane's book will be really helpful - don't forget to spend some time just thinking about the blogs you like and try to analyze what makes you like them.
Good luck! I'm looking forward to following your journey as you find your niche! :)
Gwen, thank you so much for your kind words! Juicy food for thought! You are right--there is actually a chart in the book to help one analyze different blogs. Perhaps I should go back to these blogs I've visited and try to figure out what appeals to me.ReplyDelete
I am coming to the conclusion that blogging is indeed sometimes just about me and putting things out there... And that's okay! I I have a lot to think about! Perhaps I will make a list of rules drawn from my analysis for my own blog posts. Thanks for the great advice!
Anyone who puts as much thought, analysis and effort into it as you are obviously doing, is going to end up with a powerful and popular blog! :)ReplyDelete
Hey! First, I have to say neat blog, have visited it before after learning about it through your post via my blog - www.quickcraftartisttips.blogspot.com . But I there are a few things I think you may have overlooked and the first thing is your name. I got "you" are the mastermind behind Relished Artistry, but at no point have I been able to find your name - first name would be great if fear sharing your last name (as many are for fear of identity theft). You say "I" a lot (in your bio and posts) and you are scratching the surface on something that is right there in front of you - making everything personable. Your adventures in bloging, your work in costume design and fabric art, you are only touching on what you are all about and would love to see more of that as you have great skills in communicating, via writing, your trials and tribulations. I want to surmise you have a huge talent in what you do but the stories, backing up your inquisitive personalty could really shine regarding how you can highlight your "business" experience in the field you are in. It just isn't coming out - enough. I don't see links to a website or sites that you are mentioned on to see your work among other things. I can't find your email address as I would like to chat further about how you can tap into your own personal experience and incorporate that into your blog, network, and of course grow your business. So for now all I can do is have you email me - and this can be done through my business site - www.bythebaybotanicals.com and hope you get a moment to at least share your email address with me as I am not able to find a way to get it through your blog. You also asked some questions via my blog, and am unable to answer those questions as I am at a deadlock in finding a way to contacting you. Does that make sense? So, until I hopefully hear from you as I genuinely would like to network with you, I am left to say I wish you much luck with your blog and your business - I will be checking in to see your progress! MichelleReplyDelete
Michelle--Thanks so much for your response--I went and fixed my contact information and rewrote my bio so it would reflect more of who I am... I also put a link on my bio to my own website of my costume design portfolio. I will be emailing you right away! Sorry about the confusion--I can't believe it was missing!ReplyDelete
Your observations regarding how much of "me" was showing through on my blog--it's ironic because I thought I was putting too much of me in it! But what you've said is also coming at me from different sources and in different ways--posts that I'm reading on other blogs, books that I'm referring to... All of them saying that it's one's unique combination of life experiences that one has to use to build something interesting to read.
I'll be emailing you for sure!! Thanks so much!! : )